The picturesque hills of Toowoomba’s Echo Valley yesterday played host to round six of the 2023 Penrite ProMX Championship, presented by AMX Superstores, with a host of unique kits present as teams embraced ‘retro’ round, paying homage to some of the sport’s most iconic looks throughout the years.
In the Thor MX1 Class, it was Brisbane Motorcycles Yamaha rider Dean Ferris who stamped his authority on the field with a dominant 1-1 performance, whilst KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford gained valuable points with the Pirelli MX2 overall win, and GASGAS-racer Byron Dennis secured the MAXXIS MX3 overall victory.
Qualifying for the Thor MX1 class was topped by Ferris, who put down a blazing 1:48:548 lap time to secure the AMX Top 10 Pole Shootout honours. Second place belonged to KTM Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs who was half a second off Ferris’ time, with Aaron Tanti (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) in third, and Boost Mobile Honda Racing pair Jed Beaton and Kyle Webster rounding out the top five.
Moto one began with a huge holeshot from Ferris, which would mark disaster for the rest of the Thor MX1 field as that would be the last they’d see of the 111 machine. A masterclass in rut technique and line choice, Ferris crossed the line with a 14-second margin over second place title combatant Beaton, who clawed his way through the field after a poor start. Third was Raceline Berry Sweet Husqvarna Racing’s Todd Waters in a return to championship form, with Gibbs and Tanti rounding out the top five.
Moto two began in similar fashion, as Ferris launched out of the gates for the holeshot, although was challenged by a motivated Tanti after a late race fall in the opening moto cost him valuable points. A valiant effort was put up by the defending champion, although there was no stopping Ferris, who breezed to an eventual 15-second margin by races end. Tanti finished in second, Beaton landed another podium ride in third, with Gibbs and Webster rounding out the top five.
Toowoomba marked an ominous sign for the Thor MX1 Class, as a determined Ferris mentioned that he’d ‘changed his whole program’ after a trying Gillman outing, and obviously, it worked. He now holds a seven-point advantage over Beaton, with Tanti a further 20 in arrears with two rounds remaining.
Qualifying for the Pirelli MX2 class belonged to the in-form KTM Racing Team rider Nathan Crawford, who posted a time just .101 faster than archrival Wilson Todd (Terrafirma Honda Racing). In third was GASGAS Racing Team’s Noah Fergusson who continues to build through the season, followed by Yamaha duo of Rhys Budd (Serco Yamaha) and Kaleb Barham (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) in positions four and five respectively.
The racing in the Pirelli MX2 Class for season 2023 has been nothing short of explosive, and with Polyflor Honda Racing’s Brodie Connolly storming to the moto one holeshot, it was apparent that this trend was set to continue. An all-out brawl ensued between Connolly and Fergusson at the head of the field, whilst Crawford charged from the back of the pack to wind up on the rear end of the duo by the midpoint.
The KTM Racing Team ace made quick work of everyone, taking the opening moto victory in commanding style. Fergusson was second with series-leader Todd hot on his heels in third, while Budd and Victorian privateer Liam Andrews completed the top five.
Moto two featured another Todd versus Crawford epic, as the duo would battle for the entire 25-minute affair. Separated by nothing but a blanket, it was Todd who withstood the pressure from Crawford, crossing the line with a five second margin in hand over his rival. Fergusson put in a strong ride for third, while Connolly and Budd added to their consistent outings with fourth and fifth place respectively.
Crawford made points on Todd in Toowoomba, though probably not as many as he’d have liked, as the defending champion remains atop the series leader board with a comfortable 35 points in hand. Crawford remains second with 207 points, whilst New Zealand sensation Connolly stands strong in third with 188.
Entering the Echo Valley round with the championship leaders red plate, GASGAS-racer Byron Dennis showed poise at the technical red clay circuit, posting a consistent 2-2 ride which landed him the top step of the podium for the round. Chaos would ensue around him throughout the day as his championship contenders showed immense speed, although fell victim to the rutted surface at various points.
Husqvarna rider and championship hopeful Jack Mather finished in second place after a fall while leading in moto two, relinquishing a valuable three-points in the series standings. He was shadowed home by fellow Husqvarna rider Liam Owens, who posted a 3-4 scorecard for third overall.
Yamaha’s Jake Cannon took victory in the final moto, though an 11th in moto one meant that he notched fourth place overall, while Empire Kawasaki contender Cambell Williams finished fifth.
Dennis extends his points lead to 25 over Mather in second, while Cannon sits in third, 54 points out of the MAXXIS MX3 Class championship lead.
The 2023 ProMX Championship remains in the sunny state for the following two rounds of competition, with the iconic QLD Moto Park set to host the penultimate round of this year’s championship on the 13th of August.
(Photos courtesy AusProMX/Foremost Media)