AORC Insight: Team Managers
The opening round of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) is fast approaching and the factory race teams are ready to roll for Round 3 & 4 in Rawson, Victoria this weekend. Motorcycling Australia caught up with the Team Managers about the challenges that lie ahead and their targets for the 2017 season. This is what they had to say …
How is your team preparing and tracking for the upcoming
AJ Roberts, Team Manager for Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team was confident in his team’s preparation for the first race of the season; “Obviously we had the postponement the first two rounds due to inclement weather. We were planning on a two-day enduro with lights and now we had to prepare for a cross-country race with no lights and no side stand, so a different format and regulations were required to be adhered to.”
Christian Horwood, Team Manager of Husqvarna Enduro Team explained that despite the long off-season, Husqvarna is ready to compete; “The preparation has been extremely positive and productive; we are definitely looking forward to going racing, as it’s been a long off-season with Rounds 1 & 2 being postponed. Can’t wait to get down there this weekend and have a crack at a great result.”
Glenn Kearney, Team Manager for KTM Enduro Team is eager for the race weekend to get started after the first two rounds were postponed; “KTM Enduro Team was ready for Rounds 1 & 2, which unfortunately got washed out, so everyone is raring to go now for Rounds 3 & 4 at Rawson, VIC. We are expecting strong results this weekend.”
Dave Suter, Team Manager for DSR Motul/Pirelli Sherco Off Road Racing Team encountered a tough leadup to this weekend’s racing but his team are ready to go; “Overall we are happy with our preparation. It probably was a positive for us that the Rounds 1 & 2 was postponed due to our two main riders Nic Tomlinson (EJ) and Andy Wilksch (E2) both sustaining shoulder injuries in the last month. Despite the injuries, the team has worked very hard to put us in a good position in the lead-up to this weekend’s racing.“
Are you excited by your 2017 rider line-up?
AJ Roberts, Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team, “Definitely, we have tried to build consistency and a strong work ethic from our riders over time. This helps build confidence in our established riders. We’ve also brought in Will Ruprecht (E1) as a rookie, so we’ll see how he goes over time and he has two strong riders in Josh Green (E2) and Beau Ralston (E3) to look up to.”
Christian Horwood, Husqvarna Enduro Team, “Very excited to working with both riders, Lachlan Stanford (E3) is into his fourth year with the team now; we expect big things from him and looking forward to working with Broc Grabham (E2) in his first year in a factory team.”
Glenn Kearney, KTM Enduro Team, “We are very happy to have signed Daniel Milner (E2) for 2017 and having him back in the country. We have been doing a lot of testing and preparation to get him well prepared, so we’re expecting big things out of him. Also to have young Lyndon Snodgrass (E3) stepping up to the plate on a 300 EXC, I think we will see great things for him. It’s a local race for them both, so it’ll be a great start to the championship.”
Dave Suter, DSR Motul/Pirellli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team, “We are expecting strong results over the course of the championship from our main riders Nic Tomlinson (EJ) and Andy Wilksch (E2) They will both be riding this weekend at this stage, they’ve both been doing a lot of physio and preparation for the upcoming rounds.”
What challenges lie ahead for the team?
AJ Roberts, Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team, “The change of format after the postponement of the first two rounds is not an issue for our team, as we have to make adjustments to the bikes every race weekend anyways. As the situation changes you have to be prepared for these situations, we had to face the situation and adapt to it. Our competition is our challenge, it all starts this weekend and we’ll know where we stand.”
Christian Horwood, Husqvarna Enduro Team, “In 2017 we will be looking to get through the season in great shape, have both riders injury free and have both our boys win their respective classes!”
Glenn Kearney, KTM Enduro Team, “Everyone is coming out of a long offseason and all the teams are still guessing where they’re at until you get out on the racetrack we’re unsure as to where we stand. As a team we’re still coming together, this is a new role for me to manage the KTM team, even though I’ve been doing it in the past with another brand. So it’s about working with the mechanics and a brand new team. Hopefully, we’ve got the dynamic right and achieve great results on race day.”
Dave Suter, DSR Motul/Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team, “We are working out of a place which is not ideal due to a fire at our workshop last year. It was all supposed to be sorted by this time, but complications with councils have been a significant holdup. Obviously it hasn’t been an ideal situation for the team, but hopefully, by the end of the year we should be back to an optimal situation like it was before.”
Is the Rawson circuit a track you look forward to competing at?
AJ Roberts, Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team, “I’ve never competed there but our riders have to be versatile in the first place, so adapting to the Rawson track should be no problem at all. From being up north the Victorians may have an advantage from racing at a state level, for us we want to go there being as prepared as we can be and have a good outcome.”
Christian Horwood, Husqvarna Enduro Team, “We can’t wait to get to Rawson, I’ve never raced there myself but from what I hear it should suit both our riders quite well. The terrain and the format should make for a great weekend of racing, it’s great to start the season off with a cross-country.”
Glenn Kearney, KTM Enduro Team, “It is, I’ve never raced there, but we can’t wait to blow the cobwebs out and get everyone on track!”
Dave Suter, DSR Motul/Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team, “Rawson will be a great place to compete. Really we’re going to try and get some points for the next round but still aim for the championship and see how we go for the weekend.”
What is your team’s target for 2017?
AJ Roberts, Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team, “Obviously the target is to win, there is no let’s get third! We have to be consistent but the goal has to be to win.”
Christian Horwood, Husqvarna Enduro Team, “We are definitely looking for an outright champion in 2017 and win E2 and E3, they are big targets but we think we can achieve them.”
Glenn Kearney, KTM Enduro Team, “Of course, KTM is there to win, anything less is second best, so we’ll come out with all guns blazing. At the same time, it’s a long season, everyone has to stay fit and healthy. We have to capitalise on the good days but also consolidate on the bad days to avoid any shockers.”
Dave Suter, DSR Motul/Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Racing Team, “We are looking at Nic Tomlinson (EJ) taking out the under 19’s and Derek Grundy (Masters) to take out the Masters. We’ve set ourselves some pretty high targets but we think they are definitely achievable. Andy Wilksch (E2) our target is a top 5 finish, he’s in the E2 class, which is tough to break into from coming out of the Under 19’s.
The teams are raring to go for this weekend’s Yamaha AORC Rounds 3 & 4 at Rawson Vic. Make sure to attend to see these Factory teams battle it out for off-road supremacy in 2017. For more information about Yamaha AORC Rounds 3 & 4 visit the new AORC website.
2017 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship Calendar
Round 3 & 4: Rawson, VIC 22 – 23 April 2017
Round 5 & 6: Miva, QLD 13 – 14 May 2017
Round 7 & 8: Renmark, SA 24 – 25 June 2017
Round 9 & 10: Kyogle, NSW 22 – 23 July 2017
Round 11 & 12: Omeo, VIC 5 – 6 August 2017
Round 1 & 2: Dungog, NSW Postponed (To be Announced)