Yamaha Motor Australia press release:
With a record number of entries, strong media interest and near perfect weather conditions, the opening weekend of the Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship blasted off in Toowoomba over the weekend with the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing Team of Josh Green and Luke Styke right in the thick of the action.
A sprint format was in place all weekend, with three courses in use, combining everything from loamy grass track to rocky technical sections that made the weekend a challenge for all riders.
Green led the charge for the Yamaha team and battled on determinedly all weekend despite coming into the season opener under-prepared due to a heavy fall just two weeks ago. But the veteran came out all guns blazing on Saturday and posted times near the top of the outright list and took it up to the major players in off road. He finished the day in third-place in the highly competitive E2 (450cc) division and on both days shadowed Milner and Australian MX Champ, Todd Waters all weekend.
But for Green, the real challenge was maintaining his heath over the weekend and thanks to some smart thinking by the team who enlisted a physio to be on hand all weekend, Green stayed stronger than expected and left the opening round not only well placed, but confident in his bike and riding.
“Two weeks ago it was doubtful I would even be racing, so to not only be competing but also very competitive is a real bonus and I’m satisfied with the result from the weekend,” Green explains.
“As each day went on, I could feel my strength draining but on Saturday night, I was able to freshen up and tackle Sunday feeling pretty good.
“The bike was good all weekend, the team worked hard behind the scenes to ensure I had everything I needed and the interest in off road was as good as I have seen it so it’s awesome to see the promotion and energy in racing at the moment. We have a month until rounds three and four so hopefully I can continue to recover and hit them at 100%.
“But, glad to get through the weekend unscathed, land on the podium both days and get off to a good start in the 2020 championship,” Green ends.
Luke Styke assumed his position at the head of the E1 (250cc) as he has done for the previous two years and took another convincing victory on Saturday. But the Styke juggernaut was slowed on Sunday when he crashed heavily on Sunday on the second sprint lap that left him sore, sorry and battered.
Nursing a banged up elbow and reaggravating an ankle injury, Styke soldiered on for the remainder of the day. He clawed his way to third place in E1 on the day and his combined 1-3 results has in sitting second after the opening two rounds.
“Saturday was good and everything was on track but I got it all wrong in a rocky area of the course and fell onto my elbow and also got my ankle stuck under the bike. And I’m not sure what hurts most. I will have to get them both checked out as the pain in both is pretty high.
“I managed to finish and actually got better as the day went on, but I was no where near 100%. Thankfully the team had my back and encouraged me to keep plugging away and salvage what I could after the crash.
“My first priority will be to get both my elbow and ankle checked out and make a plan after that,” Styke signs off.
Rounds three and four of the AORC take place on March 14 and 15 at Dungog in New South Wales. With one eye on the next round and one eye on his riders, team manager, AJ Roberts is satisfied with the start his team made and praised both riders for the fighting qualities.
“Both riders faced a lot of challenges in the lead up and during the event but I like the way they both fought through them and are determined to be in the championship fight. Josh showed on Saturday that his speed is right there with the top guys and it was only one or two laps that dropped him from the leaders’ pace. He has a small break to improve his health and hopefully he can take some confidence from this weekend and come out firing at rounds three and four.
“For Luke, the crash must have been a good one as it rattled him for a bit there and it took him a few laps to regain his composure. Luke is pretty head strong, so you know he is never going to go down without a fight. We need to get a better diagnosis of his injuries and then decide on the best way forward from there,” Roberts said.