Team Shift Motul Suzuki's Matt Moss claimed his second Pro Lites win in succession and Daryl Hurley kept his Pro Open title chances alive at Sunday's penultimate round of the Australian Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals at Newry in Victoria.
After winning the last round of the Pro Lites championship a fortnight ago - his second round of the season after sustaining an injury in round one - Moss was again in stunning form, setting a rapid pace all weekend on his Suzuki RM-Z250.
The young-gun qualified second and put in a strong ride to maintain that position in Moto 1. He then took victory in Moto 2 and claimed the round win, making it two wins in a row and two round wins from three events in 2008.
Suzuki's Pro Open riders Hurley (pictured) and Luke Burkhart also displayed impressive form in the treacherous, wet conditions.
With Moto finishes of fourth and second aboard his RM-Z450, Hurley took third place for the round. The 2006 champion remains in title contention entering the final round at Coolum next month, after reducing Jay Marmont's championship lead to 38.
Team-mate Burkhart blitzed the field in qualifying, bouncing back from a heavy crash which sidelined him at Lake Macquarie to take pole position by almost 1.5 seconds. Fortune didn't go Burkhart's way in the races, finishing 10th and eighth in a pair of luckless rides.
Team Shift Motul Suzuki Under-19s rider Lawson Bopping will head to Coolum third in the class standings and just 16 points shy of the lead after a solid weekend. Bopping qualified fourth and took his RM-Z250 to sixth and fifth in the two Motos, remaining within striking distance of championship leader Tye Simmonds entering the season finale.
The 2008 Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals will conclude at Coolum, Queensland, on August 3rd with Team Shift Motul Suzuki in the running for Pro Open and Under 19s honours.
"I felt like I was riding back at home in New Zealand with cold, wet and muddy conditions we've had here! We're continuing to make the Suzuki RM-Z450 quicker and quicker; the guys are doing a great job.
"Between Motos we made some changes, which helped, and we were able to grab second in Moto 2 which gave us third for the day and edged us closer to the championship lead. It will be tough to catch Jay Marmont at Coolum, but anything can happen in this game, so we're going to keep working hard between now and then."
"Our pace today was really good, the RM-Z450 was working well and we had a strong start, setting the fastest time in qualifying by over a second. It shows that the Team Shift Motul Suzuki crew's hard work is paying off.
"We got the holeshot in Moto 1 and led early, but unfortunately I made a couple of little mistakes which set us back. Unfortunately Moto 2 was a similar story after we were running third in the first half of the race; we had plenty of speed but I just couldn't quite put it all together."
"It's great to win the round again and make it two in a row. It shows how strong the Suzuki RM-Z250 is, and that we would have been up there fighting for the championship if not for my injury. Again, I've got to thank Jay and everyone from Team Shift Motul Suzuki for their support; I wouldn't have been on the top step of the podium without it. We're looking forward to Coolum and trying to make it three from three to end the season."
"We didn't have the best of weekends; our pace just wasn't quite there. Still, we managed to finish each Moto inside the Top Six and pick up plenty of valuable championship points. We're third in the championship and only 16 points off the lead so we'll be giving it everything at Coolum two weeks time."
Jay Foreman - Team Manager:
"We're really thrilled to see Matt Moss win again and prove that he would have been a championship contender if not for his crash in Tasmania.
"Daryl Hurley remains an outside chance to win the Pro Open title at Coolum, he's not out of it yet so we'll keep on pushing hard.
"Unfortunately it wasn't Luke Burkhart's day, despite his strong pace, while Lawson Bopping made sure he picked up points for the Under 19s championship battle.
"Overall, it was a strong weekend and the performance of the Suzuki RM-Z450 and RM-Z250 shows that they're the bikes to be on."
2008 ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MOTOCROSS NATIONALS STANDINGS - (ROUND EIGHT):
Pro Open: 1 Jay Marmont 338, 2 Daryl Hurley (Suzuki RM-Z450) 300, 3 Craig Anderson 286, 4 Cheyne Boyd 273, 5 Cameron Taylor 214, 6 Michael Addison 207, 7 Daniel McCoy 207, 8 Luke Burkhart (Suzuki RM-Z450) 175.
Under 19's: 1 Tye Simmonds 190, 2 Matt Ryan 181, 3 Lawson Bopping (Suzuki RM-Z250) 176, 4 Luke Styke 154, 5 Shaun Williamson 151, 6 Michael Menchi (Suzuki RM-Z250) 142.