Hurley Closes The Gap
Team Shift Motul Suzuki’s, Daryl Hurley took a small two-point step toward the lead of the 2007 Australian Motocross Championship in round six at Toowoomba (QLD), this weekend.
A troubled weekend for series leader, Daniel Reardon finishing sixth, left Hurley the opportunity to close down the points gap and get himself well positioned for the title fight across the remaining four rounds.
However Hurley also had a difficult weekend by his high standards and finished fifth overall to shave two points off Reardon’s series advantage.
Hurley had Reardon’s measure and pace right from the outset, qualifying second fastest on the wet, muddy Toowoomba circuit, with Reardon in third spot.
In moto one, Hurley was fifth fastest out of the stating gates, but quickly moved into second place and was applying pressure on race leader, Suzuki rider Troy Carroll.
Executing a move on Carroll in the early stages of the race, Hurley lost his front wheel into a hole on the track and went over the handlebars in a heavy crash.
Slightly stunned having received a hard knock to the head, Hurley rejoined the action to greet the chequered flag in ninth place.
Moto two saw Hurley back to his best. The 31-year-old rode a faultless race taking the holeshot and controlling the race from the front of the pack until he suffered a flat front tyre with around 10 minutes remaining.
Hurley tenaciously held on to the race lead until the closing laps when his commanding lead was narrowed and Matt Moss eventually took the win with the Suzuki star coming through in second place.
In the Pro Lites class, regular U19 Australian Motocross Championship entrant, Lawson Bopping stepped up a class to represent Team Shift Motul Suzuki aboard the RM-Z250.
His first appearance with the factory Suzuki squad was fraught with difficulties and saw him end the weekend in 16th.
In race one, Bopping made an average start but got stronger and stronger on the RM-Z250 as the race went on, before a crash dropped him back to finish seventh.
Race two saw Bopping rocket toward the front of the pack with a very strong start before he was taken down by another rider into turn two.
Damage sustained to the front brakes of the RM-Z250 during the crash resulted in two more crashes for Bopping and a subsequent transponder issue as the 17-year-old rode to the outside of the timing beacon and was then recorded in 32nd place for the race.
Team Shift Motul Suzuki now heads further north for the Australian Motocross Championship round seven in Mackay on 1 July.
With the U19 class again not in the support category line up for round seven, Bopping will again pilot the factory team’s Pro Lites entry next week at Mackay.
DARYL HURLEY – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI
“I’m obviously a bit disappointed that we weren’t able to capitalise more on Reardon’s dramas, but we still made up two points and have four rounds remaining – the championship is a long way from decided.
“The RM-Z450 was fantastic today – I was able to just ride away from the pack in race two.
“Hopefully, next round we can take a more sizeable chunk out of Reardon’s lead.
LAWSON BOPPING – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI
“The track was really wet and rutted today, and I was getting faster and faster in race one until a crash dropped me back a few spots.
“I had several crashes in race two and a transponder drama so it was a write off for me, but racing with Team Shift Motul Suzuki was great experience.
“The RM-Z250 felt really strong all day and the Pro Lites class is much more fun and challenging to race in; the whole field is so much quicker and you need to run a much faster pace than the U19’s.
JAY FOREMAN – TEAM SHIFT MOTUL SUZUKI TEAM MANAGER
“With Reardon struggling today, it was a good chance for us to grab a big haul of points and close down his series lead, but while he’s having an off day, we go and have an off day, too.
“Troy Carroll did a great job to finish second overall with his Suzuki RM-Z450.
“Lawson had a rough weekend, but we know he’s got more speed and talent than he was able to display this weekend, so fortunately he will have another opportunity to show his ability with us in the Pro Lites class at the next round in Mackay.
“Toowoomba was very muddy and messy this weekend, so our race truck is heading directly to Mackay where they will get cleaned up and ready for next week’s meeting.”