Danielle Mcdonald and Jess Gardiner were strong showings on the track at the recent opening rounds of the Australian Off-road Championship at Golden Beach.
The opening rounds of the Australian Off-road Championship (AORC) were held at Golden beach, Victoria last weekend April 17-18. The Yamaha MXstore Ballard’s Off-road Team (YMBOT) were amongst the pointy end of the action after nearly a year since the last off-road race.
There were well over 300 riders entered to contend for the Australian championship round positions, despite the dusty and challenging conditions. Golden Beach was set in the thick of the yellow sand and black powder sand, to produce some of the toughest tracks for the opening rounds of AORC racing.
Danielle Mcdonald led the team last Saturday morning racing the Junior cross country, (for 2 hours!). In fine form on her YZ125, she battled with young gun motocross racer, Taylor Thompson early in the race. Danielle had to push hard to come back to the lead after a first lap crash. Danielle and Taylor changed positions several times before Danielle took charge and pulled a solid lead. Danielle claimed the Round 1 victory in the Junior girls class and finished 14th overall with all the Juniors on track. Building momentum, she continued to battle for the top step of the podium for Round 2 with Taylor Thompson in the sprints. Danielle took the win by 11.6 seconds over Taylor for Round 2, and another exceptional 14th outright with the stacked Junior field.
Jess Gardiner lead the women’s class by storm at Round 1 in the super sprints, winning both sprint laps to take the overall win. Jess finished 57th outright with 151 seniors on the track!
For Round 2 in the sprints on last Sunday, Jess was still in dominating form winning the first 3 sprints in the women’s class. Unfortunately, Jess went down hard in the 4th sprint, losing a bit of time as she nursed herself back to the pits. Jess knew she had done some damage, although being still in the lead after the 4th sprint, she mentally couldn’t justify not attempting the last 2 sprints. Jess did what she had to, got taped up and trial rode the 5th and 6th sprint to salvage valuable championship points. Jess went on to finish 3rd for Round 2.
This now leaves Jess as runner up in the Championship with 2 points down from Emma Milesevic.
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Jess’ doctors have now confirmed she has a broken left scapula and is now in full recovery mode to be back for the next rounds. Jess explained, “It was an emotional weekend for me with so many highs and lows. I was riding so strong after a long time off; it was rewarding after the training I put into the lead up to this event. Normally sand isn’t my favourite terrain, with training, I proved I can be strong in the sand too! Unfortunately, I crashed hard in the 4th sprint, as soon as I rode in, I knew that I had broken my scapula.
“I didn’t want to believe it as much as my body told me to stop, I forced myself back on my WR250F to score that podium spot I deserved. I am now in full recovery mode to get back 100%. I have a lot of positives to take away from this weekend and I won’t let this small bump on the road stop my momentum from building”.
The next rounds of the AORC will be in July at Kyogle, NSW.
To keep up to date throughout the year of the team, press releases will be published here, along with the busy race calendar.