Wonthaggi’s second round of the 2019 MX Nationals in Victoria proved to be a strong outing for Empire Kawasaki, as fill-in rider Lawson Bopping earned a top five finish in the premier MX1 category, while Deakin Hellier wound up 24th overall in the MXD division.
With team regular Dylan Long sidelined with an elbow injury sustained at Appin’s opener, Empire Kawasaki drafted in long-time MX Nationals front-runner Bopping, who returned to the outdoor series for his first motocross race in three years.
New South Welshman Bopping kickstarted his time with the official Kawasaki outfit in sensational fashion, hole-shotting the opening moto before checking out and leading the field for the opening two thirds.
As the race neared the closing stages, the number 70 was overcome by a selection of riders, ultimately seeing him settle for fifth. Returning for race two, Bopping remained consistent as he managed his body, collecting a 10th in the tough conditions for a very respectable fifth overall.
“It was a great weekend and I had a lot of fun with the team,” Bopping stated. “I struggled a little in practice and got arm pump straight up - that was to be expected - I haven’t done a national in three years. I qualified in 12th, which wasn’t real great, but I ripped an awesome start in the first moto and led for maybe 20 minutes - that was awesome!
“I put the fade on in the last 10 minutes and a few guys got around me. Leading those few laps at the start made my whole weekend and it was a good time! The second moto was pretty miserable, to be honest. I think I went pretty hard in the first race and I was pretty flat for the second one, but overall we're happy.”
Youthful talent Hellier didn’t record the results he intended to achieve at Wonthaggi, however his pace in both outings proved inspiring for the Victorian local. He finished the weekend with a 26-18 results sheet, granting him 24th overall after displaying top 10 speed.
“It was a pretty promising weekend,” Hellier explained. “We started off in a pretty good position qualifying 12th, but race one I’m trying to forget. The last race I was positioned well near the top 10, but I was taken out by another rider, so I got up and came back to 18th.
“My pace is definitely there - it’s annoying because my training form isn’t replicated on the race track. Everything’s working - my suspension and the bike itself is working awesome. I will keep working with the Empire Kawasaki team and hope to keep moving forward.”
Empire Kawasaki will now head to Broadford in Victoria on 14 April for the third round of the 2019 MX Nationals. Visit www.kawasaki.com.au for further information on Kawasaki Motors Australia.