With the AORC going to a new destination there was always going to be a bit of the unknown for the riders to deal with. The limestone coast of South Australia presented a different type of terrain with a mix of white, black and red sand as well as some healthy sized rocks and an abundance of tree roots all thrown into the mix.
With the competition working its way to a head this year the it was clear whoever could adapt the quickest would prove the victor.
As the AORC draws to a close everyone is watching with bated breath to see who will be crowned class winners for 2018. The competition at Kingston SE in South Australia proved to be just as exciting as some of the previous rounds.
The tracks were short in comparison to any others raced this year and this gave riders a chance to complete a higher number of laps than normal. It also meant the tracks would cut up quicker making for more difficult conditions towards the end of each days racing.
The terrain consisted of mainly deep, white or black sand, sections of harder packed red dirt or small rock outcrops with an abundance of trees, logs and tree roots.
Unfortunately for Yamaha mounted E2 class rider Riley Graham a tree root would cause a devastating blow to his state championship standings and end his weekend prematurely when he was thrown hard from his bike on Saturday. After continuing for a number of laps Graham was forced to retire in what is considered his home event.
The hotly contested Womens class was again another battle between Yamaha riders Jess Gardiner and Emelie Karlsson with Jess coming up trumps both days. Danielle Foot rounded out the top three.Jessica Gardiner
“Sand is my favourtie terrain to ride and for me it was all about staying upright and I managed to do that bar one test where I had one off. I had a lot of fun out there and when it got a bit rough I was lucky that my pro moto suspension handled it with ease.”
Michael Driscoll, riding with support from the Activ8 Yamaha team in EJ has continued his domination of the grade taking convincing wins over the weekend. Josh Brierley, Mason Semmens and Callum Norton rounded out the minor placings leaving Driscoll with a commanding lead in the championship.
“It was definitely a technical track today and I was happy with how I rode and to take the class win again is great, big thanks to the team as it wasn’t the easiest weekend for us, as I had a few spills throughout but we got it sorted and took the win.”
The battle in E1 continued with Activ8 Yamaha’s Luke Styke proving the fastest 250cc rider on the track for Saturday. However he suffered a penalty on Sunday that saw him fall outside the placings after struggling with an obstacle.
Husqvarna Enduro Team rider Fraser Higlett took the honours on Sunday keeping the E1 title alive heading into the final two rounds at Omeo VIC in two weeks time. French import and all round good bloke Jeremy Carpentier managed a 3rd on Saturday followed by 2nd on Sunday and continues to build in speed.
Husqvarna’s Daniel Sanders once again showed why he is the man to beat in the E2 category, putting on a spectacle of fast paced and agile riding to man handle his FE450 around the techo Kingston track in impressive times that were similar to riders in the E3 class. In a determined display he never looked threatened. It’s clear to see his enjoyment at the end of the day shown in the toothy grin spread across his face and the light hearted manner that accompanies it.
“The track was pretty rough today but I got off to a good start, but a few mistakes and crashes set me back from the times I was after today. All in all it was a good weekend for us and the team did really well to adapt to the conditions and help me achieve the win.”
Yamaha Activ8 rider Wil Ruprecht revisited the podium with a second at round 8. Team mate Josh Green was able to edge out the youngster in round 9 for second with KTM Offroad Enduro Team rider Lyndon Snodgrass showing why he’ll be a strong force in future years bagging a pair of 3rds for the weekend.
The E3 class has been a dominated all year by KTM Offroad Enduro rider Daniel Milner. This weekend was no different. He swept all before him in another clinical display of how to ride a big bike fast in tight, technical and ever changing terrain against stiff competition.
Once again this season he showed why he has made the top podium step his home despite the best efforts of riders like Husqvarna’s Lachlan Stanford, ISDE medallist Tom Mason or GasGas mounted Broc Grabham doing their best to ruffle his feathers. He took away the win on both days also managing to be the fastest rider on the course over the weekend.
“My first run today I pushed too hard into the corner and tucked the front end and lost a bit of time there. There was a log section that had us all struggling and I was definitely struggling with it but once I sussed out a line I managed to overcome the logs. The track was awesome it was rough, technical, hard and something we haven’t seen in AORC in a long time, credit to AORC for not taking it out and letting us battle through.”
With only two rounds remaining before the season is completed nothing is yet certain. All that we know is that this year has produced some of the most intense racing the AORC has seen for a long time across a number of grades. The showdown is set for Omeo VIC in two weeks where racing will take place at an entirely new venue with new challenges.
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