Four of the top 10 under-19 riders in Australia were New Zealanders this season.
The 2010 Australian MX Nationals wrapped up with the final round of the series at Coolum in Queensland at the weekend, with perhaps most race fans across the Tasman focussing on what was happening in the under-19 class.
Coastal KTM Team rider and Kilmore local Josh Cachia won the title but there were four Kiwi riders inside the top 10 and it probably could have been — or should have been — even more.
Warkworth’s Hamish Dobbyn (Suzuki) had been in line for a podium finish as he ran with the leaders at the early rounds of the series but, sadly, an injury forced him to the sidelines after four rounds. He eventually claimed 14th overall.
Instead, the best Kiwi finisher was Rotorua’s John Phillips (Honda), who finished 12-4-6 at Coolum and claimed sixth spot overall for the championship.
Taupo’s Cameron Dillon (Honda) was the best-performed Kiwi at Coolum, finishing 6-3-3, to take a final ranking of No.8.
Cambridge’s Kieran Leigh (Yamaha) was 9-10-8 at the weekend and finished with a ranking of seventh, while Waitakere’s Ethan Martens (KTM) placed 7-13-10 on Sunday and took the No.9 spot in the championship.
But Cachia was a dominant force in the Under-19s class in 2010, and he clinched the win with one race to spare.
Absent from the podium on only one occasion throughout the series, Cachia had a massive points lead heading in to the penultimate round, however a bad day in the office saw the gap close to only 11 points ahead of Tasmanian Ross Beaton (Yamaha).
Despite making solid inroads on Cachia’s points lead, Beaton was unable to capitalise during races on Saturday at the final round, letting Cachia slip away – stretching out to a massive 41 points ahead of him.
With racing underway on Sunday it was Beaton’s team-mates Harley Quinlan and Shaun Redhead who challenged Cachia, with Beaton unable to find the same speed.
As Beaton secured his place in second, Quinlan set about putting as many points as possible between himself and fourth-placed Dylan Peterson.
Cachia wrapped up the championship in the second to last race, with Beaton staying strong in second with Quinlan locking in third place.
Speaking after the race, Cachia was thrilled to finally take the title win and was looking forward to stepping up into the Pro Lites class in 2011.
“It’s so good to be able to go out there and win for Bronte Holland and Sharky [Andrew McFarlane] – two people I’m close to who have died,” Cachia said.
“I’ve been working so hard this year; all the hours out at the track and it’s all paid off.
“I can’t wait to step up into the Pro Lites class next year and see what I’m capable of doing.”
While disappointed with his second place, Beaton was still grateful for all the efforts his team has put in.
“Second place is still pretty good – I am a little bit disappointed but I definitely gave everything,” Beaton said.
“There’s no excuse for coming second, I tried my best and fell a little bit short.
“I can’t take anything away from Josh though, he rode great all season and he matured a lot this year.”
Final under-19 championship standings:
1. Josh Cachia (KTM) 540 points
2. Ross Beaton (Yamaha) 483
3. Harley Quinlan (Yamaha) 450
4. Dylan Peterson (Honda) 414
5. Matthew Phillips (Honda) 363
6. John Phillips (NZ, Honda) 303
7. Kieran Leigh (NZ, Yamaha) 302
8. Cameron Dillon (NZ, Honda) 287
9. Ethan Martens (NZ, KTM) 261
10. Errol Willis (Yamaha) 247.
© Words and photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com