Round 1 of the 2020 Yamaha Off Road Championship was held in Toowoomba and presented new challenges to our riders, including new faces in the field and first round nerves, with new classes also joining the mix.
Coming out on top today and setting 2020 out on the best foot was Luke Styke (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube) in E1, Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team) in E2, Daniel “Chucky” Sanders (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) in E3 and Korey McMahon (Sutto’s Motorex KTM Racing Team) in the EJ class.
This new season also introduces of new Junior classes, including JJ, JG and J1, all in mind to ensure the sport is safely secured in future generations to come. Round 1 was clinched by Riley McGillivray in J4, Billy Hargy in J3, Jett Yarnold in J2, Charlie Connolly in J1, Max Stevenson in JJ and Danielle McDonald in JG.
Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha MXStore Ballards Off-Road Team) led the Women’s results at Round 1, Lee Stephens (True Painting and Decorating, KTM Newcastle)in Veterans and Kirk Hutton (Yamaha Motors Australia) in Masters all took out first place, attaining a firm grasp on their continued success from 2019 into 2020. This AORC season also includes the first full season 2 Stroke Cup class, which saw Harry Teed take out the top spot.
As far as the overall timesheets for Round 1, it was Daniel Milner taking the overall win from Daniel Sanders, with Todd Waters third, and Joshua Green and Luke Styke completing the top five.
Working tooth and nail to hold onto his 2019 victory was Luke Styke on his Yamaha with a time of 55:47.177. Styke lead ahead of Motocross up-and-comer Mason Semmens (KTM Enduro Racing Team), who crossed his seventh and final test for the day with a total time of 55:55.475 with only eight seconds separating two.
Rounding out the E1 Round 1 podium was MXstore’s Kyron Bacon, who continues to grow in leaps and bounds as he transitions from EJ to E1 this season.
“Today started off a little slower than expected but we progressed throughout the day, made some fixes to the bike and just got better and better. For Round 2 we’re just going to rest up and hopefully start off the racing in a little bit of a better position compared to today.”
As Daniel Milner said at the Press Launch earlier this week, the 2019 racing season was one he wanted to forget, but regardless of the spill early in the day, Milner has grabbed the E2 lead with both hands. Clocking in at 54:39.515, Milner lead comfortably ahead of newcomer and MX Nationals Champion, Todd Waters (Berry Sweet, Husqvarna).
Waters made a big and welcome splash into the E2 class today, shaking up the competition by clocking in an impressive total time of 55:27.309. Closing out the top three was Yamaha Active8 Yamalube’s Josh Green, who finished ahead of Michael Driscoll (Yamaha bLU cRU Off-Road Racing Team) with a total time of 55:36.369.
“Today started off strong but I ran into some trouble and came off the bike and I’m lucky that I was able to get back up and continue riding, honestly. Apart from that incident though, my day was pretty good and finished up well with the class win! I think I came into this round swinging, ready to get back into the game in a big way.”
With the number one firmly locked onto his Husqvarna FE501, Chucky remained his unstoppable self. Regardless of a crash early in day’s tests, Chucky did as he does best and pushed through, grinning and bearing it to clock in a time of 55:21.276.
Shaking up the E3 class on the 300 two-stroke is Motul Pirelli Sherco Offroad Racing Team’s Jonte Reynders, who took out second placed behind the International Six Days Enduro World Champion. Rounding out the podium was Callum Norton (KTM Desert Racing Team), with a total time of 57:09.295.
It was was the time for Korey McMahon to shine and after tangoing back and forth with the likes of Kyron Bacon last season, McMahon took out a well deserved EJ class win for Round 1, clocking in a time of 58:05.112.
Rounding out the podium today was Blake Hollis (Yamaha) with a total time 58:44.064, and Samuel Pretscherer (Gol Gol Hotel, Mototech) with a time of 59:40.496.
Settling comfortably back into the swings of things, it was like Riley McGillivray never left over the break as he charged ahead of his rivals with ease. McGillivray finished Round 1 with a total time of 48:19.242, ahead of Kodi Stephens and Kobi Wolff.
Billy Hargy was simply unstoppable as he screamed across the Offroad Advantage test track, finishing in first with a total time of 49:16.712. Second place was awarded to William Dennett, while clinching the final podium position was Campbell Hall.
“Today was good. Started off a bit slow and came second in the first few tests. I think I was struggling in the test a little bit but I started finding a few good lines and working to my strengths. I didn’t think I’d score the round win and I’m really happy with the end result!”
The rocky landscape didn’t slow down Jett Yarnold, who stole away first place in J2 with ease, clocking in after six laps with a time of 52:38.318. Sliding into second was Levi Stephens, followed closely by Jet Alsop in third.
