Moto News Weekly Wrap

June 12, 2018 – By Darren Smart

Smarty's Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax
Smarty’s Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax

Proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax


Latest News & Reports

  • Price Dominates Finke Desert Race
  • Herlings and Prado Win French MXGP
  • Boisrame and Guadagnini Take French Wins
  • Russell Back to GNCC Winners Circle
  • Russia Wins Inaugural Speedway of Nations
  • Loic Larrieu Wins WESS Trèfle Lozérien AMV
  • Osborne OUT – Nicoletti IN
  • Covington Replaced Osborne for 2019 AMA Season
  • Justin Hill to 450 Class
  • Sanayei Undergoes Knee Surgery
  • brayto
  • Brayton Returns to Australia for 2018 SX
  • Raymond Terrace to Host MX Nationals
  • Montreal Supercross News

Price Dominates Finke Desert Race

Toby Price has been crowned ‘King of the Desert’ for the sixth time in nine years after winning the 2018 Tatts Finke Desert Race held over three days in and around Alice Springs last weekend.

Toby Price
Toby Price

Despite a crash on the homeward run Price managed to seal the win by over 10 minutes ahead of Alice Spring’s David Walsh (#299 KTM 500 EXC-F) in second place.

Toby Price

“2010 was a surprise and who would have thought we’d be here celebrating number six today, I love coming back to Finke and playing in the red dirt, it’s always a good time. We’re pumped to have got another win… David made it pretty hard for us and we definitely had to push on the way home because from where David came from yesterday, I thought he was definitely going to push today. We tried to push hard but the track was brutal and we had an off at the 100km mark, which rattled us a little bit and scratched the helmet up. I’ve got a bit of a sore neck, but we’re here, we’re happy and I haven’t got a bad time so I can’t complain.”

Toby Price led the KTM dominated podium
Toby Price led the KTM dominated podium

The win was sweet solace to Price after recording a DNF in his trophy truck this morning, putting an end to his promising Iron Man Double campaign.

Local hero Walsh was greeted by a parochial crowd upon arrival in Alice Springs and was happy to make the podium after a gruelling weekend while 22-year old Jack Simpson (#296 KTM 500 EXC-F) was thrilled to finish third in Australia’s toughest off-road race in his rookie year.

David Walsh
David Walsh

Special mention goes to Rockhampton motocross racer Beau Dargel who finished in 11th outright on the back of a 100% privateer effort in his first Finke – see the top overall and class results below.

2018 Bike Prologue – Top 10

  1. Price, Toby – 00:04:58.0
  2. Long, Ivan – 00:04:58.4
  3. Smith, Jacob – 00:05:00.1
  4. Hayes, Luke – 00:05:05.4
  5. Davie, Sam – 00:05:07.3
  6. Trigg, Nathan – 00:05:11.2
  7. Collins, Kent – 00:05:13.0
  8. Leane, Danny – 00:05:14.3
  9. Grabham, Ben – 00:05:14.4
  10. Norton, Callum – 00:05:14.6

2018 Results
Rider – Day 1 – Day 2 – Overall Time

  1. Price, Toby – 01:57:45.6 – 01:57:39.5 – 03:55:25.1
  2. Walsh, David – 02:01:58.4 – 02:03:46.3 – 04:05:44.8
  3. Simpson, Jack – 02:12:22.5 – 02:08:43.8 – 04:21:06.4
  4. Collins, Kent – 02:15:56.2 – 02:15:05.4 – 04:31:01.7
  5. Grove, Mark – 02:18:41.5 – 02:18:41.5 – 04:37:23.1
  6. Gelly, Angus – 02:21:57.7 – 02:15:48.8 – 04:37:46.5
  7. Auricht, Caleb – 02:21:22.9 – 02:19:32.1 – 04:40:55.0
  8. Summers, Lachlan – 02:33:55.3 – 02:13:59.1 – 04:47:54.4
  9. Andrews, Jerakye – 02:28:49.2 – 02:20:39.5 – 04:49:28.8
  10. Trigg, Nathan – 02:17:11.0 – 02:34:27.6 – 04:51:38.6
  11. Dargel, Beau – 02:26:39.8 – 02:27:40.8 – 04:54:20.7

Class 01: 251cc And Above Two Stroke

  1. Handley, Samuel
  2. Russell, Benjamin
  3. Wilksch, Andrew

Class 02: 451cc And Above Four Stroke

  1. Price, Toby
  2. Walsh, David
  3. Simpson, Jack

Class 03: Up To 250cc Two Stroke

  1. Simpson, Kyle
  2. Alksne, Scott
  3. Byrne, Dalton

Class 04: Up To 250cc Four Stroke

  1. Grove, Mark
  2. Auricht, Caleb
  3. Andrews, Jerakye

Class 05: 251cc To 450cc Four Stroke

  1. Trigg, Nathan
  2. Banks, Daniel
  3. Crane, Brodie

Class 06: Masters 35 To 39 Years

  1. Hanlan, Anthony
  2. Jones, Matt
  3. White, Matthew

Class 07: Seniors 40 To 44 Years

  1. Haydon, Brett
  2. Stewart, Jason
  3. Blake, Mark

Class 08: Veterans 45 Years And Over

  1. Kienhuis, Brandon
  2. O’connor, Adam
  3. Doyle, Neil

Class 09: Quads Up To 40 Years

  1. Bailey, Lachlan
  2. Geers, Brandon
  3. Croonen, Blake

Class 10: Quads 40 Years And Over

  1. Tattingham, Eddie
  2. Rundell, Gavin
  3. Orr, Willie

Herlings and Prado Win French MXGP

The 2018 MXGP of France at the beautiful Saint Jean d’Angely circuit hosted the 9th round of the FIM World Motocross Championship where Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Jorge Prado stole the show and the overall wins at the half-way point of the season.

MXGP of France - 2018
MXGP of France – 2018

See the full MXGP report here (Link).

MXGP Report

Herlings continued his dominance of the MXGP class in France with a win in the opening moto over Clement Desalle, Antonio Cairoli and Tim Gajser and despite a poor start in the second moto Herlings went on to win convincingly from Cairoli, Gajser, Romain Febvre and Gautier Paulin.

