Luke Styke: 2018 A4DE E1 Win
After four intense days of competition that included around two hours of special tests littered throughout the week, Luke Styke, Josh Green and Wil Ruprecht all finished on the podium, with Styke taking the E1 (250cc), while Green and Ruprecht locked up second and third respectively in the E2 (450cc) division.
Yamaha’s Michael Driscoll, who also races with significant support from the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube team, managed to keep the podium streak going as he registered a third-place finish in the E1 class. That puts all Yamaha team supported riders inside the top eight in a strong showing for the blue brand. Luke Styke’s transformation from motocrosser to off-road sensation took another huge stride forward after he claimed an ultra-impressive victory in the E1 class. Styke, competing in his first four-day event, showed real poise and skill as he navigated his way through four days and looked more like an experienced campaigner then a first-time rookie.
Styke over came some spirited riding by his rivals, as well as hot and extremely dusty conditions to take the E1 win by over a minute to his nearest competitor and announce that he is serious about his transition to off-road. The class win also saw him finish a very respectable fourth outright.
“When I talk to the off-road guys, they say the four day is a great event and a really prestigious one to win so for me to win it means a lot to me and the work we have done as a team. Its been a really hard event as it presents so many challenges over the week and it really is a team effort to get it done. “Thank you to the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube team for all the effort they put in and also to Josh and Wil who have both helped me so much learning about off-road. Their help with tyre changes and just how the event runs has been unreal,” Styke said.
Taking second in the E2 (450cc) class was Josh Green who again turned in another rock-solid performance that also saw him finish third outright. Green started the event a little off the pace but adjusted to the powdery conditions as the event went on to finish strongly and claim some valuable special test wins. His 450cc machine didn’t miss a beat all week and Green continues to be a podium threat in all off-road events.
“The goal is always to win but to finish second in class and third outright is still pretty good,” Green begins. “Some sections of the course were really good to ride but some of the special tests were pretty dusty because the lack of rain in the area over recent months.”
“Congratulations to Milner and Sanders who rode exceptionally well this week and were just a bit better than me all week but I’m determined to keep working hard and close the gap between us. “Also a huge thank you to the team and all our sponsors who are behind us,” Green offers.
Slotting right in behind Green in the E2 class was teammate, Wil Ruprecht. Ruprecht had an injury-interrupted preparation leading into the event as he had time off the bike with a shoulder issue but despite the limited bike time and still not at 100%, the talented New South Welshmen still managed to finish third in class. The lack of strength in his left shoulder hampered him in the dusty conditions but he battled on bravely to still claim a podium finish and one that he was ultimately satisfied with.
“Six weeks ago it was unlikely I would even be able to ride and it was a race against time to be ready so to finish third in class and inside the top 10 outright is a good result. My shoulder was ok throughout the week but I guess I just need to build some confidence back in it to race at 100% at a national level. “Still, it’s a good result and it’s been a good week for the team with everyone getting on the podium. The team has been great and it’s a massive effort to compete at an event like this so thank you to everyone on the team and our sponsors for their support and commitment,” Ruprecht said.
And while not housed under the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube awning, bLU cRU Yamaha Racing’s Michael Driscoll, claimed third place in the E1 class. Driscoll is under the guidance of the Yamaha team and the 18-year old continues to show real promise in off-road racing. Like Styke, Driscoll is a motocross convert and also at his first A4DE but handled it well, consistently riding well over the four days and limited his mistakes on a challenging course.
“I wasn’t real sure what to expect as this was my first four day but I enjoyed it and I’m happy to finish on the podium in class and inside the top 10 outright. The dust and powder was crazy and vision on some of the tests was terrible but it was the same for everyone and that’s just part of the reason why this race is so tough. “It wasn’t my best riding but I was pretty consistent through the four days which is so important. The experience I gained here will only help in the future and it’s good to get through my first one relatively trouble free. “Thank you to the AJ and everyone on the team as well as my Mum and Dad who helped me all week,” said an elated Driscoll.
The Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Off-Road Racing team will now switch back into Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) mode for the next event which is Rounds 3 and 4 of the Australian Off-Road Championship in Hedley, Victoria.