Highs and lows from Sunday's seventh round of the year.
MotoOnline.com.au pulls out the microscope and dissects some of the surprises, standouts, shockers and disappointments from a challenging seventh round of the 2016 Motul MX Nationals at Conondale.
Two consecutive overall wins and four Super Pole victories in-a-row – Dean Ferris is currently at the top of his game. The CDR Yamaha rider negotiated the difficult conditions at Conondale with class, slotting in behind Todd Waters in moto one to claim second, then going onto conclude the day with a race win in moto two. Ferris has now moved to within six points of series leader Kirk Gibbs, tightening up the championship with just three rounds remaining.
Jed Beaton showcased his exceptional skills in the tricky and muddy conditions at round three at Broadford and with round seven providing a very similar track surface, he was a clear favourite for the win. Delivering on those expectations, the 18-year-old rode two smart and consistent races despite a difficult start to the opening moto to not only reward him with the overall win, but also shift him to second in the championship, seven points behind red plate holder Nathan Crawford.
KTM-mounted Jayden Rykers didn’t have the greatest start at Conondale, qualifying in eighth and finishing the first moto in sixth – his chances of landing on the podium were slim. The favourable Western Australian turned his results around in race two, positioning himself well from the beginning of the moto, racing home to a comfortable second. Due to the mixed results within the MX2 category, Rykers was able to edge out Caleb Ward for third overall, awarding him with his second podium finish in his rookie year.
Coming off a dominating performance at the previous round in New South Wales and in pursuit of regaining the championship lead, Caleb Ward was expected to come out swinging at Conondale. A third in moto one didn’t look bad on paper, however with series leader Crawford two positions ahead, it’s exactly what the Queensland rider was trying to avoid. He unfortunately wouldn’t help his cause in race two, navigating his way through the field from a poor start to end the race in fifth. Narrowly missing out on the podium in fourth, Ward lost some very valuable points and has currently dropped to third in the championship standings.
In contrary to Rykers, Wilson Todd started the day strong as the fastest qualifier, however a costly DNF in moto one denied him the chance of scoring that elusive podium finish in the MX2 category. He was able to bounce back from his misfortunes in race two, beating home Crawford by under a second to claim third. The MX2 rookie has shown glimpses potential throughout the year, although has struggled to put together two solid finishes on race day.
Conondale could go down as the turning point in the MXD championship in 2016 with longtime series leader Connor Tierney losing another chunk of points in what was a healthy lead. Waking up with an illness on Saturday wasn’t the ideal preparation for Tierney and it showed as he would encounter several mistakes throughout the weekend. The 18-year-old concluded the weekend in a lowly seventh, still maintaining the championship lead by 13 points.