KTM Australia press release:
KTM’s dealer-backed riders were in the thick of the action as the 2017 Australian Off-Road Championships reached their climax at Omeo last weekend, few more dramatically than hard-charging Peter Stevens KTM rider Jack Simpson.
Last year in his rookie season, Simpson won the class with eight wins and a round to spare, but this time round the trail has held more than its fair share of ups and downs, culminating in a serious injury when it seemed he was on the verge of an eye-opening open-class debut in the Finke Desert Race.
Simpson’s recovery from a broken rib and a punctured lung has been lengthy, with the Victorian still encountering plenty of pain in the area – but it wasn’t enough to prevent him attempting to salvage a podium finish in the E1 class.
After finishing second to Wil Ruprecht and ahead of Scott Keegan on the Saturday, Simpson clicked up a gear on Sunday, and throttled his KTM 250 EXC-F to a resounding 45-second class victory over Keegan and Brad Hardaker.
The performance was enough to edge Hardaker out of third in the E1 category by just two points.
Bolton’s Motorcycles-backed racer Tom Mason also had plenty to smile about, when he joined KTM’s E3 class winner Lyndon Snodgrass and runner-up Lachy Stanford on the series podium, after a well-deserved third place in the championship.
The 20-year-old from Mt. Evelyn was a model of consistency, amassing eight podium finishes and two fourth places with his KTM 300 EXC, to draw himself almost 60 points clear of the next rider as he achieved his highest ever AORC class finish.
In the AORC Junior 4 Category, KTM-mounted Corey Hammond trailed home twins Joshua and Mitchell Brierley, while KTM took home the Junior 3 class at the hands of Jayden Rudd, who defeated Ned Chapman and Matthew Pye.
KTM also came out on top in the Junior 2 class, with Wil Riordan winning from Kyron Bacon and Mackenzie Johnson.
Jack Simpson: “I was battling the flu all weekend, and I didn’t really have much sting. I got a mid-pack start in the Saturday cross country, and had a couple of little crashes and then worked my way through to fourth. I had one little fall which gave Wil Ruprecht a bit of a sniff and got around me so I ended fifth for the race and second in class.
Sunday I was sixth outright and first in class by a minute, but I still felt terrible. I had no energy, couldn’t get any food down, but I had a solid five sprints, made no mistakes and was good enough for that.
I’m still only about 80%, realistically. I can’t run, can’t stress my core or my ribs and that spot under my armpit still hurts. I didn’t think a punctured lung would still be giving me grief after three months. I came back early to try and secure a podium position in the championship, so I’m glad that was successful. I would have sat back a bit longer otherwise.”
Tom Mason: “This year was pretty good. I’ve been the fourth placed rider for a while, so to get on the podium was a pretty nice feeling, after an up and down year. The KTM 300 EXC pretty much suited every track we had and my riding style, so it was a very nice bike.
There were a few ups and downs. I had a pretty slow start to the year, but then I had illnesses and niggly problems, but they sorted themselves out. Hopefully we can now back up the results we’ve had, next year.”