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Milner puts on a masterclass in his AORC return

What makes for the perfect season opener? Would you say blue skies? A stacked field? Great test tracks that combine flowy conditions with tight, technical turns? We agree! Round one of the 2024 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore (AORC) ticked every box for competitors and spectators alike. Daniel Milner (KTM Australia, DM31 Racing Team) was a feature showcase all day, as he absolutely demolished the WR450F test to claim top dog in E2 and the fastest overall time.

Kyron Bacon (Shop Yamaha, Threesix Motorsports) took out the win in E1, Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) in E3, Jess Gardiner (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road Team) in EW and Jett Yarnold (Yamaha Motor Australia, Yamalube) in EJ. For all remaining AORC classes and provisional results, click here.

Pictured: Kyron Bacon


With just over a 30-second lead on Cooper Sheidow (Yamaha Motor Australia, Yamalube), Bacon has delivered the goods! The Tasmanian was in fine form all day, comfortably leading the charge for his class but unfortunately falling about a minute short of the fastest overall time.

With a total time of 52m:33.729s, Bacon finished in first for round one ahead of Sheidow, who clocked off after four tests with a total time of 53:05.819. Claiming bronze was GASGAS’s Korey McMahon. The New South Wales local set fantastic times all day, finishing with a total time of 53:08.970. It’s safe to say Sheidow has some work to do to protect his second-place spot.

“It was quite difficult out there today,” said Bacon.

“It was pretty bull dusty out the back with plenty of riverbed action that caught a lot of people out.

“The competition was very tight. I was battling it out with Cooper all day and I’m excited to see how we go tomorrow.”

2024 AORC Round 1 E1 Top 5 Provisional Results:

  1. Kyron Bacon (Shop Yamaha, Threesix Motorsports) 52:33.729
  2. Cooper Sheidow (Yamaha Motor Australia, Yamalube) 53:05.819
  3. Korey McMahon (GASGAS Australia, Motorex) 53:08.970
  4. Tom Buxton (KTM Australia, DM31 Racing Team) 54:53.529
  5. Will Price (Empire Motorsports Kawasaki Off Road Race Team) 55:48.607

Pictured: Daniel Milner


It’s fair to say that all bets were off on how Milner would fare in his first AORC race for a few years. After the first test, Milner silenced everyone and continued that dominance in the field for all four tests of the WR450F track. With a total time of 51:33.351, Milner finished ahead of Motul Pirelli Sherco’s Jonte Reynders.

Reynders has his work cut out for him here in Roma. Tackling technical tracks and a familiar rival, he finished in second place with a total time of 52:37.833. Reynders produced a sizeable gap to Will Dennett (Shop Yamaha, Threesix Motorsports) in third but we’re sure that won’t be what he focuses on as we head into round two. Instead, we anticipate the Sherco racer will be sizing up his KTM counterpart and looking to diminish the current gap.

Shop Yamaha’s Will Dennett has jumped up from EJ to E2 this year. As a Queenslander, he seemed very comfortable in Roma’s sandy conditions. After four tests, Dennett clocked off in third with a total time of 53:15.229.

This was a big moment for Milner, who said: “It’s quite nice to be back here racing AORC. It definitely feels like being back home, that’s for sure.

“I was excited to get out racing and the club have done an unbelievable job of setting up these tracks. Typically, I’ve experienced tracks in Queensland that are wide open and rocky but these tracks have been quite technical and tight, with added flowy sections. We definitely experienced a little bit of everything today.

“I’m absolutely stoked with how my day went. Aside from a crash in the final test, I finished top of E2 and the fastest overall time. Hopefully we can do the same tomorrow by staying smooth and consistent and come away with a similar result.”

2024 AORC Round 1 E2 Top 5 Provisional Results:

  1. Daniel Milner (KTM Australia, DM31 Racing Team) 51:33.351
  2. Jonte Reynders (Motul Pirelli Sherco Team) 52:37.833
  3. Will Dennett (Shop Yamaha, Threesix Motorsports) 53:15.229
  4. Andy Wilksch (Beta Offroad Team) 54:02.448
  5. Beau Ralston (Empire Motorsports Kawasaki Off Road Race Team) 54:10.415

Pictured: Riley McGillivray


It was green lights and success for KTM’s McGillivray, here in Roma! The Victorian was unaffected by the tricky conditions and technical tracks, finishing in first place for E3 with a total time of 53:43.104. With nearly 40 seconds separating him from second place, McGillivray has set a great tone for the rest of his season.

