MX1 Overall Results:
1. Ben Townley 75
2. Josh Coppins 62
3. Todd Waters 54MX_Pack_300x250p
4. Jake Moss 46
5. Brad Anderson 44
6. Lawson Bopping 41
7. Jay Marmont 41
8. Cody Cooper 38
9. Tye Simmonds 38
10. Billy Mackenzie 34

MX2 Overall Results:
1. Kirk Gibbs 63
2. Ford Dale 62
3. Luke Styke 57
4. Josh Cachia 56
5. Adam Monea 50
6. Justin McDonald 48
7. Kade Mosig 44
8. Cheyne Boyd 35
9. Lewis Woods 35
10. Brock Winston 31

MXD Overall Results:
1. Dylan Long 72
2. Kayne Lamont 58
3. Sam Martin 49
4. Jay Wilson 48
5. Dylan Leary 47
6. Kale Makeham 45
7. Mitch Norris 43
8. Dion Picard 41
9. Mitch Budd 38
10. Joel Milesevic 34

—  Townley, Gibbs and Long take out Conondale opener 

Round 1 Gallery

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New Zealand’s former world champion Ben Townley took a clean sweep in the opening round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, at Conondale in Queensland today.

The Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing rider was relentless in his Australian motocross debut, winning all three races contested during the opener in what may be his lone appearance of the season. Townley will race for Australian Chad Reed’s TwoTwo Motorsports team in American Motocross this year.

In motos one and two to commence the round it was all Townley, dominating from the front and asserting his authority early in the series before the lunch break. Those motos were back-to-back, making for an exciting start to the 2012 series.

Townley won moto one from teammate Brad Anderson, with CDR Yamaha’s Josh Coppins third. Completing the top five were Aussie rising stars Todd Waters (Motul Pirelli Suzuki) and Coppins’ teammate Lawson Bopping.

The second moto was again a Townley show, winning over Anderson and Coppins in a tight battle between those two, while Waters was again impressive in fourth and privateer Jake Moss (Campbell Mining/TLD/Maxima Honda) was fifth.

Moto three was the longer of the three in a more traditional length of around 30 minutes, and it was once again 27-year-old Townley who starred. He took victory after turning laps up to three seconds per lap faster than his rivals during the moto.

“It feels great to win and I felt that my form is as good as it’s ever been,” Townley said. “I’ve been doing a lot of winning in New Zealand, but coming here today was a step up from what I’ve been doing back there. I’m really thankful to the Carlton Dry Honda team and I feel I brought a lot to the team during the pre-season – it showed today.”

Behind Townley in the final moto was Coppins ahead of Scottish standout Billy Mackenzie (Monster Energy Kawasaki), Waters and Moss, who was exceptional as top privateer finisher in fourth overall for the round.

Coppins’ consistency sealed him the runner-up position overall, while a mechanical problem ruled Anderson out of the final moto and forced him to settle for fifth overall. His troubles handed the final podium placing to Queenslander Waters, who was top Aussie with another fourth in the final moto.

Defending four-time champion Jay Marmont endured a trying start to his career with Monster Energy Kawasaki, battling injury during the round and claiming seventh overall behind Bopping.

In the Motul MX2 class it was Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha Racing’s Kirk Gibbs who took out the overall, from Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing’s Ford Dale and Gibbs’ teammate Luke Styke.

Sunshine Coast local Dale won the opening two back-to-back motos convincingly in a spectacular start to his season, however a crash in the third and final moto hindered his assault for the round as he was forced to settle for ninth in the moto.

Gibbs finished second in moto one and fifth in the second, before a solid win in the third moto sealed him the overall victory by one point for the round. The South Australian was stoked with the result to open his account for the season.

“It’s a great way to start the season and consistency paid off today,” Gibbs said. “I have been working hard and the Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha Racing team has been as well. I couldn’t be happier and can’t wait to keep the ball rolling.”

The Pirelli MXD Under 19s category saw a number of newcomers rise to the occasion in Queensland, with Choice Motorsports KTM’s Dylan Long taking out the round win ahead of fellow KTM rider Kayne Lamont and GYTR Yamaha’s Sam Martin.

Moto one was taken out by Long before Kiwi contender Lamont upstaged him in the second, and then the third moto saw Long take the win to go on and capture the overall round win for the weekend.

