The Active8 Yamalube Yamaha off road team kicked off their 2017 season on the right foot with a commendable performance from all three riders that has them well placed as the Australian Off Road Championships (AORC) got under way over the weekend.

Lead up rain in the Victorian Gippsland region made the Rawson venue wet under foot and damp out on the trail but team riders Josh Green, Beau Ralston and Wil Ruprecht applied themselves to the job at hand and achieved good results.

While officially called rounds three and four, with the cancellation of the opening rounds due to flooding in NSW a few weeks ago, the Rawson event was the first time the national competitors got to eye each other off in major competition and with the format set down for a three hour X-Country race on Saturday followed by a Sprint race consisting of six laps of a ten minute course on Sunday, it was going to be a tough weekend at the office for the riders.

Josh Green led the Active8 Yamaha charge across the two days and currently sits second in the outright standings. On board his YZ450FX, Green posted a fourth-place finish on Saturday in the three-hour race, despite having fuel splash all over his pants as a breather line come loose. But wasn’t happy with his result and vowed to turn things around the following day.

To his word, Green bounced back to claim a second-place finish in the Sprints and leave himself well placed as the championship moves forward.

“The track was savage on Saturday and a really tough opening race for the year,” Green said. “I tried my best but things just weren’t flowing for me so fourth was the best I could do.

“And while the track on Sunday wasn’t as tough, it was hard backing up after such a gruelling day but I felt much better on the bike and was able to improve a couple of positions so we are heading in the right direction.

“The team again did an awesome job and we are already looking forward to the next round,” Green ends.

The weekend proved to be a revelation for the newest member of the Active8 Yamaha team, Wil Ruprecht. The young gun leapt from the blocks on his YZ250FX and showed why he has been picked up by the Yamaha team.

He charged his way to a brilliant fifth place finish outright and the leading E1 class machine in Saturdays’ X-Country and then backed that up with another masterful display on Sunday to finish fourth outright and dominate the E1 class on Sunday. Had it not been for a small fall late on Sunday, Ruprecht was on the way to a podium finish.

“I’m stoked with my results over the weekend and really happy with how things went working with the team. No one never really knows how the start of a championship goes but to be top five both days and leading the E1 class is above the goal I had set so I’m pumped.

“Working with the Active8 Yamaha team has been great so far and its awesome to have so much knowledge around me at events like these,” Wil said.

Beau Ralston logged two top 10 outright results on the weekend on his big bore YZ300 two stroke to get off to a reasonable start in the championship. Ralston is a huge fan of the two-stroke machine but rues a set up error that cost him dearly over the weekend.

Ralston made a great start on Saturday but then fell from his bike on “more than one occasion” making it a day he would rather forget.

“We had the bike set up quite firm and hard for a faster style course but that never really happened and as a result, due to the slower nature of the track, it was quite harsh to ride. That meant it was hard on my hands and I had blisters forming in the very early stages of the X-Country on Saturday.

“That’s not an excuse but something we will learn from and through some more testing we will be better for round two. I’m sure we will be back up to speed and on the podium in no time.

Ralston sits just inside the top 10 outright and equal third in the E3 division.

Saturday- X-Country

1st Daniel Milner – E2
2nd Lyndon Snodgrass – E3
3rd Lachlan Stanford – E3
4th Josh Green – E2 (Active8 Yamaha)
5th Wil Ruprecht – E1 (Active8 Yamaha)

Sunday – Sprints
1st Daniel Milner – E2
2nd Josh Green – E2 (Active8 Yamaha)
3rd Lachlan Stanford – E3
4th Wil Rurpecht – E1 (Active8 Yamaha)
5th Jack Simpson – E3