The ShopYamaha Off Road Racing Team has taken all before them in the 2022 Australian Off-Road Championships, winning the E1 (250cc), E2 (450cc), and Outright honours in a dominant season.
The final weekend of racing saw rounds 11 and 12 of the AORC come to Wynyard in Tasmania with ShopYamaha riders Kyron Bacon, Josh Green, and Blake Hollis all determined to stamp their authority on the year and finish on a positive note.
What a stunning season 19-year-old Kyron Bacon has put together in 2022. In the space of 12 months, he has gone from a rider with potential to become the best off-road rider in the country and his results are nothing short of amazing. As well as winning the A4DE, and standing on the podium at the ISDE, Bacon can now add the E1 Australian Off-Road Championship and the Outright winner of the AORC to his list of results.
In his native Tasmania, Bacon dominated the final weekend of racing and was a step above his rivals all weekend. In wet conditions on Saturday, he motored to a three-minute lead to win the day and cement the E1 Championship with a round to spare.
Sunday was all about the Outright championship and in a tight struggle over the opening 10 rounds, Bacon powered clear of Andy Wilksch to win the Outright championship and prove he is the fastest off-road rider in Australia for 2022. He showed no mercy on his rivals and kept the throttle on right to the very end to win special test after special test to finish the season with both the E1 and Outright championships on his resume.
“It’s been a pretty special year for me and even more than I had hoped,” Bacon said from the podium. “My goal for the year was to win the E1 class and go for a top 5 position in Outright honours, so to have won both is amazing and I’m a little speechless to be honest.
“The last two years we didn’t have much racing but I loved riding, so I kept training and working hard so I was ready when things got back to normal. So, it feels so good to finally get back to racing and then come away winning two championships.
“I can’t thank AJ, Brandon and the whole ShopYamaha Off-Road Team enough for their support over the past couple of years and also my Dad and family who continue to be a huge part of my racing. The championship has been awesome this year and we have ridden everything from mud and sand through to hard pack and dust, so it’s been a big challenge for us every round but the team always came through and I will always be thankful for their efforts,” he concluded.
After years of trying and several near misses, Josh Green was finally able to lock down the elusive E2 (450cc) championship. Over the past 10 years, Green has been right in the thick of the action but has been pitted against generational riders like Toby Price, Daniel Milner, or Daniel Sanders but in season 2022, the E2 championship is finally his.
The championship quickly became a two-horse race with Green going head-to-head with 2019 ProMX champion, Todd Waters. The pair traded blows in the early rounds and the points were tight coming into the final rounds. Then, both were injured representing Australia at the Six Day Enduro, so the race become a different kind as they battled to get back on track.
Green entered rounds nine and ten with a badly injured hand but was able to muscle his way through to get both round wins while Waters was still sidelined. From there it was smooth sailing as Green put an exclamation point on his championship success with a double victory in the final round to nail down the championship. But make no mistake, Green was out to win no matter who turned up and he displayed his physical and mental toughness over the final two weekends of racing.
“This one means a lot to me in a couple of ways,” Green said. “Firstly, it’s been a really fun year and the vibe in the ShopYamaha team has been awesome. Kyron and Blake had been cool teammates and we get along well, the bikes have been good and we all put in the work, so that has been satisfying for me.
“Also, to win the E2 class is something I have tried to do several times and I was finally able to shake the monkey from my back. The 450 class is always tough as every manufacturer makes a 450 so the depth of competition is always deep.
“Thank you to our team, it’s been over a decade I have been with AJ and Yamaha, and we always find ways to keep it fun and exciting. Thank you to MA and the AORC committee for getting AORC up and going again for 2022 and I look forward to being back here next year for another fun year of racing.”
Blake Hollis wasn’t about to miss out on the podium action and after a very consistent season, he finished the year out in third place in the E1 division. While Bacon has been just a step above his E1 rivals, the fight over the minor positions has been an intense three-way battle that came down to the final day.
Hollis managed to keep his consistency going for the final weekend and despite some crashes, finished fourth on both days and that was enough to secure third in the championship and put all three ShopYamaha riders on the AORC podium for 2022.
“It’s been a big learning curve for me this year and I’m happy to finish third in the E1 championship. Each round saw a bunch of us all really close in speed and times so consistency and the ability to grind out a good result on the tough days proved vital to getting on the podium.
“The final round was another tough one as I fell a couple of times straight up on Saturday morning and beat myself up a bit. It felt like at the end of every test I was straightening up my bike and dealing with some skin off somewhere but I just hung in there.
“Congratulations to Kyron on his win and thanks to everyone on the ShopYamaha team for their support this year,” Hollis said.
Team manager, AJ Roberts was a happy man at the end of the weekend and proud of his team and their success in 2022.
“Like everyone, you enter a season with some pretty high goals of what you would like to achieve and just the nature of life means you don’t always achieve them but this year has been a great year for the team with success from all three riders and just a really enjoyable season of racing.
“Josh, Kyron and Blake all stepped up this year and improved their riding, Brandon worked hard behind the scenes on the bikes and the team, while our sponsors again supported us which allowed us to achieve our goals. We simply wouldn’t have been as successful if all those things didn’t pull together, so I’m extremely grateful that we were all to reward everyone with some great results.
“We have already started work on 2023 but understand this season will be hard to top,” Roberts concluded.