Jeffrey Herlings

“It was a really cool weekend, a beautiful one actually. That track was special and I hadn’t really seen a place like that until I was fifteen! So it’s nice to have so much experience now. The fastest pre-qualifying time meant I could control the Heat race on Saturday and then have an advantage for the first moto gate pick, which helped towards that holeshot. I could control the race and not use much energy. I was a bit late with the gate in the second moto and I really had to work for it! It was a difficult one because Tony had a big gap when I had already got to third: it wasn’t easy on this track. I’m looking forward to the next one now because Ottobiano is one of my favourite tracks. The plan is to go for the podium at least and hopefully fight for another win.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Jeffrey Herlings
MXGP of France 2018 – Jeffrey Herlings

World Champion Tony Cairoli ended the Grand Prix as runner-up for the second week in a row.

Tony Cairoli

“I feel good but this weekend was not one of the best,” the Sicilian lamented. “Last week I hurt my knee and could not train this week. When you are at this level if you already miss a couple of days of riding then you really feel it. Jeffrey is very fast at the moment so you cannot really rest and you always have to be on the pace. The track was a bit more muddy and harder in the first moto compared to the second. I had a bad start in the first moto and tried to come through the top ten as quick as possible. It was OK, but we shouldn’t be making these mistakes at the start. In the second moto I tried my best to stay at the front but got very tired in the last ten minutes and Jeffrey was making very fast laps. I made a few mistakes and he came very close. Second is OK, but we want to work to be more competitive and hopefully we can make it next week.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Antonio Cairoli
MXGP of France 2018 – Antonio Cairoli

Gajser stepped on the podium for the third time this year.

Tim Gajser

“I’m quite happy with third place and the podium finish. My riding was good and the speed was there, just in the first moto we had some issues at the start as I had a coming together with another rider and almost went down. We came from behind to finish fourth, which wasn’t a bad result all things considered. The second moto was much better: I had a great jump out of the gate and I was near the front early on. I rode at a good pace for twenty minutes, but Toni and Jeffrey were faster so I did my best to keep third place at the line. We’re quite happy, but we still need to improve a little bit in every area. The bike was really good though, so thanks to the team for their hard work!

MXGP of France 2018 - Tim Gajser
MXGP of France 2018 – Tim Gajser

Desalle missed the podium by just 1 point and was the lone Monster Energy Kawasaki rider in the race today since Julien Lieber opted not to start following his crash from Matterley Basin last week.

MXGP Overall Top Ten

  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 50 points
  2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 42
  3. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 38
  4. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 37
  5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 32
  6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 30
  7. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 29
  8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 28
  9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, SUZ), 24
  10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 18
MXGP of France 2018 - MXGP Podium -
MXGP of France 2018 – MXGP Podium – Cairoli, Herlings, Gajser

MXGP Championship Top Ten

  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 486 points
  2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 424
  3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 351
  4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 323
  5. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 296
  6. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 295
  7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 267
  8. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, YAM), 226
  9. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 219
  10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 177

MX2 Report

On the back of announcing his move to the States in 2019 Thomas Covington won the opening moto from Thomas Kjer Olsen, Prado, Pauls Jonass, Jago Geerts and Hunter Lawrence but in the second moto it was Prado who took the win over Geerts, Covington and Olsen while Lawrence ended the moto in 13th.

MXGP of France 2018 - Jorge Prado
MXGP of France 2018 – Covington, Olsen, Prado
Jorge Prado

“The weekend started well on Saturday and I felt good on the bike and the track. It was quite muddy this morning and my start wasn’t the best in the first moto but I passed a lot of people. I hit a stone at one point and had a small crash but recovered right away and was happy with my riding, especially in those conditions where last year it was a big struggle for me. It was a shame that Pauls crashed on the first lap of the next race…but it was good for me! I kept the lead until the end…it was a perfect weekend. I’m really happy with our work.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Jorge Prado
MXGP of France 2018 – Jorge Prado
Thomas Covington

“Overall it was a really good weekend for me, I have been struggling the first half of the season so it is good to get some consistent races in a weekend. I felt really strong, especially at the end, I really found my rhythm.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Thomas Covington
MXGP of France 2018 – Thomas Covington

Putting in two solid moto performances Thomas Kjer-Olsen secured third overall, the young Dane remains third in the standings.

Thomas Kjer-Olsen

“It was a really tough track and I’m really happy I managed to do two strong motos here in France. We had too much rain the night before and that completely changed track conditions for the final motos. It’s really positive to be able to race two solid motos under these conditions and it gives me extra confidence to continue pushing.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Thomas Kjer Olsen
MXGP of France 2018 – Thomas Kjer Olsen

Hunter Lawrence ended the weekend in 10th overall.

Hunter Lawrence

“The first moto wasn’t great off the start as I crashed because another rider was doing crazy stuff, so I had to regroup from last place after that incident. I was coming through the pack well though, showing good speed and I got back to sixth. Unfortunately I hit a bit of a wall with about 10 minutes to go, so I had to settle for sixth, which wasn’t too bad given the start I had. In the second race I was perhaps a bit too impatient and I clashed with another rider on the opening lap again. I fought back to around 10th place and was making a move on the red plate holder Pauls Jonass when I picked a rut that had caved in, and I lost my front wheel and fell over. I tried my best to salvage whatever I could get and that ended up being 13th place for 10th overall. I think this weekend was just about positives because I got some more bike fitness but this isn’t where I want to be, so I need to keep fighting hard to improve.”

MXGP of France 2018 - Hunter Lawrence
MXGP of France 2018 – Hunter Lawrence

MX2 Overall Top Ten

  1. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 45 points
  2. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 45
  3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 40
  4. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 38
  5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 33
  6. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 26
  7. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 26
  8. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 26
  9. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 25
  10. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 23
MXGP of France 2018 - MX2 Podium -
MXGP of France 2018 – MX2 Podium – Covington, Prado, Olsen

MX2 Championship Top Ten

  1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 434 points
  2. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), 418
  3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 328
  4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 305
  5. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 259
  6. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 217
  7. Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 216
  8. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 211
  9. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 187
  10. Michele Cervellin (ITA, YAM), 187

From the hard-pack to the sand: the Grand Prix of Lombardia at Ottobiano south of Milan will welcome MXGP next weekend.

