Smarty’s Moto Wrap for May 20, 2014
Well, we now know that the Australian Supercross Championship will have at least one round as part of the ‘off-track’ entertainment for the 2014 Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix being held at Philip Island from the 17th to the 19th of October.
As I wrote last week, the 2013 Australian Supercross Championship promoter IEG have hit a snag thanks to their rocky relationship with Motorcycling Australia and the announcement regarding the Philip Island round doesn’t mention IEG at all.
Here is what Motorcycling Australia CEO, David White had to say. “Motorcycling Australia is thrilled to see the Australian Supercross Championship return to the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix at Phillip Island for the third year in succession, the event has become a celebration of motorcycling in this country, and it’s fitting to have Supercross alongside MotoGP as part of an impressive list of competitive action.”
Following this announcement, Yamaha Australia put out an announcement that they will not be in any way involved with the 2014 Australian Supercross Championship. This includes the CDR Yamaha team, the GYTR team and the Serco Yamaha team.
For what it’s worth, my guess is that Craig Dack in particular is behind this decision, the former Australian Supercross Champion is not a fan of the current state of supercross in Australia and sees no value in being involved.
Don’t agree? What about Dack’s decision to sit out the final round of the 2013 ASX in Toowoomba while his signed rider Lawson Bopping was forced to ride the event without the support of the CDR team.
Thankfully, Dack’s influence in the grand scheme of things is restricted to a handful of riders so the round at Philip Island and the rest of the series will be a cracker with or without the Yamaha riders. I honestly believe that the whole racing scene in Australia wouldn’t miss the factory teams if they all decided to pull out of motocross and supercross racing all together.
This would loosen up large hunks of money from the marketing budgets that the motorcycle and accessory distributors as well as outside industry sponsors allocate to our local racing scene and this could fund a lot more riders in privateer and semi privateer efforts like what Brenden Harrison and Kale Makeham have going with KTM in 2014.
For mind, the best way to rid the Aussie race scene from some serious dead wood and ‘my shit don’t stink’ attitudes while filling the grids at a national level is to move the super expensive ‘big rigs’ infrastructure out! And fill the pits with regular box vans and quick shades.
How about the MX1 class in the MX Nationals? The class is red hot right now with Kirk Gibbs, Billy Mackenzie, Jake Moss, Matt Moss and Adam Monea running around the same pace and all a possibility of winning every time the gate drops while Kade Mosig, Hayden Mellross, Rhys Carter, Jacob Wright, Jay Marmont, Sam Martin and Broc Winston are right in the mix.
Adam Monea’s performance at Murray Bridge was brushed over in the official race report but the Kawasaki pilot passed Rhys Carter, Cody Cooper and Matt Moss to win the opening moto and while battling at the front of the pack in the second moto Monea crashed back to 20th place before reeling off the fastest lap times for the rest of the moto to almost catch Jay Marmont who was sitting in 11th place at the checker flag.
There is no doubt that Monea is the fastest rider in the MX1 class right now but all of the riders mentioned above won’t lie down to watch him win and with six rounds remaining there is going to be some sensational battles to see who wins the 2014 title. See the full report and results from Murray Bridge below.
I would add Penrite Honda’s Cody Cooper to that list above but the Kiwi champ hurt his knee during the second moto at Murray Bridge and his future in the series is up in the air.
Cooper’s MX2 team mate Josh Cachia looks to be still struggling with his wrist injury and at Murray Bridge he ended the day back in 15th outright while his brother Tristen Cachia finished even further back in 23rd so it would have been a quiet Sunday night celebration at Hungry Jacks for the Cachia family. Hopefully things will improve for both riders as the series progresses.
Husqvarna had a cracker of a weekend with Luke Arbon and Nathan Crawford winning the MX2 and MXD classes respectively at round four of the Australian MX Nationals while Aleksandr Tonkov and Romain Febvre went one-two at round four of the Dutch Motocross Championships held in Holland last weekend.
While on the Dutch Championship, Luke Styke scored sixth in the opening moto but I couldn’t find his result from the second moto but it wasn’t inside the top ten.
