After the shock issue at the opening round in Wonthaggi that saw Luke Clout unable to finish the final moto and in a points hole at the start of the series, Clout had his back against the wall and needed to come out fighting in Canberra.
And that’s exactly what he did! He turned up ready to race and in a no non-sense mood and charged to a round victory with 1-1-2 results. The format for the day in the MX1 class was the traditional 30 minute moto in the morning, followed by back to back 12 minute races in the afternoon and it was Clout who was the clear winner on the day and injected plenty of life into the championship.
He had great starts in all three motos and was able to pick off riders as he moved to the front in each race. They were calculated and decisive moves that showed he meant business as he charged his way around the Fairburn Park circuit.
The round win saw him take the maximum points and move to fourth place, just 12 points away from the championship lead.
“I came into this round knowing it would be one of my stronger tracks and I had to make the most of it and claw back some points after the DNF in Wonthaggi,” Clout explains. “I was 21 down after round one and now that’s back to 12, so that’s a good gain from the weekend.
“My riding felt good and the team had the bike in great shape on a track that was hard pack, rutty and tricky to ride. I still need to keep working as it will be difficult to make up that many points on a consistent basis, but it’s manageable and we still have six rounds to go and a lot of racing ahead of us.”
To cap off a brilliant day for the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team, Hayden Mellross logged a fast and consistent day to charge home with second place for the round. Mellross finished with 4-3-3 results and as always, used his race savvy to construct two well thought-out motos.
Growing up in Goulburn, Mellross was a crowd favourite and his position on the track was easy to monitor as the local fans cheered in support.
He now moves to third place in the championship and despite two very different racing surfaces at the opening two rounds, he will be consistent and in the championship fight right to the end, regardless of what tracks are thrown at him.
“Man, it’s been too long since I stood on a podium at a national event,” he says with relief. “With Covid and injuries, it’s been a long time between podium visits so I’m glad to finally get back up here and reward myself and the team for the hard work we have all put in behind the scenes.
“Today was an improvement on Wonthaggi as my speed was better. My starts weren’t what they needed to be but I will work on that and hopefully put myself in better positions to win races at the next round. The more racing I’m able to do, the better I feel as I missed a large chunk of the pre-season with injury. I feel there is still more to come and think there is room for improvement as we head into Adelaide,” Mellross said.
The weekend was a pleasing one for team owner, Craig Dack, as both riders stepped up when the pressure was on.
“We needed to put up a fight here as another average round could see us lose touch in the championship chase so I put it on the team and the riders to stand up this weekend and get racing back on our terms.
“To the credit of both guys, they did that and now find themselves in a much better position as we head to round three. Both riders can take confidence from their results today and as a team, we will immediately focus on Gilman and look for more of the same.”