[KTM]

MILNER DOMINATES AORC OPENER

1 month ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Foremost Media

After a couple of years in Europe, KTM’s Daniel Milner has picked up exactly where he left off with Australia’s premier off-road racing series, the AORC: on top! And this time around, he’s both team owner and rider.

Yes, it was the perfect return to the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) for KTM DM31 Racing rider, Daniel Milner, as he dominated Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2024 season opener in Roma, Queensland, to take the E2 class wins and rank as fastest Outright.

Alongside him in orange, defending champion, Riley McGillivray, stood atop the big-bore E3 class podium with a pair of comfortable round wins, while AORC newcomer, Tom Buxton, put on an impressive display to finish on the podium in the E1 field on Sunday. And as the AORC Outright points table (see below) demonstrates, the three KTM riders now sit in first, seventh and ninth in the prestigious series’ Outright standings.

It didn’t take long to show that multiple-time national champion Milner’s time in Europe had only made him faster, as the KTM DM31 Racing team owner/rider crushed the rest of the E2 class aboard his 2024 KTM 450EXC-F.

Milner destroyed the dusty, technical tests to finish more than a minute ahead of his nearest rival in the Overall standings on Saturday, then again put on a clinic on Sunday as he strode to another comfortable victory, bettering the rest of the E2 field by one-and-a-half minutes after four laps of a rocky, technical test.

In the E3 class, KTM-supported Riley McGillivray began 2024 in the same way he finished last year, by winning both days of Sprint format racing to re-establish himself as the rider to beat in the big-bore category.

Equipped with the mighty 2024 KTM 500EXC-F, the young Victorian stayed calm and composed in tricky conditions to finish Saturday’s opening round 40 seconds ahead of the chasing pack. Day two saw him again lead from the front and finish with a comfortable 52-second advantage.

Meanwhile, New Zealand talent, Tom Buxton, charged to a credible 4-3 result in his first ever Australian off-road appearance. Aboard his 2024 KTM 250EXC-F in the E1 class, the KTM DM31 Racing newcomer put aside his nerves and put in an impressive debut ride in hot conditions to finish P4 on Saturday. The 25-year-old quickly settled into a rhythm on Sunday, holding on to score a memorable first podium.

Daniel Milner: “It feels good to be back on the KTM and to be racing in Australia again. I didn’t really enjoy my time racing with different teams in Europe, but now I feel comfortable and strong again, and can push where I need to push. The weekend went really well with two Outright and E2 wins in two days. I had a lay-down in the last test yesterday, then had another one on Sunday that shook me up a bit. But apart from that, it was exciting to be back out there and picking up where I left off a few years ago. Hopefully this year I can give the boys someone to chase and get the speed of Australian racers up.”

Riley McGillivray: “I only got back from a six-week trip to the US a couple of weeks ago, so I hadn’t had much time on the new KTM 500EXC-F. Because of that, I just wanted to stay consistent and get good points this weekend. I rode pretty conservatively, but still as fast as I could, because you’ll never win a championship at the opening rounds, though you can definitely lose it. Taking a double class-win and not hitting the deck all weekend was a good reward. It was pretty brutal out there – today’s test had a kilometre-long rock garden down a dry creek bed and by the end of the day it was really chewed out. All in all, it was a solid weekend and I’m looking forward to having a round closer to home next month.”

Tom Buxton: “I’m really happy with how my weekend went. I struggled a bit yesterday with nerves, arm-pump, and getting into the flow of things, then today I was more relaxed. Even though I’m not used to the hot and dusty conditions, today’s test had a technical creek section that I could make up some good time through. The pace in Australia is definitely a big step up from New Zealand and I now know some areas I can build on. I’ll head back home this week for the last round of the Sprint series there, then I’ll try and set myself up with a base in Australia for the rest of the season.”

2024 AORC RESULTS – ROMA, QLD

ROUND 1

E1
1. Kyron Bacon (Yamaha)
2. Cooper Sheidow (Yamaha)
3. Korey McMahon (GASGAS)
4. Tom Buxton (KTM DM31 Racing)
5. Will Price (Kawasaki)

E2
1. Daniel Milner (KTM DM31 Racing)
2. Jonte Reynders (Sherco)
3. Will Dennett (Yamaha)
4. Andy Wilksch (Beta)
5. Beau Ralston (Kawasaki)

E3
1. Riley McGillivray (KTM)
2. Stefan Granquist (Husqvarna)
3. Fraser Higlett (Beta)
4. Billy Hargy (Husqvarna)
5. Jye Dickson (Beta)

ROUND 1

E1
1. Kyron Bacon (Yamaha)
2. Korey McMahon (GASGAS)
3. Tom Buxton (KTM DM31 Racing)
4. Cooper Sheidow (Yamaha)
5. Will Price (Kawasaki)

E2
1. Daniel Milner (KTM DM31 Racing)
2. Jonte Reynders (Sherco)
3. Will Dennett (Yamaha)
4. Andy Wilksch (Beta)
5. Jeremy Carpentier (Yamaha)

E3
1. Riley McGillivray (KTM)
2. Billy Hargy (Husqvarna)
3. Fraser Higlett (Beta)
4. Stefan Granquist (Husqvarna)
5. Jye Dickson (Beta)

2024 OUTRIGHT STANDINGS – AFTER RD2

Rounds 3 and 4 of the AORC series will be held in Mount Misery, Victoria, on April 20-21.

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