It was also a very good weekend for our Aussie World Speedway Championship contenders with Chris Holder coming home in fifth, Troy Batchelor a career best in seventh and Darcy Ward in ninth place at the Finish round of the series. Holder and Ward are well and truly in the title hunt and are only a few points back from championship leader Krzysztof Kasprzak (say that after a few beers) who sat out the meeting thanks to a knee injury. See full report
The excitement around the opening round of the AMA Motocross Championship being held at Glen Helen this weekend is reaching unprecedented heights. The track looks like it is going to be one of the toughest in this year’s series so fitness and mental toughness is going to be a critical part of who comes out on top.
We here is Australia will look on with much interest to see how Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe and Jackson Richardson fair on the day. I will have the full report and results next week.
Moto Wrap for the weekend of May 17/18 includes:
– Round 4 of the Australian MX Nationals at Murray Bridge, SA
– Round 4 of the British Motocross Championships at Canada Heights, Swanley, Kent
– Round 4 of the Dutch Motocross Championships at Harfsen
– Round 4 of the AMA National Enduro Series held at Park Hills, Missouri
– Round 3 of FIM Speedway Grand Prix at Tampere, Finland
Monster Energy Australian MX Nationals – Round 4 – Murray Bridge, SA
Official MX1 Race Report: KTM Motocross Race Team’s Kirk Gibbs has claimed the overall honours in the Monster MX1 class at the fourth round of the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals at Murray Bridge.
Gibbs backed up some strong words during the week about his claim as a championship contender with a wonderful performance in the South Australian sand.
The KTM pilot finished the day with a race win in the second moto which, when paired with his opening moto result of fourth place, was enough to give him a three-point round win ahead of CDR Yamaha rider Billy Mackenzie.
Mackenzie was extremely consistent with two third-placings from his two races to finish ahead of National Pump Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Moss (sixth and second from his two races)
Round three winner Adam Monea (Monster Energy Kawasaki) finished fourth overall with an opening moto win before finishing 12th in race two, while series leader Matt Moss (Team Motul Suzuki) could only manage fifth overall with a fifth and sixth from his two races.
After qualifying fastest and setting the third fastest time in the GoPro Superpole hot-lap for the round, Monea was looking to continue his run of hot form.
However it was Rhys Carter (Team Motul Suzuki) who took the holeshot in the opening moto – a lead that lasted seconds as Matt Moss charged to the front at the next turn.
By the end of the opening lap with things settling down, it was Matt Moss in the lead from Cody Cooper (Penrite Honda Racing), with Monea in third.
Local favourite Gibbs settled further back into seventh place further down the field, just behind Jake Moss.
It was a tense and hard fought moto, and before long Monea managed to pass Matt Moss – a lead that he did not relinquish for the remainder of the race.
Moss had problems throughout the moto, and was slowly picked off by his rivals – first Cooper, who ended the race in second and then Mackenzie, who battled his way through the field onto the podium.
Moss and Gibbs had a fierce battle for fourth place over the last two turns of the race, with Gibbs narrowly edging out the reigning champ.
While the first moto was full of mouth-watering action, the second saw little movement in race order once the opening lap was completed.
Jake Moss steamed to the front of the field taking the holeshot, while disaster struck for Cooper who went down at the opening turn ending his day prematurely.
It didn’t take long for Gibbs to stamp his authority on the race – into the lead by the end of the second lap and comfortably riding away to a memorable victory.
As Gibbs took the lead, Jake Moss was relegated to second (where he eventually finished) with Mackenzie back in third place.
Mackenzie rode the race in third to finish on the podium, while privateer Jacob Wright fought hard to finish in an impressive fourth, with DPH Yamaha’s Kade Mosig earning fifth place in the race.
Matt Moss rounded off a disappointing day at Murray Bridge finishing in sixth place in the second moto.
In the overall championship standings, Moss retained the outright lead but has had that whittled down to just 13 points from Gibbs.
Monea is a further 22 points behind in third, with Jake Moss and Mackenzie rounding out the top-five.
MX1 Superpole: 1) Matt Moss 1:42.175 (5 points). 2) Jake Moss 1:42.788 (4 points). 3) Adam Monea 1:43.114 (3 points). 4) Kirk Gibbs 1:43.488 (2 points). 5) Billy Mackenzie 1:43.551 (1 points).
Round Results: 1) Kirk Gibbs 63 (28, 35). 2) Billy Mackenzie 60 (30, 30). 3) Jake Moss 57 (25,32). 4) Adam Monea 54 (35, 19). 5) Matt Moss 51 (26, 25). 6) Kade Mosig 47 (21,26. 7) Hayden Melross 47 (23, 24). 8) Rhys Carter 46 (24, 22). 9) Jacob Wright 43 (15, 28). 10) Sam Martin 42 (19, 23).
