Precise FMX Open
Underground FMX rider Brenton Drager causes an upset at the Precise FMX Open by taking out his first major FMX competition
The opening round of the Australian and Underground FMX Championships, presented by RFDmx, held at the impressive Precise compound in Mackay, Queensland, this past weekend, set the stage for what was a spectacular showdown between the pro riders of the series and the up and comers.
Bad weather caused havoc in the lead up to competition, and with the event postponed one day it made all the difference with Sunday turning on the sunshine, and a well-prepped course that brought out the best of the 24-rider field.
Qualifying highlighted who’d been putting in the hard work during the off-season, with underground riders Brenton Drager, Tyronne Gilks, Gyles Stainton and Matt Smith piling the pressure on 2011 champion Rhys Hillier, who went through into the head-to-head rounds in the number one spot.
Two of the event favourites, Joel Brown and Pat Bowden, went down hard in qualifying and were both lucky to walk away. Brown, even though crashing on his last jump, showed the judges enough to advance through to the first head-to-head round. He earned the tough-as-nails award for the day by riding through the pain with a badly swollen knee that he hurt in practice, but come the finals he didn’t have enough left in the tank for his younger competitors.
Photo right: LKI rider Brenton Drager stoked with his first open win. Pic: Luke Magick
After some epic battles in the round one 12 rider head-to-head the six riders to transfer into the semi-finals were the in-form Rhys Hillier, Brenton Drager, Gyles Stainton, Aaron Guthrie, Matt Smith and local favourite Dan O’Brien, who had the advantage of 1000 locals cheering him on.
Rhys Hillier produced some big flip combo’s, a text book Ruler, Sideways Hart Attack, and stepped up by flipping the 110-foot hit to knock out Aaron Guthrie. Gyles Stainton overpowered Dan O’Brien with a good variety of tricks including two flips off the superkicker – one a Nac Flip. Brenton Drager surprised everyone with his clean extension and style, opening up his run with a Whip Flip, huge Double Nac Indy, Ruler Indy, and then closed with a big Nac Flip to take out Matt Smith.
Rhys Hillier was the inform rider of the competition, but crashed out of the final. Pic: Luke Magick
North Queenslander Gyles Stainton was first out on the course in the three-man final, and looked nervous riding under pressure, as he didn’t produce the quality of his earlier runs. Brenton Drager, who had driven 35-hours from Phillip Island, Victoria, pulled out everything as he knew Rhys Hillier would be the man to beat, but after messing up a Kiss Of Death it looked like his chances of a win were shot. But with FMX anything can happen, and Hillier, after starting his run off strong failed to execute a Double Grab, pulled out an average Whip, and then while going for a big KOD Flip on his last jump under rotated and had a spine tingling crash that he somehow managed to walk away from only sustaining a dislocated rib.
Gyles Stainton surprised himself by finishing 2nd, the lad rode solid! Pic: Luke Magick
Hillier’s crash wrecked his chances of a win and the surprised Brenton Drager walked away with his first open FMX competition. Gyles Stainton earned himself a well-deserved second with Rhys Hillier rounding out the top three.
Overall the Precise FMX Open was a huge success, a great start to the 2012 Australian and Underground FMX Championships. The event highlighted the huge progression riders have made in the off-season, and the four rounds remaining will surely produce some epic battles.
For more information about the Australian and Underground FMX Championships log on to http://rfdmx.com.au/aufmxc/index.html
Brenton Drager – “Going into the round I didn’t even consider myself as a potential to win, and to come away with my first major win I’m stoked, over-the-moon really. Words can’t explain how happy I am! It really makes the 35-hour trip from Phillip Island worthwhile.”
Gyles Stainton – “I honestly didn’t even think I’d be in the top five so I’m absolutely stoked with my finish today. I went into the final with the mindset of not wanting to get hurt, but looking back now I probably should have tried a bit harder. Hillier and Drager were definitely at a higher level then myself today, so congrats to them!”
Rhys Hillier – “I’m hurting from a popped rib, but really happy with the outcome of this comp and surviving that huge crash. This series is really highlighting the progression being made by up-and-coming riders like Brenton Drager and Gyles Stainton, it was great seeing those guys blowing up out there today, I’m pretty pumped!”
Precise FMX Open results – top 12
1st Brenton Drager
2nd Gyles Stainton
3rd Rhys Hillier (Pro)
4th Aaron Guthrie
5th Matt Smith
6th Dan O’Brien
7th Tyronne Gilks
8th Steve Sommerfeld (Pro)
9th Pete Anderson (Pro)
10th Joe Sheppard (Pro)
11th Joel Brown (Pro)
12th Tom Robinson
Ryan Brown won best Whip
The Precise compound is one of the best we've seen in Oz! Pic: Lachlan Russell
Joel Rayner, Dan O'Brien and Ryan Apps fed up with the two days of rain before competition finally got underway
Browny proved is one of the toughest Aussie FMX competitors at the Precise Open!
The ultimate lads shed!
Pat Bowden hangin out with his girl. It was bad to see him crash out on his first jump in qualifying, hope he's back soon!
Matt Smith, Jesse Fairfull (his girl left), Sammy Balnaves and Jaimie O'Brien with his head cut off waiting for the rain to piss off!
I didn't get a chance to take many action shots due to judging commitments, but I like this one of
Dan O'Brien (pretty sure its Dan) busting out a Rock Solid in practice!
Thanks to the AUFMXC Sponsors