The SXS Australian Championship took on an international flavour at round 4 on the weekend at Ballarat with American Offroad Champion and star of the viral XP1K action films, RJ Anderson joining Japan’s Tadamitsu Niihori on the grid alongside a impressive field of home grown talent.
Wet weather swept Victoria in the lead up to the event, ensuring Saturday mornings shakedown was a slippery and muddy affair. However when the SXS’s were unleashed in anger, the track conditions soon became ideal and delivered some of the closest heats of the year to date.
“The track was awesome here in Ballarat. It actually started out real muddy and I’m from Southern California and live in the desert, I don’t deal with the mud. But I was amazed at how it blew off and the last few races were a blast.” Said RJ Anderson
The Yamaha domination of the naturally aspirated Superlite A Class continued in Victoria with #668 Ivan Skutz driving his #668 Yamaha YXZ to a total of 26 points to take the round win, ahead of #8 Robert Plageman on 24 points in second. Tom Evans flew the flag for Polaris, piloting his #44 RZR1000 into third with 21 points. While Plageman finished on the second step of the podium, he laid down the quickest lap time of Monza Park in the class, 1min 42.301 seconds.
Round 1 winner, Ewan McClue returned to the top of the podium in the turbo charged Superlite B Class, setting a cracking pace in his #657 CanAm to finish the six heats with a total of 28 points. Simon Evans was second in the #360 BFGoodrich Tires Polaris with 22 points and also posted the quickest lap of the weekend, a 1:37.926. While Evans long time rally rival, Cody Crocker finished in third on 22 points with his #619 Polaris RZR Turbo.
“I’m a big fan of the Ballarat track, we have raced quad bikes here and the RZR 1000 here last year. I thought it was a great track then and with our new turbo Polaris it was even better.” Said Simon Evans, continuing “I’m not really in the championship race, so the most important thing to me is getting the fastest lap. It’s something to brag about amongst the drivers, no one wants to give away the fastest lap. It’s nice to have a strong car underneath us and the BFGoodrich MT’s were perfect in the mud and in the dry they were even better. It’s great that we have been able to run an off the shelf tyre and pick up the fastest lap at the last two events.”
It turned out to be a tough day at the office for US Champion, RJ Anderson. Turbo issues hindered his charge throughout the day, but little could dampen his enthusiasm for the close wheel to wheel racing against the local talent.
“It was a fun time and I’m so thankful BFGoodrich gave me an opportunity to come over and race with these guys. There are some great drivers over here who are champions in their own right and whilst it different to what I race it home, the level of competitiveness to win and battle with each other out on the track is the same. I hope to come back sometime, we had a little bit of rough luck in a couple heats but none the less I feel like a winner leaving here. I had a great time and hopefully some of these guys will come over to the States and we can continue the battle there.” Said RJ Anderson
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