Dry, powdery and dusty conditions confronted the Active8 Yamalube Yamaha team as they contested rounds seven and eight of the Australian Off Road Championship, held at Renmark South Australia.
With Beau Ralston sidelined for the remainder of the year from a recent fall, it was left to Josh Green and Wil Ruprecht to fly the team flag over the weekend and chase their championship aspirations in the E2 and E1 classes, respectively.
Green entered the event sitting in second place outright as well as second place in the E2 (450cc) category but a lingering flu had him below 100% when the field raced off on Saturday. The dry conditions saw the X- Country format changed to a Sprint style race, hoping the dust wouldn’t affect the riders vision as much.
Green battled on both days to secure two top five results in the Outright results, with a fourth on Saturday and a fifth on Sunday. He fared a little better in class honours, taking a third in E2 on both day’s racing. But, by his own admission, Green struggled with the dry conditions and rode well below his best over the weekend.
Despite the challenging weekend, Green maintained his second place in both Outright and class standings.
“I just felt off all weekend,” Green shrugged. “I have been a bit ran down since Finke but that’s no excuse as I simply didn’t ride well anyway. Racing in powder is tough and I just didn’t have the speed this weekend but it has given me plenty of motivation to get things back on track at the next round,” Green ends.
Young team mate, Wil Ruprecht also suffered in the conditions. Wil was keen to rebound well after the previous round of the AORC saw him fall and battle just to survive but he has had plenty of time to recover and was ready to redeem himself at the Renmark rounds.
Unfortunately, Ruprecht didn’t gel with the dry conditions and struggled to produce his best. Saturday saw the E1 rider finish outside the top 10 in 14th place and second in class, but he made improvements on Sunday, finishing 10th outright and winning the E1 class.
The results from the weekend now sees Ruprecht sitting leading the E1 class in a tight points race at the top of the table with fellow Yamaha rider, Scott Keegan.
“I didn’t ride well at all on Saturday and found riding in the dust really difficult,” Ruprecht explains. “On Saturday afternoon, I sat down with the team and we went through a lot of things about riding in such dry conditions and that definitely helped as I felt much better on Sunday and my results improved a lot.
“So, thanks to the team for their advice and support on the weekend. And, that shows what having the right people around you can make a difference,” Ruprecht ends.
It has been a hectic month for the Active8 Yamaha team that had saw them run a successful campaign at Finke before moving straight onto the SA round of the AORC.
“It wasn’t an easy weekend and the conditions made things difficult for the riders as well as the crew,” states team manager, AJ Roberts. “Josh had a flu leading into the event and was flat all weekend. He tried his hardest but just didn’t have the energy to ride at the speed required so the break between now and the next round will do him good.
“For Wil, the conditions were an eye opener but to his credit, after struggling on Saturday, he was able to take on advice and put into practice on Sunday and improve his results. That is rewarding in a young rider and Wil continues to improve as a rider in all conditions.
“We will get the truck back home and go through things in the comfort of our own work shop so we are fully prepared for the next round,” Roberts said.
The next round of the AORC will at Kyogle on July 22-23. For more information on the AORC: www.ma.org.au
For a full list of results from the SA round:https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1415336
AORC Championship standings – After Round Eight
1st Daniel Milner – 150
2nd Josh Green – 118 (Active8 Yamaha)
3rd Lyndon Snodgrass – 114
4th Lachlan Stanford – 112
5th Riley Graham – 95 (Yamaha)
1st Wil Ruprecht – 139 Active8 Yamaha (YZ250FX)
2nd Scott Keegan – 136 (YZ250FX)
3rd Nic Tomlinson – 118 (YZ250FX)
1st Daniel Milner – 150
2nd Josh Green – 128 Active8 Yamaha (YZ450FX)
3rd Riley Graham – 119 (YZ450FX)
4th Stefan Granquist (YZ450FX)
Credits: John Pearson