+ 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, Round 3 // November 11, 2019
WEBSTER MARKS SX2 RETURN WITH 10th, BUDD 13th IN SX2 AT WOLLONGONG SUPERCROSS
The 2019 Australian Supercross Championship roared back into life on Saturday night (November 9) with round three staged at WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW, in conjunction with the first-ever Australian Motorcycle Festival and drawing a sizeable crowd of enthusiastic fans for a night of close and exciting supercross competition.
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team riders KYLE WEBSTER and RHYS BUDD were in the thick of the SX2 class action, the Honda duo finishing the round in 10th and 13th places respectively after an action-packed three finals on the night.
The Wollongong event marked KYLE WEBSTER’S return to racing, after the current Australian MX2 championship runner-up was sidelined from round two last month after suffering collapsed lungs in a training crash.
“It was awesome to get back behind the gate and get on with racing again,” enthused Webster of the Wollongong event. “I got the holeshot in my Heat race and finished second behind (reigning SX2 champion) Jay Wilson, which was a really good kick-off to the night.”
On a technical and challenging track where strong starts were vital to success, Webster timed an excellent jump of the start gate in the first Final, only to be pushed wide in the first turn, which saw him subsequently run at the tail of the leading pack to finish the race in seventh place.
“In the second Final, I got an awesome start and thought I was on for another holeshot,” Webster pumped, “but then someone slammed me and pushed me wide again. Then on the first lap I landed on another rider over the triple because he backed out and I was already committed, so I went down and then had to fight back to finish the race in 14th.”
In the third and final moto, Webster made a strong start and put on a couple of passes to finish the race in sixth place.
“Overall the night was okay,” offered Webster, who finished 10th for the round, “and I had fun racing and felt like I rode okay after being sidelined from the previous round.
“We’ve got two more rounds of the championship over the next few weeks, in New Zealand and then in Melbourne, and I’m really looking forward to them and would really like to crack the top five, which I think is a fair goal, and anything better would be a bonus.”
Second Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team rider RHYS BUDD also enjoyed the Wollongong event, despite his evening kicking off with a crash in his Heat race while running third, which forced him to the Last Chance Qualifier.
“But in the LCQ I rode a solid race and took the win, which was great, but it left me with a bad gate position for the three Finals,” Budd explained.
“The first two Finals went well and despite having to start from wide on the grid, I finished eighth and tenth, which was good. But then in the last Final, a horrible start really cost me and overall I finished 13th for the round.”
The Wollongong event saw a trio of American riders fill the SX2 podium, with Penrite Honda Racing team rider Chris Blose snaring the win ahead of Josh Osby (KTM) and second Penrite Honda Racing team rider Mitchell Oldenburg.
Both Webster and Budd are now looking forward to jetting out to New Zealand this week to contest round four of the championship in Auckland on Saturday night (November 16). It will be Budd’s first trip to New Zealand and the young Sydney racer is hoping to finish the season strong and stay in the top ten placings.
After the trans-Tasman tour this weekend, the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship will reach its crescendo with the fifth and final round, the AUS-X Open event being staged at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne (Vic) on November 30.
+ 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, Round 2 // October 21, 2019
BUDD TENTH IN SX2 AT PORT ADELAIDE SUPERCROSS; WEBSTER SIDELINED BY INJURY
With a massive 8,000 tonnes of top soil to work with, organisers of Saturday night’s (October 12) round two of the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship staged at Port Adelaide in South Australia delivered one of the most spectacular USA-style supercross tracks ever seen in Australia.
Featuring multiple rhythm lanes, whoop sections and sequence obstacles, the Port Adelaide circuit delivered exciting racing that enthralled a strong and vocal crowd, with Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider RHYS BUDD in the thick of the SX2 class action through the evening.
With a mid-week training injury sidelining team mate KYLE WEBSTER, young gun Budd was working solo out of the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing transporter and took to the testing track on his Honda Genuine Parts-equipped CRF250R race bike for Qualifying, and ultimately laid down 15th fastest time.
“With such a big track layout, there were sections where I felt really good and had fun, but then there were other parts where I seemed to really struggle,” explained Budd of his Qualifying performance. “So Qualifying 15th wasn’t the greatest, which was frustrating because I knew I was better than that.”
Regrouping for his Heat race, and with ace tuner Craig Bolton in his corner for the weekend, Budd came out swinging as the gate dropped and the frenzied SX2 pack took aim for the first turn.
“I just knew that in the Heat I had to get a good start and ride my own race to get straight through to the Main,” Budd said.
And that’s just what he did, as Budd launched his Honda to the lead out of turn one.
“Grabbing the holeshot and leading the opening lap of the Heat was such an awesome feeling,” Budd enthused. “But then I lost time in the whoops and dropped a few positions, but finished fifth and went straight to the Main.”
Keen to repeat the front running effort in the all-important Main event, Budd was disappointed not to be able to replicate the boomer start from his Heat race.
“My start wasn’t as good in the Main and I was riding mid-pack as a result, and had to start making some passes,” Budd explained.
“As it turned out there was lots of carnage going on out there, so I was pretty stoked to keep it on two wheels for the whole race and come home in tenth place at the end.
“Now the plan is to build on what we learnt from the weekend and come out stronger for round three in Wollongong in a few weeks time.”
The Port Adelaide SX2 Main saw visiting American ace Mitchell Oldenburg fire his Penrite Honda Racing machine to the win, ahead of fellow American Josh Osby (KTM) and local Aussie ace Aaron Tanti (Yamaha). Tanti now leads the SX2 championship standings, ahead of Osby and Oldenburg.
Missing from action at the Port Adelaide event, KYLE WEBSTER was sidelined by injury suffered in a training crash a few days before the race.
“I crashed and landed into the next upramp of a jump and the impact slightly collapsed both my lungs,” Webster explained.
“It could have been worse, but recovery will mean a couple of weeks with no riding, so my goal is to be back on the bike and on the line for round three of the championship in Wollongong.”
The Australian Supercross Championship continues with round three in Wollongong (NSW) on November 9, followed by a trans-Tasman round in Auckland (New Zealand) on November 16, before reaching its crescendo with the AUS-X Open event being staged at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne (Vic) on November 30.
+ 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, Round 1 // October 14, 2019
CHALLENGING START TO AUSTRALIAN SUPERCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WEBSTER & BUDD
It proved to be a tough day at the office for Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders Kyle Webster and Rhys Budd as the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship roared into life on Saturday night (October 12) in Brisbane.
Boasting a five round championship with events around Australia and in New Zealand, the Brisbane Entertainment Centre kick-off to the Supercross championship saw Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders KYLE WEBSTER and RHYS BUDD line up in the hotly contested SX2 class aboard their potent Honda CRF250R race bikes decked out in a fresh new red and white graphic scheme designed by team sponsor SK Designs.
But fortunes did not favour the Honda young guns, with Budd suffering a freak mechanical issue that prevented him lining up for Qualifying, which then ruled him out of the evening’s racing.
Meanwhile Webster battled to come to grips with the tight track confines of the indoor Brisbane layout and finished tenth on the night.
