Rounds 5 and 6 of the Australian Off-Road Championship at Murray Bridge, South Australia has seen two Sherco riders firmly set themselves in contention for Australian titles. With the completion of round 6, the Championship is half over and the title point’s chase is unfolding in spectacular fashion.
Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team rider Wil Ruprecht burst out of the pits in sizzling form at round 5 on Saturday and charged to the lead of the Under-19 class. Ruprecht set some extremely fast test times on his Sherco 450SEF-R which earned him the round win and valuable Championship points.
Sunday’s round 6 was a close battle with Ruprecht just missing out on the win. The title chase is extremely close and Ruprecht is locked in battle for the Championship.
“It was a really good weekend for me,” explained Ruprecht. “I put in some really fast times early on which helped me a lot. The racing is so close that even just a small mistake can cost you the win. I’m really happy with how I rode and my 450 was awesome fun to ride. I just need to really concentrate and make every corner count.”
Ruprecht’s team mate, Justin Carafa put in an honest performance over the two rounds in South Australia with extremely consistent test times.
“To be honest I had a frustrating time,” said Carafa. “I rode hard and put in consistent laps, I just couldn’t cut that extra second here and there to close in on the front runners. I love racing and I love my 450, I just need to get it right. I’m really looking forward to second half of the season because I know my fitness will come into play and hopefully we get some damp tracks and longer races.”
“The Team is performing very well,” explained Sherco Australia’s Stephen Tuff. “Wil is right in the hunt for the Under-19 title. Some of his test times put him right up there in the outright results. The competition is tight but the Team is confident he’ll continue to chip away at finding that little bit extra.
“Justin continues to push and learn. He’s just itching for a physically demanding cross country event and hopefully we get to let him loose on a few later in the season. He’s fit and extremely focussed to do well. The Team is working hard despite the recent setback of our entire race kit lost to a fire. The way we’ve all worked together to overcome something that could cripple any team gives me a lot of pride. We’re a young team but a solid team.”
Adding strength to Sherco’s stocks in Australian Off-Road racing is Veteran Class rider Bjorn Osborne. The Bathurst-based racer is comfortably leading the Championship for riders over 35 years despite two 5th placings in South Australia.
“Bjorn is proving that it’s not just a young man’s game,” Tuff continued. “He rides a 300SE-R two-stroke with backing from Jeff’s Bikes & Bits and just gets on with it. The last two rounds weren’t his best performances but his early domination in the previous rounds has him in the driver’s seat for the remainder of the Championship.”
The Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team will begin preparations for the Hattah Desert Race on July 2-3 in Mildura while the Australian Off-Road Championship enters a mid-season break and will recommence on July 23 in Victoria.