KTM Motocross Racing Team rider Kirk Gibbs will head into this weekend’s fourth round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals series at Murray Bridge hoping for his best showing yet, on what will be home soil for the Mt Gambier native.
Finishing with a share of the top points at last month’s round in Wonthaggi has helped reinforce Gibbs’ belief that a sole round win is only a matter of time, though he is quick to admit that in what is a vintage year for Australian motocross, he is one of five or six riders capable of winning on any given day.
After three of ten rounds, Gibbs has executed the textbook definition of a solid start, and sits second in the MX Nats championship, 22 points in arrears of defending champion Matt Moss.
Sunday will be the start of a three-week tour of the great South West for Gibbs, who will race Murray Bridge and Wanneroo nationals, as well as the classic Manjimup event across consecutive weekends.
Rob Twyerould: “Murray Bridge is a fantastic track and generally we’ve been very successful there, so we’re looking forward to it. Kirk has based himself in Adelaide since Wonthaggi, so he’s been riding down there and finding tracks that are suitable and I think he’s ready and raring to go. He rode the SA titles the weekend before last and just blitzed the field there, so I think he’s really looking forward to it.
The best thing is his starts. We’ve looked back through the data – because we data-log everything on the bike when he’s racing – and we noticed that he sort of changed his technique at Wonthaggi. So we’ve spoken about that and just fine-tuned his technique.We get three weeks in a row now with Wanneroo and Manjimup so I think that’ll work in his favour.”
Kirk Gibbs (KTM 450 SX-F) – “I’ve been riding heaps, there’s a lot of sandy tracks down here so it’s been good preparation to get a lot of sand riding in before Wanneroo and Murray Bridge. There are a handful of us guys who can win a race at any time, as well as a couple of others who are going to get better through the season and start challenging us towards the end. I think if I get good starts I can challenge for race wins on any track so I hope to get up the pointy end in the early stages at Murray Bridge. I’m trying to be as consistent as I can, and just take race wins when I can get myself in a position to fight for them.”
In MX2 Racing, CMR Red Bull Motorex KTM rider Hamish Harwood comes into the round third overall behind fellow New Zealander Kayne Lamont and Luke Clout. Instant Security KTM rider Brenden Harrison and Tune Tech KTM’s Kale Makeham currently hold fourth and fifth in the championship. With the couple of soft tracks coming up likely to suit all three two-stroke riders, all are hoping to amass solid points over the next two rounds.
Hamish Harwood (KTM 250 SX) – “I’ve doing a fair bit of sand riding ready for Murray Bridge and Perth, and I’m feeling good apart from the cold I picked up the other day but we’ll try to get rid of that. The only time I’ve been to Murray Bridge was when I won the 2011 junior titles, and I really liked it. It came up real rough and I like a rough track so I’m just hoping for some good starts on the day.”
In MXD racing Bolton’s KTM-mounted Jack Simpson has used two consecutive round wins to move into the lead of the hotly-contested MX Development championship, the Victorian holding a hair’s-breadth lead of just three points as the Under 19s really begin to hit their straps.
Monster Energy MX1 standings after 3 of 10 rounds: 1. Matt Moss 238, 2. Kirk Gibbs 216, 3. Adam Monea 202, 4. Jake Moss 186, 5. Billy Mackenzie 181, 6. Kade Mosig 169, 7. Rhys Carter 168, 8. Hayden Mellross 159, 9. Jay Marmont 156, 10. Jacob Wright 142
Motul MX2 championship standings: 1. Luke Clout 207, 2. Kayne Lamont 194, 3. Hamish Harwood 192, 4. Brenden Harrison 180, 5. Kale Makeham 167, 6. Jay Wilson 149, 7. Errol Willis 140, 8. Wade Hunter 140, 9. Luke Arbon 137, 10. Ryan Marmont 135
Pirelli MXD championship standings: 1. Jack Simpson 219, 2. Jed Beaton 216, 3. Egan Mastin 215, 4. Nathan Crawford 195, 5. Wilson Todd 170, 6. Jayden Rykers 153, 7. Kyle Webster 146, 8. Brock McLeary 138, 9. Wayde Carter 132, 10. Jesse McNally 128