Racer comments from rounds four and five of the MX Nationals.
A selection of riders detail the rounds four and five of the 2019 Pirelli MX Nationals at Murray Bridge in South Australia. Team and privateer competitors can submit comments to [email protected] by Monday afternoon after events for inclusion in the post-event Quotebook feature.
Kirk Gibbs (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) – 15th/DNF overall:
I fell early in race two just past the mechanics area and it took me a little to get up and going again. I got going and began working my way through the field and passing guys as quickly as I could, but I then come up on two guys battling for position. Both of them fell directly in front of me in a high speed section of the track and I had no choice but to hit their downed bikes. I flew over the handlebars and landed heavily on my shoulder. I tried to ride but the pain was getting too much so I pulled off the track and went to Racesafe. On their suggestions, I then went to hospital for some tests. At this stage, I will see a shoulder specialist this week and get further scans and tests to know exactly where I stand. I’m gutted to have this happen. I wanted to do well here in South Australia, was confident I could make up points in the championship and now with a missed round, my championship is all but over. Now, all I can do is wait the results of the injury then work out a course of action from there.
Luke Clout (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) – Second/second overall:
It was a tough weekend with five motos on a track that always produces close racing. I love riding here and knew that I had to make the most of double-header weekend, so it was good to put together five good motos and leave here with the championship lead. It wasn’t without its challenges or issues, but the team and I worked hard and managed to make the most of each situation. The only real blemish over the weekend was the crash in race one on Saturday but we were able to salvage what we could and the team were able to get the bike sorted out and back in perfect shape for race two. It feels good to have the championship lead and it’s a bit of reward for everyone at CDR but we still have five rounds to go and a lot of racing laps so the work must continue. I have to keep getting on the podium every round and pick up the race and round wins when they present themselves. So far, we are on track and I’m pleased with how the first half of the championship has gone.
Todd Waters (DPH Motorsport Husqvarna) – Fifth/first overall:
I was prepared to race a loamy, sandy Murray Bridge this weekend, but due to a lack of water, we raced on a hard, dry track and I just struggled to get my head in the right space on Saturday. My starts weren’t ideal, and with a lot of fast guys in MX1 it was tough to move forward. With a good sleep and a fresh state of mind, I felt a lot better on-track, missing superpole by just 0.001 of a second then racing through to two back-to-back second places before getting a strong start and taking the win in the final moto and the overall for the round. It was a good way to finish the first half of the season. With a seven week break in the calendar, I’ve decided the best training I can do is to race, so I’ll head to the US this week with a small entourage of family and friends to line up as a privateer at the first three rounds of the AMA Outdoors.
Richie Evans (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) – Sixth/sixth overall:
The first three rounds have been terrible for me for a bunch of reasons and I just wanted a clear run to see what I was capable of and where I sit. I was able to get that this weekend at Murray Bridge and I’m pretty happy with the outcome. I had a goal to finish in the top eight every time I hit the track this weekend and apart from qualifying, I finished every race in seventh or better. And the last race was the best I felt all year at the MX Nationals. It feels good to leave here with a result that I can be proud of and it also gives me motivation to keep working harder. The more I race with the riders at the front, the more I learn and the more comfortable I get with the pace. Thanks to the team for a huge weekend as my mechanic Jed busted his butt all weekend as well as Mike back in the work shop. I glad I could reward them with some decent results and now I want to keep it rolling through to Coolum.
Lawson Bopping (Empire Kawasaki) – 11th/ninth overall:
It was a big weekend with two rounds of racing. I’d worked hard coming into here and was happy to put it into Super Pole on Saturday, but the motos were difficult – my arms couldn’t hang onto the handlebars and it caused me to fade. It was frustrating because the team and KX450 are so good. I didn’t qualify as strongly on Sunday, but the sprint motos were decent and I felt as though I had a bit of fight in me. The last moto was great as well for the most part, although I slowed up right at the end and a few guys got me. Anyway, it was great and I’ve enjoyed it a lot.
