The Canobolas Motorcycle Club final round for 2019 got off to a soggy start on Sunday, but it helped separate the good from the great on the mountain.
It made practice and the first race particularly challenging for riders as the deeply muddy track meant there was plenty of sliding especially in the flat corners due to having limited traction.
The day consisted of nine race classes with each class doing three races, each of four laps.
The Senior Lites A&B class combined for the day and this led to some exciting racing especially mid pack.
I'm not familiar with the track. I couldn't see a thing, so I had no choice but to rip the goggles off.- Jeff Dray
Race one in this class was one the wettest with many riders struggling to see through the mud that coated their googles.
A-Grade rider Jeff Dray, who picked up three second places across the day, said he got a spray off the start.
"I'm not familiar with the track. I couldn't see a thing, so I had no choice but to rip the goggles off," the Mudgee rider said.
Dray also competed in the over-35 class, so conserving energy was on the mind of this experienced rider.
"I had some good battles today with the rider who took out first place, but he was too good off the starts and then rode consistently in every race.
"Once I realised I wasn't going to get around him, I settled into second place and conserved energy for my other class"
Fellow A-grader Vincent Walton came in fifth in the first round, his best result for the day.
"My starts have been pretty average today. Because the track is so wet there is only a single line to ride, so once you get behind other riders, passing is almost impossible," Walton said.
Some bad luck in the last round saw Walton ride the whole race with a flat rear tyre after it was pierced by a sharp rock.
While he didn't win a medal he definitely won a fan, with a little spectator enthusing about Walton's "wicked whip" on the tabletop in the second race.
Cameron Standing, competing in B Grade, got off to a great start leading race one for the first two laps.
"Stando", as his race jersey says, was leading the B grade for the season and was keen to finish off the last race of the year in one piece.
"I was happy to ride smarter today. For the first two races, I decided to hang back and wait to take advantage of the mistakes made by those in front of me," he said.
"There were a few sketchy moments on the slippery berms. It was too hard to pass so I was comfortable riding my own race."
By the last race of the day though, the track had dried up and Standing was comfortable to push a little harder.
"The last race was my best by far. More lines opened up so I had more choice, I managed to get into a flow and just went much quicker," he added.
Ben Schmalz, also competing in B Grade was a worthy rival for Standing and nailed some of the starts. Despite the track being hard to overtake on, Schmalz managed to pass two rivals in the first race.
"I saw an opportunity on the flat corner to take the inside line and managed to get around one rider, then another opportunity presented itself on the three single jumps," he said.
The day belonged to Luke Nixon though. Unbeatable off the starts he positioned himself well to take the lead and his aggressive riding style made him difficult to catch.
The only time he was anything other than out in front was in race one where he was second into the first corner behind Standing and then lost another position as Dray pulled off an impressive inside manoeuvre. It took Nixon two laps to take back the lead.
"Jeff Dray pushed me in every race, but otherwise it was a pretty uneventful day. Just the way I like it," he said.
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