Stefan Merriman takes Yamaha AORC round eight win
Yamaha rider Stefan Merriman conquered the ‘Gold Rush’ Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) today, taking the Outright and Championship E2 Class victories.
The event, held at Wedderburn (Victoria), saw Merriman finish the six ‘sprint laps’ 14-seconds ahead of Toby Price.
The 37-year-old from Nelson Bay (NSW) said the track had dried out “quite a bit” since yesterday’s ‘mud-fest’.
“The track was better today, it started to dry out and get nice and loamy, whereas yesterday it was just slop,” the Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha Team rider said.
“Everything today went pretty much to plan. I started off a little bit slow, but then started making some good time on Toby and then managed to win.”
Merriman said he had opted to ride the YZ450F in the weekend’s contest, as opposed to his WR450F.
He said he made the decision to change machines after “thorough testing” and riding a state round at the venue a few week’s prior, after which he concluded the YZ was better suited to the terrain.
“I’ve been racing the WR450F in this series, which is an awesome motorcycle, especially in technical terrain,” Merriman said.
“But this course is fairly open, with less challenging obstacles, and I believe the YZ450F is more suited to this type of event.
“The YZ helped me a lot, especially today, blasting out of corners, and in the loamy conditions.
“It just had a bit more power and it was going really good.
“I’m really happy with the bike and the [Ballard's Wellard Yamaha Off-Road Team], everything’s going great.”
Price, of the Motorex KTM Off-Road Team, said he was off his game today, after suffering injury to his eyes when he took his goggles off in yesterday’s grueling cross-country event (round seven of the championship).
Price’s teammate, Jarrod Bewley, repeated his results from yesterday’s round seven, coming third Outright and first in GP Industries Championship E1.
Victorian (Gippsland) rider, Daniel Milner (of the Christensen’s Motorcycles Off-Road Team) was back on form, clinching fourth Outright and third in Yamaha Championship E2.
Fifth and second in E1 went to youngster, Ben Burrell, (Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha).
KTM’s Ben Grabham claimed sixth Outright and first in Pirelli Championship E3.
Honda rider AJ Roberts came seventh Outright. Yamaha’s Kirk Hutton was eighth, followed by New Zealander Karl Power and 17-year-old Yamaha pilot, Tom McCormack.
In the Expert ranks, Ivan Long came first in Expert 1. In Expert 2/3, Amel Cavaler was the winner.
Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha’s Geoff Ballard continued his domination of the Championship Master’s category.
In Motul Championship Women’s, Caboolture Motorcycle Centre’s Jemma Wilson (Yamaha) was victorious over Ballard’s Wellard Yamaha’s, Jessica Gardiner.
Gary Dukes was the fastest Championship Veteran.
In Junior Outright, Lachlan Terry finished the top of the ladder, followed by Casey Winston and Broc Brabham.
And in Clubman Outright, Thomas Jenner was the winner, ahead of Jacob Deagan and Kodi Burgoyne.
Yamaha AORC Round Eight Top-10 Outright
1. Stefan Merriman Yamaha Champ E2
2. Toby Price KTM E2
3. Jarrod Bewley KTM E1
4. Daniel Milner Suzuki E2
5. Ben Burrell Yamaha E1
6. Ben Grabham KTM E3
7. AJ Roberts Honda E2
8. Kirk Hutton Yamaha E3
9. Karl Power KTM E1
10. Tom McCormack Yamaha E1
Pic: Kate Tomlinson