Crawford Continues Climb Back to his Best
Nathan Crawford continued his back half of the season resurrection with an outstanding days’ racing at round seven of the MX Nationals, held at Maitland over the weekend.
Crawford regained much needed confidence after a spirited effort at the Gympie round and took that with him to Maitland where he again rode with speed and skill on his way to the podium.
Despite a so-so start to the first moto of the day, Crawford found his flow as the race settled down and he began to move forward. With 16 laps to get to the front, Crawford started picking off riders one by one until lap 10 when he parked his Yamaha YZ250F at the front of the field.
With six laps remaining, Nathan moved out to a five second lead by race end and rode across the finish-line triumphantly with his fist in the air.
Race two again saw Crawford inside the top five and desperate to move forward. And like moto one, once the race settled, he began to make his move. He clawed his way past team mate, Aaron Tanti, then Bailey Malkiewicz and set off after race lead, Kyle Webster. He hunted him down and as they got the one lap to go board, the pressure was on as Crawford had zoned in on the leader.
But he was unable to make a pass in the final lap and was forced to settle for second place. His 1-2 results gave him 67 points, tied with Webster for the day, but second overall on count back as Webster had the better finish in the final moto.
“Its so good to be back and racing properly again,” Crawford says with emotion. “That first race win was so good and the I had to work hard for it and all the good riders in the race were up the front and I was able to get past them. Coming up the final straight to the finish line was such a relief to finally win a race again at this level and get a reward for the work everyone has put in.
“Race two was just a little too little, too late. I charged up to Kyle, but he responded and rode the last two laps really well. He deserved to win it as I gave it all that I could and wasn’t able to pass him.
“Thanks to so many people for standing by my while I got back to speed and now I’m so motivated to be back in the game and doing well and what I love,” Crawford ends.
It was also another solid performance from Aaron Tanti who just missed the podium with a fourth place finish overall. Tanti finished with 5-3 results to claim fourth and remains in fifth place in the championship.
Tanti was well placed in moto one but was locked in several fierce battles on the track as the stars of the MX2 field battled for position. At some point, he and another rider locked bars and Tanti took a hit to his previously injured finger and had to back down the pace and dropped to fifth place by race end.
But with some extra strapping and determination, Tanti stepped up and race two and rode to a well-constructed third place.
“There were battles out there in both races and the opening couple of laps were pretty hectic as we all knew we needed to be up the front early. I felt my speed was pretty good, but I just had to back off a little in race one when my finger got jammed.
“Overall, it wasn’t a bad weekend, but I want to be on the podium at every round and I came up short this weekend.