As the final round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals hits Coolum this weekend, one local threw down the gauntlet to four of Australia’s best motocross riders.
On Friday morning, reigning Pro Open champion and CDR Rockstar Yamaha rider Jay Marmont, Honda privateer Dean Ferris, Cool Air Kawasaki Racing Team’s Billy Mackenzie and JDR Motorex KTM’s Tye Simmonds all lined up against local helicopter pilot Graeme Gillies of Blue Tongue Helicopters at Sunshine Coast Airport in a drag race of epic proportions.
In 2009 Gillies took line honours against the two-wheeled machines, and with both himself and the riders keen for a rematch in 2010, everyone headed back to the drawing board to come back with even faster vehicles.
While the riders set to work changing the gearing on their bikes and attempting to streamline their helmets, Gillies came back with a brand new, bright red, Robinson R44 helicopter.
As word got out about the race, locals – keen to get a sneak peak of what’s in store for the weekend ahead – lined the airport fences, and those hoping for a local win weren’t disappointed.
Unfortunately for the riders, over the 1.2 kilometre stretch the red machine, valued at a cool $450,000 was just too quick, beating them to the finish line, albeit by a shorter margin than in 2009.
Marmont was the fastest rider, clocking in at more than 200km/h ahead of Ferris, Mackenzie and Simmonds.
Speaking after the race Marmont commented that it was highly unusual for a motocross bike to sustain those speeds for such a great distance but was happy to be the fastest on two wheels.
“The longest straight at the Coolum track is around 50 metres,” Marmont said. “You never really have you bike going full speed for long, let alone for more than a kilometre, but it’s good to see what the bike can do at that speed!
“Hopefully I’ll keep that pace heading into the races this weekend and can make it three championships in a row.”
Gillies, thrilled with his second win, did have some concerns midway through the race.
“They’re so fast off the line – three quarters through the race I thought Jay had me,” Gillies said. “Next year we’ll probably try to make it a bit closer, but if they make those bikes any faster I’ll have to come back with a jet!”
The eighth and final round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy Drink MX Nationals will be held on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 July at Coolum Pines Motocross Park on Quanda Rd in Coolum, Queensland.
Adults: $30 one day or $50 for the weekend
Children (aged 5-15 years): $15 one day or $20 for the weekend
Family (two adults and two children aged 5-15 years): $70 one day or $100 for the weekend.