This came just two weeks after a hectic international schedule saw Webster represent Australia in the Motocross of Nations world teams championship at Assen in The Netherlands on September 28/29.
Lining up alongside Dean Ferris and Reagan Duffy at the MXON, Webster impressed in his European debut, carding a mighty third place finish in his MX2 Qualifying race, before the sponsored Aussie team ultimately finished 15th overall in the final standings after rain on race day made conditions extremely challenging at the sandy Assen circuit.
“The whole MXON experience was amazing,” enthused Webster, “but it did mean my build up for the Supercross championship was limited and I only had a few days of SX training before we lined up in Brisbane.
“I really struggled with how small and tight track the track was at Brisbane,” Webster explained, “so now we’ll just move on and I’m excited to put in a solid week of riding and cannot wait for the next round at Adelaide.”
For Budd, who was lining up in the SX2 class after racing MXD in the MX Nationals this year, the Brisbane event tested his mettle when a sudden technical issue kept him on the sidelines for Qualifying.
“It was a tough pill to swallow,” Budd admitted, “but we had a freak bike problem that was no fault of anyone, that meant I wasn’t able to get out for Qualifying. We tried to get into the next group, but unfortunately we weren’t allowed into it.
“At least we’re healthy and will be working hard for the next round in Adelaide. Thanks to the team for doing everything they could, especially Mick Lillis and Mitch Budd. I am where I am because of those guys, and my family, and the team, and we will achieve all we are capable of thanks to all their support.”
The SX2 class at Brisbane saw Jacob Hayes (Yamaha), Aaron Tanti (Yamaha) and Chris Blose (Honda) take the top three placings, while in SX1 defending champion Justin Brayton (Honda) lead home Dan Reardon (Yamaha) and Luke Clout (Yamaha).
The Australian Supercross Championship continues with round two at Gilman (SA) next Saturday night October 19, then moves to Wollongong (NSW) on November 9 and Auckland (New Zealand) on November 16, before reaching its crescendo with the AUS-X Open event being staged at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne (Vic) on November 30.
+ 2019 Motocross of Nations, Australian Team Selection // August 31, 2019
WEBSTER RATES SELECTION TO AUSTRALIAN MXoN TEAM AS REALISATION OF A LIFETIME DREAM
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider KYLE WEBSTER is justifiably excited after being named as a member of the Australian team to contest the 2019 Motocross of Nations world teams championship being held at Assen, The Netherlands, on September 28/29.
Webster, 23, who recently finished second overall in the MX2 category of the MX Nationals Australian championship, will join Dean Ferris (KTM) and Mitch Evans (Honda) in the Australian team, which is this year sponsored by leading Australian online retailer, MXStore.com.au.
“I’m so excited to have been chosen to represent Australia,” said an excited Webster after being advised of his selection to the team by Motorcycling Australia officials.
“Getting an Australian team ride has been a lifetime dream of mine and I am stoked to now have the opportunity to represent Australia.”
Proudly donning the green and gold Australian team colours, the Dutch event will be Webster’s first-ever foray into the amazing spectacle that is a European-based world motocross championship event.
“I’ve never raced in Europe before; I’ve only been to an Indonesian GP round in 2017, but it was a complete mudder,” Webster reveals. “So I’m stoked to be alongside Dean and Mitch, as they both have a fair bit of experience in Europe and I will definitely be able to gain some knowledge from them and ways to approach the event and race weekend.”
As is typical of Dutch circuits, the Assen track, which is located within the famed Assen Moto GP road-race facility, will be a tough and challenging, deeply whooped sand lay-out, conditions which Webster revels in.
“I honestly don’t know much about the Assen track, only what I have seen on TV and online,” Webster explains. “But I’m pumped that it’s a sand pit and I can’t wait to see how I go against the other guys.”
With the MXoN just four weeks away, it’s all systems go for Webster and the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team to ensure no stone is left unturned to know they are fully prepared for the world championship event.
“Honestly, I have no idea of what to expect results-wise at Assen, but as long as I can do my best and do Australia proud, I will be happy with that,” says Webster.
“The entire Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team is behind me and I can’t wait to get there and have some good races and battles with the guys in the world championship.”
Meantime Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team owner Mark Luksich says the team is thrilled by Webster’s selection to the MXStore.com.au sponsored Australian squad and his opportunity to race on the world stage.
“I haven’t had a rider in the green and gold since the days of Belly (Australian MX legend Glen Bell) back in the 1990s, so all of us on the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team are extremely proud,” Luksich enthuses.
“Being selected to represent your country has to be any rider’s ultimate goal, and we congratulate Kyle on his achievement. We can’t wait for this opportunity to support Kyle to ride for Australia and perform on the world stage.”
Immediately after the MXoN event, Webster will return home to join the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team as they set their sights on the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, which kicks of in Brisbane (Qld) on October 10.
The Australian Supercross Championship then continues with further rounds at Gilman (SA) on October 19, Wollongong (NSW) on November 9 and Auckland (New Zealand) on November 16, before reaching its crescendo with the AUS-X Open event being staged at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne (Vic) on November 30.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Rounds 9 & 10 // August 4, 2019
WEBSTER 2ND IN MX2, BUDD 3RD IN MXD, AS COOLUM HOSTS MX NATIONALS GRAND FINALE
In what can only be described as an absolute feast of world class dirt bike racing, the MX Nationals Australian championships delivered a sensational grand finale this weekend with rounds nine and ten – the final two in the series – staged as an epic double-header event at Coolum Pines on the Queensland Sunshine Coast.
The brutal Coolum track, with its endless stretches of bike and rider swallowing sand whoops, ensured the MX Nationals went out with an almighty bang, as only the strong survived to lay their claim to championship glory.
And when the big lady sang for the final time and the silverware was handed out after a massive national championship chase, Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders KYLE WEBSTER and RHYS BUDD duly enjoyed their moment in the spotlight, each taking their place on the overall podium in their respective championships, in a memorable day for the close-knit Honda team.
In MX2, Webster finished second in the championship behind arch-rival Wilson Todd (Husqvarna), Webster wrapping up his season in the best way possible with a big win in the final moto of the season.
Meanwhile in MXD, Budd maintained the speed and consistency that has made him a front runner in the class all year long to wrap up third place in the title, in a satisfying result in his first season with the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing outfit.
“To have both team riders finish top-three in their respective MX Nationals championships is a fabulous result for Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing,” enthused team principal MARK LUKSICH following the conclusion of racing at Coolum.
“For the past four years we have worked with Kyle and it is so pleasing to see him develop into one of the very best motocross racers in the country, while Rhys, in his first year with the team, has shown fabulous potential, and most importantly has a very clear willingness to listen and learn, traits which will stand him in good stead for the future.
“2019 has been a great MX Nationals campaign and I wish to convey my thanks to the riders and the entire Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing crew, and all our sponsor partners who make our racing possible.”
+ ROUND 9, SATURDAY
Dedicated to Breast Cancer Research, Saturday’s round nine of the MX Nationals at Coolum took on a decidedly pink hue, with the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team getting in on the action with their potent Honda CRF250R race bikes decked out in custom pink flavoured graphics courtesy of team sponsor SK Designs.
