Kyogle’s Dean Ferris managed to fight off his competitors to clinch the title at the 10th and final round of the Australian Motocross Championships at Coolum yesterday.
Thousands of spectators flooded the Coolum Pines MX Track on the Sunshine Coast, with fans treated to some of the highest quality racing that Australia has delivered in years, seeing Kiwi KTM rider Hamish Harwood finish top 10 on the day in his sole MX1 class outing of the series and CDR Yamaha’s Ferris snatching the title away from KTM’s defending champion Kirk Gibbs, the man who had also been the 2016 championship leader at the start of the weekend.
Ironman Harwood also rode the MX2 class at Coolum, as he had all season, finishing the day sixth overall, good enough to end the championship seventh overall.
From the second bikes hit the dirt at Coolum on Saturday morning, this year’s championship contenders sought to take advantage of the track time in warm up ahead of Superpole kicking off, and with additional championship points up for grabs, Ferris, Gibbs, Todd Waters, Kade Mosig and Dylan Long were determined to lay everything on the line for one more lightening fast lap of the year.
Meanwhile Jed Beaton clinched the MX2 crown also for Yamaha, finish 13 points ahead of KTM’s Caleb Ward.
Despite not appearing at round 10, Husqvarna’s Nathan Crawford wrapped up the year in an impressive third position on the MX2 podium.
After qualifying fastest on Saturday, Ferris opted to hit the track first for Superpole and when he’d put down his flying lap, a 1:45.287 was enough to secure the three crucial championship points, and take the Superpole victory.
Waters was the second quickest this morning (1:45.511), followed by Mosig (1:47.194). Unfortunately for Gibbs, Superpole was a lap he’d rather forget – after finishing in fourth, the red plate holder missed out on any additional points, seeing his championship lead over Ferris dwindle to only three points. Long concluded Superpole without putting down a time after suffering a bike issue.
When the Thor MX1 class headed to the line for race one, thousands of spectators dotted the fence line ready to watch the ultimate championship battle unfold, and with Ferris and Gibbs both within striking distance of the 2016 title, the action on track did not disappoint.
When gates dropped, it was Gibbs who took the first MXStore holeshot, but after only one lap, Ferris had demanded control of race one.
After two laps, Waters had found his way in to second position, whilst red plate holder Gibbs had slipped back to third. National Pump Monster Energy Kawasaki duo Kyle Peters and Mosig were back in fourth and fifth places followed by DPH Motorsport’s Jacob Wright.
But it was heading in to lap three that spectators were treated to a battle for the race lead, with Suzuki’s Waters making the move on Ferris, relegating the title hopeful to second position.
And the fight for positions did not stop there. Gibbs also began to come under fire from American rider Peters for third place, the two going head to head for the final podium position. And by the time riders headed in to lap seven, Peters had got the job done.
In what was a huge shock to onlookers, Ferris received a ten second penalty at the five lap mark after riding inside a marker during lap one, but it didn’t seem to perturb the Yamaha rider, because only a few turns later, Ferris had reclaimed the race lead.
Despite being out in front, by the time rider’s reached the halfway mark, Waters was effectively in the lead due to the penalty applied to Ferris, American import Peters was in third, followed by defending champ Gibbs who continued in fourth position. Mosig, New Zealand’s Harwood and Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Jay Wilson all occupied positions fifth through to seventh.
But with less than ten minutes remaining, Ferris checked out, leaving Waters, Peters and Gibbs well and truly behind him – putting himself in the box seat to wrap up moto one as the new championship leader.
And when the chequered flag flew, Ferris got the job done, taking the opening moto win ahead of Waters who crossed the line in second. American Peters wrapped up the opening race in third, followed by Gibbs whose title hopes were hurt during race one after finishing in fourth.
Mosig, Harwood, Wilson, Long, Craig Bolton and Daniel Banks all wrapped up moto one inside the top ten.
With a 2016 Thor MX1 title up for grabs, and Ferris entering the final race with a four-point lead over Gibbs, fans were treated when bikes lined up for the last moto this afternoon, with both riders putting in one last fight for this year’s championship.