A brand new addition to the AORC pits, the J1 features 85 small wheels. Coming out on top for Round 1 was Charlie Connolly, with a total time of 56:09.406. Clinching second place was Beau Tripcony, while rounding out the podium was Cooper Boyd.
The second brand new addition to AORC is the JJ class with 65cc motorbikes and claiming its first ever round win was none other than Max Stevenson, with a total time of 57:51.208. Taking out second place was Harley Hutton, and close behind was Dylan McDonald scoring third place.
Last but certainly not least in the Juniors is the new JG class. Claiming the first round win was the demon behind the handlebars, Danielle McDonald, with a total time of 54:09.460. McDonald was followed by Monique Simioni and Ariana Collins to complete the podium.
Jess Gardiner appears to have worked straight through the AORC break to build herself up to an even better position for the 2020 season. Clocking in a total time of 1:10:30.314, Gardiner took out first place ahead of ‘The Flying Swede’, Emelie Karlsson (Yamaha).
Stealing away third was Penrite Honda’s Emma Milesevic, who appears to be right at home now after completing a near full season in 2019 whilst also making tracks in Motocross.
Continuing on from a blisteringly hot 2019 season where he rarely faltered off first place, Lee Stephens demonstrated his fine form to take out first place in the Veterans class. Trailing behind Stephens in second place was Richard Chibnall (WBR Echuca On Point Motorcycles, 100% Strength), while the third and final Veteran podium position was won by Christopher Thomas (Thomas Lee KTM).
“Had a really good day today. I crashed in the logs on the first test – they caught me out – and I have really been looking forward to getting the season started,” explained Stephens.
He took out the 2019 AORC Masters title with a round to spare last season and looks set to continue that fantastic streak in 2020, with Kirk Hutton taking out first place, clocking in a total time of 1:07:10.693. Behind Hutton in second was Andrew Gillam, while Timothy Martin rounded out the podium
2 Stroke Cup
After the success of the 2 Stroke Cup in selected rounds last season, AORC introduced this class as a full season Championship class for 2020.
Taking out first place at Round 1 was Harry Teed with a total time of 59:10.420. As Teed navigated the WR450F track, which presented a mixture of lush grass and slippery dust, he was followed closely by Brad Hardaker (Banana Coast Pest Control, Yamaha). Third place was won by Dalton Johnson (Motul Pirelli Sheroc Offroad Racing Team).
With rainfall overnight, riders woke up to a rejuvenated Ballards MXstore Test Track for Round 2 of the 2020 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore.
Across six tests, Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team), Daniel “Chucky” Sanders (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) and Korey McMahon (Sutto’s Motorex KTM Racing Team) held onto their respective class leads, while new-comer Mason Semmens (KTM Enduro Racing Team) knocked Luke Styke (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube) off his E1 perch.
Juniors set a blistering heat for Round 2 here in Toowoomba, Queensland. After six laps across the Offroad Advantage Test Track, it was Riley McGillivray in J4, Billy Hargy in J3, Jett Yarnold in J2, Max Stevenson in JJ and Danielle McDonald in JG who took out back-to-back class wins. Jesse Ryan shook up the J1 class, taking out the win ahead of Charlie Connolly.
Screaming across the WR450F Test Track for six laps, it was Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha MXstore Ballards Offroad Team) leading the Women’s class in Round 2, Lee Stephens (True Painting & Decorating, KTM Newcastle) won the Veterans, while Kirk Hutton (Yamaha Motor Australia) topped Masters claiming back-to-back glory atop pristine conditions with Brad Hardaker taking the honours for the 2 Stroke Cup.
The overall timesheet for Round 2 was a repeat of Round 1, with Daniel Milner leading the field from Daniel Sanders, while Todd Waters was third overall. Joshua Grenen was once again fourth, while Michael Driscoll made his way into the top five.
Mason Semmens came in swinging for Round 2 and arrived comfortably in first place in the E1 class, while close behind was Kyron Bacon (MXstore, Yamaha) in second. Round 1 leader Luke Styke climbed up through the ranks, settling in for third place.
“I had a really good day, and weekend, here for AORC in Toowoomba. I’m really grateful to my sponsors for all their help to get me here and we learnt over the course of the weekend.”
Bruised and a little bit battered after the previous day (Round 1) crash, Daniel Milner never appeared to slow down as he charged ahead to a total time of 59:40.014, scoring back-to-back first place wins for E2 and the fastest time overall for Round 2.
Behind Milner and rustling up the feathers of the E2 line-up was Todd Waters (Berry Sweet, Husqvarna), who once again took out second place. Rounding out the E2 podium was Yamaha Active8 Yamalube’s Josh Green, ahead of Yamaha bLU cRU Off-Road Racing Team’s Michael Driscoll.
