Four classes hit the track for the first official heat races at the KTM Australian Junior Motocross Championships at Renmark today, with a number of riders asserting their authority, and establishing their first points which will contribute towards their entry into the finals later this week.
A total of eight heat races took place amongst selected finals at Renmark today, with riders taking to the track conditions well, showcasing the depth of talent within the junior ranks in the country.
With riders taking their positions on the grid via peg allocation this afternoon, when gates dropped for racing, it was a bar to bar fight all the way to the first turn, and throughout the seven and ten minute races, the juniors did not disappoint.
50cc 7-U9 Years
When racing kicked off for heat one for the 50cc 7-U9 Years class this afternoon, Oliver Paterno launched off the start and in to the early race lead, but both Jett Williams and Ky Woods were hot on the youngster‰Ûªs tail.
With only seven minutes on the clock for the 50cc riders, it was a dash to the finish line between the top three riders, and when the chequered flag flew it was Williams who got the job done in heat one, from Woods and Paterno in second and third.
In heat two, KTM‰Ûªs Kayd Kingsford got to the early race lead, however it wasn‰Ûªt long before Kayden Minear made his presence known, and by lap two, spectators were greeted by a new race leader.
And it was in the lead position that Minear stayed ‰ÛÒ collecting the heat two victory from Kingsford in second, while Jake Cannon secured third. Koby Hantis and Patrick Butler wrapped up heat two in fourth and fifth places respectively.
65cc 9-U11 Years
The first heat race for the 65cc 9-U11 years category got to a flying start this afternoon, and it was young Jett Burgess-Stevens who snatched up the first holeshot and moved in to the race lead ahead of Ryder Kingsford and William Kennedy.
As heat one reached its closing stages, Kennedy made the pass on Kingsford for second position, however it was Burgess-Stevens who was the man of the moment out in front. And it was in those positions that competitors stayed, Burgess-Stevens collecting his first race victory for the week, followed by Kennedy and and Kingsford who crossed the line in second and third positions.
In heat two for the 65cc 9-U11 years category, the triple 4 machine of Noah Smerdon got to a ripping start, followed by Rylan Gray and Connor Towill in second and third places.
And with seven minutes on the clock, Smerdon began to check out, leaving Gray and Towill to battle for second position behind him. And battle they did. With only two laps remaining Towill made the pass on Gray for second, treating spectators to an all out fight for top positions.
But when the chequered flag flew it was Queensland‰Ûªs Smerdon who crossed the line with the heat two victory, followed by Towill in second while Cooper Dudley wrapped up his first race of the week in third. Despite fighting for second for a period of time, Gray unfortunately dropped back to seventh position by the conclusion of the moto.
65cc 7-U9 Years
When the 65cc 7-U9 years class headed out for their first heat race of the weekend, the wind had well and truly picked up and competitors were forced to contend with the elements. But Kayden Minear had no trouble at all in navigating the circuit, and after only one lap had found his way in to the lead position.
Following Minear was New Zealand rider Cole Davies in second, while Koby Hantis from New South Wales looked comfortable in third.
And it was in those positions that competitors finished ‰ÛÒ Minear securing the heat one victory from Davies, and Hantis who finished in second and third positions respectively.
In heat two, Kayd Kingsford launched out of the starting gates and moved himself into the lead position ahead of Jet Alsop and Ky Woods, but after only one lap Kingsford and Alsop began to battle for the number one spot.
And with only two laps remaining spectators were treated, as Alsop made the pass on Kingsford for the lead, setting up the final laps as a dash to the finish line.
But when the chequered flag flew it was a fairy tale ending for Alsop who held on to secure the heat two win. Second place was taken by Kingsford, followed by Woods in third.
100cc ‰ÛÒ 125cc 13-U15 Years
The first heat race for the 100cc ‰ÛÒ 125cc 13-U15 Years class kicked off late this afternoon with the sun beaming down on the rich red soil, and Husqvarna mounted Bailey Malkiewcz wasted no time at all in getting to the number one position, leading the way from Mason Semmens and John Bova.
But within only a lap there were battles left right and centre on track, with Malkiewcz coming under fire from Semmens, while Bova also began to feel the pressure from KTM‰Ûªs Regan Duffy - and by the time riders headed in to lap three, Duffy had made the pass for third position.
From there, Duffy continued on his charge and before long the KTM rider had made the pass on Semmens for second position too, where he began to eye off Malkiewcz‰Ûªs rear wheel.
And when the chequered flag flew, it was Duffy who crossed the finish line victorious, making the pass on Malkiewcz just before the line. Malkiewcz wrapped up heat one for the 100cc ‰ÛÒ 125cc 13-U15 Years class in second while Semmens finished in third. John Bova and Royce Anell completed heat one in fourth and fifth respectively.
Heat two for the 100cc ‰ÛÒ 125cc 13-U15 Years riders, marked the last of the day, and much like heat one, the second race was action packed too. KTM‰Ûªs Rhys Rudd got the jump off the start and moved straight in to the race lead, but both Dante Hyam and Korey McMahon were only a bikes length behind him.
But in heat two, Budd was simply unstoppable, and after only one lap the KTM rider had stretched out his lead to a healthy couple of seconds.
With ten minutes making up the final race of the day, all Budd needed to do was hold on for a few more laps, and when the chequered flag flew for the final time, the KTM rider had plenty of reason to celebrate, taking the heat two victory from Hyam and McMahon who concluded heat two in second and third places respectively. Callum McGlade and Cooper Sheidow crossed the finish line this afternoon in fourth and fifth places.
Racing for the 2016 KTM Australian Junior Motocross competitors will continue tomorrow morning at the Riverland Junior Motorcycle Club at Renmark in South Australia.
Top Image: Rhys Budd
Credit: Levi Healey