Moto Media

KTM Australia's Dale and Gibbs were in the mix at Timaru

Cody Cooper won the opening round from Ford Dale and Billy Mackenzie, but didn’t have it all his own way with Dale setting the fastest qualifying time and winning the day’s second Moto for a 2, 1, 3 score on the day.

Fellow KTM rider Kirk Gibbs used his KTM450SX-F to good effect, but struggled with starts on a dusty track upon which starts were particularly important and after qualifying third fastest had his work cut out to glean 4, 4, 4 results.

The KTM Motocross Racing Team will contest all four rounds of the New Zealand championship as it builds toward the Australian MX Nats which begin on March 30.

Ford Dale - above, 2nd overall: "I'm really happy with how things are going with the bike, The team is bonding really well and these races are awesome I'm so happy to be doing them though I'm not fit enough yet in terms of my intensity but will be on top of our game in time for the Aussie rounds. I led about five laps in that first moto but I wore myself out pretty quick. Then in the second I got the holeshot and lead start to finish. I felt really good and made no mistakes. In the third I was in stuck in third behind Cooper and Billy and we held the same gap for most of the race. It was really hard to see when you were behind but I managed to pass Billy toward the end, however on that last lap we came together and I got third. I'll spend the next two weeks in New Zealand working on skills with BT, then go home for some more testing. The faster and more knowledgeable I become on the bike the more I can try changing a few things."

Kirk Gibbs: (above - 4th overall): "I definitely rode a lot better today, but a few little mistakes let me down and I struggled with the rocks nature of the track at the start. The front three were a little quicker today but it was one of those tracks where if you could get the starts it was much easier. Every time I got stuck back it was a battle to get up to the back of the front three, and you really can’t afford to let them get away. I'm pretty happy with how I'm riding for five weeks in, and with three more rounds to go I can definitely step it up and come into the MX Nats in good form. I'll go home and do some testing and practice my starts and I can definitely improve a lot from here."

Rob Twyerould - Manager KTM Motocross Racing Team "It would've been lovely to win today but the start was such an advantage as Ford showed in Moto 2 - with 2 to 3 laps of clear track you could get a big advantage. Certainly Ford was solid all day and in the last moto was very impressive, he caught and passed Billy before Billy did a desperate, but we'll keep that up the sleeve, it's all experience and good for him. Kirk was very solid all day but starts let him down. At Woodville he was getting holeshots but today he couldn't buy a start. He was always riding in the dust which made it so much more difficult. It's been great to see how in two weeks both boys race fitness has improved. I'm quite happy and we're certainly right there in the hunt for the New Zealand championship so roll on round two.”

2014 New Zealand Motocross Championships Round 1 of 4
1. C.Cooper, 2. F.Dale, 3.B.Mackenzie, 4.K.Gibbs

The next round of the New Zealand MX championships takes place at Tokoroa on Sunday 23 February.

Copy:  John Pinnell, KTM Autsralia.  Photos: Andy McGechan,,