“It’s awesome, the Choice Motorsports KTM team backed me all the way to get the win,” Long said. “I finished the day strong and that allowed me to take the overall win. I just want to finish as close to the front that I can the whole season and hopefully it will end up good.”

The series will continue at Coonabarabran, New South Wales, in a two-day event on 14-15 April.

– Carlton Dry Honda

Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing dominate MX Nationals season opener

Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing has opened its 2012 Monster Energy MX Nationals campaign in emphatic style with Ben Townley taking a clean sweep in the MX1 class and teammate Ford Dale finishing second overall in the MX2 class at Round 1 of the series at Conondale today.

Townley, who set the fastest qualifying time in the MX1 class, led home teammate Brad Anderson in the two, back-to-back 10 lap races.

The former world champion then annihilated the field in the final 14-lap moto. Townley held a 30 second lead at the halfway point and a small off into a tight right-hander failed to impact his charge, the New Zealander winning convincingly ahead of rival Josh Coppins.

Despite being struck down with a stomach bug prior to the first race, Townley said he was determined to perform at his best in his first ever MX Nationals event.

“It was great day,” Townley said. “I came here with the intention to win but with the AMA Motocross opportunity on the horizon it was in the back of my mind that I needed to play it safe.

“The Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team has worked very hard and tirelessly over the off season and it showed in our results today. They also made a number of sponsor changes, such as the switch to Pirelli tyres and those changes really did contribute to our success.

“The track was well prepared and really fast. I am not normally a fan of fast tracks but it developed some good ruts and had a few good technical sections.

“I was feeling really off colour before the first race so I just tried to battle through. I definitely feel better now and look forward to heading home to see my family,” Townley added.

Teammate Brad Anderson was on target to join Townley on the podium before his #60 Honda CRF450 developed a misfire during the final race, forcing him out of contention.

Despite taking no points from the final race, Anderson’s two; second place finishes gave him fifth overall for the round.

“The bike was fantastic in the first two races but it developed a miss in the final race which we think was caused by the fuel pump,” Anderson explained.

“It is a real shame for the team, they put so much work into this weekend and we were looking good for having all three riders on the podium.

“I rode a bit tight in the first race and got arm pump. With no rest between races it was still there during the second race.

“It was great to get the first big meeting of the year out of the way. I have good speed and I now know what I am up against and the areas that we need to work on,” Anderson concluded.

Ford Dale showed he is back to his best; the local rider and clear crowd favourite qualified first for the MX2 class and came from behind to win the two back-to-back 7-lap races.

In the final 14-lap contest Dale crashed heavily while sitting fourth. The Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing rider re-joined the race and worked his way back up the order to eighth.

Missing the top spot on the podium by just one point Dale said he was pleased to be taking a solid points haul into the next round.

“It was a really good day for me,” Dale said. “I set the fastest time in qualifying and came from behind to win the first two races.

“In the final race I was sitting fourth but crashed and to be honest I was a bit dazed for a couple of laps. I got it together and came back through to eighth.

“The bike was awesome, all the hard work the team and my mechanic Dan have put in really paid off today. I can’t wait for the next round.

With just two weeks until the next event, the Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing Team will have little time to reflect on their success at this weekends event which saw them take victory in five of the six races contested across the highly competitive MX1 and MX2 classes.

– Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha Report

The Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha duo of Kirk Gibbs and Luke Style kicked off their 2012 MX Nationals campaign in fine style taking a 1-3 result respectively in the MX2 class at the opening round of the championship held at Green Park Conondale.

Gibbs entered the championship opener under an injury cloud after he sustained a damaged wrist at a race in Victoria a fortnight ago. A mid-week hit out didn’t provide the reassurance Gibbs was looking for so the plan of attack on race day was to score some points and salvage what he could from the round.

With the help of the on track Race Safe team, he was not only able to compete, Gibbs exceeding all expectations winning the round on his YZ250F with 2-5-1 results in the three points paying races, one point clear of Ford Dale in second. It was a huge effort on the South Australian’s behalf as the high speed, rough and rugged Conondale track is punishing on riders and machines.

“My plan today was nothing more to land inside the top five every race and ensure I didn’t damage my wrist any more so to win today is amazing,” Gibbs said from the top of the podium. “The bike worked perfectly all day and with myself and Luke both on the podium it shows how hard everyone at Serco has been working.”

