MOTOCROSS: AUS: Gilman round four preview

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Oz motocross roars into Adelaide After a Queensland stopover, the 2004 Maxxis Australian Motocross Championship will return to cooler climes when round four is held at Gilman (SA) on Sunday, June 27. The perennially well-prepared South...

Oz motocross roars into Adelaide

After a Queensland stopover, the 2004 Maxxis Australian Motocross Championship will return to cooler climes when round four is held at Gilman (SA) on Sunday, June 27.

The perennially well-prepared South Australian layout -- just 15 minutes from the heart of Adelaide -- will mark the mid-point in the revamped eight-round championship, which has so far been akin to a quasi New Zealand title -- such has been the dominance of riders from over The Ditch.

Replicating the giant-killing deeds of countryman Ben Townley in the 2004 MX2 Motocross World Championship, siblings Shayne King (No Fear Honda CRF450R) and Darryll King (CDER/Boost Mobile/Yamaha YZ450F) have collectively won five of the six Pro Open races, while Cody Cooper (No Fear Honda CRF250R) has single-handedly taken the sword to the Pro Lites opposition in amassing 145pts out of a possible 150.

Darryll King, who has won two of the past three Pro Open titles and is the defending champion, is a 20pt (137 to 117) leader over Shayne after a huge turnaround in fortunes at round three in Coolum (Qld) on June 6. While Darryll enjoyed carte blanche in bringing home the double (50pts), Shayne's powers of concentration were nobbled by a nasty bacterial infection, which saw him collect a modest 23pts -- and a forfeiture of the lead he had held since round one.

"I am feeling as strong as ever going into this weekend's round at Gillman," King said. "I have not changed my preparation at all, I am going to attack this round just the same as Coolum and see if I can come away with another clean sweep.

"I feel I am one of the fastest out there and I know I have the best team behind me, so there is no reason why I can't pull away and win this championship. I am well prepared this year, which is a combination of a better bike and me being happier with the bike - which means I can ride a lot smarter."

Both of the Kings scored top three finishes in last year's corresponding round at Gilman, which will give little comfort to the contingent of Aussies trying to keep the pair in sight -- currently being led by Cheyne Boyd (Motorex KTM 450SXF, 109pts), who finished on the podium in both races at Coolum. Boyd is then followed by teammate Jay Marmont (450SXF, 89pts), with Honda's Lee Ellis (CRF450F) and Danny Ham (Shift Motul Suzuki RM250) deadlocked on 87.

The other riders to have finished on the Pro Open podium in 2004 are Troy Carroll (CDR/Boost Mobile YZ250, 79pts), Shane Metcalfe (No Fear Honda CRF450R, 62) and New Zealander Corrie Sargeant (Full Throttle Sports Honda CRF450R, 74), who won the second moto in round two.

However, the bona fide local challenge in round four may come from a rider who has not yet contested a round of this year's title -- but someone who knows a little bit about winning Australian championships. That pilot is 11-time Australian motocross and supercross champion Craig Anderson, who will compete at Gilman on the Honda CRF450R vacated by Metcalfe, whose broken scaphoid has left him on the long-term injury list.

Anderson, who won the 2002 motocross title before leaving for America, is making a flying trip home between a rare two-week break in the AMA 250cc Motocross Championship. He currently lies 12th in the AMA title on a Honda, including a season best of eighth in race two at Maryland last weekend.

Anderson's past form at Gilman is exceptional, including two wins from three starts in his championship-winning 2002 year.

Thirty-five riders will square off in the Pro Open races at Gilman in the two 30-minute (plus a lap) races, including former Australian supercross champion and road racing international Anthony Gobert (Honda CRF450R).

In the 55-rider Pro Lites field -- which will be trimmed to 40 after qualifying -- Cooper is currently making all the right moves to improve on his fifth position in last year's title. His 145pt haul makes him a 22pt leader over Cameron Taylor (CDR/Boost Mobile/Yamaha YZ250F, 123), with two-time champion Troy Dorron (No Fear Honda CRF250R, 100) the only other rider to move into the three-figure zone. Dorron, who has finished on the podium in four of the six Pro Lites races, finished second at Coolum in 2003 behind Carroll.

Daniel McCoy (CDR/Boost Mobile/Yamaha YZ250F) also remains in the mix on 94pts, ahead of 18-year-old gun Daniel Reardon (Whales Kawasaki/Thor KX250F, 74), who improved three championship spots at Coolum -- as did Serco Yamaha's Adam Cini (YZ250F). The latter is now in seventh on 68pts, just one behind No Fear Honda's Jye Harvey (CRF250R, 69).

Gates open at 8.00am on Sunday, with the first practice session starting at 9.00am. Entry is $20 for adults, $10 for a child and $50 for a family (two adults and two children). There will also be support class races for women, where Lisa Irwin (Honda) currently leads the way from Mary Perkins (Yamaha) and 16-year-old Kristy Gillespie (Honda).

For more information on the Maxxis Australian Motocross Championship, visit the official website at www.ozmotox.com

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Series GENERAL
Tags MOTORCYLE