In MX2, KYLE WEBSTER knew he would have to give it his all at Coolum if he was to try and reign in the 28 point deficit to leader Wilson Todd in the Championship standings.
Despite ‘only’ putting in eighth fastest time in Qualifying, Webster remained confident in the fact he knows the Coolum track well and is a previous winner in the venue’s punishing sand whoops.
And when the gate dropped on the day’s first of two MX2 motos, Webster was soon amongst the thick of it at the very sharp end of the pack, pushing his Autolite spark plug equipped Honda into an enthralling battle with title rivals Wilson and Todd, in which they each took a turn in the lead.
After battling with Nathan Crawford (Yamaha) mid-moto for third, Webster lit the taper in the later stages of the race and closed in on leader Todd, who ultimately took the win, Webster snapping at his heels, just 0.76 seconds behind at the flag.
In moto two, the battle between Todd and Webster continued, with Todd setting the front running pace as yet again Webster launched a late moto charge. But try as he might, Webster had to settle for runner-up again, 5.6 seconds down on Todd.
“Two second places on Saturday was not too bad, but not the best either,” admitted a candid Webster, who knew he would go into Sunday’s title decider with big ask to haul in championship leader Todd.
“The track was really tough, Coolum always is, but I can’t wait to back up again tomorrow and hopefully go one step better,” Webster added.
In the MXD category, RHYS BUDD eased into the day with seventh fastest time in Qualifying, but then used boomer starts in both his motos, including a cracking holeshot in moto two, to ultimately card 6-4 scores in his races.
“Coolum is a rough track and always a challenge, and while my starts were good in both motos, unfortunately I couldn’t keep the intensity to stay up front,” Budd explained after Saturday’s motos.
Budd’s results gave him fourth overall for the day, which saw him comfortably maintain third in the championship standings behind Regan Duffy (KTM) and Maximus Purvis (Yamaha) with Sunday’s final round remaining.
+ ROUND 10, SUNDAY
With blue skies bathing the Coolum venue again on Sunday, the stage was set for a classic MX Nationals grand finale.
Sunday’s MX2 racing featured back-to-back sprint motos in the morning, followed by a longer afternoon race.
Fifth fastest in Qualifying, KYLE WEBSTER came out in the first sprint and waged yet another close battle with Wilson Todd for the win, which Todd took by just two seconds.
In the second sprint race, Nathan Crawford took the win, with Todd second, Jay Wilson third and Webster fourth.
Regrouping for the afternoon’s longer final moto of the season, Webster dug deep and once more displayed the form that has made him a multiple MX2 moto and round winner this year. Webster won the race by almost five seconds from Jay Wilson, with champion-elect Wilson Todd finishing third.
“The track was absolutely brutal again today,” said Webster, “so getting the win in the final moto was a great way to end the championship, I’m absolutely stoked with that. And to finish second in the championship, well, I couldn’t be much more happy with that as well. It’s been a great MX Nationals and I just want to thank the entire Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team and all our sponsors and supporters for everything they do; I really want to carry this momentum into supercross.”
In MXD, RHYS BUDD was sixth fastest in Qualifying, before turning in 7-6 placings in his two championship races to lock down third overall in the final championship standings behind Regan Duffy and Maximus Purvis.
“Coolum was definitely tough for me, both days,” Budd offered. “But I did what I needed to do all weekend to finish third in the championship, and that’s what really counts. The whole Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team has been fully behind me through the series, and without them I wouldn’t be here today.”
With another MX Nationals series now run and won, the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team will turn its focus to the fast approaching Australian Supercross Championship, which kicks in Brisbane (Qld) on October 10.
The Australian Supercross Championship then continues with further rounds at Gilman (SA) on October 19, Wollongong (NSW) on November 9 and Auckland (New Zealand) on November 16, before reaching its crescendo with the AUS-X Open event being staged at Marvel Stadium in Melbourne (Vic) on November 30.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 8 // July 28, 2019
TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE FOR WEBSTER & BUDD AT MOREE MX NATIONALS
Round eight of the MX Nationals staged at Moree in north-west NSW on Sunday (July 28) proved to be a challenging one for Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders KYLE WEBSTER and RHYS BUDD, as Australia’s premier dirt bike championship moves into the closing stages of the season.
After a stellar performance at round seven of the title at Maitland earlier this month, KYLE WEBSTER came into round eight with high hopes. Posting third fastest time in Qualifying at Moree was encouraging, but Webster’s aspirations were dashed just three corners into the opening lap of the day’s first back-to-back MX2 moto.
“Someone crashed in front of me and I went down in the melee, which put me all the way back to dead-last,” explained a disappointed Webster.
“All I could do was pick myself up and try to work my way through the pack: but I could only make it to 13th place at the end of the seven laps.”
With a short break between motos, Webster tried valiantly to regain his composure for the next race, but admitted it was a difficult proposition.
“The second race was tough as well, as I just didn’t have a flow and pretty much struggled,” said Webster, who could only muster a sixth place finish in race two.
The 13/6 moto scores gave Webster ninth overall from the back-to-back races – which proved to be his result for the round, after racing was cut short for the day when medical services at the local hospital were stretched to the limit and race organisers cancelled the second round of races in all classes. Nathan Crawford (Yamaha) was declared the MX2 round winner, ahead of Dylan Wills (KTM) and Wilson Todd (Husqvarna).
In the Pirelli MX2 championship standings, Todd continues to lead with 427 points, with Webster maintaining second and well within striking distance with 409 points with two rounds remaining. Jay Wilson (Yamaha ) is third with 403 points.
In the MXD division, RHYS BUDD started the day strong and felt comfortable in practice and Qualifying, throwing down a hot lap at the end of Qualifying to snare pole position.
Then, in the day’s opening MXD moto, Budd used his first grid choice to best advantage to make a boomer start and lead the opening lap of the race.
“But then at the end of the lap I put it down really hard,” Budd explained, “and I had to make a quick pit stop for the crew to get the bike straightened out before I could continue racing. From there I just put my head down and got back up to tenth by the finish of the moto.
“The result really sucks,” Budd continued, “because I believed it was going to be my day. I felt unreal on the bike and was confident for the races after practice and Qualifying, as everyone on the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda team had done an awesome job and the bike was performing perfectly.”
With the round called after the opening moto, Regan Duffy (KTM) was declared the MXD round winner after leading home Brodie Ellis (Yamaha) and Maximus Purvis (Yamaha) in race one. In the MXD championship standings, Duffy leads with 461 points, ahead of Purvis on 427 points, with Budd continuing to hold down third place with 370 points.
Rounds nine and ten of the MX Nationals will be staged as a double-header event at Coolum on the Queensland Sunshine Coast next weekend, August 3/4, in what is shaping up to be a stunning conclusion to the championship battle.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 7 // July 14, 2019
WEBSTER RED HOT AT ICY COLD MAITLAND MX NATIONALS
Temperatures might have been icy cold thanks to a Polar winter blast at Sunday’s (July 14) seventh round of the MX Nationals at Maitland, NSW, but Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider KYLE WEBSTER was in red hot form as he charged to an exciting overall victory in the Pirelli MX2 class with a near perfect 2-1 moto score across the day.
