The latest round of MX nationals at Horsham, May 21 was a muddy affair, the track sodden with lead up rain made for one of the hardest and most challenging tracks in recent times.
CDR Yamaha’s Dean Ferris turned in his most impressive performance to date, winning both MX1 motos in the tough conditions.
Ferris said it was a thinking man’s track, but he managed to have a “good time” in the mud.
“It wasn’t a track that rewarded crazy riding.”
“Fortunately the team and I were able to get those right on the weekend.”
KTM’s Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke finished the round in second and third.
KTM team manager Jay Marmont said “It was great for the team to have both riders on the podium here.
“As a team we worked hard during the week finding little things to create a bit more confidence, but unfortunately the track didn’t allow us to feel all those gains – it was basically just survival mode.”
Gibbs had earlier qualified fastest for the round and set the fourth-fastest Go-Pro Super Pole time, but couldn’t quite nail the moto starts he needed to bring his abundant speed to bear.
He got tangled with lappers and had a couple of small falls in the first race, but in both cases pushed on with trademark Gibbs grit on his way to 5-2 results.
Gibbs wasn’t happy with his performance, he said “the fitness is there and it feels like the speed is there, but I’m not getting away early and it’s too hard to make it up.”
On the other hand, his KTM team mate Luke Styke started well to begin both his campaigns from top-two positions, and despite a fall in the second moto he registered 3-4 finishes.
“I changed my program up a little bit in the last few weeks and just set about trying to be more efficient on the bike and it helped a lot.
“My bike was awesome, and the changes we made going into the round improved our balance, too,” Styke said.
Kawasaki Racing Team racers Aleksandr Tonkov and Nathan Crawford struggled in the tough conditions.
Tonkov set the fifth fastest qualifying time, but in the opening MX1 race, he crashed at the midway point and bent his hand-guards into the handlebars, affecting his clutch.
He still managed to soldier around the challenging track for seventh.
In the second moto, Tonkov grabbed another solid start and was pushing for third when he again crashed in the rutted, muddy conditions. He regrouped to cross the line in eighth place and eighth overall for the day.
Crawford had a small crash midway through the opening race which forced the 19-year-old to withdraw from the day’s racing in an effort to preserve a niggling wrist injury.
DPH Motorsport’s Wilson Todd was the man to secure the Motul MX2 overall victory and the category’s red plate.
“I knew when I went out for qualifying that there was only one gate that I wanted and that was the inside, so I put in my best effort to get there and it paid off,” Todd said.
“It’s awesome to get the championship lead back – I went out there today and I was consistent in the mud and these aren’t conditions that usually suit me so I’m pretty happy.”
Incredibly, 16 riders registered a DNF in the first Motul MX2 class race, indicative of the conditions that competitors were forced to contend with.
MX2 rookie, Mitch Evans carried the points leader’s red plate into the round after some sensational racing at rounds two and three.
Evans was confident in the mud as he had previously done well in wet conditions but the day ay Horsham proved unlike anything he had raced before.
“It was a tough weekend, no question,” Evans said.
“Starts here were so important as vision was terrible when behind other riders and my starts weren’t what they needed to be today.
“I made a few mistakes and it was hard to even keep it on two wheels in some sections but I was able to keep my bike running and get through the day safely and not lose too many points so that’s the positive.
“Hopefully it won’t be as wet at Murray Bridge next week and we can get things back on track there.”
Round Four Results – Horsham
1st Dean Ferris – 70
2nd Kirk Gibbs – 58
3rd Luke Styke – 58
4th Todd Waters – 55
5th Kade Mosig – 55
6th Kyle Peters – 48
7th Hamish Harwood – 48
8th Alexsandr Tonkov – 47
9th Lachlan Davis – 43
10th Keiron Hall – 40
Championship Standings – After Round Four
1st Dean Ferris – 288
2nd Kirk Gibbs – 243
3rd Todd Waters – 224
4th Kade Mosig – 223
5th Luke Styke – 215
6th Kyle Peters – 182
7th Alexsandr Tonkov – 173
8th Luke Clout – 173
9th Nathan Crawford – 149
10th Keiron Hall – 148
1st Wilson Todd – 70
2nd Hamish Harwood – 64
3rd Kyle Webster – 58
4th Ricky Latimer – 56
5th Mitch Evans – 50
6th Dylan Wills – 49
7th Jackson Richardson – 46
8th Egan Mastin – 44
9th Aaron Tanti – 42
10th Thomas Ravenhorst – 42
Championship Standings – After Round Four
1st Wilson Todd – 257
2nd Mitch Evans – 246
3rd Jackson Richardson – 224
4th Egan Mastin – 215
5th Hamish Harwood – 213
6th Kyle Webster – 208
7th Dylan Wills – 186
8th Aaron Tanti – 178
9th Ricky Latimer- 168
10th Jayden Rykers – 168