MX Nationals Round 9 Wrap – Todd Jarratt
Arriving at the penultimate round of the MX Nationals, championships were the topic of discussion within the pits. Whether it was talk of Kirk Gibbs possibly wrapping up the MX1 championship, how fierce the MX2 title chase was between former teammates Jay Wilson and Luke Clout, or how the late season charge from Jayden Rykers could possibly derail Wilson Todd’s MXD championship hopes, all the talk was circulating between team trucks.
With only four moto’s left to run in each championship for 2015, heading into the weekend Kirk Gibbs held a 65 point advantage over rookie teammate Luke Styke in the Monster Energy MX1 class – a sizeable lead for the South Australian. In the Motul MX2 class, Jay Wilson and defending champion Luke Clout were separated by only three points – the difference between first and second in a moto. In the Pirelli MXD class, Wilson Todd held an 18 point lead over Western Australian rookie Connor Tierney, but it was another sand groper, Jayden Rykers that Todd needed to keep at bay – after his recent four race win streak saw him clawing his way back toward the top of the series points.
In the MX1 class, to start off the point scoring events for the day rookie revelation Dylan Long piloted his NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki to the Go Pro Superpole win in convincing fashion. Long’s teammate Adam Monea logged the second fastest time ahead of series points leader Kirk Gibbs, CDR Yamaha’s Kade Mosig and Penrite Oil Honda’s Ben Townley. A feeling of déjà vu started to come over me at this stage, as I began contemplating the similarities between Long’s recent performances and that of Jacob Wright’s when he was given a guest ride at CDR Yamaha last year and began winning as well.
As the gate dropped on moto one it was former world champion Townley who picked up the holeshot and early race lead. For many, it seemed like the beginning of the end as it is very rare to see a rider of Townley’s caliber get the lead early on and be straight up beaten. Kade Mosig had other ideas though. The Victorian rider chasing second in the MX1 championship stalked the Kiwi race leader in the opening laps and then made his move into the lead and never looked back. It was a flawless ride from the CDR Yamaha rider, which saw him receiving huge praise from Townley post moto. Townley applied as much pressure as he could to Mosig, but was unable to force an issue from the eventual race winner and therefore finished in second. Mosig’s teammate and previous round winner Daniel Reardon finished in a lonely third, followed by Adam Monea and Kirk Gibbs. Rounding out the top ten were Luke Styke, Dylan Long, Cody Cooper, MX1 debutant Egan Mastin and his current teammate Kale Makeham.
In moto two it was Long who stole the early lead and looked to be running away with his second win in only three races. That was until he got swallowed up by teammate Monea, race one winner Mosig and then had a small tip over. Long would eventually finish in sixth, while the Victorian duo of Monea and Mosig broke the field and set off out front with an unmatchable pace. The pair were split by less than four seconds for the majority of the moto, but late in the race Monea made a critical mistake, falling at the top of skyline and in doing so handed the race lead to Mosig. That was all the CDR Yamaha rider needed to take the win, his third overall for the season, and second position in the MX1 championship with only one round left to run. Monea would eventually cross the finish line in second position and with that also take the runner up spot on the overall podium. Gibbs would come home in third, ahead of his rookie teammate Styke, and Townley who finished the weekend in third overall. Trailing Townley to the finish and holding down the top ten were Long, Cooper, Reardon, Bopping and Mastin.
In the MX2 class, moto one saw Davey Motorsports’ Jack Simpson grab the holeshot and early lead. It wasn’t long though before Luke Clout, Dylan Wills and Jay Wilson made their way around the rookie, and 15 minutes through the moto Caleb Ward, Takeshi Katsuya and Wade Hunter had also moved around Simpson, making it a six rider battle for the lead. As the laps clicked by, 35 year old Katsuya put to use his veteran knowledge, methodically working his way around his closest title rivals to take an impressive moto win. Ward sat on the rear wheel of the Japanese rider as they made their way around Clout, Wills and Wilson, but could not solidify a pass on Katsuya and as a result finished in a close second position. Wilson rounded out the podium, with Hunter finishing fourth, Wills fifth and Clout eventually crossing the line in sixth. Closing out the top ten in moto one were Simpson, Jed Beaton, Nathan Crawford and Geran Stapleton.
