Ashlea Bates dominates race

GUN teenage motocross rider Ashlea Bates dominated the women's class of the Australian off-road championship held at Conondale on Queensland's Sunshine Coast on the weekend.

On Saturday, round three was contested in hot and dusty conditions and racing consisted of seven heats of sprint racing using an Enduro test with lots of creeks and a cross test which included the motocross track.

With 10 girls among the 71 clubman riders, the Sawtell girl improved her position after each test and finally finished the day two minutes and thirty-two seconds in front of the second placed female Jemma Wilson and 16th outright in the large field of men and women.

The next day temperatures had dropped and racing consisted of five heats using both tracks back to back.

With Saturday's races helping to know the tracks a lot better, Bates powered through to take the finish in sixth place outright among the 66 starters on the day, but among the women, the 17-year-old was again in a class of her own.

On this day Bates finished two minutes and six seconds in front of Alison Parker.

"Being a motocrosser I had never been on this track before but what can I say, it was great I loved the enduro test, the creeks were a lot of fun - except getting wet," an excited Bates said.

"It's great to see the women's class growing and they are a great bunch of girls.

"My Husqvarna TE250 handled so well in these conditions and the Metzeler tyres gripped extremely well on the slippery track.

"I even dragged along my junior teammate Courtney Knight to have a go and it was fun comparing who was the least wet," laughed Bates.

The young superstar will now head down to Newry in Victoria this weekend for round two of The Women's National MX Championships.

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