Motul Pirelli Sherco Team riders Jonte Reynders and Callum Norton made strong starts to the 2022 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) in Warwick (Qld) on the weekend of March 19-20.
On an extremely challenging sprint-based course – which included some massive bog holes that tested all the riders – Reynders' 2-2 results on the 300 SE Factory in the E3 class were the standouts, while Norton (450 SEF Factory) completed E2 proceedings with a 5-4 scorecard.AORC RDS 1 AND 2 RESULTS
The event got off to a bone-jarring start for Reynders and Norton with big crashes in the early stages of round one, but the pair managed to remount and grind it out to the end of the special test – now fully aware it was going to be an unrelenting weekend at the office.
"The tracks were super gnarly, nothing I have ridden before, so many rocks and dry sections and then big bog holes that could ruin your day in seconds if you didn’t take the right line," said 24-year-old Reynders, who also went 4-6 in the outright results.
"The crash on Saturday banged up my up foot and wrist made it tough, but we toughed it out to put in some solid results.
"I also got a stick caught in the rear wheel on another occasion, which cost me time removing it, and I also landed on a rock and damaged the rear sprocket on my bike – I'm not sure how the chain stayed on!
"I'm looking forward to getting to the next rounds and fixing up all the little mistakes. A big thanks to the team in what was a super hard event for both riders and machines."
Despite the multiple setbacks, Reynders still managed to set a searing pace when the planets aligned – he won four of the E3 special tests over the two days.
Meanwhile, Norton was satisfied with his opening AORC hitout in Sherco colours considering the extremely tight nature of the circuit – a long way removed from his normal desert racing staple.
"Spearing chest-first into a tree early on day one took the wind out of my sails," said Norton. "There was a bit of damage to the front of the bike, but I pushed on and was pleased that I was able to keep improving over the two days.
"I actually enjoyed the whole experience, even though it wasn't really my type of track. The goal in rounds three and four will be eradicating some of the smaller mistakes and getting onto the podium."
The E1, E2 and E3 classes at the AORC opener were won Kyron Bacon, Josh Green and Andy Wilksch respectively.
Rounds three and four of the 2022 AORC will be held in Mackay on April 8-9.
For more information on the championship, visit www.aorc.org.au