Webster was on top of his game at Maitland aboard his Craig Bolton-prepared Honda CRF250R race bike – which was decked out in special ‘Retro round’ Penrite Oils tribute graphics – showing all the speed and style that saw him dominate rounds four and five of the championship at Murray Bridge in South Australia back in May.
Fourth fastest Qualifying time – amongst a pack of riders covered by less than one second from second to fifth fastest – started Webster’s day on a high, and things only got better from there in the day’s two MX2 championship motos.
“I felt strong on the bike and really gelled with the track from the moment we first rolled out there,” Webster explained. “And it turned out to be one of those race days where you couldn’t ask for much more.”
In the opening MX2 confrontation, Webster’s start to the race was less than ideal, but it didn’t take long for the talented young Honda ace to start charging.
“I actually hit the gate at the start of moto one,” Webster revealed, “and then in the first few laps I had a little tip-over, but thankfully it wasn’t much and I could quickly put that all behind me and start a charge forward”
That charge eventually saw Webster finish second, as he chased Nathan Crawford (Yamaha) all the way to chequered flag, less than five seconds splitting the pair at the close.
“In the second moto I got a great start,” Webster continued, “and when Wilson Todd (Husqvarna) went down in front of me, that gave me the lead and from there it was all up to me. I just maintained my focus and speed and I’m stoked I got the race win and that gave me the overall round win on a tie-breaker, which is awesome.”
By the end of an enthralling second moto – which saw Webster and race one winner Crawford clear out to a whopping 18 second advantage over third placed Aaron Tanti (Yamaha) – Webster took the moto win ahead of Crawford by just eight-tenths of a second – and with that he captured another overall round victory in the championship, after tying with Crawford on 67 points for the day.
“It’s the best feeling to get another overall win,” Webster pumped, “and the best way to thank everyone on the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team and all the sponsors for their support. With three rounds to go, it’s going to be an exciting finish to the Championship and I’m just going to keep doing what I have been doing. I don’t want to change anything.”
In the Pirelli MX2 championship standings, Webster has now pushed ever closer to series leader WIlson Todd (Husqvarna), with Todd leading on 397 points and Webster in second place just ten points behind on 387. Third placed Jay Wilson is a further ten points adrift with 377 points.
In the MXD championship, second Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team rider RHYS BUDD kicked off his day strongly by laying down second fastest time in Qualifying, and then posted two consistent fourth places in his races.
“In the first moto I got an okay start and made my way up to third,” Budd explained, “and I could see I was actually faster than the leaders, but wasn’t able to make a pass happen and dropped back to fourth.
“In the second moto my start wasn’t quite as strong as it was in the first, but I was able to move up a few places to fourth and stayed there to the end of the moto, the two fourth places giving me fifth overall for the round. Considering round six a couple of weeks ago was a shocker, there were actually a lot of positivies from today.
In the MXD championship standings, Reagan Duffy (KTM) leads with 426 points, from Maximus Purvis (Yamaha) on 397, with Budd holding steady in third place with 349 points.
Round eight of the MX Nationals heads to Moree in northern NSW in two weeks time on Sunday July 28.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 6 // June 23, 2019
WEBSTER & BUDD RESUME TITLE FIGHTS AS MX NATIONALS ROAD BACK INTO LIFE AT GYMPIE
After the traditional mid-season break, the MX Nationals Australian Motocross championships roared back into life on Sunday (June 23) with round six at the impressive MX Farm facility at Gympie in Queensland.
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders Kyle Webster and Rhys Budd and a full complement of the country’s top competitors were greeted by a brand new MX Nationals venue that was in prime condition and delivered spectacular racing.
Itching to get back to MX Nationals racing after dominating rounds four and five of the series in South Australia last month, and laying down a strong third place at the annual Manjimup 15,000 MX in WA three weeks ago, KYLE WEBSTER took to the Gympie track in a confident mood.
Aboard his potent Pirelli-shod Honda CRF250R in the hotly contested MX2 division, Webster attacked the day’s opening back-to-back motos and landed on the podium each time with strong 3-2 scores for second overall to start his day in fine style.
Webster then finished fourth in the afternoon’s final moto to take fifth overall on the day behind Jay Wilson, Wilson Todd, Nathan Crawford and Aaron Tanti, the top five all covered by just a single point in what was an extremely close and exciting tussle for the round results.
“Having had a great mid season break with excellent results at Manjimup (third) and the NSW MX titles (first) I was really keen to get back to the Nats,” Webster explained.
“But I never really settled into the track at Gympie on the day and just had to make the most of it. I tried to find my mojo by moto three, and was happy to be able to keep second place in the championship standings. The next round will be important and I will be pushing hard to stay up the front.”
In the MX2 championship standings, Todd leads with 344 points from Webster on 320 and Wilson on 319, in what is setting up to be a tight championship fight through the remaining four rounds.
In the MXD category, Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider RHYS BUDD had a difficult day at Gympie, despite looking strong in practice and Qualifying.
In the first of two motos, Budd went down on the first lap and had to return to the pits to make some adjustments to his Honda before returning to the track to salvage a 14th place finish.
In moto two, Budd pulled a boomer holeshot on his CRF250R but battled to find his best form and eventually finished ninth.
“It just wasn’t one of my best days,” Budd admitted. “I need to take this experience and use it for the future.
“The team worked so hard to get me prepped but I just couldn’t put it all together in the races. Now it’s on to Maitland and the goal will be to turn that form around.”
In the MXD championship standings, Budd sits third with 293 points behind Reagan Duffy (356) and Maximus Purvis (339).
Round seven of the MX Nationals will be staged at Maitland (NSW) on July 14 when once again the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing squad will be amongst the thick of the action.
+ Interview: Kyle Webster // May 13, 2019
Eight days ago Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider Kyle Webster celebrated what he describes as the “best moment of my career by far” when he captured back-to-back overall MX2 wins in the double-header rounds four and five of the 2019 Pirelli MX Nationals at Murray Bridge in South Australia.
Eighteen months ago, however, Webster was dealing with the toughest moment of his career, after crashing and suffering four broken vertebrae in a hefty get-off at round two of the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship at Bacchus Marsh in Victoria.
From that frightening moment when he briefly lost feeling in his legs in the immediate aftermath of the crash, South African-born, West Australian-raised and now NSW-based Webster has shown that a determined frame of mind and powerful training and race preparation regime are vital to attaining one’s goals.
And next on the list of Webster’s goals is a MX Nationals MX2 championship …
Q: Let’s turn it back to September 2017 and the first round of the Australian Supercross Championship at Jimboomba, Queensland, which can be described as anything but the start to the series you had hoped for?
A: That first round at Jimboomba was pretty poor, to put it mildly. I’d had surgery a few weeks before that for a gash in my hip after I crashed while training and the bike hit me. I finished 11th at Jimboomba and it was a pretty average night, for sure.
