The weekend that’s been has delivered exactly what we all hoped for: world class racing and world class competitors! Round 2 of the 2022 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore (AORC) presented our Seniors with two test tracks – Ballards MXstore and Beta – for another day of grueling Sprints.
After seven laps, the winners were: Kyron Bacon (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) in E1, Joshua Green (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) in E2, Andrew Wilksch (Simford Racing, Husqvarna) in E3, Billy Hargy (Husqvarna) in EJ and Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) in EW.
In other news, who guessed Bacon would nab the fastest time overall, for both Round 1 & 2?! This pocket rocket has set the bar high as we head into the remaining 10 rounds of the Championship.
Bacon cooked the competition, claiming both consecutive class wins in E1, as well as the fastest overall time of 1:17:18.648. The Yamaha mounted demon was seemingly unfazed by Cherrabah’s challenging conditions, which started off muddy and churned into a dusty haze by lap seven.
Gas Gas’s Korey McMahon maintained his second place spot on the leaderboard for E1, finishing today with a total time of 1:20:11.812. Claiming the final spot on the podium was Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team), who clocked a time of 1:21:30.235.
Special mention to Blake Hollis (Shop Yamaha Offroad racing Team) who fought tooth and nail but just couldn’t break into the top three after seven laps across two tests.
“Coming into the weekend I wasn’t really sure where I’d end up, so I’m glad and shocked by the result! I really expected to go down the board not up,” explained Bacon.
“The tracks were rough and wet, which was similar to home. So I was pretty comfortable out there.
“I’m stoked and excited to hopefully progress the rest of the year.”
2022 AORC E1 Top 5 Provisional Results:
- Kyron Bacon (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) 1:17:18.648
- Korey McMahon (Gas Gas Offroad Racing Team) 1:20:11.812
- Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) 1:21:30.235
- Blake Hollis (Shop Yamaha Offroad racing Team) 1:22:11.098
- William Price (Empire Kawasaki) 1:24:05.489
It’s been Greenie’s week here in Cherrabah, as he kicked off the 2022 season in style. Aboard his WRF, Green took out gold with a total time of 1:18:28.993. Fellow teammate Michael Driscoll safely retained his second place spot on the E2 leaderboard, ahead of Husqvarna’s Todd Waters, with a total time of 1:20:19.649.
Waters finished his second day of Sprints with a 1:20:36.790, just shy of 17 seconds behind Driscoll.
Just behind Waters was Fraser Higlett (Beta), who just couldn’t crack into the top three before the clock ran out.
“Brutal tracks here in Cherrabah so it was hard to stay consistent through the day,” confirmed Green.
“Yesterday I played it pretty safe and it paid off with the win. Today I had a little bit of drama so I had to play catch-up but ended up with the win again!
“I’m super stoked with the result this weekend and looking forward to heading to Mackay.”
2022 AORC E2 Top 5 Provisional Results:
- Joshua Green (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) 1:18:28.993
- Michael Driscoll (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) 1:20:19.649
- Todd Waters (Husqvarna Offroad Racing Team) 1:20:36.790
- Fraser Higlett (Beta) 1:21:34.144
- Callum Norton (Motul Pirelli Sherco Racing Team) 1:24:07.896
Well, we can comfortably say that Wilksch has returned from Europe with confidence and high speeds, as he claims back-to-back class wins! The Husqvarna rider clocked a total time of 1:18:14.032, claiming gold ahead of Motul Pirelli Sherco Team’s Jonte Reynders.
With a total time of 1:19:50.082, Reynders settled for second, while KTM’s Stefan Granquist took out third with a time of 1:21:36.470.
“Awesome to get the win this weekend,” confirmed Wilksch.
“The tracks were definitely challenging and a little bit more technical than I’ve experienced in the past in AORC. My experience in Europe definitely paid off coming into this weekend.
“I just worked to keep it smooth and consistent and it paid off! Good weekend overall and I’m still earning little bits and pieces with the new bike. Looking forward to getting to work before the next round.”
2022 AORC E3 Top 5 Provisional Results:
- Andrew Wilksch (Simford Racing, Husqvarna) 1:18:14.032
- Jonte Reynders (Motul Pirelli Sherco Team) 1:19:50.082
- Stefan Granquist (KTM Offroad Racing Team) 1:21:36.470
- Broc Grabham 1:24:52.825
- Hayden Keeley 1:25:45.325
Every year, this absolute speed demon proves his complete comfort battling it out with the top dogs. Hargy rode right into first place today with a total time of 1:23:33.689, enjoying a well deserved consecutive EJ class win.
No less a demon behind the handlebars, Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) was roughly 45 seconds behind Hargy, settling into second place with a total time of 1:24:17.177. Last place was awarded to William Dennett, who clocked 1:32:31.659 after seven laps.
2022 AORC EJ Top 5 Provisional Results:
- Billy Hargy (Husqvarna Offroad Racing Team) 1:23:33.689
- Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) 1:24:17.177
- William Dennett 1:32:31.659
- Campbell Hall (Halls Transport Repairs) 1:34:11.599
- Kobi Wolff 1:35:00.565
12 months off? You couldn’t tell, as Gardiner asserted dominance in EW all weekend. With a total time of 1:38:29.934, Gardiner was well ahead of her competition, by nearly six minutes!
The podium was filled out by KTMs, with Ebony Nielson clinching second place with a total time of 1:44:43.125. Emelie Karlsson (KTM Offroad Racing Team) claimed third, with a total time of 1:51:40.644.
“It was a really good weekend for me,” gushed Gardiner.
“I won both days in EW, which I didn’t really expect. It was hard to know what to expect after nearly 12 months off but it feels really good to still be on top and chasing my seventh title this year!
“The track conditions were really physical. When we got down to the last two laps, I was definitely focussing on just making it through. Overall it paid off and I’m really happy with the result!”
2022 AORC EW Top 5 Provisional Results:
- Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) 1:38:29.934
- Ebony Nielsen 1:44:43.125
- Emelie Karlsson (KTM Offroad Racing Team) 1:51:40.644
- Julie Denyer 2:01:36.262
- Charlotte Gamble 2:06:16.091
Competitors will now head to Mackay, Queensland for Round 3 & 4, from 8-9 April for back-to-back Enduro. Find out more here.
Words by Caitlin Hynes. Images by Troy Pears.