The 2024 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championships (AORC) got underway on the weekend and a promising start was made by the ShopYamaha Off Road Team with both Kyron Bacon and Will Dennett landing on the podium in their respective classes as well as impressive results achieved by Yamaha supported riders and teams.

Contested at Roma, six hours Northwest of Brisbane, some rain early in the week saw moisture in the ground but hot days across the weekend saw conditions dry out and only  a few creek crossings kept competitors cool in a challenging opening weekend of racing.

Yamaha finished the weekend winning the E1, EJ, EW, J3 and J2 classes as well as finishing on the podium in E3 and EW and are just getting warmed up!

Kyron Bacon shook off some pre-event nerves to make a solid start to the year, claiming E1 (250cc) victories on both days. Fighting off arm pump and a boiling back brake on day one, Bacon knuckled down and returned to his rightful position at the front of the E1 field for the weekend.

In the sprint format ran on both days, with four legs contested each day, Bacon stepped it up a notch and began to challenge Daniel Milner for Outright honours. He claimed a test win on Saturday and then went within two seconds of another test win on Sunday as the pair separated themselves from the pack. Despite not going head to head in class honours, both Bacon and Milner will measure their success against each other.

Bacon’s haul on the weekend saw him take second Outright and first in E1 on both days.

“It was a pretty good start to the championship, and I felt better as the days went on,” Bacon begins. “The first test on Saturday wasn’t good as I just overrode the track and as a result lost back brake and then my arms pumped up, but I settled down after that and was able to build with every lap.

“It’s awesome to be back racing again and the team did a great job with the bike. The tests had a bit of everything so it was a good way to start the year but also there are some things I can improve on before the next round. I want to start my days better and be more consistent across the day to keep the pressure on Daniel, so its back to Tasmania to get a few things straightened out and be ready for the next rounds at Mt Misery,” he ends.    

It was also a positive start for new teammate Will Dennett, who has made the jump from Under 19 into the premier E1 class, despite having another year to run in 19s if he wanted to. It was right into the dep end for Dennett and to come away with a podium on both days and a top five outright is an impressive result for the 18-year-old.

Dennett finished third on both days in a consistent and mature performance for his first race at the top level. Despite crashing in a test or two, he didn’t get flustered and continued to rebound well each time on the track. He also managed to pull down a top six outright on Saturday and then improved to a top five Outright on Sunday.

“I said coming into the weekend that my goal was to be on the podium in E2 and being inside the top five for Outright, so I went close to that and I’m happy with how the weekend went. It was a lot to take in as it was the first event working closely with the team and also racing with the pro’s, but I enjoyed it and can take a lot from it and hopefully improve a little each round from here.

“My bike was awesome all weekend and had no major issues apart from a couple of crashes. The club did a great job at the event, and I can’ t wait for the next round,” Dennett offers.

Yamaha bLU cRU Support

Jett Yarnold showed his is the man to beat in the EJ (under 19 class) after two impressive days of racing in Roma. Yarnold all but dominated the class on both days to take the round wins with a comfortable gap over his rivals and set the tone for what it’s going to take to claim the EJ championship this year.

“The weekend was a lot of fun and its good to get the class wins on both days. I had some good test times, but I want to make them more consistent and have a goal to get into the top ten outright as the rounds progress. But it’s a good start and looking forward to keeping the momentum going for the coming rounds.”          

Cooper Sheidow came out all guns blazing on Saturday morning, taking it up to Bacon in the E1 division and posting some fast times. His day can only be seen as a success as he finished second in class behind Bacon and fourth Outright in his best outright result so far.

His weekend slowed on Sunday after he got his foot caught between the bike and some rocks resulting in some swelling, but he continued through the day to finish fourth in class despite being in obvious discomfort.

“The weekend started well and my speed was good on day one. Fourth Outright is the best I have done so I was really happy with that, and it was good to challenge Kyron in E1. But I struggled a bit on Sunday as the test had a lot of rocks which is something I don’t get a lot of in South Australia and something I definitely need to practice. I jammed my foot which made it worse, but I will be good for the next round,” Sheidow said.

GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing

The GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing boys turned it on all weekend with Harley Hutton and Marcus Nowland taking impressive victories in their respective classes. Nowland simply dominated all weekend, winning all tests bar one on his way to victory in the J3 class. He put the hammer down early each day to stretch out his lead and then rode maturely as conditions deteriorated to take both round victories.

For Hutton, he was a cut above on day one and raced away with the J2 (85cc) win. On day two, some mistakes and a fall early in the day put him on the back foot but he was able to fight his way out and make up time as the day progressed and in the end took the win by nine seconds over his nearest rival.