A top ten finish for Opens rider Billy Mackenzie leaves him in 4th place in the Championship. Whilst it wasn’t the result he was looking for he is still just 7 points off the series lead however a DNF for Lites rider Dean Ferris really hurt his Championship aspirations, relegating him to 14th in the series.
With the Survivor racing format shelved for the night due to torrential rain, 450 rider Billy Mackenzie had one 15 lap main event race to do the business. As usual, Mackenzie got off to a great start on board his KX450F and found his way to the lead by lap 2. From there Mackenzie settled into a good rhythm and looked set to bring home the win until a small crash put him off the side of the track. He re-mounted quickly but limited traction on the slippery wooden boards surrounding the track meant getting back onto the dirt was easier said than done. When he finally got himself back on track, Mackenzie was way down the order and had to work hard for his eventual 9th place finish. Mackenzie’s podium finish last week and top ten finish this week still sees him inside the top 5 in the Championship, only 7 points shy of the series lead and tied with 3rd place.
A frustrated Billy Mackenzie says, “I was actually having a really good final. I got out of the gate well and managed to get into the lead on the second lap. I was feeling comfortable, doing the triple and pulling ground. I was just trying to find a few lines and keep it consistent but it just caught me out on this one little section before the whoops. I slid it off the track and with the ply boards down it took me a while to get back on, I was just sitting on the ply wood spinning so it was really frustrating, I got a bit angry. After that I just tried to put some consistent laps together and get as high up the order as I could. I’m really really frustrated at losing the lead again. I did it at the first round and it’s happened again the second round. I just have to put it right at the third”.
The night started brilliantly for Lites rider Dean Ferris when the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider qualified his KX250F in pole position on a dry Wollongong track. In the 10 lap main event, Ferris got off to a good start on the now wet and muddy track and was inside the top tfive after the first turn. It all came unstuck a lap later however when a succession of small crashes ended with a big crash putting him out of the race. The DNF was costly for Ferris in the 5 round series with the talented rider now sitting in 14th place in the Championship.
Dean Ferris says, “We prepared for the conditions but I just had a lot of bad luck. I had a few crashes and eventually winded myself really bad and I was out too long to be able to finish enough of the race to score any points so I pulled in and that was my night.”
Under 19’s Kawasaki rider Meghan Rutledge also experienced a bitter sweet night. After getting off to a great start in her heat race, Rutledge quickly settled into 3rd place until a small crash put her back in the pack, forcing her to line up in the LCQ to earn her spot in the final. Rutledge rode well in the LCQ however her 3rd place finish meant she missed out by 1 position. If Meghan Rutledge was to have one bad round this series, this was the round to have it with the Under 19s final being cancelled due to the bad weather.
Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager Troy Carroll was frustrated but optimistic after racing wrapped up in Wollongong, saying, “Both our riders had a bad night. Billy was winning last weekend and had a crash and went back to second. He was winning this weekend, crashed and ended up 9th. It wasn’t such a good night for us but we’ll bounce back at Campbelltown next weekend and hopefully have some better luck there.”
With both Monster Energy Kawasaki riders showing very good form so far this season, the team heads to Campbelltown, NSW this weekend confident of better results and ready to seize back lost Championship points.