One of the most pristine and picturesque motocross tracks in the country Green Park in Conondale was the backdrop for Round 3 of the Motul MX Nationals today, and it was once again CDR Yamaha’s Dean Ferris who left the venue undefeated in the Thor MX1 class.
Ferris was impressive from the minute he hit the track on the Sunshine Coast today, the reigning champ putting on a performance for thousands of spectators, and maintaining the red plate as the series powers on.
Competitors and fans were greeted with dry track conditions for Thor MX1 qualifying this morning, but the one rider who capitalised on the conditions early was KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs. Gibbs was close to a second faster than any other rider on track with a 2:10.898 lap time at the conclusion of the session. Second fastest was Russian MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Aleksandr Tonkov (2:11.568), followed by CDR Yamaha’s Ferris, Crankt Protein Honda Racing’s Todd Waters and teammate Luke Clout.
With the top five through to GoPro Superpole, fans watched on in anticipation as riders threw down their fastest flying laps, but it was Ferris who made it count when it mattered, once again taking his third Superpole victory for the season and first pick of the grid when racing commence with a 2:10.620 lap time.
When bikes headed to the line for race one all eyes were on the heavy hitters, and uncharacteristically Ferris and Gibbs opted to take positions on the grid no where near each other. But when gates dropped it was the Russian rider Tonkov who took the Raceline holeshot, and only a bikes length behind him was Waters and Ferris who weren’t letting the international competitor out of their sights.
With one lap in the books Ferris made a quick pass on Waters and moved up into second position, where he then set his sights firmly on the rear wheel of race leader Tonkov, and before riders had even reached their second rotation, the CDR Yamaha rider had moved into the race lead.
With Ferris out in front, the focus the shifted to the battle for positions behind him. And battle they did. KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Gibbs began his charge to the front, passing both Waters and Tonkov to snatch up second position. Despite Waters dropping off the pace for a short time and losing a spot to Tonkov, it wasn’t long before the Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team rider found his wheels once again and moved back up into third place.
Unfortunately for Tonkov his time at the front was short lived in moto one, and by lap four the Factory Kawasaki rider had dropped back to fifth position, where he then continued to fade.
After ten minutes on track for the Thor MX1 class, Ferris continued to school his competitors, leading by a comfortable margin. Gibbs and Waters occupied second and third while DPH Motorsport’s Kade Mosig was back in fourth. Rookie MX1 rider Clout was having yet another impressive ride in fifth position, while Penrite Honda’s Jesse Dobson and SD3 Husqvarna’s Brett Metcalfe continued to battle for sixth.
As race one reached its final stages, Ferris continued to be the fastest rider on track, slowly stretching out his lead to a commanding eight seconds. Behind him, Metcalfe was on his own charge, passing the likes of Dobson and then Clout to make his way into the MX1 top five.
But it was Ferris who had reason to celebrate at the conclusion of moto one, taking his fourth race victory for the year by a comfortable eight seconds. Second place was taken by Gibbs, while Waters rounded out the MX1 podium getters in the opening moto. Mosig crossed the finish line in fourth followed by Metcalfe who held on to finish in fifth. Dobson, KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Luke Styke, Clout, Nathan Crawford and privateer Keiron Hall completed the top ten in race one.
When bikes returned to the line for race two, the crowd watched on intently with all wondering whether Ferris could go undefeated at Conondale, and unsurprisingly it was the CDR Yamaha rider who snatched up the Raceline holeshot, and within only a few turns had stretched out his lead to an impressive three seconds.
Behind Ferris was MX1 rookie Crawford aboard the MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki, followed by KTM’s Styke and Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Waters.
Uncharacteristically, Gibbs who finished second in the opening moto was back outside the top five in seventh position after one and a half laps, giving himself one serious job to do if he was to make his way onto the MX1 podium.
With Ferris stretching his lead out lap by lap, the focus shifted to the riders behind him. And unfortunately it was Styke who captured the spectator’s attention for all the wrong reasons, allowing Waters, Mosig, Gibbs and Metcalfe to charge past the KTM rider who had fallen back to seventh position.
Despite entering the season with an arm injury, by lap five Crawford continued to hold his own in an impressive second place, while behind him Waters began to come under fire from Gibbs who was a man on a mission in the final moto. And by lap seven Gibbs made the pass on Waters and began his attempt to chase down Crawford.
When riders reached the halfway mark in race two Ferris had stretched out the margin on second placed Crawford to seven seconds, while behind the Kawasaki rider Gibbs began to look ultra threatening after coming through the field and into the final podium position. Behind Gibbs was Waters and Styke who recovered from an earlier mistake, while DPH Motorsport’s Mosig looked dejected in sixth.
As race two reached its final stages, SD3 Husqvarna’s Metcalfe was headed back to the pits after experiencing bike trouble, while Gibbs closed in on Crawford and made the pass on the Kawasaki rider for an all important second position.
But Ferris was unstoppable at Conondale this afternoon, and once again in the final moto he took an unchallenged victory and celebrated deservingly across the finish line. Second place in moto two was taken by KTM Motocross Racing Team’s Gibbs, followed by Crawford who collected the first MX1 podium finish of his career.
Fourth place in race two was taken by Waters, followed by Styke in fifth. Honda mounted Dobson, Mosig, Clout, Tonkov and Wilson Coolair Motul Factory Suzuki’s Peters completed the top ten in the MX1 class in race two.
With 1,1 race results it was Ferris who secured the top step of the Thor MX1 podium at Conondale, while second place was handed to KTM’s Gibbs, and third at round three was secured by Crankt Protein Honda Racing Team’s Waters.
Dean Ferris – CDR Yamaha – Round 3 Winner
“It was a perfect day for me. I got Superpole and then went 1,1 so I just really enjoyed myself,” Ferris explained.
“I had a smile on my face under the helmet all day. I love coming here, Green Park Conondale is one of my favourite tracks.
“It’s a special place for me, I got my first ever National moto win here ten years ago, so I love coming back and I’m just stoked that we got it done and got the win again today.”
Thor MX1 Round 3 Results
1) Dean Ferris – 70 points
2) Kirk Gibbs – 64 points
3) Todd Waters – 58 points
4) Nathan Crawford – 52 points
5) Kade Mosig – 52 points
6) Luke Styke – 50 points
7) Jesse Dobson – 50 points
8) Luke Clout – 46 points
9) Kyle Peters – 41 points
10) Keiron Hall – 40 points
Thor MX1 Championship Standings
1) Dean Ferris – 216 points
2) Kirk Gibbs – 185 points
3) Kade Mosig – 170 points
4) Todd Waters – 166 points
5) Luke Styke – 157 points
6) Nathan Crawford – 149 points
7) Luke Clout – 141 points
8) Kyle Peters – 134 points
9) Aleksandr Tonkov – 126 points
10) Brett Metcalfe – 109 points
The fourth round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals will be held at Horsham in Victoria on Sunday May 21, 2017.
For more information on the 2017 Motul MX Nationals, head to www.mxnationals.com.au