After his team mate clinched a Championship at the penultimate State round, Ash Whisler (Cully’s Yamaha) was determined to thrust himself into a podium position and get back the couple of points he lost at Noble Falls to claim back second spot in the West Aussie Pro Lites Championship.
Since a costly DNF in the first round at Kalgoorlie way back in April, Ash has worked hard to claw his way back through the field and was bitterly disappointed to have dropped back a place at the last round. With all his focus on the offensive, Mother Nature had her say turning his campaign into a survival story instead.
The heavens opened on Hendley Park the night before the race turning it into a mud bog. What is usually a well groomed circuit was now just a soggy bike and sole destroying pit of traps that swallowed whole motorcycles. Further rain and hail throughout the day did not help.
The usual three round format was shortened to two races due to the conditions. Race one was a disaster for Whisler as after making a bad start he was filled in from riders whilst trying to make his way through the pack and after using all his tear offs he discarded his goggles.
This was to be a pivotal and costly error as this now left his eyes vulnerable to the flying mud and the fact he wears contact lenses only compounded the matter. With so much mud in his eyes the contact lenses combined to grind the dirt into his eyes so badly he was forced to pull out with next to no vision.
Recording another DNF and with only one race left he had dropped back to be equal third and was now fighting to keep the Championship podium he deserved.
With the mud out but his eyes still sore, Ash had a good start in the last race giving himself at least the opportunity for some clear vision. His only goal was to stay in front of the one rider who could rob him of a podium and stay on the bike. After what had seemed like an eternity the last lap board was out and he had just one very long and anxious lap left. The checked flag never looked so good as he held on to that third place on what was could have been a devastating day.
“I felt like a beginner rider today paddling my way around the track in second gear in some places. The first race was so disappointing having the DNF but my eyes were just full of mud and I could hardly see at all. Luckily my start was good in the second race so I was able to keep my goggles on the whole time. I will just have to be happy with third in the Championship for now,” a dejected Whisler commented.
“Today’s racing was all about survival, there was not that much skill involved for the most part and it was luck not to choose bad lines. At one stage there were yellow flags all over the circuit so I think Ash did really well to come out with the result he did.
"Our first year has been a good one for the CLAAS Yamaha Team and we look forward to the Arenacross series that starts soon. Both Ash and Daniel really enjoy the different style of riding you need for it and both usually do pretty well,” added Team Manager Peter Strickland.
The Team needs to thank their advertising partners CLAAS, Yamaha, Wellard, Bridgestone, AXO, Shark, GYTR, EKS, Yamalube, Endura, PivotPegz, Five Star and Cully’s Yamaha, Pro Art, Incite Graphics, Unifilter and DID for their continued support.
WA MX Championships – Final Standings Pro Lites 1st David Birch (Honda) 2nd Sean Robertson (Yamaha) 3rd Ash Whisler (Yamaha)