In moto two, Dylan Wills edged out Nathan Crawford and Caleb Ward for the holeshot and set his sights ahead with the early lead. It wasn’t long though before series points leader Wilson moved from outside of the top five around Ward and Crawford to be stalking Wills for the number one spot, as they distanced themselves from the rest of the field. Once Wilson made the move for the lead he checked out from Wills, who then came under fire from Katsuya, Ward and Crawford. While all this was occurring Serco Yamaha’s defending champion and title contender Luke Clout was dealing with mechanical issues and doing his best to salvage points sitting just inside of the top ten – not where the number one plated rider wanted to be at the tail end of the championship hunt. Back to the racing up front and in an epic battle similar to that of moto one, Wills, Katsuya, Ward and Crawford exchanged positions for the majority of the race with Ward and Katsuya finding their way around Wills to finish in second and third, behind eventual race, and overall round winner Jay Wilson. Early race leader Wills did enough to clinch fourth, ahead of Crawford and a distant Jed Beaton. Trailing Beaton home were Dean Porter, Richie Evans, Clout and Hunter.
In the MXD ranks, despite some early race controversies and mid moto carnage Wilson Todd was able to take the round win ahead of privateer title contender Jayden Rykers and Raceline Pirelli Suzuki’s Jesse Madden. Todd took a convincing win in moto one ahead of Madden, Jordan Hill, Rykers and Kaleb Barham, who for the main part all had to fight their way through the field to salvage top five positions. Rounding out the top ten were Mitch Evans, Billy Harth, Jaiden Corrigan, Tyler Bullen and Lochie Latimer.
In moto two, Rykers sought to make amends after losing valuable championship points earlier in the day. The Western Australian got out front early and managed to remain there, taking a convincing race win ahead of Todd, Madden, Evans and a resilient Bailey Coxon, who was questioning his ability to ride after a huge crash over an uphill triple in moto one. Completing the list of riders finishing in the top ten were Blake Parker, Connor Tierney, Kaleb Barham, Ryan Eden and Jaiden Corrigan. It must be noted that during the afternoon race, opening round winner Jordan Hill was trailing Rykers in second early on before his forks collapsed, leading to his third mechanical DNF of the season – a tough break for the former round winner.
In the Rising Star Rookies class Hunter Lawrence continued with his stellar performance, taking the top qualifying spot and both moto wins by over 30 seconds. It is obvious that Lawrence has no viable junior competition domestically at this point in time, so no doubt the young Queenslander is looking forward to commencing his senior career after completion of the Junior Australian Motocross Championships in early October. Finishing on the overall podium for the day were NSW’s Michael Driscoll in second and Tasmania’s Hugh Mackay in third.
With a 61 point lead and only 75 points available at the final round, there are only two riders in the MX1 championship who have a mathematical chance of stopping Kirk Gibbs from wrapping up his first professional championship. Will it be Kade Mosig or Luke Styke, or will Gibbs hold on to finally clinch a number one plate?
With only 15 points separating second to fourth in the championship, who will end their season on the overall podium and take away those big manufacturer bonuses – Kade Mosig, Luke Styke or Adam Monea?
Will former World Motocross and AMA East Cost Supercross champion Ben Townley topple the field at the sandy Coolum Circuit or will late entry to the Factory Suzuki team Egan Mastin surprise the field and take the spoils?
Now with an overall round win and 21 point lead over former teammate and defending champion Luke Clout, will Jay Wilson have what it takes to secure his first Australian motocross championship? Or will Clout throw caution to the wind and take matters in to his own hands?
Will Western Australia’s Dean Porter or Kyle Webster provide the upset to Caleb Ward’s near perfect Coolum record? Or will it be a fiery youngster like Nathan Crawford or Dylan Wills that end up on the top step for the final round of the year?
With Wilson Todd holding the series points lead over Western Australia’s Jayden Rykers and Connor Tierney, will the GYTR Yamaha rider have enough left in the tank to clinch his first senior championship?
Will we see Mitch Evans finally break through for a win? Or will the Queenslander finish out his rookie year only being able to take the top qualifying spot?
These questions will all be answered at the final round of the 2015 MX Nationals this Sunday at the Coolum Pines Motocross Track, QLD! See you there!