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EPIC Racing

Podium Finish for Can Am at the Australian Thumb Pump 300

Team Epic High Roller Can Am’s Michael Roycroft finished 3rd in his debut enduro race on a Can Am DS 450x at the Thumb Pump 300 in western Victoria on Sunday 27th April. Team mate Jamie Barkla finished a respectable 7th on a stock DS 450x in the Iron man class. Michael was not alone on the podium with Darrell (Bullet) Knight finishing 1st in the 4x4 class on his stock Can Am Renegade 800x. Former Finke desert race winner Rick Beer placed second on his Can Am DS 450x in the team’s event with team mate Rob Van Vliet.

Friday 25th May saw an entourage of quads roll into the dry dusty land south of Mildura to contest the debut of the Thumb Pump 300 enduro race. This 300km race was sponsored by Can Am and saw the maiden endurance race by a fleet of Can Am DS 450 in Australia. The 45km loop had everything you could think of from long dusty sweeping corners, to high speed straights into 5th gear pinned S bends through the trees. There was even a 7km whoops section to sort the men from the boys.

The event saw 4 classes of quads contested by about 60 riders over the weekend- the classes split the field into 4x4, iron woman, teams and iron man. With practise laps on Friday, Saturday began with a prologue and the first 160kms was raced on Saturday afternoon. The finishing 140km was battled out on Sunday for those who survived the punishment of the previous day.

Practice saw Team Epic High Roller Can Am riders Michael Roycroft and Jamie Barkla ride together for the first time in the Iron man class, in what was also the first endurance race that either of them had competed in. The practice conditions were dry and dusty, the guys got 3 laps in and felt comfortable with the track layout and got a taste of how tough the race would be. Jamie was aboard a stock DS 450x with only minor modifications and did feel he might be held back a bit by the suspension limitations of a stock bike once the track got chopped up.

Prologue began with riders drawing their starting positions from a hat, Michael and Jamie drew mid-field positions for the 13km dash around the first and last quarter of the track. As expected the top moto x riders in the country were posting fast times, Cameron Wade on a Suzuki LTR 450 made top billing for his team with 10mins 12sec. Michael posted 10min 43sec to make the 9th fastest time and Jamie an 11min 3seconds for 14th position on the start grid for the race that afternoon.

2pm Saturday afternoon saw the race start and the wind pick up which cleared away some of the dust but also brought ominous rain clouds. Michael was on the pace with the riders ahead of him, he followed the pack but unfortunately they took a wrong turn going at 115km/h and were heading in the wrong direction around the track. This mistake was only noticed when a marshal pointed them in the right direction, however by now Michael had lost about 2 minutes having to back track to join the race. Half of the riders in this pack didn’t turn around, joining the track further on but making a short cut in the process, this was penalised with a time penalty at the end of the day.

Race results were not live posted and the riders could not be certain of their standings till later Saturday night. Impressively at this stage Michael was clearly in 3rd position with a time of 2hr 29min 58sec including a 1 minute time penalty for a pit stop speed violation, and Jamie was in 6th with 2hr 35min 20sec. The Iron man field had been reduced from 29 to 23 riders by the end of the day due to 6 DNFs. The casualty list included big names who had posted fast times, Luke Beechey’s Polaris broke a steering stem and lost a wheel and Paul Worth’s Kawasaki broke a steering stem.

Overnight rain dampened the ground and aided in more traction for the riders across the field. Sunday morning was the final day, with 3 laps ahead of them and the competition feeling a little bit sore, Michael and Jamie felt confident that they could at least hold their results  if not better them.

All the Can Am riders were getting 2 laps out of there fuel tanks, which was an advantage over some of the other bikes. Both Michael and Jamie held consistent lap times during the morning and with not one mechanical issue with the DS 450x both riders came home with the rider and bike in one piece.

Up until the presentation the riders did not know their positions, and with the announcement of the top 3 it was an achievement that  Michael had retained his 3rd position overall for the weekend  and  Jamie moving to 7th position on a stock DS 450. Michael was surprised to get in the top 3 and later found out that there was only 4 mins between 1st and 3rd place, with a couple of mishaps hindering his times, there was not much stopping Michael to be further up the podium if all things went his way.

Michael later said at the presentation, “I felt fantastic out there over the 3 few days, the nerves really hit during the race as I had no race experience in this type of format of ATV racing before, I wasn’t sure if I was pushing it too hard or not, and whether my body would hold up but I just held the throttle on as long as I could and pushed past the mental games during the 4 ½ hr race. If I had known my times were good enough to get third I think I could have pushed a little harder to make up some time. I didn’t feel fatigued at all out there over both days, bring on the next one”.

Team Epic Highroller Energy Can Am next outing is at the 2nd round of the Tri State MX series in Mt Gambier South Australia on May 18th.

Team Epic High Roller Energy Can Am would like to thank the following sponsors - Can Am Australia, Epic Racing, High Roller Energy, Undecided Extreme Clothing, Elka Suspension, Motoworks, ITP, Pro Grip, Acerbis, Fasst Flexx, Big M Edge, Nestle Peters Maxibon, Coolabah Tree Café, Valvoline Oils, Mobil fuel, Dickstones Meats, Hardiman ATV,, Quadsquad, Off-Road imports, Car Cube, Moto X Nutrition, RPM and Suspensions are us.

About Epic Racing Products
Epic Racing Products manufactures only the highest quality racing components. We race what we sell. Epic Racing Products and suspension components can be found on the ATVs of top riders from coast to coast, including Factory Can-Am riders Jeremy lawson, Greg Gee, and Sage Baker.

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