Toby Price pilots two-stroke to blitz Monkerai AORC
In a fitting end to his immediate AORC career, Toby Price blitzed the field in his trademark style to take out the twelfth and final round of the 2015 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) in Monkerai on Sunday.
The Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing champ signed off on an illustrious AORC journey with victory by over a minute from runner-up, Active8 Yamaha’s Josh Green (E1 class winner).
Toby Price – KTM 300 EXC– “It’s a bit of a mixed emotion, I’m a bit sad that I won’t be doing these any more for a while, it’s like a big family every time you go away racing and riding. We’ve gone out on a good note though on the 300 two-stroke; to come away with second outright on Saturday and finish off with a big win today over the rest of the field and get an AORC win on a two-stroke – we were starting to get the big girl dialled in. It’s been a mixed bag of riding in the last week, going from the 500 to the Rally bike, and then onto the two-stroke, but that’s what we like doing – having fun and enjoying it.
“I’d like to thank Jeff Leisk and everybody over there in Perth for the help and support, as well as Grabbo and Mick for building the bikes – he’s been on board with me for six years so I keep telling him it’s the longest relationship I’ve ever had with anyone – and Trav, Blizzard – it’s a great team to be a part of and having the support of those guys and KTM Australia, everything just flows along easily and it just makes it a great weekend to go away racing. I can’t thank them enough, it’s been a great year and we’ve got one more race to do here in Australia and then that’s it. Until then though, we’ve got more Rally stuff to sort out and then we’ll try and get the four-day sorted for everyone.”
E2 class winner and CDR Yamaha rider Chris Hollis took out third position, while the Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team had two more riders in the top five with Tye Simmonds and Daniel Sanders finishing in fourth and fifth respectively.
Going into the final round, three class titles remained up for grabs, and in the E2 class it was Active8 Yamaha’s Beau Ralston who claimed the overall season honours.ts.
Ralston bought his Yamaha YZ450F home in fourth and took the 2015 championship with a seven point margin back to fellow Yamaha racer, CDR Yamaha’s Chris Hollis, in a class 1-2 for Yamaha.
“I have never won a professional national championship before so this is awesome and a really cool achievement for myself and the team,” Ralston enthused. “The last thing any rider wants when in a championship chase is to have to win out have real pressure at the final round so thankfully I was able to put a good round together on Saturday and take some of the heat out of the battle and just enjoy the race on Sunday.
“It was pretty dusty out there over the weekend so I just used my head and listened to what the team were telling me to do. I can’t thank AJ and the Active8 Yamaha team enough as racing for them has changed my life and I really enjoy doing and competing in off road.
“The results both Josh and I had in this championship show just how hard everyone on this team works and also what great bikes Yamaha make. We have some great sponsors and hopefully this is a way of saying thanks for their continued support,” Ralston ends.
It certainly has been a sensational year for the Active8 Yamalube Yamaha team with two classes championships, Green in E1 and Ralston in E2, but you can also add Green taking a very impressive second Outright behind 2015 AORC champion, Toby Price, while Ralston slotted into sixth outright.
Green, mounted on a WR250F, was the only 250cc machine inside the top 10 contesting Outright honours and second to Price, who was on a 500cc machine, is a remarkable effort. He destroyed the opposition in the E1 class winning all 12 rounds on his way to a perfect season.
“Both Josh and Beau have done an amazing job for us this year,” states Active8 Yamaha’s AJ Roberts. “Both guys entered the season with goals of winning their classes at the AORC and have both have done that so congratulations to them.
“We have also had a great group of sponsors behind us and I also can’t thank Ray Howard and Yamaha Australia enough for their support of not only this team, but off road racing in general. Without them, our sport wouldn’t be as good as what it is.
“We plan on having a good time tonight but then it’s time to gear up for the ISDE where both riders are representing Australia in the six day event in Slovakia, with the team leaving later this month,” AJ ends.
Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders – KTM 300 EXC – “I’m sort of disappointed but I was crook for a week and a half in the lead up, and it was real skatey here. We had the bike set aggressively for the first few because it was dry, but it wouldn’t look up so I had to back off on the power valve and that got it sorted. I just kept chipping away and finished second and fifth. Aollis got the win so I had to finish right behind him today. I did what I could but I dropped to fourth outright. These New South Wales guys eat dust for breakfast – I need to get better at it but at least when it rains I’m faster. I’m disappointed with dropping that position. I had a goal and I wanted to finish in the top three, but it just didn’t happen. Anyway, I’ll put some work in and with some more experience and time I’ll get it all sorted.”
