2018 AORC: The Outright!
Since the inception of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) in 2005, the primary focus of the series’ top Pro riders has been the Outright results. Sure, riders all strive to be crowned national champions in the various Pro classes, but it’s the Outright that these guys most covet. And if you speak to the top 20 riders, that’ll always be the case.
As a consequence, the top-10 Outright results were always front-and-centre in all AORC press release material, and in any ensuing coverage the series received. Many top riders’ bonuses were based off their Outright positions. And the line-up image of the series’ top-10 riders at the AORC’s end-of-season presentation dinner – proudly holding their number-one through number-10 front plates aloft – has long served as an iconic annual snapshot of the who’s who in Australia’s premier off-road series.
So, why did the AORC’s official PR stop making any reference to Outright results last season? Who took the spotlight off the AORC’s Outright results, and why? A couple of reasons…
For starters, Motorcycling Australia (MA) points to the fact the sport’s rulebook makes no reference to Outright, or ‘scratch’, results for the AORC, and never did. But there’s more to it than that. By focusing on the class results, rather than the Outright, MA’s AORC Organising Committee is trying to bolster the value that the AORC generates for sponsors and riders. The argument goes that, if a rider finishes third in the Pro E3 class, for example, but outside the top-10 Outright, then he or she is unlikely to receive the acknowledgment and exposure they deserve as a Pro-class podium place-getter at a national championship.
Okay, we get that. We also understand why MA has picked up on the hard lessons learned in the EnduroGP World Championship, where riders left the series en masse because its focus on the Outright generated bugger-all exposure for their class successes.
Admittedly, it’s hard to argue the logic. The intent behind the changes MA has made are laudable. And, like last season, the AORC’s top-10 Outright riders will be wheeled out at the presentation dinner after the series finale in early October.
But that still doesn’t quench our thirst to know about the Outright positions at each of the 11 rounds along the way. We reckon the Outright adds another fascinating element to the AORC because it sheds light on the riders and/or machinery that punch above, or below, their weight when class parameters are removed from the equation. After all, riders pitting themselves against the clock is the essence of enduro racing, so why let the capacity of their bike get in the way of that? Is there not a way of releasing Outright results for each AORC round in parallel with the class results, rather than relegating the riders’ most sought-after prize to an afterthought at the end of the year?
Feel free to drop us a line with your thoughts on the issue. And in the meantime, check out the AORC’s Outright results and standings after two of the series’ 11 rounds, which we’ve tallied manually. Enjoy!
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