Smarty's Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax
Smarty’s Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geoma

Boisrame and Guadagnini Take French Wins

Joining the MXGP and MX2 racing in France were the European championship classes of EMX250 and EMX125 and taking the overall victories were Honda Redmoto Assomotor’s Mathys Boisrame and Team Maddi Racing Husqvarna’s Mattia Guadagnini.

EMX250 Report

Boisrame earned 1-4 moto finishes to win the EMX250 overall ahead of Brian Strubhart (5-3), Roan Van De Moosdijk (3-9) and Steven Clarke (11-2) while Kiwi Dylan Walsh ended the day in 7th overall ahead of former championship leader Mel Pocock who ended the day 8th overall and second in the championship points behind Boisrame.

EMX250 Podium - MXGP France 2018
EMX250 Podium – MXGP France 2018

EMX250 Overall Top 10

  1. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, HON), 43 points
  2. Brian Strubhart Moreau (FRA, KAW), 36
  3. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, YAM), 32
  4. Steven Clarke (GBR, HON), 27
  5. Tom Vialle (FRA, HUS), 27
  6. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, KAW), 25
  7. Dylan Walsh (NZL, HUS), 24
  8. Mel Pocock (GBR, HUS), 24
  9. Kevin Horgmo (NOR, KTM), 22
  10. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, HUS), 22

EMX250 Championship Top 10

  1. Mathys Boisrame (FRA, HON), 194 points
  2. Mel Pocock (GBR, HUS), 181
  3. Martin Barr (GBR, HUS), 172
  4. Steven Clarke (GBR, HON), 155
  5. Dylan Walsh (NZL, HUS), 141
  6. Mikkel Haarup (DEN, HUS), 132
  7. Tom Vialle (FRA, HUS), 132
  8. Brian Strubhart Moreau (FRA, KAW), 127
  9. Pierre Goupillon (FRA, KAW), 122
  10. Roan Van De Moosdijk (NED, YAM), 115

EMX125 Report

Guadagnini won the EMX125 overall with 4-1 moto finishes while Thibault Benistant (1-6), Florian Miot (6-3) and Kiwi James Scott (5-5) rounded out the top four while championship leader Rene Hofer could only manage 10th overall but the KTM star still holds a solid 30 point lead.

MXGP 2018 - France Round 10 - EMX125 Podium
MXGP 2018 – France Round 10 – EMX125 Podium

EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Overall Top 10

  1. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 43 points
  2. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 40
  3. Florian Miot (FRA, KTM), 35
  4. James Scott (NZL, KTM), 32
  5. Rick Elzinga (NED, YAM), 26
  6. Emil Weckman (FIN, KTM), 25
  7. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), 24
  8. Matheo Miot (FRA, KTM), 22
  9. Andrea Bonacorsi (ITA, KTM), 22
  10. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 22

EMX125 Presented by FMF Racing Championship Top 10

  1. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 202 points
  2. Thibault Benistant (FRA, YAM), 172
  3. Emil Weckman (FIN, KTM), 136
  4. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), 128
  5. Mattia Guadagnini (ITA, HUS), 104
  6. Tom Guyon (FRA, KTM), 104
  7. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), 103
  8. Lion Florian (GER, KTM), 95
  9. Raf Meuwissen (NED, KTM), 93
  10. Filip Olsson (SWE, HUS), 76

Russell Back to GNCC Winners Circle

GNCC Podium - Bollinger, Russell, Duvall - Image by Ken Hill
GNCC Podium – Bollinger, Russell, Duvall – Image by Ken Hill

Last Sundays 4th Annual Dunlop Tomahawk GNCC was round eight of the 2018 Amsoil Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series and it was defending champion Kailub Russell who returned to his winning ways after a race long duel with Trevor Bollinger.

XC1

Ryan Sipes grabbed the holeshot and would run at the front of the pack for the first laps of the race, but he would ultimately finish in the ninth-place position while Russell along with Bollinger would make the early pass and push forward battling amongst themselves as the three-hour race wore on.

On the final lap of the three hour race Bollinger tried to put on a last-lap charge, but he would finish the day out in second place, just 0.8 seconds behind K. Russell while Thad Duvall would work his way up from a poor start to third on the second lap and remain there for the duration of the race.

Josh Strang continued his good form to finish out the day fourth overall after being back in ninth-place position on the second lap, but he would put his head down from there and make the charge up to fourth ahead of Ricky Russell, Layne Michael, Andrew Delong and Jordan Ashburn while Sipes would eventually fall back through the pack and finish the day in 18th overall, but ninth in the XC1 Open Pro.

Overall Race Results

  1. Kailub Russell
  2. Trevor Bollinger
  3. Thad Duvall
  4. Josh Strang
  5. Ricky Russell
  6. Josh Toth
  7. Craig Delong
  8. Pascal Rauchenecker
  9. Layne Michael
  10. Ben Kelley

GNCC Overall Standings – 2018

  1. Kailub Russell – 226
  2. Thad Duvall – 202
  3. Trevor Bollinger – 143
  4. Steward Baylor Jr – 135
  5. Josh Strang – 129

XC2

Joseph Ferraro grabbed the holeshot but not long after the start it was Josh Toth taking over the lead and by race end Toth would finish out the day by earning his fifth XC2 250 Pro class win and coming in sixth overall while moving to with 8 points of the championship lead.

Craig Delong put in his best ride of 2018, finishing second in his class and seventh overall ahead of Pascal Rauchenecker while current XC2 250 Pro class point’s leader Ben Kelley found himself on the ground in turn two as the race started but he bounced back for fourth on the day ahead of Liam Draper.

XC2 Pro Race Results

  1. Josh Toth
  2. Craig Delong
  3. Pascal Rauchenecker
  4. Ben Kelley
  5. Liam Draper

GNCC XC2 Pro Standings – 2018

  1. Ben Kelley – 208
  2. Josh Toth – 200
  3. Craig Delong – 142
  4. Pascal Rauchenecker – 133
  5. Austin Lee – 113

XC3

Alex Teagarden, Jason Raines and Jesse Ansley battled hard in the early going but Ansley would eventually break free to take his fourth win of the season and a top-20 overall finish. Raines currently sits 12 points behind Ansley in second, and after battling throughout the day, he earned his sixth podium finish of the year.

