On Paper, round five of the 2017 MX Nationals in Murray Bridge might not be Serco Yamaha’s finest work but both Mitch Evans and Jackson Richardson put in two fighting rides to keep their championship hopes alive, as the series hits the midway point.

On the fast and flowing Murray Bridge circuit where good starts and track position is everything, Evans and Richardson both had to overcome some challenges throughout the day but both showed they are in the fight for the long haul with Evans taking third place for the day and Richardson in sixth.

Evans started the day off in good shape with the fourth fastest lap in qualifying where less than two seconds separated the top none riders. But a poor start in race one made life difficult for Evans as he was buried in the early laps and trying to move forward when all the riders ahead of him were at a similar pace.

But he continued to fight and moved his way into a good points salvaging position of seventh but gained a lot of confidence as he reeled in the front runners late in the race.

Race two and there were no start issues. Evans leaped from the gate, dominated the first turn and took control of the race. While there was pressure from behind throughout the race, Evans focus never faulted and he went on the win with a five second margin back to second place.

His 7-1 results landed him in third for the day.

“A good race, one not so good race,” Evans lamented at days’ end. “I thought I got a pretty reasonable jump in race one but got caught wide in the first turn and shuffled back quickly as turns one and two are tight U turns. From there I just had to keep moving forward and passing whatever rider was in front of me. It wasn’t an easy track to pass and the speed is on in race one as the track is still pretty smooth and a bit one lined but seventh was ok.

“I knew I had to rebound in race two and was determined to get the start. I went to gate one and just charged the first turn and came out in front. I put my head down, didn’t worry about what was behind me and I was able to win the race so it was a good way to finish,” Evans ended.

Jackson Richardson also had a day of mixed fortunes with his 4-5 results. Race one saw Richardson charge to the lead after slicing his way through a pack of three or four riders in the opening laps. He led until the half way point of the 30minute race but he started to tighten up down the stretch with his arms pumping up and was forced to slow. He dropped to fourth in an eventful moto one.

Just 100 metres into race two and Richardson found himself in a completely different scenario to the opening moto as he went down in the first turn and was near last to remount and get back into the race.

With only 20 minutes to make something happen, Richardson threw caution to the wind and rode like a man possessed. He crashed and bashed his way past riders at will and quickly moved through the field. His charge took him all the way to fourth spot before a mistake on the final lap dropped him back to fifth.

“It was an uneventful day for me and each race completely opposite to each other. In race one I went from fourth to first and back to fourth again while in race two I went from last to fourth before my last lap mishap.

“But with the break in the series now, I can get home, make a few changes to what I have been doing and come back stronger in the second half of the series.

“Thanks to the Serco Yamaha team for their efforts for the past couple of runs as the fast turnaround after the mud at Horsham had everyone under the pump,” Richardson said.

Round six of the MX Nationals picks up at the Nowra circuit on July 2. For more information on the MX Nationals, www.mxnationals.com.au