When is a champion not a champion?
That’s a question New Zealand’s Scott Sowry could probably answer for you after the Yamaha Australian Off Road Championship (AORC) wound up this week.
Sowry took his Kawasaki to the top step of one of the junior podiums when the 2011 series wrapped up with a presentation ceremony in Dungog, New South Wales.
Unfortunately, although the young man from Pahiatua (pictured above) topped the score card in the J2 class with 197 points, he was not eligible to be crowned champion because he does not hold a national licence in Australia.
Tom Mason (154) was instead awarded the Australian Championship title, with Guy Frail (138) and Alex Papamanolis (101) rounding out the 2011 winning trio.
The presentation marked the end of an enthralling nine-round series, which turned out some brilliant performances in challenging weather conditions as it travelled across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.
Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road rider and 2008 Champ Chris Hollis claimed the 2011 Outright Championship Crown with a series of solid performances, sweeping home with 184 points ahead of team-mates Stefan Merriman (169), a Kiwi originally from Tauranga, and Matt Phillips (168).
Hollis was also victorious in the E2 class, with a dominant 206 point haul putting him on the podium in front of Husqvarna’s Glenn Kearney (168) and Bartosz Obluki (168). Third was awarded to Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road rider Stefan Granquist (124), because, just as in the case of Kiwi hero Sowry, Obluki unfortunately did not meet the national championship eligibility requirement to hold an Australian national licence.
Hollis put his double victory down to steady performances throughout the 2011 series.
“I’ve had a really consistent year,” Hollis said.
“I didn’t win one race all year. I came second a lot, but I guess that’s what counts.
“I’m looking forward to next year being even bigger and better.”
Merriman claimed the E1 Class for 2011 with 219 points, finishing 41 points ahead of Motorex KTM’s Ben Grabham (178) and Husqvarna’s Luka Bussa (158).
Motorex KTM’s Jarrod Bewley took home the E2 Class, clocking up 207 points across the series to finish in front of Phillips (194) and Husaberg rider Geoff Braico (166).
Suzuki’s Trent Lean was crowned the 2011 Masters Class Champion, finishing the year with 186 points. Lean was followed home by Yamaha’s David Cash (173) and Ashley Sprenger (108).
The Veterans’ Class was claimed by Husqvarna’s Damian Smith (184) who took the podium ahead of Husaberg-mounted Garry Dukes (173) and KTM’s Adam Schneller (131).
After a series of tight battles and blistering performances, Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road rider Jemma Wilson tallied up 186 points to become the Women’s Class Champion. The Queensland rider was joined on the podium by Yamaha’s Emelie Karlsson (174) and Ballard’s Yamaha’s Jess Wilson (168).
The junior ranks put in solid performances all year, with more than 140 riders competing across four Junior classes.
Yamaha’s Brendan Walther was the clear 2011 J1 Champion, storming home with a dominating 200 points.
Nicolas Tomlinson was victorious in the J3 class with a series total of 212 points, coming home in front of Todd Barry and Peter-Daniel Allan.
The J4 class proved to be a local affair, with Dungog Motorcycle Club Juniors Mitch Kellner, Nicholas Lean and Harrison Wells taking out the 2011 gold, silver and bronze in front of their home audience. Kellner (Suzuki) amassed a mammoth 219 points in his last series as a junior, with Lean finishing on 188 and Wells on 157.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com