JDR Motorex KTM young gun Tye Simmonds is confident he will continue to gain momentum on the Austrian manufacturer’s all-new 350 SX-F after finishing a solid fifth overall on debut with a podium in the third and final moto at Horsham in Victoria on Sunday.
All eyes were on Simmonds heading into the opening round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals, the rookie entering the series as a title favourite for the new-look JDR team.
“Qualifying didn’t go as planned, I got ninth after battling with arm pump in my right arm, which I expected since it’s been so long since my last race,” said Simmonds. “The JDR Motorex KTM team didn’t want me to push myself too hard since this was my first race back after my knee surgery, but I still felt like I let myself down a little.”
Come race time things improved for Simmonds, settling into a rhythm as the rain began to fall during the day.
“I didn’t get the best of starts in my first moto, I was outside the top ten, but after a few laps I made some passes, and moved into eighth, but then on the final few laps Cody Cooper passed me, so I finished in ninth,” he explained.
“Things improved for my second moto – I got a good start, and felt solid with no arm pump. The only distraction was the rain, it really started coming down hard, and from watching the under 19s before me, I noticed everyone was crashing in the first turn, so I was mindful of this going into turn one.
“I was side-by-side with my JDR Motorex KTM teammate, Andrew McFarlane going into the first turn, and I backed off to ensure I didn’t crash like many other riders. Being cautious pushed me back a little, and I lost two places by the chequered flag to finish in fourth.”
It was the third and final moto of the day that Simmonds starred, riding the 350 to its first domestic podium in Australia for second position behind defending Pro Open champion Jay Marmont.
“I got a good jump in my final moto, but hit neutral on the gate, because it had a drop off and my boot caught the gear shifter,” Simmonds said. “I was nearly dead last on the first turn, but the power of the KTM 350 F got me through to pass most of the field and I finished second. There’s something about being last and me that just don’t sit well. It’s funny how I can be dead last, and come right up to second, it’s obviously the drive that I don’t want to be last that gets me there. Something, I obviously need to think about when I’m mid pack as well.
“Overall I was disappointed with my opening moto, because if I finished within the top five I would have cracked the podium for the round. I had everything I personally needed around me support wise from my mechanic Craig Behl, and my trainer Tim Cole, so together we will go away from this round, and work out what I need to do to improve for round two in Canberra.”