HURLEY SCORES RACE WIN AT CONONDALE
Team Shift Motul Suzuki rider, Daryl Hurley scored his first race win in the 2007 Australian Motocross Championship at Conondale (QLD) today. One of only two riders to have scored race wins so far this season, Hurley today slashed his points deficit to series leader, Daniel Reardon, from 28 to 19 points, with seven rounds remaining.
Race one saw Hurley assume the lead as Reardon crashed out of contention in the opening stage of the 30-minute moto. In a class of his own, Hurley raced away into the distance, set the fastest lap of the moto aboard the RM-Z450 (2:31.906min) and crossed the finish line 27.588 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.
Making yet another good start in race two, the former Australian Motocross Champion was running well in third place and was on target for his first round win of the season until his vision was hampered by dirt in his goggles.
Forced to remove his goggles, Hurley was unable to attack as aggressively at the risk of repeating the recent eye injury he sustained in round one at Broadford. Hurley crossed the finish line in fourth place to seal second overall for the day, just one point away from the round victory.
Team Shift Motul Suzuki’s Pro Lites entrant, Luke Burkhart used the opening qualifying session to demonstrate the awesome speed of the RM-Z250, setting the fastest time with a 2:35.703min lap around the rocky Queensland circuit. Moto one saw Burkhart caught in a first-turn pile up, subsequently rejoining the fray in last place.
Carving his way through well over half of the 40-strong field, Burkhart’s strong performance was unfortunately cut short as he was forced to retire from the race with mechanical problems as a result of the first-lap incident. Enjoying a better start to the second moto, Burkhart’s Suzuki was running fifth and dicing in a battle group with almost nothing separating the second to sixth placed riders until he over-jumped a jump and injured his thumb.
The tenacious young New Zealander rode through his pain to finish the gruelling 30-minute moto, but slipped down the order to tenth place. Burkhart’s thumb injury will be assessed ahead of the next Australian Motocross Championship round.
Team Shift Motul Suzuki will continue to ramp up its testing and development program ahead of the Newcastle-based team’s home event at Raymond Terrace (NSW) for round four of the Australian Motocross Championship on Sunday 20 May.
DARYL HURLEY – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI
"It’s great to grab a race win, today.
"In the first race, Reardon got the holeshot, but there was nothing in separating us. Everything just felt right, the bike was perfect and when Reardon crashed I was able to ride away from the rest of the guys. I basically rode the race by myself.
"The second moto, I was third at the start and in a good position, but I got a lot of dirt in my goggles and I struggled with it as long as I could before I had to take them off.
"I was behind Troy Carroll’s Suzuki but it’s really rocky at Conondale and I didn’t want to get too close and risk a repeat of Broadford when I got hit in the eye with a rock.
"I knew I needed to make up one more place in race two to have the round win, so it’s pretty disappointing to miss out by just one point, but it is good to have the race win so we’ll take that and move on to the next round in Newcastle."
JAY FOREMAN – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI TEAM MANAGER
"It’s great for Suzuki to get a breakthrough win for the season – so far it’s all been Reardon, but now Daryl’s back in the mix.
"We’ve got a lot of work to do to catch first place, but we’ve managed to take a reasonable chunk of points out of the gap to the championship lead.
"Luke was riding really well and was fastest in qualifying – he’s been working hard to get used to riding the 250 again and his form on the bike was really good, but he was just plain unlucky today.
"Across the next couple of weeks, we’ll continue testing both the RM-Z450 and the 250 to try and find even more speed before the next round.
"The next race meeting is our home round at Raymond Terrace, so we’ll be out to get some good results in from of our home crowd."