When gates dropped, Gibbs once again got the jump off the start and secured the final holeshot, however Waters was right on his rear wheel, followed by Ferris, setting up the final race as one of the best of the season.
After two laps, the running order saw Gibbs out in front with a marginal gap over Waters, while points leader Ferris continued to lurk in the background in third position, followed by Mosig and Peters.
Despite Gibbs being out in front, Ferris made the pass on Waters during lap three, putting Ferris in second place, and in the perfect position to take the title – making for nail biting racing for the final moto of the day.
With more than half the race remaining, Gibbs began to feel the pressure of both Ferris and Waters who had both closed in on the KTM rider over the past two laps, treating spectators to the fight they’d been waiting for.
Another rider who was capturing the attention of the crowd, was Long, who had passed Mosig and Peters and Wilson to slot up to an outstanding fourth position.
But with Gibbs, Ferris, and Waters all within striking distance of each other out in front, by the time riders headed in to lap nine, the action on track really heated up. Waters found incredible energy and within only a few turns had passed both Gibbs and Ferris, shocking thousands of spectators who were watching the final moto unfold.
And the fight for positions did not stop there. With Waters increasing his lead to five seconds, Ferris closed in on defending champion Gibbs, and with four minutes remaining, Ferris made the pass for second position.
By the time the Thor MX1 class received the last lap board this afternoon, Ferris was in the box seat to clinch the 2016 title after 10 gruelling rounds.
And despite Waters taking the final race victory of the day, it was Ferris who had reason to celebrate – Ferris crossing the line in second position in the final moto and securing the 2016 Thor MX1 Championship honours. Third place in race two was taken by Gibbs followed by Mosig in fourth.
With 2-1 results Wilson Coolair Motul Factory Suzuki’s Waters secured the round victory from Ferris and Gibbs, but the man of the moment was Ferris, who despite being the only rider to register a DNF this year, collected the Thor MX1 Championship at Coolum.
“I’m so stoked to have gotten this championship. After round five this year I knew it was going to be tough, but the whole team believed in me, and I believed in myself,” Ferris said.
“I’ve had a lot of speed on the track this year and I just needed to work out how to be consistent like Kirk Gibbs, and that’s what I did. I wasn’t outside the top two after Wanneroo.
“This is actually the first championship I’ve ever won. I’m 26, and honestly I thought I was going to do this eight years ago, but I didn’t. I’ve had some really good results over the years but this is the first title so I’m absolutely ecstatic.”
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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Thor MX1 round ten results
1) Todd Waters – 67 points
2) Dean Ferris – 67 points
3) Kirk Gibbs – 58 points
4) Kade Mosig – 54 points
5) Dylan Long – 49 points
6) Jay Wilson – 49 points
7) Hamish Harwood – 49 points
8) Luke Wilson – 42 points
9) James Alen – 39 points
10) Daniel Banks – 39 points
Thor MX1 Championship
1) Dean Ferris – 666 points
2) Kirk Gibbs – 660 points
3) Todd Waters – 647 points
4) Kade Mosig – 541 points
5) Dylan Long – 460 points
6) Jay Wilson – 417 points
7) Jacob Wright – 403 points
8) Matt Moss – 381 points
9) Michael Menchi– 376 points
10) Daniel Banks – 374 points
Motul MX2 round ten results
1) Jed Beaton – 67 points
2) Wilson Todd – 63 points
3) Caleb Ward – 62 points
4) Jayden Rykers – 58 points
5) Kyle Webster – 52 points
6) Hamish Harwood – 50 points
7) Geran Stapleton – 46 points
8) Joel Wightman – 43 points
9) Richie Evans – 43 points
10) Dean Porter – 42 points
Motul MX2 Championship
1) Jed Beaton – 630 points
2) Caleb Ward – 617 points
3) Nathan Crawford – 574 points
4) Jayden Rykers – 537 points
5) Wilson Todd – 507 points
6) Dylan Wills – 470 points
7) Hamish Harwood – 448 points
8) Joel Wightman – 426 points
9) Kyle Webster – 376 points
10) Dean Porter – 365 points