Kirk Gibbs and his KTM 450 SX-F dominated the mountainous red clay Echo Valley circuit to add his name to the history books, defeating Luke Clout and Jackson Richardson.
KTMs Motocross Racing Team rider Kirk Gibbs indicated his return from a serious injury late last year may be very near completion, when he joined the exclusive and prestigious list of riders who have claimed the title of Mountain Man.
The Toowoomba Motorcycle Club’s legendary stand-alone event has been running for over forty years and its honour roll reads like a who’s-who of Australian motocross history.
This year Gibbs and his KTM 450 SX-F dominated the mountainous red clay Echo Valley circuit to add his name to the history books, defeating Luke Clout and Jackson Richardson.
It was the first major event for Gibbs since he broke his femur at the beginning of September – costing him a maiden trip to the MXoN – but the 2015 MX Nationals Champion’s reputation for professionalism and training ethic proved well founded when he arrived fully fit and ready for action.
A muffed start in the opening back-to-back 10-minute moto which saw him ride dramatically from mid field through to second was his only imperfect performance all day, as he went on to win the next two back-to-backs comfortably, and the final 30-minute moto by nearly 20 seconds.
KTM rider Isaac Ferguson won the 125cc Golden Tyre Cup from Ricky Latimer, with Kerrod Morrissey third, while KTM-mounted Lauren Jones won the Women’s category from Hayley Miller and Alana King.
Jay Marmont – KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager: “Kirk was unreal today. It was my first race with him and he’s a true professional. He didn’t get a good start in the first one of the ten-minute races and had to come through from mid-pack, but he worked his way up to second, then he won the next two pretty convincingly.
It was pretty hot up here in the main and it was slippery and demanding. These 450s are making around 60 horsepower and it takes some skill to get up these hills fast. The quickest we clocked Kirk going down the Matterhorn was 111kph, so you’re really motoring out there and you don’t want to be making mistakes when you’re going down ruts that fast.
But he got the holeshot in the final and worked his way around and pulled out a gap and showed that he’s where needs to be with this fitness, and he ended up taking out the day.
There’s a few things we’ll work on but I’m definitely convinced that he’s in the ballpark. Kirk’s a determined rider and I respond really well to him – I think we’re going to have a lot of success.”
Kirk Gibbs – KTM450SX-F: “I felt pretty good today. I didn’t get the best start in the first one and had a battle with Luke Clout, then got two holeshots and won by a good amount. In the 30 moto I got another good start and just rode to the best of my ability and did what the track would let me. It got skatey and dry so they were pretty tough conditions, but I felt like myself again, which I’m happy about.
It’s hard to say how I’ll match up with the guys I haven’t raced with yet, but I feel like everything’s on track. I feel confident in what I’m doing and where I’m at, and things are definitely rolling in the right direction.”