News 29 Jun 2009

Off-Road: KTM's Kearney dominates E1 at Murray Bridge AORC

Motorex KTM:

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–    Rounds five and six
–    Australian Off-Road Championship
–    South Australia’s Murraylands region
–     Event dates 27-28 June, 2009
–     Format: 2 days of sprint tests / 8 heats both days on two different tracks


Rider     Class    Bike    Home Town    Rnd 5    Outright    Rnd 6    Outright
Ben Kearney    E1    KTM 250 EXC-F    Picton, NSW    1st     7th     1st     5th
Ben Grabham    E2    KTM 250 two stroke    Bathurst, NSW    7th     8th     6th     8th
Brad Williscroft    E3    KTM 530 EXC    Helensburgh, NSW    4th     18th     3rd     15th


Round 1     Class    Round 2    Class
Ben Kearney    E1    Ben Kearney    E1
Stefan Merriman    E2    Stefan Merriman    E2
Geoff Braico    E3    Geoff Briaco    E3


–       Really sandy
–       A bit of everything tight through the bush
–       Fast open flowing sections
–       Lots of gullies


Ben Kearney – Pro E1 class

“These rounds were the toughest I have raced all year, because it was so sandy,” said Kearney.  “Also riding a 250 in sand it so much harder, you have to hold it on all the time.  As soon as you make a mistake you sink into the sand.  The faster I rode, the better I went which is obviously what works in the sand.

“I had a two minute lead on the first day, until I had a crash in a valley, and took awhile to get going, but I still ended up winning my class by a minute.

“Round six was a different track to round five, but the conditions were still the same, consisting of deep sand.  I went out with the same theory of holding it on, and I wanted to move up in outright position, which I achieved going from 7th outright at round five, to 5th outright at round six, and I ended up winning the E1 class by two minutes.”

Ben Grabham – Pro E2 class

“I started off pretty steady, after spending so much time in the desert recently training and racing at Finke, I wasn’t as well adapted to the slower terrain,” said Grabham.  “I was consistent, and I’m satisfied with my results, and know what I need to do in the tight terrain with training.

“I’m not someone who likes to make excuses, but I got the flu after winning Finke earlier in the month, probably from celebrating too hard, and I haven’t been able to train for two weeks because if it.

“A lot of the races I concentrate on are very high speed, like Finke, Hattah, and Australia Safari, where I’m doing 160-170km/h.   Then I’m having to switch back to the enduro racing, where I’m riding in first and second gear on technical stuff so I can’t be too greedy, and excel at everything.

“I didn’t want to push too hard in these off road rounds, because the Hattah Desert Race is next weekend, and I have a good chance of winning this event.  After Hattah I have to train for the Australian Safari as well, but in between I will try and increase my technical enduro riding.”

Brad Williscroft – Pro E3 class

“I tried to get into the flow at round five, but found the track really demanding,” said Williscroft.  “It whooped up straight away.   In the first four heats, I had a crash in each heat which put me behind the eight ball straight away, so I spent the last four heats trying to get on the podium, and unfortunately missed out by a small amount of points.

“I made a few changes to the bike between rounds, and came out feeling a lot better at round six.   The track worked more in my favour, but it was still tough and chopped up.  I ended up getting on the podium in third for round six, but I have dropped back to second in the E3 championship behind Geoff Braico.  I’m only seven points down though, which is achievable to make up at the next few rounds in August.”

Race Team Manager Quote from Brad Williscroft.

“I’m very pleased with the way Ben Kearney rode at both round five and six of the Australian Off Road Championship,” said Williscroft.  “You can tell he has been training hard in the sand the past couple of weeks while Ben Grabham and I were racing at Finke.   Kearney had a good bike setup, and he dominated the class.  He was also up there with the outright positions, and pulled some awesome lap times.

“Grabbo (Ben Grabham) went well, he rode the two stroke at these rounds which was a little different for him.  He knows he needs to find more speed, and he will be working towards that after the Hattah Desert Race this weekend.

“Grabbo, myself, and Kearney are all entering in Hattah, and so is Motorex KTM motocross racer Tye Simmonds.  Together we’re confident of some good podium results.”





Round 7 – 15 August QLD
Round 8 – 16 August QLD


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