The second round of this year’s TNQ MX Championships is locked and loaded for this weekend, and among the 120+ riders already entered are some of the north’s favourite gunslingers, all ready to fight to prove their place in the motocross pecking order.
The senior ranks will host an intriguing battle, as 28-year-old dual (CQ and TNQ) championship leader Luke Weaver attempts to shore up his front-running standing, despite renewed attack from super-fast youngsters Riley Ward and Wilson Norman.
Now tip into the Townsville mix a pair of MX Nationals contenders in the shape of Richie Evans and current Queensland Motocross Champion Caleb Ward, and the potential outcome becomes particularly engrossing.
Caleb Ward will be having only his second race back from a dogged hand injury which has caused chronic pain since he broke his fourth and fifth metacarpal five months ago, but a recent club race at Mareeba suggests the speed is pretty much back.
"The pain is a lot less than it was," said Ward. "I can get through a whole event now without it effecting the way I ride. My bike fitness isn't amazing, but I was able to see how I stack up against Richie Evans, and we won a class each, so that's pretty good as we build up towards the next MX Nationals round at Gympie.
"This weekend will definitely help with my race conditioning into the second half of the season."
The stocks are also strong in the junior ranks, where the likes of Zac Watson, Heath Fisher, World Champion Braden Plath, Deegan Mancinelli and Mackay’s Jackson Camilleri will all have their prodigious talents on display.
According the TNQ series Tracey Grinham, the Woodstock Lang Park track is in fine shape for a showdown. “The track has been beautifully prepared for the event,” said Grinham. “The forecast showers should be good for the conditions, and there’s a fair bit of excitement around that fact that this is the last event competitors can race here before the Queensland Championships begin here on June 29/30.
“The line up in both the senior and junior ranks is really good. The racing in Round One between Luke Weaver and the Norman boys and Riley Ward was very close, and Riley and Luke actually finished equal on points in Mareeba, so it will be interesting to see how Richie and Caleb fit into the mix.
“Townsville is a hard-packed and fast track which is always good. It’s very popular.”