Empire Kawasaki endured a challenge-filled evening of action in Port Adelaide's second round of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, with Dylan Long landing 10th in SX1 and Bradley Taft ninth in SX2.
Contested at Port Adelaide's Gillman Speedway, fan-favourite Long qualified in seventh position this afternoon and then went on to take fourth position in the heat race.
The traditional 20-lap main event saw Long recover from an early off-track excursion in which he re-injured his wrist to salvage a 10th-place result, now ranked seventh in the championship standings.
"It was a bit of a struggle tonight because I didn't really find a flow," Long reflected.
"I can't really take any positives out of this - I got pushed off the track at the start, so after that I struggled with arm-pump. We'll regroup and come back swinging for the next round."
Teammate Lawson Bopping was once again stellar aboard the Empire Kawasaki KX450 throughout practice and qualifying, where he slotted into fifth position. He placed third in his heat race and set the fourth-fastest lap in Superpole, however, his night would unravel from there.
An encouraging beginning to the SX1 main event saw him positioned as high as sixth until falling on lap six, which would ultimately end his night prematurely. Bopping has struggled with unresolved health problems through much of 2019, still searching for a definitive answer. "My health is still pretty ordinary, so I wasn't able to finish," said Bopping. "I loved the track and the KX450 was good, as it always is, so I was able to get third in my heat race, even though I wasn't even pushing it and was trying to be conservative. I was fourth in Superpole as well.
"I was working my way up in the main, got to around sixth, but then went down by myself in the sand. I couldn't even circulate after that - I was totally gassed and this could be the end of the season for me. I'm really hoping that my doctor can pin-point this illness, because it's not good what I'm doing right now."
Empire Kawasaki's SX2 entry Bradley Taft piloted the team's Kawasaki KX250 to ninth position in the class' 15-lap final, currently sixth in the points-tally. He was consistent in Adelaide by qualifying eighth and taking seventh in his heat, but is aiming for more in upcoming rounds.
"Tonight, honestly, it didn't go that good," admitted Taft.
"Practice went well, but I struggled to get comfortable with the track in qualifying. In the heat I was seventh, so went direct to the main, but I completely messed up the start. I ended up coming away with a ninth, so not happy at all, and we'll get back to work."
Round three of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship will take place at WIN Stadium in Wollongong, New South Wales, on Saturday, 9 November.
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Photography credit - Foremost Media