Chris Hollis has won the 2014 Enduro X Championship after the third and final round of the off road series was ran at Calder Park Raceway, in Melbourne over the weekend.
After winning the opening two rounds, Hollis came into the final round in a strong position with a 14 point lead over his nearest rival, Toby Price. He needed nothing more than a consistent day of intelligent racing to secure his first series win for CDR Yamaha but was still determined to put in 100% in front of a good sized crowd gathered at the venue.
He managed to seal the deal with fourth overall for the night finishing 9-3-4 in the three final system, but it wasn’t without some tension along the way. He crashed twice in the opening final, hurting his wrist and had to salvage what points he could. From that point on, the tactics changed it and was a matter of managing the injury and also the points to get the job done
With gritted teeth, Hollis pulled out a third and fourth place in the final two legs and took the championship win.
“It wasn’t an easy night,” a relieved Hollis said at the end of racing. “I hurt my wrist pretty bad in the first race and I didn’t have the strength in it to race at 100% so I just had to do what I could. I then broke a clutch lever in a race as well, so that was another challenge I had to face but thankfully we managed to get through it.
“Winning the Enduro X is a great way to start the year and the perfect start to my relationship with CDR Yamaha. The team has been unreal and the atmosphere under the tent is so good. Iâ€™m really enjoying working with a great bunch of guys,” Hollis ends.
Team mate Daniel Milner managed to lock down third in the championship after finishing fifth at the final round. Milner completed the three finals with 3-8-5 results and with it took the final spot on the championship podium.
Milner finished second, sixth and fifth in each round in a consistent start to the year.
“The Enduro X series has been a great way to start the year,” states team owner, Craig Dack. “Chris has down an amazing job and has been a great addition to the team. He is a smart racer who knows how to get results and he deserved to win this championship.
“Daniel did well for third as this style of racing is new to him. He comes from a pure off road back ground so lining up behind start gates, passing riders and general race craft are new to him but he is learning more each time and getting better with this kind of racing.
“A huge thank you to our team staff and sponsors who have already put in a huge effort to get us up and running so early and we will now move focus to the AORC starting in March,” Dack ends.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team guest rider Mike Brown gave his Australian team a special farewell present at today’s round of the KTM Enduro-X Nationals at Melbourne’s Calder Park Raceway, with a spectacular round win in the finale
Brown, who flies back to the US tomorrow, qualified fastest for the round then powered his Husqvarna FC350 to a race victory and two second placings in the finals to win from Beau Ralston and KTM’s Toby Price, the result giving him an impressive sixth in the championship despite riding just two of the three rounds.
The new look Husqvarna team now has two wins and a second placing from three races, after Byron Bay ace and reigning Queensland enduro champion Lachlan Stanford gave the team its first ever win last weekend in the Husqvarna Queensland Sprint series opener near Gympie.
Husqvarna enduro racing team manager Glenn Kearney was a happy camper, both with his team’s victory and his own sixth place finish in a one-off outing aboard the FE250.
Similarly-mounted Scott Keegan however, had a day he’d rather forget, and was forced out of the finals by a pinched nerve in his back.
Kearney, Keegan, and Stanford will now turn their attention to the upcoming AORC championship.
Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team Manager Glenn Kearney (FE250) 4-5-7, Championship 9th: “I had a good day; qualified fourth fastest, got fourth and fifth in the first two heats, but then took a dumb line in the last one and drenched myself in the mud. I felt good on the bike though, and never fell once today. This track was less technical than Parramatta, and drier too – it was a cool layout – up and down this man-made mountain with heaps of fans which was great.
Brownie really flew the flag for us today, and with the new Husqvarna team taking a second and two wins from our first three races, we’re off to a flying start which is fantastic.
Scotty soldiered on today but his back got the better of him in the end.
I enjoyed racing the 250, even though I only had 15 minutes on it on Wednesday afternoon after spending the last couple of months on the 500. It goes to show with the new Husqvarnas it doesn’t matter what size you’re on, they’re all very competitive and easy to ride.”
Mike Brown (FC350) 1, 2,2 Championship 6th “It was a good day today. I got some good starts, but crashed twice in the second race when they watered the track and didn’t tell us, but that’s racing, that happens sometimes. Then in the third, me and Toby got good starts but I knew what I had to do to win so I didn’t have to take too many extra risks.
