Notes from trackside in Queensland at the opening rounds of the season.
We’re at rounds one and two of the 2019 Yamaha bLU cRU Australian Off-Road Championship, held at Toowoomba in Queensland. Express is a compilation of our pit notes from across the weekend so far.
– Once again, Daniel Milner (KTM Enduro Racing Team) and Daniel Sanders (Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team) can’t seem to separate themselves – the duo finishing just seconds apart in today’s opening round in the overall classification. They both had moments today that managed to tear up their gear and bash their bikes, but they both rebounded quite strongly to win in their classes.
– Speaking of Milner, you may have noticed he’s now wearing a Shoei helmet. In previous years, he’s always worn a Troy Lee Designs lid, which is the team’s official gear sponsor, however the AORC, ISDE, and A4DE champion has managed the strike a deal to wear the premium brand. On a side not, teammate Lyndon Snodgrass is still rocking TLD.
– The track conditions this weekend are brutal! A severe lack of rain has resulted in a fine, powdery surface that’s creating an incredible amount of dust. Due to that, officials have released riders in 30-second intervals. That, paired with the fact that around 100 riders took to the pro circuit today meant only five tests were run.
– Kawasaki Motors Australia is back in off-road racing domestically, supporting the Kawasaki Castrol outfit. It’s great to see the brand throw some backing behind a team in the championship, as the AORC doesn’t quite have the extensive manufacturer support of say motocross, supercross, and even road racing.
– While an AORC event is probably the last place you’d think to have a corporate area, Toowoomba has exactly that. Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing has set-up a VIP area on the infield viewing area, where attendees have drinks on offer, live music playing all day, and most importantly, the best seat in the house.
– The E1 category is proving to be the class to be in this year! Stacked with talent, particularly youthful talent, four riders from the division made up the top 10 outright times today. That’s pretty impressive considering they’re all equipped with 250c machinery.
– A headline news story this weekend is the return of four-time EnduroGP world champion Matthew Phillips in the AORC. Piloting KTM machinery, the Tasmanian was fifth in E1 and 11th outright. It’s so cool to have a four-time world champ on-track, and once he finds his feet, it will be interesting to see what he can deliver.