Off Road

Jess Gardiner and Danielle McDonald Trade Wins At Mt Misery

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Photo of Jess Gardiner at the 2024 Australian Off-Road Championship at Mount Misery, Victoria.
Jess Gardiner

The deadlock between the Yamaha Ballard’s JGR team riders of Jess Gardiner and Danielle McDonald is no closer to being broken after another weekend of splitting round wins for the dynamic off-road duo at the Australian Off Road Championships.

At the opening rounds at Roma saw Gardiner snare the round one victory with McDonald bouncing back to take round two, well, the weekend saw an almost exact replica at Mt Misery where Gardiner again took the opening day honours before McDonald returned serve on Sunday to claim the win and now four rounds in we are locked at a 2 – all draw and things are just heating up.

Gardiner got her nose in front of her younger rival and teammate as she raced to an eight-second victory at round three on Saturday. The fast and flowing Mt Misery course saw Gardiner in her element but was pushed all the way by McDonald as the duo raced away to a three-minute lead over third place.

But come Sunday and the tables turned with McDonald taking the round win, 10 seconds clear of Gardiner and the ledger is all tied up again as we head towards rounds five and six in a few weeks’ time.

“It was a good weekend at Mt Misery and despite getting dusty due to the lack of rain in the region, the venue was awesome,” Gardiner refelcted. “The course had a bit of everything and some of the elevation changes made it fun to ride.

“Danielle kept me on my toes all weekend and she has made me step up this year to run her speed. That’s the beauty of off road in that we can be racing against each other but not with each other so we can come back and talking about it after each test.

“I think our pace has improved this year and we were fast enough to win the Clubman men’s division on each day, so that’s a good indication of how fast we are going. We both have two round wins each and I think it’s going to be tight all the way to the end as we are both pretty determined competitors,” Gardiner ends.

Photo of Danielle McDonald at the 2024 Australian Off-Road Championship at Mount Misery, Victoria.
Danielle McDonald

McDonald echoed those sentiments at the end of racing.

“Jess and I have a great rivalry going on the track but a great friendship off it and I think it’s helping both of us. I know I have to be at my best to beat her as she is such a tough competitor and doesn’t give up.

“On Saturday I made a couple of mistakes and she was able to capitalize on them and get the round win, but I was able to get off to a good start on Sunday and get some momentum early and hold strong when Jess challenged me.

“So pumped to get the round win but still plenty of work to do if I want to keep beating the boss,” McDonald laughed.

Unfortunately, the weekend ended on a sour note for the team with Jeremy Carpentier crashing heavily on Sunday. He hit a rock under the dust and was ejected from his bike and broke his Humerus. He was treated at the scene and is now seeking further advice on what happens next, although he is expecting to be off the bike for some time.

“That’s not how I wanted the weekend to finish,” said a dejected Carpentier. “I felt pretty good and was challenging for the top five in the E2 in most tests, but I didn’t see a rock and went down heavily.

“Thanks to everyone that looked after me and the medics for helping out. I will see what needs to happen now and get back on the bike as quickly as I can, he concluded.

Photo of Danielle McDonald and Jess Gardiner at the 2024 Australian Off-Road Championship at Mount Misery, Victoria. Podium
Danielle McDonald (L) and Jess Gardiner on the podium.

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