After eleven rounds, six weekends the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) concluded last weekend at Hedley in Victoria. Here is our season wrap on the season that was…
Its fair to say that Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) simply dismantled his rivals this year in the E3 category. The 25-year-old was in a class of his own taking the round win in every race this year. Sanders’ stats in the E3 category continues to grow as he now has racked up 22 victories from a total of 35 round starts.
This year’s championship marks Sanders’ fourth title in the AORC series. He now has taken out the 19 & Under Championship in 2014, E2 title in 2018 and the E3 championship this year and 2016.
Sanders’ nearest rival throughout the year was Andrew Wilksch (Motul Pirelli Sherco Racing Team), who was 63-points behind who managed to stand on the podium at every round, apart from round three.
The biggest upset for the year would have to be Beau Ralston (Husqvarna), who injured himself. Ralston scored second place at the first six rounds of the year before his season was put on hold, so it’s a case of what could have been. At the end of the championship, Ralston found himself in sixth place in the standings with 148-points to his name. Jesse Lawton (Thor MX) was able to salvage third place in the championship and get back to finish in the championship and finish off his best season.
Just like Sanders in the E3 class, Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team) also made the season his own in the E2 class by romping to victory in every round this year. Josh Green (Active8 Yamaha Yamlube) tried everything he could to put up a fight to Milner but was unable to prevail and had to settle finishing second in all of the eleven rounds this year. Still, it was an improvement from last year as Green did finish third in 2018 with six seconds places and three third places.
Yamaha MXStore Ballards Off Road Team’s Jérémy Carpentier, who made the jump from E1 to E2 this year certainly put on a solid show in 2019. With seven visits to the podium this year and three top five finishes, it was enough to hand the Frenchman third place for the year finishing 37-points behind Green.
Brad Hardaker (Banana Coast Pest), who took out third place at round six battled through injuries in the first part of the year was still pretty consistent, which showed in his overall position for the year. At the end of the jigsaw puzzle Hardaker finished in fourth place, scoring 148-points for the year.
Active8 Yamaha Yamalube’s Luke Styke has become the second rider in the sports history to win back-to-back championships in the E1 division. Styke, who now has 15 wins in the E1 class just held onto the championship win by 18-points, beating Lyndon Snodgrass (KTM Enduro Racing Team), who last year finished second in the E2 championship.
Fraser Higlett (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) this year dropped from second to third in the overall standings. Unlike last year, his season has not exactly been consistent. Last saw Higlett scoring two race wins, six seconds and two thirds, while this year he has only been able to win one round, which came at the fifth round, one second and five thirds. The third place in the championship went all the way down to the wire between Higlett and last year’s EJ champion, Michael Driscoll (Active8 Yamaha Yamalube). Driscoll just missed out on third place by three points.
For 2019, Kyron Bacon (MX Store, KTM) leaped up to the EJ class after finishing second in last year’s J4 category. A total of seven round wins, two second places and third places saw the 17-year-old winning the title beating Josh Brierley (Husqvarna), who again finished second in the EJ class for another year running, by 30-points.
Last years J4 champion, Korey McMahon (KTM), round the EJ championship in third place, eight points off Brierley and along the way picked up three second places and seven second place finishes to his credit.
Once again Jess Gardiner (Yamaha MX Store Ballards Off Road Team) proved just to good for the field, racking up her fifth championship, which has not been done in the sports history in the Women’s class. Not only that, but the 26-year-old of course has scored over 2000 championship points and after the weekend just gone, she now has a total of 2,063 championship points to her name.
While Gardiner might be the Queen at her game at the moment, Honda RideRed’s Emma Milesevic has proven to be a future star of the sport. After switching from motocross to AORC this year, the Victorian based rider came on strong from the word get go. Her first-round win came at Broken Hill and took out another win in South Australia at the ninth round of the championship. In total, nine podium finishes for the Honda rider who finished 28-points off from Gardiner.
Milesevic just hung onto second place in the championship tussle, beating Emelie Karlsson (Yamaha) just one slender point. What was looking like a winless year coming up for the Swedish rider, Karlsson broke through during Saturday’s cross-county event to win her fourteenth AORC round win, beating Milesevic and Gardiner.
Danielle Foot guided the #885V Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road machine to fourth place in the championship, which was also her first year in the AORC series.
The J4 class was the closest finish out of all the championships in the AORC series. Mackenzie Johnson took out the championship by one point ahead of Blake Hollis. Round eight and nine which Hollis missed proved to be costly in the end. However, it is what it is…
Riley McGillivray took out the J3 class by locking up ten round wins for the year. 44-points down on him was Kodi Stephens.
It was back-to-back championship wins for Billy Hargy in the J2 class, who finished 14-points ahead of Max Phillips and Campbell Hall who was 21-points down.
Masters & Vets
Kirk Hutton won every round bar the final two rounds, purely because there was no need for him to roll up as he locked up the title the round before. This left Peter Rudd to finish second in the championship, but took out the final two rounds. It was really a two-horse race between the pair.
Lee Stephens to had a great year. He took out a total of nine wins which handed him the title win over Chris Thomas and former 2017 Veterans champ Jason Perace.
This brings the 2019 AORC season to a close, proving that Australia’s Enduro talent is growing in leaps and bounds. Please stay tuned for further AORC updates as well as the 2020 calendar, which will be released in due course.
Click here for a complete run down on all the championship standings.
Don’t miss a minute of the action of the 2019 and upcoming 2020 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. Don’t forget to download the Official AORC app via Team App. It’s as easy as download Team App and search ‘AORC’!
Images: Russell Colvin