Ash Whistler takes sixth at round one despite an injured shoulder

CLAAS Yamaha Stunning debut in Kalgoorlie

28 Apr 2011

The newly formed CLAAS Yamaha Motocross Team made the trip east of Perth to Kalgoorlie for the first round of the WA MX Championships. With blue skies, warm temperatures and a freshly prepped circuit, teammates Ash Whistler (250F) and Daniel Strickland (450F) were looking forward to opening their accounts with a bang for their new advertising partner CLAAS machinery.

For Pro Lites rider Ashley Whisler, (Cully’s Yamaha) this will be his third season racing in the senior ranks. Ash is a talented young guy with plenty of skill who unfortunately was plagued by injury last season that did not allow his true talent to shine through.

Moto one showed he had brought his A-game and was ready to play. By race end he had earned a hard fought third, exactly the result he was looking for. A crash in the second race saw Ash dislocate his shoulder, one of the issues affecting him last season. He popped it back in and continued riding coming in 21st place, but he was in a lot of pain.

This set the stage for some tense moment when he decided to compete in the last race. With a good start Ash found himself in second place and running on adrenalin feeling no pain and by the end of the race had defended his position from the pursing pack.

“A 3-21-2 was not exactly what I was after but it still sees me just outside of the top five in sixth, with five rounds of racing to go. My shoulder is pretty sore but I now have a month to get better before the next round when I will do better,” commented Whistler.

In his first ever senior race, sixteen year old Daniel Strickland (Five Star Yamaha) lined up on his YZ450F with a grid of riders he had never competed with before in the Intermediate Open class. The young gun had moved up in 2011 with a host of championships and wins from the junior ranks and was looking forward to continued success in the senior ranks.

Strickland started his day well with a third place in race one and suddenly this new kid on the block was gaining a little attention. Two holeshots and race wins in motos two and three announced that Strickland was going to be a player in 2011 and impressed many in his debut performance.

“I love concrete starts and can usually nail them pretty good, but as I had never done a gate start on my YZ 450 I spun the tyre badly in the first race and did not get out of the gate well.”

“In the last two races I knew what to do and left with a little less RPM and once my Bridgestone tyre hit the dirt it got me the jump on everyone to the first corner.”

“Once in the lead I tried to keep my speed good,  I knew my fitness was there so  if I could maintain the gap I had a chance to win if I rode mistake free,” Strickland had to say.

“If not for Ash’s crash the CLAAS Yamaha team would have been in the title hunt in both classes today. With Daniel in the lead on the 450 and Ash still in sixth for the 250’s I think today was a pretty good day for our new team.”

“A special shout out must go to Cully’s Yamaha for letting us use their race truck for the weekend. It certainly turned plenty of heads in the pits,” Team Manager Peter Strickland had to say.

Pro Lites 250F
1st
David Birch Honda
2nd Sean Robertson KTM
3rd Shane Murray Honda

6th Ash whistler Yamaha

Intermediate Open 450F
1st Daniel Strickland Yamaha
2nd Trent Biffin KTM
3rd Hayden Vermeer  Kawasaki

Ash and Daniel would like to thank CLAAS, Yamaha, Wellard, GYTR, AXO, Yamalube, Shark, DID, Bridgestone, Endura, PivotPegz, ProArt, Unifilter, Incite graphics

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