Q: The next round at Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, in October appeared to kick off better, when you were fifth in Qualifying and then second in your Heat race. But then it all went pear shape in the Final, when you crashed over the dragon’s back and your bike slammed into you. It was the kind of crash every rider fears and it was very quickly clear you were in a bad way.
A: Right then, right after the crash, I just felt super-winded, like I couldn’t breathe. I had some real pain in my back, so I figured the bike must have hit me, so I just stayed still as a precaution as the Racesafe crew got to me. I told them my back hurt and they got me back to the medical truck to check me over and that’s when the shock really kicked in and I lost the feeling from my waist down. That was pretty intense and at that point I was definitely scared. It was a horrible feeling and to tell the truth, it scared the daylights out of me.
Q: Every professional racer knows the risk of injury, but a spinal injury takes those concerns to a whole other level, and this was obviously very serious?
A: Of course. It was all pretty intense, like I said. But I was fortunate that my injuries were able to be diagnosed quickly and then treated quite quickly as well. I had broken four vertebrae, the T7, T8, T9 and T10, and once the specialists determined that they could be operated on to be repaired, that was the game plan and the way forward.
Q: How soon after the crash before you had surgery?
A: I was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital and by Wednesday morning the swelling around my back and spine had subsided enough that the specialists could operate. They fused my spine, from T5 to T11, and I have two rods and 11 screws up either side of my spine. The doctors say they will be there forever.
Q: How long were you in hospital?
A: This is the amazing thing: I was operated on in the morning and later that afternoon they had me up and walking after the surgery. Less than 48 hours after the surgery I was out of hospital and on a flight back to Sydney a week after the crash. I was amazed at how fast that part of it all transpired.
Q: It must have been the heaviest of weeks?
A: Of course. It was like one of those situations where you think it will never happen to you, but when it does, you have to deal with it. I was fortunate to have some great friends and family to support me, and of course Mick and Linda (Lillis) and Mark (Luksich) from the CRF Honda Racing team, who were right there for me the whole way through.
Q: Before the accident you had already agreed terms to continue with the CRF Honda Racing team for the 2018 season, but was returning to racing a given after fracturing four vertebrae?
A: Having a contract and knowing the team was there for me was reassuring, but I had to be pretty realistic about the injury and what the path back to racing might be. To start with, I was unsure if I could even ride again, let alone race again. I didn’t know what it would feel like when I did get to ride again, it was just an unknown.
Q: How long was it before you could answer that question: that you could race again?
A: When I got home to Sydney after the surgery, I bought a recliner chair for home and basically guarded it for a month. Seriously, I did nothing. I could barely move after the surgery, because they had cut so much muscle and tissue to get to the spine and that took time to heal. Simple things like getting in or out of bed would trigger pain down my spine and I would have a really burning feeling down my back. I would just try staying very still, which is harder than you might imagine.
Q: When did you finally get back on a bike?
A: In January, almost three months after the crash. It felt so good to be on a bike, but it was the most nerve wracking moment of my life! I went out to Dargle, and just rode around a flat, grassy paddock, no jumps, nothing.
Q: What did that tell you about your aspirations to get back to racing again?
A: I was happy, because I felt fine. I wanted to be back on the bike and it didn’t feel weird, which is what I had been worried about. I slowly built into it as far as riding went, and instead concentrated on rehab and training and building up my back and overall strength again. From that aspect, I was confident, and felt that I could be fine. I just knew that when I started to ride more, I just had to be easy and careful with it.
Q: When was your first race back?
A: A few weeks before the first round of the 2018 MX Nationals I went down to Maffra in Victoria and raced a local event. To be honest, that first race absolutely sucked. I was so nervous off the start and did not want to go near anyone on the track. But still, it was a race, and once I got that first one out of the way, I felt fine and knew that I could get back to normal again and go racing, properly.
Q: The 2018 MX Nationals were a mixed bag for you, finishing seventh overall in MX2 and even winning a few races and taking two round wins, but there were some lows as well.
A: Sure, winning at Wonthaggi and Coolum was awesome, but round eight at Raymond Terrace was a shocker. I had a mechanical issue one race, and made an error on the downhill and hit a water barrier in the first race of the back-to-back motos and that crash cost me the entire round. So we had some issues through the series, but the good races were the ones we took out of last season.
Q: And then when the season moved into supercross; were you hesitant after what had happened the year before at Bacchus Marsh?
A: Honestly, supercross was nerve wracking. I could train and practice fine (on a supercross track), but at the races I would just get so nervous from what had happened the year before. At every race it felt like I couldn’t push and that was annoying. I’d had a feeling that it would happen, which made me hesitant despite how much I tried not to be. I finished 11th in last year’s SX2 championship.
Q: Did you have those apprehensions when racing motocross?
A: No, not really, just occasionally, when I would get into a close battle with somebody and I wouldn’t push as hard as I could. That was last year though. This year I feel like I have gotten over that.
Q: Recent MX Nationals results would certainly support that comment.
A: Thanks, but the first two rounds of MX Nats this year were not ideal. At Appin I got fully stuck in the mud, and then at then at round two at Wonthaggi we had a bike issue, caused by the mud again. But since then the championship has been good and we’ve got things back on track. Since then my moto scores have been top two in the last eight races and we’ve jumped to second in the championship, so now I’m concentrating on finishing it off strong through the back half of the championship.
Q: This is your fourth year with the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team, that’s a long-term relationship.
A: Sure, because I really like the whole team atmosphere and like working with Mark (Luksich) and Mick (Lillis) and my new mechanic Craig (Bolton) this year. Having Craig onboard full-time is a massive boost to the program and we have a great working relationship going on and work well together. We started the year racing a couple of rounds of the New Zealand MX Championships, which Mark and the team made possible, and that was another massive boost to preparations for this year.
Q: Where does last week’s Murray Bridge double-header rounds win rank in your career achievements?
A: It’s by far the best moment. I could not believe how good it felt to do that and win two days in a row. The MX2 field is so stacked again this year and every rider brings their A game to the track for every round, so the competition is fierce.
Q: There’s a few weeks break now in the MX Nationals calendar, do you get a breather?
A: I’ve had the week off straight after Murray Bridge, which felt great. Even Stephen Gall, who I work with for training, said to take a break, so that’s what I’ve done and I’ve been guarding the couch again! But now we’re off to WA to race Manjimup and crack out a 450 and hit the whoops, which will be fun. It will also be a good chance to catch up with my family over there, and then after that I’ll be back east and back into the MX Nats in June and things will be pretty much pinned again.
Q: What’s the plan for maintaining your recent form into the sharp end of the MX Nationals series?
A: It’s like a second championship will start all over again when we get back into the MX Nationals. So my plan is to keep doing what I have been doing and stick to my riding and training schedule and just believe in the program I have got going on. I’ve got a pretty close group of people around me for riding and training and I don’t see any need to change that.
Q: Finally, what are your goals and ambitions for 2020 and beyond?