Husqvarna’s Stefan Granquist claimed a hard fought second place ahead of Beta’s Fraser Higlett. The two tangoed under the Queensland sun all day, but after four tests it was just over seven seconds that allowed Granquist to claim silver. Higlett conceded for third place today, with a total time of 54:29.952.

2024 AORC Round 1 E3 Top 5 Provisional Results:

  1. Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) 53:43.104
  2. Stefan Granquist (Husqvarna) 54:22.852
  3. Fraser Higlett (Beta Australia) 54:29.952
  4. Billy Hargy (Simford Group Motorsport) 54:54.036
  5. Jye Dickson (Beta Racing Australia) 56:03.001

Pictured: Jess Gardiner


There was plenty of interest in EW today as we welcomed a new competitor from JG, Danielle McDonald (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road Team). The challenges presented across the WR450F test was felt by most riders and after four runs, McDonald finished in third place behind her teammate.

Reigning EW Champion, Gardiner was her trademark positivity and focus all day here in Roma. Clocking off with a total time of 1:01:23.100 and a first place spot, the Yamaha racer produced an impressive near one-minute lead ahead of Emelie Karlsson (Cassons, Husqvarna) and McDonald.

Claiming silver was Karlsson. The Husqvarna boarded racer produced strong and consistent times all day to score the second step on the podium, protecting it from the likes of McDonald and Ebony Nielsen (Beta Motorcycles Australia).

Round one was awesome! It was true off–road format with logs and creek beds and a big mix of terrain. I had a lot of fun and won a lot of tests, so I’m very happy,” said Gardiner.

“It’s been cool riding with Danielle (McDonald). We’ll keep working with her to help her reach the speeds we know she can hit.

“Tomorrow, we know the new track is quite rocky and has been roughed up by the Vets and Masters already today. So, it’s all about staying smooth and consistent.”

2024 AORC Round 1 EW Top 5 Provisional Results:

  1. Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road Team) 1:01:23.100
  2. Emelie Karlsson (Cassons, Husqvarna) 1:02:20.150
  3. Danielle McDonald (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road Team) 1:02:29.949
  4. Ebony Nielsen (Beta Motorcycles Australia) 1:02:41.020
  5. Nenah Chadwick (RR Racing) 1:12.34.775
Pictured: Jett Yarnold


2023 EJ Champion, Dennett was a strong presence on the podium last year and as he jumped up into E2, there was a very valuable space up for grabs to whoever was bold enough to claim it. After four goes around the WR450F test, Yarnold just couldn’t be beaten! The Yamaha racer took out the top step with a blistering time of 54:57.663, leading the way by a staggering near two-minute lead.

Eli Tripcony and Oliver Paterno took out second and third respectively. Paterno had to fend off the likes of Jackson Versteegen and Cody Howell for bronze but after four laps, was able to protect his standing by just over 40 seconds.

“The new bike feels really good,” said Yarnold.

“It was super tight racing in EJ and I’ve got to congratulate the boys for a great race. The track was changing all day and I thought it was great. We tackled a lot of riverbeds and out the back it was really dusty. By the end of the day, the track was pretty chopped up.”

2024 AORC Round 1 EJ Top 5 Provisional Results:

  1. Jett Yarnold (Yamaha Motor Australia, Yamalube) 54:57.663
  2. Eli Tripcony (Husqvarna, Motorex) 56:48.678
  3. Oliver Paterno (Port Macquarie Motorcycles, Yamaha) 58:12.115
  4. Jackson Versteegen (Peter Stevens, Fox Australia) 58:53.833
  5. Cody Howell (Tweaked Performance) 59:19.216

To access provisional results for all remaining classes, please click here.

Don’t go anywhere! We’re back bright and early tomorrow, for round two. Sunday will feature another full day of Sprints here in Roma. For more event information, visit

Words by Caitlin Hynes. Images by Troy Pears.