Glenn Kearney reflects on AORC shakedown
A shakedown of the Glenn Kearney-managed KTM Factory Enduro Team and their machines two weeks before the start of the Australian Off-Road Championships is very serious business – unless the event is the Transmoto 12-Hour.
The event brought out the heavy hitters from both ends of the KTM’s head office, as neither the Factory Enduro Team nor KTM’s Management could say no to the event’s unique formula, which balances the seriousness level for some good old fashioned mate versus mate, staged in the picturesque setting of Buckenbowra down by Bateman’s Bay.
Four-time A4DE Champion Daniel Milner and exciting up-and-comer Lyndon Snodgrass added Kearney and Team Technician Harry Norton to make up the squad which went on to earn overall victory.
Daniel Milner said, “The AORC is just two weeks away so we couldn’t have had that race at a better time for testing and getting a feel for the bike in such rough conditions. We’ve got the bike so well sorted now. The 12-hour had a great atmosphere and it was definitely a great event. My 450 is just the best bike you could get for the bush. The power’s got everything; there’s a lot of pull. It’s not real snappy, but it’s real smooth and it delivers well. For the three-hours and the long sprints, it doesn’t tire you out, but it’s got the power there if you want it. And with how light it is, it’s easy to throw it around and manoeuvre. I can just point and shoot.”
Lyndon Snodgrass added, “That was the first 12-hour I’ve done, and it was a pretty cool event. It’s a big day and the track obviously gets pretty worn-out too so it was a good thing to do before the AORC. We’ve pretty much got all our settings locked in for the first round after fine-tuning the last couple of pieces. I haven’t checked the lap times out but I reckon Daniel had me covered. He’s riding awesome on the KTM. He’s pretty easy going, he doesn’t take it too serious and that’s how I like to be as well. Not over the top, just kind of staying a normal person.”
“We sent our big guys out for three or four laps at a time,” says Kearney, “and then Harry and I would go out for two, switching bikes as we were sharing a KTM 350 EXC-F. We lost some time in the beginning of the race with a mix up and then played catch up for most of the day, finally catching up to the Uni Filter and Husky teams toward the latter part. The event was a really fun thing,” continued Kearney, “they’re all about teaming up with your mates, and the atmosphere in the pits, so it was a good thing to be a part of.”
KTM Australia’s General Manager and 1989 World Motocross Vice Champion Jeff Leisk couldn’t say no, and teamed up with former MX pro and KTM Spare Parts Inventory Controller Johnny DiStefano, National Brand Manager Tam Paul and long-time backer of KTM’s incredible desert racing victories, Colin Ross.
“With KTM sponsoring,” continues Kearney, “it was great to see the General Manager on a 450 EXC-F mixing it up with all the punters out there. They were feeling it by the end, but so was I, as I haven’t been on the bike since the four-day in November! It was a tremendous hit out for us because the track got very rough. We came out of it really confident and Milner and Lyndon were on fire – they were very happy with their bikes. Milner set the fastest time of the day by around 20 seconds or something.”
With 400 riders and a shortened 12-minute lap, Kearney found the event made a great litmus test for his new team. Kearney’s squad weren’t the only big winners on the day, with Kye Anderson taking out the Ironman category aboard a KTM 350 SX-F.