A: I really want to try and win an MX2 championship and then that will determine what happens next year or the following year. Sure, I would love to race a 450, but I’m not rushing it. Winning an MX2 championship is the goal for now.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Rounds 4 & 5 // May 6, 2019
WEBSTER DOMINATES DOUBLE-HEADER MX NATIONALS ROUNDS 4 & 5 AT MURRAY BRIDGE
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider KYLE WEBSTER made almost every post a winner in an inspiring performance that saw him capture the Pirelli MX2 class wins at rounds four and five of the MX Nationals staged at Murray Bridge in South Australia over the weekend.
Webster and his Pirelli-shod Honda CRF250R thumper attacked the dry red racing surface of the Murray Bridge track in dominant fashion, kicking off with the fastest Qualifying time on Saturday morning and then taking two race wins in the opening back-to-back sprint motos.
Webster then completed the day with a nail-biting charge from behind in Saturday’s third and final moto, finishing in second place, less than a bike length behind arch rival and MX2 number one plate holder Wilson Todd (Husqvarna).
A 1-1-2 scorecard delivered Webster the round four overall win and his first round victory of the 2019 MX Nationals season.
“Things couldn’t have gone much better!” Webster pumped after Saturday’s racing.
“Everything clicked from the moment we rolled onto the track and I’m absolutely stoked on how the day went. Now I’ll just rest up tonight and do what I normally do to get ready for tomorrow and hopefully it can all happen again.”
Come Sunday’s round five, Webster was once again in scintillating form. He fired his Penrite-lubricated Honda to fourth fastest time in Qualifying, then in the day’s opening moto took a comfortable ten second win over Bailey Malkiewicz (Husqvarna).
In Sunday’s second moto, Webster settled in behind early pacesetter Wilson Todd, to take a comfortable second place and seal the overall round win with a 1-2 scorecard for the day.
“I can’t ask for much more, with two round wins in two days,” enthused Webster from the MX2 podium.
“It feels like it’s been a while coming this year to get a few wins on the go, but now that they’re here, it’s awesome.
“Everyone in the MX2 class has been having a real go and the competition is fierce,” Webster continued, “so getting two round wins now at the double-header rounds is the perfect way to go into the mid-season break.
“I can’t thank everyone on the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team enough, and all the team sponsors and supporters, and my family and everyone who helps make this happen; like I said, getting back-to-back round wins feels just awesome!”
At the halfway point in the MX Nationals championship, Webster has now roared up the leaderboard, moving from fourth to second in the Pirelli MX2 standings after the Murray Bridge double-header rounds. While Wilson Todd leads the championship with 280 points, Webster is now next in line with 263 points, ahead of Jay Wilson (Yamaha) on 258, and Nathan Crawford (Yamaha) and Aaron Tanti (Yamaha) who are tied on 212 points.
In the MXD category, RHYS BUDD once again pushed his Rekluse clutch-equipped Honda CRF250R to the sharp end of the pack, battling with Brodie Ellis (Yamaha) and Reagan Duffy (KTM) in Saturday’s opening moto to eventually finish fourth.
Budd then backed up in race two to finish third in the moto and clinch third overall for the day behind championship leader Duffy and Maximus Purvis (Yamaha), and in the process take another solid swag of championship points.
On Sunday, Budd endured a round filled with mixed fortunes after posting third fastest time in morning Qualifying.
“I was then running fourth in the first moto on Sunday and crashed, and unfortunately I had to wait for every rider to go past before I could get my bike and get going again,” Budd explained. “That then lead to another crash and all I could do was finish 12th by the end of the moto.
“In the second moto, thankfully things went better and I got a great start and kept it on two wheels and managed to come home in fourth place, which gave me sixth overall for the round.”
At the midway point in the MX Nationals series, Budd continues to sit third in the MXD standings with 257 points, behind Duffy (289 points) and Purvis (272 points).
“It's going to be good to have a rest for the next week,” Budd added, “and then I’ll get right back into things to come out swinging when the championship resumes next month.
“This is a long series and there are still plenty of races to go!”
The 2019 MX Nationals championship now takes a mid-season break with racing resuming on June 23 when round six of Australia’s premier motocross series is staged at Gympie in Queensland.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 3 // April 15, 2019
PODIUM POWER PERFORMANCES FOR WEBSTER & BUDD AT BROADFORD MX NATIONALS ROUND 3
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders Kyle Webster and Rhys Budd are both celebrating podium placings after turning on strong performances at yesterday’s (April 14) third round of the MX Nationals Australian motocross championships staged at the Broadford circuit in Victoria.
The famed Broadford track at the Victorian State Motorcycling Complex just north of Melbourne has long played host to premier dirt bike events, including the legendary Mr Motocross series in the 1980s and a round of the World 500cc Motocross Championship, and was in prime condition for the weekend’s MX Nationals third round.
In the Pirelli-sponsored MX2 category, KYLE WEBSTER qualified his VP Racing fuelled Honda CRF250R race bike in a strong third place, overcoming illness just 48 hours earlier which had left him unwell and vomiting.
“I was definitely under the weather on Friday,” Webster explained, “but thankfully that cleared by race day and it turned out to be a solid weekend.”
By the time the day’s opening MX2 moto fired into life, Webster was ready to click top gear and go after the top step of the podium.
“The first moto was good,” Webster said. “Right away I was able to make a bunch of passes and got myself up into second behind Wilson Todd (Husqvarna). In the closing stages of the race I made a charge at Wilson, but just couldn’t get him.”
Just nine-tenths of a second split Wilson and Webster at the chequered flag in a thrilling finish to moto one.
“Then in the second moto I got an okay start,” Webster continued, “but Wilson got away from me a bit, and we just stayed the same gap through the rest of the race and I finished second, with a 2/2 score giving me second overall on the day.”
Webster’s solid Broadford performance has boosted him to fourth in the Pirelli MX2 championship standings after three rounds. The Honda rider has 126 points, behind leader Wilson Todd (Husqvarna) on 170, Jay Wilson (Yamaha) on 142 and Aaron Tanti (Yamaha) with 133.
In the MXD category, RHYS BUDD continued the impressive form he showed at the opening two rounds of the series at Appin (NSW) and Wonthaggi (Victoria), by putting in two strong motos at Broadford to capture third overall for the round and another podium placing.
Riding his MCD Performance tuned Honda CRF250R, Budd laid down fastest time in Qualifying to set up his day.
“P1 in Qualifying is always a great start to the day!” Budd enthused. “I then made a good start in the first moto and made my way into the lead on lap one and held the lead until two laps to go and eventually finished second just 4.6 seconds behind Maximus Purvis (Yamaha).”
In race two, Budd once again set the pace early as he made the running out front.
“I made another great start in race two and made my way into the lead early,” said Budd, “but unfortunately I didn’t have the pace to hold it, as the track was pretty brutal by the end of the day. So I was happy to eventually finish third behind Regan Duffy and Mason Semmens and take third overall for the round with 2/3 placings.”
After three rounds, Budd sits second in the MXD championship, just five points down on Regan Duffy (KTM).
