CDR Yamaha Off Road’s newest recruit, Chris Hollis, has made it back to back wins to start the 2014 season after claiming round two of the Australian Enduro X championship, held in Sydney over the weekend.
Hollis entered the round full of confidence after winning the opening round two weeks ago but with increased competition from US import Mike Brown, and increasingly wet and slippery conditions as constant drizzle fell during the night, Hollis still managed to put together a good nights’ racing and leads the championship with one round to go.
Despite a crash in the qualifying events, Hollis regathered well and comfortably made it through to the three race final. Like round one, he again combined his years of experience to post three good results and showed impressive speed when needed.
He posted 2-1-2 results in the finals to finish on 69 points, four ahead of his nearest rival on the night, Toby Price, and 11 clear of Mike Brown who was third on the night. He now holds down a 13 point lead in the championship over Price with one round remaining.
“What a crazy night,” Hollis recalls. “It had been threatening to rain all day then it starts when the shootout is lining up. The rain certainly made the course tricky and meant that all out aggression wasn’t the way to get around.
“I just focused on getting good starts to keep clear vision and making no mistakes as you can never go as fast after you have crashed in the mud. I made plenty of mistakes but was able to keep it on two wheels and finish in a good place every race.
“The YZ250F was again perfect in these conditions and I really enjoy riding the 205F in these Enduro X events. We have one round to go in Melbourne at the end of the month so myself and the CDR Yamaha team will keep working as anything can happen at these races,” Hollis ends.
Team Mate Daniel Milner had a rare off night and finished in sixth place with 6-5-5 finishes. He fell in each of the three legs and then pushed himself to the limit in an attempt to get back up to the front. He completed the night feeling flat, run down and muddy but vows to bounce back at the final round.
“Today didn’t go so well for me as I kept crashing in the slippery conditions and then I was feeling pretty average by the final race,” Milner explains. But, there are still things I can take out of the night both in regarding to riding conditions like this and also how my body is feeling.
“We have two weeks until the final round so I have time to get back to 100% and finish the championship off strongly,” he said.
The final round takes place in Melbourne in a fortnight’s time and is a home town race for the Victorian based CDR Yamaha team. CDR Yamaha team owner Craig Dack would like nothing more to bring home another championship in a local race for his team.
“Chris raced extremely well tonight and has put himself in a very strong position in the championship,” Dack mentions. “He is a thinking man’s off road rider and accesses the situation quickly and makes the best of it. It’s not over yet so we will maintain the same focus for the final round and give ourselves every chance.
“Poor Dan just had a tough night. I can never question his commitment to trying to go fast and win every race but tonight just wasn’t his night. A few days rest will do him good and he will back out for redemption at the final round.”
The brand-new Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team has tasted success upon its first outing, with guest rider Mike Brown taking a hard-earned podium at the second round of the KTM Enduro-X Nationals at Parramatta, which was won by Chris Hollis from Toby Price.
Afternoon showers made the track’s combination of speedway clay, boulders and logs into an extremely treacherous proposition for competitors, but the Husqvarna team riders achieved maximum penetration, qualifying all four Pro class entries through to the 12-rider final.
Brown justified his pre-race billing with a hard fought victory in the evening’s first of three finals, before adding sixth and fourth placings in the worsening conditions, to be fifth in the nationals standings with a round yet to run.
The ink may have been still drying on their jerseys, but an absolute minimum of setup time didn’t stop the local Husqvarna riders contributing their bit to the worldwide re-launch of the most iconic brand in dirt bike racing, with Scott Keegan eighth on the evening on his little FE250.
Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE 501) and Lachy Stanford (FE 450) found themselves a little oversupplied in the horsepower department for such incredibly greasy conditions and were ninth and 10th respectively, while Damian Smith was sixth in the Vets Over-35 class.
The KTM Enduro-X series concludes at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway on Sunday March 2.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE501) 9th: “It was a good night for Husky, as a first team outing. All four of us made it into the final, so that was cool, to see four of the twelve finalists on a Husky – that’s pretty good. Browny was our best, he was a standout. Really fast in the early heats, and then once it got wet the other boys had a little bit for him and he had a couple of crashes. Both Scotty and Lachy did really well with the limited time on the bikes and no real setup for the race. I think we did exceptionally well considering, and it was good to see Browny on the podium for Husky’s first time out in Australia.”
