The Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) caravan rolled in to Boyland, QLD, for rounds 3 and 4 over the Easter long weekend.
With Toby Price (Motorex KTM) returning to compete after an injury in the NSW rounds last month, the big question of the weekend was wether or not Daniel Milner (CDR Yamaha) would be able to hold off a determined Price in the premier E2 class.
The Enduro saw riders depart at 9am and pre-ride the first loop and two tests of around 1 hour in length, then out on loop two and its pair of tests for an average of 55 minutes.
When they returned it was game on as the stop watches came out to see who had been doing the hard yards and had the speed in the dry conditions to pull the #1 spot.
Juniors did 2 loops for the day and 4 timed tests along with Women and Masters.
In the Women’s Class on her return from Europe only 10 hours prior Jessica Gardiner (Sherco) showed why she is #1 and won the day by 40sec to Tayla Jones (KTM) and a further 12 sec’s back to Jemma Wilson (Yamaha).
In the Masters Mike Shearer showed that he still has the goods to take the win over Trent Lean and closely followed by Geoff Ballard, with less than 1 min separating the top 5 in this class it shows that the class is very competitive.
They all had a good days riding although the tough terrain didn’t suit all riders.
The rest of the field did three loops and eight tests in what was a big days riding.
Vets class saw old Rivals Damian Smith (Husqvarna) and Kirk Hutton (Yamaha) go head to head with Smith coming out on top with the #1 podium, #2 Hutton and #3 Rowan Pumpa (Yamaha).
In the E1 division, Scott Keegan (Husqvarna Enduro Racing) stole first by only two seconds to Tom McCormack (Active8 Yamaha) in second and only five seconds back to Peter Boyle (Motorex KTM) in third making for exciting racing on day two.
E2 saw current Australian #1 Milner take the win by only 13 seconds to Price and Geoff Braico (Husaberg) in third.
Glenn Kearney (Husqvarna Enduro Racing) proved his mettle in the E3 class to take first by 27 seconds to Jarrod Bewley (Husaberg) and Stefan Granquist (Active8 Yamaha) in third.
The newly formed Transmoto 19 & Under class saw young gun Daniel Sanders (KTM) continue to dominate and take the win over a pair of talented up and comers in Tom Mason (KTM) second and Broc Grabham (KTM) in third.
It was Dry and dusty conditions that saw yesterdays top three Milner, Price and Kearney lead the field into the first test today at 8am.
The first test saw Milner continue to dominate and get a 10 second lead to Price and Josh Green (Active8 Yamaha) in third, after eight tests, that was the top 3 outright as well.
All Riders commented on how gutsy and tough the Juniors were in finishing the day as there was some gnarly trail out there.
In the Junior classes Lyndon Snodgrass continued to dominate the J4 class with over 1.5 minutes to the nearest J4 competitor Seth Muller and a further 30 secs back to Wil Ruprecht.
In the J3 Class Ben Kearns continued his winning streak to now 4 from 4 winning the day. Deon Javni and Tom Bushell in third
In the J2 Class the NSW Brierley twins continued their dominance of the sport taking the top 2 spots Joshua in first and Mitchell in second and young Victorian Jack Mathews came home in third.
In the women’s it was Gardiner who was showing no signs of jet lag to take the double for the weekend winning today by just under one minute to Jemma Wilson who held her own today to beat Tayla Jones for third.
In the Masters Class Geoff Ballard of old came out to play today and took the win even commentating afterwards that “in the end it was kind of fun”, Trent Lean second and Mike Shearer managed to hold third after a a big crash in the second last test.
Damian Smith continued to Dominate the Vets Class winning 4 from 4 now and showing the rest of the field a clean set of heals. Kirk Hutton also continued to get 4 from 4 in second place not quite having the speed to get to the top of the podium, Rowan Pumpa rounded out the class in third.
19 and under class saw Victorian Daniel “Chucky” Sanders take first again this time to NSW Broc Grabham leaving third place to Victorian Tom Mason. with only a minute separating the top th,ree this will be a class to watch.
Active 8 Yamaha Rider McCormack took his second top spot on the podium this year with only eight seconds to KTM rider Boyle and only 24 seconds back to Husqvarna Rider Scott Keegan.
The E2 class saw reining Australian #1 take the top step on the podium by only 10 seconds to a gutsy riding Price and Josh Green in third who came home strong only seven seconds later.
E3 Class saw Glenn Kearney take the win with Jarrod Bewley in second and Stefan Granquist in third.
The next round will be held in Corner Inlett Victoria.
2014 YAMAHA AUSTRALIAN OFF ROAD CHAMPIONSHIP
Rd 1&2: 22/23 March, Buladelah, NSW
Rd 3&4: 19/20 April, Boyland, QLD
Rd 5&6: 3/4 May, Hedley, VIC
Rd 7&8: 21/22 June, Coonawarra, SA
Rd 9&10: 19/20 July, Kyogle, NSW
Rd 11&12: 6/7 September, Heathcote, VIC
Husaberg’s Enduro Racing Team riders Jarrod Bewley and Geoff Braico said their goal was to put their Husabergs on the podium in the factory team’s final year, and they did exactly that at the Australian off Road Championship double-header at Boyland in Queensland.
