This weekend the penultimate round of the Motul MX Nationals is set to take place at Echo Valley in Toowoomba, and with the MX1 and MX2 classes reaching the pointy end of their championships, Sunday’s event could dish out some of the biggest moments of the season.
Last year, Toowoomba saw breakthrough performances, drastic changes to title chases and a huge crowd, so what’s in store for competitors when they hit the track this Sunday?
Today, we look at some of the mega moments that could play out this weekend, and why Round 9 at Toowoomba is set to be one of the most memorable of the 2017 race season.
You only have to cast your mind back to 2014 to realise that wildcards provide one hell of a talking point. It was at Swan Hill three years ago that Nathan Crawford ‘showed up’ the MX2 class, winning a moto and claiming the overall after entering the round as an MXD wildcard. This weekend we will see the likes of Kaleb Barham, Isaac Ferguson and more stepping up to the MX2 category to contest the ninth round of the championship. Not only could we see breakthrough performances from any one of these Pirelli MXD riders, but should they land on the podium at Toowoomba, it could play havoc with the Motul MX2 Championship. Currently, Wilson Todd is leading the charge by only 13 points from Egan Mastin, and Mitchell Evans, and should one of these top three miss the podium at the expense of a wildcard MXD rider, the championship could change drastically in more ways than one.
Speaking of championships, this Sunday we could see the premier Thor MX1 2017 Champion crowned. Dean Ferris is entering the round with a 75-point lead on Kirk Gibbs, and to win the title he will need to maintain that points lead, or only drop two markers. To win the title and be crowned champ, Ferris will need to finish round nine with a 73 point lead (35 points for each race win and three points for GoPro Superpole are up for grabs this Sunday). So, the question we’re all asking is can the CDR Yamaha rider do it? Judging by his last performance at Port Macquarie where he won both motos and Superpole, Ferris is more than capable, however we all know it’s not over until he’s holding the trophy above his head, and Kirk Gibbs, Ferris’ closest threat, is going to leave no stone unturned in his bid to stop him. Toowoomba could see us crown a champion, or set up the final round at Coolum as the ultimate decider. Either way, the racing in the Thor MX1 class this weekend is going to be epic.
Two-stroke vs four-stroke
Ahh the ultimate racing debate! Toowoomba is known nation wide as one of the steepest and as a result the most picturesque venues on the racing calendar, but what does this weekend’s ninth round mean for two-stroke and four-stroke riders? In the MX2 class we are faced with the ultimate showdown, Wilson Todd and Mitchell Evans on the four-stroke machines, vs Davey Motorsport’s two-stroke rider Egan Mastin. There’s no doubt that Mastin should be quick off the start at Toowoomba and may have a small advantage when it comes to powering up the steep Toowoomba hills aboard his two-stroke KTM, however on a track that can form up to be deep, rutty, and very technical, the four-stroke machines could have the advantage when it comes to cornering, line selection, and the technical areas Toowoomba is known for. So could we see the two-stroke, four-stroke showdown of the year play out on Sunday? You’ll have to be at Toowoomba to find out.
The ninth round of the Motul MX Nationals will be held this Sunday at Toowoomba in Queensland, Sunday August 13.
For more information on this weekend’s event including race times, venue information and more, head to www.mxnationals.com.au