KTM Off-Road Racing Team new signing Tye Simmonds has begun his tenure with the team in the best possible fashion, leading a KTM 1, 2 in the annual Deep Well Motocross event south of Alice Springs.
Finishing 3, 1, 1 from the three points-paying motos, the former factory motocross professional only needed one race to get a feel for the 9-kilometre loop, then proved the motocross-style demands of the race to his liking, winning from his KTM teammate Ivan Long, with Damon Stokie third.
Long, the defending Deep Well Motocross Champion, won the day’s first moto and finished second in Moto 2 to take the overall lead into the final, but couldn’t halt the charging Simmonds and was forced to take second for the race and the day.
Possibly the hottest and hardest motocross race in the world, Deep Well subjects riders to three 35-40 minute motos in heavy sand in temperatures which, while they only reached 40 this year, regularly approach 50 degrees.
Simmonds now goes straight back into national-level action, taking on the first round of the Australian Enduro-X series at Brisbane’s Archerfield Speedway on February 7.
Tye Simmonds – “The team had a good day so is the main thing. It’s about a 9 km loop but it’s pretty wide the whole way around, so you can definitely have some good battles with guys on the way round. But it’s just a mixture of everything, up and down big sand dunes, across a couple of clay pan flats where we get up to about 130 km an hour, and it was rough all the way around so that was a good thing. It was unreal, Grabbo is obviously one of the best in the business; I’m on the best team there is in both the desert racing and enduro scenes – you can’t get any better than these guys, and the bikes are just unreal. He went out of his way to do everything for me, we made a few by changes in between the first and second moto, and before I could even ask or talk about anything, he already had in his mind what he wanted to change. I barely had to do or say anything, he was on top of it all.”
Ivan Long – “It was the coolest Deep Well I’ve ever ridden, they even had 5mm of rain overnight, so it was definitely different. It was good fun. I was beating my head against the wall initially because the forks were a little bit too stiff and I got arm pump, but the last two motos were a lot better – even though I won the first one, my last two were a lot better. It’s just that that new recruit is a little bit quicker than me!
In that last one, we had a dingdong battle right at the start, and then he got away, but then I caught back up to him, only to have a couple of lappers get in the way and I lost him. But the main thing was that we went 1, 2 for the team.”
Ben Grabham – “It was hot, it wasn’t Deep Well crazy hot, but it was high 30s – still hard work when you’re on a motorbike, but the day when really good. Tye took out the day which is obviously awesome in his first desert race. He was third in the first race getting used to the track and settling into the bike, then we made a few changes, and he went out there and went really good.
Ivan was his main competition, he was going really well, he won the first Moto and a second two him in the next two, so both the boys did really well. Those two, going into the final Moto, whoever won was the winner on the day. Longy stuck it to him, but the track was just a little bit motocrossy, so Tye used some of those skills and got out the front and went for it.”