Off Road

KTM and Daniel Milner kick of AORC campaign ominously

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KTM‰Ûªs Enduro Racing Team has continued its recent dominance in Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship racing, with Daniel Milner powering his KTM450 EXC-F to impressive back-to-back victories in the opening rounds of this year‰Ûªs series at Rawson in south-eastern Victoria.

The 25-year-old KTM rider from Lang Lang was unstoppable across the weekend, and even pulling in to change a complete rear brake after fouling it with bunting couldn‰Ûªt keep him from victory in the opener.

‰ÛÏI couldn‰Ûªt be any happier," Milner enthused, "The first day I got a good start and got to the front, and started checking out, but drifted wide in a corner and got bunting in the back brake and ended up boiling it. I came in and the boys changed me over in super quick time and I ended up getting a win.

"There‰Ûªs no way I thought that Harry and Mick would get it done as quick as they did, but they were unreal. Today was hard going, and we did what we needed to do, so I was definitely happy with my performance and the team‰Ûªs over the whole weekend. The KTM 450 EXC-F was unreal.‰Û
Lyndon Snodgras exceeded all expectations for his very first national outing for the Factory squad. Photo: John Pearson
The team that finished 1-2 in last year‰Ûªs series kicked off in ominously similar fashion on the Saturday, when teenager Lyndon Snodgrass exceeded all expectations for his very first national outing for the Factory squad.

Snodgrass and his KTM 300 EXC followed Milner in for a career-best second outright in Saturday‰Ûªs Cross Country, in the process winning the E3 category.

The 18-year-old couldn‰Ûªt quite replicate another E3 class victory today however, finishing runner up to Lachy Stanford in the category, and 6th outright.

‰ÛÏA pretty good way to kick off the year; it was a pretty awesome track, conditions were good and it got really rough," Snodgrass said. "Coming into the cross-country I knew I could be right up there and I was happy with how we took off. I charged into second and had the lead for a couple of laps there while Milner had some problems, and then hovered in second for the rest of the race. I‰Ûªm stoked with that.

"Sunday the KTM 300 EXC was really good in the tight stuff ‰ÛÒ I just made a few too many mistakes for the day and they ended up costing me, but all in all ‰ÛÒ really happy with the start to the season. It was pretty awesome working with the team and a fun way to start the year," he concluded.
Jack Simpson on the gas at the AORC opener. Photo: John Pearson
In the E1 category, 21-year-old defending Champion and Peter Stevens Motorcycles rider Jack Simpson damaged a wheel on Saturday and lost time after a crash today, but still kicked his E1 title defence off with a pair of seconds, and illustrated his ‰ÛÒ and his KTM 250 XCF‰Ûªs - potential as an outright contender.

‰ÛÏSaturday I fluffed the start and was second-last into the first corner," Simpson explained. "I had to fight my way through which was difficult. I smashed my rear wheel with two laps to go and nearly DNFed, but I finished sixth outright and second in class.

"Sunday I had a crash in the third one and my bike was down an embankment and it took me a good twenty or thirty seconds to get the thing back up and running," Simpson continued, "Then I had my handguard catching my clutch lever so I had to fiddle around with that so that kind of killed the day for me in one crash. Other than that I was consistently in the top five. So, a rough weekend in a way but not the worst in the world. I‰Ûªm disappointed in myself for how it panned it out ‰ÛÒ I know I‰Ûªm good for top three. But it‰Ûªs not the end of the world. I‰Ûªm safe, I‰Ûªm fast, the bike‰Ûªs good. Bring on the next one.‰Û

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