DIRT BIKE PROMOTIONS:
Young (NSW) will host the most heated fight in Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) history next Saturday and Sunday.
Never before has the championship been so close between so many dirt bike racers going into the final weekend of competition.
Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha’s Stefan Merriman (from Nelson’s Bay, NSW) looked a clear favourite for the crown going into the penultimate rounds of the series (rounds seven and eight held at Warwick, QLD) with a 21-point Outright lead over the field.
But an “off” weekend for Merriman and a strong performance from young gun Toby Price (from Singleton, NSW) took the four-time World Enduro Champion’s lead down to just five-points going into next weekend’s final showdown.
Merriman’s teammate, Jarrod Bewley, also put in a solid ride at the Warwick rounds moving him into third Outright and in Championship E2, just six-points behind Price (of the MSC Kawasaki Team).
Merriman said he had not had any problems at the Queensland rounds, just that he felt he had been “too slow”.
“Hopefully I can get on form for [next weekend],” Merriman said. “I’m never confident until it’s all over, it’s very close for this championship.”
Tussles for the Championship E1 and E3 titles are nearly as heated.
In E1, Motorex KTM’s Ben Kearney leads Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha rider, Kirk Hutton, by seven-points.
KTM rider Geoff Braico has a slightly more comfortable lead (19-points) over fellow KTM rider, Brad Williscroft, in E3.
AORC organiser Phil Sargent (of Dirt Bike Promotions) said they were looking forward to a fantastic weekend of racing and encouraged any interested riders to get an entry in for the event.
“The property at Young is really good and they’ve been getting some rain, so conditions should be ideal,” Sargent said.
“The property would lend itself well to a cross-country and they’ve had rain the last few weekends and they’re calling for more tomorrow and next Tuesday, so if the weather continues the way it is we’ll have a cross-country on Saturday.
“I’ll be getting to the property early next week and we’ll make a decision about the format as soon as we can.”
Property owner Bill Daly said he was “very excited” the race was being held on his land.
“It’s very good to see a championship round in our local district, it’ll be great for tourism in our town and I’m sure there will be some excellent, close racing,” Daly said.
“The course will be reasonably tight, natural terrain. There’s plenty of single trail sections, it will be challenging.
“Conditions are perfect for riding, we actually have some moisture at the moment, which is a nice thing.”
The final two rounds of the 2009 AORC will be held at Young (NSW) on September 12th and 13th.
The AORC boasts classes for every level of rider, from Juniors older than nine-years to Clubman, Women, Veterans, Masters, Experts and championship-level racers.
The AORC are fantastic for spectators, with nail-biting action and the chance to get up close and personal with the stars of Australian enduro racing.
Gates at Milgadara (on Moppity Road, 19km’s east of Young) next weekend will open at 8.30am Saturday and Sunday.
Format for the event will be confirmed next week. Saturday will either be ran as a mass-start cross-country event or a ‘sprint’ (several laps of the bush track racing against the clock). Sunday will be ran as a sprint.
Admission is $6.00/Adult and $2.00/Child. For a map to the venue please visit www.dirtbikepromotions.com.au.
Yamaha AORC Top-10 Outright (after round eight)
Stefan Merriman Points: 169
Toby Price 164
Jarrod Bewley 158
Chris Hollis 127
Ben Kearney 119
AJ Roberts 117
Ben Grabham 112
Kirk Hutton 105
Peter Boyle 101
Geoff Braico 84