Empire Kawasaki endured an eventful night at the S-X Open Auckland in New Zealand on Saturday, 16 November, which served as round four of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship.
Victorian Dylan Long charged to eighth overall in the SX1 category riding the KX450, overcoming a trio of mediocre starts in the 'triple crown' format as he recorded 12-10-8 finishes. The overall result promotes him to fifth in the championship standings.
"It was an okay night for me, reasonably consistent in what is a deep field," Long recalled. "We always want to finish higher of course, but at the same time we've moved up in the points and I'm happy to climb into the top five overall now. The goal is to finish strongly in Melbourne, which is my home round!"
Auckland proved to be a stronger night for SX1 teammate Lawson Bopping as he claimed an impressive sixth place in the final of three mains, while his 10-16 race results in the first two outings granted him 10th overall. He’s now ranked ninth the standings aboard the KX450.
"Tonight was good, definitely a tough one with a lot of competitive guys here from overseas, but I liked it and we were fourth in the heat as well," enthused Bopping. "I was really happy to put it together in that final race, which was my best of the night, so we will take something from that and hopefully keep moving forward."
American Bradley Taft experienced his share misfortune in New Zealand, coming together with another rider on lap one of the opening main, damaging his radiator of his Empire Kawasaki KX250 as a result of the heavy contact.
He recovered for 16th and then took 12th in race two, however a significant loss of radiator fluid because of the damage meant that he was forced to withdraw from race three. Taft was credited 16th overall and sits seventh in the championship.
"That was disappointing," Taft stated. "After qualifying fifth and then finishing third in my heat we were on target for a good night, but unfortunately it wasn't to be. Onto the next one and we will try to get the result we're looking for at the final round."
The Australian Supercross Championship now heads to Melbourne for the AUS-X Open on 30 November, marking the final round of the 2019 series. Visit www.kawasaki.com.au for further information on Kawasaki Motors Australia.
Photo Credit: Foremost Media