Styke Back On Top at Dungog AORC
The weekend tossed up all kinds of challenges for the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing team as they faced stiff opposition, a world health issue and a good old fashioned downpour that had cancelled racing on Sunday at rounds three and four of the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC). But through it all, both Luke Styke and Josh Green held firm and finished on the podium to keep their 2020 championship aspirations alive.
The Dungog round in New South Wales hosted rounds three and four of the championship, but the heavens opened around 1 pm on Saturday afternoon and never stopped, causing Sunday’s program to be called off as the course was underwater. After a couple of hic-ups at the opening round of the AORC, including injuries to his ankle, Luke Styke got his season back on track with a dominating performance on Saturday, winning the E1 (250cc) class and clawed back the class lead in the championship. The round saw a return to a traditional enduro format and Styke was back to his best and often positioned his 250cc machine inside the top three in outright times as he thundered around the bush surrounding Dungog. He won every special test in class, but more importantly, regained confidence back in his body after a frustrating run of injuries. He now holds a slim one-point margin lead of Mason Semmens in the E1 class but feels things are back on track.
Luke Styke: “It was good to come into the weekend feeling healthy and ready to race. The opening weekend was tough as I was carrying an injury and then sustained a pretty good head knock during the event, so it was good to be fresh and ready to go here at Dungog. I was able to have a good run and win on Saturday. It was disappointing that we couldn’t race Sunday but the amount of rain we had meant completing the course and getting medical to all areas would be difficult, so the decision was made to call it off and I completely understand it. The tests on the weekend were good and we were fortunate to get the majority of them done before the rain came. I have got the points lead back now and the plan is to not let it go until the championship is done.”
Josh Green continues to rack up podiums at the AORC and again took third place in the E2 (450cc) division despite some ups and downs along the way. Green started the day strongly but fell heavily in one of the morning tests which really set him back on the timesheets. He was able to rebound well from the fall and post some fast test times again as the day went on, but the damage was done on the timesheet and Green was forced to settle with a third-place finish for the round. He now sits second in the E2 class, 15 points behind class leader, Daniel Milner.
Josh Green: “It was a bit of an up and down weekend for me with some good test times but also a couple of ordinary ones that hurt me at the end of the day. I think there were a few top three times in tests but there was also some way down in the top 10 when I fell off. No rider can afford to be inconsistent in a championship as competitive as this. Still, despite the mistakes, it’s still good to be on the podium and leave here healthy. I’m second in the championship but only two points separate three riders and we still have a lot of racing to go.”
The next event for the Australian Off-Road Championship is pencilled in for Nowra on April 18 and 19 although, given the current world health issues, this may be reviewed.