Overall Championship Standings: 1) Matt Moss 294. 2) Kirk Gibbs 281. 3) Adam Monea 259. 4) Jake Moss 247. 5) Billy Mackenzie 242. 6) Kade Mosig 216. 7) Rhys Carter 214. 8) Hayden Mellross 206. 9)Jay Marmont 196. 10) Jacob Wright 185.
Official MX2 Race Report: SD3 Husqvarna rider Luke Arbon has taken the round win in the Motul MX2 class at the fourth round of the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals at Murray Bridge in South Australia.
In front of over 3,500 spectators, Arbon was the standout performer in the MX2 class, backing up a second place finish in the opening moto of the day with a race win in the second moto.
Instant Secutrity KTM’s Brenden Harrison finished the event in second place (sixth and third in his two races) edging out Husqvarna Red Bull WIL Sport NZ Racing rider Kayne Lamont in third (first and 11th in his two races).
Championship leader Luke Clout (Serco Yamaha) could only manage fourth overall on the day, finishing fourth and fifth in his two races.
In the opening moto, Lamont streaked the field to take the holeshot and move comfortably into the lead.
It was an ominous sign for the Kiwi who was looking for a good round to make a move on series leader Clout – and it was just the start he was after.
Lamont was followed at the first corner by Arbon and Tunetech Racing KTM Australia’s Kale Makeham, and the trio finished the race in the same positions.
The only challenge to the order looked like coming from Clout who managed to pass Makeham into third in the second half of the moto, before he lost control and slipped back into fourth place, where he eventually finished.
Harrison found himself in 12th position by the end of the second lap, but worked his way through the field nicely to finish the race in fifth place.
In the second race of the day disaster struck early for Lamont who went down at the first turn, and could only manage an 11th place in the moto.
Caleb Ward rode his Wayne Leonard KTM into the holeshot, and managed to stay in first place for some time before being passed by eventual race winner Arbon.
Arbon had been battling with Clout back in third and fourth before stepping it up to get into the lead and consolidate his brilliant round win.
With Lamont having drifted down the field, Clout had an opportunity to peg back some important series points that he gave up to the kiwi in the opening race.
He managed to pass Ward into second position before an unfortunate crash saw him drop back to fourth, and he eventually finished the race in fifth.
Similarly to his charge in the first race, Harrison ended race two in third place after earlier finding himself back as far as 13th.
Hamish Harwood (CMR Redbull KTM) finished the race in fourth.
In the overall championship standings, Lamont, Harrison and Arbon all managed to close the gap on series leader Clout, who holds a 12 point lead over Lamont.
Harwood is a further seven points behind with Harrison and Makeham rounding out the top-five.
Round Results: 1) Luke Arbon 67 (33,35). 2) Brenden Harrison 55(25, 30). 3) Kayne Lamont 55 (35,20). 4) Luke Clout 54(28, 26). 5)Kale Makeham 54(30,24). 6) Caleb Ward 51(19,32). 7)Hamish Harwood 50 (22,28). 8) Errol Willis 49 (24, 25). 9) Jay Wilson 44 (21, 23). 10) Ryan Marmont 41 (20, 21).
Championship Standings: 1) Luke Clout 261. 2) Kayne Lamont 249. 3) Hamish Harwood 242. 4) Brenden Harrison 235. 5) Kale Makeham 221. 6) Luke Arbon 204. 7) Jay Wilson 193. 8) Errol Willis 189. 9) Ryan Marmont 176. 10) Caleb Ward 172.
Official MXD Race Report: Full Throttle Husqvarna rider Nathan Crawford has performed a clean sweep in the Pirelli MXD class at the fourth round of the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals at Murray Bridge.
The result has propelled the talented rider to within eight points of the overall series lead (currently on 265 points), and has added to the intrigue of the current class standings.
Only three points separates the top three riders in the class with Husqvarna Australia’s Egan Mastin sitting on 273 points, Bolton KTM Motorcycles rider Jack Simpson on 272 points and GYTR Yamaha’s Jed Beaton on 270 points.
But it was all about Crawford in South Australia, who put in a sterling performance to claim the round honours.
In the opening moto, a huge crash at the opening corner saw Simpson go down and Crawford take the holeshot.
