Western Australian local’s made the gruelling 35-hour trek across the Nullarbor this past weekend to compete in Rounds 11 &12 of the 2016 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship, as a development initiative by Enduro enthusiast and WA local Winton Lawton.
The first thought of this initiative was derived from the passion of his younger son who recently moved over east to compete in the full AORC series. Lawton realised that there was a need to get WA competitors to the eastern states to compete.
With almost 200 competitors at Western Australian Enduro state titles, there was more than enough interest to start the development initiative for juniors, which saw 10 junior competitors work hard to fund a trip to the grand finale rounds of the AORC last weekend.
Lawton who initiated the exercise explained that although they might not be the winning competitors in the WA state rounds, they come over to Victoria to help improve their skills and learn off Australia’s and even the world’s best Enduro riders.
“The WA state series started almost 15 years ago. We didn’t have any competitions for Juniors in the Enduro scene in Western Australia, so I started a series and it has just grown from 10-20 kids to 180 – 200 kids,” he said.
“We run an event once a month with six rounds that make up our championship series. There are a variety of events, everything from traditional Enduro’s, trail loops with special tests included, Enduro Sprints, non-stop Cross Countries and we do something a bit unique which we call a Cross Country Sprint.
“My story of how the Junior development initiative started is a bit of a personal one, it started with my eldest son who missed out on the opportunity to race Junior Enduro. This led to how I got involved in doing Junior Enduro’s, and then my youngest son packed his bags and his van and moved across to the east to race AORC this year.
“My boys inspired me to do a development within WA, I have taken it on board myself to do a ‘Development for the Sport’, and advertised amongst our riders and got expressions of interest, which resulted in having ten riders competing.
“The riders here today who have come along aren’t necessarily the best rider’s but they have a vested interest to compete and improve their skills,” he finished.
When asked about funding it is clear there is an unfathomable amount of passion that comes from these riders in the West as Lawton explained that the riders fully funded their individual trip to Victoria costing each rider approximately $2000.
“The riders totally fund themselves. The Off-Road Riding club of WA have chipped in, in various ways but naturally its resources are limited, much like every state in Enduro Racing.
“The youngest rider here is fourteen and the oldest eighteen so two thousand dollars for them is a lot of money, and not all parents are in the position to fully fund the trip.
“This trip has been many months in the planning, and all of these kids have been working hard to save money to come.
“This is without a doubt something I would love to arrange annually. It would be my dream to see more WA riders venturing over East as part of a development program. Testing out new terrain and developing their skills” he concluded.
These 10 WA local riders and their supporting family and friends will now make the long journey home from what has been described as a ‘well worth it trip’, and with Lawton at the head of the initiative the hopes are to get more WA riders over East next year and continue the development program initiative.