KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Daniel “Chucky” Sanders has continued his jump out of the blocks in this year’s Australian Off Road Championships, dominating rounds three and four of the AORC at Portland, NSW.
Using his KTM 300 EXC, Sanders had the tight and technical, rocky conditions eating out of his hand on both days as he extended his perfect score in both the E3 and outright categories.
Sanders won Saturday’s third round of the championship by 34 seconds over Chris Hollis, with Josh Green third, while Sunday’s victory margin blew out to over a minute as he came in ahead of Glenn Kearney and Green.
Daniel “Chucky” Sanders – KTM 300 EXC
“I’m really, really happy with the weekend. I’ve really stepped up the training program and kept chipping away and come into this round pretty confident. I was really looking forward to some tight stuff, and apart from one little crash it all went really well, I’m feeling awesome on the bike. I’ve got a good diet and a good program in the gym and I’m feeling really strong on the KTM300EXC and loving it. So we have one weekend off now and then off to South Oz. Obviously I want to go in there and win it but if we can finish top three there I’ll be pretty happy.”
The dual victories give Sanders an 18-point lead in the outright standings of the Australian Off-Road Championships after four of twelve rounds.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team’s Glenn Kearney once again managed to defend the top time for round 4 in the E1 class, with a concluding time of 55:05.592.
Kearney, who is only weeks out of injury, piloted his Husqvarna machine, to two round victories across the weekend.
Glenn Kearney (FE250)
“A really good weekend for the team. It was dusty and rocky, and the Oyster Bay club did a great job with the conditions they had. Yesterday Lachy, Greeny and I were all fighting for third outright, and Green pipped me for the outright podium by two seconds and Lachy was just behind me. Today Lachy was second in E3 and fourth outright. In the past he would have struggled a lot more in this technical, tighter stuff, but he’s worked on all that and I’m really happy with how he rode. I was first in E1 and just got the better of Green for second outright. I knocked Lachy down one outright position on both days, but I’ve got to keep him on his toes!
Krystal just taped my shoulder really tight so it couldn’t move, and it was slightly painful but mainly just weak. The 250 was perfect all weekend. There were some seriously steep hills here, so to get second outright is a testament to the power of the Husqvarna FE 250.
For Scott Keegan the times once again handed him second place, rounding out the day with a 56:13.766 time after five tests.
Also aboard Husqvarna, Keegan was followed closely behind by third place getter Stefan Granquist, who finished fourth on Saturday (Round 3), but on Sunday managed to find the pace and put himself in the E1 top three (58:39.4940).
A new day saw changes in front runners in the E2 class, with Active8 Yamaha Yamalube’s Josh Green pushing his limits around the deteriorating track, to top the times after six tests (55:08.965).
Saturday winner CDR Yamaha’s Chris Hollis was relegated to second place when the times were tallied, finishing off with a 55:27.419.
KTM Enduro Racing Team’s Tye Simmonds had a consistent round 4, finishing third place for the day with a 56:04.844 time at the conclusion of the weekend’s events.
Tye Simmonds – KTM 450 EXC
“I’ve got no complaints about the weekend – it was awesome, but I’m not happy about my results. That’s the way it goes though, that’s racing. I’m definitely glad I came and spent some time with Grabbo beforehand, I wouldn’t have liked to have seen my results if I hadn’t come and trained in the stuff. I know the tight, technical off camber, single-trail stuff is a weakness of mine but I’ve just got to spend more time in it. I’ll drive home tonight, pick the old man up and then carry on up to Finke now, where we’ll be for a week, so I’m keen to go stretching throttles cables now.”
Green, who despite battling injury and having limited bike time, was more than happy to claim the round 4 E2 victory.
“I’m feeling really good about the win, I didn’t get a chance to ride between the first two rounds and this round, so I was a bit rusty yesterday. I have an injury so just trying to manage it, it was a good weekend, really tough which is good.” Green concluded.
There was a thick spray of dust as Daniel Sanders continued to lead the pack around the reversed YZ track on Sunday.
Despite an incident involving a stick to the knee in the second test, the KTM Enduro Racing Team rider managed to come out on top on Sunday afternoon, collecting both the E3 spoils and remaining undefeated in the outright standings with a finishing time of 54:00.242.