Saturday saw Geoff Braico’s most successful result since returning to the premier E2 category; a third in class and a fourth outright on the nimble FE350, in twisty, technical conditions that some described as ‘old school enduro’.
Braico backed that up with another scintillating top-five finish today, the result having the dramatic effect of leapfrogging him from 13th to eighth in the championship standings.
Teammate Jarrod Bewley increased Husaberg’s podium tally by two, with a pair of second placings in the big-bore class on his FE501, as he finished sixth outright on both days.
GEOFF BRAICO (FE350) O/R: 4th, 7th. E2: 3rd, 5th. “I’m really happy with how this weekend went; I haven’t been top-five outright for a long time so I’m super-stoked to take a podium in E2, which is such a competitive class where all the boys are going so fast. Today the tracks got super gnarly but I got through clean and stayed top five for the weekend so I’m very happy. The ground was so dry and deteriorating, and I like that sort of stuff – old school enduro – no open fire roads where the goal is to see who can hold it on the longest. For me it was probably my most positive weekend for a while and I’m stoked with that. I give a big thanks to Drew my mechanic and all my sponsors and everyone involved.”
JARROD BEWLEY (FE501) O/R: 6th, 6th. E3: 2nd, 2nd. “I rode pretty consistently, and had some quicker times than yesterday in some of the tests despite the fact that the track had deteriorated a fair bit. I finished pretty strong too, which was good. It was a good event, a true enduro, all singletrack so there wasn’t much break and the track was pretty tricky. The trails were a bit unforgiving in places so you had to be on your game the whole time. But I didn’t make any mistakes, and I just want to keep building. It’s a matter of being consistent in the long term. Yesterday Geoff beat me by .9 of a second, and he got fourth and I was sixth, so it’s pretty tight out there. It’s a long series, so I’ve got to keep improving and keep it up there.”
2014 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship Outright Points after 4 of 12 Rounds: 1. Daniel Milner 83, 2. Glenn Kearney 72, 3. Josh Green 70, 4. Toby Price 69, 5. Chris Hollis 67, 6. Jarrod Bewley 60, 7. Lachlan Stanford 58, 8. Geoff Braico 52, 9. Tom McCormack 49, 10. Peter Boyle 43, 13. Scott Keegan 34
KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Toby Price was rewarded for a display of guts after he toughed out two painful days in the saddle in an effort to stay in the hunt for a record fourth Australian Off-Road Championship, as the series continued at Boyland in Queensland this weekend.
Still carrying severe bone bruising in his wrist after a crash on day two of the championship opener at Bulahdelah, Price gritted his teeth on both days and still managed to finish second outright to defending champion Daniel Milner.
With former series leader Chris Hollis striking problems in Queensland, Price’s courageous ride brought him six points closer to the championship lead, as Milner took over the front-running.
The KTM team’s E1 competitor Peter Boyle had another consistent haul in the small-bore class, his two podium results including a third yesterday and a runner-up finish behind Tom McCormack today.
KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager Brad Williscroft: “It was a pretty good weekend for us; obviously we are in damage control mode with Toby’s wrist still pretty sore and him struggling to hold on. For him to come away with two seconds is pretty good and considering Hollis didn’t have a good weekend, it has tightened up the championship so Toby is now just 13 points off the lead. He really stuck it out here, he was hurting all weekend but kept on plugging away, so credit to him that’s awesome. Now he can rest that wrist and come out Welshpool and hope to go one better. Boyley got second today after a good battle with Tom MacCormack who ended up beating him by nine seconds. Pete’s definitely heading in the right direction; we just need to get a bit more speed out of him so he can battle with Tom for the E1 championship.”
Toby Price – O/R: 2nd, 2nd. E2: 2nd, 2nd. “It’s all been reasonably good, it wasn’t maximum points but at least it’s some, and we’re closer to the lead which is good. It would have been better for the healing process not to have ridden, but I would have been done for in the championship standings. Hopefully this will set us up for something later on. I had to use my legs a lot more out there, but every time I would brake hard the wrist would hurt. Everything is sore and aching tonight, but I’ve got a couple more weeks up my sleeve now so I will do the best I can to keep it moving forward with the recovery.”
Peter Boyle – O/R: 12th, 10th. E1: 3rd, 2nd. “The event was pretty good for us, a bit warm here but a lot nicer than it is at home , and it was good to get a lot more time on the bike in racing conditions. Were still changing a few things here and there and learning the bike. We made a final gearing change today and I think it helped me a little. I enjoyed the track, it was kind of one-lined and dusty, and slipperier than yesterday. You just had to hit the ruts and hang on, and keep doing that the whole way round.”
The new look Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team is quickly transitioning from ‘new kid on the block’ to ‘force to be reckoned with’, and it’s a message which was only reinforced by the weekend’s Queensland leg of the Australian Off-Road Championships.
