News 9 Mar 2010

AORC: Off-Road kicks off this weekend at Port Macquarie

Toby Price will defend his AORC title with KTM this season.

Toby Price will defend his AORC title with KTM this season.

Dozens of local riders will be among the hundreds from across Australasia who will line-up for the Port Mac Piston, the opening round of the 2010 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) being held at Port Macquarie, NSW, on 13-14 March.

Competition will be fierce at the hotly anticipated event, with last year’s winner, Motorex KTM’s Toby Price set to go head-to-head with runner-up, five-time world champ, Stefan Merriman (Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha).

The race is being organised by Motorcycling Australia in conjunction with the Hasting’s Valley Motorcycle Club.

Last year’s Yamaha AORC rounds one and two Outright winner Stefan Merriman said he expected competition to be even tougher this year than it was in 2009.

“The young guys coming up are getting faster and there’s a lot of talent in the field,” Merriman said. “I’m feeling confident about this season, I’m very determined to win this year, but it is going to be tough.”

Toby Price, who will be defending the AORC title he won last year in his rookie season, said there was a bit more pressure on him to stay at the pointy end of the field in 2010.

“It’s all looking good. I’m fit and healthy and hopefully I’ll stay injury free before next weekend,” Price said. “It’s gonna be tough this year… I’m just gonna try and do what I did last year, come in and have fun – as long as you’re having fun you’re going to do good.”

Club president Tony Brown said riders would be in for a treat with heaps of new trail being cut in and “a lot of effort” going into the track and venue set-up.

“There’s a real buzz about the event already in Port and the surrounding areas,” Brown said. “We’re expecting a good number of riders, including about 20 to 30 locals, they’d be mad not to race – the tracks are gonna be real good.

“The opening rounds of the AORC have been held at our track for several years and it’s always been a great event for the local area as it brings in a lot of dollars and a great opportunity for local people to come out and enjoy this sport.

“We should get a good number of spectators, too. We’ve been advertising it a lot, MA provided us with posters that we have put up all over town so everyone’s getting to know about it.”

Brown said months of preparation had been put into the tracks. He said they had already started double bunting and setting up ‘interesting’ parts of the circuit for spectators, including a ‘corkscrew’ in the middle of the grass track.

“The two tracks will again include parts of the bush and the motocross track, and we’ve made sure to make new track so riders won’t be on the same old stuff,” he said.

Gates at the Hastings Valley Motorcycle Raceway will open to the public at 9.00am on 13-14 March. Admission is just $5.00 per adult, while children under 14 are free.

The Yamaha AORC includes the following Australian Championship classes: GP Industries E1, Yamaha E2, Pirelli E3, RK Chains Veteran’s, Master’s, Motul Women’s and Junior Class 1,2,3,4 & 5, as well as a host of support classes including Polisport Expert E1, Endura Expert E2/E3, Clubman E1, Clubman E2/3 and Clubman Veteran’s.

The 2010 Yamaha AORC is a 12-round championship held over six weekends. The opening round at Port Macquarie will be ran in a cross-country format (class mass start, most championship classes race for 2.5-hours flat out). Round two will be ran in sprint format (several laps of the bush/motocross track racing against the clock).