EnduroCross

Will Riordan On Fire At The 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship Opener

Author: Garry Morrow

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Photo of Max Gerston at the start of at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
American Max Gerston (15) got the day off to a winning start in moto one of the Pro Class before Will Riordan (39) broke through to win the remaining 4 motos. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Will Riordan has taken a convincing win at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship in Ballarat, Vic, last Saturday on what could on be described as a hugely successful debut for the Championship.

Ballarat lived up to its reputation weatherwise throwing in a few showers on a generally overcast and coolish summer day. Luckily the locals didn’t mind and turned out in droves to watch what would be a thoroughly entertaining and pretty much perfectly run event. Whilst I don’t have an actual hard number the track and surrounds of the Ballarat Showgrounds were a hive of activity all day with crowds mingling with riders and industry trade displays and food trucks adding to the atmosphere.

Photo of Will Riordan at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Will Riordan almost had the perfect weekend, qualifying fastest, fastest in the hot lap shootout and winning 4 of the 5 motos in the Pro Class. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Whilst there was a lot going on off the track the action was thick and fast all day on track all day. Promoter Sam Peece and his hard-working team put together a superb little track that offered its fair share of shin, ankle, shoulder, and collar bone grabbing attention. Obstacles included drainage pipes of varying sizes strategically placed at all angles, wood, sand, rocks, a little mud and to top it all off a verticle roadside barrier that garnered a lot of attention, just as the arm pump set in!

Photo of Ruben Chadwick at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Wild Child and Hard Enduro regular Ruben Chadwick took the Pro Class runnerup spot with a consistent day that saw him in the top five for the five motos. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Will Riordan set the tone during Friday’s qualifying dropping the fastest lap on his final try that saw his 47.050 eclipse the next fastest man Max Gerston by over half a second after the American logged a 48.511, also on his final lap. Andrew Wilksch was third fastest but over a second off the pace of Gerston and a second and a half off Riordan. Another American, Spenser Wilton, and Australian Off-Road Championship regular Fraser Higlet rounded out the top five. Sadly for Wilksch, he would not get to make the main events after injuring his knee, in true off-road community style he did remain at the venue for race day offering support and meeting fans.

Photo of Max Gerston at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Max Gerston mastered the Traffic barrier but a broken battery terminal and a DNF in the final moto saw an almost certain second overall evaporate with the American having to settle for third. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

With the fences and stands lined with spectators Saturday’s action saw the Pro riders start the day competing in a single hot lap style shootout for gate pick.

Once again it was Riordan who set the fastest time with a 47.120 ahead of Spenser Walton’s 48.127 and Ruben Chadwick’s 50.875. Max Gerston was fourth and looked to be in the box seat until he was caught out by the rock garden preceding the finish line. 10 seconds covered the gap from the fastest to the slowest of the 18 riders. A caveat being that the slowest does really not equate to the slowest in speed form as in Endurocross a simple hiccup on an obstacle can cost 10 seconds.

With all the prologue, qualifying, and hot laps providing a plethora of entertainment, there was actually racing still to be had. The days were scored on five motos with the Olympic points system in use.

Photo of Will Riordan at the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Pro winner Will Riordan (39) didn’t just master the pipes, rocks, and other assorted obstacles but he mastered the traffic as well. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Riordan finished with a total of 4 wins and a second place to outpoint regular Hard Enduro rider Ruben Chadwick and visiting American Max Gerston for the overall win. Gerston showed his intent when he won the opening moto by 14 seconds ahead of Riordan with a dream clean run, the duo lapping the whole field! A DNF due to a broken battery terminal and 17 points in the final moto saw the chance of second place evaporate as the more consistent Chadwick had the numbers for second place in the end with a 5-4-3-2-2 scorecard.

“It was a great opportunity for me to compete with some talented international riders,” Chadwick said. “The track started off pretty dry and fast until the rain hit which slowed some riders down but really suited my riding style, and allowed me to get some good results.”

For Gerston his Australian visit was still a great one and third was a good result considering his DNF, and many fans will be hoping to see more of him in the future.

The Australian SuperEnduro was a killer event,” Gerston said. “The excitement about the race was high and it was great to see all the Aussie boys going for it. It started raining and the track got tougher and tougher in the wet conditions and ended up being super technical and slippery for the last 3 super sprints.”

Photo of Owen Lock at the at the start of the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Super commentator Owen Lock (0) also had his eye on the prize in the Veterans taking the overall win for the day. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Besides the Pro Class, there were also three support classes that also offered value entertainment throughout the day, with less predictable racing and varying degrees of skill there was plenty on offer from close racing to bone-jarring fails!

Besides providing knowledgeable and entertaining commentary most of the day, Owen Lock took the Veterans win in what was a close battle with a pair of wins, two second places, and a third to his credit. Craig Byrne also carded a couple of wins and a pair of second places but a seventh in the final moto saw Loch grab the top spot. Matthew Hanaford rounded out the podium.

Photo of Mark Arnts at the at the start of the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Intermediate class winner Mark Arnts proved two things. To win sometimes best to just throw the bike over and two, you can crash, get hung up, etc and still win. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Mark Arnts took out the Intermediate class with a solid display of riding taking two wins and three thirds. Final moto winner Liam Maggs finished second ahead of Thomas Aquilina. Justin Richards took two wins but an eleventh place hurt his chances and he had to settle for fourth.

The Expert class was the largest field of the day and was full of action from gate drop to flag in each of the five races. Ian Derwent was the eventual winner with two wins, two second places, and a third. Chris Cash and Conor Henessy fought a close battle for second with Cash taking the runner-up spot by a single point. Cash took two wins and Henessy one.

Photo of Ian Derwent at the at the start of the opening round of the 2023 Australian SuperEnduro Championship
Ian Derwent won the largest class of the day, the Expert Class. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

Overall the day was a huge success with a big crowd, great racing, and a superb track. If you get a chance to see a round you should grab your family friends, mates, (sorry no dogs), and head along to a round, one thing I can guarantee is that you will get your money’s worth and be entertained.

Full results of all classes can be found here: https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/2114266

Until next time, we are outta here. Photo: Fullnoise.com.au

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