Image: John Pearson.
Yamaha Motor Australia will expand its off-road efforts for the 2020 season, introducing a two-rider Yamaha bLU cRU Off-Road Racing squad that will come under the existing Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing team.
Luke Styke and Josh Green will continue to head-up the Active8 squad in 2020, while Michael Driscoll will graduate to the E2 category with Yamaha bLU cRU Off-Road Racing, joined by EJ contender Blake Hollis.
Two-time defending AORC E1 champion Styke continues his climb up the off-road ladder since his transition from motocross, recently assisting Team Australia to runner-up honours at the FIM International Six-Days Enduro (ISDE) recently in Portugal.
“I’m more motivated than ever coming into the 2020 season,” said Styke. “I made a few changes to my lifestyle by returning back down to Nowra and feel it’s a better environment for my riding and also closer to family to make life easier.
“There is so much riding area around here, and a more off-road based riding program is the only way I can improve my skills and close the gap on [Daniel] Sanders and [Daniel] Milner. Both of those guys are world-class and are a fair bit ahead of the rest of us, but my goal is to bridge that gap in 2020 and be in contention for outright wins as well as class victories.
“Its also good to be back with the same team again for next season. We all have a great working relationship, and everyone works hard to achieve the best results possible. Both the team and Yamaha have been good to me throughout my racing career and I like the fact we have been able to continue our working relationship and get stronger with each passing season.”
Josh Green is back for his ninth season with Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing after finishing second the E2 category of the AORC, and has consistently been a top five outright contender.
“The older I have got, the more I have started to enjoy the things that used to frustrate me when I was younger,” Green explained. “Like most teenagers, I didn’t care a lot for testing and developing the bike and just wanted to ride it and not focus on training.
“Now, I like being able to improve the bike and I find the off-bike training rewarding and get a lot from it and that’s what has kept my motivation strong over the years as I find new ways to enjoy different aspects of what we do.
“And nine years with the one team is pretty cool. I like the loyalty from both sides and the fact we are able to keep the relationship going over such a long period of time. Nine years travelling with AJ could break a lesser man, but you have to take the good with the bad in this job,” Green laughs.
Team manager AJ Roberts commented: “It’s been a big undertaking to get the support to run four riders at a high level but I can’t thank everyone who is behind the team in 2020. All of them have been long term and loyal to our team and they have stepped up to ensure we have a massive presence and profile at the AORC and A4DE in 2020.
“I look forward to guiding the riders through the next season and are already working hard to ensure 2020 is a great season for us and our sponsors.”
Both the Yamaha bLU cRU Off-Road Racing and Yamaha Active8 Yamalube Racing teams will utilise the same staff and sponsors, and will contest the Australian Off-Road Championship, Australian Four-Day Enduro and Hattah Desert Race.