News 29 Mar 2017

MX1 transition the right move for standout rookie Wightman

New class, same team for Penrite CRF Honda Racing 450 newcomer.

Source: Supplied.

Penrite CRF Honda Racing’s Joel Wightman will make a confident entry into the Motul MX Nationals MX1 category for 2017 after making the switch to the new Honda CRF450R machine this season.

Becoming the first premier class rider to be supported by the Penrite CRF Honda Racing outfit, the 20-year-old looks forward to entering the category that he believes suits him best.

“I’m feeling really good to be honest,” Wightman told “With my size I feel like the 450 suits me a lot better, so I’m really looking forward to racing it. It’s been really good so far, we’ve been making progress with the bike between pre-season races and trying to get motos in on the weekends between races.”

Claiming victory in multiple pre-season events, including the NSW MX State Championship at Port Macquarie, Wightman’s transition from the CRF250R to the CRF450R has been smooth and successful to date.

“It’s been good and I think those few pre-season races, although there wasn’t a crazy high level of competition, you just can’t beat racing no matter what level it is,” said Wightman. “I gelled with the bike pretty quick and the extra horsepower suited my riding style, being a little smoother is the way I like to ride and I can do that with more power there.

“We’ve been doing a lot of testing during the pre-season, Pro-Moto Suspension has been helping a lot and also Ross McWatters from MCD, he’s tuned my race bike up well and I’ve spent some time on that this week.”

Not only does the Singleton-based rider feel the bike itself suits him better as a rider, but he also sees benefits within the MX1 schedule on race day that will allow him to use his strengths for improved results.

“Qualifying later in the day should suit me more, the tracks are always really wet and loose in the morning for the MX2 class and I feel like when the track forms up and gets a bit rougher is tends to suit me better,” he explained. “Also the second moto being 30 minutes should be good, I’m really looking forward to that.”

As a rookie in the hotly-contested category, Wightman will take a mature approach to the 2017 season as he plans to work his way through the field as the season progresses.

“I’m more excited than anything to be honest, I’m just keen to get in there and see where I’m at, take it each round and see where I can end up by the end of the year,” he added. “I feel like there will be three to five guys that will be pretty hot, and I just want to try and stay as close to that lead group as I can and work on being closer to that or even with them by the end of the year.”

Wightman will be joined by returning Penrite CRF Honda Racing teammate Kyle Webster for 2017 as the Western Australian continues to contest the MX2 category.