Trials

Morris pips Brown in Aussie trials thriller

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

English craftsman Sean Morris (Gas Gas) lived up to his star billing with a superb victory at the 2005 Australian Moto Trials Championship in Canungra (Qld) last weekend. Morris, last year's European champion, came from behind on the final lap of day two to pip countryman Michael Brown (Beta) by 5pts (18 to 23) in one of the most thrilling finishes in years. In a title dominated by a troupe of international stars, Joan Pons (Sherco, 34pts) was third from British duo James Dabill (Beta, 36pts) and Ben Hemmingway (Montesa, 81pts). Colin Zarczynski (Sherco, 89pts), last year's national champion, was the first local home in sixth position. Morris, who will now remain in Australia to contest this weekend's International Two Day Super Trial at Sedgwick, near Bendigo (Vic), is the first foreign winner of the Australian championship since New Zealander Warren Laugesen in 2002. But Morris certainly had to dig deep to earn his stripes, with Brown and Pons always in contention until the death knell. After day one, Brown was a 4pt leader over Morris, with Pons a further point back in third. Pons, a former world No. 3, then made his move on the opening lap of day two, moving past Morris onto the tail of Brown. However, the Spaniard then fell away in the final lap, losing 20 penalty points. Brown, sixth in this year's Dabill-dominated Junior World Cup, also struggled to stay on song, losing 10pts, while Morris produced a masterpiece ‰ÛÒ the only ‰Û÷clean' lap of the weekend. The majestic finish resulted in a 10pt turnaround in favour of Morris. "I certainly left it to the last minute to win, that's for sure," said Morris. "It all came together for me in that last stanza, but I certainly had to work hard for it. "That was a great way to start my first trip to Australia, and I'm hoping the success continues at the Super Trial this weekend." For the Australian connection, Zarczynski would hold onto sixth position for the entirety, ahead of his 2005 Trial des Nations teammates ‰ÛÒ Michael Byrne (Gas Gas, 115pts), Dylan Rees (Sherco, 118pts) and Trevor Campbell (Beta, 122pts). In the seven other championship classes, three riders successfully defended their titles: Kyle Middleton (Junior), Michelle Owen (Women) and Justin Gough-Maurice Blanchard (Sidecar). Middleton, 15, only won after a ride-off against Tim Coleman. The duo both finished on a miserly 2pts ‰ÛÒ 11 in front of third-placed Scott Owen ‰ÛÒ and all means available to break the deadlock mathematically were exhausted before they saddled up for the ride-off. In the women's division, 26-year-old Owen scored the biggest win of the weekend, defeating last year's junior women's champion Kate Field by a massive 64pts (four to 68). It was Owen's third win since 2002. Bev Anderson-Tranter was third on 70pts. Meanwhile, Gough-Blanchard continue to stand side-by-side with Owen ‰ÛÒ it was also their third win since 2002. The pair reigned supreme from the outset, with Chris Schultz-Stuart Gerhardy (113pts) and Ben Zander-Matt Neldner (146pts) completing the rostrum in the eight-outfit field. If victories for the likes of Middleton and Owen were expected, then the results in Greybeard (40 years and over) and Lightweight Classic (pre 1965) went against the grain. In the former, which uses a handicap system to determine final points, the imperious 10-year streak of Steve Holzhauser was extinguished by Michael Frith. After both riders kicked off hostilities with clean rides, Frith moved into the lead on lap two, which he held until the end of proceedings. He finished on 30pts, ahead of Holzhauser (45pts) and Peter Curtis (50). In Classic, George McKenzie's heroics meant that Chris Leighfield was unable to make it seven on the trot. McKenzie finished on 8pts, from Leighfield (20pts) and Roger Galpin (28pts). Finally, Richard Kent (23pts) is the new Masters (35 years and over) champion after having too much class for Martin O'Conner (40pts) and John Rees (55pts), while Toby Coleman (10pts) won an epic Post-classic battle from Joshua Lewis (14pts) and Malcolm Chapman (18pts). In the interstate teams' battle, WA (Tim Price, David Thomas, Leo Nolan-Mike Kitney and Lewis Nolan) was victorious.

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