SEVEN international motocross riders will compete in round four of the MX Nationals in Horsham on Sunday.
International riders contesting the weekend event include Aleksandr Tonkov of Russia, Kyle Peters of the United States of America, Ben Broad and Hamish Harwood of New Zealand, Brett Metcalfe returning from Canada and Jackson Richardson and Eagan Mastin returning from the United States of America.
This year marks the third consecutive year that Australia’s biggest motorcycling championship has been held in Horsham.
Tonkov is returned to racing from a broken back, injured knee and broken hand that kept him from getting on a motorbike for 11 months. It is his first visit to Australia.
“I received other offers, but you can’t miss an opportunity to come to Australia and to see the country and experience the racing here,” he said.
Tonkov said the weather in Australia was much better than his homeland of Russia.
“It will be my first time in Horsham. It will be interesting to see a different part of the country and ride on a different track,” he said.
“I hope things click on the day.”
Tonkov said he jumped straight back into riding after recovering from his injuries – but he said the journey was not without its challenges.
“I can tell I am getting better and better each day, but it took a long time to get back into it,” Tonkov said.
Tonkov is riding with the Mega Bolt Fuel Monster Energy Kawasaki team and said he was thankful for the opportunity the team gave him.
“I am very pleased with the opportunity. My career would be over if they didn’t believe in me,” he said.
Tonkov is a former Yamaha rider in the MX GP 250cc class.
He said he knew many riders from his involvement at world championships.
“I would like to prove I can do it. It is a big challenge,” he said.
Tonkov has recorded the fastest lap time in the competition this year but has failed to post a consistent 30-minute performance. He said with more race time came better fitness.
“I am getting more confident,” he said.
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