News 7 Aug 2017

Bittersweet finale for Husqvarna's Stanford

HQVA press release:

There was mixed emotion for Husqvarna Off-Road Team lead rider Lachlan Stanford as he weighed up the fortunes of racing at the conclusion of this year’s Australian Off-Road Championship finale at Omeo.

Stanford was extremely pleased to have just registered his career-highest AORC outright finish in third, but his joy was curtailed at having missed out on his first E3 championship – literally by the narrowest possible margin.

A round earlier, the 26-year-old from Byron Bay had pulled out all the stops at his ‘home’ track at Kyogle, finishing as close to tearaway championship leader Daniel Milner as anyone had with second outright, and regaining the big-bore championship lead on his Husqvarna FE 501, from rival Lyndon Snodgrass.

At Omeo, however, he wasn’t able to repeat the dose, and despite his best efforts he finished Saturday’s round second in class behind Snodgrass and third outright.

He risked even more on Sunday, but the gamble never paid off and after what he describes as the “biggest crash I’ve ever had”, in the day’s second sprint, he finished 14th outright. Stanford miraculously managed to salvage second in class however, by the end of yesterday’s round.

In the final washup Stanford and Snodgrass finished with the same amount of first and second place finishes, leaving victory to the rider with the highest final-round finish.

For his part, Stanford equalled his best class result of second in E3, while his outright third place finish is one better than his career best result of fourth, achieved last year.

Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider Broc Grabham was unable to take any part in the final round, still carrying the effects of an injured shoulder sustained at Kyogle.

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Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Christian Horwood: “It’s good for Lachy, he’s had his best AORC season outright, and each year he’s taken steps forward, which has been good to see. It’s disappointing for him that he had a big crash and got stuck down the big ravine and lost a heap of time. He did really well to claw his way back to second in E2 for the day and finish on equal points with Lyndon in the championship. He and Lyndon had an intense battle all year, and it’s great to finish the year off with podium finishes. Lewie’s done a great job preparing the bikes each round, and Kevvie and Dave have done a great job each weekend. I’m not sure whether finishing equal on points and losing is less or more frustrating, but as a team it’s been a great year and we came very close to winning that E3 championship.”

Lachy Stanford (FE501): “I’m gutted to miss out on the title for the boys and for Husqvarna, but it’s been a good year and it’s good to have moved forward.The cross country on Saturday was good; I got my way into second behind Lyndon for a lap or two, then Milner got around both of us and they gapped me that little bit and I couldn’t hang on. Today I was confident, because my fastest lap yesterday was faster than Lyndon’s, but in the first sprint I hit a log and crashed, and then in the second I just pushed that little bit too much and had probably the biggest crash of my life. I got kicked and went over the bars and went three metres down this embankment and then cartwheeled with the bike. I got stuck down there for a while and lost nearly two minutes, which sucked. We were fighting for that championship, and all I had to do was beat Lyndon and I just made mistakes after mistakes and then that happened. But it’s been a good series, it’s been fun battling with Lyndon. To finish third outright is my best result, it’s just a shame on the championship side. I want to shout out to Lewie, Chistian, Kev and Dave, who once again did an awesome job. My FE 501 didn’t miss a beat all year and just felt great.”