News 1 Oct 2017

Practice and qualifying completed on opening day of AJMX

Just under 400 riders hit the Horsham circuit to commence week-long event.

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

The 2017 KTM Australia Junior Motocross Championship (AJMX) has got off to a successful start with just shy of 400 riders taking to the Horsham circuit in Victoria for the opening practice and qualifying sessions of the week-long event.

The country’s top junior athletes had their first taste of the world-class venue, and despite overcast skies looming throughout the day, the rain did not prevail, serving up perfect conditions ahead of tomorrow’s scheduled commencement of racing. Gate pick for the opening round of racing will be determined by today’s results.

Victoria’s Mason Semmens soared to the top spot in the graduating Junior Lites 15 Years class, lapping a 1m47.251s time that comfortably put him ahead of his competition. John Bova (NSW) cleared the line with a time that would deliver him second, as talented Queenslander Jack Kukas maintained third. Bailey Malkiewicz (QLD) wound up in fourth followed by West Aussie Mat Fabry.

In the Junior Lites 13-U15 Years category, Dante Hyam of New South Wales produced a commanding time of 1m48.022s, earning himself the top gate choice with a comfortable advantage in the times. Queensland’s Levi Rogers was second, as Liam Andrews (Victoria) led Corey McMahon (NSW) and Caleb Clifton (NSW) on the timesheets to fulfil positions third through to fifth.

Western Australia’s Tahlia O’Hare aced the female Junior Lites division, lodging a 2m3.815s time to put herself atop of the leaderboard heading into tomorrow’s race day. Fellow title favourite Tanesha Harnett (NSW) was second, followed by New Zealanders Roma Edwards and Rachael Archer, as Queensland’s Tahlia Drew completed the top five.

The hotly contested 125cc 15 Years class delivered no shortage of quick times, with the top four riders all finishing within a second of each other. It was Victorian favourite Mason Semmens who topped the division ahead of Queenslanders Jack Kukas and Bailey Malkiewicz with a time of 1m49.717s, while John Bova (NSW) and Tyler Darby (NSW) were fourth and fifth respectively.

Split between two sessions, Liam Andrews and Levi Rogers (QLD) topped each outing of 125cc 13-U15 Years, but it was Rogers who was fastest overall with a time of 1m50.177s. Dante Hyam (NSW) was second, as Rogers beat home Korey McMahon (NSW) and Regan Duffy (WA). The 125cc 13-U15 Years class will race six heats – each rider racing three – in order to qualify for the finals in the closing days of the event.

New South Welshman Tyler Darby shot to the top of the timesheets with a blitzing time of 1m54.671s, enough to edge out Queensland duo Jai Walker and Noah Ferguson who accepted second and third respectively. Victoria’s Zac Wright held on for fourth, as South Australia’s Kai Newbold closed out the top five in the oldest age group of 85cc two-stroke and 150cc four-stroke rider.

Blake Fox (NSW) was fastest in one of the more popular classes of the AJMX, the Mini Lites BW 12-U14 Years, which was also split into two sessions, setting a quick time of 1m55.706s. Fellow New South Welshman Rory Fairbrother fell short of the top time to finish in second, as South Australia’s Alex Harwood led a hard charging duo of Tyran Tomich (VIC) and Ben Wright (VIC).

The top time in the female Mini Lites category was taken out by Queensland’s Charli Cannon, lodging a time almost three seconds faster than Victoria’s Madi Healy, which should serve as a boost of confidence heading into the long week ahead. Third was awarded to Tasmania’s Holli Greeves, followed by Jayde Dudley (NSW) and Aimee Butler (SA).

Tasmania’s Jett Burgess-Stevens concluded the opening day in Mini Lites SW 9-U12 Years on top with a thrilling 2m0.299s time, evidently gelling with the technical Victorian circuit. New South Welshman Ryder Kingsford narrowly edged out Connor Towill (NSW) for second, while it was Jack Mather (QLD) and Jet Alsop (QLD) who ended up in fourth and fifth respectively.

New South Welshman Connor Towill blitzed the oldest age group of 65cc riders with a 2m4.438s time, which saw him clear his nearest competitor by just under four seconds. Jesse Holding of Queensland placed a time good enough for second, as Seth Burchell (NSW) was third ahead of a pair of Queenslanders Brenton Wilson and Kobe Drew.

Despite being on double duties contesting two classes, Queensland’s Jet Alsop stormed to the number one position on the timesheets with a very impressive time of 2m5.353s in 65cc 9-U11 Years, with second and third being awarded to New Zealand’s Cole Davies and Western Australia’s Kayden Minear. New South Wales duo Ky Woods and Koby Hantis were credited second and third respectively.

West Aussie Seth Shackleton proved to be quickest in the youngest division of 65cc’s, logging a 2m14.192s to defeat Ryder Wilson (NSW) and Heath Fisher (QLD). Wilson, half a second off the pace, narrowly missed out on the number one gate pick. The fourth and fifth fastest times were lodged by Toby Huston (NSW) and Jackson Walsh (QLD).

Queensland’s Heath Fisher topped the 50cc Division 2 class with a quick time of 2m20.178s to be credited the number gate pick, while Western Australia’s Seth Shackleton put down a down time that would position him second ahead of Queenslander Slade Oberhardt. Round out the top five was WA’s Sam Pellicano and Hayden Downie.

Bikes are back on track tomorrow for day two, which will see a number classes contest their first heats, while categories that don’t have heats will take part in a free practice session.