McCormack one round from podium
BYRON Bay’s Tom McCormack is only one round away from establishing himself as one of the best in dirt-bike racing with a series podium result in Queensland off-road’s premier class.
The 17-year-old scored third-place finishes in the Pro Class at the first two rounds of the Yamaha Sprint Cross-Country Series (the first round was held near Kenilworth in February and the second yesterday near Kyogle).
As long as the YZ250F pilot has a strong ride at the third round, McCormack will finish in third, most likely behind the State’s top two riders: nine-time Queensland enduro champ, Kirk Hutton, and three-time national title holder, AJ Roberts.
“I’m really happy with how I’m going especially considering this is my first season as a senior,” McCormack said.
“Kirk and AJ are the best in the State and two of the fastest in the country, so to have the opportunity to race against them and learn from them is really good.
“I actually got to watch them ride from the best seat in the house; the race was run in sprint format, with three, 30-minute, mass-start races.
“In the first two races I was a bit behind the pace, but I was a long way ahead of fourth so that was good.”
In the last race, McCormack was last off the line and managed to work his way through the pack, catching up to Hutton and Roberts.
“I got lucky, they had slowed up a bit because they were battling each other,” he said.
“Once I caught them they picked up the pace, I was pushing really hard to keep with them and learnt a lot from following them.
“I was watching the lines they were taking and watching how they were passing each other; I’ve never been able to watch a race like that before.
“We’d also switched tracks for the last lap of the day, which suited me because it was less sandy than the first track – I’m racing against a lot of 450ccs on my YZ250F and it can be hard going in the deep sand.
“The second track was a bit slower and rocky, it was easier to pass... a big crowd turned up for the last one, it was a lot better for spectators because it was more open with more grass track.”
The third and final round of the Yamaha Sprint Cross-Country Series will be held October 17 at Toowoomba.
McCormack will be back in the saddle this weekend at Orange for rounds three and four of the NSW Sprint Championship in which he is tied for the Pro E1 Class lead.
His next national competition is rounds five and six of the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) being held at Moruya on May 29 and 30.
McCormack is the youngest rider to go straight to the pro class in Queensland enduro racing. He is current Yamaha Junior Queensland Enduro champion, Yamaha SEQ Enduro Series winner and is ranked second in the country for junior off-road racers. His ultimate goal is to make the sport he loves his profession and become the fastest in Australia.