The penultimate round of the Australian MX Nationals is set to take place at Echo Valley in Toowoomba tomorrow and, with the MX1 and MX2 classes reaching the pointy end of their championships, the event could dish out some of the biggest moments of the season.
Last year, Toowoomba saw breakthrough performances, drastic changes to title chases and a huge crowd, so what’s in store for competitors when they hit the track for the ninth round of 10 this Sunday?
Today, we look at some of the mega moments that could play out this weekend, and why round nine at Toowoomba is set to be one of the most memorable of the 2017 race season.
You only have to cast your mind back to 2014 to realise that wildcards provide a great talking point.
It was at Swan Hill three years ago that Nathan Crawford ‘showed up’ the MX2 class, winning a moto and claiming the overall after entering the round as an MXD wildcard.
This weekend we will see the likes of Kaleb Barham, Isaac Ferguson and more stepping up to the MX2 category to contest the ninth round of the championship. Not only could we see breakthrough performances from any one of these Pirelli MXD riders, but should they land on the podium at Toowoomba, it could play havoc with the Motul MX2 Championship.
Currently, Wilson Todd is leading the charge by only 13 points from Egan Mastin, and Mitchell Evans, and should one of these top three miss the podium at the expense of a wildcard MXD rider, the championship could change drastically in more ways than one.
Speaking of championships, this Sunday we could see the premier Thor MX1 2017 Champion crowned.
Kyogle’s Dean Ferris is entering the round with a 75-point lead on Kirk Gibbs, and to win the title he will need to maintain that points lead, or only drop two markers.
To win the title and be crowned champ for a second consecutive season, Ferris will need to finish round nine with a 73-point lead (with 35 points for each race win and three points for GoPro Superpole are up for grabs this Sunday).
So, the question we’re all asking is can the CDR Yamaha rider do it?
Judging by his last performance at Port Macquarie, where he won both motos and Superpole, Ferris is more than capable, however we all know it’s not over until he’s holding the trophy above his head, and Kirk Gibbs, Ferris’ closest threat, is going to leave no stone unturned in his bid to stop him.
Toowoomba could see us crown a champion, or set up the final round at Coolum as the ultimate decider. Either way, the racing in the Thor MX1 class this weekend is going to be epic.
Two-stroke versus four-stroke
Ahh, the ultimate racing debate! Toowoomba is known nationwide as one of the steepest in Australia and, as a result, the most picturesque venues on the racing calendar, but what does this weekend’s ninth round mean for two-stroke and four-stroke riders?
In the MX2 class we are faced with the ultimate showdown, Wilson Todd and Mitchell Evans on the four-stroke machines, versus Davey Motorsport’s two-stroke rider Egan Mastin. There’s no doubt that Mastin should be quick off the start at Toowoomba and may have a small advantage when it comes to powering up the steep Toowoomba hills aboard his two-stroke KTM, however on a track that can form up to be deep, rutty, and very technical, the four-stroke machines could have the advantage when it comes to cornering, line selection, and the technical areas Toowoomba is known for.
So could we see the two-stroke, four-stroke showdown of the year play out on Sunday?
The ninth round of 10 in the Motul MX Nationals will be held this Sunday at Toowoomba in Queensland (August 13).
Photo courtesy MXN
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Thor MX1 450 Pro class standings:
Thor MX1 Championship Standings after Round 8 – Top 20
1 Dean Ferris 562 Points
2 Kirk Gibbs 487 Points
3 Kade Mosig 436 Points
4 Todd Waters 421 Points
5 Luke Styke 408 Points
6 Luke Clout 378 Points
7 Kyle Peters 371 Points
8 Brett Metcalfe 350 Points
9 Nathan Crawford 304 Points
10 Joel Green 267 Points
11 James Alen 253 Points
12 Lachlan Davis 239 Points
13 Keiron Hall 233 Points
14 Zak Small 218 Points
15 Aleksandr Tonkov 218 Points
16 Brodie Sims 206 Points
17 Dylan Long 203 Points
18 Izak Maule 195 Points
19 Hamish Harwood 194 Points
20 Daniel Banks 162 Points
Motul MX2 class standings:
Motul MX2 Championship Standings after Round 8 – Top 20
1 Wilson Todd 490 Points
2 Egan Mastin 477 Points
3 Mitchell Evans 476 Points
4 Hamish Harwood 427 Points
5 Kyle Webster 399 Points
6 Dylan Wills 381 Points
7 Jayden Rykers 371 Points
8 Jackson Richardson 365 Points
9 Richie Evans 350 Points
10 Joel Evans 281 Points
11 Ricky Latimer 246 Points
12 Tomas Ravenhorst 245 Points
13 Aaron Tanti 232 Points
14 Jayden Conforto 186 Points
15 Jarrod Kelly 166 Points
16 Lochie Latimer 164 Points
17 Calib Best 157 Points
18 Lachlan Wilson 154 Points
19 Jesse McNally 148 Points
20 Darren Schenk 134 Points