Enduro-X Nationals 2015 – Calder – Image Gallery A

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Enduro-X Nationals 2015 – Calder – Image Gallery A

Mike Brown wraps up Enduro-X Nationals at Calder
Words and Photos by Russell Colvin

Browny has come here and smoked us, winning nine out of the ten races,” were the words from four-times Australian Off-Road Champion Toby Price after the 2015 Enduro-X Nationals season wrapped up at Calder Park on Saturday night.

Just like a fortnight ago in Sydney, the forty-two-year-old Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider stamped his authority by winning all three races. Not only that, Brown also took all three holeshots to underline his flag-to-flag dominance of the event. 

It’s been a good series,” Brown told MCNews.com.au. “These Australian riders are riding well which sure does keep me on my toes.”

Before Brown made the trip down under for the grand finale, he finished in sixth place at the opening round of the GEICO EnduroCross AMA Championship at Daytona Beach. Brown was leading that race until he came unstuck in the rocks, however he did believe that he was fast enough to win the race. So how much confidence did that give Brown coming into Calder Park? “I wasn’t down on that much confidence. However I did expected myself to have better results. At least I felt that I rode well at the opening round there, but the results were not there, but I always take it race-by-race,” explained Brown.

MCNews.com.au also asked the question that if Team Owner Glenn Kearney offered him another ride to race in next year’s Enduro-X Nationals, would he return to Oz to have another crack at the series. Brown replied with; “I don’t know, we’ll see. If I can feel that I can ride well and if I’m healthy and if it’s worthwhile me coming over, for sure, yeah I would love to have another go!”

Kearney on Brown. “He was pretty impressive, wasn’t he…? He sure did show clear dominance. It was great for Husqvarna to have him board and to show what the FE350 is capable of.”

Eleven points down on Brown in second position, was KTM Off-Road Racing Team’s pilot Toby Price. The four times Outright Australian Off-Road Champion was the pace-setter in the top-ten shootout, stopping the clock with a 1min21.551, 0.944 faster than Brown. Come race time, Price ended up with a 3-2-2 result. The closest Price got to Brown was in race two where the finishing margin was just 7.152sec… 

The only man to stop Brown from winning all ten races in the series was Price himself, which came in the final moto at the opening round at Archerfield Speedway on the first weekend of February. “I’m pretty stoked to be able to say I was the only person to beat him in one of the races,” Price said with a cheeky grin. “To do that is pretty cool.”

‘Pricey’ also explained about how the level of competition has been picked up a lot. “Josh [Green] is riding really well, all of the KTM boys, Tye [Simmonds] and Daniel [Sanders] are riding extremely well.”

With the Enduro-X Nationals wrapped up we are now on the eve of the opening round of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship. The AORC series ignites into action this coming Saturday at Kilkivan, Queensland. How much confidence does a second place and a third placing in the series give Price heading into this weekend? “A fair bit if confidence for sure. I know my speed is there and my fitness is starting to come back now. It’s just been a bit of a long road trying to recover from the Dakar. Most importantly we have the KTM 500 EXC setup really well and were looking forward to getting back on the big bike and into some fast tracks. It’s going to be a tough series this year, it definitely won’t be easy as everyone is lifting their game and making it tough.”

Coming home third, two points behind Price, but more importantly wrapping up second in the championship was twenty-four-year-old Josh Green. Green was the only man to get even a sniff of Brown in race one when he finished 1.461sec in his wake. Green finished off the night with two third place finishes behind Price.

After watching Green in these last few rounds, there seems to be a different ‘Josh Green’ at the helm of the #99 Active8 Yamalube Yamaha WR250. Could 2015 be the year that sees Green wrap up the AORC crown? What seems to be a much more ‘matured’ Green this year, he sure does look as if he is riding with his head. Why? In the final moto when the heaven’s opened up, as much as Green wanted to have a ding-dong battle with Price, he let him go when Price got by, purely because Green was thinking about the championship than a second place finish. “I wanted to fight with Toby in the last race,” said Green. “However I had the championship to think about and because it was really slippery I just let him go and rode my own race. I had nothing to prove. I can’t thank the whole Active8 Yamalube Yamaha ThreeSixMotorsports team enough for all their efforts; all the boys have done a great job with supplying me a great motorcycle.”

“There were a lot of things that could have catched you out, even if you were the best rider. You just have to look at the names that went down during the night. Mike crashed; I crashed in the log pit. The rock sections were really gnarly especially after that bit of rain which made everything super slippery. So it definitely was harder than the other round’s, that’s for sure.”

