2020 AORC Class of Champions
The Motorcycling Australia Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), presented by MXstore, 2020 Class of Champions are super excited about adding new trophies to their cabinets.
The season provided spectacular racing and we caught up with your 2020 AORC Champions.
In part 1 today and part 2 tomorrow we speak to our 2020 Class of Champions.
In the E1 class saw a three-way dog fight between Active8 Yamaha Yamalubes Luke Styke, KTM Enudoro Racing Team rider Mason Semmens and Kyron Bacon, with only 1 point separating Styke and Semmens. Impressive form young Tasmanian Kyron Bacon to get on the podium after being the 2019 EJ Champion.
Styke and Semmens both traded wins on the first weekend of racing, however with Styke claiming the win in the Enduro format in Round 3, he was then able to claim the E1 Championship win for the third year running.
What was tantalising about this result is that Semmens came across from motocross and adapted to the off-road from the drop of the green flag at round 1 to follow in the footsteps as Styke did previously when he made the switch back in 2018.
“The 2020 AORC is a weird thing to say after only 4 rounds, and to be named a champion, but I’ll take it,” said Styke laughing.
“This is my third championship in a row in the E1 class and ticks off another goal I had coming into the season.
Thank you to the team for their support and also the work MA did in trying to keep the championship up and running during such a difficult time,
“The biggest thing I would say is a massive thank you to all our loyal sponsors still helping us through these bad times and continued support, Yamaha is clearly the best company to race under. And can’t wait for many more years under the blue truck, Gas imports for the awesome Thor gear, Michelin for that fresh rubber, and all the associated sponsors that help me and the team to go race, thank you.”
While on paper it looks as though KTM Enduro Racing Daniel Milner dominated the E2 he was under constant pressure from Active8 Yamaha Yamalubes Josh Green and off-road newcomer MX Champion Todd Waters (Berry Sweet Husqvarna) who looked promising.
Whilst Milner was 15 points clear to take first place, it went to the wire for second place with only 2 points separating Green (60 points), Waters (59 points) and Driscoll (58points) in his first year on the 450. Green has continued his consistency as the reliable AORC Veteran with yet another AORC Championship Podium.
Milner took out his forth successive Championship since his return after his American stint back in 2016. Since 2017 and Joining KTM Australia, Milner has won three E2 Championships going back to back this year and taking out E3 in 2018.
Milner also takes the perpetual ADB Outright Trophy as the quickest rider of the AORC field for 2020.
“I’m stoked to come away with my 4th AORC outright and 3rd E2 title, making it my 9th Australian outright title,” said an ecstatic Milner.
“2020 has been a crazy year forcing the AORC to be cut short after only 3 rounds. Despite this I was still lucky enough to come out swinging from the get go and clean sweep the 3 rounds we were able to race.
“I couldn’t have done it without my team and GJ Kearney, the guy who made everything happen. There is no way I could have achieved what I have without this guy.
“Scott Keegan, my 2020 team manager who bent over backwards for myself and team mate Mason Semmens My mechanic Michael Carusi that works so hard to make my bike and myself feel bulletproof week in and week out.
“The cook/legend Garry Blizzard for keeping me fed and full of laughter and Mason Semmens mechanic Jordan Yeo for looking after us all.
“Also, last but not least, all our team sponsors and my personal sponsors that make it possible to chase our dreams @ktm.australia @wearelusty @ridedunlopau @fmf73 @precision_racing @beatonsproformula @kustommx @imsproducts @officialngksparkplugs @troyleedesignsau @choicesuspension @wpsuspensionaunz @motorexaus @twin_air @ficeda_acc @scottmotosports @vortexignitions @gallbrosmedical @revolutionspinfit @recover8_au @pakenham_mazda @uswesports_au @atlasbrace @odigripsau @shoeihelmetsaus @mcleodaccessoriesaus @victoriablinds @choicesuspension @collins779.
“I’m excited to see what next year brings us and what we can achieve”
Rally Racing bound and former Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Rider Daniel Sanders, showed why he is the current World Champion, dominating the E3 class with speed on the big bore FE 501.
Sanders knocked off Tasmanian hard charger and one the quickest 2 strokes in field on his 300 2 stroke Motul Perrili Shercro rider Jonte Reynders and former team-mate Fraser Higlett took third.
Sanders won his third successive championship in 2020 and fifth overall. After Sanders returned home form the World Championships in 2018 he would return to take out the E2 Championship and has now gone on to claim back to back E3 Championships.
Sanders is currently on track racing in the Andalucia Rally and was unavailable to comment on his 2020 Championship win.
In the EJ Under 18’s class Korey McMahon has risen from third in 2019 to take out the Championship win this year narrowly by two three points over young gun and bLU cRU Off-Road racing team rider Blake Hollis, with Samuel Pretscherer taking out the final place on the podium.
