Hits and Misses from the third round last weekend.
MotoOnline.com.au takes a closer look and assesses the Hits and Misses following an exciting third round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals at Conondale in Queensland.
Jesse Dobson (Penrite Honda) – MX1, seventh overall:
After missing the opening two rounds of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals, the 20-year-old made his first appearance of the season at Conondale on an all-new Honda and Penrite-backed entry. Although Dobson contested pre-season races in New Zealand, we were yet to see the Queenslander on-track domestically at a national level this year, so nobody was really sure where he would end up over the weekend. It turned out to be quite an impressive ride in the end as he put his Honda CRF450R in seventh position overall and looked strong and fast on-track. Unfortunately Dobson is planning on racing minimal MX Nationals events in 2017, but let’s hope he returns a few more times to mix it up with the best.
Aaron Tanti (Team WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha) – MX2, seventh overall:
Although Tanti’s result on paper doesn’t seem super impressive, his riding on the day at Conondale definitely was just that. After qualifying in fourth position, the Yamaha-mounted rider ran at the pointy-end of the field in moto one before going down and returning for a strong fourth-place finish. Moto two saw Tanti rocket to the front of the pack and stretch a small gap between himself and the remainder of the field – the New South Wales native was on a tear. Unfortunately he suffered a flat rear tyre early in the race and quickly dropped down the running order on the technical and slick circuit. Keep an eye on this guy in the coming rounds, he’s definitely improving vastly as the series rolls on.
Nathan Crawford (MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) – MX1, fourth overall:
As a rookie in the MX1 category and with a serious arm injury sustained within a month of the Wonthaggi season-opener, you could say the odds were against the 19-year-old this season. Crawford, known for his gritty determination and work ethic, looks to be overcoming those hurdles and managed to put together a career-best MX1 finish in Conondale. The Queenslander bounced back from a ninth-place finish in moto one to run in second position for much of moto two before being relegated to third by a charging Kirk Gibbs. With his third place finish in moto two, it was enough to secure a fourth-place overall result on the day and a definite boost in confidence as we head to round four.
Kyle Peters (Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki) – MX1, ninth overall:
It was a tough round for the American import who entered the event under the weather having battled with the flu for the entire week leading into the event. Peters, who has shown race-winning speed multiple times this season, continued his string of bad luck and struggled to finish out both motos on the challenging circuit at Conondale. Unsure whether he would even contest moto two, the factory Suzuki rider battled his way to the end and required medical attention following moto two after finishing in 10th-place.
Aleksandr Tonkov (MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) – MX1, 11th overall:
The Russian rider showed great promise during the day making his first appearance in the GoPro Super Pole and even leading the MX1 field at one stage. But something definitely wasn’t right and Tonkov was definitely not happy with his results post-race, it was a frustrating event for the factory Kawasaki newcomer. With a combined moto scorecard consisting of 14-9 finishes, 11th overall was the best the former world championship contender could achieve. Let’s hope he can figure things out and return in Horsham with improved form, he has the speed, so let’s see if he can put it together for an entire 30 minutes.
Brett Metcalfe (SD3 Husqvarna) – MX1, 17th overall:
What a challenging season it has been for Australia’s Brett Metcalfe to date, it’s disappointing to see such a strong contender down the championship ladder so early in the season. Metcalfe suffered his second DNF of the season due to apparent mechanical issues in mot two after logging a fifth-place finish in moto one. Metcalfe now sits 107 points behind series leader Dean Ferris, a tough position to be in for a true title contender with a tonne of speed and experience.