“It was a great weekend here in Toowoomba. I had hoped I would be able to bring it to the big boys before arriving and after yesterday, I’m stoked to know that I am! Over the next month I just need to work on me and the bike so I can go into next round as prepared as I can be.”
Daniel “Chucky” Sanders away back-to-back E3 wins over the weekend, with a total time of 1:00:34.390 at Round 2. Chucky was followed by Motul Pirelli Sherco Offroad Racing Team’s Jonte Reynders and Callum Norton (KTM Desert Racing Team).
Daniel “Chucky” Sanders
“Today definitely fared better than yesterday. I haven’t been putting many hours into high-speed straights during the off-season so yesterday’s test really got me. But it proves that I need to take the next month to spend more time on the bike and come out swinging at Dungog.”
As in Round 1, it was a battle up front of the pack between Korey McMahon and Blake Hollis (Yamaha bLU cRU Offroad Racing Team) but true to form McMahon pulled through to take first place, with a total time of 1:04:44.641. Hollis slid into second, ahead of Pretscherer.
Clocking in the fastest time overall for Round 2, Riley McGillivray was indisputably on fire on Day 2 as he rode straight into first place in J4. With a total time of 47:02.662, McGillivray finished ahead of Kodi Stephens by nearly two minutes. Rounding out the J4 Round 2 podium was Kobi Wolff.
Billy Hargy by name, hardy by nature. With a total time of 48:42.640, Hargy was showing some of his older J4 competitors how to get things done, finishing in first place for J3 ahead of William Dennett. The third and final podium position was won by Luke Chellas.
Now undefeated, Jett Yarnold is the current J2 class leader, clocking in after Round 2 with a total time of 51:18.537. Jet Alsop rode into second place ahead of Jack Shearer, completing the podium.
Jesse Ryan remained completely steadfast as he rode across the Offroad Advantage Test Track at Round 2, sliding effortlessly into first place with a total time of 56:47.476. Ryan led the charge ahead of Connolly and James Chaille, who scored second and third places, respectively.
Aboard his 65cc, Max Stevenson was unstoppable today as he claimed his second class win, clocking in at Round 2 with a total time of 56:31.035. Stevenson was followed by Harley Hutton into second place, crossing his sixth and final test with a total time of 58:55.280. Stealing away third place was Dylan McDonald.
It was a fantastic day for the JG girls, who made impressive tracks and times all day. First place was awarded to Danielle McDonald with a total time of 53:52.589. Ariana Collins followed McDonald, landing into second place with a total time of 56:21.419. Monique Simioni scored the third and final podium position, just one second behind Collins.
Proving why she continues to lead the charge here in Australia, Jessica Gardiner racked up back-to-back class wins in Toowoomba, nearly one minute ahead of second place. Penrite Honda’s Emma Milesevic pushed hard to score second place ahead of Emelie Karlsson (Yamaha), with just over seven seconds separating the two.
Special mention goes out to Kaitlyn Hall, who made her presence known after jumping up into the big league from her former Junior class back in 2019 Hall finished in fifth place.
“I preferred yesterday just becaused the conditions suited me better, but I sent it today and I’m super happy with the end result. Having to take time off after ISDE due to my knee, I’m relaxed plus I’ve also been going super hard in the training sessions leading up to these two rounds, and the improvement was noticeable.”
Lee Stephens was on form and on fire for Round 2, taking back-to-back class wins, ahead of Richard Chibnall (WBR Echuca, OnPoint Motorcycles) and Christopher Thomas (Thomas Lee KTM). Stephens clocked in after six tests with a total time of 52:05.658, leading by over a minute and 20 seconds.
A blur of Yamaha blue, Kirk Hutton was in fine form for Round 2 as he stole away consecutive class wins in Toowoomba. Behind Hutton finishing in second place was Timothy Martin. Rounding out the podium was Andrew Gillam (Coolblue) who was hot on Martin’s heels.
“Today was fantastic! Today I got my mojo back after a tough day yesterday. I haven’t been racing since South Australia’s AORC last year, so yesterday was a struggle but I found my groove today. This weekend has been really special though because I got to ride with my boys and be with my family.”
2 Stroke Cup (2T)
The 2 Stroke Cup well and truly brought the heat at Round 2 and Harry Teed and Brad Hardaker tussled all day in their campaign for gold. It was Hardaker though who took home top spot, with a total time of 1:06:11.948. Harry Teed finished just over 30 seconds behind, while the third and final podium was won by Motul Pirelli Sherco rider Dalton Johnson.
That’s a wrap here in Toowoomba, Queensland for Round 1 & 2 of the 2020 AORC season. Next we head to Dungog, New South Wales for Round 3 & 4 on March 14-15.
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