KTM Australia press release:
KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs has taken a convincing second-place result at Newry’s opening round of the 2018 MX Nationals today in Victoria.
Gibbs recorded the fastest time in regular MX1 qualifying and had the third gate selection following Super Pole, setting up a competitive day ahead for the 2015 championship winner.
The South Australian charged into the lead during the early stages of moto one and went back and forth for position, only to eventually be plagued by arm-pump and cross the finish-line in second. Moto two was just as strong, working his way into second and comfortably finishing in that position for P2 overall.
Teammate Luke Clout, on debut with KTM Motocross Racing Team, slotted his KTM 450 SX-F into fifth following Super Pole, but fell victim to a fall in the first turn of moto one. He remounted and charged back to ninth position, before putting forward an improved effort for an inspiring fourth in moto two. That placed him P6 overall.
Defending national MX2 champion Egan Mastin endured a difficult day in what was KTM Motocross Racing Team’s return to the category, with Mastin claiming ninth overall aboard the KTM 250 SX-F. Despite a crash while challenging for the lead in race one he captured fifth place, however it was an 11th in moto two that he will be eager to improve upon in coming rounds.
The 2018 MX Nationals will now turn its attention to the Sydney-based KTM Motocross Racing Team’s relative home round of the season at Appin in New South Wales on Sunday, 29 April.
Jay Marmont – Team Manager, KTM Motocross Racing Team: “The track and conditions were challenging, but it was a positive start to the season for the team in a lot of ways – especially Kirk. He had an awesome battle for the lead in MX1 moto one until his arms unfortunately pumped up a bit and he had to settle for P2, so that was a great race anyway, and then in the second one Kirk was once again solid in second position for an overall podium. Luke unfortunately crashed in the first turn of the opening moto and had to work back to ninth, so it was really good to see him take a really respectable finish of fourth in moto two and we know he will only gain strength from here. In MX2, Egan made a small mistake when battling for the lead in moto one, but recovered for fifth, however in the second moto he didn’t get a good start and rode a pretty average race for 11th. I’m sure he can get better results than that, so there is work to do heading into Appin. We have a base to build from now and it’s a matter of remaining focused for the coming rounds, because points are really important at this stage of the season.”
Kirk Gibbs – KTM 450 SX-F: “Qualifying was good, going P1 in that session and then going third in Super Pole. I was confident going in and in moto one I got a good start, was able to swap positions for the lead a number of times and I was right there until I suffered from a little bit of arm-pump and crossed the line second in the end. That was a bit disappointing, but anyway, we went into the second moto and they’d put a lot of water down, so I was a little hesitant in the first couple of laps. I was really happy with the way I was riding following that though, we were doing the same lap-times at the front and that makes it hard to bridge the gap. I’m happy in a lot of ways, just have to work on a couple of things and it will all come together. I’ve been bridesmaid a few times now and I really want to get back on the top step, so I’m going to work really hard over the next couple of weeks and get set for Appin.”
Luke Clout – KTM 450 SX-F: “It wasn’t too bad of a day for me to start the season. I was happy to make it into Super Pole and, even though I was fifth in that, it was good to be in there. Unfortunately I went down in the first turn of moto one and had to push back to ninth in that, before in moto two I managed to finish fourth. It was a bit up and down for me, but I know what I’ve got to work on and I know that my speed will be there. I didn’t feel like I rode to my ability today, in some ways the track got the better of me, but I’m happy with the points we scored and will now set my sights on Appin’s round two.”
Egan Mastin – KTM 250 SX-F: “I started off the day by qualifying P4 and I was pretty satisfied with that going into the two races. My start in the first moto was half-decent, around fifth, and I worked my way up to second, but went down while going to pass for the lead. That was disappointing, even though I still placed fifth in the moto once I recovered. I got off to a terrible start in moto two, spun out of the concrete-based start-gates and came together with another rider before working my way back to 11th. I wasn’t to happy with that result, but I have to look forward and move onto the next round at Appin. My pace is definitely there to win, I just need to work on a couple of things and put all of the pieces together.”