Kirk Gibbs finally broke MX1 Championship leader Dean Ferris’ six round winning streak and collected his first round win of 2017, at the weekend’s seventh round of 10 of the Australian Motocross Championships at Shepparton in Victoria.
Meanwhile, in the MX2 class, DPH Motorsport’s Wilson Todd hung on to the Championship lead thanks to his twice finishing runner-up and New Zealand’s Hamish Harwood moved himself up from fifth to fourth overall in the championship chase after a solid couple of eighth placings on Sunday.
Yamaha’s Todd won the MX2 class on Sunday with his 2-2 results, while KTM’s Egan Mastin(4-1) was the day’s overall runner-up and Yamaha’s Mitchell Evans (1-5) rounded out the day’s podium.
But it was a breakthrough weekend for Gibbs aboard his KTM machine, contending with one of the most technically challenging tracks of the season and his toughest opponent Ferris, but at the conclusion of racing it Gibbs who was victorious.
The Thor MX1 class had their first opportunity to sample the Shepparton soil during practice and qualifying this morning, and within only a handful of laps it was CDR Yamaha’s Ferris who was fastest on track. However, with vital points up for grabs at round seven, mid-way through the session Gibbs shot to the top of the time sheets with a 1:32.799 lap time, where he stayed for the remainder of the session.
Following regular qualifying, Gibbs, Ferris, Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Todd Waters, MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Nathan Crawford and Wilson Coolair Motul Factory Suzuki’s Kyle Peters progressed through to GoPro Superpole, and once each rider had recorded their flying laps it was Ferris who rose to the occasion, securing his fourth GoPro Superpole victory of the season with an impressive 1:32.686 lap time.
MX1 Moto 1
When race one got underway for the Thor MX1 class at Shepparton, DPH Motorsport’s Kade Mosig shot off the concrete start and secured the Raceline holeshot, followed by Gibbs, Ferris and MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Brett Metcalfe.
After only four minutes, Mosig began to put distance between himself and his closest competitors Gibbs and Ferris – meanwhile behind the top three, experienced Metcalfe and Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s rookie Luke Clout began to battle for fourth.
But it was the battle for the lead the captured the crowd’s attention at the five lap mark. Gibbs closed in on Mosig, but in what has been the trend of the season, Ferris followed suit and it was line choice this morning that made all the difference. Ferris pushed hard and made the pass on Gibbs to find Mosig’s rear wheel, but a small mistake in a rut saw the MX1 championship leader go down, and when he re-joined the race, Ferris was back in 12th position for the first time this season.
With Ferris outside the top 10, Mosig capitalised, and both himself and Gibbs checked out on the field. Behind the top two Metcalfe and Clout continued to battle for the final podium position, while American rider Peters completed the top five after seven laps on track.
Incredibly, the technical Shepparton circuit claimed another victim only two laps later, with Clout sliding out of a rut taking his Honda machine down and handing fourth place to Peters.
The excitement then continued at the front of the field with Gibbs closing in on Mosig, and within only a few turns, the former MX1 champ made the move in to the race lead, and relegated Mosig to second.
By the halfway mark, Gibbs continued to hold the top spot from Mosig and Metcalfe, while Peters and Waters completed the top five. Rookie pair Crawford and Clout occupied positions six and seven, KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Luke Styke had found his way in to eighth, and Ferris had made his way from 12th up to ninth position.
As moto one for the Thor MX1 class reached the 16 lap mark, Ferris continued to charge through the field in a bid to maximise points, making his way up to eighth position with a handful of laps remaining.
But the man of the moment was Gibbs in race one, whose composure and calculated riding saw him lead by a comfortable 2.5 second margin as the moto reached its closing stages.
And when the chequered flag flew it was Gibbs who secured his third race win of the season in the opening Thor MX1 moto.
Second place went to Mosig who managed to fight off Metcalfe throughout the entire final lap, forcing the veteran Kawasaki rider to settle for third. Fourth went to Peters, while Waters finished in fifth. Crawford wrapped up race one in sixth ahead of CDR Yamaha’s Ferris who charged back to seventh. Styke, Clout, and Joel Green completed the top 10.
MX1 Moto 2
After recording his worst result of the season in race one at Shepparton, when the second moto got started for the Thor MX1 class, Ferris was out for redemption.
When gates dropped it was Mosig who took his second holeshot for the day, but within only a lap, Ferris had gone from eighth to the race lead, proving to the crowd that he was determined to bounce back from his race one result.
For the Thor MX1 riders, moto two dished out some of the toughest conditions of the day, with ruts getting deeper and harder, catching out the most talented of the field, but after two laps, Ferris had pulled his classic ‘breathing’ room on the rest of the talented pack, while Mosig continued to maintain second place ahead of Waters and Metcalfe.
Unfortunately for Mosig, the Shepparton surface caught him out only four laps in, the DPH Motorsport rider going down and losing a position to Waters.
