KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Daniel “Chucky” Sanders has continued his jump out of the blocks in this year’s Yamaha Australian Off Road Championships, dominating rounds three and four of the AORC at Portland, NSW.
Using his KTM 300 EXC, Sanders had the tight and technical, rocky conditions eating out of his hand on both days as he extended his perfect score in both the E3 and outright categories.
Sanders won Saturday’s third round of the championship by 34 seconds over Chris Hollis, with Josh Green third, while Sunday’s victory margin blew out to over a minute as he came in ahead of Glenn Kearney and Green.
The dual victories give Sanders an 18-point lead in the outright standings of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championships after four of twelve rounds.
“I’m really, really happy with the weekend. I’ve really stepped up the training program and kept chipping away and come into this round pretty confident,” Sanders explained.
“I was really looking forward to some tight stuff, and apart from one little crash it all went really well, I’m feeling awesome on the bike. I’ve got a good diet and a good program in the gym and I’m feeling really strong on the KTM300EXC and loving it. So we have one weekend off now and then off to South Oz. Obviously I want to go in there and win it but if we can finish top three there I’ll be pretty happy.”
KTM factory support rider Tom Mason came away with 4, 5 results in the E3 class, cracking the top 15 on the Saturday. Tye Simmonds. Credit: John Pearson Tye Simmonds. Credit: John Pearson
In the E2 category Tye Simmonds continued his battle with tight, technical conditions, but still powered his KTM 450 EXC to two podium finishes and still managed sixth and seventh overall for weekend.
“I’ve got no complaints about the weekend – it was awesome, but I’m not happy about my results,” Simmonds said.
“That’s the way it goes though, that’s racing,” he continued, “I’m definitely glad I came and spent some time with Grabbo beforehand, I wouldn’t have liked to have seen my results if I hadn’t come and trained in the stuff. I know the tight, technical off camber, single-trail stuff is a weakness of mine but I’ve just got to spend more time in it.
“I’ll drive home tonight, pick the old man up and then carry on up to Finke now, where we’ll be for a week, so I’m keen to go stretching throttles cables now.”
Jack Simpson. Credit: John Pearson Jack Simpson. Credit: John Pearson
Riding the KTM 250 SX-F, former pro-motocrosser Jack Simpson continued his stellar introduction to off-road racing, and despite the very un-motocrossy conditions, the Victorian KTM factory support rider used 3, 4 results for the weekend to position himself just two points away from the E1 class lead.
“Round three started a little bit slow but I finally found my feet and learnt a lot,” Simpson offered. “I struggled a little bit on the technical, tight stuff, but once I got into the grass track, that’s where I made that time back.
“The technical, rocky stuff was nothing like I’ve ever ridden, so I’m just learning as fast as I can every single race. It’s a really fresh new challenge, having not been to these properties before and having not done this type of racing before. I’m eager to learn and conquer it. I’d like to thank Chucky, who showed me a couple of lines when we were walking the track, and Grabbo and the team for helping me out.”
Nic Tomlinson. Credit: John Pearson Nic Tomlinson. Credit: John Pearson
Nic Tomlinson continued his sparkling form in the Transmoto 19 and Under class with a dominant display that netted him and his KTM 300 EXC two victories, while cracking the top 15 outright on both days. The KTM factory support rider from Forbes, NSW now holds a six-point lead in the category.
“I’m pretty happy with the way I went this weekend, a lot better than last round, but still not quite where I want to be,” Tomlinson said. “I really enjoyed the track, so it was good to ride in some tight bush with gnarly, snotty rocks again. It’s similar to home. It’s good to be winning the class overall at the moment. I haven’t done a round at Murray Bridge before, but from what I’ve heard it should be more like home.”
Ben Grabham – KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager, added, “It wasn’t far from my house so we got the boys out nice and early and we did a little bit in the conditions, which are quite tricky because we haven’t had rain for a long time and it’s very rocky.
“Chucky proved he was again the man to beat when he won the first lap by 15-20 seconds and looked pretty comfortable. He won the day by half a minute and then came out storming again today; I don’t think he looked close to being beaten all day. We’re definitely seeing a lot of good stuff out of him at the moment and four on the trot is fantastic.
“Tye struggled a little bit all weekend to be honest – it’s just terrain he’s not familiar with. He’s still working his butt off trying, but it just didn’t happen for him. He was still third in E2 both days which is positive, but he was just down a little bit in outright.
“Full credit to the team again, Mick has done some late nights with myself in the workshop lately, and we are in a good place as a result,” Grabham concluded.
Main Photo: Daniel “Chucky” Sanders Credit: John Pearson