KTM Motocross Racing Team rider Kirk Gibbs has etched his name into the annals of Australian motocross history by winning the Manjimup 15,000, at Cosy Creek Circuit, south of Perth.
The famous event blends a picturesque location and an exciting atmosphere driven by passionate locals, with a unique track challenge that combines deep, energy-sapping sand whoops, famous WA pea-gravel over hard pack, and high-quality local riders and invited guests.
Gibbs won the day from New Zealand’s former World Champion Ben Townley and Husqvarna Factory Team rider Brock Winston, with three wins and a third on the day.
A fall to last in the second moto led to an amazing ride through the pack to third place in just six laps, but left the way open for it to go right down to the wire in the final, where Gibbs beat Townley take the Manjimup 15,000 trophy and the honour of his name on the wall of the club’s Heritage-Listed clubhouse.
Gibbs also took the win in the one-lap shootouts, which take place in the middle of the program.
Last weekend’s MX2 round winner Caleb Ward made it a double for KTM, winning the All-Stars Lites classification on his KTM250SX, and taking scores of 9, 4, 9, 6 against the 450s on overall classification.
Rob Twyerould: “A fantastic day, there’s a lot of tradition here, and Kirk is a happy boy. His first win was quite convincing, then in the second he fell and went from last to third which was just incredible, then in the third he had a reasonable gap, but in the last Ben Townley did everything to try and stay with him, and Kirk felt like that was the best he rode all day. Those two pulled out probably 40 seconds on third place – it was amazing.
There’s a plaque in the club house that holds the names of all the winners of the Manjimup 15,000. There’s some pretty cool riders on the trophy and Gibbsy really wanted to be on it.
The event was just huge. There were 5000 spectators here today and they were ten-deep the whole way round, cheering you all the way. There were that many cars and campers it was amazing and more than 500 competitors, as well as a great atmosphere with riders cheered all the way around the track.
It’s a long day we did eight races and the bike was washed each time, so the crew did a fantastic job, Kyle, Jordan and Garry to keep on top of everything.”
Kirk Gibbs (KTM 450 SX-F) – “It’s a pretty cool feeling to have my name on the wall. It’s such a big thing to be up there with the other people who won it back in the day, the riders before us, so I’m really happy. Physically I’m a little bit buggered, I only had one little first-turn crash, but just the body is a bit banged up. I think I’m ready for that rest now, so it comes at a good time.
I rode well, there were a few lines at the end that sort of let me down, real little things but I think I had a step in the right direction, I felt really confident on the bike and some of my starts were really good, so definitely some big positives, and only a few little negatives, so it’s a great day.”
Caleb Ward (KTM 250 SX) – “I had a little bit of a mixed day with a few bad starts, but that is to be expected when you’re up against the 450s, and I managed to work my way thru in all the motos, so that was good. I was the first of the Lites competitors in every moto but one. I had a little bit of a battle with Kirk in the second race after he fell and I tried to stick with him after he passed me to see how he does it, and learn a few lines. Racing against the 450s was fun, the roost has given me a few bruises and I think I chipped a tooth, but it was still definitely worth it, I learned a lot.”
Husqvarna men of the moment Brock Winston and Luke Arbon have continued their recent surges in form at the famous Manjimup 15,000 event, which took place at Cosy Creek south of Perth.
Winston achieved his best result of 2014, his maiden national-level MX1 class podium, taking his Husqvarna FC 450 to third in the prestigious event behind KTM’s Kirk Gibbs and former World Champion Ben Townley.
The tough Sunshine Coast rider thrives in energy-sapping sand, and he proved it again today finishing with 6, 2, 3, 3 results from the four motos, before a massive crowd of approximately 5000 enthusiastic Western Australians.
Impressive MX2 competitor Luke Arbon hasn’t finished outside the top two in the last two MX Nationals rounds, and he was just as prominent at Manjimup.
Despite racing alongside the 450 cc capacity machines in the All-Stars main event, Arbon finished second in MX2 classification aboard his Husqvarna TC 250 2-stroke, behind KTM’s Caleb Ward
Brock Winston (FC 450) “Manjimup was huge! I couldn’t believe how many people were there. The races were fun, the track’s really enjoyable and there were a lot of guys out there racing – the atmosphere was great. I was pretty happy with how I went, the first moto I came through really strong and in the second, I nearly caught Townley – who was leading – at the end. Then I got a third and then another third. It was a pretty good day. The last race was getting a bit sketchy with the sun getting in the eyes so I backed off a bit so as not to ruin the day or my season, but Manjimup is a cool track. My speed’s getting there, I still need to work on a couple of things, but I feel like it’s all coming – it just doesn’t happen overnight. I want to be as strong as I can be and as long as I keep working on my weaknesses I can.”
Luke Arbon (TC 250) “It was a mixed day for results because we were in the All-Stars in together with the big-bores. I got second in the Lites division, had a couple of first turn crashes, but rode solid. It’s definitely painful riding against the 450s on the smaller bike, I had the jump in the majority of starts but in the soft sand we just got swallowed up by the 450s, and it made it difficult in the first turn because all the 450 guys get in front and you have nowhere to go. I ended up on the deck twice, which was a bummer, but it was definitely good practice and I had to pass a lot of good guys today so, that’s all going to help coming back to the nationals. For sure I’m glad I stayed over here and raced though, it’s a great club, a great venue, and the track’s awesome – it’s a real man’s motocross track – it was rough and rugged by the end of the day. But they put on a great day for sure.”