Out of action for most of last season, Wairarapa’s Luke Burkhart stormed back with a vengeance at the 50th annual Woodville Motocross at the weekend, winning the day’s opening MX2 race.
His day was cut short, however, and we will learn the reasons why from his comments below.
“Over most of 2010 I was away from the motocross industry letting my body catch up after the USA expedition and so forth.
“In mid 2010 I started talking with KTM New Zealand and Cannon Smith about possibly riding under their banner and we struck a deal for this season.
“My comeback race was the Taupo Extravaganza in October 2010. I managed to win my first race back on the new fuel-injected KTM-250F which was awesome. We then had some issues which kept me out of the second race but overall it was a positive comeback after almost a full year off.
“I then had a few problems with my wrist that I injured badly a few years ago so I gave that a few months to come right and everything seems to be going great with it again now.
“I got a new practice bike from KTM just after the new year … unfortunately we have been in full swing with the family crayfish business so getting time on the bike has been tough to say the least.
“Time started to fly and before I knew it the Woodville MXGP was only a week away and i was still yet to get any riding in at all! The funny thing is that after the race last weekend I have already heard rumours going around that i was talking crap and that i had been riding loads before Woodville. I literally had less than one hour of time on the bike before the race so I guess that’s what surprised a lot of people as well as myself about how well i felt i rode.
Sunday rolled around and i was feeling positive and ready to have some fun being back at the races. The track was perfectly prepped and I felt great from the get go in practice/qualifying.
“I ended the session with the No.1 qualifying spot by just under a second which was a huge confidence boost First moto came round and I pulled the holeshot and lead the race from start to finish.
“I had forgotten what it felt like to win at that level so I was pumped. I definitely feel like the depth of talent in the MX2 class was up there with the best it’s been in a while.
“The second and final moto for our class was up and I was feeling good and confident I could do it again. What happened next was a pretty rough deal so I’m going to do my best to cut it short and not be too opinionated about the subject.
“Basically I was starting right next to the starter’s box in the middle. Regardless of what people want to say, I was not looking directly at the starter but his movement triggered me and I ended up hitting the gate and knocking it over. They ended up restarting the race because of that and unfortunately I ended up hitting the gate a second time.
“That was never the plan but for whatever reason it happened and the officials ended up disqualifying me and excluding me completely from the race.
“The result of the whole debacle was me losing out on a good chance at a title. More importantly in my eyes it cost Team CMR Red Bull KTM a title and that hurt a lot, as they say that’s racing.
“Overall, from my point of view, it was still a good day personally and I showed that even with a major lack of bike time I can compete for national championships.
“The four round New Zealand Motocross Championship series starts on February 20 and by that time I will definitely be on another level as far as preparation goes.
“I can’t wait to mix it up and fight for a title for myself and Team CMR Red Bull KTM.”
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com