Husqvarna Australia hasn’t forgotten the little players in its support of one of Australia’s most popular State motocross series.
The Shell Sunshine State series has been a breeding ground for emerging talent for several decades in Queensland, and as part of its support of this year’s six-round series, Husqvarna Australia has been awarding Clubman Cash on a round-by-round basis.
The highest placed Husqvarna-mounted Clubman rider in either Clubman Lites or Clubman Open classes takes home a $100 cash bonus each round. Although in the case of the weekend’s Bundaberg round, Caboolture rider Trae Kuehn (who currently sits third in the MX1 championship) scored $200 for topping both classes on the day.
Husqvarna is the only manufacturer in Australia offering such a contingency plan for clubman riders in Queensland’s Sunshine State series.
The brand is making headlines at the other end of the pecking order too, with Factory Support racer and MXD championship contender Zak Small having taken over the lead in the MX2 championship of the Sunshine State series at Bundaberg at the weekend.
“It’s great to take over the lead in both classes,” Small commented. “I’ve never been the person to beat, but I like it! I had pretty bad gates out in the mud so I got pretty crap starts, and had to come from behind in every MX2 race. It was pretty cool to race with Ferris in the Opens and watch what he does. I learned heaps off him, just the way a world-class rider attacks the corners. When you are watching them from the sideline they look really smooth and fluid but when you are there behind them, it’s obvious how aggressively they are using the throttle. It was sort of a tight track on the weekend, but my MPE Suspension-tuned Husqvarnas handled it great.”
Husqvarna FC250-mounted Small won the class on the day ahead of Lochie Latimer and Ashley Norman, and will now take a 16-point lead into the second half of the championship.
Aboard his Husqvarna FC350 he also leads the premier class from Kerrod Morrissey and Matt Haworth, after finishing second on Sunday, behind former Grand prix racer Dean Ferris and ahead of another Husqvarna racer, the Series Organiser Robbie Marshall, aboard an FC450.
Small has finished second in the Sunshine State series three years in a row, and now has himself two strong chances of a series victory.
It’s been a successful year on the national stage for Small, who currently sits sixth in this year’s highly competitive MXD championship despite riding the second round of the championship in pain after having dislocated his shoulder in practice the same day.
“I think The Sunshine State Series is the biggest state series getting around,” said Series Coordinator Robbie Marshall. “It always attracts some big name riders; guys even come up from New South Wales to ride it. It’s good that Husky do this as part of their sponsorship towards the series; to throw a little bit of cash back to the Clubman guys and give them a bit of extra love. A hundred bucks extra in your pocket when you go away racing for the weekend is always a help.
“For me to end up third overall on the day I’m pretty happy with. Doing freestyle this year I’ve only had about 10 hours on my bike so I struggled with arm pump all day, but I got some starts.
The 450 is definitely good. It’s got ample power and Paul from MPE has got the suspension perfectly sorted to suit me. I’ve always been a fan of the steel frames so I like the bike and I’m getting more comfortable on it the more time I get.”
2016 Shell Sunshine State Series After Three Rounds:
MX1 – 1 Zak Small 281, 2 Kerrod Morrissy 245, 3 Matt Haworth 239, 4 Brodie Downes 227, 5 Brendan Swaffield 212
MX2 – 1 Zak Small 272, 2 Ricky Latimer 256, 3 Lochie Latimer 245, 4 Jesse Madden 240, 5 Ashley Norman 224