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2024 Roma AORC wrap: from veterans to all the junior classes

Roma has been an excellent host for the opening two rounds of the 2024 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore (AORC). It is understandable if you were lulled into a false sense of relaxation when arriving at the track, with the blue skies and warm weather. After engines on for round one though, the ferocity was dialled up to 11 and relaxation flew out the window.

In round one, the Senior classes tackled the MXstore test, followed by the WR450F test for round two. In EV the victor on both days was Dale Schmitke (KTM), followed by Rowan Pumpa (Kessner Motorcycles, Motorex) in EM, Troy Henderson (KTM) in EL and Scott Holland (Husqvarna) in 2T. The J4 class also battled it out for glory on the same tracks, which saw Bradley Rayner (KTM Newcastle) claim consecutive gold.

For our Juniors, they navigated the Offroad Advantage test on both Saturday and Sunday. Coming out on top was Marcus Nowland (Yamaha Junior Racing) in J3, Madi Simpson (Honda ride Red, Fly Racing) in JG, Harley Hutton (GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing) in J2, Parker Gibson on Saturday and Mason Reid on Sunday in J1, and Thomas Hathway in JJ. Our EWD class also tackled the Offroad Advantage track, with Shaylynne Kuhnke (Yamaha) finishing in first for round one and Charlie Emblem (Beta) for round two.

To view provisional results for all classes, please click here.

Pictured: Dale Schmitke


The KTM-riding Schmitke was utterly at home on the dusty tracks, claiming back-to-back EV wins. On both days, the Queenslander smoked his competition by at least one minute, leaving no question as to who top dog is.

Coming in second was Brett McDonnell (Hartley Service Centre, KTM) for round one. The New South Wales local then dropped to third place for round two. His rival all weekend was Queenslander Andrew Gifford (Brisbane Dirtbike Services, Yamaha) who claimed bronze on Saturday and silver on Sunday.

Pictured: Rowan Pumpa


The MXstore and WR450F tests were utterly perfect for Pumpa, who has continued his success from 2023 into the opening two rounds of 2024. Claiming a perfect 1-2 scorecard, Pumpa put an exceptional amount of time between himself and second place, and on Sunday Pumpa signed on with a near four-minute advantage.

Claiming back-to-back silver in EM was Darren Grattan. The KTM racer from Victoria protected second place from the likes of Jason Hubbard (Husqvarna, TDub) and Vito Porto (Simford Group Motorsport).

Rounding out the podium on Saturday was Porto, followed by Hubbard on Sunday.

Pictured: Troy Henderson


Similar to EV and EM, Henderson claimed pure glory in Roma with back-to-back EL class wins. The KTM racer was in fine form all weekend, putting more than two minutes between first and second place on Saturday and a whopping near three-minute lead on Sunday.

In round one, Zac Williams (KTM) took out silver ahead of Craig Treasure (Husqvarna) in third. In round two though, Ian Jenner (KTM) and Matthew Evans (MJ Evans Constructions, KTM) claimed second and third respectively.

Pictured: Scott Holland


The podium in 2T remained unchanged all weekend, with Holland claiming gold ahead of Tim Newman (Clearview Innovations, GASGAS) and Mahdi Green (Clearview Innovations, KTM). Holland comfortably led the charge on both Saturday and Sunday, with at least a four-minute gap between himself and second place.

Pictured: Charlie Emblem


Offroad Advantage put our EWD competitors through plenty of challenges this weekend. Round one was claimed by Kuhnke, while round two was taken by Emblem. Emi Keogh maintained her position on the podium, moving from third on Saturday to second on Sunday.

Rounding out the podium was Alice Hubbard (KTM) in round two.

Pictured: Bradley Rayner


The weekend’s J4 action featured the same three racers on the podium: Rayner claiming the coveted gold from Dylan McDonald (McDonald Racing) and Ollie Gear (Leatt, Nutrien Ag) under the hot Roma sun.

Pictured: Madi Simpson


It was a fantastic weekend of racing for Simpson, who has clinched back-to-back wins in JG. The Honda racer put a massive lead on Saturday and Sunday, ensuring there was absolutely no chance of her rivals having a chance at the top step.

Jade Chellas (Northbound Driver Training, KTM) took home consecutive second place finishes, with Mia Kennedy (GF Engineering, KTM) claiming third in round one and Kirra Pamenter (KTM) the same position in round two.

Pictured: Marcus Nowland


We’re not surprised if you were shouting out “no way, Nowland” all weekend, as the Yamaha racer blazed a trail in J3 to claim to back-to-back wins!

Behind Nowland in second place for round one was Kai Austin (Coffs KTM, Wauchope Concreting), followed by Harry Gilbertson (Fox Australia, Brandt John Deere). In round two, though, Nate Munro (K4 construction, MB Racing) jumped up into second followed by Mitch Ford (D&R Motorcycles, Rynopower).

Pictured: Harley Hutton


It was Groundhog Day in J2 as Hutton claimed two fantastic victories. It was a hard-fought battle, as Hutton banged bars with Phoenix O’Brien (Montdami, Christensen’s Motorcycles) all weekend for the top step.

Coming in third was Chase Weston (Moto1 Motorcycles, 6D) on Saturday and Levi Rossi (KTM Australia, Paint Tech SA) on Sunday.

Pictured: Parker Gibson


Gibson claimed the J1 win for round one but dropped to fourth on Sunday, leaving the gap open for Reid to claim the top step. In second place all weekend was Koby Munro (K4 construction, MB Racing), followed by Ryder Lambing (Gas Moto Monza Imports) in third for round two.

Pictured: Thomas Hathway


Hathway was very comfortable all weekend. After four Sprints on Saturday and six on Sunday, Hathway claimed an impressive 1-1 scorecard, blitzing his opposition to the tune of eight minutes on Sunday.

Second and third place were clinched by Lachlan Holt (KTM) and Ashton Porter (Yamaha) on both days.

Access provisional results for rounds one and two here.

To view the Pro’s race report, please click here.

We’re packing up in Roma and heading south to Mount Misery (Vic) for rounds three and four on April 20-21.

Words by Caitlin Hynes. Images by Troy Pears.