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Ryder Kingsford returned to the MX2 podium for the first time in over 12 months, claiming third spot at Wonthaggi for the 2024 ProMX opener.

Ryder Kingsford led a strong Yamaha challenge in the MX2 division at the opening round of the 2024 ProMX Championship at Wonthaggi with teammates Jayce Cosford finish in fourth and Kaleb Barham take eighth in a positive day for the Yamalube Yamaha Team.

Kingsford had shown impressive speed in the preseason events contested and was confident he could translate that into a national level at the opening round of the championship. If there were any doubters at just how fast the Goulburn teenager can go, he unleashed a qualifying time that was a second clear of anyone else to take P1 when the field lined up for the first moto of the year.

And that speed went on display instantly in race one. Kingsford burst from the gates in the top five and then sliced his way forward in the opening laps. He moved to fourth, then to third and then into second but then just as he began to look towards the leader, he made a huge mistake in the rollers and was left trying to keep it on two wheels. Another moment a lap later also saw him fight for control as he lost positions with another off track excursion.

To his credit, Kingsford got things back under control, locked himself into fourth position and raced maturely to the finish to show he isn’t all about just going fast, he can ride smart when required.

For race two, again another good start saw him up the front and within a handful of laps, he was in second place. This time he didn’t let it go and remained composed the entire moto to bring it home in second and his 4-2 results gave him third for the round.

“The last 18 months have been hard with injury so it’s so good to get back up on the podium again. I had some clean up surgery to my foot just before Christmas but have been able to get a full preseason in and get some races under my belt and it rewarded me here today.

“The bike and team were great today. Everything was taken care of we didn’t have an issue and I’m really happy with my bike. “Thanks to the Yamalube Yamaha team as everyone works together here and it was a good start to the championship for us.

Jayce Cosford equalled his career best round result with a fourth-place finish on the weekend at Wonthaggi. Cosford had struggled when he raced at the same venue just a month ago and didn’t qualify well in the morning with a lowly 15th place on the time sheets. But that all went out the window when the gates dropped and he was competitive and racy all day long.

He got a good start in race one but was shuffled back in the opening lap chaos as every rider fought for position. As the race settled down, he was able to find his flow and began moving forward again and after 25 minutes, found himself in sixth place and right on the rear wheel of fifth.

Race two and he came out swinging as he led the field into the first turn. He ran wide and allowed a few riders to sneak up the inside but held onto a top five position on the opening laps. His teammate, Kingsford was able to get by and then Cosford pulled a couple of moves himself and clawed his way to fourth, where he would stay until race end. His 6-4 results tallied to fourth overall and a great start to the championship for him.

“The last time I was here wasn’t great and then even in practice this morning, I just didn’t feel good and knew I had to be better,” Cosford said. “I didn’t think I rode well in race one, but I kept at it and just kept trying to find a way so to finish sixth was good, but I thought that I could do better.

“Race two was better again. I had a great start but ran wide so a few guys got underneath me, but I was able to ride the track better and flow more without any mistakes. Its like I tried less but went faster and that was the best I have ever raced here,” he ends.

Kaleb Barham also put in a very respectable performance to claim equal seventh on the day, eighth on a count back. Based in Toowoomba and bought up on clay-based tracks, the Wonthaggi sandy surface can provide challenges for Barham, but he knuckled down over the weekend and rode the conditions well to start his 2024 campaign.

He finished with 7-10 results, with both motos full of fighting spirit. He was in a train of riders fighting for positions 6-7-8-9 in race one, then in race two, he locked bars with another rider just out of the gate and was right at the tail of the field. He rounded lap one in 23rd position and managed to fight his way back to 10th.

“Sand isn’t my strong point, but it has been something I have been working on, so it was good to see some of that work pay off today. I’m never going to be Jeff Herlings in the sand, but today was as good as I have felt, and I was happy that I kept charging all the way to the finish in both races.

“We go back to some hard pack at Horsham next round so I’m looking forward to that and I also want to shout out to my mechanic Nash who hurt his ankle of Friday but kept soldiering on all weekend and did a great job,” Barham says with appreciation.