Dylan Long (Empire Kawasaki) – Eighth/11th overall:
I wasn’t super-happy with my riding on either day, but I got into a bit of a flow at stages. I just haven’t had enough bike time, so I tightened up in almost every single race. It’s good to have a break now, but we’ll come back strong and ready. The KX450 was good, I’m happy enough and can work from this.
Jesse Dobson (Husqvarna) – 25th/12th overall:
It was a bit of a struggle this weekend. The goal was to just get through the two rounds and head into the mid-season break healthy and I’ve managed that at least. We made a change in the rear spring rate after Broadford and it just didn’t work the way we expected it to, and I struggled with grip and to get the bike settled in the turns, making it a real battle every lap to ride smooth and strong. I was expecting a loamy track, but without much rain, they weren’t able to prep the track the same as usual and so we ended up on a pretty hard track with limited opportunities to pass and a lot of reliance on a strong start. Caught up in a crash in the first race of the weekend, another bike slammed into my rear wheel so hard that it smashed the hub and I couldn’t get back in the race, so from that point on, I was just looking to survive the weekend, stay out of trouble and capture as many points as I could in the process. It wasn’t an ideal weekend but I’m still on plan, and I’m happy the hardest part of the season for me is over and I can start my preparation for the second half of the championship. I also want to thank MXStore and Anchored Arts Tattoo Parlour for coming on-board to help me race this season.
Wilson Todd (DPH Motorsport Husqvarna) – Third/fifth overall:
It was a tough weekend for me. I don’t like the Murray Bridge track all that much and I haven’t had the best results here. The two race wins over the weekend are actually the best results I’ve had. I rode a bit tight in the back-to-back races with some arm-pump so was really happy to turn that around with the win in the last race on Saturday. The first moto on Sunday saw me destroy a rear wheel while leading, and have to pull in for Pynee to swap it over, getting back on track in 18th. I managed to stay on the lead lap, put in the fastest lap of the race and finish 14th. Lining up for the last race I was motivated, got the start and led start to finish. It wasn’t an ideal weekend, but I salvaged points in bad races and I head into the break with a 23 point lead and a lot of confidence for the second half of the year.
Bailey Malkiewicz (DPH Motorsport Husqvarna) – Sixth/second overall:
I’m happy I could show good speed in qualifying. and some good race-pace this weekend and really show everyone that I can race at the front in MX2. Again, a few small mistakes that I need to keep working on, pushed me back, especially in the last race of the weekend where I dropped the bike. Overall I head into the break happy, breaking into the top ten of the championship and feeling confident that I can keep moving forward in the second half of the season.
Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) – Second/fourth overall:
It was a bit of a frustrating way to end the weekend but overall it has been a positive one for me and maybe more than I was expecting considering how I was feeling earlier in the week. I was a bit off balance on that last start and had to double clutch it which resulted in a poor start. I did all I could to get back as many positions as I could but it is a hard track to pass on and I was able to generate the speed that I was doing on the earlier motos. Still, we are in good shape for the championship and I was able to get out of here, which has been a bit of a hoo-doo track for me in previous years, healthy and gain a few points on Wilson Todd in the championship. I’m going to take a week off and let my body recover before I get stuck into my training for a big back half of the year where a lot of the rounds are back in my area on tracks I really like.
Kyle Webster (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing) – First/first overall:
Things couldn’t have gone much better. Everything clicked from the moment we rolled onto the track and I’m absolutely stoked on how the day went. I can’t ask for much more, with two round wins in two days. It feels like it’s been a while coming this year to get a few wins on the go, but now that they’re here, it’s awesome. Everyone in the MX2 class has been having a real go and the competition is fierce, so getting two round wins now at the double-header rounds is the perfect way to go into the mid-season break. I can’t thank everyone on the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team enough, and all the team sponsors and supporters, and my family and everyone who helps make this happen; like I said, getting back-to-back round wins feels just awesome.