Luke Styke carded one of his best MX Nationals performance with a rock solid third place overall for the round. Styke was a front runner in all three motos and finished with 5-2-3 results in an impressive display.

Styke was able to out muscle and out ride some of his more fancied rivals and has now announced himself as a serious contender for the MX2 class in 2012.

“Third is a good result and I’m happy with it, but I still see a few things to work on. I need to pass riders faster and not get stuck behind them. I also need to be more aggressive on the opening lap and work hard to keep myself in contention early in the race. But, all up I will take third and try and improve on it at the next round,” Styke offers.

Team owner Gavin Eales was on hand to watch his riders turn in an eye catching performance and was full of praise at the end of the day.

“The pleasing thing from my end is that the team and the riders were solid right across the board. Both guys got pretty good starts, showed good speed and plenty of race fitness. Our bikes also looked to be working well and it was a real team effort and something that we really aimed for early in the season,” Eales said.

The MX Nationals now heads for Coonabarabran in New South Wales for round two on April 14/ 15. The Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha Racing Team will be looking for a repeat performance of the opening round and keep the momentum flowing.

– KTM Report

The JDR/KTM Factory Racing team kicked off the 2012 MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, at Conondale in Queensland on Sunday, 1 April.

Victorian rising star Josh Cachia was top-performing JDR team rider for the round on a 250 SX-F, finishing a solid fourth place overall after claiming 4-3-4 results in the trio of motos to commence the 10-round season.

“The day started off rough because I had one of the biggest crashes that I’ve had in a couple of years,” Cachia explained. “I went to America during the pre-season, felt good and then I came here and was doing nothing. But I got good starts all day, just rode solid and rode my own race. It wasn’t given to me, so considering how bad it could have been, it was a good day.”

Cachia’s teammate Ryan Marmont entered the round under an injury cloud after suffering a wrist injury during the pre-season, battling to 12th position overall. Full Force Racing KTM rider and Sunshine Coast local Brock Winston was 10th.

JDR/KTM’s lone MX1 contender Dan Reardon finished the round 11th overall aboard a 450 SX-F, claiming 9-10-11 finishes in a challenging start to the season. The Queenslander, who won the title in 2007, will be looking to turn his fortunes around when the series continues at Coonabarabran in a fortnight.

Another young Victorian took out the MXD category for Under 19s riders in Dylan Long, winning on debut for Choice Motorsports KTM, which was his first career victory in the nationals.

“It’s awesome, the Choice Motorsports KTM team backed me all the way to get the win,” Long said. “I finished the day strong and that allowed me to take the overall win. I just want to finish as close to the front that I can the whole season and hopefully it will end up good.”

Trailing long in a KTM 1-2 for the 250 SX-F was New Zealand guest Kayne Lamont, who won the second of three motos during the round. Long’s wins in motos one and two handed him the overall.

– CDR Yamaha Report

The CDR Yamaha team laid down some solid foundations for their 2012 championship aspirations with a strong showing at the opening round of the Monster MX Nationals held at the picturesque Conondale circuit, on the Sunshine Coast.

Josh Coppins proved he is over his shoulder injury and back up to speed with another gritty performance over the weekend. Coppins took 3-3-2 results in the three races and is well placed as the championship moves on.

The only blemish on a pretty clean race sheet for Coppins came in the opening moto when a small fall and then being caught in another riders accident hindered his climb through the field.

“Ben was on another level today and raced extremely well, so congratulations to him,” said the ever graceful kiwi.

“I’m satisfied with how I raced today. I was able to make the passes I needed to and ride some good laps to break clear of the riders behind me. For a hot day and rough track, my fitness proved to be good and I think it was a good start to the championship.”

CDR Yamaha new recruit Lawson Bopping also finished up well in the ultra competitive MX 1 class. Bopping worked hard for his sixth overall for the round but acknowledges he was physically taxed by the end of the final 35 minute race.

Bopping also provided the single biggest highlight of the day when he launched the massive 42metre step down jump on the famous drunks’ hill. It was a jaw dropping leap that had fans stunned when he fired his number 70 YZ450F skyward.

