Ballards look to Mogo
Yamaha Racing’s largest factory-backed team, Ballard’s Off Road, will be out to capitalise on the fine form it showed in the opening rounds and put in another top effort at this weekend’s dual-round event at Mogo in New South Wales.Rounds 3 and 4 of the Yamaha Australian Off Road Series will be contested back to back this Saturday and Sunday respectively, with the opportunity for riders to collect valuable points towards their championship campaigns.
The endurance-style event is certain to provide a challenge to riders, who will need to call on all of their core skills and stamina in order to lay down quick test times as they face up to 6 hours of riding per day. The course will be similar to that of the toughest enduro test for pro riders, the Australian 4 Day Enduro (A4DE). Five of the team’s seven-rider lineup currently sit atop the standings in their respective classes, with the leading performance and reliability of the Yamaha WR range clearly shining through.I
n the Pro categories, Chris Hollis and Jarrod Bewley will aim to further improve their class leads, while Shannon Lewry is determined to put his hand up for round honours after a challenging opener with the team.“A few small crashes took me out of the running and I was playing catch up for each round,” said Lewry.“I feel as though I’ve gotten much more used to the bike since the opener, and had some great track time at the NSW Sprint round to build up the confidence again, it should be a good weekend at Mogo.”
Also fresh from a fairly successful stint at the state-based Sprint event, Chris Hollis’ goal for the weekend is to consolidate his lead and look for opportunities to further the points gap over his rivals.
Hollis’ efforts at the opening rounds were good enough to rank him 3rd outright, with teammate Bewley just one position back in 4th. Bewley described his preparation for this weekend as ideal, saying he had been trying to keep up the form and fitness in order to put himself in the best possible position to win again aboard his YZ250.“It’s been a very good year so far, my confidence is growing thanks to the wins I took first up and I backed them up at the state series round by also winning,” said Bewley.“I’m really enjoying myself at the moment and I think I’m improving my style a little every time I get on the bike.”
Alison Parker was never challenged for the women’s class lead last season, and if her results at round 1 and 2 are anything to go by, it will be another whitewash weekend for the factory star.
“As always, I’m looking forward to getting out there and racing and adding some more wins to boost my championship tally,” said Parker.”An on track challenge would be great but I am always pushing myself to improve my own times and find an extra second here or there, and make improvements on the outright ladder.”
In his final year of school, Josh Ballard could be forgiven for not giving racing his full attention, but this is hardly the case. The youngest member of the Ballard’s Off Road team has improved out of sight on the off road scene and is taking a disciplined approach to each meet. “I’m approaching each round individually and have found that setting myself some realistic goals really pushes me to achieve at the level I want to,” said Ballard.”The endurance style of this weekend will be much tougher than the opening round but I think I am up to it.”
Geoff Ballard and Jason Cater will look to push forward in their championship campaigns this weekend, with the immensely experienced riders regularly outclassing the competition.
Jason has a good strong challenger to contend with in 2007 and he hopes it will help him find a little more in his game.