Riders Glenn Kearney, Lachlan Stanford, Scott Keegan and Damo Smith accounted for five class wins and three outright top five finishes in the dusty, rocky singletrack of Boyland, not far from the Gold Coast.
Husqvarna FE 501-mounted team manager Glenn Kearney extended his lead in the E3 class with a dominant performance, while FE 250-mounted Scott Keegan reached a personal milestone with his first AORC class win.
In the premier class, Lachlan Stanford and his Husqvarna FE 450 were again well on the pace, Stanford also taking maximum points in the Queensland Enduro Championship opener which ran concurrently.
In that class Damien Smith backed up his Bulahdelah success, making it four straight Vet class wins.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE501) O/R: 3rd, 4th, E3: 1st, 1st. “I’m really happy with the way the boys rode, and the job Christian and Pat did with the spanners was awesome. Yesterday Lachy just missed fourth outright and he’s riding really well. Likewise, Scotty won yesterday in E1, and backed it up today with another podium. Damo Smith is just doing his thing with another 1,1, . I was really happy with first in E3 and third outright behind Milner and Price. I’m getting a little bit faster each time I go out, just figuring out things here and there. Today I just missed out on the outright podium, but the biggest thing for me was when I won a test outright, which is a sign of getting things right and heading in the right direction. A few more of those and I’ll get things right up the front. We need to give a big pat on the back to Danny Apro for the last few weeks testing, the bikes handled really well which made our job is easier for sure. A few months back I said we hope to be able to battle with KTM and Yamaha this year, and we’re there already, so a big thanks to Leisky for backing us and letting us do what we needed to do to get the job done.”
Lachlan Stanford (FE 450) O/R: 5th, 8th, E2: 4th, 6th, “I felt really strong yesterday, my setup was perfect and I just felt like I could push. Today as the track got real rough I just couldn’t find the same rhythm and it was a little bit tougher. The ruts were deep and full of powder so you’d get on the gas and go nowhere and lose your balance a little. The trails were pretty technical which made it a bit of a workout and I’m sure there will be some sore bodies tonight. I’ve proven of got the speed to run top three or four, I just need to put it together across two days. This weekend was also the start of my Queensland Enduro Title defence so it was good to get the win and be leading that too.”
Scott Keegan (FE 250) O/R: 9th, 13th, E1: 1st, 3rd. “It was really great to get the win yesterday, I wasn’t super fast, I just felt like I was riding a bit smarter, and to get that first win is a big relief. I’ve always known I could do it, now I know I can do it plenty more and hopefully try to get that championship lead. Today I was on the podium again after a vine caught me around the helmet peak and pulled my head back onto the rear guard. The bike took off into the bush and I lost about 10 seconds, which is a long time to make up in a little test. All in all I’m really happy with the weekend and to get that first win feels great.”
Damo Smith (FE 350) O/R: 17th, 20th. Vets: 1st, 1st, “It was a good weekend, quite tough actually, but the body and the bike went well. Yesterday I got 17th outright which I was very happy with because my goal is to keep making the top 20. The location here was great. They run a great event; tight and technical and it all ran really well.”
CDR Yamaha Report
CDR Yamaha Off road racer, Daniel Milner, has moved into the championship lead after a dominating performance at rounds three and four of the Yamaha Australian Off Road championship (AORC), at Boyland Queensland, over the Easter weekend.
After an inconsistent start to the championship at rounds one and two, Milner wanted to stamp his authority on the championship early in the piece and came out all guns blazing at the double header round.
In hot and dusty conditions, Milner was the master of his YZ450F and won both rounds Outright as well as taking class honours in the E2 division. He was on song right from the get go and had the pack chasing his dust all weekend and the double header victory, added to his win at round two, now has Milner on top of the leader board after four rounds.
“The weekend went well and pretty much drama free. It looked moist and loamy when we first rocked up but it was dry and dusty underneath making conditions difficult at times,” Milner explains.
“My riding and training in between rounds two and three had been good and I spent a bit of time riding with some good young motocross guys in Victoria and I think that helped my speed it the special tests.
“It was good to win on the weekend and the CDR Yamaha team have again done a fantastic job. They make racing real easy. I might even make a little harder next week as I’m thinking about doing the MX National round at Wonthaggi for a bit of fun,” he concludes.
The weekend got off to a rugged start for team mate Chris Hollis who fell heavily in the first test of Saturday morning and lost over a minute in one foul swoop. From there, Hollis was playing catch up all weekend and while he did stem the flow, he certainly wasn’t his usual self after the fall.
He finished an uncharacteristic 14th outright on Saturday while he upped the ante on Sunday and came home fifth outright. After four rounds, he now sits in sixth place Outright but still maintains second place in the premier E2 division.
“It wasn’t my best weekend,” Hollis states at the conclusion of racing. “I took a pretty big digger on Saturday morning and lost a bunch of time and in this style of racing, it is next to impossible to make up.
“Sunday was better but still not great. I clawed back a few points and managed to maintain my position in class but with a two week break before rounds five and six I hope to can get back to 100% and ensure I’m ready to go.”
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