Off-Road Observer: 30
The Yamaha WR450F features a five valve fuel injected engine housed in a YZ250F chassis. The current model WR450F heralds the biggest change since the introduction of that first WR400F. Yamaha designers, testers and engineers have revisited the drawing board and re-invented the new WR450F from the ground up.
Alex Gobert focuses on the world of off-road, presented by Yamaha's 2012 WR450F.
Close followers of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship would have been well aware that Conondale’s scheduled round for last weekend was cancelled due to weather in the region, reducing the AORC title chase to just 10 rounds instead of 12.
But instead of just pocketing the budget leftover from one less weekend of racing, many of the sport’s leading stars opted to line-up for the Appin round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals. Most have motocross experience, so it was a nice opportunity to get amongst the likes of Josh Coppins and co.
Now we here at MotoOnline are primarily motocross reporters, with a mix of off-road and the odd FMX report completing our coverage. To see motocross and off-road combine in some ways for a weekend, we were particularly pumped – and it would be just as cool if the MX guys tried their hand in the AORC for a guest appearance!
Of course, stealing all the headlines ahead of Appin was Motorex KTM Off Road Racing’s Toby Price, who has been unstoppable in the AORC, Finke and at Hattah so far in 2012. You name it, Toby has won it, although going up against the moto regulars at their own game was never going to be an easy task.
Price impressed with 10th in qualifying, ahead of JDR/KTM Factory Racing MX1 regular Dan Reardon and returning Monster Energy Kawasaki contender Billy Mackenzie. That right there was enough to make you stand up and take notice before that gates even dropped.
In the end, Price rode to 12-12-13 results in the trio of motos, ending up 12th overall for the weekend. It wasn’t the top 10 finish that he was hoping for, but considering the depth of the field, there’s every chance he could have bumped up into the top five had things gone his way.
It wasn’t only Price who impressed on Sunday, with privateer Yamaha rider Stefan Granquist taking out 15th overall. In fact, he starred in moto two with an 11th place finish ahead of Price, proving that he can certainly get it done on a motocross track.
Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing team rider Josh Green was another off-roader on hand, and he was also in the points during all three motos for 16th overall. To put it in perspective, points are paid for top 20 finishes and they are by no means easy to score unless you can twist the throttle with the best of them.
Two positions behind him was Daniel Milner, the Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road rider who has been ultra impressive in the E1 ranks of the AORC this year. Again, Milner rode into the points all day long and no doubt had a ball doing so.
A familiar face for many in the MX2 class was Glen Kearney, riding a Husqvarna TC 250 in the MX Nationals for his second appearance of the season after he also rode Coonabarabran. Against some of the most intense competition we have, GK scored 25-21-18 finishes in the motos, picking up two points for his relentless efforts.
It was cool to see, and it was just one more step toward linking the off-road side of racing in Australia closer to motocross, which is the pinnacle of the sport when it comes to national dirt bike series. Given more time and race experience, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these off-road guys could compete closer toward the front on a full-time basis!