His lead didn’t last long with Cully’s Yamaha rider Kyle Webster taking the lead from Aaron Tanti (Sutto’s SS Racing KTM), Crawford and Mastin in fourth.
By the halfway point of the race, Mastin had claimed the lead from Crawford and Webster, and looked to be heading for a big race win.
However, the tightness of the class was on display when right on the finish line, Crawford passed Mastin to take the win in one of the closes finishes seen in recent times.
Webster rounded off the top three, with Dylan Wilson (Tattoo Racing Suzuki) and Beaton finishing in fourth and fifth place respectively.
Simpson battled hard from back in 17th place early on in the race to finish in 10th and earn some important points to go towards the championship race.
The second moto saw Crawford race to the holeshot and take the lead which he never surrendered throughout the race.
Simpson moved into second place ahead of Webster and Beaton, and the trio finished in second, third and fourth respectively.
The second race was Mastin’s turn to claim valuable make-up points after a terrible start, finishing the moto in fifth place and third outright on the day behind Webster.
Round Results: 1) Nathan Crawford 70(35, 35). 2) Kyle Webster 60 (30, 30). 3) Egan Mastin 58 (32, 26). 4)Jed Beaton 54 (26, 28). 5) Jack Simpson 53 (21, 32). 6) Dylan Wilson 52(28, 24). 7)Aaron Tanti 50 (25, 25). 8) Jayden Rykers 46 (23, 23). 9) Wilson Todd 39 (24, 15). 10) Daniel Price 38 (16, 22).
Overall Championship Standings: 1) Egan Mastin 273. 2) Jack Simpson 272. 3) Jed Beaton 270. 4) Nathan Crawford 265. 5) Wilson Todd 209. 6) Kyle Webster 206. 7) Jayden Rykers 199. 8) Aaron Tanti 177. 9) Brock McLeary 176. 10) Daniel Price 155.
Round five of the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals makes its way to Wanneroo in Western Australia on 25 May.
British Motocross Championships – Round 4 – Canada Heights, Swanley, Kent
Official Report: It’s been an interesting time in the Maxxis British Motocross Championship. Round three of the championship was unceremoniously cancelled two days before it was due to run because of the weather. Well, who would’ve thought that! But, it’s water under the bridge and there’s no point crying over spilt milk. So onwards the circus goes to round four at Canada Heights on the outskirts of London (well, sort-of).
Everyone’s been looking forward to this one; the Sidcup club who runs this round always preps the track well, and it is in glorious sunshine with temperatures later in the day to match Spain or Africa that racing gets underway.
Qualifying starts a few minutes late, but soon enough, current championship leader Mel Pocock for the Hitachi Construction Machinery UK KTM team puts in the quickest time, followed by Wilvo Forkrent KTM’s Matiss Karro. In the subsequent super-pole, it’s Karro who takes pole though, with Pocock second, and, much to some surprise, Pocock’s team-mate James Dunn third!
The MX1 class sees the two world championship rivals, Hitachi Construction’s Shaun Simpson and Wilvo Forkrent’s Jake Nicholls, at the top both in qualifying and the super-pole. Third in both instances is the current champion, MBO Sport ASA Scaffolding Yamaha’s Kristian Whatley. Finally, the boys in the MXY2 class get their twenty minutes of qualifying time, and it’s St. Blazey MX Amped Honda’s Josh Gilbert on pole, followed by Dyer & Butler KTM’s Liam Knight and MXW Racing’s Ollie Osmaston in third.
The day’s temperatures rise to scorching point, and so does the subsequent racing. In the MX2 class, the first race is a mix of KTM bikes at the top. While Karro goes down on the start, his team mate Adam Sterry takes the lead. Sterry later loses the lead to Pocock, with Pocock’s own team-mate Ben Watson taking second. The second and third races are Karro’s; after learning his lesson in the first race, he chooses a different gate and goes for gold each time.
While Pocock is second across the line in the second race, in race three it’s Pendrich Height Services Kawasaki’s Bryan Mackenzie, who slips into second after only three laps and runs a perfect race. Watson, third in the second race, uses smarts in the third race and holds a position that will give him a podium without going overboard. Karro, Pocock and Watson take the podium, but there are two casualties that are carted off to hospital; Dunn goes away with a dislocated knee that initially looks like a really nasty compound fracture, while MBO Sport’s Lewis Trickett spends most of his second race trackside with a dislocated hip. Ouch!
