FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
31 August 2014: Coolum, Queensland
Wayne Leonard KTM rider Caleb Ward made it a clean sweep at the tenth round of the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals in Coolum, but it was Serco Yamaha pilot Luke Clout who finished the day taking the championship victory.
Ward won all three races on the day to finish first for the round ahead of Kawasaki rider Takeshi Katsuya (sixth, fourth and second) and Clout (third, third and ninth).
The result handed Clout the overall series win, while Hamish Harwood (CMR Redbull KTM) and Luke Arbon (SD3 Husqvarna) were left to rue missed opportunities – finishing the championship in second and third.
As the gates dropped for moto one, it was the 485 bike of Ward that grabbed the narrowest of holeshots from Full Force Racing’s Joel Evans.
Soon after the start, Penrite Honda Racing’s Josh Cachia moved up into second place, while a little further behind were title heavyweights Clout and Arbon in fourth and fifth positions.
By the end of the opening lap Clout had moved into second, with Cachia passing to reclaim that spot shortly after, while ahead of them Ward was putting some serious time on the field.
Arbon tried several times to pass Clout over the opening few laps, but the Serco rider kept his nerve to keep his main title rival at bay.
Clout soon passed Cachia which Arbon also did shortly after, while Evans tried to maintain his early race speed in fifth.
Podium contender Kale Makeham (Tunetech Racing KTM Australia) was forced to retire from the race after just four laps – effectively ending his 2014 podium assault.
Harwood – also battling for a podium finish, earned a ten-second penalty for cutting out the whoops section of the track, pushing him back a few places into 11th spot.
On lap nine Arbon passed Clout when a rider down at the far-end of the track got in the way of Clout, causing him to lose some ground and watch his rival make the pass.
As the race wound up, it was Ward who capped off the perfect moto taking the opening win for the day, while Arbon came in second ahead of Clout.
Despite his best efforts late to pinch third spot, Cachia had to settle for fourth, while Kiwi Hamish Dobbyn (CMR Redbull KTM) rounded out the top-five.
Evans capped off an impressive performance by finishing in seventh, while Harwood ended the race in eighth.
The second race for the day had a familiar look about it at the first turn, as Ward took his turn to post the holeshot from Evans.
Current red-plate holder Clout moved into third, while Arbon shot from fifth through to second by the end of the opening lap.
Two laps in Ward again showed his dominance in the sandy track conditions, moving into a comfortable lead from Arbon, who had raced well clear of Clout in third, and Katsuya in fourth.
Katsuya spent most of the race within a bike’s length of Clout, but you got the feeling that the Serco rider was just making sure he got through the moto in one piece.
Serco Yamaha rider Jay Wilson moved into fifth – important given his quest for a top-five championship finish and as the race progressed the drama fizzled out of it a little.
Ward comfortably took the race win from Arbon, Clout held onto third spot to take a 28-point series lead heading into the final race, and Katsuya posted a hard-earned fourth.
Dobbyn finished the race in fifth spot with Harwood coming home in sixth and Wilson ending the race back in seventh.
As Ward and KTM rider Riley Graham went head to head into the first turn in the final moto, the incredible happened.
Arbon got himself involved in a tussle at the start which saw him come down at the first corner and rejoin in last position.
The heartbreak was complete for Arbon half a lap in when another crash saw him in the arms of the Racesafe Medical crew and registering a DNF – effectively handing Clout the championship.
Clout moved into third by the end of the second lap with Katsuya in second, and the pair looked to reel Ward in.
Harwood moved into fifth over the first two laps, and with Arbon out he needed to gain 23 points or more (eighth or higher) to finish in second overall for the championship.
That looked certain throughout the race as he moved between fourth and sixth over the course of the 12-lap moto – eventually finishing the race in fifth.
Ward rode on to claim a comprehensive race win and make it a sweep of the three races for the round, Katsuya finished in second and Wilson moved into third by race end.
Clout eased off the pace when he realised the title was all but secure, finishing in ninth for the race, third overall for the day, and bringing home the championship crown.
For a full list of results please visit www.mxnationals.com.au.
1) Caleb Ward 105 (35, 35, 35)
2) Takeshi Katsuya 85 (25, 28, 32)
3) Luke Clout 82 (30, 30, 22)
4) Jay Wilson 76 (22, 24, 30)
5) Hamish Harwood 74 (23, 25, 26)
6) Joel Evans 70 (24, 22, 24)
7) Dylan Long 69 (21, 23, 25)
8) Riley Graham 67 (20, 19, 28)
9) Luke Arbon 64 (32, 32, DNF)
10) Nick Sutherland 54 (15, 18, 21)
1) Luke Clout 688
2) Hamish Harwood 641
3) Luke Arbon 638
4) Jay Wilson 613
5) Caleb Ward 597
6) Kale Makeham 543
7) Brenden Harrison 464
8) Errol Willis 414
9) Kayne Lamont 395
10) Joel Evans 355
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IMAGE: Jeff Crow / Explorer Media
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