2022 Australian Off-Road Championship Rounds 1 & 2 report
Images by Troy Pears
The weekend saw the 2022 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship presented by MXstore kick off the season in Cherrabah, Queensland with Rounds 1 and 2 held over two days, with competition proving fierce as riders returned from an almost year long AORC hiatus.
After six laps across two tests (the WR450F and Beta tracks), AORC Round 1 victory was claimed by 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 Offroad Racing Team) in EJ and Jessica Gardiner (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) in EW.
Reigning supreme in the season opener for the Juniors was Harley Hutton (Yamaha Motor Australia) in J1, Mason Phillips in J2, Levi Stephens (True Painting, KTM Newcastle) in J3, Jett Yarnold (Supermoto New England, Yamaha Australia) in J4, Danielle McDonald (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) in JG and Cooper Clarke in JJ.
For our Masters, Veterans and 2 Stroke Cup Round 1 was fought out over four laps across the Ballards MXstore test track, the victors were John Baker in EM and Lee Stephens (True Painting, KTM Newcastle) in EV. Over on the WR450F and Beta test tracks, Kane Hall took first place in the 2 Stroke Cup.
Round 1 Overall Top 10
Round 2 in comparison raced seven laps and the class 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.
It was nearly a mirror of Round 1 in Cherrabah in the Junior classes for Round 2, racing six Sprint laps across the Offroad Advantage test, and claiming consecutive wins was Harley Hutton (Yamaha Motor Australia), Mason Phillips, Jett Yarnold (Supermoto New England, Yamaha Australia), Danielle McDonald (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) and Cooper Clarke in J1, J2, J4, JG and JJ respectively.
After another day of Sprints, this time across the WR450F track, Christopher Thomas (Thomas Lee KTM) stole EV glory, John Baker took out a consecutive win in EM, while the 2 Stroke Cup battled across the Ballards MXstore and Beta test tracks today, and the winner after a hard fought battle, was Kane Hall.
Round 2 Overall Top 10
E1 Round 1
Round 1’s E1 podium was quickly established with Kyron Bacon, Korey McMahon (Gas Gas Offroad Racing Team) and Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha JGR Ballard’s Off Road team) in first, second and third place respectively.
Bacon’s teammate Blake Hollis made good time throughout but couldn’t crack into the top three, having to settle for fourth, ahead of William Price.
E1 Round 2
Bacon dominated the meeting, claiming consecutive class wins in E1 with the Round 2 victory, as well as the fastest overall time of 1:17:18.648. The Yamaha mounted rider 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 the day 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. 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.”
E2 Round 1
There was plenty of action in E2 today, as Fraser Higlett (Beta), Todd Waters (Husqvarna Offroad Racing Team) and Michael Driscoll (Shop Yamaha Offroad Racing Team) fought to secure their spots on the podium.
Green remained well ahead of the pack, demonstrating his long-serving prowess in Enduro, finishing with a total time of 1:26:00.326.
After hours in the saddle, the remaining two podium spots were clinched by Driscoll and Waters, with respective times of 1:28:20.138 and 1:28:22.905.
E2 Round 2
It’s been Greenie’s week in Cherrabah, as he kicked off the 2022 season in style. Aboard his WRF, Green took out the double with a total time of 1:18:28.993 for Round 2.
Teammate Michael Driscoll safely retained his second place spot on the E2 leaderboard, 17-seconds ahead of Husqvarna’s Todd Waters, with a total time of 1:20:19.649. Just behind Waters was Fraser Higlett (Beta).
“Brutal tracks here in Cherrabah so it was hard to stay consistent through the day. 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.”
E3 Round 1
Andrew Wilksch solidified his petition for the top spot in E3 this season, comfortably landing in first place with a total time of 1:25:55.205. The Husqvarna mounted rider remained ahead of the pack, building a lead time of just over one minute.
Second place was awarded to Sherco’s Jonte Reynders with a total time of 1:27:27.343, while third place was clinched by KTM Offroad Racing Team’s Stefan Granquist, rounding out bronze with a time of 1:29:36.139.
E3 Round 2
We can comfortably say that Wilksch has returned from Europe with confidence and high speeds, claiming back-to-back class wins. The Husqvarna rider clocked a total time of 1:18:14.032, claiming his second win of the weekend ahead of Motul Pirelli Sherco Team’s Jonte Reynders, while KTM’s Stefan Granquist took out third with a time of 1:21:36.470.
“Awesome to get the win this weekend, 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.”
EJ Round 1
Over in EJ, Hargy and Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) tangoed for that coveted top spot. After six laps Hargy came out victorious with an impressive lead of nearly 40 seconds and a total time of 1:31:45.069.
McGillivray took second place ahead of William Dennett and Campbell Hall (Halls Transport Repairs).
EJ Round 2
Bill Hargy rode like a demon right into first place with a total time of 1:23:33.689, enjoying a well deserved consecutive EJ class win.
Riley McGillivray (Shepparton Motorcycles, KTM) was roughly 45 seconds behind Hargy, settling into second, while William Dennett completed the podium, clocking 1:32:31.659 after seven laps.
EW Round 1
True to form and not missing a beat after nearly 12 months off from AORC, Jessica Gardiner well and truly won first place in EW. Finishing Round 1 with a total time of 1:47:32.579, Gardiner demonstrated her comfort on the WR450F and Beta test tracks, putting seven minutes between her and second place.
Ebony Nielsen rode comfortably into that second place, and third place was clinched by Emelie Karlsson (KTM Offroad Racing Team).
EW Round 2
Round 2 once again saw Jessica Gardiner was well ahead of her competition, this time by nearly six minutes. The podium was filled out by KTMs, with Ebony Nielson clinching second place and Emelie Karlsson (KTM Offroad Racing Team) third.
“It was a really good weekend for me. 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!”
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Kyron Bacon tops Queensland AORC Rounds 1 & 2 | MCNews
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