UNIT's Mitch Evans is the 2016 Australian MXD Championship winner after surging home in the second-half of the season with Yamaha Yamalube Racing.
After an error riddled start to the year that saw Evans 43 points down from the series leader after race one of round four in Murray Bridge, Evans then went on a second half tear, notching up a succession of six race wins and three round wins to move to the top of the championship table after round nine of the ten round championship.
He entered the final round at the Coolum Pines circuit on the Sunshine Coast 15 points clear of rival, Connor Tierney, in what seemed like a comfortable positon to be in but within the first few laps of the opening moto, it was all bets off and there was work to be done if Evans wanted to secure the championship.
After a mediocre start, Evans began to move forward when he tangled with another rider and went down with arch rival Tierney, also involved in the accident. With both championship contenders laying on the ground, it was a mad panic to get up and get going as quickly as possible. Evans remounted near the very back of the field only to then stall the bike a few laps later and again lose valuable positions.
But he was able to regroup and compose himself and went about doing some damage control on the leader board. Despite having bent and twisted radiators as well as bent handlebars, he charged his way back from 26th place to ninth place, while rival Tierney ran into more issues during the race. Evans finished ninth while Tierney crossed the finish line in 11th, giving the Yamaha rider another two point buffer going into the final moto.
For Evans, the final moto was nothing more than securing the championship. He rounded the first turn just inside the top 10 then patiently picked his way forward as the race progressed. With a 17 point gap, anything inside the top 10 would have secured the championship for Evans but he sliced his way up to fourth by the end of the 20 minute race and took the 2016 MXD championship.
“We certainly made it hard for ourselves today,” commented Evans at the end of the day. “Connor and I got into it a bit out the back but it’s all good as we are both trying to win the championship and things happen on the track. Congratulations to him and his team for some great racing this year.
“This season hasn’t been easy as doing Grade 12 at home means I really have to manage my time well and sometimes school has to come first which means I don’t get to ride as often as I would like. But the team have worked around my schedule, Mike came up and spent some time with me and we managed to get the job done, so I’m pumped.
“Thank you to the Yamalube Yamaha Racing team and our sponsors for everything they do for us."
Teammate Jordan Hill took 7th for the season after injuries cut short his title aspirations.