KTM Factory Motocross Racing Team rider Kirk Gibbs has added another two podium finishes to his incredibly consistent 2017 season at the penultimate round of the MX Nationals at Toowoomba’s famous Echo Valley venue.
Around the mountainous city circuit, Gibbs blasted his KTM 450 SX-F to holeshots in both races, before registering back-to-back second place finishes for second on the day behind championship leader Dean Ferris, and ahead of American Kyle Peters.
Earlier, Gibbs had proven his abundant track speed by stopping the clocks at 1:48.635 to be the morning’s fastest qualifier, then he finished just .135 away from SuperPole victory in second, despite a loose moment which saw him almost leave the track at turn three.
While Ferris has proved near on unstoppable in 2017, the tenacious Gibbs has never once stopped fighting, and he’s been the only other rider to win an MX Nationals round this year, in a season where that is no small distinction.
His persistence and form was recently recognised and rewarded by the powers that be with his selection alongside Ferris and Europe-based Queenslander Hunter Lawrence to Australia’s MX Des Nations team which is set to take on the world in England on October 1.
Luke Styke’s efforts at Echo Valley were hamstrung by a back condition which flared up on the day, requiring numerous visits to the Race Safe staff for treatment.
He salvaged seventh from the day after 8 – 7 moto finishes on his KTM 450 SX-F, maintaining his fifth position in the championship, and will seek treatment this week in hope of being fit for Coolum.
Jay Marmont – KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager: “Kirk was the quickest in qualifying, and he was still just 0.1 of a second slower than Brett Metcalfe in SuperPole despite an error, so we knew we were on! We actually made some slight changes to the bike to get him off the line a little better, to suit what we’re going to run at the Des Nations, and he got two holeshots today. We couldn’t be happier with the performance of the bike, or of Kirk. In the first moto, Dean ended up getting him on the second lap with Kirk playing cat and mouse for most of the moto. Things weren’t much different in the second race, Ferris was the better rider today, but Kirk started where he should and stuck in there with Dean as long as he could to learn how he could try and get on race terms with him. Those two showed their clear dominance in the field, checking out in both races and Kirk was within 4-5 seconds both times, so credit to him for sticking in there and putting pressure on Dean, who ultimately showed why he’s the champion. Stykesy struggled with a sore back today. His overall result probably wasn’t so bad, but he was a long way off the pace he should be running. Bit of a shame there, but hopefully he can get that fixed heading into Coolum or at least the supercross championship.”
Kirk Gibbs – KTM450SX-F: “Qualifying went well, but in SuperPole, I missed a gear and stuffed up the first part of the track really badly, then I charged really hard and only missed out on SuperPole by 0.1. I pulled two holeshots today, which was really good as we’ve been working really hard on that. I lead for the first two laps and then Dean got around, but I made a couple of costly mistakes and he got away. After that we were lapping around the same pace, but I just couldn’t reel him in. It was similar in the second race, I pulled the holeshot, then he got around me in the first two turns. We would hold our own, but just couldn’t do anything to track him down. I’m pretty happy with 2-2s today, I just need to be a little bit cleaner in the first couple of laps. Jay and the boys; Danny, Craig and Jordy were all working hard and we’re definitely making the steps in the right direction.”
Luke Styke – KTM450SX-F: “Not the best showing here. We ran into a back problem in the last few weeks and aggravated it in practice and were just trying to band-aid it all through today. It was a tough day, in and out of RaceSafe trying to get treatment, so hopefully we can rest it up and have a good crack at Coolum. I’ve been liking the place the last few weeks. The riding was definitely off today, the second moto was a tad better but the back was hurting and it was holding me back. I’m worried it might be a bulging disc, so we’ll get in and get it looked at this week and get some treatment for it.”