The 40th anniversary of the Australian Four Day Enduro was held on the 4th-7th April, back to Cessnock where it all began in 1978!
The Yamaha Mxstore Ballard’s Offroad Team were there shining the blue racing flags with Jess Gardiner racing in the Women’s class abroad her Yamaha WR250FJ and Jeremy Carpentier all the way from France racing in the Pro E1 category abroad his WR250FJ.
The 4 days of racing showed to be a true test of man and machine to conquer the physical and challenging course covering a total of approximately 600 kms. The race involves only the rider being allowed to work mechanical on (or even touch) the bike. Service crews are only allowed to help with hot and dangerous fluids, while the rider must still assist. The Yamaha Mxstore Ballard’s Offroad team riders Jess and Jeremy both changed there Michelin Motorcycle Tyres everyday on the Ballards Offroad Tyre Changer, for the ultimate traction and grip on the course. Just twice a day was the requirement to change the amazing Funnelweb Air filters.
Day 1 included a lot of single trial with very dry and dusty conditions! The riders raced 5 special tests. Jess won the women’s class by 9.4 seconds for the day and Jeremy wrapped up 5th position in the Pro E1 class. Jeremy commented, “It was an interesting day, especially coming from France I’m used to slippery grass tracks where today we were knee deep in powder dust ruts. I’m slowly adjusting to the conditions here in Australia!”
Day 2 of event the riders were in for a treat, with a little rain on the other side of the hill the trials were more open and a little less dusty then the previous day of racing. The riders endured 9 special tests with several new tests to race. Jess Gardiner won the women’s class again today by a comfortable 35.5 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Jemma Wilson. Jess mentioned, “today was really fun, I come out on fire after yesterday and caught up to Jemma in the first test where she let me past. I settled in the groove for the rest of the day, making sure to keep up the bike maintenance at each of the fuel controls as it had been some long hot and dusty days already”.
Jeremy Carpentier also had a better day today and preferred some of the new special tests. Jeremy finished 4th place for the day in the Pro E1 class. Jeremy also mentioned, “Today was the best day, the trials were a lot of fun and we had plenty of special test time!”
Day 3 the Yamaha Mxstore Ballard’s Offroad team riders knew they were in for a hard day, with a repeat of the special tests from Day 1 of racing. The special tests were one foot deep in powdered dust. The conditions were much harder to see and very physically demanding on the body and mentally draining with long single-track trial sections, with minimal time to rest.
Jess said, “ I had a difficult day today, at one point I was too low on sugar and a bit dehydrated. I was very happy to arrive to the NSW crew with my Bulk Nutrients hydration products at hand ready to get me back on my feet and through this tough day. The special tests were difficult to see as there wasn’t much time between the riders and the wall of dust didn’t move”. Jess lost a bit of time today to Jemma finishing the day in 2nd position for 18.2 seconds. Although, still comfortably in the lead heading into the final day of racing.
Jeremy had another good result, although unfortunately just shy from the podium today with a 4th in the Pro E1 class. Jeremy said, “I’m a little disappointed today, I made too many mistakes and crashes in the destroyed tests, which cost me the podium for today. It was really a long and difficult day on the bike, in some of the dustiest conditions I have ever seen and ridden!”
Day 4 was the final day of the event and the most exciting day for most riders. With just over a one-hour trial ride to the final moto track where the competitors would line up behind the motocross start gates, with all remaining competitors and race 5 laps until the chequered flag.
Jess went out on fire in her Final motocross race taking the holeshot, although near the end of the first lap Jess made a small mistake allowing Jemma to pass. Jess followed for 2 laps until putting down an impressive pass for the lead and then checked out- winning her final moto race by an exceptional 16.6 seconds. Jess explained, “ I can’t describe the adrenaline rush out there, to win in front of my family and friends here meant a lot so I found my second win out there and went for gold, it was a really fun track to race”.
Jeremy Carpentier lined up with some of the best riders in Australia for his final moto. Out of the first turn he was sitting in 4th position. By the end of the 1st lap
Jeremy had made a pass for 3rd position, Jeremy rode very smooth and consistently to finish an impressive 3rd place in the final motocross race. Jeremy expressed, “ I had so much fun out there, the track was nice and sandy and I had some great battles with my new Aussie mates out on the track.”
Overall the Australia Four Fay Enduro was a huge success for the Yamaha Mxstore Ballard’s Offroad Team! Jess claimed her 5x Australian Four Day Enduro Women’s title and won the event for an overall 43.4 seconds over her nearest competitor, Jemma Wilson. Jess also showed the girl power by finishing an exceptional 51th outright with 350 competitors!
Jess concluded with, “ I am so happy to win my 5th A4DE Women’s title, I have competed in 8 A4DE’s now so it’s great to have the most wins running out of the girls. This means a lot to me as there is a lot of hard work, tears and emotions that go in behind the scenes to make these results come true. My Yamaha WR250FJ didn’t miss a beat all week and I’m so proud to be a part of the blucru! I want to give a huge thank you to everyone involved with the Yamaha Mxstore Ballard’s Offroad Team from sponsors to my family and friends for all their help and support. To the NSW Crew for the help at the fuel controls. Also a special mention to my day job, JK Williams for allowing me the time off work to chase my dream!”
Jeremy finished his first ever A4DE in some of the toughest conditions he has been exposed to. Jeremy was rewarded with a great 5th position in the Pro E1 category and a fantastic 13th outright with the best riders in Australia.
Jeremy explained, “For my first time at this race, I think it was very well run and amazing to see the work behind it and the privilege the Aussies have to gain experience for the ISDE overseas. With many mistakes from myself throughout the week I am happy with my result. I was very impressed how awesome my Yamaha WR250FJ handled and performed all week. Our whole team worked really well together and everything ran smoothly. It was a great experience and I look forward to another. Thank you to all the team sponsors who make his possible.”
The next event on the calendar for Jess and Jeremy will be Round 3/4 of the Australian Off-road Championships at Hedley, VIC on the 5th/6th May.
Photos supplied by: John Pearson