The finishing touches have been done to the race bikes, the team stickers applied and the riders are 100% fit and ready to go as Yamaha Racing hits the opening round of the Australian Off-Road Championship this weekend at Kilkivan, in Queensland. It’s been a long six months since the last round of the 2015 series but the time has allowed riders to heal and also valuable testing and development to be done as the Yamaha teams and riders approach the 2016 season.
CDR Yamaha Chris Hollis will again spearhead the CDR Yamaha campaign in 2016. Mounted on the all new Yamaha WR450F, Hollis is an experienced rider who knows what it takes to win the AORC. Despite some injuries during the 2015 season, Hollis proved he had the speed and skill to match anyone and heads into the 2016 season as a major contender for outright and E2 honours.
Tom McCormack returns to the team for 2016. McCormack has worked hard over the off season as he recovered from major injuries sustained last year but feels he is in good shape and well prepared for the opening round.
“We are entering the opening round in pretty good shape,” states CDR Yamaha’s Craig Dack. “Both guys have shown good form in pre-season testing and the new WR450F has been well received by the riders and very responsive to any development we have done.
“Chris and Tom are smart enough to know that the need to get off to a positive start at the opening rounds and we expect them to be well placed in the championship after the weekend,” Dack ends.
Active8 Yamaha Like the CDR Yamaha team, Active8 Yamaha have retained the same two successful riders from 2015 with Josh Green and Beau Ralston behind the ‘bars. Green will return to the E2 class on the WR450F and look to improve on his second place finish outright in 2015, while Ralston will campaign a WR480F in the E3 class and add another class championship to his resume.
Active8 Yamaha have also added the services of Tayla Jones to compete against the men in the E1 division on the WR250F. Jones has established herself as Australia’s fastest female off road racer and is excited about the challenge of going bar to bar with the men in the E1 category.
“I feel like we have had a productive off season and made the necessary changes to the team to make it better foe the 2016 season,” explains team manager, AJ Roberts. “We have added another mechanic to spread the load, as well as have all three riders in each of the major classes so we can ensure Yamaha and our sponsors’ good coverage.
“The team recently contested the opening round of the Queensland Enduro championship with some success, so hopefully that will carry over to our national campaign,” Roberts said.
Yamaha Support With the wide variety of off road bikes now available at Yamaha, several support riders have been enlisted to promote the brand. Scott Keegan, Riley Graham and Stefan Granquist will all contest the E1 class on 250cc machines, while Jemma Wilson, Emelie Karlsson and Jess Gardiner will fly the flag in the women’s events.
“Yamaha have placed a lot of support around the riders and the AORC in 2016 and hope to increase the profile and popularity of off road racing in Australia during 2016,” says Yamaha Motor Sport Manager, Ray Howard. “Like everyone involved, we are excited to finally go racing in 2016 and wish all riders and crew a safe and fun weekend at Kilkivan.”
Main Photo: Chris Hollis will spearhead the CDR Yamaha Off Road effort. Credit: Mad Dog Images