Showtime FMX rider Matthew McFerran overcame the nerves of riding his first freestyle contest in years to win Round 3 of the Australian and Underground FMX Championships at Gympie, Qld on Saturday.
McFerran made the most of a gap in his riding schedule to take part in the increasingly popular Australian series and dominated the technical course with his smooth riding and big tricks to nab his first major contest win.
A big crash by NSW’s Pat Bowden attempting to Backflip a small tabletop in the semi-finals saw the contest delayed by an hour as the St John’s ambulance crew addressed the situation. The time delay combined with the direction of the course layout and setting sun saw the course become too dangerous to continue; without knowing their results the top four semi-finalists of McFerran, Joel Brown, Joe Sheppard and Steve Sommerfeld elected to base the final results from the semis.
“It was the best option,” McFerran said. “The course layout meant we had the setting sun right in our eyes on 80 per cent of the jumps and all of us were really happy with our semi-final runs. With the setting sun none of us would’ve been able to improve on the score we had, so we decided to call it.”
McFerran was ecstatic when he learnt he’d won the contest: “People think I’m professional so I should be good at this sort of thing, but in my eight years of riding I’ve never competed in a contest with more than one 75ft ramp. I’ve always wanted to ride a course like this and I’ve finally done it.
“I was so nervous in that semi-final run. I didn’t breathe for the entire 90 seconds and every jump piled on more pressure as I didn’t want to miss any tricks. It was intense!”
McFerran was also full of praise for the way the Australian Underground FMX Championships is organised and run.
“I can’t thank Joel Rayner and the guys behind the AUFMXC enough for giving us the chance to ride this incredible event. From start to finish this event was run by the riders for the riders, which had been the goal of the series since it started way back in 2007… I just wish I hadn’t waited so long to ride my first round.”
NSW’s Joel Brown claimed second on the day with an amazing bag of ridiculous combos backed up with some big Backflip tricks. With series rival Tyrone Gilks struggling with a sore knee in the semi-final and finishing the day in fifth, Brown has taken over the Australian Championship standings.
“I’m really happy with how I rode today,” Brown reflected. “I’m just stoked to be here riding a great course with all the boys.”
Gold Coaster and former Underground Tour champion Joe Sheppard showed brilliant course use and his trademark smooth style to round out the podium.
“I was hoping to finish inside the top eight, so to get on the podium is a great result,” Sheppard said. “I was happy with my last run and thought it was the best I’d ridden all day, but with everyone else riding at such a high level I’m pretty surprised to have finished third.”
Brisbane’s Steve Sommerfeld finished the day in fourth as he landed his first Backflip in a competition.
“I’m just glad to have flipped another set-up,” Sommerfeld said. “The course was designed and prepped really well. It was technical and your speed and timing had to be perfect. All in all it was a awesomen day.”
AUFMXC organizer Joel Rayner was full of praise for the way property owners, the MacKenzies, had designed and prepped the course.
“Zach MacKenzie and his dad Stu always do a bang-up job of prepping the course every year, and they did an amazing job of it again,” he said. “We had some great support from our round sponsor Pirate Ink, and series sponsors Red Bull and Unit. Their help, combined with the continued commitment and enthusiasm from the riders, has seen this series get better and better with every round.”
The next round of the 2012 AUFMXC will be held at Mudgee, NSW on September 29.
Round 3 results:
- 1. Matthew McFerran 25
- 2. Joel Brown 22
- 3. Joe Sheppard 20
- 4. Steve Sommerfeld 18
- 5. Tyrone Gilks 16
- 6. Brodie Carmichael 15
- 7. Aaron Guthrie 14
- 8. Pat Bowden 13
- 9. Zach MacKenzie 12
- 10. Pete Anderson 11
- 11. Sam Balnaves 10
- 12. Josh Hannah 9
- 13. Yoshi Kotaro 8
- 14 Matthew Smith 7