KTM’s Daniel Sanders and Matthew Phillips made it a KTM 1-2 at Australia's toughest hard enduro, the Wildwood Rock Extreme.
Completing an exciting 2015 that has included winning the E3 championship at the ISDE in Slovakia, 21-year-old Sanders took the lead on the first lap but relinquished it in the second to Ben Hemingway. Getting back into the lead on lap three, Sanders powered away to a near five-minute win over Phillips, with another former winner, Mitch Harper third.
Phillips’ race was equally exciting in its own unique way. The Tasmanian made an eleventh hour decision to compete in the race despite being a month into his off-season, and having done little other than some plumbing around the house in recent days.
The spontaneity and lack of hard enduro preparation did little to hold back the former Wildwood winner and Phillips used his KTM 300 EXC to post the second fastest time in this morning's Prologue before backing up with the runner-up position in the main event.
Former Wildwood winner Mitch Harper pushed off the effects of a year spent on the sidelines when he powered a stock Husqvarna TE 300 to a podium finish.
Daniel ‘Chucky’ Sanders - KTM 300 EXC – “It's the hardest race in Australia, a good challenge, and somehow I had fun out there, just because of the challenge aspect. It's not really a race, you just soldier on through it. There were some big names there so it was good to beat them, and see that my fitness was right up there. I’ll keep working on it over the off-season, it helped me to know where my weaknesses are and it will help the next year I reckon. I was leading from the start, then Ben Hemingway led from the second lap, and then I passed him just before the third, so it is good to lead from there. I just had to concentrate so hard, and then the sun ended up coming out and started cooking my brain. A tough race.”
Matthew Phillips – KTM 300 EXC – “We were having a bit of a relax in the shed on Friday night and decided at the last minute to come over and give it a crack. There's been no training build up - I've been at home doing plumbing so I've been pretty busy, but Dad was keen to go and it was a good chance to go to a race with him and the crew, so we got off the boat this morning and went out to the track and got straight into it.”
Mitch Harper (TE300): “I’m pretty stoked with how I went, I haven't been riding all year because I haven’t had a bike, so to come in 2 minutes behind Phillips who has been racing the World Enduro Championships all year after three hours is good. The guys who have been racing all year, their fitness has been right up and they’ve been in the know, so I reckon with more training I could do well.”
2015 Wildwood Rock Extreme
Pro: 1 Daniel Sanders, 2 Matt Phillips, 3 Mitcham Harper, 4 Ben Hemingway, 5 Broc Grabham, 6 Robert Nowak, 7 Chris Perry, 8 Dan Hemingway, 9 Tom Scott, 10 Ruben Chadwick, 11 Lachlan Stanford
1 Daniel Sanders, 2 Matt Phillips, 3 Lachlan Stanford
Photos: Mad Dog Images