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Joben Baldwin wins VIC State 85cc Championship

03-07-08

Joben Baldwin and GMR Motorex KTM have won the Victorian Junior Motocross Championships in the 12-under 16 years 85cc class. With only 10 points between the top three riders in the 85cc Championship heading into the final round at Toolleen in central Victoria on 28 & 29 June, it was shaping up to be a hard fought battle to the end. Joben was placed third entering the final round and was keen to score a well deserved podium after a recent string of bad luck.

In race one, Joben had a poor gate selection which forced him wide through turn one and jammed in the pack through the next tight right had chicane. Baldwin pushed hard in the early stages of the race to make his way into fourth. Baldwin executed mature line choices and was able to make his way into third behind the Championship front runners Kale Makeham (Honda) and Dylan Long (Yamaha). Race 1: Long, Makeham, Baldwin.

In race two, it was Makeham, Baldwin and Long next to each other on the grid in ideal positioning. As the class launched from the gate it was Baldwin who was a wheel length in front entering turn one but in a freak turn of events both Makeham and Long (who were on either side of Baldwin) were squeezed by the field from either side which took them both out in turn one. Long was taken from the track injured and Makeham got back on the track to salvage his Championship points. Meanwhile, Baldwin had checked out on the field and took a comfortable win. In a dramatic turn of events, Makeham was disqualified on the second last lap as his body armour, which is compulsory in junior racing, had broken off in his crash. This now left the Championship wide open and catapulted Baldwin to a 12 point Championship lead heading into the final moto.

In the final race on the 85cc, Baldwin took the points advantage in his stride and rode one of the most intense battles of the series. Makeham was out to prove a point, Long was back on the track to salvage his podium chase and Baldwin’s aim was to simply bring home a solid finish to secure the Championship.

Makeham secured a great start, with Baldwin, Long and Geran Stapleton (Honda) all in the mix with placings changing several times. Baldwin not only rode to attack, but also defended his position with maturity and brought home a solid fourth place, in a very close battle to the end.

The final race not only locked in Joben Baldwin’s Championship in the 12-u16 years 85cc class for GMR Motorex KTM, but also secured the round win at Tooleen.

The 3-1-4 results secured 1st overall for the event and the win overall for the Championship.

A Grade 85 two stroke to 150 four-stroke 12-16 years class Round Results
1. Joben Baldwin (KTM)   63pts
2. Geran Stapleton (Honda) 62pts
3. Joel Milesevic(Yamaha) 49pts

A Grade 85 two stroke to 150 four-stroke 12-16 years class Championship Standings
1. Joben Baldwin (KTM)  173pts
2. Kale Makeham (Honda) 167pts
3. Dylan Long (Yamaha)  163pts

“Joben has done an absolutely unbelievable job for GMR Motorex KTM in this Championship and I could not have asked for anything more” said Team Manager, Glenn Macdonald.

“Joben has had a really tough season and to see him walk away at the end of the Championship with the number one plate could not be any more rewarding for him personally and for the team. I always felt that he deserved to be up on the podium more often this season so to see him not only take the round win but also the Championship was just incredible.

Joben rode with maturity beyond his young years and I can’t remember the last time a 13 year old took the 12-u16 years 85cc Championship in Victoria so it was a great day all-round.”

In the A Grade 125cc 13-16 years class, Joben Baldwin is at the younger end of the category at just 13 years old and one of only a few of the ‘red-plate’ racers in the field. Joben entered the final round placed 7th overall and has been on the rapid improve on board his KTM 125 in his debut season, scoring consistent points throughout the series.

At the Toolleen round, Joben Baldwin picked up 4-12-10 results which secured an 8th place for the round and 7th overall (equal 6th but relegated to 7th on count-back) for the Championship. In his debut year in the 125cc class, Joben is certainly proving to be a young gun on the rise.

In race one, Baldwin came out all guns blazing after an awesome launch from the gate on his KTM 125 SX. Baldwin proved that he has the speed to run with the front runners of this field of top quality riders and finished an amazing fourth.

In race two and three, Baldwin didn’t secure the starts he needed to run up front and found himself battling it out some really close and action packed racing. Baldwin picked up 12th and 10th in the final two races, definitely having the 85 Championship in mind and wanting to stay safe and fresh for the final races in that class.

A Grade 125cc 13-16 years class Championship Standings
1. Christopher Gay (Yamaha)  178pts 
2. Harrison Wooding (Yamaha)  177pts
3. Michael Crugnale (Yamaha)  147pts
7. Joben Baldwin (KTM)   100pts
10. Dylan Berwick (KTM)   79pts

Dylan Berwick, who was unable to compete at the event due to injury, placed 10th overall in the A Grade 125cc 13-16 years class and 14th overall in the 13-16 years 250F class despite collecting no points in the final round of racing.

In terms of Joben’s debut season on the KTM 125, we always knew this was going to be a hard slog with the 13-u16 age group structure as many of the front runners are already 15-16 years old. So, at just 13 Joben has cracked the top ten and was also the first KTM in the series points. It’s a win-win all round for us and with the age group structure for the Australian Titles we are well placed come September with both riders” said Macdonald.

Stay tuned to www.gmr-motorexktm.com.au and www.ktm.com.au for team updates.