Empire Kawasaki trio Lawson Bopping, Dylan Long and Deakin Hellier each displayed glimpses of form in the mammoth double-header rounds of the 2019 MX Nationals at Murray Bridge.
Bopping remained part of the Empire Kawasaki outfit in South Australia aboard the KX450, qualifying for Super Pole in fifth position, then recording 8-15 finishes for 11th overall on Saturday.
Sunday was even stronger for Bopping as he continues to reach match fitness, scoring ninth in the pair of sprint races for a combined eighth-place and then taking a spirited ninth in moto three. Those results earned him ninth overall.
"It was a big weekend with two rounds of racing," Bopping admitted. "I'd worked hard coming into here and was happy to put it into Super Pole on Saturday, but the motos were difficult - my arms couldn't hang onto the handlebars and it caused me to fade. It was frustrating because the team and KX450 are so good.
"I didn't qualify as strongly on Sunday, but the sprint motos were decent and I felt as though I had a bit of fight in me. The last moto was great as well for the most part, although I slowed up right at the end and a few guys got me. Anyway, it was great and I've enjoyed it a lot."
Making his return to the MX1 field and joining Bopping in the premier class was Long, taking two top 10 results with 10-9 rankings for eighth overall on Saturday and then posting a consistent scorecard of 8-11-12 on Sunday for 11th position.
"I wasn't super-happy with my riding on either day, but I got into a bit of a flow at stages," Long said. "I just haven't had enough bike time, so I tightened up in almost every single race. It's good to have a break now, but we'll come back strong and ready. The KX450 was good, I'm happy enough and can work from this."
Riding in MXD on-board the KX250, young Victorian Hellier put in a major effort for 24th overall on Saturday and a much-improved 15th on Sunday. Hellier's best ride came in moto one today, charging to a confidence-boosting ninth-place.
"I've showed my best sides and also my worst sides this weekend, so it was a bit of an up and down one," Hellier said. "That first moto on Sunday was where I feel I should be, so I'm ready to keep trying and look forward to round six already! I just need to find some consistency from here."
Murray Bridge also marked rounds one and two of the 2019 Australian MXW championship for women racers, in which Kawasaki Motors Australia-supported Meghan Rutledge dominated to win all four motos contested. Rutledge's perfect score sees her build an 18-point advantage in the series.
The 2019 MX Nationals championship will take its annual mid-season break now, with round six set for Gympie, Queensland, on 23 June. Visit www.kawasaki.com.au for further information on Kawasaki Motors Australia.
Photo credit Foremost Media