Yamaha Motor Australia press release:
Yamalube Yamaha Active8 Racing locked up two more Australian Off Road Championships at the final weekend of racing at Omeo in Victoria with Luke Styke and Michael Driscoll capturing the E1 (250cc) and EJ (Under 19) divisions and caps off another successful year for the team.
Luke Styke has been a revelation since changing over from motocross to off-road in 2018 and secured his first AORC championship with another commanding performance. Already the Australian Four Day Champion in the E1 class, Styke can now add the Australian Off-Road crown to his resume and he motored to another superb finish on the weekend.
In dry and dusty conditions, Styke needed nothing more than a cool and calculated ride at the penultimate round on Saturday at Omeo and that’s exactly what he produced. He rolled across the finish line of the Cross-Country event to take the class win and was swapped by his team as they settled the dust by covering the new Australian champion in champagne.
And with nothing but pride to ride for at the final round on Sunday, Styke went out all guns blazing to secure another round victory and make it nine round wins from the eleven in the championship to dominate the E1 class in season 2018.
“Racing off-road has been a great change in my career and one that has been rewarding for me,” Styke begins. “I have made a heap of new friends and I have enjoyed the challenge of racing a dirt bike in completely foreign surroundings.
“I set my sights high for the first year in off-road and I have met those goals so I’m proud of what I have been able to achieve in the last 12 months. The Yamalube Yamaha Active8 Team have been amazing in their support of me and the advice and help everyone on the team has provided me, including my team mates, has been amazing.
“Thank you to everyone on the team and at Yamaha for giving me the opportunity to prove myself in off road and having the belief in me. It’s been an awesome year and with a great group of people,” Styke ends.
Not to be out done by his team mate, Michael Driscoll has been on a winning spree of his own and he has decimated the opposition in the EJ (under 19) class in 2018. Already the reigning champ, Driscoll retained his crown in the most emphatic way possible; he won every round.
Driscoll scored eleven round wins from the eleven contested and defended his championship perfectly. He will now move up in 2019 but his development has shown he can mix it with the professionals of off-road racing and will be a contender in years to come.
“It’s been the perfect year for me and something you always hope will happen but vary rarely does,” says Driscoll of his perfect season. “But, probably the most important thing was learning the work ethic and dedication it takes to be racing at the highest level and now that I can see what riders like Luke and Josh do during the week, it inspired me to work harder and when I did, my outright results also improved.
“To get through 11 rounds without any major bike issues is a real testament to the team and I can’t thank AJ, Brandon, Aaron and Josh enough for their work and support throughout the year and now I’m looking forward to mixing it up with the big boys in 2019.”
Josh Green finished the year on the podium taking third in the championship standings in the E2 class on his WR450F. Green endured plenty of challenges throughout the year but kept soldiering on and his perseverance and dedication was rewarded with a podium position both at the final two rounds as well in the overall E2 championship, where he claimed third place.
Green took second in class in the Cross-Country and then backed that up with a third in the Sprint format in a gruelling weekend of racing but he was pleased that he kept fighting all the way to the end.
“It was a tough way to finish the championship, especially the Cross-Country on Saturday. That was taxing physically to be at race pace for over three hours but that is what off-road racing is all about.
“I really wanted to finish second in class and that was my goal coming into the final rounds, but I made a mistake on Sunday and fell which cost me a lot of time. Still, it’s been a great year with the team and we have worked together well for such a long period of time.”
Wil Ruprecht has suffered an injury ravaged season but managed to put together the last couple of rounds injury free and his results have improved dramatically. He charged to third place on Saturday in the Cross-Country, making it a team 2-3 with Green in the E2 class while he finished fourth on Sunday.
Missing so many rounds early in the season meant he championship hopes have long been dashed but he continued to work hard behind the scenes to regain his fitness and strength and as a reward for his dedication, he is now on a plane to contest a round of the Enduro GP in Germany on behalf of the Johansson Yamaha team.
“2018 wasn’t the season I wanted as I was sidelined with injury for large portions of it which makes it tough to race at your best, especially against the competition in Australia. The last few rounds have been better, but I still think I’m capable of more and with an injury free season and some continuous riding and training, I’m sure I can achieve them.
“Thanks to the Yamalube Yamaha Active8 Team for standing by me this year as their support has been priceless.”
There is no more contracted events for the Yamalube Yamaha Active8 Team for the 2018 season, so the team will get the chance to begin making plans for 2019.