Yamaha Motor Australia press release:
Upon the announcement by Motorcycling Australia that the remaining rounds of the 2020 Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) have been cancelled, Yamaha is proud to announce our five champions from the 2020 season.
Luke Styke, Jess Gardiner, Brad Hardaker, Kirk Hutton and Danielle McDonald have all been crowned as the 2020 Australian champions in their respective classes. And with riders like Josh Green, Kyron Bacon, Blake Hollis and Emilie Karlsson taking podium positions, 2020 was another successful year in off road racing for the bLU cRU.
The sports governing body, Motorcycling Australia, made the decision to cancel the final rounds of the AORC due to border restrictions as the championship was decided on the three rounds completed prior to the COVID pandemic.
Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing’s Luke Styke has made it three E1 championships in a row adding the 2020 crown to his 2018 and 2019 successes. Styke finished just one point clear of his nearest rival after a tight series that saw him finish with 1-3-1 results in the rounds contested.
“I’m a racer and wanted to do the full 12 rounds so I’m just disappointed we didn’t get more racing in, but I understand the situation we are in, and now, I’m just happy I was in front after the rounds completed.
“This is my third championship in a row in the E1 class and ticks off another goal I had coming into the season. Thank you to the team for their support and also the work MA did in trying to keep the championship up and running during such a difficult time,” Styke offers.
Third place in the championship went to Tasmanian based up and comer, Kyron Bacon. 19 year old Bacon showed a huge improvement over the past 12 months and announced himself as a championship contender in the 2020 season with consistent 3-2-3 results in the opening three rounds of the series.
Experienced campaigner, Josh Green, took second place in the premier E2 division on his 450cc machine. Green again showed his speed and consistency taking third place in each round contested and up against some big names in the racing world.
Green edged out the current Australian Motocross Champion, Todd Waters, by one point and finished a very respectable third outright in the standings behind off road legends, Daniel Milner and Daniel Sanders.
“On the podium again for both E2 and Outright is a good result for myself and the team,” Green begins. “The level of competition this year had increased with riders like Waters entering the series but also the younger guys stepping up and increasing their speed, so to be able to hold my position is a good achievement.”
Yamaha took up three of the top five positions in the E2 class, with Green in second, Michael Driscoll in fourth and Jeremy Carpentier in fifth.
For Driscoll, it was his first season of riding the WR450F in the AORC and he made a good fist of things, showing that he will be a contender of the future. At just 20 years old, Driscoll matched it with the established pros of the class, highlighted by a strong second place finish in E2 at the third round.
The Women’s class was 1-2 punch for Yamaha with Jess Gardiner and Emilie Karlsson taking out the top two spots respectively. Gardiner was again dominant as she retained her off road crown, winning all three rounds contested to clean sweep the shortened series.
Behind her was a tight battle between Karlsson and Emma Milesevic who traded blows at each round. Karlsson’s 2-3-2 results got the better of Milesevic who finished with 3-2-3.
“It’s good to secure the championship again, all be it in a strange way,” Gardiner said. “I love racing and have missed it so much since the restrictions have been in place, but MA waited as long as they could to try and get the season up and running again.
“Hopefully things return to normal next year and we can get back to racing as we knew it.”
Yamaha riders flew the bLU cRU flag with pride with Kirk Hutton taking yet another Australian championship, this time in the Masters’ category. Hutton won each and every round on his way to the Masters’ crown and the old guy just keep racking the championships up.
In the new 2 Stroke Cup class, it was Brad Hardaker who got the victory on the timeless YZ250. Hardaker got the job done with two points to spare over his nearest rival and claims he has never had more fun riding a bike than on the YZ250.
In the Junior Girls, it was Danielle McDonald taking the win in dominant fashion, like her boss and mentor Jess Gardiner. McDonald won all three rounds and was a cut above her competitors during the 2020 season.
While Blake Hollis finished second in the EJ class in his first full time year of off road racing. The former junior champ moved into the senior divisions for 2020 and made a good fist of things and will no doubt be one to keep an eye on in the future.
“Despite the challenges we all faced in 2020, the results show it was another successful year for Yamaha and our off road riders,” explains Yamaha’s off road manager, AJ Roberts. “We have a list of determined and dedicated riders who again show cased just how good the Yamaha product is in a wide range of conditions and surfaces.
“Congratulations to all the riders on their success in 2020 and we look forward to ramping things up again in 2021 and having the AORC back bigger and better than ever.”