Round seven of the Australian Off-Road Championship was held at Broken Hill yesterday in windy and dusty conditions. The Motul Pirelli Sherco Team went into the round with desert specialist Nathan Trigg joining the Team’s AORC mainstay, Andy Wilksch. Team rookie, Jonte Reynders remained sidelined nursing a broken scapula sustained in a crash at round six in Kyogle last month.
Wilksch hit the ground running in Broken Hill with a very respectable seventh place in the prologue on Saturday, setting him up for a competitive run at the four-hour cross country on Sunday. Trigg qualified further back in 12th position on the Sherco 450 SEF Factory edition.
“It all went pretty well,” said Wilksch. “Derek Grundy and Chad from Chad’s Off-Road Setups had my bike perfect. The track was super dry and choppy in places then there was some deep sand in the creek beds and my 500 was spot-on in all of it. Qualifying in seventh gave me the confidence that my bike was on the pace for the main race.”
The brutal four-hour cross country wore riders down and tested man and machine so a solid race plan prove critical.
“I paced myself for the four hours and didn’t push too hard off the start,” Wilksch explained. “I waited until I learned the track and found my groove then I started making ground. On the third lap I began putting in solid laps. We did two pit stops where almost everyone else had to do three and my fastest lap was on the second last lap.”
Wilksch secured second place in the E3 Class and seventh overall. Meanwhile, Trigg suffered the highly unusual misfortune of a broken chain on lap-one and was forced to work his way back into the race in very trying conditions.
“I was keen as to have a real go at this race,” said Trigg. “I didn’t get the result I was after but that was hard to avoid. It was just unlucky and by the time I got back into the race, the horse had bolted.”
Road and River Sherco rider Danielle Foot remained consistent at Broken Hill by qualifying in fourth position then going on to complete the cross country on Sunday in fourth position in the Women’s Class.
Rounds eight and nine of the Australian Off-Road Championship is scheduled for August 31 and September 1 at Coonalpyn, South Australia where riders will face a double sprint race format.
Photography: John Pearson