AORC 2018

Rounds 5 & 6 – Dungog

Daniel Milner dominates

By John Pearson


After a 12 week break the AORC returned to the sleepy town of Dungog in the NSW Hunter region. In that 12 week period some of the biggest racing events in the off road calendar have gone down with Finke and Hattah being the two most notable.

AORC Dungog Dungog crowd
AORC Dungog

With this year so far primarily a two horse race seeing Husqvarna’s Chucky Sanders swapping wins with KTM Offroad’s Daniel Milner, we wanted to know how much the break, and the crucible of Hattah had hardened the resolve of the top level riders and just who was going to emerge victorious after rounds 5 & 6 at Dungog.

AORC Dungog Juniors start
AORC Dungog

With the first time carded Enduro of the season being run at Dungog for both rounds of the weekend, a change not seen since Kyogle in 2017 was upon us.  No longer are riders just blazing away at top speed around fast deteriorating sprint tracks.

Now comes the other side of the sport, being able to time yourself and arrive at a certain destination within a set minute to avoid costly penalties that would most likely root your day.

AORC Dungog Geoff Ballard
AORC Dungog

It’s not always a matter of just holding her pinned and watching the world pass you by at warp speed. Everything is timed. From the minute you leave the pits until the moment you return in the late afternoon sun. Even your work period must adhere, and on more than one occasion at this crucial time races have been won and lost.

Saturday morning saw a reasonable crowd in attendance at the Chichester Dam Rd property. Factory trucks along with privateers in vans and punters in the surrounds.

AORC Dungog Dust cloud
AORC Dungog

It’s like everyone had missed it and they were all here to welcome it back.

Yamaha’s Josh Green no doubt wanted a strong showing in his home event but there was a list of top level riders doing all they could to come between him and a spot on the podium.

AORC Dungog Josh Green
Josh Green

After the first lap around the two senior special tests and the trail, it was certain this event was going to be a repeat of the A4DE in more ways than one. Same format, same group of the usual suspects vying for the win and the same dusty conditions. The amazing thing was that the Dungog Motorcycle Club was able to organise it so well. You can’t beat the weather, but they gave it their best shot.

Once the tests were cut in, line options became scarce. Particularly in the Enduro test that traversed the hillside directly above the pits. This track deteriorated into a single dust rut about 10 minutes long and a foot deep (or deeper in places).

AORC Dungog Geoff Braico cup
Geoff Braico – 125 Cup

Saturday saw some tight battling amongst the top senior riders but the conditions seemed to suit the KTM Enduro rider Daniel Milner who was consistently able to put time on his main rival for the outright in Daniel Sanders.

Class wins were taken by Husqvarna Enduro Team rider Fraser Higlett – E1, Daniel Sanders – E2 and Daniel Milner – E3.

AORC Dungog Daniel Milner
Daniel Milner

Junior honours were picked up by Activ8 Yamaha’s Michael Driscoll – EJ, showing a clinical display of speed and precision, Kyron Bacon – J4, Will Riordan – J3 and Kobe Conley – J3.

AORC Dungog Michael Driscoll
Michael Driscoll

The Womens class was taken out by Jess Gardiner after her main rival Jemma Wilson retired mid way through the day.

AORC Dungog Jessica Gardiner
Jessica Gardiner

The biggest drama during Round 5 however came from inconsistent timing that saw results not delivered until late Saturday evening.


Sunday

After settling back into the AORC rhythm, Sunday looked as though a repeat would be on the cards with Milner enjoying his time in the technical NSW scrub.

AORC Dungog Juniors start
AORC Dungog Juniors start

Mid way through the day however there was some excitement when Daniel Sanders lost almost 15 minutes to an electrical gremlin that caused his fuel pump to die.

AORC Dungog Daniel Sanders
Daniel Sanders had to overcome some issues

After diagnosing and repairing the problem with help from his team mate Lachlan Stanford he was able to remain a contender by the slimmest of margins after rushing through his pit stop and entering the next time control with seconds to spare.

AORC Dungog Will Price
Will Price

The spoils for Round 6 went to Emelie Karlsson in the Womens class bouncing back from a 2nd place in Saturday.

AORC Dungog Jesse Smith
Jesse Smith

Luke Styke took out E1, putting on an impressive show after his first defeat of the season during Round 5

AORC Dungog E podium Luke Styke Fraser Higlett Jeremy Carpentier
E1 Podium – Luke Styke P1 – Fraser Higlett P2 – Jeremy Carpentier P3

Daniel Sanders continued his domination of the E2 class while Daniel Milner again schooled the E3 category of the competition.


Let’s talk outright!

AORC Dungog Jasper Franklin Juniors
Jasper Franklin – Juniors

The organisers and Motorcycling Australia don’t seem inclined to recognise the outright placings, they instead favour separating everything into the numerous classes.

