Kawasaki Racing Team’s Billy Mackenzie won the Pro Open class at the first round of the 2010 Australian Motocross Championships at Horsham, Victoria, on Sunday.
The Scottish import was the fastest in qualifying, ahead of JDR Motorex KTM’s Andrew McFarlane and Cougar Bourbon Honda Thor Racing’s Todd Waters.
As racing got underway in the first moto, McFarlane scored the holeshot, however, he was quickly overtaken by Mackenzie, with the two riders tussling for the lead while Waters, and Dean Ferris (Honda) battled it out for third place.
The front four riders began to break away, while the reigning Champ, CDR Rockstar Yamaha’s Jay Marmont, struggled back in seventh place.
After a few laps, Waters closed the gap on Mackenzie and the two battled for the lead and by the end of the race, Waters was clear – taking the moto win ahead of Mackenzie, with McFarlane riding into third.
Race two threw out a few surprises with Simon Thompson (Honda) off to a blinder of a start followed closely behind by Ferris and Mackenzie, however, the dream start didn’t hold for Thompson, and he was soon overtaken.
Ferris rode on the edge for the entire moto with the lead swapping between him and Mackenzie countless times, before he succumbed to pressure from the Scot and put his bike down with one lap to go.
Mackenzie took the flag, while Ferris managed to salvage second place ahead of Waters, who rode consistently into third place.
By the time the third and final moto got under way the rain had set in, creating some slippery conditions on the already rough, and carved up track.
After a lacklustre day, the crowd finally got so see some of Marmont’s magic, with the blue bike rider taking not only the holeshot, but also dominating for the entire race.
Meanwhile Mackenzie was caught up in a first turn crash, and had to set about working his way back from last place.
The rougher the track became, the better Marmont rode and despite some early pressure from Team Rockstar Motul Suzuki’s Cody Cooper, he had a 35 second lead by the chequered flag.
Marmont finished the moto ahead of JDR Motorex KTM’s Tye Simmonds, who also found form in the final moto for second place, and Mackenzie who rode a strong race to finish in third.
“It’s a good way to start the season,” Mackenzie said.
“I was a little bit upset with my performance in the first race and I also had a small problem in that last race – I went to let the clutch out and the bike was in neutral!
“So it was my own fault, and I also went down so I made it hard for myself, but I liked the track today.
“There’s been such a good atmosphere ever since I got here, I’m enjoying Australia, and I’m just enjoying riding my bike again.
“I had a bad year last year and I just came here to get refreshed and it’s definitely working.”
Meanwhile, American KTM Rider PJ Larsen won the Pro Lites class, while MXRad Coastal KTM rider Josh Cachia, has won the Under 19s class.
Larsen qualified fastest in the Pro Lites class ahead of Serco Yamaha rider Ford Dale and Luke George (Kawasaki), who made his official return to Nationals racing following a massive crash at the final round of the Series in 2009.
In race one it was veteran rider Cameron Taylor (Yamaha) who scored the holeshot, however the moto soon became a one-man-show, with Larsen continuing his strong form from qualifying, dominating the race from start to finish.
Larson was followed out by team-mate Ryan Marmont, who, after a slow two years, was consistently quick, and after initially keeping pace, rode his own race in second place to the flag.
Meanwhile the keenly anticipated return to racing of George didn’t go exactly to plan for the Kawasaki rider, with the 20-year-old starting out strongly behind Marmont in third place, however as the moto continued, fell back through the field to finish the race in eighth place.
With the drizzling rain making the track slippery, it was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Codie Mackie who took an early lead in the second moto, ahead of Serco Yamaha’s rider Kirk Gibbs.
The race soon became at battle between Mackie and Gibbs, with Marmont comfortable in third place.
Kawasaki’s Mackie led the majority of the race until the final moments of the last lap, when the South Australian Serco rider overtook to take the flag while Marmont continued his improved form and took third place.
In the third moto, George had a flying start out of the gates however he was soon overtaken by Larsen.
The American soon established a massive lead ahead of New Zealand’s Darryll King (Yamaha) and Yamaha Junior Development Team’s Luke Styke, who held on to take third place at the flag.
New Zealand’s Michael Phillips (Honda) made a solid debut for the Victorian-based team and achieved his goal of a top five finish.
The New Zealand MX2 champion, who was fourth in the first moto and third in the second moto said he found the demanding track extremely difficult in the third race where he finished 17th.
“My goal was to finish in the top five and I am very happy to be coming away having achieved that,” Phillips said.
“The track was very demanding and I found it more difficult the wetter it got. By the last moto it was very slippery, I got a bad start then crashed and it really stuffed up my rhythm.”
In the Under 19s, MXRad Coastal KTM rider Cachia dominated proceedings, qualifying fastest and winning the first two motos.
Cachia only came unstuck in the final moto, when he crashed in the first turn and was forced pick his way back from last place.
New Zealander and Raceline Pirelli Suzuki rider Hamish Dobbyn took advantage of the Series leaders misfortune and streaked ahead to a massive win, while Cachia managed to pick his way through to sixth place.
Top 10 MX Nationals Pro Open Round 1:
1. Billy Mackenzie, 67pts
2. Todd Waters, 59pts
3. Jay Marmont, 56pts
4. Dean Ferris, 54pts
5. Tye Simmonds, 52pts
6. Andrew McFarlane, 46pts
7. Cheyne Boyd, 44pts
8. Daniel McCoy, 41pts
9. Cody Cooper (NZ), 40pts
10.Danny Anderson, 21pts
1: PJ Larsen (KTM)
2: Ford Dale (Yamaha)
3: Luke George (Kawasaki)
4: Cameron Taylor (Yamaha)
5: Kade Mosig (KTM)
2: Ryan Marmont (KTM)
4: Michael Phillips (NZ, Honda)
5: Kirk Gibbs (Yamaha)
2: Codie Mackie (Kawasaki)
3: Phillips (NZ)
5: Darryll King (NZ, Yamaha)
2: King (NZ)
3: Luke Styke (Yamaha)
Top 10 MX Nationals Pro Lites Round 1:
1. PJ Larsen, 60pts
2. Ryan Marmont, 56pts
3. Kirk Gibbs, 56pts
4. Cody Mackie, 55pts
5. Michael Phillips (NZ), 43pts
6. Luke George, 40pts
7. Darryll King (NZ), 38pts
8. Luke Styke, 37pts
9. Kade Mosig, 35pts
10.Brendan Harrison, 34pts
1: Josh Cachia (KTM)
2: Ross Beaton (Yamaha)
3: Luke Arbon (Kawasaki)
4: Matthew Phillips (Honda)
5: Cameron Dillon (NZ, Honda)
1: Josh Cachia (KTM)
2: Dylan Peterson (Honda)
5: Errol Willis (Yamaha)
3: Hamish Dobbyn (NZ, Suzuki)
1: Dobbyn (NZ)
5: Ethan Martens (NZ, KTM)
Under-19 Championship Standings:
1: Cachia 65 points
2: Dobbyn (NZ) 60
3: Peterson 60
4: Beaton 60
5: Phillips 56
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com