The 2019 MX Nationals championship continues on May 4/5, with double-header rounds four and five to be staged at Murray Bridge in South Australia.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 2 // April 1, 2019
BUDD ON THE PODIUM, AS WEBSTER BOUNCES BACK AT WONTHAGGI MX NATIONALS
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders Kyle Webster and Rhys Budd have enjoyed a share of podium performances at Sunday’s (March 31) second round of the MX Nationals Australian championship staged at Wonthaggi Raceway in Victoria.
Two weeks after torrential rains forced the early termination of proceedings at the MX Nationals series opener at Appin Raceway in NSW, competitors at Wonthaggi were greeted with sunny then damp conditions, but thankfully it was nowhere near as bad as the previous event.
Renowned as one of the toughest venues on the national calendar, the sandy Wonthaggi circuit held the moisture well, but like always developed into a deeply rutted and whooped out track that truly tested man and machine.
In the Pirelli-sponsored MX2 category, KYLE WEBSTER qualified his potent Honda CRF250R race bike in a strong third place, putting him in a confident frame of mind for the morning’s high pressure back-to-back eight lap Sprint motos.
“The first race in the morning was pretty wet and the mud was tough,” Webster explained, “but nevertheless I was running top four for most of the moto and was feeling good, until the last lap when my bike stopped due to overheating.
“With the back-to-back format I had to get back to the start and get straight on my practice bike for the second moto, which meant I didn’t get a chance to prep my gate,” Webster continued, “which in turn meant I got a bad start and it was all I could do to work my way up to fifth by the finish of the moto.”
Recomposing for the afternoon’s third and final MX2 moto with fresh SPY goggles, Webster nailed down a strong start and quickly settled into a rhythm that saw him finish the race second behind defending MX2 champion Wilson Todd (Husqvarna).
“That final moto was a much better way to end a day that definitely didn’t start the way I was hoping,” enthused Webster.
Webster is now placed tenth in the MX2 championship after two rounds.
In the MXD category, RHYS BUDD continued the strong form he showed at the series opener at Appin, by putting in two confident motos at Wonthaggi to capture third overall for the round and plant himself firmly upon the podium.
“Wonthaggi is known as a really tough sand track, and truth be told I am not much of a sand rider,” Budd admitted, “but I actually felt really strong at Wonthaggi.”
Using powerful starts and a determined riding style that kept him clear of any incidents, Budd finished third and fourth in the two MXD motos for third overall behind Reagan Duffy and Mason Rowe.
“Third overall for the round is good and it means I am a solid second in the championship standings after two rounds, which I’m really pleased about,“ Budd continued.
“I can’t wait to get back home to Sydney and just keep working hard toward the next round. The MX Nationals is a long series, for sure, but my plan is to keep hitting my targets and to be right there at the end of the championship.”
The 2019 MX Nationals championship continues in two weeks time, when Victoria’s Broadford Raceway is host to round three on Sunday, April 14.
+ 2019 MX Nationals, Round 1 // March 18, 2019
BUDD SHINES IN APPIN'S MUD BATH MX NATIONALS OPENER
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider RHYS BUDD has kicked off his 2019 Pirelli MX Nationals Australian motocross championship campaign in mighty style, delivering an inspiring performance in abysmal conditions in the Motul MXD category that saw him finish second in the opening round’s abbreviated single moto format.
Overnight rains continued into race day, rapidly turning the popular MacArthur Motorcycle Club’s Appin Raceway track just south of Sydney into an absolute quagmire.
The horror conditions left event officials with no option but to shorten the day’s morning motos in the premier MX2, MXD and MX1 classes, before then cancelling all remaining races on the day as the track continued to deteriorate and ultimately become unrideable.
Despite the miserable conditions, Budd took the bit between his teeth and showed true grit, using his FMF and Vortex equipped Honda CRF250R to top MXD Qualifying by a healthy three seconds ahead of Reagan Duffy (KTM).
Starting the MXD moto from the far inside gate, Budd nailed a boomer holeshot and lead the opening stages of the race, before tumbling in the sloppy conditions and having to regain his fallen machine to hold onto second place.
In the difficult conditions, Kiwi charger Maximus Purvis moved in front to take the MXD win, with Budd eventually claiming a strong runner-up position, ahead of Michael Murphy, who completed the podium.
“What a day!” Budd exclaimed after cleaning up following the Appin slop-fest.
“I got out in front in Qualifying and put down one heater lap to get the fastest time, which gave me first gate pick for the race, which just helped make things a little easier.
“I got a great start in the race and got the holeshot and pretty much tried my best to keep it up on two wheels. I had the lead with one lap to go and unfortunately I put it down, but I managed to get up in second place and hold it to the end.
“It was a really challenging race,” Budd continued, “and I have never raced in mud that bad before. But I just tried to make the most of it and tried to have fun, which is all you can really do in situations like that.”
In the Pirelli MX2 category, Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider KYLE WEBSTER came into the Appin event on a high after recent strong performances in two rounds of the New Zealand MX Championships, but quickly had his hopes dashed by the dismal weather and demanding track conditions.
“It was a bloody tough day to say the least; the track was so next-level wet to state the obvious,” offered Webster after the Appin mud bath.
“I actually made a good start in the MX2 race and was running fourth or fifth after a couple of laps when I got completely and utterly bogged. I was stuck for almost a lap! Luckily another rider stopped to help me, otherwise I wouldn’t have gotten the bike out.
“That incident dropped me back to about 28th place,” Webster continued, “and from there I just clawed my way up to 15th by the finish of the race. It certainly wasn’t an ideal day, but I’m just super-lucky and thankful I managed to keep going and it wasn’t a DNF result.”
With a massive clean-up ahead of them, the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing squad will regroup in coming days and set their sights on round two of the Pirelli MX Nationals, which will be staged at Wonthaggi, Victoria, on Sunday, March 31 – where hopefully Mother Nature will smile a little more brightly upon Australia’s leading motocross competitors!
+ 2019 NZ MX Nationals // February 27, 2019
KYLE WEBSTER FLIES HIGH IN NZ MX NATIONALS ASSAULT
Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing rider KYLE WEBSTER has kicked off his 2019 season in fine style, by recently jetting across the Tasman to contest rounds two and three of the 2019 New Zealand MX Nationals.
And the 22-year-old Sydney-based West Australian covered himself in glory, by firing a Honda New Zealand supplied CRF250R to MX2 moto wins on the way to nailing down second overall at round two of the series in Rotorua a fortnight ago, and then bagging the overall victory at round three last weekend in Pukekohe.
The top flight results came against a field stacked with leading ANZAC MX stars, and leaves the Honda ace in a positive frame of mind as the kick-off to the 2019 Australian MX Nationals comes roaring up next month.
“It was my first time ever in New Zealand and I have to say the entire experience was a blast,” enthuses Webster, “particularly since I had no expectations at all of what it would be like.
“Mark Luksich from Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing organised the trip and gained the support of Honda New Zealand, who supplied a fresh Honda CRF250R for me to race, along with support from Penrite and Pirelli in NZ.
