The ShopYamaha Off-Road Racing Team turned in another impressive performance at rounds five and six of the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), with all three riders sitting in podium positions at the halfway stage of the series in their respective divisions. The event was originally planned for Kyogle but moved to Mendooran, near Dubbo, due to the recent flooding in the Kyogle region, so the Dubbo club present a pristine venue with challenging, technical yet fun tracks and trails on sandy based soil. The weekend saw the sprint format in play with over 25 laps done that tested the riders.
Kyron Bacon, the quite Tasmanian teenager who has taken the 2022 series by storm was again set for his next challenge and after winning the first three of four rounds of the AORC was up against it at Mendooran. The fast, flowing and sandy nature of the course meant his Yamaha YZ250F needed to be at full tilt plus some more to keep pace with the big bore bikes.
But Bacon loves the throttle and while he may not have won outright on either day, he was easily detected in the Dubbo wilderness with his machine in full song on both days. Bacon won the E1 class (250cc) for both rounds and was a very impressive top five outright on each occasion and matching times with the bigger bikes in many of the tests.
He now comfortably leads the E1 class after six rounds and retains the lead outright.
“Riding sand is something I need to be a little better at but it needs to be in a race environment where the track gets cut up with rolling whoops and that can only happen when there are a lot of bikes pounding laps. This weekend was a step in the right direction for me and I rode it pretty well. I lost a bit of time on Saturday, but thankfully I was able to make some of that up and still win the day.
“The bike was awesome all weekend and the event was good, so thanks to my team and the organisers for their efforts. Greeny beat me this weekend and I’m sure he won’t let me forget that for a while, so hopefully we can get to the next round and I can shut him up,” Bacon laughs.
Speaking of Green, he lodged his most consistent performance of the year finishing second in E2 each day and inside the top three outright. Things started out slowly for the veteran Yamaha rider, but he found his mojo halfway through day one and kept it going right until the final test on Sunday.
His consistent results from the weekend see him keep the lead in the E2 class, although he knows Todd waters is knocking on the door.
“It was good to get a weekend out of the way without to much drama,” Green begins. “The last few events I have been taking a hammering and beating myself up so it was good to get things back on track and leave here sore but not sorry.
“I struggled a bit on Saturday to get going and didn’t really have much flow in my riding, but I was able to crank things up as the weekend went along and was right there with Todd by the end of Sunday.
“I knew Todd would be good here as this style and surface suits his motocross background so even if I couldn’t win, it was important I be right there with him and not give away too many points in the championship. We were able to do that, so it’s a good result for myself and the team.”
Like Green, Blake Hollis started his weekend off slowly as he had considerable time off the bike since Hattah due to hand blisters. Saturday he was off the pace and finished fifth in the E1 (250cc) division, but he returned on Sunday determined to get things back on track.
Sunday was a better performance and he was able to match it with Bacon in many of the special tests and content for class honours in E1. He wound up the day inside the top four and has moved to third in the E1 standings at the halfway stage.
“I hadn’t done any riding since Hattah due to my hands being so blistered and before that, I had spent a fair bit of time on the 450 in preparation for that race, so I started the weekend out a little behind the eight ball,” Hollis acknowledges.
“I taped my hands as best I could, got back into the style of riding a 250 and being more aggressive and I was able to generate a better pace on Sunday. I had some great tests but also made a couple of mistakes in others that cost me, but my riding was much better, and I can take some positives from that.”
Round Five E1 1st Kyron Bacon (Yamaha) 2nd Sam Pretscherer 3rd Korey McMahon 5th Blake Hollis (Yamaha)