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Styke Stretchers Lead in AORC

Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing’s Luke Styke has made the perfect start to the 2018 Australian Off Road Championships, taking another double victory in the E1 (250cc) class at rounds three and four of the series, at Hedley in Victoria, over the weekend.

That’s now four on the trot for Styke as he continues his transition across from professional motocross and he increased his lead in the 12 round championship.

With dry and dusty conditions in Gippsland, Victoria, the event was changed to a sprint format on both days that saw a huge field of competitors take on three, 20 minute laps on Saturday while Sunday had riders challenge five, 10 min loops in an interesting weekends’ racing.

Styke showed plenty of skill and determination over the weekend, winning all laps across the weekend in the E1 class and not finishing outside the top six overall. Saturday saw Styke well in control of the E1 division but it was Sunday where he unleashed his best form to date, again claiming the E1 wins, but this time was inside the top three outright in several of the racing laps.

Styke has now build a handy lead in the E1 class, but there is still plenty of racing to come and a lot left for Styke to learn.

“I loved the weekend and the sprint format works well for me,’ Style begins. “It was just like doing 20-minute motocross races on Saturday and Sunday was the same, just a little bit shorter.

“Although it was dry and dusty, I liked the dirt in the area and it was fun to ride. It would be nice if the east coast of Australia would get some rain as the dirt here would have been perfect if there was some more moisture to it.

“My WR250F ran perfectly all weekend and the team continues to do a great job. I’m really happy I have made the switch to off road and I’m enjoying the challenge of racing different terrain, with different riders on different bikes,” Styke ends.

Team mate Josh Green also snared plenty of podium success on the weekend, taking third place on both Saturday and Sunday’s event in the E2 (450cc) class, despite what he describes as a lack-lustre performance.

Green fell awkwardly on the first lap of Saturday’s sprints and it rattled him all weekend. Green wasn’t able to recapture his best form, but to his credit, he continued to fight on and still managed to pull down two podium results and kept himself in the E2 championship battle with right rounds still to come.

“I was just a bit off all weekend,” Green admits. “I crashed early on Saturday and then I just couldn’t get going again for the rest of the weekend. I didn’t hurt myself but I just didn’t ride the way I know I should and as a result was getting frustrated with myself out there and not being loose and relaxed which is what is needed when it’s a balls out sprint race.

“But I can’t change it now, all I can do it work hard for the next round and continue to keep trying to get better. We still have eight rounds to go so there is plenty of time to bounce back and redeem myself from this weekend,” he says with determination.

It was just the two pilots on the weekend for the Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Team as Wil Ruprecht was sidelined with a shoulder injury sustained in training prior to the Hedley event. Ruprecht is recovering at the moment and is expected back on the bike shortly.

Rounds five and six of the of the Australian Off Road Championship move to Dungog, NSW where all the action takes place on July 28-29.

Images: John Pearson (JP Media Aus)

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