Toowoomba Motocross Club's John Armstrong gives his perspective on the big race from Toowoomba:
With the rain during the week leading up to the Mountain Man event, the track was looking under threat. When it came time for the gates to drop the wet weather turned out to be a blessing. The club put together a perfect track for 160 riders (220 entries) for the vintage, sidecars & women’s classes on the Saturday
Once racing started it was evident that there was going to be a lot of very tight & tough battles to be had all the way through the fields. The side cars are always a crowd pleaser and did not disappoint. With a strong contingent of women out supporting the event it was evident that female participation in the sport of motocross is very strong. With a number of young riders lining up in the mini lights class it was great to see the future Mountain Men and Women strut their stuff.
Sunday was a clear beautiful day. A great day to ride or watch bikes. Toowoomba Motocross club had worked late into the night to prep the track much differently to Saturday for the more demanding riders on Sunday. The crowd was there to support all the riders letting it all hang out. After qualifying, the 55 Mountain Man entries were whittled down to 40 main event qualifiers. This made for some very fast laps with less than 1 second covering the fastest 3 riders, Nathan Crawford, Dean Ferris and Caleb Ward.
It was great to see the up and coming stars in the Junior Mountain Man, Junior Lites class, and hear the two-strokes ring out as the 125s were let loose.
Of course, the vets are always a good watch and having Peter Boyle, the 1976 Mountain Man champion winning the Over-45 was very special to see.
The main Event, Mountain Man saw a stacked field. Australia's best riders were out on track and mixing with the local stars which is something special and almost unique to this event.
With many national champions, a World Champion and a World GP round winner in the mix it was always going to be an epic battle. Kirk Gibbs had a big moment but still finished second in moto one despite no rear brake. With only five minutes between motos one and two the pressure was on his mechanic to have the bike fixed in time. The 10-minute back-to-back races with only five minutes between were an enthralling test of rider and motorcycle. The organisers figured they would take some pity on the riders and give them a break before they had to start the final 30-minute moto.
The final moto was a 30-minute torture test. Dean Ferris got out to a scorching start to take his fourth hole shot of the day to finish the day with a perfect score - all four motos and the overall. This man is a machine. Gibbs was settling into second but in the closing laps Mitch Evans & Caleb Ward started closing fast. Starting the final lap Ward put a big move on Evans but ended up biting the dirt very hard and was unable to finish. All the effort put in by Evans was not enough to catch Gibbs who came in second.
Mountain Man is a very special event. Not often can you watch the future stars, vintage bikes, women, vets, sidecars and the best riders in Australia lining up at the same race. How many other events can a clubman rider line up beside so many pros and compete against them in hand to hand combat?
Pics: Toowoomba MX Club, Bryan Flemming, Anne Polsoni