RECAP: Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship Round 1 & 2 Toowoomba | News
The Enduro riders from all parts of the country converged on Toowoomba for Rounds 1 & 2 of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championships.
Words and Pics: Alan McIntosh
Due to some minor problems earlier in the year, the venue was changed from Gympie to Murphys Creek, just out of Toowoomba. This would be the first time an AORC event had been held in Toowoomba. The Queensland Enduro Championships were also held in conjunction with the AORC event, bringing the total number of competitors to over 250, a fantastic roll up for the start of the season.
Despite a very short period to prepare tracks (six weeks), the Toowoomba Motorcycle Club went all out and managed to get three challenging tracks ready in time. The tracks comprised of forestry sections, steep uphills and downhills, (some with some serious washouts) and even part of an old motocross track. The tracks were quite dry and dusty due to the lack of rainfall in this part of Queensland and proved a handful for all levels of competitors.
Last year’s E3 Champion, Daniel Milner riding a KTM 350 EXC-F in the E2 Class was riding very smooth and won all the sprints and claimed victory for both rounds. “All in all, it was an awesome weekend for me and I’ve picked up from where I left off last year. Everyone seems to be getting faster and it really goes to show that us Aussie riders are putting it to the world”, said Daniel Milner. Active8 Yamaha rider Josh Green with four second place finishes got to stand on the second step of the podium.
Lyndon Snodgrass (KTM Enduro Team) aboard a KTM 250 EXC-F took the points in the E1 Class with a meagre four-second win over Yamaha hotshot Luke Styke. Fellow Active8 Yamaha teammate Michael Driscoll took the final podium spot. Young Husqvarna rider Fraser Higlett, once again showed he has the pace to run at the pointy end, but a couple of crashes saw him, unfortunately, finish back in fourth place.
In the E3 Class, Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders just dominated the opposition on his Husqvarna FE501. After winning last years E2 championship, it seems the step up to the more powerful new bike has been a positive move. Andrew Wilksch (Sherco Racing) finished about three minutes behind Sanders, with Beau Ralston also amongst the championship points in third place for the weekend.
Kyron Bacon on the MX Store KTM was the best of the Expert Juniors with his one minute win over Joshua Brierley and Harrison Teed. If the standard of these juniors is anything to go by, then the future of enduro racing is quite bright.
The Women’s All Powers Class was totally dominated by Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha). A good battle was going on back in the field between the other girls including, Milesevic, Nielsen and Karlsson.
A group of senior riders met with officials just after lunch on Sunday, after the track started deteriorating due to the extremely dry conditions. The conditions had become quite dangerous and officials had no choice but to stop the event prematurely. Considering how hot and tough it had become, this may have been a blessing in disguise for all involved.
Now with most of the dust settled, the AORC heads off to Dungog in NSW for Rounds 3 and 4 to be held 6–7 April 2019.
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