CDR-Yamaha’s Tom McCormack displayed why motorcycle racers are tough as nails. After taking a tumble in the top-ten shootout in the log pit which sent him over the bars McCormack sustained a broken left wrist. The man from Byron Bay, NSW, still saddled up to take part in all three races to finish with a 5-4-9 result to finish fourth overall in the 2015 Enduro-X Nationals Championship.

After a disappointing round two at Sydney Dragway, McCormack was “pumped” to claim fourth overall, and who could blame him… The big question that hangs over his injury is will he be fit enough to race this weekend at Kilkivan. “I’m not ruling out next weekend just yet,” said McCormack. 

One point behind McCormack was Victorian’s Mitch Harper (Motul Pirelli Sherco Off-Road Team). Harper, walked away with a 4-12-4 result, but what makes it even more impressive was the fact that he pretty much had no rear brakes in the final two motos.

Tye Simmonds (KTM Off-Road Racing Team), runner-up to Brown in Sydney a fortnight ago, finished two-points off Harper. Simmonds explained that his night was a frustrating night but is happy that he came out the other side with no forms of injury and is now looking forward to kick starting his AORC debut this weekend.

Simmonds managed to score good starts in the heats, however in the first two finals his starts were well below average. “I wasn’t far off last, I pretty much spun off the start and got shocking starts,” explained Simmonds. “I was trying to get through the pack which was causing arm pump up.”

Anyway for my first Enduro-X series, it was pretty crazy. Obviously my results were a bit up-and-down and not where we wanted. I’m just looking forward to getting the AORC series underway this weekend.”

Three-points behind in seventh was the ever likeable Dylan Rees.

In eighth spot was the third of the KTM Off-Road Racing Team riders, Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders. It’s fair to say, Sanders was not his usual ‘happy-go-lucky’ self when MCNews.com.au approached him for a quick chin wag. “It was shocking night,” said the twenty-year-old. Sanders did have good speed in the heats, however he could not pin point what went wrong in the mains. “I wasn’t able to get good starts and it was quite messy. I really don’t know what happened. Karma has hit me bad for some reason. I just have to move on I suppose, I can’t do anything about it. It’s a massive let down to everyone who came out tonight to support me.

Sanders’s disappointment at Calder has given him a lot of motivation for this weekend’s AORC round. “I just want to come out next weekend and hopefully beat the best this weekend at the Aussie enduro championship.”

Completing the top ten was Lachlan Stanford. Ahead of this year’s AORC championship, Stanford is eyeing off a championship win in the E2 class which he believes is possible and is setting his goal on a top three in the outright championship. “I think I’m capable. I’m just looking forward to getting into the championship,” said Stanford, who finished seventh outright in 2014.

A round win for Kirstie Mckinnon in the Women’s class was not enough to stop Yamaha’s Tayla Jones from clinching her first major title.

It was kind of like the old story of the tortoise and the hare in the main final for the Women’s. While the likes of Jones and Jess Gardiner were the outright fastest riders; when it came show time it was Jones, Gardiner, Emelie Karlsson who shared their bad luck with hitting the ground, while Mckinnon held her nerve and kept the KTM Freeride up on two wheels to come home in first place, 1:45.588 ahead of her mate, Jess Gardiner (Ballards Motorex Off-Road Team) with Jones a further 2:23.885 down.

I had a great night,” beamed McKinnon. “The KTM Freeride is the perfect bike for this format of racing. I rode smart and consistent all night, kept it on two wheels and managed to come away with the win! I’m Very happy, and can’t thank the FAIR Riders team enough for all their help throughout the series.”

For Gardiner, well, it was a “bummer of a night.” The twenty-one year old explained that she rode the best that she did in all series. In fact in the second practice, Gardiner had everything down pat and on top of that, she managed to holeshot two out of three race starts.

In the first heat she came off hard while leading which resulted her in breaking her clutch lever and her seat even came off as well.

Apart from that mishap, I still felt confident,” said Gardiner. “I knew what I had to do. I got another cracking start in the second heat and I was pulling away until I had another big off which shook me up a bit.”

In the main event, once again Gardiner stole the holeshot but unfortunately due to the track being watered before the final, it made really slick. “Everything was really slippery out there. I couldn’t even ride up the hill because I was wheel spinning and I fell off over. Kirstie just tractored up the hill like there was no tomorrow.”

After catching back up, she again hit the deck when she was right behind Mckinnon. To make things worse, she fell off again. This resulted in her clutch getting stuck in her hand guard. To add to Gardiner’s dramas, Rihanna Buchanan went down on the last lap over the tire jump, which is a blind jump, and Gardiner simply had no idea that Buchanan went down. Once Gardiner went over the jump, down she went..

