Jonny Walker has secured victory at the third running of the Red Bull Megawatt by the narrowest of margins, crossing the finish line just under three seconds ahead of Spain’s Mario Roman.
At the end of what was a tough and eventful near three-hour race Walker and Roman were joined on the podium by Sherco mounted wade Young.
Overnight rain prior to the main event transformed the course from lose, dry sand to very wet, very soft sand that made for an interesting opening lap and a tough three laps of racing.
Fastest away from the start was Taddy Blazusiak, who was closely followed by Jonny Walker. With Taddy making a number of mistakes as the lap neared its close just about every rider inside the eventual top 10 enjoyed a brief spell leading the race.
With Wade Young, Mario Roman, Graham Jarvis and eventual winner Jonny Walker all looking capable of winning, there was little to separate the top four during the third and last lap. Half a lap from home it was Young who lead, just meters ahead of Roman and Walker.
Failing to scale one of the longer climbs Young dropped from first to third, leaving Roman and Walker to battle it out for the win. Opening up a slender but important lead, Walker took control of the closing stages of the final lap. Arriving at the event’s final hill ahead, in failing to ride to the top his advantage over Roman vanished.
Pushing the final 15 meters of the climb Walker reached the finish first, but less than three seconds ahead of Roman. “I knew it was close but I didn't know Mario was as close as he was until I looked over my shoulder as I crossed the finish,” explained Walker.
“All through the race it’s been hard being the rider to get to the climbs first, a loud of us found that out. I knew the final hill would be make or break so I tried to open up a lead before getting there. Thankfully, I got to the top first. It feels great to be back racing and despite the first lap being really tough I’ve enjoyed the race. I was hoping for a podium so to win is awesome.”
Mario Roman put in one of his best ever performances to place a deserved runner-up. Pleased with second the Husqvarna rider was also a little disappointed at having got so close to a possible win. “Second is fantastic but to be so close to Jonny is tough. It was a strange race, the first lap was very difficult with the soft sand. But I was in a good position to push on the final lap. Second is very good for me.”
Wade Young battled his way from just inside the top 10 at the start to round out the podium. Steadily working his way forward the South African lead at the start of the final lap only to drop to third when he failed to climb one of the long, soft uphills.
“I got so much sand in my face after the start, but I kept pushing hard and got onto the back of the lead riders,” commented Wade. “I felt strong and my speed was good so I was in a good place at the start of the third lap. I made a mistake and didn't get to the top of one of the climbs, which was frustrating because I felt good.”
Just off the podium Graham Jarvis was one of several riders to spend time leading the race, but dropped to an eventual fourth during the last lap. “The first lap was tough. The hills were really difficult to get up and not knowing exactly where we were going meant that it was close at the front,” said Graham. “I was leading on the second lap and felt like I was riding well. I just wasn’t quick enough on the faster parts of the track and that’s where the others got ahead of me.”
Taddy Blazusiak brought his KTM home in sixth. Mistakes during the closing stages of the opening lap saw the Polish star drop back from the leaders, going on to finish just under seven minutes behind winner Walker.
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