Empire Kawasaki's Dylan Long has claimed a top 10 result in the Gympie round of the 2019 MX Nationals in Queensland today, capped off with a well-deserved sixth position in MX1 moto two.
Long displayed front-running form aboard his Kawasaki KX450, gaining momentum as the round unfolded. After qualifying 13th, the popular Victorian rode to 14-6 finishes.
A strong start in moto one was crushed when Long fell just a few turns into the race, forcing him to fight his way forward from the rear of the field to an eventual 14th-place result.
This afternoon Long was again a fast-starter, circulating in the top three before crossing the line in an inspiring sixth position. As a result, he took 10th overall and gains confidence entering the second half of the season.
"We made some changes after practice and qualifying because we tried a set of suspension that was pretty fresh, so that showed in my times," Long reflected. "I came out in the first race and nearly hole-shotted, then fell about three corners into it. I came from last to 14th, but I was spent.
"In moto two I got another good start, which was awesome, and I can't say enough about the KX450. I had used all of my energy in that first race, but we finished sixth in that one and it was decent. After missing the start of the season we're still getting going, so I think I can be very, very competitive."
It was a more challenging round for teammate Lawson Bopping as he rode his KX450 to DNF-12 results, having to overcome troubles with his health at round six. Bopping also benefited from a brilliant jump out of the gates in the second encounter, credited 21st overall in the end.
"It was a tough one here today, but the track was pretty cool," Bopping said. "The first race was hard - I got a bad start and I don't really know what to say about that one. It ended in a DNF, which was disappointing, but we lined back up for the second race and I got a pretty good start.
"I was able to run toward the front for a number of laps, but then I had to ride it home in the race's last half. I've got some issues with my health going on, which are definitely holding me back. I'm enjoying it so much though, the KX450 is such a good bike to ride and I'm thankful for everybody in the team's support."
Youthful Empire Kawasaki team rider Deakin Hellier enjoyed a clean run in both MXD motos, qualifying 14th and then registering 12-12 finishes. As a result, he claimed 11th overall and takes a large amount of newfound confidence out of the weekend.
"I'm stoked with the consistent results today and I rode smoothly, which is exactly what I wanted to do for this round," Hellier commented. "I've done a lot of riding on this type of terrain and I feel it is one of my stronger points, so now we want to keep working and make more progress."
Round seven of the 2019 MX Nationals will take place at Maitland in New South Wales on Sunday, 14 July. Visit www.kawasaki.com.au for further information on Kawasaki Motors Australia.