XC3 Pro-Am Race Results

  1. Jesse Ansley
  2. Jason Raines
  3. Alex Teagarden
  4. Jason Langenback
  5. Ryan Lojack

XC3 Pro-Am Points Standings

  1. Jesse Ansley – 193
  2. Jason Raines – 181
  3. Cody J Barnes – 158
  4. Alex Teagarden – 157
  5. Jason Langenback – 110

WXC

It was the two Aussie girls in Mackenzie Tricker and Tayla Jones who took out the top positions in the WXC class well ahead of third placed Brooke Cosner. Jones continues to lead the championship over Tricker.

WXC Race Results

  1. Mackenzie Tricker
  2. Tayla Jones
  3. Brooke Cosner
  4. Rachel Gutish
  5. Shyann Phelps

WXC Points Standings

  1. Tayla Jones – 221
  2. Mackenzie Tricker – 157
  3. Becca N Sheets – 143
  4. Brooke Cosner – 127
  5. Rachel Gutish – 122
Smarty's Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax
Smarty’s Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax

Russia Wins Inaugural Speedway of Nations

The world’s best speedway riders represented their respective countries at the inaugural Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations Final in Wroclaw last weekend and it was team Russia who came out on top while Australia missed out on a poem finish by one point on the back of a stellar performance by 2017 World Champion Jason Doyle.

2018 FIM Speedway of Nations - Wroclaw Final podium
2018 FIM Speedway of Nations – Wroclaw Final podium

Day 1 Report: Great Britain on Top

On the back of double world champion Tai Woffinden blazing to an incredible 18-point maximum the British Lions stunned a host of more fancied rivals to end Final 1 on 25 points – putting them two ahead of Russia (23) and five clear of Denmark (20) going into Final 2 on Saturday night.

Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov is glad his side is still in the hunt after he battled to six points on a night of setup struggles.

Emil Sayfutdinov

“We are still in the game and we can do anything. For sure it was a tough meeting. We just need to focus on our points on Saturday. I had a little bit of a problem with the setup, but by the end of the meeting I had good speed. Hopefully we can keep that on Saturday and I can score some more points. Then we will try to win this Final.”

Scoring one less point than Aussie Jason Doyle, Danish star Michael Jepsen Jensen raced to 12 points for his country as he and Kenneth Bjerre recorded only one last place in a rock-solid performance.

Michael Jepsen Jensen

“We’re just trying to gather all the points we possibly can and take it heat by heat. I think we worked great together. We’re looking forward to tomorrow. We know we have to score the points and have no last places in every heat if we’re going to be in the game at the end. I feel like I have good speed in the bikes. I made a few mistakes, but I was racing the bike and I felt good.”

Final 1 Scores

  1. Great Britain 25:
    Tai Woffinden 18,
    Craig Cook 0,
    Robert Lambert 7.
  2. Russia 23:
    Artem Laguta 17,
    Emil Sayfutdinov 6,
    Gleb Chugunov 0.
  3. Denmark 20:
    Michael Jepsen Jensen 12,
    Kenneth Bjerre 8,
    Frederik Jakobsen DNR.
  4. Sweden 16:
    Fredrik Lindgren 13,
    Antonio Lindback 3,
    Joel Kling DNR.
  5. Australia 15:
    Jason Doyle 13,
    Max Fricke 2,
    Jaimon Lidsey DNR.
  6. Poland 15:
    Maciej Janowski 9,
    Patryk Dudek 3,
    Maksym Drabik 3.
  7. Germany 12:
    Kai Huckenbeck 0,
    Martin Smolinski 11,
    Michael Hartel 1.

Day 2 Report: Russia Storms Home for Win

Russian hero Emil Sayfutdinov and partner Artem Laguta made history as they saw off Great Britain pair Tai Woffinden and Robert Lambert in the Grand Final on the Speedway of Nations to win Russia’s first senior world title of any kind on the shale – individual or team.

Despite GB topping the score chart over two days to finish on 46 points, Russia – who were just one short – saw off Poland in the final qualifier to take their place alongside the Lions in the battle for gold and despite Woffinden winning the race, Laguta and Sayfutdinov filled the minor places needed to make history.

Emil Sayfutdinov

“But this is a great feeling – unbelievable. We did it – we made history for Russia and we have to thank our Russian fans and also our Polish fans who support us. We have Polish sponsors who help us too. We have made history and it is an amazing feeling. This meeting was so tough over two days for me. Artem scored good points, even today he made some mistakes with the setup, but he was still good. For me, Saturday was everything I worked for. After Friday, we needed to change the bike setups. I have to say thank you to my team who worked really hard and helped me. They’re a good team. I am so, so happy.”

Artem Laguta was equally elated to etch his name in Russian speedway folklore and admits being held to a 3-3 by GB in heat 19 spurred them on to get the verdict when it mattered most.

Artem Laguta

“I don’t know what to say. There are no words that can answer how I feel. I feel so happy and proud of the whole team and especially to have won the first gold for Team Russia. It’s just unbelievable – such a great night. When I was leading in the last regular race against GB, we knew the Grand Final was nearly there, but then Tai was faster. It was good, fair racing. It showed we needed to work harder and we did it in the final qualifier. In the Grand Final, we knew second and third would give us gold, so we planned to let Tai go and try to hold those places.”

Great Britain team manager Alun Rossiter admits he had mixed feelings, despite seeing his side race to their first world championship medal of any colour outside of the UK since England won silver in the World Team Cup at Bydgoszcz in 1995.

Alun Rossiter

“I’m slightly disappointed, but I shouldn’t be really. I got criticised a couple of years ago when we got silver in our own country, but we’ve come to Poland and beaten them in their own back yard. That’s a massive step forward. When it all sinks in properly, we shouldn’t be too down on ourselves. I know the boys aren’t. I’m super proud of all three of them. It was a team event; it wasn’t just about one or two riders. Everybody played their part and we have a silver medal. I should be really happy and I am.”

Polish star Patryk Dudek was content with a bronze medal after helping the hosts bounce back from finishing sixth on the opening day of the Final to race their way firmly into championship contention.

Patryk Dudek

“We havethird place and I feel good because Friday was very, very bad for the team. This is speedway. On Friday I had the same engines as today, but we had a big problem with the sprocket. Today I had the same engine and it was okay. So I don’t know what to say. It’s a difficult sport. All the riders are at a high level, so the small differences are important.”

