CLAAS Yamaha riders Ashley Whisler and Daniel Strickland stepped up to the plate with both standing on the podium after a successful days racing at round three of the WA Motocross Championships held at Wanneroo Park.
The AJS Wanneroo track has long been recognised by riders from all over the country as Australia’s toughest circuits. With its bottomless sand and torturing hillside layout it can be hard on man and machine. After a torrential downpour on Friday night, the circuit was very heavy for racing, quickly establishing how hard the day was going to be.
Yamaha YZ250F rider Ashley Whisler (Cully’s Yamaha) has been a little unlucky this season with small crashes keeping him off the podium but consistency in the other races has been the key to staying in touch with the front runners of the Pro Lites class. Coming into the round he was sitting in sixth for the championship but was intent on moving up the ladder.
Race one was again less than what Ash had expected carding a sixth place finish and upon returning to the pits he was determined to do better. Race two and three saw his new resolve making all the difference with a solid start out of the gate. He managed to claim a second and third in the last two Moto’s. 6-2-3 was good enough to pick up third place overall for the day.
‘I was not happy with my starts and was worried about a few things I had no control over. Once I put them out of my mind and focussed on what I could control my starts came back and I rode really well. Third is pretty good and it has moved me up to be fourth in the championship just ten points from second,” Whisler commented.
Daniel Strickland (Five Star Yamaha) has taken the bull by the horns in the Intermediate Open class and is leading the Championship on his YZ450F. Never having ridden the AJS track before proved to be a disadvantage in the first race as the young charger was not sure where the fastest lines were but still managed to place third. By the time race two started he was more in the groove posting a solid win.
This left one more ride and with another great start he proceeded to check out on the field before overshooting a corner and running off the track allowing two riders to pass. Daniel put his head down and quickly re passed for the lead before a cruel twist saw him tuck the front end entering a corner on the last lap putting his Yamaha down.
He managed to keep the engine running and remount quickly but was again back in third. With dwindling energy and race distance Daniel could not bridge the gap again and had to settle for another third place. 3-1-3 finishes were good enough to claim second outright on the day.
“With my year 12 exams this week, I have a lot going on and it was evident in the way I raced today. The first race was weird. I just had no idea where to go to make speed having never ridden here. As the track roughed up and the whoops got bigger things improved.”
“I was so glad we run PivotPegz! They're awesome in our sandy conditions as they let the bike move around under you without upsetting your balance,” Strickland went on to say.
“This is the first time both the riders have got onto the podium which is a great result. Ash has deserved to be up here from the beginning but little issues have kept him just off by a point or two up to now. Two riders, two podiums; can’t ask for much better than that!” a happy team manager Peter Strickland had to say.
Ash and Daniel would like to thank CLAAS, Yamaha, AXO, Wellard, GYTR, Bridgestone, SHARK, Yamalube, EKS goggles, DID, Unifilter , PivotPegz, Incite graphics, Endura, Pro Art, Five Star and Cully’s Yamaha for supporting them.
Pro Lites 1st Louis Calvin (KTM) 2nd David Birch (Honda) 3rd Ashley Whisler (Yamaha)
Inter Open 1st Hayden Vermeer (KTM) 2nd Daniel Strickland (Yamaha) 3rd Damon Gibbons (Honda)