“It is great to be crowned Australian EJ Champion for 2020 however it was a season we never saw coming, said McMahon.
“It would have been great to race all rounds and prove my full potential as going into the 2020 season I was feeling well prepared and confident being injury free and having KTM Australia backing me.
“Winning rounds 1 and 2 in Toowoomba was my plan to start off on the right foot. Round 3, I experienced minor mechanical issues leaving me disappointed in 2nd place as I know I had the speed which was proved in the later test results.
“Overall it is a bitter sweet feeling taking out my second Australia off road championship in the way that it was, but still over the moon to get the Championship in my final year in the EJ Class.
“Big shout out to the team at AORC for trying to complete the season and crown all of the 14 Australian Champions, Thanks guys as this means a lot to us riders.
“A massive thanks goes out to GK from KTM for giving me the opportunity to race this year under KTM and the whole KTM enduro team for all the advice and help along the way as well as all the other people behind me Motorex oils ,Mal and Robyn and their team from Suttos Powersports , Benny from SRD suspension/WP suspension, the whole team at Kenda Tires, Fineline Fabrications, mum and dad at Magwheel repairs, Mat from Motokit Graphics, Cassons Australia Motocycles and all the associated sponsors Gaerne boots, O’neal race gear, Bell helmets.”
In the Women’s class Jessica Gardiner was again in a class of her own taking three wins from three and wrapping an amazing sixth championship win to continue to make AORC history.
Emelie Karlsson battled with Emma Milesevic for second with only two points separating these ladies, Karlsson ultimately taking second spot with Milesevic in third continuing on her impressive display after switching full time from MX to Off-Roads.
“It’s good to secure the championship again, all be it in a strange way,” Gardiner said.
“I love racing and have missed it so much since the restrictions have been in place, but MA waited as long as they could to try and get the season up and running again.
“Hopefully things return to normal next year and we can get back to racing as we knew it.”
In the return of the popular 2 Stroke class to the AORC, only 5 points separated the top three in an epic battle of the Yamaha’ s with Brad Hardaker, Young Queenslanders Harrison Teed and Motul Pirelli Sherco rider Dalton Johnson taking third in his return to the AORC scene.
“Well this class suited me, as I work full time during the week I don’t get much time to train on the bike,” said Hardaker.
“It’s so hard to compete with all these top guys who get to train every day. I’ve been chasing an AORC podium for many years now, coming 4th in the E1 twice and 4th in E2 last year.
“I can’t thank the entire bLU cRU Yamaha Off Road team enough for their endless help and a massive thanks to AJ Roberts for building me an absolute monster of a two stroke to ride.
“Also a massive shout out to @weararelusty for the endless supply of gear, keeping me looking fresh.
“As for next year I’m not sure where the sport will take me but I’m sure AORC will be back stronger than ever and with all this young talent in the field the sport has a very bright future.”
In the over 35’s class of Veterans Lee Stephens has claimed back to back Championships, holding off the challenge from the 2018 Champion in Richard Chibnall who would finish in second place. Chris Thomas held out 2017 champion Jason Pearce and was able to claim the remaining spot on the podium for third place.
“It is a great feeling to get back to back vets championships and even better to have my 2 boys on the podiums in their classes,” said Stephens.
“Even though this year was cut short there was still a lot of effort put in at the start of 2020 which payed off.
“I would like to thank all the people and sponsors that make it all happen for me and my family including True painting, KTM Newcastle, KTM Australia, Maxxis tyres, Wearelusty, Scipio, Troy Lee designs, Forma boots, MSC products, Uni filter, Anonymous gloves, and most of all Kristy-Lee.”
Yamaha Motor Australia rider Kirk Hutton has gone back to back in the Over 45’s Masters Championship taking a win in each of the three rounds. Kirk had planned to take the year off to develop his young up and coming sons to race although made a comeback just for the initial rounds and came up trumps to win the Championship. Andrew Gilam would claim second place with South Australian Peter Rudd in third place.
“I feel honoured and a sense of achievement to be able to win another Australian championship at age 47 although the series was cut short I thoroughly enjoyed the first 3 rounds,” said Hutton.
“It brings me great pleasure to be able to share these experiences with my sons who are also racing enduro quite well. It is great fun and a real family atmosphere. Looking forward to going enduro racing with them next year.
“We could not do all of this without the help of my awesome wife and daughter along with grandma and grandad!! Our awesome sponsors include: Yamaha Motor Australia, Belle property Samford, Dunlop tyres, Forma boots, Yamalube oils, GYTR, CTI knee braces, FXR.”
Tomorrow we will feature our other 2020 AORC Class of Champions.