The Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) continues to provide a fertile environment in which leading international Enduro talent is born. Last year’s season was no exception to delivering unmatched talent, with the E3 AORC Champion consistently setting the fastest test times throughout the year. It’s this Champion that then flew to Chile with Team Australia to take out the World Trophy for the green and gold at the 2018 FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE).
The Champion of both AORC and ISDE in 2018 without a doubt was Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team). As he gears up for the 2019 season kicking off in Toowoomba, Queensland next week, Milner sat down with Motorcycling Australia to reflect on his change to the E2 class, his goals for 2019 and his continued relationship with fellow KTM Enduro Racing teammate Lyndon Snodgrass.
It’s fair to say that 2018 was an extremely successful year for you in both AORC and ISDE. What are your goals for the 2019 racing season?
It’s hard to say simply because of how successful 2018 was for me! My main plan is to remain as mistake free as possible throughout the season. A difference between this year and last is my bike is ready to go and my fitness has improved beyond measure.
My goals are to remain smooth, consistent and get through the year clean.
I’m also looking forward to the 2019 ISDE season, especially considering I was the outright Champion. So I’ll definitely have a target on my back that everyone will want to hit!
What have you been up to during your off season?
Honestly, I’ve been really working hard on my fitness and heading to gym as much as possible. I’m really enjoying seeing the results as I get fitter and stronger. We’ve also been working on a lot of testing on the KTM 350 EXC-F, which is a big improvement from last season.
Coming off the success at ISDE and AORC, how did you find the experience coaching at a Motorcycling Australia Junior Coaching Day at your home track?
The Coaching Days were fantastic. We had the opportunity to teach the entered kids our way, in an environment that was comfortable for both us and them! It was great to see riders bloom under our guidance. The talent that’s coming out of these juniors is really impressive so I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table in future!
It was also a real treat for the entered juniors to visit my home track, which has never been made open to the public before! We put in a lot of effort leading up to the day to ensure they were able to get the most out of the experience and then leave the day with newfound skills and confidence.
This season has seen you move from E3 to E2. Why the move in classes and engine capacity?
The 500cc bike was awesome, no doubt, but for me as a rider I find I suit a smaller bike better. So switching to a 350cc E2 class bike has been a really enjoyable change. I’m finding I’m moving faster and achieving better results with the smaller bike.
Who do you anticipate will be your biggest competition this season?
It’s really tough to pin point one rider. Daniel Sanders is always there as tough competition and 2018 saw us engage in some pretty great battles. There is also Josh Green and my teammate Lyndon Snodgrass who will push me pretty hard for the fastest times each round.
Returning this season, you and Lyndon Snodgrass remain as KTM team members. How do the two of you work together, both on and off season, to ensure you are the best team you can be?
Lyndon and I work really well together. I really respect Lyndon’s work ethic, and I find we collaboratively put in the same long, hard hours to get the best results.
I also find Lyndon a great gauge on whether I need to pick up the pace. In the off season he continually beat his times and inched closer and closer to me, so it’s definitely highlighted to me how much harder I have to work take out the 2019 E2 Championship title.
Stay up to date with all the happenings of the 2019 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship by visiting the AORC Website at aorc.org.au, or by following the Yamaha AORC on Twitter and Facebook as well as @aorc on Instagram.
Images courtesy of John Pearson Media