With a third of the moto completed, Ferris continued to lead by a comfortable margin from Waters and Mosig, while behind the top three Metcalfe began to close in on the rear wheels of the Honda and Yamaha riders.
Mosig’s day unfortunately got harder from there, dropping back to fifth after making yet another mistake, which allowed the likes of Metcalfe, and Gibbs to inherit a position each.
Nine laps in to the final 30-minute MX1 moto, Ferris looked back to his old self, ticking off the laps aboard his highly competitive CDR Yamaha, behind him Metcalfe had made his way by Waters to slot in to second, while Waters began to feel the pressure from Gibbs who had taken his time to settle in to the last race of the day.
As the MX1 class reached the closing stages of their final moto, lapped riders began to play in to the results, and for Metcalfe getting caught behind a back-marker allowed Waters to capitalise on the situation, and in the blink of an eye Waters had reclaimed second position.
Then, in what we have learnt to expect from Gibbs, the Factory KTM rider found his form late in the moto, passing Metcalfe for third, where he also began to close in on Water’s rear wheel.
With only a handful of laps remaining, Ferris was untouchable out in front, followed by Waters and Gibbs in second and third. Meanwhile Metcalfe continued to hold down fourth from Crawford, Clout, Styke and Peters.
By the time rider’s received the last lap board, Ferris was in the box seat to take yet another race victory, and claim the win in the final moto at Shepparton is exactly what the CDR Yamaha rider did.
When the chequered flag flew, Ferris had bounced back, charging from eighth through to the top spot in race two, second went to Gibbs who managed to get by Waters in the final laps, while Honda mounted Queenslander Waters was forced to settle for third.
MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki duo Metcalfe and Crawford wrapped up the final moto in fourth and fifth places respectively, followed by Clout, Styke, Peters, Mosig and CDR Yamaha’s Dylan Long who completed the top 10.
But with a win in race one, and a second in race two it Gibbs who finally broke through to take his first round win of 2017, second overall at Shepparton went to Ferris, while third on the Thor MX1 podium was claimed by Metcalfe.
“It feels amazing to get this win, Dean has been on a winning streak for a while now, so it’s nice to have finally broke through and hopefully I can carry this confidence into the last few rounds,” Gibbs said.
“It was a good day for me, obviously it helped that Dean made a mistake in the first moto but in the second race he schooled us all a bit.
“It was really cold down here and I’ve spent a lot of time in Sydney and Melbourne lately so I’m looking forward to heading home, thawing out, and getting back into my routine so I can finish this year off strong.”
© Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com
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Thor MX1 Round 7 Results
1) Kirk Gibbs – 67 points – KTM
2) Dean Ferris – 59 points – Yamaha
3) Brett Metcalfe – 58 points – Kawasaki
4) Todd Waters – 56 points – Honda
5) Kade Mosig – 54 points – Yamaha
6) Nathan Crawford – 51 points – Kawasaki
7) Kyle Peters – 51 points – Suzuki
8) Luke Clout – 47 points – Honda
9) Luke Styke – 47 points – KTM
10) Dylan Long – 41 points – Yamaha
Thor MX1 Championship Standings
1) Dean Ferris – 489 points – Yamaha
2) Kirk Gibbs – 435 points – KTM
3) Kade Mosig – 383 points – Yamaha
4) Todd Waters – 361 points – Honda
5) Luke Styke – 357 points – KTM
6) Kyle Peters – 327 points – Suzuki
7) Luke Clout – 324 points – Honda
8) Brett Metcalfe – 297 points – Kawasaki
9) Nathan Crawford – 251 points – Kawasaki
10) Keiron Hall – 233 points – Husqvarna
Motul MX2 Round 7 Results
1) Wilson Todd – 64 points – Yamaha
2) Egan Mastin – 63 points – KTM
3) Mitchell Evans – 61 points – Yamaha
4) Kyle Webster – 60 points – Honda
5) Jayden Rykers – 54 points – KTM
6) Richie Evans – 50 points – Yamaha
7) Dylan Wills – 48 points – Husqvarna
8) Hamish Harwood – 46 points – KTM
9) Jay Wilson – 42 points – KTM
10) Ricky Latimer – 42 points – Yamaha
Motul MX2 Championship Standings
1) Wilson Todd – 426 points – Yamaha
2) Mitchell Evans – 418 points – Yamaha
3) Egan Mastin – 407 points – KTM
4) Hamish Harwood – 373 points – KTM
5) Jackson Richardson – 365 points – Yamaha
6) Kyle Webster – 344 points – Honda
7) Dylan Wills – 334 points – Husqvarna
8) Jayden Rykers – 320 points – KTM
9) Richie Evans – 303 points – Yamaha
10) Ricky Latimer – 232 points – Yamaha
The 2017 Motul MX Nationals will continue, with round eight set to be held at Port Macquarie in New South Wales on Sunday July 30.