It was an encouraging outing at Maitland’s seventh round of the 2019 MX Nationals in New South Wales for team Empire Kawasaki, as Dylan Long led the charge by finishing just outside of the top five in the premier MX1 category.
Piloting the KX450, Long set the seventh fastest time in qualifying before going on to record a 7-5 scorecard in the opening sprint races, granting him a moto one ranking of fifth position. He returned in fine form during the final encounter, scoring P6 for sixth overall.
“It was a pretty good day for me,” Long commented. “I didn’t qualify the best, but it was better than the last round. My starts were really good today - the first race I was running fourth before hitting neutral and crashing.
“I dropped back to 10th, but managed to finish seventh, so that wasn’t too bad. I was fifth in the second one and, in the last one, I came back from about 10th to finish sixth. I was only one point off of fifth overall, so it was a decent day for me.”
Still battling health issues, Lawson Bopping put his blistering pace on display in qualifying on-board the KX450, finishing just shy of Super Pole in sixth. He posted 9-13 finishes in the pair of sprint races, crediting him a race one ranking of 10th.
Fan favourite Bopping then pushed on despite his fatigue-based health problem hindering him in the final outing, mustering up a gritty P18 result for 13th overall. Those results moved him up to 10th in the championship points.
“Today started off good when I qualified in sixth,” said Bopping. “In the first two races I got an eighth and a 13th, but I was pretty tired in that last moto. I only got a couple of laps down and I was extremely exhausted - my body pretty much shut down.
“I ended up taking 18th, which is disappointing because I don’t know what’s going on with my body. I’m seeing a doctor in the next week and I’m really excited to see him because he’s an expert on diabetes and the immune system. Overall though, the weekend wasn’t too bad, all things considered.”
The ever-improving Deakin Hellier made inspiring steps forward in the MXD class aboard his KX250, qualifying 12th and then recording a respectable 16-13 scorecard in the pair of motos for 14th overall. He’s now ranked P14 in the Under 19s standings.
“Today was quite good,” Hellier stated. “The first race was challenging and the best I could get up to was 16th. I really wanted to enter the top 10 in the second moto, but it was pretty tough out there and I ended up 13th for 14th overall. I’m looking forward to Moree and, hopefully, I can get inside the top 10.”
The Empire Kawasaki team now heads to Moree in New South Wales for round eight of the MX Nationals on 28 July.
Images: Foremost Media