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Husqvarna’s Malkiewcz clinches rookies cup in Toowoomba | Latest

Husqvarna Junior Racing Team rider Bailey Malkiewicz has clinched the 2017 Rising Star Rookies 250cc Championship with two calculating rides on a warm day in Toowoomba.

Round 9 of the 2017 MX Nationals series saw the third and final round of the Rising Star Rookies, and Malkiewicz entered the round with a seven-point lead after throttling his Husqvarna FC250 to victory in the penultimate round at Horsham back in May.

After qualifying second-fastest, the Victorian junior rode to second place in the opening moto, opening up a comfortable buffer over title rival Regan Duffy.

He then took a comfortable seventh in the second moto to put the title to bed, finishing third on the day behind KTM Junior Team mates Mason Semmens and Regan Duffy.

Malkiewicz will now turn his attention to the black sands of Coolum and the finale of the 125cc Junior Cup Championship – where the battle is a little more uphill.

The Husqvarna rider holds third place there, 21 points in arrears of Duffy and 9 shy of Semmens with a maximum 70 points up for grabs.

Sunday’s MX2 round was a new beginning for SD3 Husqvarna rider Kaleb Barham, who took his first steps in what will be his class for 2018.

The Toowoomba racer, who amassed 6 MXD podiums including two wins in 2017 was riding at his home track of Echo Valley before a small army of family and friends, and cracked the top ten straight off the bat, setting the eighth-fastest qualifying time.

He had a small throttle problem in the opening moto and nursed it home to ninth after running as high as third in the first two laps, then started mid-pack in the second race, before moving forward to eighth, to be ninth on the day.

KSF Racing R&D Husqvarna Dylan Wills was the highest-placed Husqvarna rider for the round, finishing seventh after 6-6 finishes.

Bailey Malkiewicz (Husqvarna FC 250): “Toowoomba was hilly and rough, but it was a fun track and I enjoyed it. Battling with those other guys was great, they were riding really well. It’s nice to win in my first year on the 250. I knew I could do it, but at the start of the year I had a knee injury, so I couldn’t run with the front two initially.

“But now my knee’s alright, I can battle with them for the top positions. Yesterday I just needed to finish in front of Duffy in the first race, and then I could take a nine-point lead into the last race and just finish third behind those two. It was a bit of a shuffle in that last one; it was a hard, gnarly track and I made little mistakes.
My bike was handling the conditions really well, and it got me two holeshots, which was awesome.

“I’ll go up to Coolum next weekend for the last 125 round. I lost a couple of points at that first round when I was injured but I might be able to get second overall, or maybe first if I’m lucky.”

Kaleb Barham (Husqvarna FC 250): “I love racing at Toowoomba because I really enjoy the track, and it formed up to be one of the gnarliest, steepest, rutted tracks of the year so far. It was a really interesting fast-paced track and I had an awesome home-town crowd with all the little kids running around.

“My first MX2 race was an awesome experience. There were some nerves but I got off to a ripper start in my first one, but had a little problem with my throttle and had to nurse it a little bit and ended up ninth. I learned a lot from it though and kind of got an idea of the pace. They swing off it for the whole 30 minutes, but that’s a goal I can work towards next year, just going into Coolum and having some fun. In the second one I just rode the stocker and didn’t get the start unfortunately, but I worked my way through to eighth in that one, so that was good.

“I’ll keep on learning up there and then be head down and bum up training – I’m definitely looking forward to next year.”