Kapunda will deliver a thrilling stage for the final play of the season, with riders set to face the double challenge of cross-country and sprint races.
With eight rounds already in the bag, championship standings are tight and the final weekend will be explosive with riders vying to get their hands on the last crucial points on offer.
It will be a ferocious East Coast battle for the E1 class crown, with Victorian Off-Road Champion Daniel Milner (Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road) fighting hard to fend off New South Wales chargers Josh Green (Active8 Yamaha Yamalube) and Ben Burrell (Motorex KTM Off-Road).
After an impressive season, blemished only by running out of fuel during a test at the Broadford rounds, Milner enters the final weekend holding a tight 12-point margin over Green and 20 points over Burrell.
The leading trio will feel the heat in Kapunda from Queensland rider Tom McCormack (Yamaha) and New South Wales pilot Luka Bussa (Husqvarna Racing Team), who both enter the weekend 42 points off the lead and in striking distance of the podium.
The competition will be just as intense in the hotly contested E2 class, with Tasmanian young-gun Matt Phillips (Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road) chasing down his maiden AORC class victory.
After thundering through the season and taking seven of eight round wins, Phillips arrives in Kapunda with a formidable lead over a first-class field. The Tassie rider sits 43 points ahead of 2011 Outright winner Chris Hollis (Motorex KTM Off-Road) and 47 points in front of three times Aussie Off-Road Champion Glenn Kearney.
The E2 finale will see an injection of fireworks from the formidable chase pack of Mitch Harper (Yamaha), Jarrod Bewley (Active8 Yamaha Yamalube) and Lachlan Stanford (Suzuki MX1 Australia), who have all proven their mettle with strong results throughout the season.
New South Wales star Toby Price (Motorex KTM Off-Road) enters the decider as hot favourite to clean up the E3 class, after dominating the season with a perfect sweep of class victories.
Having already etched his name on the Finke Desert Race and Hattah Desert Race winner’s trophies this year, Price kicks off the final weekend of his 2012 AORC campaign with a 24 point lead over multi-time World and Australian Off-Road Champion Stefan Merriman (Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road).
The pair will be challenged by New South Wales pilot Scott Keegan (Motorex Force Husaberg), who has proven his medal contention with three podium finishes throughout the series and enters the final weekend of racing 50 points off Price’s lead.
Price, who is also in the running to collect Outright honours for the series, is looking forward to a weekend of tough competition in South Australia. “The competition across all three classes, from E1 to E3 is strong and it’s going to be a tough weekend,” Price said.
“South Australia always puts on a good track and it’ll be great, especially if the conditions are right. With a cross-country and sprint anything can happen, and I just hope that I’m on top of the box at the end of the weekend.
“I’m feeling good, I’ve got no injuries and I’m 100 percent heading into the weekend. It’s been a pretty long break between AORC rounds but I’ve been working hard and am ready to go.”
The final rounds of the 2012 AORC will explode this weekend 25-26 August at Kapunda in South Australia, and will be capped off with the Series Presentation Night on Sunday evening in Nurioopta.