Mitch Evans flew under the radar leading in to the first round of the MX Nationals. In his first year in the MX1 class and signed to Raceline Pirelli KTM, Evans wasn’t expected to deliver the explosive debut he did, finishing on the podium.

With the Victorian round marking Evans’ debut for not only the team but in the talent packed MX1 category, the youngster exceeded all expectations and cemented himself as a rider to watch throughout the ten-round 2018 championship.

Evans kick-started the morning on Sunday by rewarding his new team with their first, and his first ever Raceline Performance Superpole victory, setting a flying 1:54.861 lap time, a whole two seconds faster than his closest competitor.

After being rewarded with first gate pick in moto one, Evans finished in a consistent fifth place in what was his maiden race of the season, while in moto two, MX1 rookie Evans secured third position on the gruelling Newry circuit, which saw him finish third overall for round one. Evans sits in third position in the MX1 championship on total of 56 points with nine rounds remaining.

“I was so pumped to get a podium on the weekend, I actually had trouble going to sleep last night because I was still so amped up – I felt good all day and when I got there I feel like I amped the team up because I was just so excited to go racing,” Evans explained.

“Being on the 450 has changed my mindset a lot, I can eat what I want and I’m not constantly trying to keep my weight down which was what I had to do on the 250. Plus, growing up racing KTMs I feel like I’m back to doing what I know, I gelled with the KTM straight away.

“I knew I had the pace to run with the front guys, I just didn’t know how my fitness was going to go with being on the 450 and holding that speed for a full 30 minutes. I wasn’t surprised that I was up there, but I was surprised by how my fitness held up.

“The track was ok – it was gnarly as and it fell apart but it was good in the sense that it separated a lot of us.

“The Raceline Pirelli KTM guys worked hard all weekend – we did a few pre-season races and got good results so it was nice to finally go racing and get a good result together. It’s a big motivation, the team’s stoked, I’m stoked and all is going well.”

For Raceline Pirelli KTM’s MX2 pilot Jayden Rykers, Round 1 was one to forget. After coming together with another rider in moto one, Rykers was forced to sit out of the second moto and will attend an appointment with a specialist today to have his injured shoulder assessed.

The team will now begin preparation for the second round of the 2018 Pirelli MX Nationals which will take place on April 29 at Appin in New South Wales.