Rounds 7 and 8 of the Australian Off-Road Championship were held at Hedley in southern Victoria last weekend in wet and boggy conditions. The Motul Pirelli Sherco Factory Team was back to full strength and ready to tackle the three-hour cross country race on Saturday.
The eight-lap race began well for the Sherco riders with Justin Carafa quickly slotting into third place. Carafa’s first race back from injury was short lived, however, when he reinjured his right thumb and was forced to retire from the event.
Sherco’s Under-19 Class charger Wil Ruprecht revelled in the boggy conditions and charged out to a commanding lead after a fall in the first turn. Ruprecht forced his way into 9th place outright and took a comfortable win in the Under-19 Class.
“Wil rode a smart and strong race,” said Motul Pirelli Sherco Team coordinator Dave Suter. “Conditions were tough but he just kept charging and took a well-deserved win. Justin was looking really good and he was super keen for a big result but his injury just needs more time to heal. We’re hopeful he will be right for round 9 next month.”
Round 8 of the Championship was staged on Sunday with a sprint format of four separately timed laps. Ruprecht again showed great speed on the Sherco 450SEF-R to come away with second place which has catapulted Ruprecht into the Championship points lead.
“Saturday was a fun race,” said Ruprecht. “It was good to finally get a proper cross country event in this Championship. It was wet and really muddy and I crashed in the first corner. But I just kept at it and the result came to me. It was a really satisfying win. I wasn’t able to get the win on Sunday but I now have the points’ lead which is what I set out to achieve this weekend.”
Ruprecht is now 3 points clear of second place in the Under-19 Class with four rounds of the Championship remaining. The next stop on the AORC calendar will be at Monkerai, NSW for rounds 9 and 10 on August 13 and 14, 2016.