News 31 Jul 2017

KTM's Gibbs grinds out a tough one at Port Macquarie

KTM Australia press release:

The KTM Factory Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs underlined the never-say-die attitude for which he is famous as he ground out two determined rides at today’s eighth round of the MX Nationals series

An unrelenting charge from dead last in moto two saw him finish within one place of a monumental podium – but it wasn’t to be and he posted seventh for the round, which went to championship leader Dean Ferris ahead of Todd Waters and Luke Clout.

Hot on the heels of his last-start round win at Shepparton, Gibbs posted the third-fastest time in SuperPole behind Ferris and KTM team mate Luke Styke, but wheelspin off the start in race one left him buried in the pack, and he fell while pushing through – finally finishing as high as sixth.

Off to a better start in the second, he was felled by another rider’s bike on the way to the first turn, and crashed jarringly.

He shook it off and went to work on the KTM 450 SX-F, carving from last place through to an outstanding fifth behind Luke Clout – the man he would have replaced on the podium had he been able to pass him.

Gibbs is in peak form though, and the 2015 MX Nationals Champion looks forward to the next round at Toowoomba – the scene of his career-first premier class moto win way back in 2013.

Luke Styke starred in the SuperPole, equalling his best performance ever with second, but also struggled with the traffic in his first moto, finishing seventh.

He took the factory team’s second KTM 450 SX-F to sixth in moto two, for eighth on the day, and maintains fifth place in Australia’s premier motocross championship.

Jay Marmont – KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager: “It was an interesting day. Stykesy and Kirk both went really well in practice, they both got into SuperPole and Stykesy equalled his best ever finish there with a second and Kirk was third so I thought we were in for a cracker day. It didn’t go off very well from the gate drop though, neither rider got the best of starts and the field just basically bunched up and finished where they finished, which was sixth and seventh I think. In the second moto we had a new game plan and changed our grid positions. Both riders got a lot better jump to the corner, but unfortunately Kirk clipped handlebars with Kade Mosig and crashed really hard. It wasn’t a little crash. He had to come from dead last, and I was very impressed with the way he rode in the second moto, making it all the way to fifth – and one more position would have put him on the podium. He showed promise going into the last two rounds, and for Luke, I feel that his effort was a lot better this weekend, even though his result didn’t show it. He was closer with the guys battling for the top three positions which shows he’s moving forward too.”

Kirk Gibbs – KTM450SX-F: “That’s just how it goes, we knew looking at the track yesterday it was pretty tight, pretty juniorish – it was going to be one of those tracks where you’d struggle if you didn’t get good starts. First start we got a little bit of wheel spin and I was trying to make places up but crashed trying to get around Kyle Peters and lost a lot of ground. I charged through to the back of Clouty and I couldn’t find anywhere to get around him. I was frustrated with that, but I got a good jump in the second. Then Mosig crashed just to the side of me, but as he crashed, his bike sort of flicked out and I had nowhere to go but into it. I played catch-up from there. I rode really well, so I’m not disappointed with the way I’m riding. We’re going to try a few different things between now and Toowoomba and hopefully that can help. I know I can go for those wins if I get the starts. I’m looking forward to the hills of Toowoomba, and I feel like I can do well there, once I iron out those starts. That’s where I got my first moto win in 2013.”

Luke Styke – KTM450SX-F: “Obviously the start of the day was pretty good for us with second in SuperPole. I had a really good gate pick so I started next to the box where I thought the start was going to come, but I got pushed off the track and I was like 15th place coming around the third turn. I had an uphill battle. Obviously Port Macquarie is pretty one-linish, but it felt like I just exerted so much energy to get nowhere. In the second start I came around about second or third, but I didn’t really have the feel that I had in the first race and a few guys got past. I couldn’t get the good flow on, I was a bit tight or conservative maybe. We made a few changes in the last few weeks that are definitely benefitting me, I’ve just got to keep grinding and it will eventually happen.”