There is not much to be said for the MX1 race other than “wow”. Nicholls and Simpson set a blazing pace, one that very few are capable of keeping up with. In the first race, Nicholls has the advantage over Simpson, while Whatley is a distant third, over forty seconds down. In the second race it’s Simpson across the line first, with former British champion, Buildbase Honda Racing’s Brad Anderson nearly a minute down in third.
The final race sees an upset as Nicholls goes down in the first lap and has to fight his way forward. He returns to eighth place at the chequered flag, while Simpson goes into cruise mode up front, with Whatley in second just yards behind.
Former world championship rider Gert Krestinov, racing for Apico LPE Kawasaki, is third, having kept up with Simpson all the way to the two-lap flag. The podium is predictably Simpson, Nicholls, Whatley.
MX1 Overall: 1. Shaun Simpson – 22-25-25. 2. Jake Nicholls – 25-22-13. 3. Kristian Whatley – 20-15-22. 4. Brad Anderson – 16-20-16. 5. Graeme Irwin – 18-18-14. 6. Gert Krestinov – 13-11-20. 7. Shane Carless – 12-9-18. 8. Alex Snow – 14-15. 9. Priit Ratsep – 15-12. 10. Jamie Law – 4-13-10.
MX1 Championship: 1. Shaun Simpson (HM Plant KTM UK) 211. 2. Jake Nicholls (Wilvo Forkrent KTM) 194. 3. Kristian Whatley (MBO Sport Yamaha) 165. 4. Brad Anderson (Buildbase Honda Racing) 146. 5. Graeme Irwin (Heads & All Threads Suzuki) 119. 6. Gert Krestinov (Apico LPE Kawasaki Racing) 117. 7. Elliott Banks-Browne (Buildbase Honda Racing) 100. 8. Nathan Watson (Dantec Husqvarna) 99. 9. Alex Snow (Phoenix Tools Rocket Honda) 95. 10. Jamie Law (Dyer & Butler KTM) 86.
MX2 Overall: 1. Mel Pocock – 25-22-20. 2. Matiss Karro – 13-25-25. 3. Ben Watson – 22-20-15. 4. Neville Bradshaw – 20-18-16. 5. Bryan MacKenzie – 18-9-22. 6. Steven Clarke – 11-15-18. 7. Michael Eccles – 14-11-13. 8. Steven Lenoir – 16-16. 9. Jordan Booker – 8-12-12. 10. Adam Sterry – 12-13-7.
MX2 Championship: 1. Mel Pocock (HM Plant KTM UK) 196. 2. Matiss Karro (Wilvo Forkrent KTM) 189. 3. Neville Bradshaw (Putoline Apico Honda) 161. 4. Bryan Mackenzie (Pendrich Height Services Kawasaki) 143. 5. Adam Sterry (Wilvo Forkrent KTM) 130. 6. Ben Watson (HM Plant KTM UK) 123. 7. Steve Clarke (Dyer & Butler KTM) 101. 8. Lewis Tombs (JAR Honda) 96. 9. Steven Lenoir (Dantec Husqvarna UK) 90. 10. Lewis Trickett (MBO Sport Yamaha) 90.
Dutch Motocross Championships – Round 4 – Harfsen
Honda’s Joel Roelants has dominated both MX1 motos at round four of the Dutch Motocross Championships held in Holland while Husqvarna’s Alexandr Tonkov has won the MX2 overall with 4-1 moto results.
Series favorite and World MX2 Champion Jeffrey Herlings won the opening moto but DNF’d the second moto. At the time of writing there was no news as to why Herlings failed to finish the second moto.
MX1 Moto one: 1 Joel Roelants B Honda. 2 Ceriel Klein Kromhof NL KTM. 3 Jeffrey Dewulf B Yamaha. 4 Tyla Rattray Z-A Husqvarna. 5 Herjan Brakke NL Kawasaki. 6 William Saris NL Kawasaki. 7 Rob van Vijfeijken NL Yamaha. 8 Stefan Hage NL Husqvarna. 9 Rene Albers NL KTM. 10 Rico Staat NL Yamaha. DNF Marc de Reuver NL Honda.
