It was a bittersweet weekend for the factory KTM squad, however, as while Clout recorded a race win and podium, Kirk Gibbs and Egan Mastin suffered major crashes in the opening races that ultimately cut their weekend short.
The duo both displayed their potential early on, Gibbs claiming his second MX1 Super Pole in a row and Mastin running third until the final lap in the opening MX2 encounter.
New South Welshman Clout was impressive throughout the entire weekend though, recording a fourth-place finish in Saturday’s race, backing it up with a third in Sunday’ second moto for an inspiring fourth overall in round seven.
This afternoon would see a new format introduced, marking the eighth round of the series where two back-to-back eight-lap races would be held. Clout was once again consistent with a fourth in the opening affair, before putting in an incredible charge with a career-first MX1 race win to cap-off the round.
Falling just a point shy of the overall victory, Clout has now been promoted to second in the championship standings, making good on his potential in the middle stages of his campaign.
Defending MX2 champion Mastin, who was debuting the all-new 2019 KTM 250 SX-F, will undergo further scans this week, as will Gibbs, whose season is unfortunately over with multiple fractures to his finger, ribs and shoulder.
The MX Nationals returns to action on 5 August at Gladstone in Queensland for the ninth and penultimate stop of the championship.
#4 Luke Clout (KTM Australia) during the doubleheader at Round 2018 Australian Mx Nationals, Ranch MX, New South Wales Australia on July 15, 2018 Photo: Marc Jones Photography
Jay Marmont – Team manager, KTM Motocross Racing Team: “We ended the day on a good note since we obviously went through a pretty tough weekend as a team. To end with a race win in that last moto definitely shows Luke’s potential as a rider and as a person. He got the win and was only a point shy of getting the overall. Egan was riding great, but on the last lap of moto one he had a decent crash and hit the ground really hard. He suffered a mild concussion and made the call not to ride. Gibbsy won Super Pole, went out and got a great start, but unfortunately came unstuck moments later. He’s in good spirits and was walking around the track today, so we wish him a quick recovery.”
Luke Clout – KTM 450 SX-F: “I was pretty consistent across the weekend, going 4-3 and 4-1, so it was good points for the double-header. I got good starts, but I did lack a bit of aggression, so Jay kicked me into gear for that last one. I rode really aggressive from the start and got myself into the lead and ended up with the win. I’m really, really pumped I’ve finally got the monkey off my back and it’s put me second in the championship. To stand on the podium in second overall is my best overall finish and to finish off with a race win is even better.”
Kirk Gibbs – KTM 450 SX-F: “The weekend started off well even though I was coming in with a back injury from Conondale, so I was a little hesitant. I put it together in Super Pole and I felt strong and quite comfortable doing it. I really wanted to get a good start, I ripped the first one and when I did, I went pretty close to edge of the track and hit a rut. Because it was built up on the edge of the track, my wheel blew through, my front-end knifed and that was all it wrote. For how big the crash was, I didn’t come out of it too bad – I have a couple of fractures in my finger, shoulder, and ribs, but I feel not too bad considering.”
Egan Mastin – KTM 250 SX-F: “It was definitely disappointing because I was sitting in third on the last lap and I was pretty gutted to go down. I went down pretty hard and had a heavy head-knock. My face is pretty banged up and unfortunately, I couldn’t line-up today. I’m feeling pretty sore and, like I said, it’s disappointing because I was feeling comfortable on the 2019 KTM 250 SX-F that we just got and I was hoping for a good weekend.”
2018 MX Nationals – Australian Motocross Championship
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