O'Brien claims second spot in national supercross junior title

MORTLAKE supercross talent Tim O’Brien capped off his junior career in style at the Australian Supercross Championships.

O’Brien, 16, finished second overall in the junior lites section at Newcastle on Saturday night.

The teenager entered the final round of the four-round national series clinging to third spot.

O’Brien finished third in the final behind eventual series winner Aaron Tanti and Dylan Heaton, both of New South Wales. It was enough to push him up to second overall.

Tanti was a runaway winner with 97 points with O’Brien (73) edging out Brock McLeary (72) by one point.

“It was my last race as a junior so it was a pretty good way to finish off,” O’Brien said. The young rider said he knew he had to perform well in Newcastle to secure a podium finish.

“It was all fairly close, especially after the third round,” he said.

“It made it closer because it was a wet round so kids who generally don’t win got up there.”

 O’Brien was third in the five-lap qualifying round at Newcastle behind Tanti and Nathan Denny.

In the eight-lap final, he finished behind Tanti and Heaton.

“I got a fairly good start and was sitting in third for most of the race,” O’Brien said.

“I passed a kid on the third lap and was in second then made a few mistakes and the kid behind me overtook me.” 

O’Brien entered the national championships with low expectations.

He re-evaluated his goals after he placed second in round one in Dubbo.

O’Brien backed it up with a third in round two at Phillip Island before mechanical issues limited him to 10th in round three at Toowoomba.

“After the first round I knew I was a chance to get a top three finish,” he said.

“I got a second and two thirds so that was really good and a 10th but I had bike problems.”

The Honda rider said the national championships had prepared him for his step into senior competition next season.

O’Brien will join the under 19 ranks, along with many of his national championships rivals, including Tanti.

“I need to stay consistent and try not to do anything stupid, try not to ride recklessly,” he said.

O’Brien, who grew up riding on his family’s Moulamein farm and is still registered to the Swan Hill Motorcycle Club, will attend a presentation night at Crown Casino on Friday.

justine.mc@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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