Max Whale has made his mark on foreign soil with a phenomenal performance aboard his KX450F, cementing his place in history with three AMA Grand National No.2 plates to his name and shortly after placing his KX250F on the top step of the podium at the 2017 Australian Junior Dirt Track Championship.
Last year Max Whale journeyed to the United States to compete in the 2016 AMA Amateur Nationals where he blew away the competition by taking 2nd place in the 251cc – 500cc DTX Stock class, 3rd in the 450 Modified class and a 4th in the 450 Open Singles class. A superhuman effort from the Australian Track and Junior Dirt Track Champion in his first international racing campaign, let alone his first time competing aboard a 450cc motorcycle.
This year the 16 year old Queenslander returned to the United States with his father, Brett Whale to compete in the AMA Grand National Championship where he would again be up against the world’s greatest Flat Track racers.
Max churned it up in three different classes across the three different events, totalling in nine main events.
The KX Junior Squad extraordinaire ran in the 450 Modified class, 251cc – 500cc 450 DTX class (stock bike) and the Open Singles class for each of the ½ Mile, TT and Short Track events.
In true legendary form, Max placed his Don’s Kawasaki KX450F on the podium in eight out of the nine main events.
In the ½ Mile event, Max won the 450 Modified, came 3rd in the DTX class and won the Open Singles class. The TT was the next event, where Max crashed and remounted to place 9th in the 450 Modified class, he crossed the line 2nd in the DTX class and 3rd in the Open Singles class. The final event was the indoors Short Track where Max came 3rd in the 450 Modified class, 2nd in the DTX class and 3rd in the Open Singles class.
This sensational effort landed Max in 2nd place overall for each of the classes and granted him three National No.2 plates.
“It was an unreal experience. We put a lot of effort into racing this series so we were very happy to come away with these results. We were a couple of points off getting the number one plate in one of the classes but we are still very proud,” said Max Whale.
“I improved my short track riding and clay riding throughout the experience. We also learnt a lot about bike setup and what we need to do for next year when we go pro,” said Max who plans to race full time for 8 months in the United States next year.
“Our KX450F was unreal. It didn’t let us down once and it was dead stock, from the levers to the grips and the bars. Everything was standard on it and we still had the speed to run with the modified bikes,” Max commented.
In addition to Max’s AMA Grand National accolades, Max placed his Kawasaki KX450 on the top step of the podium at various other events that he chased on the weekends during U.S. excursion, including meetings at Springfield Illinois, Lawrenceburg Indiana, Harpster Ohio, Celina Ohio and De Quoin Illinois.
After travelling over 37,000 air kilometres and 18,000 road kilometres during their United States crusade, Max Whale and his father returned to Australia where Max would compete in his last ever Australian junior title meeting, the Australian Junior Track Championship held in Mildura, Victoria.
Max went straight down to business, winning the 150cc to 250cc combined class and running 2n in the 250cc class by less than 10 milliseconds with his Kawasaki KX250F.
“I wish I could grab both the wins but it still felt amazing to finish off my Junior career in Australia on a high note. I had the speed but my start let me down in the 250cc class race.” Max commented.
“The KX250F has been an unreal bike. It’s really quick and it’s been perfect for me.”
The highly acclaimed Australian Champion will now focus his energy on the Australian Senior Dirt Track titles held in Victoria in less than a month’s time and the FIM Oceania Supermoto Championship at Newcastle, NSW in early September.
The immensely talented teen endeavours to become both a Junior and Senior Australian Track Champion in the same year, saying, “Coming into the senior ranks, I think that the biggest challenges will be the experienced competition and getting my starts perfect every time. So I will be constantly practicing my starts and riding as much as we can. Racing in the U.S. has boosted my confidence because I had good speed against some of the world greatest and I know the Kawasaki KX450F like the back of my hand now.”
For a full list of Max Whale’s career achievements and for more information on Kawasaki’s KX Junior Squad click HERE or follow #KXJuniorSquad.
Photo credit - Josh Rudd.