INJURY ENDS BURKHART’S SEASON
Team Shift Motul Suzuki rider, Luke Burkhart will undergo surgery for an on-going thumb injury, bringing his 2007 Australian Motocross campaign to a premature end.
Switching to the Pro Lites class to pilot the Suzuki RM-Z250, Burkhart was a hot championship contender at the beginning of the 2007 Australian Motocross series, and consistently demonstrated his outstanding speed as one of the top qualifiers at each round.
Suffering a string of bad luck and repeatedly re-injuring his thumb, Burkhart had been forced to pull out of a number of races with results well below the talent and potential of both himself and the racebike.
Due to undergo surgery in mid-June, Burkhart is likely to be sidelined for 10-12 weeks, with the talented young New Zealander expected to make his return representing Suzuki in the New Zealand Motocross Championships in mid-September.
Burkhart's forced withdrawal from the remaining 2007 Australian competition will see the Team Shift Motul Suzuki RM-Z250 race machine sidelined at the upcoming round in Murray Bridge (SA) with the prized factory seat unfilled.
Daryl Hurley will now fly solo for Team Shift Motul Suzuki as he pilots the RM-Z450 in round five of the Pro Open Australian Motocross Championship at Murray Bridge (SA) on Sunday 10 June.
LUKE BURKHART – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI
"I tried riding through the injury, but I've run out of options and need to have the surgery.
"It's very frustrating and disappointing, but I was running the risk of causing even more damage to my hand and ruining a lot more than just one Australian Motocross series.
"This way, I'll get it sorted without jeopardising my run in the NZ Motocross Championship in September.
"Depending on how bad the damage is, I should be back at full pace within 10-12 weeks of the surgery.
"I had a really good shot at this year's Australian Motocross Pro Lites title – I was fitter than ever and the new RM-Z250 was awesome even with very little testing and development – I guess the speed we've shown has been the one real positive this season."
JAY FOREMAN – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUK
I"Luke hasn't been able to win a trick this year; he's had one incident after another which is disappointing because he's shown time and time again how quick he is on the 250.
"Withdrawing mid-way through a championship is always a difficult decision for a rider, but Luke risked doing further damage to both his ligaments and his long-term career, so he's made the right choice to undergo the surgery in the next couple of weeks.
"With Luke out, we'll just be running Daryl on the RM-Z450 at the upcoming round at Murray Bridge."