With teammate, Alex Larwood, missing from the event as he recovers from a shoulder injury, Budd was joined in the MX2 class by Charli Cannon, who was using the weekend to gain valuable experience while the Women’s championship is on hold until the Coolum round in August.
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Budd notched up his first podium of the year at round for in Gilman and was in good form in the lead up to the Maitland event. Things also went well in qualifying where he finished the session inside the top three and showing speed capable of challenging for race wins on the day.
But all that went pare-shaped in turn two of race one when Budd charged into the tight left hand turn in fourth place, clipped the back wheel of the rider in front of him and went down. With the field all still bunched together, Budd ducked and weaved the on coming traffic, got to his bike picked up before restarting and re-joining the race in dead last position and some thirty seconds behind the leader.
With twenty-five minutes of racing left on the clock, he put his head down and went to work. With thirty-six riders in front of him, he started the long haul back towards the front. The first goal is to get back into the points and inside the top twenty, then its to gain as many positions as he can to limit the damage.
On a rutted and sometime difficult track to pass, Budd made his way to seventh place at the finish line and just a handful of seconds from the top four in an impressive performance. Had the race gone for another few minutes a podium position may have been on offer such was the stirring ride he put in.
Despite the result in moto one, Budd felt he was a threat in moto two and again found himself in the lead group as they headed into turn two. Budd choose a rut in the middle of the track when a rider on the inside jumped out of his line and collided with Budd, forcing him to the ground again.
Again he picked himself up and re-joined the race down the bottom of the field with all the work ahead of him to get his race back on track. And like race one, he put up a huge fight to charge his way back to sixth place and again within sight of the podium positions. His 7-6 results for the day netted him seventh for the round but he was just three points away from the podium in a round that he will undoubtedly view as the one that got away.
“The was the hardest 7-6 for seventh overall I have ever had to do,” said a frustrated Budd. “To go twice, in the same corner, in each race is disappointing as I felty my riding today was really good. The positives are they my speed and fitness are in good shape and also that I was able to limit the points damage in the championship and retain second place in the series.
“But it also fuels the fire a little as I know I was good enough to race at the front today and challenge for the win, so I’m going to use that as motivation for next round and get back on the box at the end of the day,” he ends.
As mentioned, Charli Cannon joined Budd in the MX2 division at this round as the Women’s championship takes a break until Coolum. Charli had previously entered MX3 races, but the decision to enter MX2 was to give her longer races with a higher quality of rider so she can continue her improvement as a rider.
She finished each moto just outside the top twenty but was far from out classed or disgraced. In fact, she passed plenty of riders and posted some good lap times as she can confidence riding with a faster group of riders. She more than held her own and while she was a little disappointed not to have finished a few positions further up, she will be better for the experience and is already looking forward to the next round.
“I’m not really sure where I would finish in MX2 as the rider depth is much better than in MX3 but it was good to be out there and racing with the guys and doing my best. I think I was as high as 20th in one of the races but made a couple of mistakes and I was also aware of not getting in the way when I got lapped right at the end of each moto.
“But the team tell me racing with the guys isn’t about the result and gave me a personal goal to achieve on the day., which I was able to do so that was good. I hadn’t ridden the Maitland circuit before, so it took me some time to adjust and get a flow going.
“The team were awesome again today and thanks to Nash for looking after me. Its also cool to have so many people come up and talk to me during the races and say they enjoy watching me ride- that means a lot to me,” she says.
The team are wishful of a speedy recovery by Alex Larwood so they can have him back on the bike and heathy again in the coming rounds.