Round four of the 2015 MX Nationals raised as many questions as it did answers and threw up plenty if challenges to the rides in an intense weekend of racing.
The rutted and red clay of Murray Bridge in South Australia always makes for an exciting weekend and under clear blue skies, the big crowd that rolled into the venue certainly got their money’s worth.
Home town favourite Kirk Gibbs entered his local round as the championship leader and coming off the Broadford round where things didn’t go as planned so he was determined to get things back on track and re-ascertain his authority on the MX1 championship.
He did exactly that, but it wasn’t without some challenges. Moto one had Gibbs, Reardon and Mosig in a fast moving freight train at the front of the field and all three jostled for position as the race settled down. Mosig made a move on Reardon to claim second and then in the closing stages poured the pressure on Gibbs for the race win. Gibbs held firm and took the race win just ahead of Mosig with Reardon in third.
Moto two was a race between Gibbs and Adam Monea. Gibbs held the lead in the early stages before Monea made his charge through the field to take the race lead. He then rode smart race to keep Gibbs at bay and take the race win but it was Gibbs who took a popular round win ahead of Monea with Reardon in third, making his first round podium of the year.
Gibbs now holds a handy points lead in the championship ahead of Luke Styke, Adam Monea, Kade Mosig and Lawson Bopping rounding out the top five.
The entire MX2 field was thrown in the air as the results of the previous three rounds were nothing like what went down at Murray Bridge. Right from the first practice, chaos unfolded. Championship contenders Luke Clout, Jed Beaton, Jay Wilson and Wade Hunter all had big crashes. As did other top 10 riders like Dylan Wills and Dylan Gosling.
Unfortunately, Queenslander Joel Evans also fell and was in a serious condition. He was airlifted to Adelaide Hospital where he still remains but continues to fight in his recovery and doctors are pleased with his progress.
As the racing unfolded, it was Geran Stapleton in the lead ahead of Luke Arbon and Caleb Ward. Ward sliced through the pack and took the race win, with local boy Luke Arbon right behind. Championship leaders of Clout, Beaton and Wilson were in the back half of the top 10 and dealing with a variety of issues throughout the 30 minute event.
Moto two and it was Arbon in the lead but again, he was being stalked by Ward. Just like moto one, Ward made his way to the lead but Arbon put up a valiant fight to stay within striking distance, as did Wade Hunter and Kyle Webster.
The overall win went to Ward, Arbon is second and Takeshi Katsuya in third. Clout still leads the championship but his lead has been whittled away with Katsuya in second, Jay Wilson third and Jed Beaton fourth.
Queenslander Wilson Todd had a handy points lead going into round four after winning rounds two and three. He again started in top form taking race one and extending his lead in the championship.
Race two and Todd was on his way through the field and passed his way to second place before he miscued the whoop section and went down in a big way, injuring his wrist. He was barely able to finish the race and came home in 27th place.
Connor Tierney was able to capitalize on Todd’s misfortune and finished the day with 2-1 results to take the overall win and close within eight points of the lead. Second place for the day was Jaiden Rykers with Jordan Hill in third.
Round five of the championship hit Queensland last weekend (May 30 -31). Read more info at www.mxnationals.com.au
Photo credit: Jeff Crow / Explorer Media