The KTM team had a positive outing with defending champ Kirk Gibbs finishing a close second.
By Hayden Gregory
KTM riders scored three spots in the top five with Gibbs once again leading the way. Winning the first two motos as well as the eliminator event, Gibbs looked on track for another victory before Todd Waters stepped into gear and snatched the title with a suburb second half of the day.
“It’s always awesome to go to Manji, I enjoy riding there,” Gibbs said. “The early wins really helped but unfortunately the last two races didn’t go quite to plan and Todd rode really well. He beat me fair and square in the third one, and then in the last one I was out front and just had a little tip over. I tried to catch up but a lap later I had a flat tyre and had to nurse it home. It was disappointing but I had a pretty good crack at it. I knew was going to be pretty tricky after the fall with the way Todd was riding. Toddy and I are still really good mates and we race clean, and we both accept that the better man wins on the day and we’ve just got to cop it on the chin and take it like a man.”
Jesse Dobson scored fourth place for the event after battling with team mate Caleb Ward. The pair showed great rivalry and a mistake by Ward in the final moto gifted Dobson the higher position.
“My starts made it tough on me today, just figuring out how to distribute my weight correctly to get the drive down the straight. Caleb and I are good mates off the track, but we have a lot of rivalry between us, and it all came down to the last race for position,” Dobson shared.
“I passed him when he crashed and I cruised home, then I saw Jess Foreman cheering and carrying on through the pit board area – I did a look back over the big single and saw the big W and I was like ‘oh no’. Caleb and I were really moving in that last lap, it was our quickest lap of the race by three seconds! I didn’t see Toddy or Gibbsy all day because of my starts so that was a shame, I would have liked to throw a chain over them, hang on for a bit and see if I could learn a thing or two, but…”
Jayden Rykers was awarded top spot for the 250SX class. He scored consistent top ten results all day despite battling amongst the bigger bikes.
“I was getting reasonably good starts on the KTM250SX, about fifth or sixth, and Dad and I were reasonably happy just to be winning the Lites class and keeping it smooth and consistent all day, rather than getting caught up with the 450 guys. In previous years I’ve focused more on racing with the bigger guys and ended up coming down,” Rykers shared. “I gave everything in the Eliminator though, and I got as far as the final 10, but got eliminated trying to qualify for the final five. The 250 gave away a little bit on the long straights, but my corner speed was great.”
KTM Motocross team manager Kyle Blunden was full of praise for his team and the organisation of the Manjimup event.
“The Manjimup 15,000 is such a huge event for us because of the massive following that KTM has in WA,” he said. “We went through more posters yesterday than we have all year. The fans just kept coming. If the boys weren’t riding or debriefing, they were sitting there signing autographs! It was a fantastic day with all three guys at the pointy end of the field in all races. Unfortunately Kirk didn’t win, but the racing itself and the speed that all three of the boys carried in the event was very positive.
“Kirk holeshot seven out of eight starts today which was fantastic, and Jessie’s speed was extremely good and he was always making his way forwards. It was really cool to see Caleb on the 350, he was able to show that the 350 can hold its own against the 450s on an extremely fast circuit where we’ve had 450s clocked at over 120kmh. It was quite impressive.”
Manjimup 15,000 All-Stars Results: 1. Todd Waters, 2. Kirk Gibbs, 3. Kyle Webster, 4. Jesse Dobson, 5. Caleb Ward, 6. Jamie Law, 7. Robert Lovett, 8. Mitch Taylor, 9. Michael Mahon, 10. Julian Cutajar
All-Stars Lites Results: 1. Jayden Rykers, 2. Izaac Jones, 3. Tom West, 4. Ayden Bridgeford, 5. Grant Buchan, 6. John Darroch, 7. Carson Bascombe, 8. Tom Lilly, 9. Justin Hart, 10. Luke Davis