“Reflecting on the day, I probably didn’t take in enough fluids and food between the motos,” Bopping explains. “It was quite warm and I worked pretty hard in the opening two motos and as a result felt a bit flat in the last one. But that’s something the team and I already have spoken about and ensure we have under control at the next round.”

CDR Yamaha owner, Craig Dack left the Conondale circuit in an upbeat mode and feels his riders laid a solid platform at the opening round.

“Second and sixth at the opening round is a good start and far better than where we were 12 months ago yet still went on for a championship 1-2. Josh continues to put in each and every race and is ultra professional in the way he handles everything while Lawson showed he has the speed to mix it up the front and that we just need to take a closer look at his race day requirements to get the most from his body.”

“I felt our bikes worked well and that was cemented when the riders said they wanted no changes for the upcoming round. It was a positive start for the team and we now have a good base to contend for the 2012 championship,” Dack concludes.

– Monster Energy Kawasaki Report

Monster Energy Kawasaki riders battled on at the 2012 Monster Energy MX Nationals opener at Conondale QLD on April 1 with all riders earning a top ten finish in a round where the team was hampered by injury, crashes and misfortune. In the MX1 class Jay Marmont took 7th overall, Billy Mackenzie took 10th and Kade Mosg finished in 7th in the MX2 class. The rider’s strong final points haul will serve them well throughout the long 10 round series.

Jay Marmont was fighting an uphill battle from the get-go with a recent knee injury forcing the reigning champion to limp around the pits. After qualifying soundly in 7th, Marmont fought through the leg pain to take the hole-shot in the first moto and a 10th place finish. Marmont’s day was to go from bad to worse though when he was accidently taken out from behind by another rider after the chequered flag had been waved. Fighting pain, Marmont lined up for the second race and put in a brilliant effort to take 6th place before immediately heading off to the Racesafe medical truck for treatment. Marmont struggled to his feet to race the final moto where he took 6th place and many valuable points for his efforts. Marmont’s 10-6-6 results secured him 7th place for the round and he sits only 34 points off the series leader. Notably, Marmont’s start to the 2012 series was more successful than his start to last years Championship that he went on to win.

Jay Marmont says, “I’m very very disappointed. It’s not the result I exactly wanted. I went into the round hurt with a sore knee and I knew it was going to be tough. I was just going to go out there and get some points and get the best result I could for myself and the team but it was actually a lot sorer than I expected. Not riding lately took its toll. I got really tight in the first race and got arm pump. Then at the end a rider came through and didn’t see the flag and ran up the back of me and hurt the bottom of my back and I was in all sorts going into the second and final motos. I just had to push through the pain. It wasn’t a really positive day but I have to take away positives. I’ve got to get back on the bike now and come out swinging at Coonabarabran.”

Billy Mackenzie started the day off well qualifying in 5th place however a big crash and subsequent DNF in the first moto would prove costly to his overall result. Billy was looking good for a 4th place finish in the opener before a big downhill crash with 4 laps to go forced him to retire with a broken radiator. Mackenzie rode extremely well in the second moto and was on track for a strong finish before a small crash relegated him to a 7th place finish. Things finished brightly for Mackenzie with a hole-shot in the final moto and a 3rd place finish. Mackenzie’s DNF-7-3 results left him in 10th for the round.

Billy Mackenzie say’s, “It was a bit of a rough start to the season. I had a bad start and few crashes in the first race. I made a slow progression from the first race to the last but I leave on a positive note. I got 3rd in the last race behind Ben and Josh so I felt like I was riding pretty well. Overall we did alright. Obviously the one DNF in the first race was the main problem.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s MX2 rider Kade Mosig suffered from tough starts throughout all three races and on each occasion battled hard on the long flowing grass track to take three consistent finishes. Mosig went 7-7-5 for 7th overall and sits only 19 points behind the series leader.

Kade Mosig say’s, “I got some solid points this round. I was really consistent around the 6th and 7th place but I’ve got a few things I need to work on but it’s good to see where we’re at. The bike’s good, the bike’s really good. I just think we need to make some minor adjustments and fine-tune it. My fitness is good. I pushed as hard as I could in all the races. We’ll just go back to the drawing board and make some minor adjustments to my bike and we should be right.”

