Motocross

Kirk Gibbs makes strong return to racing

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Australian Motocross Champion Kirk Gibbs proved he's lost little of his outright speed since breaking his pelvis late last year when the weekend‰Ûªs KTM Conondale Cup took place at the iconic green Park circuit.

Gibbs, who sustained the injury during training for the Australian Supercross championships back in October, blasted back on to the national radar when he placed his KTM 450 SX-F on the top of Saturday's qualifying sheets ahead of Dean Ferris and Jesse Dobson.

But the road to recovery is rarely smooth and neither was Gibbs‰Ûª progress through raceday as poor starts and a crash left him struggling to find his race-winning flow, and he finished seventh in the crash-shortened 450cc class, and fifth in the day‰Ûªs All Powers feature race.

‰ÛÏAfter a pretty long break this is the first race back, so it was good to just get everything in order," Gibbs said.

"We were trying to change a few things with the bike, and it just wasn't there with the starts today.

"First Moto I buggered my start up a little bit and then ended up on the ground. I was pretty banged up after the first race, and then in the second I felt like I wasn‰Ûªt riding too bad, it's just that the track was really hard to race on today if you didn't get a start because there was sort of one main line a lot of the way. On paper it was a bad day, but I think it‰Ûªs just a matter of putting all the pieces of the puzzle together," he concluded.

Team Manager Kyle Blunden added, ‰ÛÏOverall today it was a mixed bag of results, after a really good qualifying session yesterday in which Kirk qualified fastest. But Kirk's first moto today where he fell sort of set a bit of a bad tone in the way it affected the next start position and so on. He definitely showed signs of speed though, to come from last in the first moto, but it was a difficult track to pass on. It was a tough day on the 450."
Caleb Ward
With Gibbs‰Ûª teammate Luke Styke still a week from being back in the saddle of his race bike after his Achilles tendon injury, it was up to the team's new signing, MX2 rider Caleb Ward to play number two under the KTM awning.

In what was Ward's first outing on the KTM Motocross Racing Team factory KTM 250 SX F, the exciting North Queensland ended the day tied for top points, only finishing third on a count back.

He then lined the 250 up against the big bores (and big boys) in the day‰Ûªs All Powers feature race, and left all the other quarter-litre bikes in his wake on his way to sixth overall.

‰ÛÏI didn't get the win but I got some nerves out the way. I‰Ûªm a little bit disappointed I think I definitely could have won if the race hadn't have been cut back, but it's always easy to say that I guess," Ward said.

"I feel like I progressed, in the last race and the feature race I felt probably the best I'd felt all day on the bike. Now I'm just looking forward to round one.

"I struggled a little bit with start because I hadn't practised starts on that bike before, but the more I got used to the bike the better I went so I definitely think taking it home and practising on it I‰Ûªll get a lot better and hopefully by around one should be going really fast. That‰Ûªs the plan anyways," Ward concluded.

Main Photo: KTM Factory racers Kirk Gibbs showed excellent form at the KTM Conondale Cup.
Credit: TCPhotographics
Feature Race
1. Dean Ferris - 14:37.040
2. Kade Mosig +09.972
3. Matt Moss +11.883
4. Todd Waters +12.470
5. Kirk Gibbs +15.831
6. Caleb Ward +23.487
7. Jesse Dobson +43.996
8. Wade Hunter +51.215
9. Jordan Hill +53.364
10 . Billy Harth +55.058

All Powers Open
1. Dean Ferris - 70 Pts
2. Kade Mosig - 64 Pts
3. Matt Moss - 58 Pts
4. Daniel Reardon - 54 Pts
5. Todd Waters - 53 Pts
6. Jesse Dobson - 52 Pts
7. Kirk Gibbs - 46 Pts
8. Wade Hunter - 46 Pts
9. Jordan Hill - 42 Pts
10. Lochie Latimer - 37 Pts

250 Open
1. Wade Hunter - 95 Pts
2. Jake Moss - 95 Pts
3. Caleb Ward - 95 Pts
4. Ricky Latimer - 84 Pts
5. Jordan Hill - 83 Pts
6. Zak Small - 70 Pts
7. Lochie Latimer - 69 Pts
8. Billy Harth - 68 Pts
9. Joel Rizzo - 67 Pts
10. Kaleb Barham - 65 Pts

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