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KTM Racers Review A Record-Equalling Manjimup 15,000 | Latest

KTM’s top championship contenders have commented on a highly successful weekend at one of Australia’s biggest and most spectacular one-off motocross race, the Manjimup 15,000 in Western Australia.

KTM’s Kirk Gibbs won the annual event and in the process joined current KTM Factory Racing Team Manager Jay Marmont and Craig Dack as just the third rider in history to win three of the coveted Manjimup 15,000 titles.

On a fast and technically-demanding track lined with spectators, Gibbs throttled his KTM 450 SX-F to victory in the first three of four Manjimup 15,000 races, before ensuring the overall result with a cool and measured fourth in the final, following an awkward fall in the shootouts.

“It feels so good to win such a really well run, great event,” said Gibbs. “I know it’s only Jay and Craig Dack that have won it three times, so I’m tied in the lead for most wins there. That’s pretty cool, and hopefully I can go back and try to become the winningest rider there.

“The track got very rough and demanding as it does, although with the shorter races it sort of came down to who got the start. I wanted to work on my starts and my sprint speed, because that’s where I’ve been lacking throughout the first half of the nationals, and we dialed that in very well on the weekend, even though the young boys rode really well too. They provided plenty of stiff competition on the weekend, and although I won, they were pretty close races.

“It was good to get the three wins, and that made it a lot easier in the last. I wasn’t really that sore, but, obviously I didn’t want to crash and leave there with an injury, so I held the reins back a little bit. Next stop for me will be to go down to Sydney and do a little bit of testing with the boys.”

On the back of some hot recent form in the MX Nationals MX2 class on his Davey Motorsport KTM 250 SX, Egan Mastin was given the chance to step up to the Factory Team’s KTM 450 SX-F test bike at Manjimup, and as the saying goes, he rode it like he stole it.

Mastin led the premier category three times, and then won the final race to hoist himself into second overall at the finish.

“I’m stoked! It couldn’t have gone much better for me,” said Mastin. “I had a few ups and downs, but it was a good day. It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever ridden in front of, so the atmosphere was awesome. Manjimup is probably the best track we have in Australia so it’s definitely my favourite. It got very rough and it separated the men from the boys, that’s for sure.

“I only got to ride the bike a couple of times before the event and I loved it – the thing was awesome! In the first I muffed the start and came back to fourth, but in the second I was behind Gibbsy off the start and I got by him and was leading and they red-flagged the race, which I was a bit bummed about, because I got second in the re-start. In the third I was out front and leading, and had a crash when I had a gap, then in the last I got the holeshot and pulled a bit of a lead when the track was definitely at its worst, and… second! It raised my confidence for sure and made me think that I could ride a 450.”

KTM Factory Team racer Luke Styke narrowly lost the last step on the podium to Kyle Webster, but was nevertheless pleased with his continued progress as he took two podium finishes in the 15,000, as well as two wins and the runner-up slot behind Cody Cooper in the one-lap shootouts.

“A good start worked in your favour on this track – if you got your clear track and a clear line choice for the first few laps it really helped,” said Styke. “In the shootouts I got a few holeshots and won a few races there so it was good to get clear track and not to get roosted. I was riding good, a bit off the podium but not far from the mark. I’ve just got to keep doing what I’m doing and it’s all going to click.

“I was pretty bummed, just missing the podium, but it gives me something to work on during the break, it’s fuel for the fire. To help me keep pushing through.”

Western Australian Regan Duffy was unstoppable in what he describes as his ‘second home’, the KTM Junior Racing Team/Mandurah City KTM rider blitzing both the 125 and 250 junior categories with a perfect streak of holeshots and race wins.

“I love Manjimup; I’ve always loved it. I love the track, it’s probably the best track I’ve ever ridden, and the atmosphere is amazing,” said Duffy. “It’s my home away from home. I won every race pretty convincingly – pulled a big gap in each one, and in the shootout, got every holeshot and every win. I’m happy with my fitness. I haven’t pulled up sore or anything today, and the suspension on the bike was great, soaking up everything, and it enabled me to power away.”

Jay Marmont – KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: “Manjimup always produces the goods. And we had a good trip. The bikes performed well, the riders performed well, and Gibbsy was near flawless all day. He had one little mishap when he fell in the eliminator, and hit his ribs pretty good. So after winning the first three motos in the 15,000, he was a bit sore in the last one and took fourth.

“We gave Egan Mastin the opportunity to race our test bike, and to win the last moto on one of the toughest tracks in Australia and finish second in the 15,000 was very impressive.

“Stykesy finished fourth too and got a couple of shootout wins. He rode the best I’ve seen him go for a long time.”