Crawford and Harwood complete top three in Victorian season-opener.
Complete Parts Kawasaki’s Aaron Tanti has stormed to an incredible maiden victory at the opening round of the Pirelli MX Nationals in Newry, Victoria, piecing together a 3-1 scorecard to commence his 2018 assault.
The opening MX2 race of the season was dominated by Serco Yamaha’s new signing Nathan Crawford on return to the class, 9.210s ahead of early leader Hamish Harwood (Davey Motorsports KTM), as Tanti – who claimed the first hole-shot of the season – put his KZ250F on the podium in his first appearance with the new-look team.
A charging Richie Evans (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) made his way to fourth by race’s end, while defending champion Egan Mastin (KTM Motocross Racing Team) was P5 after crashing out of the lead in the opening laps.
Sixth was former champion Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) in an inspired ride through the pack, followed by supercross champion Jackson Richardson (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing), Kale Makeham (Yamaha), pole-setter Wilson Todd (Serco Yamaha) and Kyle Webster (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing).
The second MX2 moto of the round saw a determined Tanti fire out of the gates to his second hole-shot in two races and he was never headed, sprinting off to an emphatic moto win that secured him his first-career overall in the nationals. Tanti won the race by 4.736s ahead of a fast-finishing Webster, as Todd improved to third this time around.
Crawford was unable to match his opening performance, having to claw his way up the order to fourth, as Harwood followed him home for fifth after running as high as second. It was a consistent day for Evans in scoring sixth, from Richardson, Dylan Wills (DPH Motorsport Husqvarna), Jesse Madden (KSF Ecstar Suzuki Racing) and Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) in 10th.
Overall it was Tanti who took victory, from Crawford and New Zealand champion Harwood. The next stop of the Australian championship is scheduled for 29 April at the popular Appin circuit in New South Wales.