The Australian Motocross Championships hold the seventh round of 10 in the 2016 series at Green Park at Conondale, in Queensland, this weekend.
With some of the fastest riders in the country coming from the northern part of Australia, many will have the opportunity to perform in their home state this Sunday.
For the first time so far this year, the Motul MX Nationals will take the Championship to the ‘Official Holiday Destination’ of the series, the Sunshine Coast, and with a strong contingent of riders residing in the Sunshine State, there will be plenty of support for Queensland’s stars at round seven.
Two Kiwi riders, Michael Menchi and Hamish Harwood, will also hope to perform well at this venue, perhaps the nearest thing to a New Zealand course that they will encounter in Australia.
Menchi is currently 10th overall in the MX1 class and Harwood is ranked ninth overall in the MX2 division
Kirk Gibbs is the defending MX1 class champion and he is on top of the 2016 standings.
Gibbs has been nothing short of impressive so far this year. After entering the season coming off a pelvic injury, the KTM rider was considered somewhat of an underdog for the 2016 season, however the ‘diesel’ machine has rose to the occasion so far this year, and has now had the championship lead since round four.
The last time the MX Nationals visited Conondale (in 2014), Gibbs edged out both Billy Mackenzie and Matt Moss to take his third MX1 victory of his career, proving that Queensland tracks are home for the KTM star.
This weekend Gibbs will need all the support he can get though – after injuring his knee at round six, and his lead tightening up to only 15 points, Gibbs will be under the pressure at this seventh round.
But, if there’s one thing that we know for sure, it’s that Gibbs loves racing at Conondale.
His main rival is Yamaha’s Dean Ferris, who took a hard-earned victory at round six of the nationals held at the Nowra Motorsport Complex.
He is now within 15 points of Gibbs in the premier MX1 championship chase.
The 25-year-old from Kyogle, NSW, put away his demons from round five in Western Australia to deliver a 2-1 result in the two 30 minute motos contested to tie with Kawasaki’s Matt Moss for the overall on the day, but awarded the overall round victory on count-back, by virtue of his moto win in race two.
“It was important that I bounce back strongly after what happened in Wanneroo, in Western Australia (where he crashed), and get my championship back on track,” Ferris said.
“The points have tightened up a bit and the championship is starting to look exciting. Kirk, Todd (Waters), Matt and I have all had good races and with four rounds remaining, there is a lot of racing to be done and plenty of work to do,” Ferris said.
Round six at Nowra proved to be a disastrous day for his CDR Yamaha team-mate, Dan Reardon. In the early stages of moto one, Reardon hooked his knee in a tight turn and stopped trackside in tremendous pain. He was able to get back to the medical team at RACESAFE who upon further inspection diagnosed an ACL injury to his knee.
Reardon had surgery on his injured knee this week and has pencilled in a return to racing at the opening round of the Australian Supercross Championship on September 17.
“I elected to have a fairly new style surgery on my knee where basically I have a replacement tendon in my knee from a donor,” Reardon explains. “The options were to just keep rolling without an ACL, get the traditional surgery which has a four to six month recovery period or the path we choose with the replacement tendon.
“The doctors tell me the surgery went well and we are looking at a six to seven week recovery and rehab so while it will be pushing it, I will work hard to ensure I’m right to go for round one of supercross on September 17.
“At this stage of my career, it was a tough choice to make as the healing time was a big factor in determining the right course of action. The option of just racing through it was also considered but I believe that wouldn’t have been best for my knee, trying to race week in, week out.”
Reardon is the defending Australian Supercross Champion after winning the 2015 championship in his comeback year to racing and desperately wants to defend his championship in 2016.
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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