AORC

AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland

Author: Aaryn Minerds

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AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
KTM Australia Off-Road Racing

KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Toby Price ignored the pain of a niggling foot injury to move two wins closer to a successful defence of his AORC number one plate at Aratula in Queensland over the weekend.

The injury, which he sustained in pre-running for the Finke Desert race, meant Price had virtually no seat time with which to re-acclimatise from the insanely high-speeds of Finke to the relatively modest pace of enduro racing, but someone forgot to tell the defending champion, who got the better of a weekend long battle with Chris Hollis to extend his mid-season winning streak to five consecutive AORC rounds (and of course, Finke).

While the tighter conditions were less than ideal for the monstrous grunt of his KTM 500 EXC, the Maitland ace extended his championship lead to 42 points over Josh Green, with KTM Enduro Racing Team mate Daniel Sanders retaining third place overall.

‰ÛÏThat's the result you are always aiming for, so it's good to come out with the two wins." Price said. "The championship, points-wise is now looking pretty good, but like I say, there is still a lot of points up for grabs, so we‰Ûªll make sure we keep our heads down and keep doing what we are doing until the finish and keep enjoying it and having fun.

"I was a little bit shocked with the result, because when I was walking the tracks I was looking around and thinking this is going to be pretty hard work on the big girl. Me and Chris were having a good battle, but we got the job done.

"The 500 is not really suited to that tight stuff, but then again I guess it shows what a good bike it is that it can actually put up with those conditions and come away with the win.‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Sanders continues to lock horns with the demands of dry hardback such as is found in Queensland - Credit: John Pinnell
Sanders continues to lock horns with the demands of dry hardback such as is found in Queensland, but minor changes in setup and strategy saw the KTM 300 EXC rider advance from Saturday's eighth place outright into fourth position overall today.

‰ÛÏWe made a step forward I guess, I'm just learning all these conditions." Sanders said. "Down our way it's just so wet, we don't get any dry stuff.

"Yesterday I was back in eighth and we changed the bike setting a bit. That made a difference in the last two tests, so then I knew what I had to do and I got full confidence back on the bike again today, so I could push it and not make those mistakes, which definitely showed, and we finished fourth - a big improvement.

"It got a bit punishing towards the end here, but it's all fun. Every day on the bike is fun.‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
For Tye Simmonds, the event was significant for being his first ever enduro race - Credit: John Pinnell
For the team's former pro motocross racer Tye Simmonds, the event was significant for being his first ever enduro race, and while many would have considered seventh and sixth outright finishes and a victory in today's first special test a more than respectable debut at national level, the KTM 450 EXC rider knows what he wants - and this isn‰Ûªt it.

‰ÛÏSeventh and sixth outright - definitely not the results I was chasing, that's for sure." Simmonds admitted. "It started pretty well for us today when we won the first special test, but it went downhill from there.

"That second test haunted me all weekend, the others I could be top three, but I struggled with that one, and it bit me on the arse overall, that's for sure. Grabbo said to me, it is only my first one, but I‰Ûªve been a racer all my life and I just want better results. But that‰Ûªs racing.

"I didn't mind enduro as a concept, we just seemed to have bugger-all race time so if you lost time anywhere, it cost you.‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
CDR Yamaha‰Ûªs Chris Hollis returned to form with impressive performances at rounds seven and eight - Credit: Supplied
CDR Yamaha‰Ûªs Chris Hollis returned to form with impressive performances at rounds seven and eight of the Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) held near Warwick, in Queensland.

Hollis, who has battled injury all season long, damaging shoulders, elbows and hands so far this season, finally made it to an AORC round 100% fit and ready to race and instantly his results reflected that.

Competing in the traditional Enduro format over both days, Hollis and Toby Price quickly separated themselves from the field and showed they were a cut above the rest. The pair traded special test wins on Saturday and it came down to just four seconds separating them after a full days racing, with Price taking the win and Hollis right in his shadow for Outright honours.

Round eight action got underway and instantly Hollis showed his Saturday‰Ûªs performance was no fluke and was again neck and neck with Price as the pair again competed for stage victories. Price again took the win for the day, this time by five seconds, but there was one test that saw Hollis drop four seconds to Price which proved costly at the end of the day.

It was also a dominant class performance by Hollis, taking the victory both days in the E2 category on board his YZ450F and he has now jumped several places up the leader board Outright and in class. .

‰ÛÏIt was nice to finally get a round where I was fit and able to ride the way I want to ride and not just try and get by. It also felt good to be back near the front and competing for Outright wins,‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Josh Green again dominated the E1 class (250cc) winning both rounds over the weekend - Credit: Supplied
It was another productive weekend for the Active8 Yamalube Yamaha team as both riders, Josh Green and Beau Ralston, strengthened their positions at the top of their respective classes after rounds seven and eight of the Australian Off Road Championship were ran over the weekend.

Both are also proving to be legitimate contenders for Outright honours for the AORC with Josh Green sitting in second place after eight rounds on his Yamaha WR250F, while Ralston sits in fourth on his YZ450F and with four rounds remaining, there is plenty still to play for.

Josh Green again dominated the E1 class (250cc) winning both rounds over the weekend. Green has gelled exceptionally well with the smaller capacity bike and continues to show that success in the AORC isn‰Ûªt all about horsepower.

