Features 30 Oct 2012

Off-Road Observer: 43

Alex Gobert focuses on the world of off-road, presented by Yamaha's 2012 WR450F.

Another Australian Four-Day Enduro (A4DE) is in the books and for 2012 we saw a new winner in Ballard’s Yamaha Park and Fly Off-Road rider Daniel Milner at his home round in Warragul, Victoria. It was a dominant performance from day one for Milner, a real credit to both him and the YZ250F that out-paced the country’s best over the course of four days.

Milner, 21, from Lang Lang, lead the wet, cold and grueling race from day one, ending up with a total lead of about three-minutes in the championship E1 class and more than a minute and a half Outright.

“I’m so stoked to win an A4DE,” Milner said. “Finishing the final moto today was a monkey off the back, that’s for sure. As soon as I finished the final moto, it felt unreal. I was super relieved to have it over with and the Outright win for the first time – which has been a huge goal of mine ever since I was a kid.

Daniel Milner won his first Australian Four-Day Enduro at Warragul.

“Taking the win in my home town was also unreal – it felt amazing to have all the family there and all the supporters and all my mates were there too.
“Winning a four day gets me pretty hungry to do it again. Especially seeing that number one on the bike next year – just makes me want to hang onto it.”

Milner will now take on the best of the US in the GNCC finale at Loretta Lynn’s and, considering his recent form, he could well impress enough to land a fulltime seat in 2013 over there.

It was said that the A4DE had a selection of very tight tests and slick conditions also favoured the 250F in some ways, but Toby Price and the Motorex KTM Off Road Racing team were content with his second place Outright and class win in E3.

Price is hoping to also head to the US this week for the iconic Baja 500, but wasn’t yet 100 percent certain when I spoke to him yesterday. While he’s definitely not full fit, he’s keen to get over there and try his hand at Baja. The question remains what Price will be doing in 2013 as well, but he’s not yet signed with anybody and is said to have received interest from Honda along with an offer from his current KTM team.

Despite broken ribs, Toby Price raced to second Outright and won E3 at the A4DE.

The fact that Price has suspected interest from Honda is interesting, because if they did sign him it would signal a very serious assault from the brand in the AORC. Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing had Peter Boyle in the four-day, finishing third in the ultra competitive E1 ranks and seventh Outright. It was official enough for the team to mention his performance in its post-race supercross press release…

Another question mark at this point is Yamaha’s factory team. With Geoff Ballard retiring at the end of this year, motocross team owner Craig Dack has been linked to off-road, and was on hand at the A4DE last week before Phillip Island’s SX. It’s said Yamaha has a few options though, so we’ll wait and see on that.

One interesting battle at this year’s A4DE was that between Glenn Kearney and Matt Phillips, with the latter sneaking through for the E2 class victory late in the week. Kearney has some serious momentum on his side at the moment for Husqvarna and, depending what Price and Milner do next year, both he and Phillips are expected to be even stronger title threats in 2013.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a number of films to be uploaded from the A4DE!

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