Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider Lachy Stanford celebrated his first AORC double class win this weekend as he and his Husqvarna FE501 topped the E3 class on both days of the Australian Off-Road Championships’ Murray Bridge stopover in South Australia.
The smooth riding Byron Bay racer won the big-bore class on Day One ahead of Beau Ralston, and on Day Two ahead of AORC championship leader Daniel Sanders, taking his personal tally of outright podiums to four from six starts as he claimed third overall on Saturday, and runner-up today.
“Really happy! The double win was a very solid result,” Stanford said. “I’m pretty stoked to get another third and second outright as well and be up into second outright in the points. I’m getting closer to the top step.
“The track was cool, it was hard pack. Everyone has been busy practicing grass track but this was a lot harder to ride, it was quite a slippery surface. It got pretty rough; it was almost like a hard-packed motocross track,” Stanford explained.
“I’ve been doing a bit of motocross so that suited me fine, and I can’t fault the bike, the Husqvarna FE501 has been awesome at every track we race now, I haven’t been able to fault the bike at all,” he added, “A huge thanks to Christian and Dave and Kevvie for working with me all weekend, and to the South Australian boys for putting on such a great event.”
Husqvarna’s factory support racers stretched across three of the four major AORC podiums in South Australia, with Team Manager Glenn Kearney adding a pair of second places to his E1 championship challenge aboard his Husqvarna FE 250.
“I’m so proud of Lachy, it’s great to see him starting to do the things I’ve been saying for the last few years that he could do,” Kearney said. “And it’s so good to see the team up on the outright podium again after I got there last round. My own result was a bit disappointing, Jack beat me for the class win on both days – the more motocross-style track suited him down to the ground and the kid rode really well.
“I came good towards the end on both days, but not enough. I’m pretty happy because I haven’t had much time on the bike in the last few weeks, but it still wasn’t the catch-up I wanted after missing out in the first couple. Lachy was really fast and consistent which was the biggest thing for him, he didn’t vary much in times over the whole weekend. But me yesterday I just couldn’t seem to stay upright, I had three or four falls out of seven tests – you can’t win doing that sort of thing,” Kearney concluded.
Transmoto 19 and Under class rookie Fraser Higlett kept up his impressive performances with two third places across the weekend, the 16-year-old maintaining his third place in that championship behind Nic Tomlinson and Wil Ruprecht.
“A better weekend for me, two thirds in class,” Higlett said “I rode pretty well. I adjusted my suspension a bit and that really helped. Also I’m usually pretty loose on the bike but this weekend I tried a lot harder to stay smooth. I’ve been having a few crashes lately so I’ve had to change things a little bit. It seems to be working. It was an awesome track, there were a few sections that were like riding on marbles, and if you could get the flow in the grass track you could go fast.”
Lyndon Snodgrass barely missed the podium in E3 with fourth on both days while Broc Grabham carded 5, 6 results to keep his solid standing in E2.
Hard enduro ace Mitch Harper was back into action following his broken foot, slowly gaining confidence and speed to post 9, 7 results in the E2 championship.
“I was pretty off the pace this weekend, I only started getting a bit of speed back this afternoon – I’ve had five weeks off the bike and I only just got back on it last weekend,” Harper explained.
“So I’m a bit unfit and the skills are a bit rusty. The foot is all fixed now, and the place was very enjoyable although it probably didn’t really suit me particularly well. The 350 was really good here, fast and light in the tight stuff. It’s a year of getting back into it for me so I’ve got to be patient, I didn’t realise I was going to be doing this until after my rides at Clipsal and Wildwood went so well, but Husky has given me the support now, so I’ll be able to squeeze in a lot of training now in the big break we’ve got coming up.”
Main Photo: Lachy Stanford Credit: John Pearson
AORC Outright Points (provisional) after 6 rounds: 1. Daniel Sanders 132, 2. Lachlan Stanford 118, 3. Chris Hollis 114, 4. Tye Simmonds 110, 5. Josh Green 104, 6. Beau Ralston 93, 7. Glenn Kearney 78, 8. Jack Simpson 73, 9. Scott Keegan 72, 10. Chris Davey 65