The return of the 2018 Yamaha Australian Four Day Enduro (A4DE) to the birthplace of enduro adds a new element to this year’s addition, but the question remains, who will take out each class and which state will reign supreme at Cessnock? That’s a great question and with only 12 days till the bikes are out on the rough rugged terrain, A4DE takes you through the favourites and the ones to watch.
Daniel Milner- KTM Enduro Racing Team-E3-State Trophy Team Victoria
Its hard to go past Milner who is a four-time A4DE champion and aboard his KTM after what was one of the best Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship seasons in 2017, claiming the E2 title. Milner has made the jump into the E3 class in 2018 and will ride the EXC 500 but after a dominate display at Gympie, Queensland, the new bike seems to gel well with Milner. There is a desire from Milner to take out the A4DE after finishing in third position in 2016 behind winner Mathias Bellino and Chris Hollis. Milner has the chance to record a fifth A4DE title.
Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders- Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team-E2- State Trophy Team Victoria
After a year Sanders would rather forget in Europe, he is back in Australia on a new team and with a want to win. Sanders rode most of his career on a KTM but has made the move to Husqvarna upon his return and will be looking to reward his new team with a win at the A4DE. Setting the bar high, Sanders went straight to the top of the E2 class at Gympie, Queensland for Round 1 and 2 of AORC and sent a message, Sanders and the Husqvarna click and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2018. Sanders will be looking to back up his 2016 E3 victory with an E2 victory at Cessnock.
Josh Green- Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team-E2- State Team Trophy New South Wales
A consistent performer in both the A4DE and AORC, Green will be looking to put his Yamaha up the front of the pack and build on some early season form. Taking out two second place finishes behind Sanders at Round 1 & 2 of AORC, has set a good platform but Green won’t be satisfied with finishing in second. In 2016 Green came back from injury and took out the E1 A4DE title, in 2018 he will be in the E2 class looking to replicate that performance at the birthplace of Australian enduro.
Jack Simpson- KTM Privateer-E1- State Team Trophy Victoria
Simpson will go into the 2018 A4DE as a favourite for the E1 class, after making the switch from motocross to enduro in 2016, Simpson has shown consistency and netted a third position in his first A4DE. Simpson also took out the overall E1 result in just his first season, and now with another AORC season under his belt, the KTM privateer is poised to be at the front of the E1 class. After finishing 2017 in third place of AORC despite missing two rounds, and a pair of second place finishes at the opening rounds of AORC in 2018, the signs are looking good for Simpson and his KTM heading into Cessnock.
The riders who could spoil the party
They may not be the favourite, but they could very easily find themselves on top of the podium. Motocross convert Luke Styke aboard his Active8 Yamaha Yamalube, is one to watch after taking out Round 1 & 2 of AORC on debut. On the flipside, Chris Hollis will return aboard his Suzuki RMZ-450 and be one to watch after placing second at the last A4DE. Lachlan Stanford can’t be forgotten and placed in second in the E3 class in 2016 aboard his Husqvarna. Finally Lyndon Snodgrass will be one to watch after winning the Stefan Merriman trophy and placing third in E3 in 2016.
Stefan Merriman Young Guns
With so much talent coming through enduro, the Stefan Merriman award for the best placed under 19 rider at the A4DE is going to be close competition again, with riders wanting to replicate Lyndon Snodgrass from 2016. 2017 AORC EJ Champion Michael Driscoll is one to watch aboard his Active8 Yamaha Yamalube, Fraser Higlett will provide Driscoll with real competition aboard his Husqvarna and the advantage of competing in 2016. Josh Brierley will also be one to watch after dominating AORC junior ranks for the last few seasons.
Catch Australia’s best Enduro riders at Cessnock from April 3-7, and see which state will reign supreme and take bragging rights home from A4DE. Stay tuned for upcoming team announcements on the Motorcycling Australia website and the A4DE website.