Moto Media

What did happen to those Aussie KTM boys at Round 3?

In a difficult day results-wise at Pukekohe, both riders nonetheless reiterated their race-leading pace, but random acts of misfortune kept both away from the podium, Gibbs with one DNF, and Dale with two including a visit to the PukeMX Medics.

New Zealand’s Cody Cooper won the day from Brad Groombridge and Billy Mackenzie, while Gibbs fared the best of the KTM team riders in fifth overall, after an impressive second placing and a spectacular race win from the last two motos.

Earlier, Gibbs had been running second in the restarted opening moto when he fell on a jump, cartwheeling his KTM 450 SX-F into a ditch from where it took four men to extricate it!

Kirk Gibbs - photo courtesy of Phil Smith - aka clmintiepix

Kirk Gibbs: DNF - 2nd -1st.  Overall 5th.

"There was a bit of carnage everywhere today I think. Race One, me and Ford were one, two but then they red flagged it, and in the restart I was pushing hard over a table top into a gully when I tucked it on the upramp and cartwheeled the bike. I tried a different technique for the second start, but got wheel-spin and had to fight my way back to second. I knew my speed was pretty good and I feel like I'm just inching closer every time I get on a bike so in Race 3 when Ford handed me the lead I thought that if I held my lines I could hold Cooper off. In the last couple of laps I hit them really good and gapped Coops which was really good for my confidence and a good note to end the day on. I'm looking forward to being fit and ready for the Nats (Aust) so I can take it to everyone and show them that racing over here helps.”

Ford Dale:
8th - DNF - DNF

"I qualified second and felt real
good, but when I went to pass Coops in the first one I made a mistake and winded myself badly. In the second I hit a fallen rider and my disk got bent and I couldn't ride without the front wheel locking all the time so I had to pull out. In the third I had an awesome start, I'd made some changes to the bike and they were really paying off. I lead half the race, but I made a little mistake and smacked my chin into the bars pretty hard, so I decided to call it a day. I'm gutted with the outcome, I’ve been working really hard at home and I had the speed to be up front but just not the luck. Hopefully we get rid of all the bad luck over here before we start nationals!  I want to say thanks to the boys in the team, I really appreciate their support and I couldn't be happier being part of the team. Today's results didn't show it, but I feel like I'm riding better than I ever have.”

Rob Twyerould:  "Well hopefully after today we've used up our year's supply of bad luck. The day started well - one, two around the corner but then it got red flagged and basically it went downhill from there.

In Race 1 Ford had a big lose and got the 'bar in his chest, winding him badly enough that he needed to pull over. He continued for eighth while Gibbsy in second lost the front on an upramp, got thrown over the bars and the bike went 5 metres into a hole full of logs. It took four guys to get it out, but he'd damaged the muffler and subframe and it took some work to get it ready for race two.

In the second race there was a first turn crash, Kirk made his way around but Ford went in pretty hard and wedged his front wheel between the guy’s back tyre and guard. Kirk worked his way up to second which is great, but Ford’s front disc was bent so he couldn't ride it safely.

In the third the boys were one, two again, but 10 minutes in Ford washed the front on an upramp, landed awkwardly with his foot off the peg and smashed his chin on the bars. The Medics were worried that the swelling might have affected his airway but he’s okay now.  Meanwhile Kirk took over the lead and rode really beautifully on a technical and slippy track and pulled away from Coops to win by a couple of seconds.

The heroes today were Apro and Kyle who had to keep bikes clean in all the clay as well as make significant repairs with nowhere near the turnaround time we get in Australia.  The main thing is the boys are okay and both showed good speed today, especially Kirk to beat Coops who is really on a roll over here. That will be good for his confidence.”

Inset pics from Alan H.  Copy courtesy of John Pinnell for KTM Australia