The 2018 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) is set for a frenetic final weekend of racing with Rounds 10 and 11 at Omeo, Victoria this weekend.
Daniel Milner (E3), Daniel Sanders (E2), Luke Styke (E1), Michael Driscoll (EJ) and Jessica Gardiner (EW) head into the weekend leading their classes respectively for a weekend of cross country action on Saturday and concluding with Sprint races on Sunday.
The E3 class has been all about Daniel Milner who has taken every race in 2018. Milner may have taken a few falls here and there, but has shown his class in the different formats during the season’s races. Milner holds a 36-point lead heading into the final weekend.
Still within striking distance, Lachlan Stanford hasn’t taken a win from Milner but has been second in eight of the nine rounds. This weekend would be a great time for Stanford to break Milner’s winning streak and you just never know what can happen on the final weekend of the season.
The battle for third place will be the talk of the weekend in the E3 class, as Andrew Wilksch sits in third with 149 points, but Thomas Mason is just three points behind in fourth. Broc Grabham sits in fifth but has the same points as Mason meaning the trio are taking it to the wire!
What a season it has been for Daniel Sanders who made the seamless transition back from Europe and to Husqvarna for this season. Sanders, just like Milner, has not dropped a single point in the E2 class and holds 39-point lead heading to Omeo.
Lyndon Snodgrass took the E3 title in 2017 and made the move to the E2 class for 2018. Having not missed the podium at any round, Lyndon will try to put a stop to Sanders’ perfect season in Omeo, Vic where he took out the E3 title.
Yamaha’s Joshua Green sits third, 18 points a drift of Snodgrass. Green’s DNF at Broken Hill, NSW pushed him back to third, plus an up and down weekend at Kingston SE, SA will see Green keen to finish the season on a high and potentially grab that second position.
After making the switch from Motocross to off-road racing, Yamaha’s Luke Styke has picked up the off-road format quickly. Styke heads into the final round with a 23-point lead, after picking up seven of the nine wins in 2018.
In his first season in the E1 class after just narrowly missing out on the EJ title last season, Fraser Higlett has improved at every round to be a front runner in class. Higlett has taken two rounds and sits 23-point behind Styke but two wins this weekend will quickly rub those points out.
Sitting 34-points behind Higlett in third is Jack Simpson with Jeremy Carpentier just two points further back. The battle between those two will decide who claims the final spot on the podium for the E1 class.
2017 EJ title holder, Michael Driscoll is keen to replicate that in 2018 and his current undefeated streak has him in good sted. Driscoll has been a class above throughout the season and has a deserving 35-point lead.
Joshua Brierley has been solid in his first EJ year in the EJ class after taking the J4 title last season. Brierley has adapted well to the senior ranks and will have his sights set on grabbing his first EJ win and the chance to stop Driscoll going undefeated.
Corey Hammond is in third position, trailing Brierley by 38 points while Mitchell Brierly sits fourth, 13 points behind.
The women’s class has seen an enthralling battle all year between Jessica Gardiner and Emelie Karlsson. Gardiner has taken five wins and heads to Omeo with a 20-point lead. Karlsson will be looking to add to her two wins this season however, knowing that two wins this weekend will take the championship down to the wire.
In her first full time year in AORC after making the move from Motocross, Danielle Foot has showed immense improvement and sits in third, 32 points behind Karlsson.
Hosts Koo Wee Rup Motorcycle club have put in a great amount of effort here and the reward is clear for everyone to see, an Off Canva, Flat Grass Track and Rocky, Bushy and Technical Track will meet the riders. On Saturday the riders will look at 20 minute lap times throughout the three-hour cross country, whist on Sunday the track will be split into two tests, with each test taking about eight minutes to complete.
This weekend’s racing is set to be one to remember with all ten championships (including all youth and vets classes) to be decided either on Saturday or Sunday.
Photo Credit: John Pearson Media