Only one point separated CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team’s Kirk Gibbs from winning another Manjimup 15,000 crown after an enthralling days’ racing at the prestigious motocross event in Western Australia.The small town of Manjimup came alive for the annual running of the historic Manjimup 15,000. With a handful of the leading East Coast riders making the trip across the desert as well as some international stars on hand for the event, it was set for a memorable weekend for the large crowd on hand and the racing proved to be exactly that.
The format of the event sees three eight lap races to determine the winner and on the grueling and undulating circuit, rated one of the best in Australia. It is always a true test of man and machine. Gibbs had won the event several times before, but this time entered the event fresh off a shoulder injury sustained at the recent round of the MX Nationals and not with the pre-event preparation he would have liked.
But that mattered little when the gates dropped as Gibbs instantly showed he was up to speed. He charged to a fifth place finish in the opening moto but after blowing out the cob webs, Gibbs was back on track for the final two races of the Manjimup 15,000. He took the moto win in race two and a grandstand finish was set for race three with plenty of plot twists and turns.
Gibbs needed a race win and needed the cards to fall his way with the riders behind him to claim victory on the day. The 30 year old Yamaha rider indeed won the final moto but it wasn’t enough to take victory as his rival, Regan Duffy, managed to finish the final race in third and give him the overall victory by just a single point over Gibbs.
“It was another good day here at Manjimup and I always love coming here as it’s a great place to race. The first race fifth was the down fall for me as over coming that point gap in a three race format is tough when the other riders were pretty consistent. Still, it was pleasing to be able to race at a good level so quickly after my shoulder injury and it still feels good at the end of the day on a demanding track.
“A huge thanks to the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy team for making this happen as its never easy to race on the other side of the country and also to the Manjimup club and event organisers as this event is always a highlight for me and I love racing here in front of such an enthusiastic crowd,” Gibbs ends.
It was a roller coaster of a day for team mate, Luke Clout, who was experiencing Manjimup for the very first time. Clout took fourth in the opening leg to start his day off on a reasonable note but a first lap fall in the second moto soon put paid to any chance of the overall victory and Clout had to withdraw from the race to get the crash damage repaired to his race machine.
He rebounded well to claim a fourth in the final leg and his 4-DNF-4 results gave him 12th overall. Not the result he was after.
But, he did find some redemption in the All-Stars Shootout that pits the top 20 riders together in a one lap shootout that sees the last five riders eliminated from the field before the remaining riders grid up and fire off again.
Clout continued to work his way through the elimination and it came down to just three riders left in the final winner take all, one lap explosion. Clout faced off against Kyle Webster and Hayden Mellross and the three of them went into battle but it was Clout who set the pace right from the drop of the gate and took the win.
“I have never been here before but it has been an amazing experience to race this event and I would love to come back to do it again,” Clout said. “I had a fall in the second moto of the Manjimup 15,000 which took me out of contention for that, but I was glad to get things back on track and finish the day strongly with a win in the All Stars shootout.
“I could hear the crowd in nearly every turn and the racing in atmosphere like that is awesome. I wish all our races were like that.
“Thanks to the spectators that came out and supported the day, it was great meeting so many new people and having them cheer us on, also to the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team for their amazing support. I want to come back and I want to win here,” Clout ends.
The CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team now get back into MX Nationals mode with the championship resuming after the mid-season break on June 23 at Gympie in Queensland.
Manjimup 15000 Results
1st Regan Duffy – 97
2nd Kirk Gibbs – 96 (Yamaha YZ450F)
3rd Kyle Webster – 88
4th Kyle Cunningham - 79
5th Hayden Mellross- 79
6th Luke Davis – 72 (Yamaha YZ450F)
7th Charlie Creech – 71
8th Michael Mahon – 69
9th Josh Adams – 63 (Yamaha YZ450F)
10th John Darrock – 61
12th Luke Clout – 56 (Yamaha YZ450F)
Manjimup All-Stars Shootout
1st Luke Clout (Yamaha YZ450F)
2nd Kyle Webster
3rd Hayden Mellross