The Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) begins this weekend in Toowoomba, Queensland – ISDE winning riders and comeback-kid Matthew Phillips all line up.
250 riders including the victorious International Six Days Enduro team riders all line-up for this weekend’s opening two rounds of AORC which visits Toowoomba, Queensland for the first time in 13 years of AORC competition.
The victorious ISDE World Trophy Team and Women’s World Trophy Team will make competition tight for all the championship classes this season and with some bike and class changes for leading riders, plus the return of Matty Phillips, the 2019 season is looking spicey!
Bike and class changes for title contenders
Daniel Milner – KTM Enduro Racing Team – has switched to the KTM 350 EXC-F (from the 500) this season and will compete in the E2 class as well as overall championship.
Two Yamaha riders will keep Milner company in E2 – Jeremy Carpentier and Josh Green. Both are fast riders but will need to up their game this season to match the ISDE outright winner.
Reigning E2 champ, Daniel Sanders, has done the opposite to Milner and switches to compete the E3 class for Husqvarna. Sanders has Andy Wilksch and Beau Ralston for company on the bigger bikes.
The 2019 season also sees the welcome return of Matthew Phillips to the Australian enduro racing scene. After dropping out of EnduroGPs with injury in 2018, Phillips adds to the party this season racing a 250 EXC-F KTM with MX Store’s backing.
Phillips won’t have it easy in E1, which looks like being the most competitive class in 2019. Luke Styke is the reigning champ and begins his second year in the senior ranks for Yamaha as favourite. Styke’s team-mate and current EJ champion, Michael Driscoll follows the same pattern in 2019 and will look for similar success moving up to the seniors this season.
Fraser Higlett was runner-up in 2018 and another member of the ISDE squad ready to put experience into his title challenge. The same is true of Lyndon Snodgrass who equally has the cards to challenge for the E1 title.
Record breaking time for Jess Gardiner?
Coming back from a six in a row Women’s World Trophy victory at the ISDE, Jessica Gardiner – MX Store Ballards Off-Road Team – will aim to break the Women’s title record and accomplish her fifth championship. Former ISDE teammate Jemma Wilson will not make things easy for her however.
Enduro Juniors wide open
The EJ class is always one to watch and 2019 looks like being another highly competitive season. Joshua Brierley was runner-up in 2018 and clearly starts as favourite for the title.
Watch out also for Kyron Bacon who has been training with Matthew Phillips in the off season and enters the opening rounds as a contender.
2018 J4 Champion, Korey McMahon, also moves to EJ this season alongside Bacon. With a Championship title to his name and a wealth of experience in both Motocross and Enduro, McMahon is a major contender.
Corey Hammond also had a strong 2018 season finishing in third place. The fan favourite will aim for the top spot this year.
More information including full entry list: aorc.org.au
Live timing over the weekend: aorc.org.au/results/web-timing
Check AORC’s Facebook page for regular updates.
Photo credit: John Pearson Media/Future7Media Igor AguadoEnduro21 Junior Editorigor.firstname.lastname@example.org