All the attention usually goes to the riders at the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) but with Hedley just four days away, AORC had a chat with the unsung heroes who spin the tools and keep the rider’s bikes ticking over.
AORC sat down with Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team’s Lewie Landrigan before the first cross-country of the 2018 season at Hedley, Victoria on May 5-6. Landrigan took AORC through what he faces in the lead up to a round, what his role is and what happens after the round from a mechanic’s perspective.
What goes into prepping the bikes for an AORC round?
From round to round for us here at Husqvarna, we basically start with cleaning and stripping the bikes, whilst inspecting wiring wounds. We give the bikes a thorough clean and whilst we are cleaning we also get the best chance to inspect the bike, and get a feel for the wear of parts, to make sure they haven’t worn prematurely. The bike also goes through a regular service which includes brakes, clutches, wheel bearings and we make sure there are no leaks in the suspension.
What goes on during an AORC event, take us back to round 1 & 2 which was a sprint format?
At Gympie both days were sprints, the guys will go out and compete in the sprints and whilst they are out there we try to keep a time for them, so we can give them an idea of how they went as soon as they finish. Once the guys are back in the pits, the biggest part for us is to speak with the riders as soon as they get the helmet off, whilst the information is fresh in their head. If we wait 20 minutes the guys can forget the information and then we can’t make any adjustments to help the issue.
Our Husqvarna riders are pretty good with passing on feedback, but Daniel Sanders has been a great addition to the team as he is quite particular with his set up and bounces his ideas of the other guys (Lachlan Stanford and Fraser Higlett) and we get the best set up for the different conditions. Once we make the adjustments, we then have a look at fuel levels, a quick look over the bike to check for damage, oil leaks and then quick look over the tyres.
Moving onto Hedley, what changes will you make for the Cross-Country format?
The bike set up is the start of the changes in the lead up to Hedley, we change tank size as we will be running a 12 litre tank at this stage, and we will run a dry brake as well, so we must make sure that is ready to go. On the actual day we have a service crew, and we will run through what jobs we have for the day.
We normally will have one member catching, one fuelling, one with supplies (goggles) and usually one of the rider’s partners will have a radio and pit board on the track to let the guys know when to pit. Christian and I usually confer about when the guys should pit, we usually have a fair bit of data going into the race about fuel consumption. We usually have a plan in place before the race about what we want to do, but depending on the first lap time, that gives you an idea of what the bike will be burning in terms of fuel and then we make the call then and there.
When the round finishes, what do the next few days have in store?
The biggest thing for me is just getting home (laughs), and once we are back the bikes go straight into the wash bay at the workshop. After a good clean we then strip the bikes down completely. On Wednesday after a round we usually have a sit down debrief meeting with Christian Horwood (team manager) and Glenn Kearney (KTM/Husqvarna Motorsport Manager), it is usually a quick chat and we get the riders on the phone for their involvement. After the debrief we move on pretty quickly getting ready for the next event.
The return to Hedley for rounds 3 & 4 of AORC is only 4 days away, to stay up to date with all the happenings of the 2018 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship by visiting the brand new AORC website at www.aorc.org.au! or by following the AORC on Facebook as well as @aorc on Instagram.
Photos courtesy of John Pearson Media
Poster courtesy of 6HD