“What a weekend.”
A “huge” thank you to all of the Dandenong MCC members who worked tirelessly over the weekend to make the round 1 of the VORC a huge success, a special thanks to Garry Dewilt for an awesome extreme area and to Chris Townsend for the use of the his property.
Riders of both Motocross and Enduro disciplines enjoyed the track layout with the MX on the new track a fitting finale to the weekend.
With around 240 entrees including some of Australia's best enduro riders tested their machines and themselves to the hilt, as the Wonthaggi Motorcycle Complex was again blanketed by sunshine on the second day of the first round of the 2011 Yamaha Victorian Off-Road Championships (VORC) on Sunday, March 6.
The VORC peaked with the Pro Class final in the afternoon, where Chris Hollis and Matthew Phillips fought each other continuously as the lead changed hands several times. Hollis looked the goods early; however Tasmanian, Matthew Phillips, was close on his heels.
Halfway through the 10 lap race, Phillips managed to overtake Hollis in a daring manoeuvre during one of the most challenging turns of the Wonthaggi motocross track. The track was again in flawless condition thanks to the dedicated volunteers of the Dandenong Motorcycle Club.
Hollis ended up winning the Pro Class final over Phillips by just 5.7 seconds, clocking up a total time of 17:07.225. Phillips picked up the fastest lap time of the race, flying around the track on lap two at 1:51.932.
Phillips ended up winning the day and the round overall.
"Matty Phillips ended up winning the day by 10-15 seconds or so," said 2008 Australia Off-Road Champion and Ballard Yamaha rider, Chris Hollis, after the final.
"I just followed Phillips for a few laps, and sort of just sat behind him, and he wasn't taking off from me so I was like, oh well, stay with him. Then he just sort of knocked a gear back a little bit, and I felt good. I got some good lines from following him. I also took some different lines, found some faster ones, so I passed him.
"We were neck and neck there for a while. I got pushed off the track by a lapper, and he nearly got back trying to pass me again. I think Phillips backed off a bit, because I backed it off a bit as well. I wasn't sure what stage of the race we were at. I was waiting roughly till we got to the last lap board. At the last lap I just pinned it, and pulled away.
"It was good, but Phillips really didn't have to win it as he was going for the overall," remarked Hollis.
"The event ran really well. The transponders were cool. They made life so much easier for these type of events. The tracks themselves were good. The enduro loop was pretty gnarly. It's good practice for me, because I don't have anything like this at home.
"I'll come down (to Victoria) again and try and get a few more in," added Hollis.
Matthew Phillips was also suitably impressed by the event. "I thought it was great. We were pretty much riding all day, which is something you don't usually do at a state title. We got plenty of riding in," said Phillips.
"Competition was stiff. Chris wasn't letting up at all. Alex Stephenson, the Victorian, was right there as well. It was good, top class racing," added Matt.
On the final race, Phillips added: "I lost my breaks in the third lap, and got a bit tired on the bike. I kept dragging the break then Chris passed me. I started to get fatigued using the front break.
"On the third last lap I was there ready to take the pass, but then just had a little altercation passing another rider, and dropped back a little bit. It was great racing," Phillips added.
Victorian rising star Alex Stephenson took out the Expert Class on day two, and comfortably took the Expert Two Moto on Sunday by a commanding 28 seconds.
He also outdid Hollis in Heat Nine of the Pro Expert Class by 1.4 seconds.
"My first weekend of seniors was definitely harder than juniors, that are for sure. Matty Phillips and Chris Hollis are a bit that next level than me. I just have to pick it up a bit more, and see if I can catch those boys," said the 16-year-old from Narre Warren.
Asked where he might see himself at the end of the 2011 Yamaha Victorian Off-Road Championship, Alex replied: "Hopefully, I'll be at the top – number one."