Jason Doyle was in devastating form to score the second highest points on the night with several wins but Max Fricke could only manage four points leaving the Aussies in 5th place overall.

Kangaroos Captain, Doyle knew coming into the night points would be crucial.

Jason Doyle

“It was a tough night (Night 2) we were trying to chase down points and do our best, but we weren’t getting great starts and that made things hard. “This was the first time I got to be captain of the Kangaroos in the world pairs finals. Thank you for the honour and next year I hope to do it again and improve our result.”

Jason Doyle - Image by Colin Rosewarne
Jason Doyle at least year’s Melbourne Speedway GP – Image by Colin Rosewarne

Mark Lemon Kangaroos Team Manager knew it would be tough.

Mark Lemon

“We needed a big one in the last heat and few races to go our way to land on the podium, but it is a world championship after all and the boys gave it their all, it just didn’t quite go to plan for us. A big thank you to CBS Bins, Gillman Speedway and Motorcycling Australia for their support throughout our campaign.”

With the Monster Energy SON complete, the focus switches back to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix series, which resumes with the Danish SGP in Horsens on June 30.

Final 2 Scores

  1. Russia 22:
    Artem Laguta 14,
    Emil Sayfutdinov 8,
    Gleb Chugunov DNR.
  2. Great Britain 21:
    Tai Woffinden 17,
    Craig Cook DNR,
    Robert Lambert 4.
  3. Poland 21:
    Maciej Janowski 13,
    Patryk Dudek 8,
    Maksym Drabik DNR.
  4. Australia 20:
    Jason Doyle 16,
    Max Fricke 4,
    Jaimon Lidsey DNR.
  5. Sweden 16:
    Fredrik Lindgren 9,
    Antonio Lindback 7,
    Joel Kling DNR.
  6. Denmark 15:
    Michael Jepsen Jensen 15,
    Kenneth Bjerre 0,
    Frederik Jakobsen 0.
  7. Germany 11:
    Kai Huckenbeck 9,
    Martin Smolinski 2,
    Michael Hartel 0.

Monster Energy Son Final Standings (after two days)

1 Russia 45+1st in Grand Final
2 Great Britain 46+2nd in Grand Final
3 Poland 36
4 Denmark 35
5 Australia 35
6 Sweden 32
7 Germany 23


Loic Larrieu Wins WESS at Trèfle Lozérien AMV

After three days of racing and 15 special tests, Yamaha’s Loic Larrieu has claimed a home win at round three of the World Enduro Super Series which was France’s infamous Trèfle Lozérien AMV enduro.

WESS Round 3 - Trèfle Lozérien AMV
WESS Round 3 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV

With the outcome of this year’s overall victory going right down to the 15th and final special test of the three-day race, it was Larrieu who could finally breathe easy after claiming his debut victory at France’s most important Classic Enduro.

Pushing him all the way, rising French talent Theo Espinasse claimed second, while a day three win for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia lifted him to third in the overall classification.

Marc Bourgeois took the opening day win from Larrieu and Emmanuel Albepart while Day 2 saw Albepart score vitory over Theo Espinasse, Julien Gauthier, Larrieu and Josep Garcia but on the final day Garci got the nod over Larrieu and Gauthier.

With three manufacturers filling out the top three podium positions, Yamaha continued their domination of the event by securing their 20th win but in the WESS championship standings, a very impressive 10th overall by KTM’s Jonny Walker sees the Brit maintain his championship points lead.

Jonny Walker
Jonny Walker
Loic Larrieu

“I’ve been trying to win this race for three years, so to finally get it done is a special moment for me. With it included in WESS it certainly added to the pressure, competition and prestige. It’s always been important to win here but this was probably one of the most competitive years yet. After my mistake on day one I came back well and just chipped away at things, always fighting for the race lead. It was only until I finished the final special test that I could think about celebrating. Also helping Yamaha to their 20th victory in this race means a lot too.”

Despite a seventh-place finish on day three, Espinasse had enough in hand to maintain his runner-up position in the event.

Theo Espinasse

“I’m so happy to take second place this weekend. With it being a round of WESS there’s so many fast riders here and the competition is very tight. In general, it’s been a very good three days of racing. I felt strong all weekend and despite still only being a Junior rider I was able to race and beat some of the world’s best Enduro riders, which is incredible for me.”

Theo Espinasse
Theo Espinasse

 

Spurred on by his day three performance, Garcia ended round three in third overall and just one second behind Espinasse.

Josep Garcia

“To end the event on the podium in third is a really good result for me. Things didn’t start too well on Friday when I crashed in the liaison and then in the special test. I lost a lot of time and needed to adjust my riding in these slippery grassy conditions. I felt much stronger today and was able to push. I really enjoyed it and was able to take today’s win. That also gave me third overall in the race, so it was a perfect end to things.”

Josep Garcia - Image by Future7Media
Josep Garcia – Image by Future7Media

Putting in a consistently strong performance throughout the three-day race, Walker’s final position of 10th was enough to ensure he maintains his lead in the WESS championship after three rounds.

Jonny Walker

“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in France. Despite initially feeling out of my comfort zone in Classic Enduro I feel like I adapted well. Tenth overall is a strong result to take away from round three. There are some incredibly fast grass track specialists and so it was always going to be tough to challenge for a podium result. But to finish 10th and also increase my lead in the series is fantastic.”

Jonny Walker
Jonny Walker

The World Enduro Super Series continues with round four at Red Bull Romaniacs in Sibiu, Romania on July 24-28.

