It was a positive beginning to round three and four of the Australian Off-Road Championship for the Motul Pirelli Sherco Team. The two one-day enduro rounds of the Australian Off-Road Championship were staged in Dungog NSW, in near perfect riding conditions.
Andy Wilksch was on fire and the Motul Pirelli Sherco 500 SEF was performing like a freight train. Wilksch was positing extremely competitive test times before an unfortunate mechanical issue ended his day.
“My bike’s crank case breather hose became clogged with mud,” Wilksch explained. “The bike got hot and stopped and I didn’t know why. This has never happened to me before and I lacked the mechanical knowledge to identify it and fix it. What could have been a simple fix ended in me asking to be towed back to the start. This is something I have learned from and although I blew a solid result, now I know.”
Wilksch regrouped for Sunday’s round four and bounced back with some red-hot special test times that were inside the top five times outright.
“Saturday was tough for the Team to accept,” Wilksch explained. “Everything was going so well but we put the DNF behind us and got on with racing. I ended up third in class on Sunday and we showed I have pace to run where we need to be. I’ve never finished in the top five outright ever in a special test and you could say Australia is experiencing the toughest competition its ever seen, so I’m happy with where my racing it at.”
Despite not scoring any Championship results on Saturday, the Motul Pirelli Sherco Team remains positive about the weekend’s racing and for the remainder of the season.
“Saturday’s result was unfortunate, but we took some solid positives from the weekend,” said Motul Pirelli Sherco Team manager Derek Grundy. “Andy is riding the best he ever has and our 500 is fast. We can still fight for a championship position. Andy displayed great fortitude by attacking Sunday in tough conditions. It was hot and humid which was quite fatiguing. We’re not out of the Championship fight and we have seven more rounds to prove our point.”
Road and River Sherco racer Danielle Foot remained consistent in the Women’s division at Dungog, emulating her results from round one and two in Queensland with fifth and fourth place results.
“I struggled on Saturday but decided to screw my head on and have a go on Sunday,” Foot explained. “I know I need to train harder to get better results. I’m turning my attention towards the Finke Desert Race now. I love that race and I’m determined to record my best-ever result after crashing out last year. The different between racing the desert and the Australian Off-Road Championship is huge, but I’m really keen to get in the desert and give it everything”
Photography: John Pearson