Empire Kawasaki has claimed its first Australian ProMX Championship round victory, with Cambell Williams piloting his KX250 to the top of the MX3 class at Maitland, as teammate Haruki Yokoyama enjoyed his best day of 2023 with a hard-earned seventh overall in MX2.
Williams was a top contender throughout the three-race, two-day round in the MX3 category. After qualifying fifth, the talented teenager scored a good start in the opening race and led for a number of laps before a mistake on the hard-pack track saw him finish P4.
In the second race of the weekend, Williams set the fastest lap of the race on his way to an impressive runner-up result, but it was the final outing where he came into his own. After a mid-pack start in stormy conditions, Williams negotiated the conditions and made a statement pass for the lead, then held off a late change to take the race and round wins.
“I’ve had an average start to the season, but we’re all working hard and this weekend was a great opportunity to make up some points with three races on offer," said Williams, now P3 in points. "I needed this win today – I’m feeling strong, healthy and capable of winning – and I need to keep winning races, as the championship is my goal. Today there was a lot of blue-groove and not a lot of line selection, but in that rain in the last moto it was more difficult with visibility. It was tough, but we got it done!”
In the MX2 ranks, Yokoyama’s seventh overall showed he’s improving markedly as he continues to work his way back into form after a shoulder injury earlier this year.
The former All-Japan 250 class champion put a 14th qualifying result behind him to put in his best result of the year so far in the opening MX2 moto. After starting in seventh, Yokoyama kept his cool as several rivals in front fell victim to the hard-pack ruts, running as high as fourth before settling for a fifth-place finish.
A mid-pack start and greasy conditions to the second moto didn’t deter Yokoyama either, as he methodically worked his way forwards throughout the race, eventually guiding his 2023 Kawasaki KX250 home to 10th. Yokoyama’s Maitland performance has elevated him to 13th in the MX2 points standings.
“I’m happy with the progress we’ve made since Wodonga, and today was a good day," Yokoyama said. "I know I’m a good starter, and in the first moto I was up in the single digits around the first turn, then I put in clean laps as a few guys ahead of me made mistakes. I made my way up to fourth, but I got a bit pumped up and finished fifth. I hit the gate off the start of the second moto, so I had a bad start, and it was a bit of a mudder – I think I used five or six tear-offs in the first lap! I got up to 10th and had some good battles, so I’m happy with my overall result.”
The fifth round of the Australian ProMX Championship will be held at Gillman, South Australia, on Sunday, May 28.
2023 ProMX Rd4 Maitland, NSW
1. Rhys Budd 2. Wilson Todd 3. Nathan Crawford 7. Haruki Yokoyama (Empire Kawasaki)
1. Cambell Williams (Empire Kawasaki) 2. Byron Dennis 3. Jake Cannon
Photo Credit: Foremost Media