Gnarly, awesome, sick. Those were just some of the words used to describe the conditions here in Dungog, New South Wales for Round 3 of the 2020 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore (AORC). With recent rainfall leaving the landscape green and slick, all bets were off for this weekend’s two-day Enduro.
Over eight laps stretching nearly 50 km in length per lap, our competitors tackled tacky, grassy conditions before the rain rolled in, throwing one big curveball that added extra demands on each rider’s physical and mental perseverance.
Coming out victorious, albeit covered in classic AORC mud, was Yamaha Active8 Yamalube’s Luke Styke in E1, KTM Enduro Racing Team’s Daniel Milner in E2 and Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team’s Daniel “Chucky” Sanders in E3.
After the jolting results from Rounds 1 & 2 back in Toowoomba, fans were none the wiser as to whether Styke or Mason Semmens (KTM Enduro Racing Team) would dominate the test times in Dungog. Today’s results proved two things: first, that Styke’s injured foot isn’t causing him nearly as much pain compared to Rounds 1 & 2, and second, the Yamaha racer will fight tooth and nail to get that gold.
Clocking in an accumulated total time of 41:09, Styke took out first place ahead of Semmens, by just over 40 seconds. Rounding out the podium for Round 3 was 2019 EJ Champion, Kyron Bacon (MXstore, Yamaha Motor Australia) who finished a challenging day aboard his Yamaha with a total time of 43:28.
“Today was tough at round lunchtime when the rain rolled in,” reflects Styke.
“Overall though I’m really happy with how today went. The tracks were tight and technical to begin with and after the sun came out in the morning we got a couple great runs in. But once the rain started, the conditions were super slippery.”
2020 AORC Round 3 Top 8 Provisional Results:
- Luke Styke (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube) 41:09
- Mason Semmens (KTM Enduro Racing Team) 41:52
- Kyron Bacon (MXstore, Yamaha Motor Australia) 43:28
- Corey Hammond 44:16
- Joshua Kilvington 46:07
- Lachlan Allan (Kawasaki Motors Australia Valvoline Team) 46:30
- Kye Malone 47:25
- Jeremy Franklin 52:05
A vision in KTM signature orange, Milner set the bar high early into today’s near 50km laps. Across the WR450F and Ballards MXstore test tracks, the 2019 E2 Champion finished Round 3 with a total time of 39:31. Milner also scored the fastest time for the day.
Behind Milner with one hell of a fire in his belly was Michael Driscoll (bLU cRU Off-Road Racing Team), who continued his impressive streak in Toowoomba to finish in second place for Round 3. With a total time of 41:20, Driscoll beat coach and fellow Yamaha racer Josh Green by just over nine seconds.
Green rode into the third and final podium position for today, with a total time of 41:29.
MX Champion, Todd Waters (Berry Sweet, Husqvarna) tackled newfound challenges today with his first ever Enduro racing format. With unfamiliar conditions that became more difficult as the day went on, especially due to rainfall, Waters finished Round 3 in sixth place.
“I am stoked with how today went,” gushes Driscoll.
“The conditions were great in the morning but got tough after midday, but I was able to push on and stick it to the big boys who train full time. It really drives home to me that I am doing something right.”
2020 AORC Round 3 Top 10 Provisional Results:
- Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team) 39:31
- Michael Driscoll (bLU cRU Off-Road Racing Team) 41:20
- Josh Green (Yamaha Active8 Yamalube) 41:29
- Broc Grabham 42:23
- Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha Ballards MXstore Off-Road Racing Team) 42:41
- Todd Waters (Berry Sweet, Husqvarna) 42:46
- Andy Wilksch (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) 42:49
- Beau Ralston (Hunter Valley Motorsport, Kawasaki) 42:51
- Stefan Granquist (Yamaha Motor Australia) 42:53
- Cooper Sheidow (Kessner Motorcycles, KTM) 43:10
It looked like Chucky struggled early in today’s racing with lengthened times during lap 2. But the knock didn’t shake the Husqvarna boarded racer, who comfortably carried on over eight laps to win first place. With a total time of 40:45, Chucky finished just over 50 seconds ahead of Jonte Reynders (Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team).
Rounding out the podium in E3 today was fan favourite Fraser Higlett (RJR Shopfitting, Husqvarna), with a total time of 42:19.
2020 AORC Round 3 Top 10 Provisional Results:
- Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) 40:45
- Jonte Reynders (Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team) 41:36
- Fraser Higlett (RJR Shopfitting, Husqvarna) 42:19
- Hayden Keeley 43:04
- Matt Murry 44:38
- Simon Cox 47:04
- Luke Bunnik (Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team) 47:37
- Ethan Baillie 47:42
- Daniel Welsh 48:16
- Chris Reading 49:04
AORC returns to Dungog tomorrow, bright and early for Round 4 of the 2020 racing season. Due to recent heavy rainfall, Round 4 will change to a Sprint format.
Stay up to date with all the happenings of the 2020 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship by visiting the AORC website at www.aorc.org.au , Facebook or @aorc on Instagram. Don’t forget to download the Official AORC app via Team App. It’s as easy as download Team App and search ‘AORC’!
Images courtesy of Troy Pears.
Words by Caitlin Hynes.