AORC Dungog Michael Harding
Michael Harding

In what has become a contentious issue, M.A. has remained steadfast in the decision not to award outright placings irrespective of the attention this might help draw to the sport.

AORC Dungog Wil Ruprecht
Wil Ruprecht

The reasoning appears to be to allow more exposure to the winners of all grades rather than to focus on the outright fastest.

AORC Dungog Jack Simpson
Jack Simpson

While not taking anything away from the Junior, Womens, Masters and Vets riders who are all doing their best to win, the battle between the top ten, and in particular the top two is enthralling to say the least.

AORC Dungog Lyndon Snodgrass
Lyndon Snodgrass

Their failure to capitalise on this sees the effort these elite riders are going to, so they can be the fastest rider in the country seem somewhat wasted.

AORC Dungog Luke Styke
Luke Styke

Is there a need to revisit this approach in order to help keep the sport popular, instead of a battle between classes that for many watchers simply misses the point?

AORC Dungog Broc Grabham
Broc Grabham

So here are the results for the new class we have dubbed “Blizzard’s Top Ten”.

Round 5 AORC Outright

  1. Daniel Milner 45:44.564
  2. Daniel Sanders 46:19.584
  3. Josh Green 47:02.420
  4. Fraser Higlett 47:03.373
  5. Luke Styke 47:08.606
  6. Lyndon Snodgrass 47:11.989
  7. Lachlan Stanford 47:25.407
  8. Wil Ruprecht 47:28.295
  9. Scott Keegan 47:50.130
  10. Broc Grabham 48:14.342

Round 6 AORC Outright

  1. Daniel Milner 51:01.310
  2. Daniel Sanders 52:43.042
  3. Josh Green 52:57.406
  4. Lachlan Stanford 53:11.058
  5. Lyndon Snodgrass 53:15.452
  6. Luke Styke 53:20.324
  7. Fraser Higlett 53:37.975
  8. Scott Keegan 53:41.357
  9. Broc Grabham 53:41.461
  10. Wil Ruprecht 54:04.930

AORC Championship Standings

E1

  1. Luke Styke 147
  2. Fraser Higlett 123
  3. Jack Simpson 120
  4. Jeremy Carpentier 94
  5. Tomas Ravenhorst 93
  6. Baylee Davies 84
  7. Peter Allan 75
  8. Brad Hardaker 71
  9. Nick Tomlinson 70
  10. Seton Broomhall 45

E2

  1. Daniel Sanders 150
  2. Joshua Green 128
  3. Lyndon Snodgrass 124
  4. Stefan Granquist 102
  5. Riley Graham 95
  6. Matt Murry 80
  7. Brent Dean 41
  8. Luke Bunnik 39
  9. Wil Ruprecht 36
  10. Sean Holmes 32

E3

  1. Daniel Milner 150
  2. Lachlan Stanford 123
  3. Broc Grabham 108
  4. Thomas Mason 96
  5. Andrew Wilksch 95
  6. Jesse Lawton 84
  7. Jamie Robins 83
  8. Stuart Holt 69
  9. Kane Hall 68
  10. Scott Keegan 40

Women

  1. Jess Gardner 139
  2. Emelie Karlsson 122
  3. Jemm Wilson 107
  4. Danielle Foot 99
  5. Sophie Coldicutt 74

Masters

  1. Geoff Ballard 144
  2. Craig Treasure 97
  3. Ian Jenner 78
  4. Michael Widdison 76
  5. David Salt 64

Veterans

  1. Richard Chibnall 144
  2. Jade Gartlan 128
  3. Peter Rudd 106
  4. Paul Chadwick 64
  5. Hugh Howarth 60

EJ

  1. Michael Driscoll 150
  2. Joshua Brierley 126
  3. Corey Hammond 110
  4. Mitchell Brierley 94
  5. Harrison Teed 93

Junior 2

  1. Billy Hargy 124
  2. Kobe Conley 115
  3. Mackenzie Johnson 109
  4. Angus Riordan 100
  5. Max Phillips 97

Junior 3

  1. Will Riordan 150
  2. Blake Hollis 128
  3. Ned Chapman 115
  4. Sam Barton 85
  5. Oscar Collins 72

Junior 4

  1. Korey McMahon 141
  2. Kyon Bacon 139
  3. Matthew Pye 110
  4. Jayden Rudd 82
  5. Trent Brewster 74

Up Next

Round 7 will be spliced into the Silver City Enduro at Broken Hill in the NSW far west. The likelihood of another dusty event is high given the last time it rained out there was 1972, give or take a decade. A single day enduro with Juniors racing Saturday and Seniors on Sunday will no doubt attract some interest in a step away from club based rounds. The lure of the desert and the rise in popularity of this style of racing is hoped to see big numbers battle it out west of the Barrier Ranges.

AORC Dungog Ben Grabham cup
Ben Grabham – 125 Cup

ENDURO

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