MX1 Moto two: 1 Joel Roelants B Honda. 2 Marc de Reuver NL Honda. 3 Tyla Rattray Z-A Husqvarna. 4 Jeffrey Dewulf B Yamaha. 5 Ceriel Klein Kromhof NL KTM. 6 Herjan Brakke NL Kawasaki. 7 Rick Satink NL KTM. 8 William Saris NL Kawasaki. 9 Rene Albers NL KTM. 10 Ryan Houghton GB Yamaha.
MX1 overall: 1 Joel Roelants B Honda 1-1. 2 Tyla Rattray Z-A Husqvarna 4-3. 3 Jeffrey Dewulf B Yamaha 3-4. 4 Ceriel Klein Kromhof NL KTM 2-5. 5 Herjan Brakke NL Kawasaki 5-6.
MX1 Championship points: 1 Marc de Reuver NL Honda 144. 2 Ceriel Klein Kromhof NL KTM 135. 3 William Saris NL Kawasaki 114. 4 Herjan Brakke NL Kawasaki 100. 5 Joel Roelants B Honda 99.
MX2 Moto one: 1 Jeffrey Herlings NL KTM. 2 Petar Petrov Bul Yamaha. 3 Romain Febvre F Husqvarna. 4 Aleksandr Tonkov Rus Husqvarna. 5 Brian Bogers NL KTM. 6 Luke Styke Aus Yamaha. 7 Brent Vandoninck B KTM. 8 Freek van den Vlist NL KTM. 9 Calvin Vlaanderen Z-A KTM. 10 Luca Nijenhuis NL Kawasaki
MX2 Moto two: 1 Aleksandr Tonkov Rus Husqvarna. 2 Romain Febvre F Husqvarna. 3 Brian Bogers NL KTM. 4 Freek van den Vlist NL KTM. 5 Brent Vandoninck B KTM. 6 Calvin Vlaanderen Z-A KTM. 7 Lars van Berkel NL Honda. 8 Eric Leijtens NL Yamaha. 9 Rick Folkers NL Suzuki. 10 Luca Nijenhuis NL Kawasaki. DNF Jeffrey Herlings NL KTM.
MX2 Overall: 1 Aleksandr Tonkov Rus Husqvarna 4-1. 2 Romain Febvre F Husqvarna 3-2. 3 Brian Bogers NL KTM 5-3. 4 Freek van den Vlist NL KTM 8-4. 5 Brent Vandoninck B KTM 7-5.
MX2 Championship points: 1 Romain Febvre F Husqvarna 168. 2 Aleksandr Tonkov Rus Husqvarna 161. 3 Brent Vandoninck B KTM 115. 4 Brian Bogers NL KTM 108. 5 Glenn Coldenhoff NL Suzuki 100.
AMA National Enduro Series – Round 4 – Park Hills, Missouri
Official Race Report: Charlie Mullins continues to rack up wins in the 2014 Kenda AMA National Enduro Series, the FMF/KTM rider adding victory number four at this weekend’s Lead Belt National Enduro in Park Hills, Missouri, as an overflow entry of more than 500 riders enjoyed amazing weather and perfect trail during the 65-mile Missouri Mudders-hosted event.
Mullins got the jump on the competition by getting off to a quick start, finishing the opening test one minute and three seconds quicker than Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew DeLong. Mullins was fastest in test two, as well, adding another 18 seconds to his advantage over DeLong. Meanwhile, N-Fab/Am Pro Yamaha’s Brad Bakken, FMF/KTM’s Mike Lafferty and Maxxis/Klim/DirtWise KTM’s Jesse Groemm were not far behind.
Mullins lost a bit of his momentum in test three when he missed a turn and followed a rider down the wrong trail, costing both riders valuable time. In the meantime, AirGroup Racing’s Nick Fahringer finally got untracked after making a few adjustments and posted the fastest time for the third test ahead of DeLong, Bakken and Groemm. Mullins was way down in fifth thanks to his navigation error.
Test four was no better for Mullins as he saw his lead start to slip away due to a rear brake issue. The defending series champ was forced to ride the entire nine-mile test with only his front brake and was once again fifth fastest, with Fahringer getting his second test win of the day ahead of Groemm, Bakken and DeLong.
With DeLong and Fahringer breathing down his neck, Mullins got his house in order in the final two tests, posting his third and fourth test wins of the day. When all was said and done, Mullins took the win by a minute and 33 seconds over Fahringer; with DeLong rounding out the podium another 29 seconds back.
“This was a hard day, but all in all it was a good one,” said Mullins. “This was the toughest enduro I’ve done in a long time. There was a lot of single-track and it was tight and rocky and it’s good to win one like this.”