Mike Brown (FC350) 3rd: “The track was nice, just a little slippery when the rain came in, then I tried a little too hard I think, and made a few more mistakes than it was worth! But it was a good fun night on a great track, and it was good racing with the guys. The track was awesome, more like an X-games track you know, a little faster, not so many obstacles and a bit more spread apart. I enjoyed the competition, shoot yeah, everyone was super good, especially when the rain came down, the track slowed down and you had to show a bit more throttle control – which I wasn’t sometimes. It was good to get Husky up there; that was the main focus. The goal was to win and that we’ll shoot for that next time. I’m super-excited – I had a really good time and looking forward to the next one.”
Scott Keegan (FE250) 8th: “It wasn’t too bad a shakedown and first outing for the team I guess, with everything coming together for us so late. I went through the heats alright, everyone was crashing because it was hard pack, which had been really tacky early but when it got wetter it was like ice. I had a couple of big crashes but went through tenth or so.
In the finals it was so slippery I just couldn’t get the jump off the line so I was just sort of creeping to the inside and coming out the best I could. In the last I was feeling a bit better and starting to loosen up and my bike was feeling nice and small, nice and light to throw around. ”
Lachy Stanford (FE450) 10th: “The night started off really good in my heat races, I was third fastest behind Brown and Price. I was really comfortable but then after the rain the track got really gnarly and I couldn’t put laps together in the three mains. It was my first race this season and I’ve been off the bike for a while now and haven’t done much riding so that got to me a little bit. The event was awesome though, I had heaps of fun and really enjoyed my first enduro-X ever. I think the promoter’s done a really good job. I’m looking forward to riding the next one Melbourne with two more weeks to get used to the bike.”
KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Toby Price climbed a step closer to his first win since spending most of season 2013 sidelined with injury, when he finished second at Round 2 of the KTM Enduro-X nationals at Parramatta Speedway tonight.
Chris Hollis won the event ahead of Price and Husqvarna’s Mike Brown, Beau Ralston and Price’s KTM Enduro Racing teammate Peter Boyle.
Price and his KTM350SX-F were again a pairing to watch on the evening, winning two heats before setting the fastest lap time in official qualifying on a slick, rain affected track that caused many riders a great deal of difficulty.
As the rain continued however, Price’s drive off the line began to suffer and again he was forced to make his way forward to challenge the front-runners, taking two third places before breaking through for his first win of the series in the last race.
The result sees Price overhaul Yamaha’s Daniel Milner for second place in the series with team mate Peter Boyle maintaining fourth place, courtesy of a fifth-place overall finish in Sydney.
KTM250EXC-F rider Boyle came away with 4,7,results from the first two finals, before holding off a fast finishing Mike Brown to take a well deserved third in the final race
KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager Brad Williscroft: “A bit of an up-and-down night but definitely an improvement on the first round with Toby riding a little better and doing a great job to win that last one, but both boys just struggled to put together three results. A couple of things didn’t go right for Pete tonight but his first and last races, particularly the last where he held off Browny and finished third, were quite good in conditions that were pretty trying. The rain made it very slippery for a lot guys but we still came away with good points and Toby moved into second in the championship. As we saw tonight anything can happen and we’ve got one more to go so we’ll focus on that and see how we go. Both our boys have got good speed; it’s just about good starts and staying consistent – that’s the key to it.”
Toby Price Q1, 2nd : “It’s a bit frustrating tonight. I got a couple of heat wins and was the fastest guy in the qualifier but then there was a light shower and compared to my bigger bike the 250 guys seemed to get a bit more drive off the start. It’s frustrating because I’m putting in the hard work, but we know it’s just around the corner. It’s a little bit hard to get a championship win now, but we’ll see how the last round plays out.
We can’t really be too bummed, we’re doing the best we can and I’m stoked with my riding, but I just don’t want to be there [not winning] anymore and I hate letting KTM down and seeing the boys disappointed. It’s frustrating because I didn’t really do too much wrong.”
Peter Boyle Q6, 5th : “Tonight felt good and bad for me. I know I can do it but the luck is letting me down a little bit at the moment. My starts were awesome tonight and the bike was fantastic, I just got caught up with a few people, and couple of times in the rocks, including in my qualifying run so that put me back a bit. I’ve just got to relax a bit more and go for it.”
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