BAXTER’s Taj Marshall brought home yet another national title from the 2016 KTM Australian Junior Motocross Championships at Renmark, South Australia from September 30 – October 1.
Up to 40 of the country’s most talented and fastest riders vied for coveted the 128-150cc/200-250cc 15-year’s title, which Taj won by 9 points over New South Wales’ Riley Dukes and fellow Victorian Cody Dyce.
The win marks Taj’s third junior national title, having won the 128-150cc/200-150cc 13-u15-year’s title in Bunbury, Western Australia in 2015 and the 7-u9 year-old 65cc title in 2009. “I’m very stoked to have won back-to-back Australian titles,” the 16-year-old said.
The BCP Pro Circuit Honda rider not only contended with the biggest class at the Australian Junior Motocross Championships but also a super-storm that hit South Australia on Wednesday, September 28 which completely halted racing the following day.
“It rained a lot and the track was really, really wet so we had the day off. The Riverland Motorcycle Club worked really hard to drain the water out of the track. The track got really rough but it was really good in the end,” Taj said.
“Qualifying went really well due to the bike changes that we made,” Taj added. “My Heats went really well too. In the first heat, I holeshotted and won. In the second heat, I holeshotted again and was leading by about 10 seconds but then the race got red-flagged.
“After they restarted the race, I got another holeshot, but then crashed in the second corner. I took my googles off halfway through the race as I couldn’t really see and finished in about 12th in that race, which was my worst race of the week,” Taj, who ended up winning his third heat, added.
“My first final went pretty well. I got a not too bad start; I was in about fifth, and had to work my way through the pack and ended up finishing second only by about one second (1.550) behind Callum Norton also from Victoria,” he said.
“In my second final, I holeshotted and won by 7 seconds. In the last race, I didn’t get the best start, was in 5th place and worked my way back up to 2nd place quite quickly and just stayed there as there was no need to pass for first which gave me the championship,” Taj added.
Taj said the national victory made up for a disappointing Victorian Junior Motocross Championships where he suffered from injuries for most of the season. “I’m really happy for the win,” Taj added.
On his plans for competing in the seniors next year, Taj was optimistic: “I’ll just take it one step at a time, really. I’ll see what there is to offer and, hopefully, I get a full-factory ride but if I don’t that’s all good.
“I would like to say a massive thank-you to Lee Hogan for everything he has done for me, Tim Vare from Eight11 Racing for looking after my bike, everyone involved with BCP Pro Circuit Honda team and everything they do for me, and lastly my Dad, Mick, for everything he does for me to help keep the dream alive,” he added.