Sherco-backed star Jonte Reynders kickstarted his 2021 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) campaign with a couple of hard-fought second places at the picturesque Golden Beach (Vic) on April 17-18.
Aboard the Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team 300 SE Factory in the E3 category, the 23-year-old Tasmanian finished runner-up to Daniel Milner on both days as Australia’s finest off-road combatants finally got to face off after the opening two rounds of the 2021 AORC title were postponed due to the recent NSW deluge.
A well as his second-place results at Golden Beach, Reynders was again the leading two-stroke competitor in E3 – continuing the dominance he displayed in the 2020 AORC.
Due to challenging conditions, Saturday’s planned three-hour cross-country opener on the doorstep of the famed Ninety Mile Beach reverted to a sprint format across a 20km circuit.
In conditions he described as “brutal”, Reynders – riding with five stitches in his left thumb after a recent incident with a utility knife – finished well ahead of third-placed Thomas McCormack despite crashing in both special tests.
On Sunday, it was the same E3 trifecta, but this time Reynders was much closer to Milner after some overnight suspension tweaks – a massive confidence-booster ahead of rounds three and four in Kyogle (NSW) on July 17-18.
“The suspension changes we made the 300 SE Factory definitely helped on Sunday,” said Reynders. “I was a lot faster and getting used to the terrain – which is a lot different to what I am used to in Tasmania.
“It was an event where you really had to be right on the edge to get the best out of the machine, so it was tough for all the competitors.
“The stitches in my thumb loosened up a bit, but on Sunday I didn’t remove my glove the whole time – I just left the damage ‘assessment’ until the end!”
Reynders will now turn his energies to a couple of events in Tasmania on the Pirelli Motul Sherco Racing Team 300 SE Factory – a grass track hitout in May and a three-hour enduro cross-country in June – before the Kyogle AORC round where the bush-type terrain will be more familiar to him.
For more information on the 2021 AORC, visit www.aorc.org.au/