Empire Kawasaki returned to racing at Wonthaggi’s 2021 ProMX Championship opener on Sunday, marking the team’s national debut with Jayden Rykers competing in MX1 on-board his KX450.
Rykers initially signed with Kawasaki for last season, however, today marked his first outing with the Empire Kawasaki team following the cancellation of last year’s series. As a result, round one proved a crucial learning experience for the highly-rated Western Australian.
Qualifying this morning in rain-soaked conditions that only became rougher as the round wore on saw Rykers record the 14th-quickest time overall and his day drastically improved from that moment as he adapted to finish with a 7-10 scorecard for eighth overall.
“The day started off a little slow for me in qualifying, but I got an awesome start in that first moto, so that was good and from there it was still a challenge for me in selecting the best lines — I found it hard to piece the track together,” Rykers explained. “Still, I finished seventh in that one, which was better, and moto two wasn’t too bad either.
“I had an early crash in that second race, fell back down to around 22nd and fought back to ninth, but went down again on the last lap and crossed the line 10th. It has been a long time since we last raced, so now we’ve had this experience I really look forward to getting to round two in a few weeks and making further progress there. We’ll keep moving forward!”
Empire Kawasaki team owner Tyson Cherry said it was an important pair of 25-minute plus one-lap motos for Rykers riding the KX450 in a competitive environment following the extended time off, confident that his results will continue to elevate in the coming rounds.
“There were definitely some positives that we took out of today,” he reflected. “We worked on the bike settings in these conditions and, despite a couple of crashes, Jayden’s speed was there and he was riding really well by the end. We will keep improving from here and aim for the top five at the next round. We know where to go from here and look forward to getting back on track."
Round two of the 2021 ProMX Championship is scheduled for Canberra in the ACT on 2 May. Rykers will be joined by Japanese national champion Haruki Yokoyama riding an Empire Kawasaki KX250 in the MX2 category once he is cleared from quarantine.
Photo credit: Foremost Media