News 13 Jul 2014

Ward scores second-career MX2 overall at Conondale

Hard pack circuit victory proves Wanneroo win was no fluke.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

Queenslander Caleb Ward claimed his second-career MX2 victory in the Monster Energy MX Nationals at Conondale today, backing up his Wanneroo win from earlier in the season.

Ward was on fire out of the gates at Conondale in winning the opening two motos of three for the round, however he had to work for the overall on his way to 10th in the final moto – enough to secure him the overall by six points.

Second was former MXD title winner in his return to the podium on board a privateer Axis Motorsports-supported Yamaha YZ250, picking up 6-4-2 finishes.

Completing the podium was top four-stroke in Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout, taking home 4-8-4 results to extend his series lead to 16 points with three rounds remaining.

Penrite Honda’s Josh Cachia narrowly missed the podium in fourth, one point behind Clout who was penalised in moto one, while Hamish Harwood (CMR Red Bull KTM) was another point back in fifth. Aside from his 12th in moto two, Harwood had a solid day.

The final moto was won by Luke Arbon (SD3 Husqvarna) as his stellar run of form continued, however he had to settle for 11th overall with a collapsed wheel in moto one.

The opening MX2 moto for the day saw Ward claim the holeshot and move into a commanding lead. He was followed by Husqvarna’s Daniel McCoy, Husqvarna Red Bull WIL Sport NZ Racing’s Kayne Lamont, Harwood and Arbon.

There was chaos in the early part of the first lap when Clout was pushed off the track heading up one of the huge hills. Unable to re-enter the same part of the track, Clout skipped a corner and approximately 20 metres of track, re-entering in 15th place thanks to an incurred 10-second penalty.

Ward quietly went about putting a big break on his rivals, with McCoy a fair way behind and another huge gap to their next rival. By lap four, title contenders Lamont and Arbon were both out of the race – each of them breaking a wheel on the Suzuki leap.

Privateer Kale Makeham (Tunetech Racing KTM) who was fifth in the outright standings coming into the round, came to blows with fellow KTM rider Riley Graham – the pair both coming off just before the finish line on lap five.

With rivals falling by the wayside, Clout put in a wonderful performance to finish fourth in the moto, earning important points in his quest to become MX2 Australian champion. Ahead of him were Ward, Harwood and Brenden Harrison (Instant Security KTM), while McCoy was relegated back to fifth on the second last lap of the race.

In the second race of the day, Cachia had the honour of taking the holeshot and was battling hard on the opening lap to keep the lead from Ward. It didn’t last too long however, and when the plucky Honda rider went down soon after, Ward shot into a lead that never looked like being reeled in.

Cachia was never too far away in his battle for a podium place, with Lamont and Arbon ahead of him and Willis and Harrison in arrears. While he never looked like catching Ward, Lamont rode a clever race – digging in and holding out for second.

A mishap on the final lap saw Arbon drop back from third into sixth, paving the way for Cachia to climb onto the podium ahead of Willis in fourth and Makeham in fifth. Clout battled hard but could only manage eighth place when the chequered flag was waved.

For all the drama in the opening two motos, the third was far more straight-forward, with Arbon, Cachia and Willis settling into the top three positions early on. It was the usual suspects among the front as Clout, Harwood, Lamont, Harrison and Makeham all battled it out in an effort to gain the extra points that could be crucial in the title battle.

Not much changed from the order they went out in, with Arbon claiming the win from Willis, Lamont, Clout and Harwood.

In the outright championship standings Clout has extended his lead at the top to 16 points, with Harwood in second and Arbon a further 27 points behind in third.

The series now heads to Raymond Terrace in New South Wales for round eight, which takes place on 3 August.

2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship
Round seven – Conondale, QLD

MX2 overall results:
1. Caleb Ward 91
2. Errol Willis 85
3. Luke Clout 79
4. Josh Cachia 78
5. Hamish Harwood 77
6. Jay Wilson 72
7. Brenden Harrison 65
8. Dylan Long 64
9. Kale Makeham 63
10. Kayne Lamont 62
11. Luke Arbon 60
12. Daniel McCoy 60
13. Blake Lilly 59
14. Joel Evans 57
15. Joel Green 49
16. Luke Wilson 48
17. Caleb Gasbarri 38
18. Michael Fehlhaber 36
19. Mathew McEntee 35
20. Riley Graham 33

MX2 championship standings:
1. Luke Clout 463
2. Hamish Harwood 447
3. Luke Arbon 420
4. Caleb Ward 404
5. Brenden Harrison 399
6. Kale Makeham 397
7. Kayne Lamont 395
8. Jay Wilson 392
9. Errol Willis 325
10. Josh Cachia 235
11. Ryan Marmont 234
12. Joel Evans 220
13. Wade Hunter 215
14. Riley Graham 214
15. Geran Stapleton 206
16. Joel Milesevic 199
17. Jake Emanuelli 187
18. Nick Sutherland 177
19. Dylan Long 167
20. Daniel McCoy 167

Click here for detailed results