Brown on track to take out InsureMyRide Australian Enduro-X Nationals at Calder
Words and images by Russell Colvin
Calder Park will host the grand finale of this year’s InsureMyRide Australian Enduro-X Nationals at Calder Park Raceway this weekend and Husqvarna’s Mike Brown is the odd’s on favourite to take out the premier ‘Pro’ class.
Brown, a 42-year-old American, was World 125cc #3 in both 1999 and 2000 before returning to America in 2001 to claim the AMA 125cc MX Championship. He returned to Europe in 2007 to claim seventh in the MX1-GP category that season, and was an X-Games Gold Medallist in 2012. Thus with such a pedigree behind him, our local riders have no shame in getting beaten by such an accomplished elder statesman of the sport. Last weekend, Brown finished sixth in the opening round of the GEICO EnduroCross AMA Championship, but he is currently winging his way back to Australia to try and capitalise on the healthy twenty-nine point championship lead he enjoys over Active8 Yamalube Yamaha’s Josh Green. Brown was the overall victor at Calder Park in 2014, gate-crashing the Australian party to beat Beau Ralston by nine points, with KTM Off-Road Racing Team’s Toby Price in third, twelve points behind Brown.
However, it is Enduro-X, and anything can happen and quite normally does. “I’m looking forward to coming to Calder Park this weekend to try and win the championship for myself and Husky,” said Brown.
Trailing Brown in the title fight is Green, the 24-year-old finished 5-2-3 in Sydney and admitted after the third and final moto that his night was pretty “tough!”
“I finished strong in the last final in Sydney, so I just want to get down to Calder Park and do my best for the final round,” said Green. “My bike is unreal and my Active8 Yamalube Yamaha team have given me everything I need, so it’s up to me to make it happen!”
Nine points behind Green is ‘Pricey’, who had a somewhat up-and-down round two due to poor starts. A fourth place overall from a 6-6-2 run. Price finished 5.171sec in Brown’s wake in Sydney’s Enduro-X final race.
The four times outright AORC champion told MCNews.com.au that he is looking forward to this weekend. However the kink in his armor at this stage is his starts which Price admits that has been letting him down. “I’m looking forward to the final round this weekend,” said Price. “At the first two rounds my starts have been letting me down and I have been recovering from Dakar, but all is feeling good for the weekend. I’ll just try my best and if I can stay consistent I’ll be happy.”
Just like all racers, there aiming for the top step of the podium and Price of course knows that. “We are always gunning for the top step, but everyone is really on it so no mistakes can be made! I really can’t wait for the final round, and then turn my focus toward the AORC the following weekend.”
Price may be third in the championship, but the most important thing is that he is ahead of his two teammates both Simmonds and Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders. Eleven-points is the difference between Price and Simmonds, while Sanders is just twelve points adrift. With seventy-five points up for grabs this Saturday night, anything is possible.
Tye Simmonds is currently fourth in the standings in what has been a fantastic adapation to Enduro-X from his motocross roots – “The last round was definitely good for me, the first round was definitely frustrating when one little hiccup sort of a wrecked my night. It would’ve been interesting to see where we’d be if that hadn’t have happened but that’s racing. In Sydney the crash I had in my heat was even bigger than the one in Brisbane, and I thought we were going to be in for a rough night but we turned it around. Mike is just on a different level; he’s unreal to watch, the way he gets stuff dialled lap in, lap out. For me this is my first go at it, and the goal is always to win, but I can only give it my best. The last couple of weeks have been good, I’ve been on the bike a lot more than what I have previously, and the time spent riding with Chucky and Toby has been good.”
The ever likable Sanders sit’s in fifth place, ten points ahead of both Stefan Granquist and fellow Victorian rider, Mitch Harper.
Sanders told MCNews.com.au he is “super pumped” to be racing at home this weekend in front of his home fans. There will be no doubt that the Chucky Sanders official fan club will be out in force this Saturday night, “I believe if I have a good night I can get up in the overall positions in the championship and get on the podium,” said Sanders. “I just got to really concentrate on that goal ahead and ride smart!”
Sherco’s Mitch Harper Off-Road Team ace finished fourth at Calder Park in 2013 behind Price, before he took off to Europe. Harper, who has been a breath of fresh since his return to racing said; “It kind of takes the pressure off you when you race at your home ground. The track will more than likely be completely different, but you just feel more comfortable being on your home ground. You know all the people; you know the terrain, and so on. It’s your area. It’s not like going to Archerfield Speedway for example and not knowing what to expect.”
Harper finished with a 7-4-11 result last time out at the Sydney Enduro-X.
After a shocker in Sydney, CDR-Yamaha’s Tom McCormack is looking for a better run down south and despite his disappintment in Sydney, is only two-points behind Harper and Granquist.
