The 2019 Australian MotoStars Series, powered by Watson Site Services, kicked off at Port Macquarie’s Pacific Park Raceway recently and, as expected, the record number of riders produced some brilliant racing across the 9 different classes.
Following on from the success of the MotoStars Series in 2017 and 2018, MotoStars added the Australian Supermoto Championships and Australian Junior Road Racing Championships to its schedule for 2019 and both lived up to expectations.
With the new two-day racing format, run over Saturday and Sunday, plenty of young riders took advantage of the Race School on Friday- learning the craft of road racing from some of the best in the business.
Many competitors took advantage of camping at the track, and enjoyed the relaxed community atmosphere however the weather wasn’t so co-operative as mixed showers made not only the camping tricky, but the racing too!
First up was the AJRC 85cc 2 Stroke Class where a grid of 9 riders faced off in the first Australian Junior Road Race Championship event of the weekend. Jedd Randall beat a class field of riders to come away with the championship lead after clinching two wins from three starts. Archie McDonald featured strongly too throughout the weekend, taking a win in the opening race, but suffered from mistakes in races two and three. He still managed a place on the overall podium in 3rd, with a consistent Zak Pettendy claiming the runners up spot to Randall.
With a bustling grid in the MotoStars Junior Class, Carter Thompson put in a brilliant performance, claiming pole position and 2 race wins to take the overall win. His closest challenger, 10 year old Cameron Swain, took the opening race win but suffered a fall in the wet race two which hampered his points tally. Levi Russo enjoyed a break-through performance at Port Macquarie, securing his first podium finishes and a cool 3rd overall. Other notable performances came from Casey Middleton with a hard charging wet race podium, and from the smallest and youngest rider in the field, 9 year old Beau Bailey who recovered from a spill in race one to mixing it with the regulars in races two and three. Keep any eye on that young man moving forward…
In the highly anticipated ResponseRE MotoStars Senior Class, 13 year old John Lytras put in a giant killing performance, taking two classy victories from Australian Superbike Championship racer, Lachlan Epis. Epis who utilises short circuit racing in his training regime, rode to a commanding victory in race two on his Ninja 400 but got stuck riding a Ninja 250 in the other races and found the shortfall on power too much to overcome. Why the change of machine? Because his Dad, and team sponsor Greg Epis had a go too, proving he still had plenty of fire in the belly on race days! Thomas Brown finished second overall and kept Lytras honest all weekend. New comer Ryan Smith finished 3rd overall on his Yamaha R3.
In the AJRC 160cc 4-stroke Class, many young riders who are also competing in the Oceania Junior Cup this year added this event to their schedule, but they all chased one rider all weekend; multiple MotoStars Champion, Benny Baker. On a MotoStars Yamaha R15 Hire Bike he hadn’t ridden prior to the event, Benny blitzed the field with pole position and three race wins, one of which came in the rain while caught out on track with slicks!
Two time MotoStars Junior Champion, Marianos Nikolis performed well too, adapting to the R15 nicely, however a fall in the wet race two cost him in the overall placings. Archie McDonald finished 2nd overall ahead of MotoStars Junior winner, Carter Thompson.
With the road racing classes concluded, attention turned to the Australian Supermoto Championships and first out of the blocks was the fully subscribed Supermoto Open Class.
An intense battled waged between three riders all weekend- Brad Trivett, Darren Webb and Rob Jones, with each rider taking a race win.
Jones took the opener with a last lap lunge in the dirt section to pip Webb at the line. Webb took the race two win by 0.021 from Trivett, who subsequently had race control to talk to after a collision with Webb right after the finish line! Trivett bounced back to win the final race though, and with it, the overall round win from Webb and Jones.
8 young competitors challenged for the Supermoto Lites category, but it was first time Supermoto competitor Hayden Nelson who claimed the overall win after some great racing with Brayden Bradford, who won in race two, and the very versatile Archie McDonald who rounded out the podium.
This year the Supermoto Women’s Class had its own race, due to the over subscribed Open Class, and the racing was just as intense at the front. The stand out performer though was Stephany Kapilawi-James who took the overall from Keegan Pickering and Grace Hudson. WA’s Hayley Green and QLD’s Shelby Turner both achieved podium finishes over the weekend, making it extremely tight in the championship race.
In the Supermoto Junior category for 13-15year olds, John Lytras proved too strong for the competition, taking pole position and three dominant race wins. MX regular Dominic Fletcher relied on his dirt skills to finish 2nd overall, while dirt tracker Tyler O’donnell rounded out the podium.
Finally, in the blue ribbon event of the meeting, the Australian Supermoto Championship Pro 450 class provided fans and spectators with some fantastic racing and riding skills from the best Supermoto riders in the country. Former road racing star turned Supermoto racer, Ben Attard won the round and all three races, but none of them were easy as former Australian Champion Aaron Watson pressured Attard all the way. Multiple ASMC Champ Andy McLiesh was in the mix too, as was MX rider Brad Matheson who was lighting fast in the dirt section.
WA’s Damon Gibbons and MotoStars SM Champ Jarrod Wilson were strong too, so expect to see them feature strongly in the upcoming rounds moving forward.
“The weekend was a massive success and it was great to see so many riders turning up and supporting the ASMC, AJRC and MotoStars” said MotoStars director, Damian Cudlin.
“The conditions made it tough on competitors and officials, but the racing didn’t suffer at all. It was some of the best I’ve seen. Our MotoStars crew did a great job keeping the day running smoothly and I really appreciate everyone who helped make the event a success, particularly after facing so many hurdles prior to the this. We hope it’ll only get better from here and can’t wait for the next one!”
The next round of the Australian MotoStars Series featuring the AJRC and Oceania Junior Cup will be held at Broadford in Victoria on the 6/7th of April.
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Pics courtesy of: Linda Middleton Photography