He landed on the podium for Outright honours on Saturday with a third place and backed that up with a top five finish on Sunday to cement his place at the top of the E1 leader board and second place Outright behind championship leader, Toby Price.

‰ÛÏThe weekend went pretty well and I was consistent across both days,‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Beau Ralston‰Ûªs weekend mirrored that of Green, with him taking 5-3 results to Green‰Ûªs 3-5 in the Outright results - Credit: Supplied
Beau Ralston‰Ûªs weekend mirrored that of Green, with him taking 5-3 results to Green‰Ûªs 3-5 in the Outright results. The two top five showings from Ralston sees him running a very respectable fourth Outright and he continues to lead the ultra-competitive E2 class (450cc) with a handy 19 point gap back to his nearest rival.

‰ÛÏEach round I try to race as fast as I can, yet as consistently as I can because I think that is really important in a 12 round championship." Ralston said.

This was the one and only Enduro format race and with so many special tests over the weekend, it is easy to over-ride, fall and potentially hurt yourself so it was good to get through unscathed and keep my momentum going in the championship."

Kyogle in Northern New South Wales hosts rounds nine and ten of the AORC on July 24 -25 where the Active8 Yamaha team will be hoping to nail down more important championship points and get closer to that elusive championship win from both riders.

‰ÛÏIt was a solid weekend all round,‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Kearney and his Husqvarna FE 501 were in scintillating form on Saturday - Credit: John Pinnell
There was cause for double celebration at the weekends seventh and eighth rounds of the Australian Off-Road Championships at Aratula, as Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney registered his strongest ride yet in this year's series, and Lachy Stanford locked away his third consecutive Queensland Enduro Championship.

Still adapting to the limitations of a fused right ankle after he had reconstructive surgery over the off-season, Kearney and his Husqvarna FE 501 were in scintillating form on Saturday, registering fourth position outright, and second in the E3 class behind the weekend's outright winner of both days, Toby Price.

Short special tests placed maximum pressure on riders to be as consistent as they were fast, and a slip-up in the first special test of the day meant that Kearney could not replicate yesterday's heroics on the outright scoreboard, and he was forced to accept ninth overall and third in class for today.

‰ÛÏOverall I'm happy with the weekend." Kearney said. "Lachy rode well yesterday and was third in class and sixth outright.

"Today he was seventh outright and I think just 0.2 of a second in front of me.It was disappointing to be ninth today after coming fourth yesterday, but with such short tests and any sort of mistake was just amplified and if you lost a chunk of five or 10 seconds, it was unachievable to get it back. My second in class yesterday is the best class result I've had this year so I'm on the improve, and that's good.

"I got some really good test times here, and again today I had a couple of third outrights in tests, so I was happy to get back to the pointy end at least in some of them. I think where I was losing time was in the rear braking skid turns, of which there were a heap in the grass track tests. With the little bit of prep that we had with this new setup, I think we did quite well, so we should be in a much better position for the next one.‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Stanford registered sixth and seventh outright positions over the two days - Credit: John Pinnell
Lachlan Stanford‰Ûªs smooth, fast style aboard the Husqvarna FE 350 would pay dividends in Queensland, as the Byron Bay rider got to work in familiar terrain, taking a podium finish in the hotly contested E2 class on Saturday, followed by fourth in class today.

Stanford registered sixth and seventh outright positions over the two days, and also wrapped up his third consecutive Queensland Enduro Championship, which was held in conjunction with the AORC round.

‰ÛÏIt was pretty fun here, the track was good." Stanford said. "The racing was really tight because the tests were short so that made for an interesting weekend.

"I got through with not many mistakes, and had heaps of fun. I've got a little bit more to do on my pace to get faster and make that next step and I‰Ûªm feeling better than I have been, so I'm pretty happy with my weekend.

"My fastest test was the first one, but my favourite was probably the real tight one at the end. In and out of little gullies and the tight turns, the 350 just felt really nice in there. It was the perfect size all weekend. I also wrapped up the Queensland championship for the third year running too, winning all three rounds at Kilkivan, Mt. Perry and Aratula.‰Û
AORC Team Talk – Rounds 7 and 8, Queensland
Sherco's Brock Grabham started his weekend in strong form by posting solid results and completing the first day in 10th place outright -Credit: Aaryn Minerds (File round 4)
Sherco's Brock Grabham started his weekend in strong form by posting solid results and completing the first day in 10th place outright and 6th in the E2 class aboard his Sherco 450SEF-R.

Grabham bounced back on Sunday with vigour and clawed his way up the leader board with some excellent riding. At the completion of the day‰Ûªs eight special test, Grabham was 8th overall and 5th in the E2 class.

Graham‰Ûªs results were the highlight for Sherco over the weekend. Unfortunately good fortune dodged Powerhouse Motorcycles rider Jai Wedlock in the Under 19 class aboard his Sherco 300SEF-R in what was looking to be a strong weekend for the young racer.

With around one kilometre left to ride on Saturday and just before the final special test, Wedlock crashed on a downhill suffering injuries to his right hand. It‰Ûªs not yet determined whether the hand is broken as Wedlock is returning from the Queensland event to visit his local doctor in Victoria.

‰ÛÏI was riding well and running around 3rd or 4th for the day but it all fell apart,‰Û

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