Five topics we've noticed as the 2020 series heads into round two this weekend.
In this instalment of Countdown, we highlight five early developments in the 2020 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) as the series heads to Dungog in New South Wales this weekend for rounds three and four.
5. Return of Wilksch:
Fresh from signing a deal with the Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team, Andy Wilksch was forced to miss the opening rounds in Toowoomba after suffering a back and pelvis injury in a pre-season crash. Remarkably, he’s been able to recover less than six weeks after the incident, and he’ll be in action for the first time this weekend in factory Husqvarna colours. While it’s anticipated he’ll ease his way back into it, he’ll still be a competitive force in the E2 category.
4. Sanders back to full strength:
It was no secret reigning E3 champion Daniel Sanders wasn’t fully prepared in Queensland, the Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider missing valuable bike time after suffering a wrist injury prior to christmas. He still dominated the category across both days, although he wasn’t able to edge Daniel Milner for the outright times. With a few additional weeks under his belt, we expecting him to come out swinging this weekend and challenge Milner for the top spot.
3. Styke overcomes injuries:
After claiming victory on day one in Queensland, dual E1 champion Luke Styke encountered a heavy fall on Sunday’s second round, which saw him push through severe pain to salvage third. The Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing underwent scans, but it appears there was no significant damage sustained to his elbow and ankle. He’ll be back to his competitive self this weekend, and it will be interesting to see if the E1 contenders will give him a run.
2. Motocross converts right in the mix:
Motocross regulars Todd Waters (Husqvarna), who will race both the AORC and MX Nationals this year, and Mason Semmens (KTM Enduro Racing Team), who’s made the full-time move to off-road, both proved to be highly-competitive and right in the mix. Waters was third outright in his first-ever AORC, which is an incredible result, while Semmens claimed victory in the E1 class during round two, proving he deserves his factory ride with KTM. With extra time and the experience of the season-opener behind them, they’ll only be stronger this Saturday and Sunday.
1. Milner still strong:
KTM Enduro Racing Team’s Daniel Milner showed just how strong he still is, dominating both days in the E2 class and the outright times in Toowoomba. A longer than usual off-season has the number 31 fired up, and he showed that in Queensland. While we expect Sanders to give him a challenge this weekend, Milner is still the favourite while carries some exceptional form.