It was another strong day for the MEGA Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team at Port Macquarie’s eighth round of the MX Nationals, with team riders Brett Metcalfe and Nathan Crawford both completing the day inside the top five.
Metcalfe qualified for the Super Pole session, posting the fifth fastest time around the New South Wales circuit of 1m53.442s, as Crawford concluded regular qualifying in eighth.
Race one saw a rough start for South Australian Metcalfe, who crashed in the opening corners and was forced to recover from dead last. He was able to negotiate his way through the field despite limited passing opportunities to salvage eighth.
Looking to make amends in his second outing, Metcalfe positioned himself towards the front while engaging in a battle with Luke Clout, before he moved by and set his sights on Todd Waters in second. The number 24 applied heavy pressure on the MX1 contender, attempting everything he could before a mistake on the final lap denied him of moving up a position, crediting him fourth overall.
“My riding was good and the MEGA Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F was awesome,” Metcalfe explained. “In the first moto I had a decent start, but in the third turn I came together with a few guys and went down. I was dead last and I put on a charge, but the track was really one-lined - there were multiple lines, it was just difficult to make passes.
“I could only get back to eighth, there was a freight train of guys ahead of me, but I couldn’t make much of a better result out of that one. The second moto I got through clean, but I had to do a lot of work on [Luke] Clout, it was just extremely hard to make a pass and I didn’t really have much of an advantage to come up and dive under the inside.
“Once I finally got by him, I was gone and closed the gap to Todd Waters, we were both pushing and man, I really gave it everything I had - on the last lap I went into a deep rut on the inside and I think the mud hit the shift lever and knocked neutral, so I just laid it down on the ground. It was a good day of riding, the results just weren’t what I wanted.”
For MX1 rookie Crawford, his first moto was ultra-impressive as he fended off heavy pressure from Waters in the dying stages to claim third in the highly talented field.
His plans of repeating the result in moto two were derailed in the opening corners where a costly mistake forced the Queenslander to work his way through the pack. He picked off positions lap by lap, closing out the 30-minute plus one lap race in eighth for fifth overall.
“I got another top five result, which was really good,” Crawford commented. “I’m happy with my first moto and happy with my starts today too - I got two good starts. I was third in the first moto and second turn in the last moto I was going for a pass that would’ve put me into third, but I washed the front.
“I was playing catch up from the get go and could only get back to eighth, it gave me fifth overall. Again, we’re really knocking on the door of a podium and I was only a few points off it today, but yeah, moving onto Toowoomba in Queensland, hopefully we can get it done there.”
Metcalfe and Crawford sit eighth and ninth respectively in the championship standings as two rounds remain, with the ninth stop of the series slated for 13 August, at Toowoomba in Queensland. Further information on the 10-round series can be found on the official website at www.mxnationals.com.au.
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