AFTER injuries set back his push for the 2019 Australian Motocross Championship, former Mount Gambier motorcycle rider Kirk Gibbs kick started his 2020 campaign across the ditch in style.
Gibbs travels to New Zealand each year to gain extra seat time ahead of the Australian series and started 2020 journey with a second overall at the 59th annual New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix in Woodville.
The Grand Prix is a unique event, with Woodville farmland transformed into an impressive motocross park for the annual competition.
Gibbs went 2-2-1 in the three MX1 motos over the day, viewing the rear wheel of Auckland’s Hamish Harwood for the opening two races.
A a poor start cost Gibbs in the first moto, as the Australian rider was forced to make his way through the stacked field.
Feeling comfortable on the Altherm JCR Yamaha motorcycle, Gibbs made timely passes and was able to reach the rear fender of Harwood in the final lap.
However, it was too little, too late and he was forced to settle for second.
The second moto was a battle of the front-runners.
Gibbs took the early lead, but Harwood was able to find quicker lines around the track to cross the finish line in first place.
A patient third moto from the former Mount Gambier rider was required to steal the race win.
Gibbs sat behind the 23-year-old Kiwi and applied pressure, before capitalising on a slight mistake by the eventual overall winner.
While the victory was a breakthrough for Gibbs, it was not enough to finish on the top step of the Grand Prix podium at the end of the day.
However, after a solid first outing back behind the gate, Gibbs will now enter round one of the New Zealand Motocross Championship in Balclutha this Saturday with confidence.