Results: WESS Round 3 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV, Day 1

  1. Marc Bourgeois (Yamaha – FRA) 15:41.572
  2. Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA)
  3. Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 15:48.323
  4. Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 15:50.509
  5. Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 15:54.341
  6. Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 15:54.341
  7. Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FRA) 15:57.075
  8. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 16:02.440
  9. Pierre Vissac (Beta – FRA) 16:05.084
  10. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 16:05.799
  11. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 16:18.166

Results: WESS Round 3 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV, Day 2

  1. Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 17:50.945
  2. Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 17:51.132
  3. Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FRA) 17:52.872
  4. Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA) 17:56.210
  5. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 18:02.232
  6. Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 18:13.484
  7. Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 18:19.245
  8. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 18:22.379
  9. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 18:24.622
  10. Pierre Vissac (Beta – FRA) 18:24.866

Results: WESS Round 3 – Trèfle Lozérien AMV, Day 3

  1. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 17:08.788
  2. Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA) 17:21.666
  3. Julien Gauthier (Yamaha) 17:31.299
  4. Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 17:31.366
  5. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 17:31.529
  6. Jaume Betriu (KTM – ESP) 17:31.544
  7. Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 17:34.476
  8. Albin Elowson (Husqvarna – SWE) 17:38.474
  9. Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 17:39.675
  10. Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 17:40.896
Trefle Lozerien AMV 2018
Trefle Lozerien AMV 2018 – Espinasse, Larrieu, Garcia

Overall Classification

  1. Loic Larrieu (Yamaha – FRA) 51:05.319
  2. Theo Espinasse (Sherco – FRA) 51:16.117
  3. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 51:16.819
  4. Emmanuel Albepart (Yamaha – FRA) 51:18.943
  5. Julien Gauthier (Yamaha – FRA) 51:21.246
  6. Johnny Aubert (Gas Gas – FRA) 51:39.191
  7. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 51:56.348
  8. Jeremy Miroir (Husqvarna – FRA) 51:56.388
  9. Vissac Pierre (Beta – FRA) 52:18.748
  10. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 52:35.836

World Enduro Super Series (After Round 3)

  1. Jonny Walker (KTM – GB) 2130 Points
  2. Manni Lettenbichler (KTM – GER) 1865 Points
  3. Billy Bolt (Husqvarna – GB) 1830 Points
  4. Graham Jarvis (Husqvarna – GB) 1818 Points
  5. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM – POL) 1445 Points
  6. Josep Garcia (KTM – ESP) 1425 Points
  7. Paul Bolton (KTM – GB) 1262 Points
  8. Wade Young (Sherco – RSA) 1220 Points
  9. Travis Teasdale (Beta – RSA) 1030 Points
  10. Nathan Watson (KTM – GB) 1008 Points
Smarty's Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax
Smarty’s Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax

Osborne OUT – Nicoletti IN

Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Zach Osborne is out for the remainder of the 2018 Pro Motocross season after being involved in a first turn pile-up during the start of the second moto at the Thunder Valley National in Lakewood, Colorado.

Zach Osborne

“I am extremely bummed to say the least. This fourth consecutive championship aboard the FC 250 was one that I wanted bad. It’s almost surreal that it has come to an end, but I know everything happens for a reason. I’ll use this time to prepare mentally and physically for the challenge of my first year in the 450 class. I am excited to get my recovery started and move onto the next step of my career!”

AMA Motocross Round 3 at Lakewood - Zach Osborne
Zach Osborne

In the midst of having two injured 450 riders, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory racing also announced that Phil Nicoletti will be filling in aboard the FC 450 Rockstar Edition, for the remainder of the Pro Motocross season. Nicoletti comes to the team with thirty top-ten finishes in his Pro Motocross racing career.

Phil Nicoletti

“I am happy to have the opportunity to finish out the Pro Motocross season with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team. I look forward to getting on the bike and showing everyone what I have. Thank you to everyone backing me, see you at the High Point National!”

Bobby Hewitt – Team Manager

“It has been a devastating week for all of us here on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team. Losing Zach for the remainder of the season is unfortunate but he will be back, just as strong as ever. We are excited to have Phil for the rest of the Pro Motocross races and know he will mesh well with the team.”


Covington Replaces Osborne for 2019 AMA Season

During his postrace interview after winning the MX2 qualifying race at the MXGP of France, Thomas Covington announced that he will race the 2019 season in America, doing supercross and motocross on the back of Zach Osborne’s move to the 450 class next year.

Thomas Covington

“Yes, it was a fun race. I got a good start, and that is what I have been lacking. I am going to race Supercross and motocross in 2019, so I want to get good results at the back end of the season.”

Thomas Covington
Thomas Covington

Justin Hill to 450 Class

The Autotrader/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team have announced that that Justin Hill will move up to the 450 class and race select rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship starting this weekend at High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, PA.

Justin Hill

“It’s really cool that the team is giving me this chance. This is something J-Bone [Jeremy Albrecht] and I talked about before the start of the Nationals. I’m stoked to see what the 450 class is all about before I make the full-time jump up next year. I had a lot of fun racing a few 450 Supercross rounds. The goal is to learn, and I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Justin Hill
Justin Hill
Team Manager – Jeremy Albrecht

“Justin has a tremendous amount of talent, and he has been working hard at increasing his intensity. The Suzuki RM-Z450 has proven to be an outstanding bike, as Hill showed during Supercross earlier in the year. The team isn’t putting any pressure on him to win the 450 class. The established stars are going really fast right now, but I like Hill’s attitude about this opportunity. We will evaluate Justin after several rounds and make the decision whether to have him contest the remaining 450 Nationals.”


Sanayei Undergoes Knee Surgery

American Darian Sanayei has elected to undergo surgery to repair a torn ACL and will miss the remainder of the 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship.

The Washington native suffered the injury at the opening round of the Maxxis British Championship in April and spent more than a month off the bike. The Bike It Dixon Racing Kawasaki rider returned for the teams home Grand Prix at Matterley Basin last weekend where he finished 29-29 in the MX2 Class.

Darian Sanayei

“Well, this past weekend definitely didn’t go as planned. Speed was still good even with the injury. Just in race conditions my knee isn’t holding up, which is a bummer, but it’s just something I needed to do and try. I tried my best and I did all I could. I think the best thing to do at this point is go get surgery to be ready for next season. Champions don’t obsess about what could have or would’ve happened; they focus on where they are now and how to prepare for the future. So that’s what we are going to do. Huge thank-you to everyone in my corner.”

Darian Sanayei
Darian Sanayei

2018 King of MX crowned

The first ever running of the King and Queen of MX feature races at the NSW State Titles promised to be truly epic, and it didn’t disappoint. A ladies’ race and a men’s feature race, each only ten minutes long, with a winner takes all prize of $10,000 guaranteed the action would be super fast, and elbows out all the way.