Remarkably, Bakken finished third in all six tests but still ended the day in fourth overall. Meanwhile, Groemm rounded out the top five despite struggling in the final test.
American Beta rider Cory Buttrick had his best finish of the year with a sixth, 39 seconds better than KTM support rider Grant Baylor.
Eight-time national enduro champ Mike Lafferty finished eighth overall, beating out his nephew Ryder Lafferty by over a minute. Before the race, the Missouri Mudders awarded Mike Lafferty with the “King of the Lead Belt” award, for winning five of his previous eight starts in the event.
Finishing 10th was Husqvarna-backed Craig DeLong, who is the younger brother of Andrew DeLong.
With four rounds in the books and six remaining on the schedule, Mullins sits 40 points ahead of Fahringer in the series standings, with Groemm in third another seven points back.
The Kenda AMA National Enduro Series resumes action on June 1st with round number five of the series in Arrington, Virginia.
Overall Results: 1. Charlie Mullins. 2. Nick Fahringer. 3. Andrew Delong. 4. Brad Bakken. 5. Jesse Groemm. 6. Cory Buttrick. 7. Grant Baylor. 8. Mike Lafferty. 9. Ryder Lafferty. 10. Craig Delong.
Overall Point Standings after 4 Rounds of 10: 1. Charlie Mullins – 120. 2. Nick Fahringer – 80. 3. Jesse Groemm – 73.
Next Event: Arrington, VA – June 1, 2014
FIM Speedway Grand Prix – Round 3 – Tampere, Finland
Slovenian star Matej Zagar hailed the loved ones and backers who never stopped believing he could be an FIM Speedway Grand Prix winner after he won the Mitas Finnish SGP in Tampere on Saturday.
The 31-year-old claimed his first World Championship victory at the 44th attempt in the Ratina Stadium after diving past world champion Tai Woffinden, when he briefly lost control in the final. Zagar triumphed ahead of the Brit, Swedish racer Freddie Lindgren and American legend Greg Hancock.
Along with Australia’s Troy Batchelor, who is new to the World Championship this season, Zagar was the only full-time SGP rider who had not won a round.
So the Ljubljana-born man – second three times in Bydgoszcz, Copenhagen and Stockholm in 2013 – was elated to deliver his elusive victory for those who always knew he had the class to top the box.
He said: “It doesn’t just mean a lot to me. My family at home are going crazy at the moment! I hope I gave them the satisfaction they didn’t have for three years I raced in the Grand Prix without winning one and it’s a big thing for me as well.”
“It took me a while to win a Grand Prix and maybe a bit longer than everyone else. But I’ve done it and I want to say a big thank you to my team. They’ve done a great job and have showed a lot of patience with me, and so have my family and my sponsors. They’ve always believed and kept me going.”
“This is a positive thing for my confidence and it will push me forward. Last year I was in four finals and finished second three times. I should have won a round last year, but it wasn’t meant to be”.
“I made mistakes and other people got the win, but this time I played a different role and I got the win. It’s nice to win my first one. I hope it won’t be the last.
On a night when fast starts and perfect first turns were even more vital than usual, Zagar admits his will to win made the difference.
He added: “You had to be determined. Without determination, you would have been nowhere. My determination pushed me forward.
“I’ve always said I feel pretty good on new tracks because I figure out tracks pretty well technically. This one suited me and I’m glad it turned out like this.”
Zagar’s win came with 15 points, which still leaves him 10th in the World Championship standings on 27. But he trails series leader Krzysztof Kasprzak by a meagre eight points after the Pole pulled out of the meeting during practice with a cruciate ligament injury.
The Belle Vue and Gorzow rider is still very much in the hunt for the series’ top prizes, but he isn’t getting carried away by the biggest win of his career to date.
He said: “Hopefully things will go forward for me, but it’s too early to say. I was having big problems with my speed on the track before this Grand Prix. I was struggling with my kit and I made some changes.”
“I’m really glad they came out okay and we’ve made progress. Progress is what I am looking for every time. It’s not just about winning the Grand Prix – it’s about scoring points. Points in the bag give you success in the end. I would love to reach more finals like this and don’t worry, I will certainly do my best to achieve that.”
