AORC

KTM Off-Road Team Look To Continue Winning Form At Wanbi

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This weekend's continuation of the Australian off Road Championships in South Australia at the brand-new venue at Wambi, just out side of Karoonda will see a new facet to the warfare between Australia's highest profile cross-country racers, all of whom have been working hard to prepare for a track they‰Ûªve never seen.

There is precious little data around regarding the Round 5/6 venue, but what there is suggests sand, and lots of it.

To that end, the KTM Off-Road Racing squad‰Ûªs contracted desert racers, Toby Price, Ivan Long and Tye Simmonds hope their recent and intensive testing in preparation for the Finke Desert race will give them a critical advantage over the opposition.

KTM 500 EXC-mounted Price takes a 10-point lead into Australia's most important off-road championship and is determined to find greater consistency from the weekend's cross-country/sprint format double after a couple of uncharacteristic falls cost him points last time out in Victoria.

‰ÛÏWe've had a full calendar of getting ready for Finke with testing and promotional stuff, and keeping busy with training and riding on the bike. Lots of saddle time." Price stated.

"I don‰Ûªt know too much about the venue ‰ÛÒ all I know is it‰Ûªs going to be a sandy track, and a little bit like Hattah but probably not quite as fast. We‰Ûªve got a full day of walking tracks today, so we‰Ûªll soon know what it‰Ûªs all about.

"I think the 500 will like it; we'll just have to make sure we don't get off to a rough start like last time round, but it should suit the conditions pretty well. We'll try our best and see how we go.‰Û
Running second behind Price in the E3 championship and a sensational fourth in the outright standings in his first senior year, Daniel Sanders
Running second behind Price in the E3 championship and a sensational fourth in the outright standings in his first senior year, Daniel Sanders (KTM 300 EXC) has come straight from sandy Mildura, and threatens to take more points off the big names after a career-best second outright at Round Three.

‰ÛÏIt's very sandy here, kind of like the Hattah sand at Mildura." Sanders explained. "Lucky we went riding there Wednesday, and got more familiar with it. I've been trying to keep sharp with my sand riding in the last few weeks, staying off the hardback clay and slippery stuff down my way.

"The plan this weekend is just to get the holeshot and go for it. With the two-stroke you're pretty much guaranteed the holeshot if you know how to kick them. It's only a 2 1/2 hour cross-country so I won't be trying to save energy, I'll be going for it.‰Û
In his very first year of AORC racing, former motocross pro Tye Simmonds has been the dark horse at every round so far
In his very first year of AORC racing, former motocross pro Tye Simmonds has been the dark horse at every round so far, and while certain misfortunes have kept his championship standing to seventh, the Burke rider has provided several previews of the enormous talent yet to be fully brought to bear.

‰ÛÏThe track looks very good, it's red sand all the way, so it should get nice and rough with some nice sand berms. Obviously the rougher the better, but it looks good, it looks real good." Simmonds commented.

"I think testing in the desert will definitely help us here, even though it's a complete different speed. After walking the track yesterday it will be nice to have a rest day today. If I can be in the top five in the cross country and top three in the sprints, I think I will be happy. We'll see how we go.‰Û
Rounding out the four-pronged Pro Class attack is five-time South Australian Cross-Country Champion Ivan Long - Credit: John Pinnell
Rounding out the four-pronged Pro Class attack is five-time South Australian Cross-Country Champion Ivan Long, whose podium finish in last year‰Ûªs Finke Desert Race testifies to more than a passing affinity with sand riding.

‰ÛÏThis is one round that I've been looking forward to the whole season." Long admitted. "And coming from the sand background it kind of makes it easier, to step off from hardback and steer with the back end instead of the front.

"Being in my home state, I'm going to have a lot more supporters there, and they‰Ûªve all been stirring me up and saying that I should win it! I'd really love to get just one podium, but I also want to make sure that my body is good for Finke in two week‰Ûªs time. That‰Ûªs the highest priority so it might cause me to back off a little bit.‰Û

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