The chase for Australia’s most sort after Motocross prize, the MX Nationals, has gained in intensity since it resumed from the halfway break at Raymond Terrace. The first five rounds have been about jockeying for positions, staying in the championship and limiting mistakes, the last five are now no-holes barred racing and it’s a sprint to the finish line at Coolum in round 10.
Round 6 – Raymond Terrace
After an injury riddled start to the year, Matt Moss made his return for round six at Raymond Terrace and as he had done well at RT in the past, it instantly changed the mood in the MX1 class. Gibbs has been comfortably controlling the championship, picking up race and round wins while building up his championship lead and now Moss enters the picture and with no championship on the line, he was ready to get in the mix.
And that’s exactly what happened. Matt Moss was instantly in the mix and he and Kirk Gibbs got down to business in moto one. Moss took the win with Gibbs not far behind as the pair battled for the entire 30 minute moto. Luke Styke came home in third.
Race two and this time Gibbs got the start he required and began to check out on the field. Behind him there was plenty going on for the final podium spots with Moss fighting his way through to fourth after an average start, Daniel Reardon in third and Styke in second making it a KTM 1-2 for moto two.
Gibbs took the overall round win ahead of Moss with Styke in third.
The MX2 championship is shaping up to be a cliff hanger with three riders, Luke Clout, Jay Wilson and Takeshi Katsuya all within a handful of points and then Jed Beaton and Wade Hunter are lurking behind the top three.
Dylan Wills cut loose in the opening laps of the first MX2 moto and gapped the field quickly. He cleared out to a handy lead over Jay Wilson before Caleb Ward burst through the pack and began taking bug chunks out of Wills’ lead. He closed in on Wills before he had a small fall and that left Wills to take his first moto win at MX Nationals level unchallenged with Ward coming in second.
Race two and when Caleb Ward hit the front it spelt bad news for the rest of the field. He instantly built up a handy lead and rode to the finish line. Jay Wilson slotted into second place with Jed Beaton charging through to third.
On off day by championship leader Luke Clout, racing with no rear brake in race one, and a solid day by Jay Wilson saw the red plate change hands as Wilson leads the championship by five points over Clout and both gained some breathing space on Katsuya in third.
After dealing with a range of issues during the first five rounds, Wilson Todd was getting back to full fitness for round six and kicked the second half of the championship off on the right foot with a moto win in race one. Todd got to the lead early and inched away from his rivals for the next 20 minutes.
Behind him, Jaiden Rykers recovered from a fall to take second while Mitch Evans, fresh off the injury list, made a welcome return to racing to finish third.
Race two and it was Connor Tierney who leapt to the front and cleared out. Behind him, Jayden Rykers, Mitch Evans, Zak Small and Wilson Todd fought over the scraps. Todd made his move through the pack and got to second place and it looked to be all he could manage with Tierney over a straight length ahead.
But with two laps remaining, Todd charged all the way up to the rear wheel of Tierney and drew alongside with a few corners to go. He tried make a last ditch pass in the final turns but couldn’t get it done and Tierney took the win, Todd shadowed him over the line and Evans in third.
The round win went to Todd, from Tierney and Evans in third.
Round Seven – Shepparton
Minus 3 to 13 was the temperature range for the day and if you were a Queenslander, that wasn’t much fun. On the plus side, it was a clear blue sky and near perfect conditions.
Drama unfolded in the GO Pro Superpole Lap when a machine was on the track as Matt Moss took off for his qualifying lap. In an ugly incident, Moss collided with the machine and was taken to hospital. The Superpole event was then called off.
After some up and down rounds, Kade Mosig took his second round win of the year with 1-3 results in the two motos contested. Mosig rode brilliantly in race one to make some passes early in the race and then maintain a comfortable gap over his rivals.
Second for the day was Adam Monea, highlighted with his race win in moto two. Monea struggled in the first moto but a great start in race two and then a tight battle with Daniel Reardon saw Monea take the win and get back on the podium.
Third for the day was Kirk Gibbs who entered the round with a back or hip related injury. Gibbs obviously wasn’t 100% but it was a championship defining day for Gibbs who showed that even when not at his best, he was still able to make the podium and in fact increased his championship lead.
Jay Wilson leapt to an early lead but was soon set upon by a fast closing pack. Out of that pack came Takeshi Katsuya and in conditions similar to what he would experience in Japan, Katsuya moved into the lead and was never headed. Wilson dropped back to fourth while Caleb Ward and Nathan Crawford moved through to the podium positions.
Race two and it a fight between the two championship contenders. Jay Wilson and Luke Clout found themselves at the front of the pack and ready to square off on the track. Entrenched in their own battle, the gapped the MX2 field and traded positions for the next 20 minutes. Clout hung on for the win, narrowly over Wilson with Caleb Ward in third.
the round overall went to Ward with his 2-3 results, one point ahead of Katsuya, one point ahead of Wilson, one point ahead of Clout, one point ahead of Crawford. Yeap, it was a tight finish.
Moto one and it was Jayden Rykers out front and clearing out before Mitch Evans made his way to second and began to close in. He got within striking distance of Rykers on several occasions but couldn’t make the pass and the pair finished with Rykers taking the win, Evans in second and Connor Tierney in third. Wilson Todd was fifth after crashing on the opening laps.
Rykers again lead the field in race two with his two major competitors in Evans and Todd, fourth and fifth. Todd moved into second place and then whittled down a five second gap on Rykers to take the lead at the halfway point.
With just over one lap remaining, Todd fell in a turn and handed the lead to Rykers who went on to win the race, Todd and in second and Evans third. The round saw Rykers take the day, Evans in second and Todd in third.
Todd has a 10 point lead in the championship over Connor Tierney with Rykers another 15 behind him. This championship is also set for a close finish.
For more information and a full list of results, www.mxnationals.com.au
Photo courtesy of Jeff Crow / Explorer Media