The Queen of MX race had some hot contenders from all over the country including current national champ Madi Brown, Meghan Rutledge, Tori Dare, and West Australian Tahlia O’Hare, who wrapped up the NSW Ladies State Title earlier in the weekend. Throw in World Enduro Champ Jessica Gardner and Emilie Karlsson into the mix, and anything could happen on a boggy track at Port Macquarie.

King of MX 2018

Normally most fans would have picked the race to come down to Brown and Rutledge, but the form line wasn’t great for either of them coming into the race, with Brown suffering multiple crashes and a mechanical failure in the 3 state title motos held earlier in the weekend, and Rutledge also tasting the Port Macquarie mud a few times, so it really was a case of anything can happen.

Madi Brown took the lead after the first few corners and built up a gap of around 50 metres to Rutledge, but it never blew out to any more than that, and slowly but surely Meg started to reel her in. But could she actually catch her in the short 10 minute race format? With both girls having suffered crashes in the tough conditions over the weekend, the tension amongst the crowd was palpable as they watched the battle unfold.

King of MX 2018

Around 6 minutes into the short sprint race, Rutledge had caught Brown and was right on her hammer, but passing was always going to be difficult. With a couple of minutes to go, Rutledge found a way past, but Brown was determined to fight back. The last lap was torrid, Brown desperate to catch up the ground she lost when Rutledge put the move on her and get back in front, and in chasing Rutledge down she set the fastest lap of the race on the last lap. Unfortunately for Brown, Rutledge put in a personal best too, which was enough to see her hold on for the win with a margin of only 1 second.

This one will go down in history as one of the greatest races Australian women’s motocross has seen.

Tahlia O’Hare was in third, just ahead of Enduro champ Gardner who edged out Karlsson to grab 4th in conditions well suited to the two enduro riders.

The King Of MX race promised to be an absolute belter, with some big names in the mix, such as Mastin, Clout, Tanti, Dukes, Wills, Dobson, Matterson, Makeham, Wood, Wightman, Enduro specialist Stefan Granquist and Penrite CRF Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster, who earlier in the day wrapped up the NSW MX1 Championship, along with Jy Roberts who had also wrapped up the MX2 State Title with 3 straight moto wins. This race had the top riders from all of the senior classes, and all eyes were on the first corner which would be make or break for some riders given the short sprint race format.

Webster, Tanti and Mastin had been super consistent and fast all weekend in MX1 and filled the NSW State Title podium in that order, and were expected to be a strong chance, as well as Joel Wightman who had good speed in the treacherous conditions.

King of MX 2018KTM’s Luke Clout had a dog of a weekend in the 3 State Title motos, with a massive crash in turn 1 in his first race setting the tone for what was to come in his State Title hunt, but everyone in the venue knew he would be a threat in the big feature race.

The expected carnage in turn 1 thankfully turned out to be not as bad as many feared with most riders making it through safely, but it did take a few scalps. Aaron Tanti was one to go down, and retired from the race, with Webster also having his race virtually ended.

The next ten minutes saw everyone going hell for leather in the muddy conditions, resulting in almost half the field failing to finish due to crashes, so desperate were they to get their hands on the $10,000 winner’s cheque.

Just like the ladies race though, it ended up being a match race out front between the two fastest men on the track, KTM teammates Luke Clout and Egan Mastin.

Clout pulled a good gap in the first 5 corners of the race, with around 100m to Mastin and Dylan Wills. Mastin set himself to make up the gap on Clout, and set the fastest lap of the race on lap 4. Then right on cue, just to make the race even more epic, the rain came back, as it had done across the weekend.

It was a heavy downpour made more spectacular by the sun still being out, making the rain glisten. Clout forged on in front, and Mastin got ever closer. The action was spectacularly fast, with both riders substantially faster than anyone else on track, and both setting the fastest laps anyone had seen all weekend by 4 or 5 seconds. It was absolutely frantic.

Would the rain change things? Would Clout’s run of bad luck come back? One thing was for sure, the action unfolding on the track and the speeds they were running at meant not a soul left the fence when the rain came, everyone was glued to this contest, no matter how wet they got. Getting drenched was a small price to pay for the privilege of watching these guys bang. If they were out in it, we would be too.

It was clear that Mastin was gaining and if he continued at that pace, he could catch Clout before the end of the race. He edged closer and closer, and with half a lap to go was close enough to start trying to make a move. In the end, it came down to the last corner, and Mastin put in a dive up the inside, only for Clout to get better drive out of the sloppy mud and power across the line for the win by less than half a second from Mastin.

It was some of the fiercest riding anyone at the track had seen in a long time, with the 10 minute sprint format meaning nobody paced themselves, it was just a frantic dash as fast as you could go for the whole race, which provided an incredible spectacle for the large crowd.

So the first King and Queen of MX, Luke Clout and Meghan Rutledge, leave Port Macquarie $10,000 richer. Make sure you put this event in your diary for next year, as it’s only going to get bigger and bigger.


Brayton Returns to Australia for 2018 SX

Justin Brayton has announced that he will return to defend his Australian Supercross Championship with Honda Racing for 2018.

The back-to-back Champion has set his sights on a triple crown under the directorship of Yarrive Konsky and the Penrite Honda Racing Team.

Justin Brayton

“I look forward to coming back for the 2018 SX season. Australia feels like my second home, since 2016 I have spent nearly as much time in Australia as I have in my home in Charlotte, as the American Championship is relentless. We are travelling to 16 rounds across 17 weekends, so it’s quite full-on. I 100% believe that racing in Australia gave me the kick-start I needed to be ready for the World Supercross Championship in America. We were able to prepare in race conditions. The emulation is priceless and I am thankful that all parties came together to make it seamless.”

Justin Brayton
Justin Brayton

Honda Racing’s Brand and Motorsport Manager Glyn Griffiths welcomes Brayton’s return and thinks his inclusion has lifted the level of racing and awareness of competition in Australia.

Glyn Griffiths

“Justin is world class; his inclusion the past two years has lifted the level `of competition in Australia and has created worldwide awareness for our program and Australian Racing.”

Brayton and the team will announce more details on sponsors and activities as they happen.

Justin Brayton
Justin Brayton
Yarrive Konsky

“We are finalising some sponsorships and activations. We want to involve spectators and fans more this year and give them some exclusive experiences.”