Axis Motorsports Kawasaki also did it tough at the series opener in the MXD class. Ben George suffered mechanical difficulties during timed qualifying and did not record a time meaning he couldn’t race. Due to injured riders retiring he was allowed to race the final moto where he crossed the line in a heartening 4th place. Mitch Norris finished the day on a high taking 2nd place in the final moto.

Kawasaki Australia supported rider Meghan Rutledge rode well amongst the qualifying group of 60 MXD riders to post a top 40 time and make it through to the main event. Meg rode extremely well to take mid-pack finishes in all three motos.

Monster Energy Kawasaki will quickly put this challenging first round behind them and build on their solid points haul at the second round of the Championship at Cooabarabran, NSW on 14-15 April.

– Suzuki Report

Talented Queenslander Todd Waters has taken a podium on debut with the Motul Pirelli Suzuki team aboard the fuel injected 2012 model RM-Z450 in Conondale’s opening round of the MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, on Sunday, 1 April.

The 21-year-old was exceptional in his first national appearance with the expanded Suzuki squad, scoring 4-4-4 results in the trio of motos to finish third overall for the round and top Australian contender behind world renowned New Zealanders Ben Townley and Josh Coppins.

“It’s definitely where we want to be, we want to try land on that podium every single round and try to be consistent,” Cairns resident Waters said. “I finished with three fourth places today, which is what we need. I got good starts all day and they made my job easy.

“When I came through juniors and the Under 19s I was always pretty consistent and that was my strength, but I kind of lost that when I jumped on the 450. I just wanted to win races, but I ended up on my head a lot, so now I just want to cross that finish line with good points every single time.”

Teammate Cody Cooper finished eighth overall in a frustrating start to the season, vowing to improve when the series continues in two weeks time at Coonabarabran. Cooper concluded the weekend with a 6-12-7 scorecard.

“Qualifying was good and I felt good, but in the first two motos I got bad starts,” Cooper explained. “In the third one I gated out wider and it was much better, so I came out off the start in second. I drifted back to seventh though, just over-heated really, it was a tough race physically. I don’t have much to say really – I need to step it up and go better next time out.”

An 11th hour call up for Kiwi number two Scott Columb saw him travel to Australia as Motul Pirelli Suzuki’s MX2 class contender, replacing injured British rider Steven Clarke for the season.

Columb took 15-10-DNF results for 15th overall after suffering a flat tyre in the final outing, displaying promising form on the RM-Z250 before his bad luck struck.

“I flew in on Saturday so it was a bit of a rush, being my first time on the bike here in Australia,” Columb said. “Race one and two I had terrible starts, crashed on the first lap of moto one and finished 15th. I had a bit of arm pump and finished 10th in the second moto.

“And then in the third moto I got a better start and was in third. Unfortunately I got a flat tyre, so it wasn’t the perfect start to the series, but the last race showed that I can be up the front and I’ll take the positives from that.”

– GYTR Yamaha

17 year old Victorian, Sam Martin, scored a podium result in his first MX National race on the factory supported GYTR Yamaha at the opening round of the 2012 Monster Energy MX Nationals at Conondale over the weekend.

Martin dug deep in all three races as he came into the event struggling to overcome a shoulder injury sustained prior to the weekend. He posted three consistent race results of 5-6-4 to finish on 49 points and claim third spot on the podium for the MXD (u19) category.

“I probably should dedicate this to the team at Race Safe who were able to give me the medical attention I needed and keep me out on the race track. My shoulder was pretty tender but they strapped it up solidly and I was able to race with only some discomfort.”

“The GYTR Yamaha team also did a great job. The whole crew rallied around me and gave me plenty of good advice and encouragement and it’s nice to be surrounded by good people.”

“With two weeks until the next round, I won’t have long to let my shoulder recover but I will do what it takes to get it right and be back up to full speed as quickly as possible.”

The day wasn’t so good for team mate, Shaun Redhead. Redhead clipped a trackside marker and was sending flying from his bike in the early stages of the opening moto. He sustained injuries to his knee, toes and wrist and now faces uphill battle to be fit and ready for round two at Coonabarabran.

“I’m not really sure what happened out there. I got an average start and passed a heap of guys on the opening lap and moved into about seventh when I hit a track marker and lost control.”

“I am so disappointed at the moment as I had worked hard leading up to this race and this isn’t the ideal start to a championship. But, I will get myself fit and healthy and come back swinging as soon as possible.”