The mid-season break in the MX Nationals has come to a close and its time for teams and riders to ramp things back up again for the final half of the racing year, starting with round six of the MX Nationals at Gympie, this weekend.Gympie in Queensland will host an MX Nationals event for the very first time at the newly established MX Farm property, just north of town. The venue looks in pristine condition and will soon come alive as the nations top motocross riders tear up the freshly manicured course. It also doubles as the grand opening for the venue which will become a public ride park after the MX Nationals announces its grand opening.
All four of the Yamaha supported teams have enjoyed the six-week break in racing to take stock, review and reset for the final five rounds.
CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team
The team has kept working hard through the break and made the trek across to Western Australia to compete in the iconic Manjimup 15,000 event. Kirk Gibbs has recovered from his shoulder injury sustained at round five of the MX Nationals in Murray Bridge and charged on to a second place finish at Manjimup in a confidence boosting ride.
With an additional couple of weeks to ride and training, Gibbs will hit round six at 100% and look to claw back the vital points lost.
“The break came at a good time with my injury and I was able to take some time off and allow it to heal before getting back on the bike,” Gibbs explains. “Since Manjimup, I pulled up pretty well and have been able to resume my regular program so its full steam ahead for the final five rounds with the goal to win as many races and rounds as possible.”
Team-mate, Luke Clout, snatched the points leaders red plate in the MX1 division at round five after a consistent performance throughout the first half of the year. Clout holds a small four point gap over his nearest rivals but acknowledges now is the time to really knuckle down as the championship heads towards the business end of the season.
“The first half of the MX Nationals has gone well, and the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team have worked hard to ensure we have all the tools required to win. Apart form the first round in the mud, I have been consistent at the other four rounds and that will need to continue if I’m any chance to win the championship this year.
“Apart from a week off straight after Murray bridge, I have kept my head down and feel like I’m riding as well as ever, so I look forward to getting back on the start line again and hunting down a championship with Yamaha.”
It has been an up and down start to the year for the Serco Yamaha team but despite some challenging rounds, team riders Nathan Crawford and Aaron Tanti, sit fourth and fifth respectively in the highly competitive MX2 (250cc) class but at the same time, desperate to improve their position by series end.
Crawford came into the season under an injury cloud that saw him sidelined for over eight months in 2018. He has worked hard to over come these issues and now feels he is back to where he needs to be and ready to charge home in the championship.
“Being off the bike for so long has so many effects on your racing, that you don’t even realise it at the time,” Nathan begins. “From the lack of fitness, to race hardened intensity, to simple things as missing out on valuable testing time to ensure everything is sorted.
“We have continued to work during the break to make up for the lost time and I feel a lot more confident approaching the second half of the series knowing that the back ground work has been done.”
For Aaron Tanti, he needed to take a week or two off to recover from a finger injury prior to rounds four and five but is now back to full fitness and ready to go. Tanti raced some local events to get back into race shape and placed well so his goals for the final half of the championship are nothing short of podiums.
“My goal every time I race is to try and win or at the very least, end up on the podium at each round and nothing has changed. I was able to do that a few times in the first year of the year, but I want to be much more consistent in the back half and pull of as many race wins as possible.”
Yamalube Yamaha Racing
The remaining five rounds has the Yamalube Yamaha team riders excited as the Queensland based team will have four of the five rounds within hours of the teams base in Brisbane. Gympie, Moree and the final double header at Coolum are all near the teams work shop and being able to race with the support of friends and family.
Jay Wilson sits in third place on his YZ250F in the MX2 class, just two points from second and 25 from the championship lead. Wilson has finished 2-4-3-2-4 in the first five rounds to be well placed in the championship. But the competition is fierce in MX2 and Wilson is aware that he will need to pour on the pressure in the next five rounds.
“Its been my best start to a motocross championship and considering some of the issues we have faced, things are looking pretty good. During the break, I did some of my coaching schools which is something that I really enjoy, but now its back down to business and going all out for this championship.”
Richie Evans endured three rounds of tough luck before he bounced back strongly at rounds four and five with a couple of sixth place finished in the premier MX1 (450cc) class. Evans dealt with everything from a broken chain to an energy sapping virus at the start of the series but with a clear run at rounds four and five, he showed what he is capable of.
“It was a frustrating start to the MX Nationals as I was riding so well at the start of the year but couldn’t get a result when the championship started. But it was good to finally get through a weekend with no issues and post a result that I can be proud of and build from.
“Things have gone well in the break and have kept myself busy with training and some local events back in North Queensland and now really looking forward to getting back on the start line again at the MX Nationals.”
The MXD (Under 19) division has provided some great racing in 2019 and plenty of potential race winners are on the start line at each and every round. Max Purvis currently sits in second place in the championship, just 17 points from the series lead but needs to clean up his consistency in the final five rounds.
“It’s been a little up and down for me in the first half so my goal is to make my good races a win, and my not so good races a top three as every point is going to matter in the run home. I have worked hard on my starts as putting myself in a good position early in the race is so important in MXD this year."
Jack Kukas has worked hard to over-come a knee injury sustained in the lead up to the opening round and has battled to be a full strength at all rounds. Murray Bridge saw him move back towards the front of the field and battle with the lead group and he has continued to build from that over the mid-season break.
“It hasn’t been a great start to the year for me and I’m not happy about being in sixth place, but I will continue to put in the hard yards and improve mu position as the year moves on. I have been riding with Kirk Gibbs a lot during the break and feel that has been a help to me seeing someone like him at close range.”
Round six of the MX Nationals roars to life at 8am this Sunday at the new MX farm venue in Gympie, Queensland.
MX Nationals Results
1st Luke Clout – 275 (Yamaha YZ450F)
2nd Hayden Mellross – 271
3rd Todd Waters – 265
4th Justin Rodbell – 210
5th Jayden Rykers – 207
6th Erki Kahro – 190
7th Brett Metcalfe – 181
8th Kirk Gibbs – 179 (Yamaha YZ450F)
9th Richie Evans – 174 (Yamaha YZ450F)
10th Jesse Dobson – 173
1st Wilson Todd – 283
2nd Kyle Webster – 260
3rd Jay Wilson – 258 (Yamaha YZ250F)
4th Nathan Crawford - 212 (Yamaha YZ250F)
5th Aaron Tanti - 212 (Yamaha YZ250F)
6th Dylan Wills -206
7th Riley Dukes – 202
8th Bailey Malkiewicz – 198
9th Jye Dickson – 188
10th Cooper Pozniak – 184
1st Regan Duffy – 289
2nd Max Purvis – 272 (Yamaha YZ250F)
3rd Rhys Budd – 257
4th Brodie Ellis – 218 (Yamaha YZ250F)
5th Mason Rowe – 207
6th Jack Kukas – 200 (Yamaha YZ250F)
7th Noah Ferguson – 197
8th Jai Walker – 181
9th Liam Walsh – 179
10th Jayce Cosford – 178 (Yamaha YZ250)