Raymond Terrace to Host MX Nationals

Series promoter Kevin Williams has announced that rounds 7 and 8 of the MX Nationals will be held at the revamped Ranch MX Venue at Raymond Terrace, NSW.

Egan Mastin
MX Nationals Rounds 7 & 8 to be hosted at Ranch MX Venue, Raymond Terrace
Kevin Williams

“ I am excited to be taking the series to the completely new and totally revamped Ranch MX venue in Raymond Terrace, alongside Boyd Events and with the support from the Port Stephens Council we have managed to change our venue and relocate to this amazing new one. I went to the new Ranch MX venue in Raymond Terrace only a few short weeks ago and, wow was I excited to see the impressive transformation they have done, many riders who have been to the venue in the past will not recognize it and I am confident it will be a rider and crowd pleaser alike.”

WEM and Boyd Events have a long-standing relationship and are pleased to once again have the opptunity to be working together again with support this year from Port Stephens Council.

Smarty's Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax
Smarty’s Weekly Moto News Wrap proudly brought to you by Dunlop Geomax

Montreal Supercross News

The Montreal Supercross is back after a five-year hiatus with the 2018 event set to take place in September with Jeremy Martin and Malcolm Stewart leading the 20 riders will be at the start line for the flagship pro race in the evening.

Eric Peronnard – Event Consultant

“The first wave of riders we’re stoked to announce includes five big name—one of Canada’s top racers, Kaven Benoit, two of the top U.S. riders, Malcolm Stewart, and Jeremy Martin, and France’s Cédric Soubayras and Thomas Ramette, who are both European event headliners. Get ready for a huge North American event with some international flair!”

Even though the complete event program won’t be revealed for another few weeks, Supercross Montreal is already promising spectators a jam-packed evening of entertainment, giving them the chance to see the best riders on the regional circuit, as well as a special freestyle show.

The sport of motocross has been ticking over in Gestev’s event management minds for a few years, so the organizers are excited that 2018 is the year they get to make it all happen.

Patrice Drouin – Gestev President

“Today we’re thrilled to announce this exciting event on the Montreal calendar. We’re not going to be reinventing the wheel and messing with the winning formula Pierre Corbeil and his team perfected in past years, but we are going to inject the event with the ambition and flair it needs to keep flourishing here at the heart of the big city.”

Michel Labrecque – CEO of Montreal’s Olympic Park

“There’s a long history of motocross events at the Olympic Stadium that dates back to 1977, with no fewer than 34 events attracting up to 60,000 spectators a night. We’re very happy to see the sport of motocross coming back to the stadium in 2018, thanks to Gestev, who really have what it takes to make a big event like this a success.”


Brad Groombridge reclaims NZ Enduro Crown

Words and photo by Andy McGechan, BikesportNZ.com

The Alpinestars-sponsored national series came to a thrilling conclusion with racing in the Santoft Forest, near Bulls, on Saturday, followed by the final round on farmland near Martinborough on Sunday and on both days Groombridge was a dominant force.

The 27-year-old Taupo locksmith took a brand new Suzuki RM-Z250 bike to win both days of the back-to-back rounds four and five of the New Zealand Enduro Championships in the lower North Island at the weekend. And, apart from setting the brake and clutch levers to his preferred angle and applying his personalised graphics, he took the stock-standard bike and absolutely smoked the competition.

Brad Groombridge
Brad Groombridge

He was the series leader in the premier AA Grade (formerly called Expert Grade) after the first three rounds and so it was perhaps little more than a formality that he would continue on and add the 2018 title to the first national enduro title he won in his “first serious attempt” in 2016.

He finished runner-up in the enduro nationals last season, despite crashing out heavily at the series opener that year. It has been a golden run for the Suzuki man this season – he rode a Suzuki RM-Z250 to claim overall runner-up in the MX2 (250cc) class in the motocross nationals earlier this year, then wrapped up the 2018 national cross-country crown at the final round of that series near Mosgiel last month – making it three successive national cross-country title wins.

He secured the 2018 enduro crown with a round to spare on Saturday, his win at Santoft enough for him to collect the crown early after his nearest challengers, Wellington’s Jake Whitaker and Paeroa’s Chris Power, struck problems in the pine forest.

Whitaker finished the day an unaccustomed seventh overall at Santoft and Power placed ninth overall on Saturday. This gave Groombridge a 26-point championship lead and, with a maximum of only 25 points available for a win at Martinborough, the Taupo man could therefore not be beaten.

Groombridge won the day at Martinborough anyway, stamping his authority on the sport and making history at the same time. It is believed to be the first time ever that one individual has finished on the podium in three separate motorcycling codes in the same season – motocross, cross-country and enduro.

Groombridge won the day on Saturday by 52 seconds from Whanganui’s Seth Reardon and he won the day on Sunday by 18 seconds from Masterton’s Jacob Hyslop.

Brad Groombridge

“I knew I’d wrapped up the title after Saturday’s effort and I didn’t know whether the rules were that I still had to race on Sunday as well. So I raced Sunday anyway, just to be sure. There were a few riders missing from the champs this year and so there possibly could have been four or five of us fighting for the title. With them out, it made things a little easier, but I still needed to ride well and to finish each day to get the job done. I rode smart and didn’t do anything too extreme. I want to race all three codes – the motocross, cross-country and enduro nationals – next year too. That’s the plan anyway, if I’m not away racing overseas. We’ll just have to wait and see.”

In terms of class honours for the enduro nationals, Groombridge won the combined under-200cc two-stroke class and under-300cc four-stroke class; Whitaker won the over-200cc two-stroke class; Power won the over-300cc four-stroke class and Hamilton’s Phil Singleton won the veterans’ (over 40 years’) class.

In the class battles within the A Grade (formerly called intermediate grade), Thames rider Natasha Cairns won the women’s class; Masterton’s Sam Callaghan won the under-300cc and under-200cc two-stroke class; Havelock North’s Tom Hislop won the over-300cc and over-200cc two-stroke class; Putaruru’s Phil Skinner won the Veterans 2 (50-54 years’) class; Auckland’s Jeff Van Hout won the Veterans 3 (over-55 years’) class and Masterton’s George Callaghan won the Veterans 4 (40-49 years’) class.


Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

DIRT

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