Runner-up Tai Woffinden bounced back from a testing start to the season by top-scoring with 16 points. The British champion has been battling to get back to the blistering form which carried him to speedway’s biggest prize last year and was delighted with his progress as he bids to break into the competition’s top three.
He said: “Turning things around comes from hard work and dedication. If you put the work in, you get rewarded for it. It has been a tough start to the season for me, but since Bydgoszcz, I’ve been working so hard with everybody involved in my team. My points have started coming and I have been scoring well in my league racing. Things are really picking up now and I came to Tampere with a lot of confidence after scoring paid 14 in Poland and paid 10 in Sweden.”
“Things are starting to work in my favour now, but that doesn’t mean there’s any time to slacken off. I’ve got to be pushing harder to get into that top three.”
Third-placed Lindgren was pleased to reach his second final of the year and admits a lighter schedule is paying dividends after opting out of the British Elite League this season.
He said: “What I can say is not riding so many meetings has helped me motivation-wise. I enjoy coming to the speedway track and riding and it’s really good.
“The last GP in Bydgoszcz wasn’t great for me, so it was really good to come back and get a good result. I have to give it up to my mechanics. They came up with some really good advice after I ran a last in heat 10. It really made a big difference and I’m pleased with that.”
MITAS FINNISH SGP SCORES: 1 Matej Zagar 15, 2 Tai Woffinden 16, 3 Fredrik Lindgren 12, 4 Greg Hancock 12, 5 Chris Holder 10, 6 Nicki Pedersen 10, 7 Troy Batchelor 10, 8 Martin Smolinski 9, 9 Darcy Ward 8, 10 Andreas Jonsson 7, 11 Jaroslaw Hampel 7, 12 Niels-Kristian Iversen 6, 13 Joonas Kylmakorpi 5, 14 Chris Harris 4, 15 Kauko Nieminen 4, 16 Kenneth Bjerre 3, 17 Krzysztof Kasprzak DNR, 18 Juha Hautamaki DNR
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: 1 Krzysztof Kasprzak 35, 2 Greg Hancock 34, 3 Nicki Pedersen 34, 4 Chris Holder 32, 5 Martin Smolinski 31, 6 Fredrik Lindgren 30, 7 Jaroslaw Hampel 29, 8 Darcy Ward 29, 9 Tai Woffinden 28, 10 Matej Zagar 27, 11 Andreas Jonsson 24, 12 Niels-Kristian Iversen 22, 13 Kenneth Bjerre 18, 14 Troy Batchelor 18, 15 Chris Harris 6, 16 Adrian Miedzinski 5, 17 Joonas Kylmakorpi 5, 18 Kauko Nieminen 4, 19 Jason Bunyan 2.
Moto Wrap for the weekend of May 24/25 includes:
– Round 8 of the World Motocross Championships at Matterley Basin, Great Britain
– Round 7 of the GNCC in Masontown, West Virginia
– Round 5 of the Australian MX Nationals at Wanneroo, WA
– Round 1 of the AMA Motocross Championships at Glen Helen, San Bernardino, Calif.
Moto Wrap for the weekend of May 31/Jun 1 includes:
– Round 9 of the World Motocross Championships at St Jean d’Angely, France
– Round 5 of the Dutch Motocross Championships at Rhenen
– Round 5 of the AMA Enduro Series at Arrington, Virginia
– Round 4of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix at Prague, Czech Republic
– Round 4 of the UK MX Nationals at Pontrilas
– Round 3 of the Belgian Motocross Championships at Kester
– Round 2 of the AMA Motocross Championships at Hangtown, Sacramento, Calif.
– Round 1 of the CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships at Nanaimo
– 2014 Manjimup 15,000 at the Cosy Creek Circuit, WA
Moto Wrap for the weekend of Jun 8/9 includes:
– Round 8 of the GNCC (John Penton) at Millfield, OH
– Round 6 of the Dutch Motocross Championships at Oldebroek
– Round 4 of the World Enduro Championships at Heinola, Finland
– Round 4 of the All Japan Motocross Championships at Sugo
– Round 3 of the French Motocross Championships at Gaillac Toulza
– Round 3 of the AMA Motocross Championships at Thunder Valley, Lakewood, Colo.
– Round 2 of the CMRC Canadian Motocross Championships at Kamloops
– Round 2 of the AMA Endurocross Championships at Austin, Texas
– X-Games from Junes 5 to 8 at Austin, Texas
– 2014 Tatts Finke Desert Race