It was a bittersweet day for the Raceline Pirelli KTM racing team at Round 7 of the Motul MX Nationals at Shepparton, with MX2 rider Jayden Rykers recording an impressive top five finish, while Jay Wilson and Morgan Fogarty faced challenges on the Victorian circuit.
With Rykers heading in to the weekend following on from his first podium of the season at Nowra, the team was optimistic that race results were set to improve even further, but with Shepparton forming up to be one of the most difficult tracks on the calendar, it was a day of up and down finishes for the team.
Rykers qualified in an impressive fifth place yesterday, less than a second off the pace with a 1:33.268 lap time, then in moto one, Rykers charged from mid-pack through the talented field of MX2 riders, to finish in fifth position. In race two Rykers was in third for the majority of the 20-minute moto, only slipping back one position to fourth at the conclusion of the race. With 5,4 race results Rykers wrapped up the outing in a consistent fifth overall at Round 7.
“Shepparton was a good round in many ways for me. In qualifying we seemed to have a little more speed than usual and that placed us in fifth which gave us a decent gate pick,” Rykers shared.
“In moto one my drive off the gate was great, but with the concrete I didn’t judge the grip on the dirt too great, I came from outside top 20 and fought all the way back up into the top five.
“In moto two, I started just inside the top ten and I worked my way into eighth then to third in a few laps. I actually started to catch the front two riders and I really didn’t even know there were leading until after the race finished.
“I finished in fifth overall so I’m happy with the day and looking forward to the last three rounds. I can’t expect to be on the podium every round with starts outside the top ten, but they’re improving along with my pace.”
For Wilson, Round 7 at Shepparton delivered some challenges. After qualifying in sixth position behind his team mate Rykers, Wilson raced to 11,9 race results, concluding his second outing for the team this season in ninth overall. Despite not gelling with the technical Shepparton circuit, Wilson brought home a healthy haul of points, and will regroup ahead of Port Macquarie.
“Shepparton wasn’t the round we were looking for. We qualified in sixth and we got a fairly good gate pick but it was the races that let us down,” Wilson explained.
“In moto one, I got pushed back off the start and I was in about sixth place, but at the 12-minute mark I had a bit of a problem with my bike setup and I ended up dropping back to 11th which we were really disappointed with.
“In the second moto I got a similar start, but we had made some changes to the bike in the lunch break and it definitely made a bit of a difference. I slipped back to ninth, but we were happier with how that race went.
“The two results from Shepparton are just not good enough, I’ll be working hard over the next two weeks to make sure that we are better at Port Macquarie.”
The seventh instalment of the MX Nationals at Shepparton, was a weekend that Fogarty would prefer to put behind him. After qualifying in fourth place, Fogarty was leading the opening laps of race one, however a crash saw him drop back to dead last, eventually making his way through the field and back to ninth at the conclusion of the moto. In race two Fogarty quickly moved in to the lead, however a bike malfunction forced the 17-year-old to pull in after one lap, unfortunately suffering at DNF.
“Shepparton was definitely not a good one for myself after crashing in the first race and breaking an internal gear spring which meant my bike was stuck in fourth gear for the whole race,” Fogarty said.
“I ended up coming though the pack from dead last and making my way to ninth.
“In moto two I grabbed the holeshot and had the lead, then I was in a bit of a battle for the top spot when my bike let go and ended my race.
“Overall happy with my riding but just seems like luck just isn’t on my side, so I’m looking forward to moving on to next round.”
The 2017 MX Nationals will continue at Port Macquarie in New South Wales on Sunday, 30 July. Visit the official series website at www.mxnationals.com.au for further information.
To follow Raceline Pirelli KTM’s progress this year, like ‘Raceline’ on Facebook or follow @raceline_motosport on Instagram.