Tye Simmonds – KTM 450 EXC “Saturday was terrible. I crashed in the first test and then pretty much played catch-up all day. I was pretty pissed off and unhappy. We were equal fifth going into Sunday with Beau Ralston, so we had to have a good day. The first two tests were good, but in the third I was coming down a hill and got a bit squirley and hit a tree so down I went again. But anyway, that’s part of it. So I played catch up for the rest of the sprints. Going into the last two I had to beat Beau and Lachy for fourth, both for my class and championship-wise. I had a really good run, busted my arse and pulled I think ten or more seconds on both of them. Unfortunately my runs in those last two tests were a bit too good and I beat Chucky by 0.4 of a second and relegated him to fourth in the championship so I feel like a bit of a bad guy at the moment.
Glad I came back though, I’m happier than ever. This year I haven’t had fitness at all; I’ve gotten by on natural ability and having a bit of a ticker, so next year we’ll come off a big off-season with a lot more bike time and I think we should be up there. Looking forward to 2016 and having a bigger year.”
Ben Grabham, Team Manager – “It was a successful last weekend for us. The dust was an issue here but the track layout here was quite nice and quite challenging. Toby switched bikes for the weekend and wrapped up the E3 championship, and then came out on Sunday and had a bit of a send-off, smashing everyone outright, so that was cool to be a part of, and awesome to see him do it on a 300 two-stroke. It shows what that bike is capable of and what he is capable of on anything. Chucky wrapped up second in the E3 championship but is still just coming to grips with the dry. In the battle with Hollis for third outright I was pretty proud of him, he had a lot of pressure on him and fought pretty hard. They tied but Hollis got it on a count-back. I know the kid is very disappointed with fourth, but to be honest, I think just missing out today will make him a stronger and better guy come next year. Tye had a decent crash on the first lap on Saturday and got seventh outright, and today you could tell he was in the groove a lot more. He showed a lot of promise again and he should be happy with fifth outright for his first go at this series. Overall I just have to say a huge thanks to Mick; he works countless hours and the bikes have been unbelievable all year and everyone else in the crew with Trav and Blizzard, it’s been a pretty cool year. We did everything we wanted to do and Toby did what he knew he could do. We had a great year with the young boys, and Toby is gone for next year, but I’m pretty confident that these two young guys will be fighting each other for wins next year.”
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE501): “As a team it was good to get Lachy on the podium in what was a really strong class this year. He kept Tye at bay but unfortunately Hollis was able to leapfrog the pair of them into second in E2. The way Lachy rode today was really impressive, he had some really fast times and was aggressive on the bike – both Christian and I were really happy with how he put his day together. Especially with the pressure at the end, it pretty much all came down to the last test between a heap of them for both the outright and E2 and was really exciting to watch. I had a pretty ordinary weekend. I bit the dust pretty hard yesterday and landed on a rock shelf, tore my arm up and hurt my shoulder, so I sort of went into survival mode and missed the podium in E3 for only the second time this year. I had some good laps today but was a bit sore from yesterday, but no excuses – to see the season out on the podium is good. My brake set up now is pretty much how we want it, and I’ve got nearly 2 months until the four-day to get on top of it. This year we grew as a team and I think saw some real flashes of brilliance from Lachy. I hope to watch him battle for a championship next year. He is still quite young, just as the team is. It’s only our second year, so after such a strong opening season it’s disappointing to not finish as well this year, but we’ve all grown together and I think next year we can have a real good strong hit out at trying to win some Championships again.”
Lachy Stanford (FE350): “I picked up more positives this weekend than I have all year. I think with a combination of bike setup and riding style I was really dialled. I’m just getting some bulldog in me, chasing those milliseconds where I used to be really relaxed and smooth – now I’m just going for it. I got some really good results, top three in a few tests and I was having a lot of fun. The tracks were technical and really dusty, rocky and rough. Today I had to, at worst, get one behind Tye and hold off Beau to get third in the championship, so I did both today and with third behind Simmonds I just got third in the championship – it was awesome to hold onto that. It was very tight in the last race and I only had four seconds on Beau, and was trying to catch Tye. I had a little crash, got back up and put a good effort in and I only lost one second to Beau so it was all good, I ended up getting him for the day even though Tye got me. All in all it was good to finish on a positive note. Very happy with that!”
Another class that went right down to the wire was the Transmoto 19 and Under class, which was eventually secured by Bolton’s KTM rider Tom Mason.
Much like Ralston, Mason didn’t enjoy his best day on the bike to finish fourth in the class, but victory in Round 11 on the Saturday was enough to clinch the title from Kawasaki Junior KX Squad’s Lyndon Snodgrass.
The final class still mathematically in contention was the J4 class, but as expected Husqvarna’s Fraser Higlett made it across the line in first position to secure his first national championship.