Another two Victorians, Peter Boyle and Dylan Rees, complete the top ten in the championship.
In terms of the ladies, Yamaha’s Tayla Jones hopes to claim her first ever Enduro-X title. The young gun carries a slim six-point lead into Calder Park after her Sydney Enduro-X round win last time out. While she may lead the charge, she’s focusing on the championship, “My aim for this weekend is to just stay upright and consistent and just go from there. If the championship comes, it comes…”
Trailing Jones is Kirstie Mckinnon along with her good mate Jess Gardiner (Ballards Motorex Off-Road Team), who was just one point behind in third after finishing third at Sydney Enduro-X. Expect to see a determined Gardiner this weekend. The twenty-one year old said after Sydney that she has not had a lot of time to practise Enduro-X due to focusing on her World Enduro championship project for 2015, but she did say after finishing third that it has made her more determined and she would ‘knuckle down’ for the last round.
Saturday 14th March 2015 Round 3 Calder Park Raceway, Calder Freeway Diggers Rest, Vic
15:00 – Gates Open to PUBLIC
15:45 – Practice Ends – Track Maintenance
16:00 – Heats and Qualifying (Support classes) – Juniors, women, clubman, Expert, over 35 Classes
19:00 – Finals Start for Juniors, women, clubman, over 35 Classes Pro class heats run in with support class finals
20:30 – Final for experts
20:45 – Top Ten Shootout
21:00 – Pro Finals start – 3 X 5 laps back to back (10 minutes apart)
22:00 – Event completion
Adults over 16 year of age $30.00
Children (School age) $15.00
Children under 5 years accompanied by an adult are free
Family (mum & dad and 2 children) $60.00
Concession (wheelchair bound only) $20.00
Parking is $2.00 coin at the Calder Park event. There is unlimited parking at the venue adjacent to the Thunderdome track. The venue will cater for several thousand cars and will take large buses.
The venue has capacity for approximately 5000 on large hill areas. Chairs are permitted on the hill. It is a good idea to bring along a blanket for hill area. There are no seats.
What can’t I bring?
No glass, drugs or alcohol can be brought into the venue. All bags must be made available for inspection upon entry. No Commercially Prepared food is allowed to be brought in.
Food & Drink
The Raceway has food and drink outlets (provided by professional Catering) such as hamburgers, hot chips, chicken strips, hot dogs etc. A range of cold drinks are also available, there is also a bar with a selection of alcoholic beverages. No Commercially Prepared food is allowed to be brought in.
Venue is 10 minutes taxi from Keilor Railway Station
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Pro Class
1. Mike Brown Hus 147
2. Josh Green Yam 118
3. Toby Price KTM 109
4. Tye Simmonds KTM 98
5. Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders KTM 97
6. Stefan Granquist Yam 87
7. Mitch Harper Sher 87
8. Tom McCormack Yam 85
9. Peter Boyle Hon 73
10. Dylan Rees Yam 72
11. Lachlan Stanford Hus 66
12. Scott Keegan Hus 30
13. Tom Mason KTM 30
14. Nic Tomlinson KTM 29
15. Jacob Smith Hon 27
16. Andrew Wilksch Suz 24
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Womens Class
1. Tayla Jones 47
2. Kirstie Mckinnon 41
3. Jess Gardiner 40
4. Jemma Wilson 38
5. Emelie Karlsson 36
6. Rihanna Buchanan 30
7. Amber Lock 28
8. Melissa Bruce 25
9. Tamara Gray 13
10. Irene Vasilas 12
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Veterans Class
1. Adrian Harry 50
2. Damian Smith 42
3. Owen Lock 36
4. Lee Pearsall 31
5. Mark Spencer 26
6. Kirk Hutton 22
7. Lindsay Bond 20
8. Miller Hinds 16
9. Scott Campbell 14
10. Barry Morris 14
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Expert Class
1. Ruben Chadwick 50
2. Chris Thomas 40
3. Sam Rummery 36
4. Jai Wedlock 36
5. Jayden Grimshaw 32
6. Skipp Rothe 27
7. Stuart Holt 26
8. Jesse Daley 22
9. Cameron Macdonald 18
10. Ryan Murrell 15
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Clubman Class
1. Anthony Solar 45
2. Kirby Crick 40
3. Jason Roods 30
4. James Boyle 25
5. Jeremy Sims 22
6. David Hogan 21
7. Adam Baker 20
8. Trent Tucci 18
9. Jack Orgill 16
10. Jack Newton 15
Insure My Ride Enduro-X Nationals Junior Class
1. Fraser Higlett 50
2. Luke Strauch 42
3. Jack Matthews 40
4. Jack Williams 36
5. Deon Javni 31
6. Ben Kearns 18
7. Harrison Teed 14
8. Jaymie Warr 13