OTHERS had more powerful bikes and factory backing, but the skill of Bathurst’s Broc Grabham still saw him finish this year’s Australian Off-Road Racing Championship with an outright podium.
This season Grabham competed on a Gas Gas EC300 – a two-stroke bike – in the E3 class which was open to competitors on 290cc to 500cc two-strokes and 475cc to 650cc four-strokes.
While KTM Enduro Off-Road Racing Team rider Daniel Milner was the standout as he won each of the 11 rounds which made up the championship, only he and Husqvarna backed rider Lachlan Stanford ranked higher than Grabham.
Naturally he was pleased with the result.
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“Getting that podium was great and I think nearly in every race I was the highest placed two-stroke as well. In the E3 I’m up against the 500s, and they’ve got quite a lot more power that I had,” he said.
“But I’m happy to finish third, it’s another good year and I’m still on a podium … I’m still counted as a privateer so it’s pretty good.”
While Grabham is no stranger to the AORC and placed third outright in the E2 class of the 2016 series, he did have to adjust to racing the Gas Gas.
“I haven’t raced a two-stroke for a full season since I was in juniors in 2009. So it was very different to start off with trying to get my head around how the two-stroke handled and the different power and no engine brake,” he said.
“But it was good, a bit of a change and once I got used to it, something to have a bit of fun with.”
As Grabham adjusted the goods results came, his efforts in round seven at Broken Hill when placing fourth in class one of his more pleasing efforts.
“We had a round in Broken Hill and its was the first sort of desert round of the Aussie Off Road that they’ve ever done. That was something different,” he said.
“I was still racing against the 450s and 500s and I beat a few of the quicker guys. Their bikes are a lot quicker than mine in a straight line, but you pick the right lines and get your corners right to try and make up that time they get on you down the straight.”
The series concluded last weekend with rounds 10 and 11 staged at Omeo in Victoria.
Grabham placed third in Saturday’s three-hour cross country race and fourth in Sunday’s sprint test to ensure he nabbed an outright series podium.
Though the AORC has concluded for 2018, Grabham still has two events he is targeting to round out his season.
He plans to head to the Yeppoon Enduro-X on October 20 then a fortnight later hopes to head to Melbourne for the Wildwood Rock Extreme – an event he has enjoyed a number of top five finishes at in the past.