News 18 Apr 2010

Oz MX: Waters and Gibbs win gruelling Canberra weekend

A punishing Sprint format at Canberra's second round of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals sees Waters and Gibbs take charge.

Simmonds, Waters and Marmont made up the Pro Open podium in Canberra.

Simmonds, Waters and Marmont made up the Pro Open podium in Canberra.

Cougar Bourbon Thor Honda Racing’s Todd Waters has taken out the second round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals at Canberra on Sunday, triumphing in the gruelling four moto Sprint format.

Winning two of the four back-to-back motos, and placing second in the remaining two was enough to secure Waters a 13 point lead in the Pro Opens Championship ahead of second placed CDR Rockstar Yamaha rider Jay Marmont and JDR Motorex KTM’s Tye Simmonds.

While it was a dream day for Waters, Kawasaki Racing Team’s Scottish import Billy Mackenzie had a day to forget despite coming into the round as series leader.

Mackenzie was fastest in qualifying and dominated the first moto, however his day came unstuck in the second moto when a crash forced him to end his race early with bike problems and a possible injury.

After leaving the second moto with no points in hand, Mackenzie lined up for the third, however one lap in and he was at the back of the field and appeared to be in pain before returning to the pits for the rest of the day.

In the second moto, Honda-mounted privateer Dean Ferris, was the one to watch pulling out to an impressive lead ahead of Simmonds and JDR Motorex KTM’s Andrew McFarlane.

Waters gradually picked his way through the field, charging past the front runners to eventually challenge Ferris and overtake in the last lap while Marmont gradually found form on the Canberra track working his way up to third.

As moto three got underway, Ferris once again charged to the front of the field, this time chased down by Marmont and Simmonds.

Ferris and Marmont spent the entire moto tussling for the lead, with Ferris holding his own despite facing phenomenal pressure from the reigning champion.

Yet it wasn’t to be for the young rider, as Marmont summoned his years of experience, reigning in Ferris and bringing the moto to a photo finish with only .004 seconds separating the two riders.

With exhaustion setting in, riders lined up for the fourth and final moto, which saw Simmonds find form on the new KTM 350 SX-F.

With only five weeks riding time on the new bike, Simmonds settled into the moto lead while battles raged behind him, and Waters began to chip away at the boy from Bourke’s lead.

Simmonds held of the charge from Waters until the second to last turn, with Waters anticipating his line and charging past to take the lead and moto win.

Gibbs won the Pro Lites class overall on Sunday in the ACT.

Gibbs won the Pro Lites class overall on Sunday in the ACT.

“I gave my all today and it came out in my favour,” Waters said. “I got bad starts all day but I just put my head down and ended up getting two moto wins and two thirds which I’m absolutely pumped with.

“In that last moto, I was sitting behind Tye and just watching where he was going and he picked up on a lot of my lines so I had to make a bit of an aggressive move. So, sorry to Tye, we’re good mates but that’s racing and I wanted the move and I took it and it paid off.”

Marmont improved one position on his Horsham result, confident that he’s still in the championship hunt after working through bad starts all day in Canberra.

“Today my starts just weren’t helping me,” Marmont said. “I always had to come from the back but at the end of the day I’m still in it for the Championship – it’s still early days and once I win one hopefully I can keep rolling on.

“There’s always one or two guys in there who will step it up on the day and you could really see the guys who were fast here with Todd and Tye – they got off to good starts and they were hard to catch. The speed has got a lot faster this year and these sprint races are what these young guys do best.

“It’s what they practice during the week and what they did as juniors as well so it’s only making racing in Australia closer and closer and it’s great for the fans and great for the guys too.”

Wonder kid Simmonds impressed in his first podium just two rounds into his outdoor Pro Open career, also capturing a first podium for KTM’s all-new 350 SX-F.

“We had a great day today, we just had to work on the little things and we got those right by the last race,” Simmonds said. “All our hard work is paying off – we’re slowly getting there so it should be good at the next round.

“I should be proud of how I’ve done, with only five weeks on the bike and it being a new bike, but you still feel a bit bummed after all the hard work you put in during the week only to lead for that long and screw the race up in the last two corners – but bring on the next round.”

South Australian and Serco Yamaha team rider Kirk Gibbs won the second round of the Pro Lites class, the South Australian getting his first overall of the season.

Gibbs also managed to wrestle the series lead from US Import and JDR Motorex KTM rider PJ Larsen, the Yamaha rider now eight points clear going into the third round. With a 2-3-3-1 scorecard for the day, Gibbs’ consistency saw him take the round win and take over the red plate.

“All that hard work and all those motos were worth it,” Gibbs said. “We were worried about getting four starts today but I did awesome, I can’t believe the starts I got today!

“I’ve been practicing non-stop all week preparing for this and it paid off today, I didn’t finish first every time – but I brought it home on top. Getting that red leader plate is the biggest weight off my shoulders and I just hope I can hold onto it for the next six rounds.”

Cameron Dillon won the Under 19s class at Fairbarin Park.

Cameron Dillon won the Under 19s class at Fairbarin Park.

Meanwhile Larsen had mixed fortunes on the day. Despite being fastest in qualifying and winning two of the four motos, Larsen had his work cut out for him in the remaining two motos when he was caught up in crashes and forced to fight his way through from the rear of the field.

The American wrapped up the day in third place behind local rider and Team Rockstar Motul Suzuki star, Lawson Bopping, who made the most of his familiarity with the ACT Motor Cycle Club track taking second on the podium for the round.

In the Under 19’s class, New Zealander and TKMX Honda rider Cameron Dillon took the round win after a crash at the first round kept him out of the points chase.

“I’m stoked with how today went especially after the first round where I ended up with a foot peg in my tummy in race two,” Dillon said. “It ended my day then and there, so it’s awesome to come up there and do so well. The format was good and I’ve been practicing it back home and it’s paying off.”

A solid 1-2-2-4 finish for the day boosted Dillon’s position in the championship standings however it wasn’t enough to steal the red leader plate from MX Rad Coastal KTM’s Josh Cachia, who continued his strong form landing a spot on the podium for the round.

Cachia took third place on the day behind Dillon and second placed Kawasaki Racing Team rider Luke Arbon.

The third round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals will be held on Sunday 2 May at Barrabool, near Geelong in Victoria.

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