It was a positive performance put in by the MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team at Nowra’s sixth round of the Motul MX Nationals in New South Wales over the weekend, as team newcomer Brett Metcalfe scored a podium and premier class rookie Nathan Crawford wound up inside the top five.
In his first official outing aboard the 2017 Kawasaki KX450F, Metcalfe was quickest in regular qualifying, lodged the second-fastest time in Super Pole and went onto record a pair of second place finishes for the runner-up overall.
The South Australian didn’t make it easy on himself, as he was forced to recover from early mistakes in both 30-minute plus one lap motos. In race one, Metcalfe came from as far back as 15th, while moto two was less severe and enabled him to settle into position.
“I think it’s something huge that we can really build on and gain momentum,” Metcalfe explained following his spirited performance. “That’s something I’ve been missing for pretty much the whole season. Literally, today is the fifth day on the bike, so to learn the bike as quick as possible, change a few things and come to the track and be competitive was really the goal for today.
“I kind of exceeded my expectations with the speed I was able to ride at and I’m happy. To ride away with 2-2 [finishes] and Nato also having a good finish - two in the top five for the MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki - I think it’s awesome and a step in the right direction. For myself personally, I’m happy with my riding and the result. Obviously winning is the goal from here out, I’m just trying to find consistency now to bridge the gap and win.”
For Crawford, the lengthy five-week layoff proved to be beneficial for the youthful talent as he piloted his number 199 machine to fifth overall. The Queenslander recorded a 5-6 scorecard on the challenging Nowra circuit, a refreshing turn of events after being forced to miss Murray Bridge’s fifth round due to a wrist injury.
One of the more exciting moments for Crawford came in the early stages of race two, where he led the field for a handful laps before a mistake saw him drop to sixth to finish the day.
“It wasn’t too bad, fifth overall for the day and I can’t really complain,” said a modest Crawford. “I was a little disappointed about the second moto, but then I remember that throughout the six-week break - I didn’t race Murray Bridge - the only thing I was doing was in the gym and was not able to ride for much of it.
“For me to come here and almost back on form for myself and lead some laps, get a holeshot and come out inside the top five, I’m really happy. Hopefully I can take this momentum into the back half of the series and into round seven. I’m a rookie, so I’m just going to keep learning and bettering myself every weekend and work together as a team to better our results.”
With the Metcalfe and Crawford both absent from a round this year, they currently sit eighth and 11th respectively in the championship standings as the series heads to Shepparton in Victoria for round seven on 16 July. Further information on the 10-round series can be found on the official website at www.mxnationals.com.au.
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