News 28 Aug 2023

Ongoing knee troubles in Keyneton affect Wilksch

KTM racer wins round seven prior to aggravated injury on Sunday.

Image: Foremost Media.

After winning round seven of the 2023 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) on Saturday, KTM E2 racer Andy Wilksch aggravated an ongoing knee issue which brought a premature end to his charge in South Australia.

Wilksch won the Cross Country format on the opening day at Keyneton as he also charged to his first outright victory of this year’s series.

However, Sunday’s eighth round was a difficult one for the number 32, and on the opening lap of the Sprint formats, the current E3 champion tweaked his troubled knee in a creek crossing. He finished the test P5 outright, but as the pain increased during the second test, Wilksch made the difficult decision to retire from the round.

“It was a big weekend and managing energy was key,” Wilksch recalled. “It was cool to have a return to the Cross Country format and I had a really good race – I got the holeshot and pushed hard early to gain a lead.

“Knowing how dusty it was, we spent some extra time at the fuel stop swapping out the filter and cover, to make sure we could manage the bike as best we could for the rest of the race. I had some E2 contenders right behind me, but I focused forward, hit my marks, and was able to pull it together and win my first outright of the year!

“Today I wanted to back it up, but sadly I hit a soft spot in a creek on the first test and hurt my right knee, which I’ve had dramas with all year. I really struggled to put weight through it on the second test, so we made the tough decision to not continue as I wasn’t competitive anymore. It was a far from ideal way to end the weekend, but I’m super-stoked to get my first win for KTM and show what we can do.”

For 2023, Wilksch transferred across from Simford Racing Husqvarna to lead KTM’s off-road charge in Australia, also switching to the E2 class after winning the E3 title last year.

Knee and leg injuries forced him out of the opening rounds in Mendooran, and he notched 5-4 results at Queensland Moto Park, which marked his debut as a KTM-backed rider in the 2023 series.

Following the cancellation of the postponed rounds five and six of AORC this year at Edenhope, Victoria, the 2023 championship resumes at Kyogle, NSW, between 16-17 September.