SE to host Australian Off-road Championships

THE SE is hosting an Australian championship motorsport event on June 21-22.

The Australian Off road Championships are moving to the Coonawarra for two days of racing in the forests just off the border outside Penola in the cabernet centre of Australia. 

Luke Bunnik competes at an earlier South Australian Off Road Championship event in Pinnaroo.

Luke Bunnik competes at an earlier South Australian Off Road Championship event in Pinnaroo.

The best off road motorcycle racers in Australia and some of the best in the world are travelling to compete in round seven and eight of the national championships. 

Off road motorcycle racing is contested in natural terrain with motorcycle racers competing against the clock in a high speed pursuit of skill and endurance designed to test ability, fitness and endurance. 

Predominantly based around the eastern coast of Australia, the off road competition is supported by industry heavyweights in the motorcycle fraternity with Yamaha, KTM and Husqvarna all represented with factory support.

The SE has a strong representation in the SA Off Road Championships. Every year SA hosts a round of the national championships in a combined state event. 

This year rounds three and four of the State championship will mix it with rounds seven and eight of the national calendar. 

This will put the best and the rest of SA's off road racers head to head with national competition on the same day on the same course.

Off road racing is unique in that all competitors race the same course at the same time, riders are graded on their ability and start in order from the fastest to slowest. 

This form of motorsport is one of the few in the world where the fastest professional athletes in the world line up with everyday riders, same tracks, same challenges and the same results page.

With the welcome support of the Pacific Pine Plantation Company and Wattle Range Council the back drop for this event will be pristine pine forests, 12km from Penola on the Dergholm road. 

The course is open and set with an arena start in a disused quarry where spectators will have open access to the course. 

Jemma Wilson and Jess Gardiner are flying back from Europe to compete; they are two members of last year's world winning number one women's off road team who raced for Australia in the ISDE. 

Also among the riders will be Toby Price, recently victorious in the Finke Desert Race.

Off road motorcycle racing has a strong history and healthy representation from riders in the SE among those competing in this event. 

These include Mount Gambier's Anthony Greene who is currently fourth in the Australian Off Road Championships Veterans class, Mike Widdison who is currently leading the Veterans SA Off Road Championship class and Jade Tiller currently second in the SA Off Road Championships women's class. 

Luke and Matt Bunnik both of Naracoorte also compete: Luke is leading the C1 class with Matt currently third in the Junior J2 class. They are among many locals competing this weekend.

The event will be signposted 12km from Penola on the Dergholm road, racing runs from about 9am to 3pm Saturday and 9am to 2pm Sunday. 

Entry is $5 per person with children under 14 free, with catering available. It's not often that a motorsport event of this calibre comes to the SE so check it out and enjoy the racing.

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