AORC

KTM Australia Off-Road Team Aiming For Back To Back Outright Honours

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The defending champion KTM Off-Road Racing Team looks forward to a return to the great outdoors this weekend, as the Australian Off-Road Championship opener takes place at Kilkivan, near Gympie in Queensland.

Off-road racing maestro Toby Price wrapped up his third AORC championship in 2014, but the big news is that the 26-year-old Maitland rider will move up a class for his latest title defence, riding in the E3 category aboard his favourite bike in the KTM range, the muscular 500 EXC.

Price, who finished third in the recent Dakar Rally at his very first attempt, looks to be close to his best again after finishing second in the final round of the Aussie enduro-cross nationals series a fortnight ago, and relishes the opportunity to get the new season off to a positive start.

‰ÛÏI'm looking forward to coming back in on the 500 EXC, and hopefully we can make a good start to the season." Price commented. "There's a long way to go and you don't win it at the first round, but it's also nice to kick off the season with a win, so we'll see what the weekend brings.

"I love the 500 EXC, it's definitely a lot of bike, but it‰Ûªs cut down a lot in weight, and KTM is definitely making a good motorcycle. To me, I like a bit of power, and I'm a bit of a bigger guy so it seems to suit me well. Like any bike it has its advantages and disadvantages at certain tracks. The best part is there's just plenty of power there, and as long as you keep clicking gears, it just wants to go faster and faster so it‰Ûªs a thrill to ride.

"We have mellowed mine out a little bit for bush racing, but it‰Ûªs still got really good top end there.‰Û
Daniel Sanders Sanders will ride the KTM 300 EXC - Credit: Adam Riemann, Motology
Price will be joined in the E3 category by 20-year-old Victorian Daniel "Chucky" Sanders, who was elevated to the factory team after a stellar 2014 in which, as a KTM-mounted privateer, he went almost undefeated in the U19 classification of the AORC on his way to 6th outright.

‰ÛÏI just ran in the new 300 on Tuesday, and loved it; the boys have been working hard getting it ready for the first round of the off-road." Sanders said. "My goal is to get through this weekend nice and clean, get some good points in the E3 class, and hopefully be up there in the outright positions.

"I don't expect too much coming out of the enduro-cross season and straight into AORC, but I‰Ûªve been doing some faster stuff in the last couple of weeks so hopefully, I can get some clean points.

"Personally I prefer the cross country events over the sprints, the cross countries are more physical and a bit harder. We only get about an hour a day in the sprints, whereas we get about three hours on the cross-country.‰Û
Tye Simmonds will race his first AORC event this weekend in Queensland - Credit: Adam Riemann, Motology
Former motocross pro Tye Simmonds will personify the term ‰Û÷diving in at the deep end‰Ûª, when he takes a KTM 450 EXC into battle in the E2 class in his first ever AORC appearance this weekend in Queensland.

‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm excited." Simmonds enthused. "The enduro cross, that was the first series for me and it was new and exciting at every single round and we had a lot of fun with it.

"Now, with the off-road I think it‰Ûªll just be the same as the enduro cross, every single round is going to be completely new and different. It's just about trying to learn quick, getting everything down pat and seeing how it works and trying to have two good days on the bike.

"Like I've been saying though, I've got the best team out there behind me, with Grabbo and all the boys, they‰Ûªve obviously been there and done it all before and know what it‰Ûªs all about, so anything I need to know, they fire away and let me know. It definitely makes life a lot easier for me, that's for sure. Being the first round I think the Sprint-Sprint format will be perfect for me, and give me a chance to keep learning.

"I just can't wait to get on the bike Saturday, and get out there today and walk the track and see how it all works. ‰Û

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