“Myself and my mechanic Craig Bolton flew in with an FMF exhaust, Vortex ignition, ProMoto suspension and some other bolt-on goodies and we built up the bike and got to pit with Cody Cooper’s Honda team and go racing.”
Having never raced in NZ before, Webster says he went into the Kiwi events ready for anything and was rapt to be running in the top three in the MX2 class from the get-go.
“I qualified second at Rotorua and then in the first moto after a short battle with Hamish Harwood (KTM), I got into the lead and held it all the way to win the first moto, which was an awesome beginning,” says Webster.
“I then scored two third places in the next two races, to give me third overall for the round.”
Round three at Pukekohe kicked off with another second in Qualifying and then saw Webster run third in races one and two, before getting the holeshot in the third and final race and leading the entire moto for the win.
“The third and final moto at Pukekohe was a really good one,” Webster explains. “I made a great start and then focussed hard on the first few laps to open a gap and I lead the whole way to win the race. The 3-3-1 moto scores then gave me the overall round win on a count back, which was an awesome way to wrap up the NZ trip.
“I really have to say thanks to Mark and the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team and Honda in Australia and New Zealand, and Coops and his team, and all the other sponsors who made the trip possible. Like I said, the trip was a total blast!”
Sydney’s Appin Raceway hosts the Australian MX Nationals opener on March 17 and Webster says the Kiwi competition made for the perfect pre-season preparation.
“There’s nothing like racing at the highest levels and being on the gas the whole time to get you up to speed for the start of the local season,” Webster lets on. “There was real depth of talent in the New Zealand competition and that only makes you lift your game and it’s really boosted me for the Australian MX Nationals opener in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait.”
Meanwhile in disappointing news for the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team, 19-year-old support rider NICK LUKSICH has been sidelined after suffering two broken bones in his lower left leg while racing the King of MX event at Appin Raceway.
“It wasn’t even really much of a crash, I actually just got hit in the first turn of a moto and my ankle hooked up or something and I knew straight away it wasn’t good,” Luksich explains.
“It turned out I had broken both the tibia and fibula just above my left ankle. At hospital they put me into surgery and I now have a plate in the left side of my leg, pins on the right side, and wire in there as well. I will be seeing the surgeon again next week to get the latest status on how the injury is healing, but it will mean at least six weeks off the bike.
“It’s really disappointing, because I had been riding and training hard during the pre-season with my team mates Kyle and Rhys (Budd), and was so looking forward to the MX Nationals getting underway next month.”
+ 2019 Team Announcement // February 15, 2019
PENRITE PIRELLI CRF HONDA RACING READY TO LAUNCH FOR 2019 AUSTRALIAN MX/SX SEASON
Leading national dirt bike racing outfit Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing is all set to fire into the 2019 season, with a two-rider line-up that will contest all major MX Nationals and Australian Supercross Championship events.
Headlining the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team is top gun MX2 championship contender Kyle Webster, who roars into his fourth season with the powerhouse CRF Honda Racing team, which is owned and operated by longtime Honda motocross race team principal Mark Luksich.
Joining Webster in the Penrite Oils and Pirelli tyres sponsored Honda team for 2019 is NSW young gun Rhys Budd, who continues his rise through the Honda ranks and will attack the MXD category this year.
Meanwhile Sydney youngster Nick Luksich will enjoy support rider status with the team, as he maintains his push up the ranks of the hotly contested MX2 category.
“The 2019 season is shaping up to be an exciting one for Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing,” enthuses team principal Mark Luksich.
“Kyle is a proven outright contender who has already enjoyed success in the MX2 class, while Rhys is a graduate of Honda’s rider development scheme and will be a strong performer in MXD.
“Behind the scenes we are excited to be investing in the team’s infrastructure this year, by hiring experienced race mechanic Craig Bolton as a full-time employee working with Kyle, and having Damo Budd working with Rhys, while Mick Lillis will be assisting with the logistics of driving the race transporter and race event support.
“Sponsorship support, of course, is vital to operating a national race team,” Luksich continues, “and we are delighted to announce the continuing support of major team sponsors Honda Australia, Penrite Oils and Pirelli tyres from Link International.
“McLeod Accessories through FMF exhausts, Sidi boots and AMX Stores continue their support of the team, while new team sponsors include Gas Imports and their Thor, SPY, Neken and Stompgrip brands, alongside 6D helmets from Steve Cramer Products, which was a major sponsor of ours in the 1980s when MX legend Glen Bell was lead rider on our Honda race team.
“Finally, Autolite spark plugs, Gabriel shock absorbers, Promoto Suspension, SK Designs, RK Racing chains and sprockets, Polisport plastics, VP Race Fuel, XPR Performance, Rekluse clutches, Vortex Ignitions, MCD, ProPegs and Race Performance Filters are all continuing their support for 2019, for which we are extremely grateful.”
With the prestigious MX Nationals kicking off at Sydney’s Appin Raceway on March 17, Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing riders Webster, Budd and Luksich are right now ramping up preparations for the season opener.
After finishing seventh in the MX2 class in last year’s MX Nationals, which included mighty overall wins at the Wonthaggi and Coolum rounds, KYLE WEBSTER has just jetted out to New Zealand to click top gear on his 2019 season preparations.
“I’ll be racing selected major NZ events over the next couple of weeks, which will really help me to prepare and be as ready as possible for the start to the Australian season,” enthuses Webster.
“2019 is set to be a big year: it will be my fourth season with the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team, and having Craig onboard as my team mechanic will give me added support to chase race wins and championship victories. I want to be as consistent as possible and be there at every race, every weekend, chasing wins all season long.”
New team rider RHYS BUDD is one of Australia’s most decorated junior motocross competitors, with a swag of junior championship wins and podiums to his name since he began racing in 2009.
In 2017 Budd raced as part the Honda-sponsored Building Champions Program staged by legend Australian racer Lee Hogan – who is another protege of Luksich’s teams in the 1990s – while last year he rode with the Honda Red Riders. Needless to say the western Sydney-based 17-year-old is excited to have ‘graduated’ to the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing outfit.
“It’s early days yet, but from the very outset the connection with the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team has been really positive and I’m looking forward to the season starting with the MX Nationals at Appin in March.
“2019 will be my final year racing in the MXD class, so I want it to be a special one. My goal is always to win and be in the front pack and consistently make the podium, so that’s what I’m aiming for this year.”
Heading into his second year in the MX2 category, 19-year-old NICK LUKSICH is hopeful of putting the injury woes that dogged his 2018 campaign behind him.
“2018 was tough,” Luksich explains. “I suffered a broken wrist at the start of the season and then had more injuries through the year and that really wrecks your confidence and you’re not as fit as you want to be when you finally get to line up.
“This year is shaping up a lot better and I’ve had a really good pre-season and have been doing a lot of riding and training with Kyle, which is so beneficial when you can ride with someone faster and who is so into training. I can’t wait for the season to start at Appin next month!”
The March 17 MX Nationals series opener will formally kick off the Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing team’s 2019 calendar, which will include all ten rounds of the MX Nationals, followed by the Australian Supercross Championship in the second half of the year, along with selected other major race appearances.