Gibbs battles out of rut

TOUGH DAY OUT: Kirk Gibbs bounced back in his second moto in Round 4 of the MX Nationals at Horsham last weekend.

KIRK Gibbs managed to bounce back in his second moto for a podium finish in Round 4 of the MX Nationals held in Horsham in testing conditions.

The former Mount Gambier motocross rider struggled to find his feet in the technical and wet conditions, but bounced back to finish second overall in the MX1 450 Pro class.

A number of riders in the MX2 and MXD classes vacated the track early due to the tough ruts and heavy mud.

In Gibbs’ first moto he was slow out of the starting gate and struggled to make up time on his KTM 450 SX-F.

He got tangled with slow riders and had a couple of small falls in the first race, but pushed on to finish fifth.

Gibbs had earlier qualified fastest for the round and set the fourth-fastest Go-Pro Super Pole time, but could not nail the moto starts he needed to bring his abundant speed to bear.

However, with 2016 champion and current points leader Dean Ferris winning the first moto by a large margin, Gibbs knew he needed to step things up a notch to ensure Ferris did not get too far ahead in the championship.

In the second moto Gibbs was again slow off the starting gate, but was able to peg back and pass his team mate Luke Styke to move into third behind Clout and Ferris.

Gibbs’ speed and confidence started to show and he was able to reel in Clout who started to feel the pressure.

Just as the fight for position began to heat up, Clout’s bike let out a plume of smoke and he was pushing it back to the pits, dashing any hope of a podium finish.

Gibbs pushed on to reduce the gap between himself and Ferris, but had little time and it was not long before the final lap sign was up.

In the end the former South Australian crossed the finish line behind the reigning champion, which handed him second overall for the day.

“Again I’m not happy, obviously the fitness is there and it feels like the speed is there, but I’m not getting away early and it’s too hard to make it up,” Gibbs said.

“The first moto was really tough with lappers, with the track being wet there was only one real line and I got caught with them and went down a few times.

“The second moto was a lot better, but when Clouty’s bike stopped right in front of me I had a bit of a wild ride trying to miss him.

“The bike’s great and everything’s feeling really good at the moment, but without me getting off the line better, we aren’t getting the chance to race for wins, so we’ll go home and keep working on that and try to fight for some wins at Murray Bridge this weekend.”