KTM Motocross Racing Team rider Egan Mastin's Supercross learning experience took its first back-step in the weekend's third round of the Australian Supercross Championship, as the 19-year-old battled to 12th place in Virginia, SA.
The 2017 Australian MX2 Motocross Champion is rapidly coming to terms with the night-time version of the sport, but found passing after a poor start much more difficult on this track than at the previous round.
The win in the SX2 final went to Wilson Todd over Jackson Richardson and Dylan Wills, while Raceline Pirelli KTM rider Jay Wilson was the highest-placed of the orange men, in eighth.
The evening nonetheless held plenty of positives for Mastin, who just two months ago stunned the motocross community with his speed and consistency in the second half of this year's MX Nationals, winning the SX2 title off the back of seven consecutive race wins.
Saturday night saw his best showing yet during the evening's heat races, where he finished 1.6 seconds away from the podium, with lap times in the same second as the championship leaders.
Mastin has now climbed two spots to 13th in the SX2 championship rankings, and although the learning curve is steep, he and KTM Factory Racing Team Manager Jay Marmont are determined to prove that he can get to the pointy end of the pack before the series is done.
Egan Mastin (KTM 250 SX-F): "I feel like it's starting to come together with both myself and the bike, but you just can't come from the back of the pack straight away. we're just searching for a start and I think we'll be running up there. My heat race was good. I was in fourth and I just stuck with the top four riders to the end - I was just a bit unfortunate in the main with that bad start. It's hard to get your flow going when you're trying to get through riders, especially in supercross, but we're getting there. I'm still working on the whoops, they're my weak point at the moment, but it's mainly just bike time on the track. So, we'll just go back and keep doing the laps during the week and come back with something better."
Jay Marmont – KTM Motocross Racing Team Manager: "A little bit disappointing for us; he just didn't get the start that he was hoping for, and didn't progress. I think he got flustered and he wasn't really racing the track. Overall it was a good track, it was hard to pass on and that's why you had to get the start, but it provided good racing. A ride like that isn't good for his confidence, so we'll put that one away, go back to the drawing board, and hopefully, we can get him on the box next time out in two weeks. Nevertheless, there were plenty of positives to take away. He got a top-four result in the heat, showed a lot of promise and qualified eighth for the final, which is his best qualifying so far, so he's definitely showing glimpses of his potential. He's just got to try and find that little bit more confidence, during racing and try to get that breakthrough result."
Next Round: 11th – 12th November 2017 - Sydney (NSW)
Race Results SX2 Australian Supercross Championship - Rd3 Virginia 2017:
1. Wilson Todd, Yamaha, 10:41.248 min (15 laps)
2. Jackson Richardson, Yamaha, +42.308 sec
3. Dylan Wills, Husqvarna, +43.009
4. Mitchell Evans, Yamaha, +42.951
5. Gavin Faith, Honda, +43.327
6. Geran Stapleton, Honda, +43.954
7. Connor Tierney, Yamaha, +43.730
8. Jay Wilson, Raceline Pirelli KTM, 43.564
9. Aaron Tanti, Yamaha, +43.404
10. Taylor Potter, Honda, +43.918
12. Egan Mastin, KTM Factory Racing Team, +44.390
Standings SX2 2017 after 3 of 6 Rounds:
1. Gavin Faith, 63 points
2. Wilson Todd, 61
3. Jackson Richardson, 59
4. Dylan Wills, 52
5. Jay Wilson, Raceline Pirelli KTM, 47
6. Mitchell Evans, 38
7. Connor Tierney, 35
8. Geran Stapleton, 33
9. Taylor Potter, 30
10. Aaron Tanti, 29
13. Egan Mastin, KTM Factory Racing Team, 23