Our KTM 350 SX-F hits the podium!

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Author: Aaryn Minerds


It was not what I was expecting, but coming away with a trophy at the second round of the Victorian State Motocross championship aboard our KTM 350 SX-F was a cool little reward, even if a little lucky!

The second of our five weekends straight of racing, seen myself and the KTM hit the road along with good mate Scott Walker and his race machine, making the trip from Adelaide so Swan Hill in Victoria.

It was a road trip that threw us a few curve balls along the way with the fun starting early in to our trip.

Between a stop at a mates work for some last minute graphics for Scott, coming out of Murray Bridge the wrong way and loosing a D-Clip off the trailer that had the chain dragging along the ground for a couple of hundred kilometres, we finally made it in to Swan Hill at 10.30pm Friday night to stop for Domino's for dinner!

With contributor Kendal Jennings putting us up for the weekend, we still had another 45 minutes on the road before we could settle down for the night. At midnight, just five hours before we were to get up and head to the track on Saturday we finally rolled in, got to bed and managed a few hours sleep.

Saturday morning started with another small trailer issue! This time I forgot to hook the lights up to the car before we took off in the morning. The 60Km trip to the track destroyed the light plug as it, bounced and dragged the whole way to the track, but with a race day ahead of us, that was pretty much a non issue Saturday morning but would become a little more of a concern at the end of the day.

With sign on and scrutineering out of the way, we headed out for practice. Now the track looked amazing, with the club preparing the track early in the week. The Swan Hill club was then provided with a down pour of rain on Wednesday from mother nature and things were looking good, well on the surface.
To say I was struggling a little in the mud on Saturday morning is an understatement! - Credit: 94Visuals
While the track did look great before a bike had touched it, It did not take long to realise the track was water logged, and the heavy sand/clay mixture combined with a lot of water and a couple of hundred bikes, quickly turned the track in to a sloppy mess with close on a million ruts in each and every corner.

To say I struggled in the conditions that I have never really witnessed in South Australia was an understatement and after two crashes in a lap and a half of practice I was headed to the pits to start the clean up!

Things did not get much better for race one, the track was still sloppy and the ruts were getting deeper and deeper by the lap, a steady race seen me finish in 3rd spot but well off the pace.

Things were better for race two, well sort off! With the Pro Lites boys racing a 30 minute moto on the track, the deep ruts were now bike swallower's, and line selection became key. While feeling better I was still lacking some confidence for some reason, and struggled to a 4th place finish.

Feeling a little down and very frustrated I took to the line aboard our KTM looking for a good final race to end the day. My start was not to bad, but a mistake in the first turn has my buddy Scott, sneak up the inside and clip by front wheel as he came past. It fired me up a little and all of a sudden I got my but off my seat and rode like I should from the start of the day, well maybe still not how I should have been riding, but a little better any way.

I moved from 4th in to 3rd, then early on the second lap made the move in to 2nd place in the Vets Over 30 club-man class, making the move back pass my travel buddy.

The rest of the race was a full battle between myself and Scott for 2nd, after a couple of passes back and forth, Scott looked like he had me covered, but under extreme pressure he dropped it in a rut, giving me 2nd place for the race and third overall for the day, cheers mate.

Though Mr Walker did take the overall honours in the Vets Clubman class taking the win for the day.

Check out our race long battle above, I have even slowed it down so the national riders can get a real good look at the Swan Hill track! The race was a combined class of Clubman and Expert Vets, the experts disappear into the distance pretty quickly! (Video Footage if from Scotts helmet cam)

While my race day did end on a high, the same could not be said for my Hattah Team-Mate, Jacob Williams who crashed hard early in the day, fracturing one wrist and doing some soft tissue damage to the other. The good news is Jacob should be back ready to go for the Appin round of the MXD Championship, though will miss Hattah, leaving me to make the switch back to the full four hour race.
A big thanks to Tim Scriven for the help over the weekend, with some last minute repairs we made it home with the trailer lights working.
With the day over, we made a mad dash to Swan Hill central, where we found all the hardware and auto shops shut at 4Pm, something we learned at 4.05Pm when we went looking for a new plug for the trailer lights! The good news was, we managed to find a servo that had what we needed.

With the bikes washed at the local, Kerang car wash and the trailer re-wired things were looking good, until we realised the wiring from the trailer to the car was now to short! Luckily for us Tim Scriven, from Scrivens Honda came to the rescue.

Tim who is a multiple time class winner at the Australian Safari and also an outright bike contender at the event on many occasions, took us to his work shop where we found all the supplies we needed to re wire the trailer, before taking us on a tour of some of his collectables.

All I can say is he has some really really cool stuff and has a few Honda's that he is restoring that must be seen, if you get the chance.

I must give a big thanks to Tim and Kendall for all their help over the weekend, they certainly made the weekend run a lot more smoothly.

With everything sorted for Sunday and the trip home, we watched a few Moto Videos late Saturday night before catching some sleep. It was going to be another big day of racing at Swan Hill on the Sunday, this time in the Clubman Open class.

Swan Hill was a different venue on Sunday, the track looked great and this time it was in perfect condition from the outset. The corners once again formed a lot of deep ruts, but the drier surface between the corners made for a perfect race track.

In saying that it was still a lot different than that tracks I see at home in South Australia, the ruts and how deep they formed was still something new.

With my pace was a lot better on Sunday, with my best lap time in the first race on Sunday being a full minute! quicker than my best lap in the first race on Saturday, things were looking a lot better.

I have to admit the overall pace the field in the clubman open class was a little faster than I expected and while still coming to terms with a deeply rutted track I struggled to stay on pace and finished each race well down the field.

At the end of the day however, I enjoyed riding the Swan Hill track and the whole club and everyone involved in the event put on a fantastic two days of racing.
I was feeling a lot more comfortable on Sunday, though going by this shot I still need to lift my head! - Credit: Lindsay Knowles (MR MotoX)
Our KTM 350 SX-F handled the two days without missing a beat as usual and was loaded up by 2pm on Sunday arvo ready for the trip home to S.A

With the Swan Hill trip out of the way, the focus has now shifted to the second to last round of the South Australian MX Championships which heads to Renmark this weekend. I managed to sneak in another Wednesday afternoon ride at Gillman in preparation for our third straight weekend of racing.

With another ride under my belt I am looking forward to this weekends race, 3 weeks of solid riding now has me feeling more comfortable than every on our KTM and I am looking forward to the three big weekends of racing we have in front of us.

Top Image: Myself and the KTM 350 SX-F in action at Swan Hill at the second round of the Victorian MX Championships
Credit: Lindsay Knowles (MR MotoX)

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