Fraser Higlett (FE250): “It was a good weekend. The tracks were good and suited my style of riding. I got the win yesterday and today in J4 so it was good. It’s pretty good getting the win overall in the AORC, I never expected much at the start, but obviously I made it. Yesterday was a bit of a struggle with blisters and my hands were wearing out a bit, but I still got through yesterday with the win and today with the blisters slowing me down a bit I got the J4 win and second overall in juniors. The bike ran real good all weekend – it hasn’t let me down to the whole AORC so it’s pretty reliable. Reliability is pretty important in these races.”
The other two junior classes returned the same results as yesterday, with Michael Driscoll (J3) and Mitchell Brierley (J2) doubling up on the victories for the weekend.
The same could be said for the Masters and Veterans classes, with both Trent Lean and Ben Lindsay returning to the top step for the second day in succession.
After having her plans for a perfect 2015 AORC season skittled by Yamaha Racing teammate Jemma Wilson on Saturday, Tayla Jones ensured she finished her first season as an Australian champion on a high with a win in the Women’s class.
With the AORC season now complete, the Australian off-road fraternity now turns its attention to the 2015 Yamaha Australian Four Day Enduro, which will take place from October 19-24 in Wynyard, Tasmania.
**Round 12 Outright Top 10 (Sprint)**
1. Toby Price (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E3)
2. Josh Green (Active8 Yamaha, E1)
3. Chris Hollis (CDR Yamaha, E2 class)
4. Tye Simmonds (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E2)
5. Daniel Sanders (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E3)
6. Lachlan Stanford (Husqvarna Off-Road Team, E2)
7. Beau Ralston (Active8 Yamaha, E2)
8. Glenn Kearney (Husqvarna Off-Road Team, E3)
9. Stefan Granquist (Yamaha Privateer, E2)
10. Scott Keegan (Husqvarna Privateer, E3)
**2015 Yamaha AORC Top 10 Season Overall Standings**
CDR Yamaha’s Chris Hollis has continued his exceptional end of season form with his second outright victory for the year in Round 11 of the 2015 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship in Monkerai on Saturday.
A shift from the previously planned cross country to the seventh sprint round of the year due to the conditions didn’t seem to phase Hollis (also E2 class winner), who narrowly nudged out Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team champ Toby Price by just under six seconds.
Price’s runner-up result was still good enough to see him add the 2015 E3 class championship to his ever-burgeoning trophy cabinet, while third place Active8 Yamaha’s Josh Green officially claimed the E1 class championship with his 11th class victory for the year.
Green’s Active8 Yamaha teammate Beau Ralston and Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team’s Daniel Sanders rounded out the top five.
In the Transmoto 19 and Under class, Bolton’s KTM rider Tom Mason placed one hand on the class championship with a four-second victory ahead of MX1 Australia Suzuki Off-Road Team’s Wil Ruprecht.
The result was particularly important for Mason, who opened up a handy seven-point buffer in the class standings with one round remaining over Kawasaki Junior KX Squad’s Lyndon Snodgrass (fourth).
Considering the results to date in this year’s championship, you would be forgiven for thinking there was a misprint in the respective Round 11 Womens and Veterans class results, but this was not the case as Yamaha Racing duo Tayla Jones and Kirk Hutton missed the top step for the first time in 2015.
In Hutton’s absence, Ben Lindsay dominated the Veterans to win by just under 50 seconds, while Yamaha Racing’s Jemma Wilson upset Jones to record her first round win since Round 8, 2012.
Jones still did enough to secure her first overall AORC Womens class championship, while ShercoAus Ballards Motorex Off-Road Jess Gardiner (third) made a successful return to the series after missing the last four rounds with a broken wrist.
In the Masters, MX1 Australia Suzuki Off-Road Team’s Trent Lean ensured he achieved the memorable feat of winning a national championship at his home round with another convincing round win.
Despite the dusty conditions, the three junior classes completed a cross country, with Husqvarna rider Fraser Higlett taking out the outright result as well as J4 class honours ahead of Yamaha ‘s Michael Driscoll (J3 class winner).
Higlett’s win ensures he can relax in Sunday’s Round 12 sprint knowing the J4 class championship is already within his grasp.
The same can be said of Kawasaki Junior KX Squad’s Mitchell Brierley, whose J2 class victory ensured both he and twin brother Josh (J3) will be national champions in their respective classes.
**Round 11 Outright Top 10 (Sprint)**
1. Chris Hollis (CDR Yamaha, E2 class)
2. Toby Price (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E3)
3. Josh Green (Active8 Yamaha, E1)
4. Beau Ralston (Active8 Yamaha, E2)
5. Daniel Sanders (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E3)
6. Lachlan Stanford (Husqvarna Off-Road Team, E2)
7. Tye Simmonds (Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing Team, E2)
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