It was just one of those nights. However I felt that I was riding the best that I have in the whole series,” added the three-times AORC champion.

For the new champion, Jones told MCNews.com.au; “I am pumped to wrap up the Australian Enduro-X title. I struggled a lot on the Calder Park course and couldn’t seem to stay on two wheels. However I did enough in the final to win the championship so I couldn’t be happier. My Yamaha 250 FX was great all series and I simply can’t wait for the AORC to start this coming weekend.”

Bronwyn Aplin Lock rounded out the top five respectfully.

Other class winners included Tom Tuckerman (Expert), Billy Newton (Clubman), Adrian Harry (Veterans), and Fraser Higlett taking out the juniors from Deon Javni and Ben Kearns.

Round three Pro Class Results

  1. Mike Brown 75
  2. Toby Price 64
  3. Josh Green 62
  4. Tom Mccormack 46
  5. Mitch Harper 45
  6. Tye Simmonds 43
  7. Dylan Rees 40
  8. Peter Boyle 37
  9. Daniel Sanders 36
  10. Lachlan Stanford 34
  11. Rob Nowack 33
  12. Stefan Granquist 32
  13. Tom Mason 28
  14. Chris Perry 25

Pro Class Overall Championship

  1. Mike Brown 222
  2. Josh Green 180
  3. Toby Price 173
  4. Tye Simmonds 141
  5. Daniel Sanders 133
  6. Mitch Harper 132
  7. Stefan Granquist 119
  8. Dylan Rees 112
  9. Peter Boyle 110
  10. Lachlan Stanford 100

Round three Women’s Results

  1. Kirstie Mckinnon
  2. Jess Gardiner
  3. Tayla Jones
  4. Bronwyn Aplin
  5. Amber Lock
  6. Emelie Karlsson
  7. Jemma Wilson
  8. Irene Vasilas
  9. Melissa Bruce
  10. Rihanna Buchanan

Women’s Championship Overall

  1. Tayla Jones 67
  2. Kirstie Mckinnon 66
  3. Jess Gardiner 62
  4. Jemma Wilson 52
  5. Emelie Karlsson 51
  6. Amber Lock 44
  7. Rihanna Buchanan 41
  8. Melissa Bruce 37
  9. Irene Vasilas 25
  10. Bronwyn Aplin 18

Round three Expert Results

  1. Tom Tuckerman
  2. Sam Rummery
  3. Brad Tuckerman
  4. Jesse Daley
  5. Jayden Grimshaw
  6. Sean Holmes
  7. Ruben Chadwick
  8. Brandon Raymond
  9. Michael Byrne
  10. Jai Wedlock

Expert Championship Overall

  1. Ruben Chadwick 64
  2. Sam Rummery 58
  3. Chris Thomas 50
  4. Jayden Grimshaw 48
  5. Jesse Daley 40
  6. Jai Wedlock 36
  7. Tom Tuckerman 35
  8. Skipp Rothe 35
  9. Brad Tuckerman 28
  10. Stuart Holt 26

Round three Clubman Results

  1. Billy Newton
  2. James Boyle
  3. Anthony Solar
  4. Simon Cormack
  5. Trent Tucci
  6. David Hogan
  7. Kirby Crick
  8. Tom Rayner
  9. Owen Williams
  10. Jacob Whittle

Clubman Championship Overall

  1. Anthony Solar 65
  2. Kirby Crick 54
  3. James Boyle 47
  4. Billy Newton 38
  5. David Hogan 36
  6. Trent Tucci 34
  7. Jason Roods 30
  8. Jeremy Sims 22
  9. Dylan Lancaster 22
  10. Adam Baker 20

Round three Veterans Results

  1. Adrian Harry
  2. Don Owen
  3. Owen Lock
  4. Miller Hinds
  5. Lee Pearsall
  6. Craig Byrne
  7. Dean Minichiello
  8. Mark Spencer
  9. Angus Boud

Veterans Championship Overall

  1. Adrian Harry 75
  2. Lee Pearsall 47
  3. Damian Smith 42
  4. Mark Spencer 39
  5. Owen Lock 36
  6. Miller Hinds 34
  7. Craig Byrne 27
  8. Dean Minichiello 24
  9. Don Owen 22
  10. Kirk Hutton 22

Round three Junior Results

  1. Fraser Higlett
  2. Deon Javni
  3. Ben Kearns
  4. Luke Strauch
  5. Harry Nadenbousch
  6. Jack Matthews
  7. Jake Brennan
  8. Cooper Van Vliet

Juniors Championship Overall

  1. Fraser Higlett 75
  2. Luke Strauch 60
  3. Jack Matthews 55
  4. Deon Javni 53
  5. Jack Williams 36