These have been among the best Enduro-X tracks I’ve ridden. Parramatta was good while it was dry, but after the rain I wasn’t patient enough and tried to get on it too hard, and today was great. This track had some elevation and a bit of everything – technical trialsy sections but also the more wide open sections that you can race on. Being an ex-motocrosser that was good for me.
I’m really happy I was able to win today for Husqvarna. It’s been a great vacation, we’ve ridden lots of tracks and been around lots of really good guys. I’ve had more fun being here than I have in a long time so I’m very grateful to Jeff Leisk and the guys for getting me over here, and Glenn for looking after my bike.
Scott Keegan (FE250) Championship 11th: “I had a shocking day. I had a freak thing in the first heat where I managed to throw a chain link and had to qualify through the LCQ. I made it through to finals but I just crashed too much today, and finally in the second race I was trying to work the bike through some rocks when I tweaked my back. It’s been a bit dicky for the last few weeks and I’ve had massage and dry needling on it a couple of times this week, but something tightened up and this pain when shooting from my hips down. I just rode the second race out and called it a day.
I’ll be back to the physio this week, and will keep working to be at 100% for the first round of the AORC.”
KTM Enduro Racing Team rider Toby Price closed to within just six points of eventual winner Chris Hollis, but was unable to realise his ambition of winning the inaugural KTM Enduro-X Nationals championship, as the series concluded at Melbourne’s Calder Park.
The Maitland hero finished third today behind American Husqvarna ace Mike Brown and motocrosser Beau Ralston, and concluded the brand-new KTM-backed series with a determined race three win over Brown.
In the chance nature of enduro-X racing, Price had a window of opportunity in the first final when championship leader Hollis fell to dead last, but as the KTM rider attempted to pass for second he became wedged in a rock obstacle, and as the field rode by he could only salvage seventh place.
He finished fourth in the second final, then capitalised on a great start in the third, holding the formidable talent of Brown at bay for several laps while he secured the race victory.
Peter Boyle had a day he’d rather forget with crashes and other dramas. His scores of DNF-9-11 saw him slip one place in the championship standings to fifth overall.
The team now turns its attention to the upcoming AORC championship.
KTM Enduro Racing Team Manager Brad Williscroft: “It’s always the luck of the draw in this stuff, and we got our chance at one point. Toby was riding really good but got stuck trying to maximise points when Chris went down and that was pretty much it. We needed to gain as many points as possible, but we only managed to gain two at that point.
“Boyley had a shocker today; he’d be running really well but then just crash. I’m sure it dented his confidence a little bit, but it was a pretty techy track which wasn’t just catching out the lesser riders, it was catching out the best riders as well. The main thing for him is to put the Enduro-X series behind him, and focus on the new series which is AORC.Once again that consistency was the thing that wins in this sort of racing.
“Browny was just a cut above today. Toby, if he was up there off the start could have been first or second all day, but for the little dramas you get when you’re racing bar-to-bar over logs and truck tyres and having people run into you.
“We’ll turn our focus to the AORC now, so bring on the outdoors.”
Toby Price KTM350SX-F Championship 2nd: “That was all I could come up with today, I had a chance at one stage but I probably tried to rush it a little bit and blew it, but that’s racing, that’s how it goes. I sound like a broken record, I can see that first race win coming but it just hasn’t happened yet. It was a great series, and I really enjoyed it. Dave and Colin did another amazing job and it’s good to see those guys putting in the hard work. If they keep up the effort, something big’s going to come of it.
“I can’t wait for the AORC to kick off because I know I’m good and healthy and ready to keep putting the effort in until I get that first race win.
“Next I’m heading out to Finke for some testing and a bit of promotional work with the desert racing team and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a big contrast going from slow technical riding to hanging on for grim life – I can’t wait.”
Peter Boyle KTM250EXC-F Championship 5th: “With going over the bars three times, this weekend was a bad one.
“I need to go home and take a day off. We’ll head out in the next two weeks and do a bunch of testing before the AORC and I’ll try to put this behind me and start fresh. Maybe I just put more pressure on myself than I needed to here. I know I can do it, but I just found myself hesitating at the wrong times.
“Whatever, I’m looking forward to getting back into the bush now.”
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