The Yamalube Yamaha Racing Team enjoyed a memorial day at round nine of the MX Nationals with Mitch Evans taking the round win and increasing his lead in the MXD championship.
Mitch Evans put in an outstanding performance taking the round win with a 1-1 day at Toowoomba. Evans openly states that he has had his struggles with the red clay and long hills of the Echo Valley track but shook those demons off in a day that saw him stretch his championship lead to 15 points with one round remaining.
Evans started the day sluggishly and qualified in fourth position but quickly put that behind him and charged to the front of race one during the opening laps. But as the race reached its later stages, Evans came under pressure from team mate, Jordan Hill, who made up a heap of time after falling early in the race.
Evans held firm and took the race win, just ahead of Hill.
The second moto was all Evans. He snatched the lead halfway through the opening lap and never let it go. Despite not feeling well, he gritted his teeth and got the job done to get the race win, making it three rounds and six race victories in a row as Evans continues his late season streak.
“Hopefully I have got the monkey off my back with this track,” said a relived Evans at the end of the day. “It was a struggle all day but as a team we all kept fighting and chased the result we wanted and to have both Jordan and myself up here shows that.
“The last three rounds have been amazing and things are going well but we still have a round of racing to do and a lot of laps to go around so there is no time to relax. I’m going to attack Coolum with the same energy and focus I have had for the last few rounds and leave that place with no regrets,” Evans warns.
It was a welcome return to the podium for Jordan Hill who was sidelined from racing at round eight with a shoulder injury. Hill dislocated his shoulder four weeks ago and while still not back to 100%, Hill showed plenty of heart and spirit in his racing and was rewarded with second place with his 2-4 results.
Hill, who excels on the red clay at Toowoomba, peeled off the fastest lap in qualifying, some 1.2 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
During the early stages of race one, Hill was in perfect position sitting in second when the leader made a mistake and Hill was caught up in the wreck. He dropped several places but once he regained his composure, he began to charge his way back towards the front.
Late in the race he closed in on the lead but couldn’t make a pass and was forced to take second.
Moto two had Hill again well placed early but a sharp jolt to his shoulder on one of the braking bumps slowed him considerably as he tried to ride through the pain. To his credit, he slowly but surely got himself back into the race and moved into fourth place with a few minutes to go. His 2-4 results netted him second and he now sits sixth in the MXD championship despite missing a round.
“I wanted to dominate today so I’m a little disappointed about that but it’s good to be back up on the podium,” Hill said. “I felt great this morning and in race one when the track was tacky but I struggled bit this afternoon when the traction wasn’t as good. This is the track I popped my shoulder and it was when it was hard pack and slippery and I think I was just a bit conservative in race two.
“My shoulder still isn’t great but getting better all the time so my plan is to keep trying to get it stronger and finish the season on a good note at Coolum before getting organized for supercross,” Hill said.
The final round of the MX Nationals will take place this weekend at Coolum on the Sunshine Coast with Evans going for the MXD championship.
Round Nine Results – Toowoomba
1st Mitchell Evans – 70 points
2nd Jordan Hill – 60 points
3rd Connor Tierney – 58 points
4th Cooper Pozniak – 55 points
5th Zak Small – 52 points
6th Billy Harth – 47 points
7th Hugh McKay – 46 points
8th Kaleb Barham – 44 points
9th Luke Abela – 44 points
10th Justin Hart – 43 points
Pirelli MXD Championship Standings
1st Mitchell Evans – 486 points
2nd Connor Tierney – 471 points
3rd Cooper Pozniak – 449 points
4th Wade Kirkland – 446 points
5th Kaleb Barham – 394 points
6th Jordan Hill – 382 points
7th Zak Small – 376 points
8th Hugh McKay – 314 points
9th Lochie Latimer – 303 points
10th Levi McManus – 273 points