Lachlan Stanford once again proved his strength in the E3 class, and managed to hold down second place with a time of 55:18.221 at the conclusion of his six tests.
Lachy Stanford (FE501)
“I’m happy I suppose. On Saturday I couldn’t get the flow I wanted to on the track, but we still got fifth outright and second in E3. Sunday’s sprints were really rough and really hilly. I was running second outright initially but I ended up fourth. But I’m happy with my speed, considering how tough the conditions were, so thanks to Christian and Dave and Kevvy for working closely with me to get the absolute best out of the 501. It was a really good race for the team, we had me and Glenn both top five on both days, and we were the only team to do that. Our team is really confident and positive at the moment, so I think we’re going to be in for a good year.”
CDR Yamaha’s Beau Ralston who couldn’t quite jump the times to beat Stanford, finishing in third place for the round with a 55:53.518 time.
A new day bought a new attitude for the Transmoto 19 and Under competitors, who were hungry as ever to put improved times on the board. Remaining on the top of the time sheets was once again Nic Tomlinson with a concluding time of 57:58.975.
Nic Tomlinson – KTM 300EXC “I’m pretty happy with the way I went this weekend, a lot better than last round, but still not quite where I want to be. I really enjoyed the track, so it was good to ride in some tight bush with gnarly, snotty rocks again. It’s similar to home. It’s good to be winning the class overall at the moment. I haven’t done a round at Murray Bridge before, but from what I’ve heard it should be more like home.”
Wil Ruprecht managing to make up time today to slot him self into a comfortable second position (58:36.571) ahead of third placed Andrew Wilksch who rounded out the Transmoto top three, and put in an outstanding performance concluding the day..
With the ladies competing on the single track Sunday, it led to a shift in the front runner, with Jessica Gardiner on her Yamaha machine managing consistent test times, concluding the final test of the day with a combined time of 26:49.093, ahead of Sunday’s winner, Jemma Wilson who concluded round 4 in second with a total time of 27:01.600.
Third in the Women’s was Yamaha mounted Emelie Karlsson coming in close behind both first and second with a 28:09.795.
“It was really cool to take out the round win, I was a bit disappointed with Saturday because I knew with my training I could do a little better, but I was more hungry today knowing where I needed to be. I dug deep today and sat down and really thought about what do I needed to do and put my head in the right place and then after that everything fell into place,” Jessica Concluded.
As the day came to a conclusion, with racing wrapping up after six tests, it was Bjorn Osbourne who managed to once again pull his machine around the tight track to finish in first (27:30.877).
Just behind was David Gilmore who claimed second place on the podium with a concluding time of 28:44.663, followed by Scott Campbell who wrapped up round 4 in third position with a total time of 28:55.405.
After a lengthy hiatus from the AORC scene Jason Salopayevs was at round 3 and 4 to showcase his speed amongst a talent packed Masters field. Salopayers managed to take out the round 4 win with a combined time of 27:10.812, ahead of fellow competitor Michael Widdison who snatched up second position once again, with a finishing time of 28:28.991. Third was Robert Bailey who fought through the dust and ruts with a combined time of 28:58.103.
Competitors will now shift their focus to rounds 5&6 of the 2016 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship to be held in Murray Bridge, South Australia in just two weeks’ time on April 23-24.
Ben Grabham – KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager
“It wasn’t far from my house so we got the boys out nice and early and we did a little bit in the conditions, which are quite tricky because we haven’t had rain for a long time and it’s very rocky.
“Chucky proved he was again the man to beat when he won the first lap by 15-20 seconds and looked pretty comfortable. He won the day by half-a-minute and then came out storming again today; I don’t think he looked close to being beaten all day. We’re definitely seeing a lot of good stuff out of him at the moment and four on the trot is fantastic.
“Tye struggled a little bit all weekend to be honest – it’s just terrain he’s not familiar with. He’s still working his butt off trying, but it just didn’t happen for him. He was still third in E2 both days which is positive, but he was just down a little bit in outright.
“Full credit to the team again, Mick has done some late nights with myself in the workshop lately, and we are in a good place as a result.”
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