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Spending the American winter riding the best tracks California has to offer, West Aussie legend John Darroch was ready to return down under and make an assault at the opening rounds of the MXstore MX Nationals and the WAMX series.
A thrilling performance at the Perkins Builder Best in the West Open in Bunbury had him stoked for what was ahead, but his plans - along with everyone elses - were turned upside down due to the coronavirus, which forced the cancellation of essentially every race (and everything else) for the meantime.
Despite the first round of the nationals at the time being the only race postponed, he decided to still make the trek over the Victoria and hit up epic tracks like Ride Park, however that trip was ultimately cut short…
As you’re probably already familiar with, the COVID-19 situation has been rapidly escalating, and with that came the closure of WA’s border, giving him less than 24 hours to pin it back into the state.
“I was in America and I saw that the first three rounds of the MX Nationals were in Victoria - the first one a double-header and the second one was in Newry, so I thought I’d come home and go over there and race,” Darroch explained.
“I was here for two weeks and then the racing got cancelled - so I thought I’d still go over and ride anyway even with the racing plans out the window. I just packed up my stuff and the plan was the live out of my van over there.
“I met Jayden [Fabry] over there and we did our thing, but that was short-lived because the borders closed - Dad called me and told me they were closing the next day, so we had to drive home.
“We did the math, and we knew if we left right then that we would make it, so we pinned it to the border and drove non-stop, and from the border we just took our time from there. We stopped at some sand dunes, mucked around there and camped out - it was pretty good.”
As I said, Johnny D had an epic ride in Bunbury - he slotted himself into the final of the shootout where he went up against reigning national MXD champion Regan Duffy before going onto finish second overall in the premier category.
Following months without a gate-drop, he says being back in the mix down south fired him up for the season ahead.
“I was just talking to a mate the other day, as that event alone has made me so keen to race,” he added. “I hadn’t raced in a while, and it just reminded me how good intense racing is. I know Regan was going to be tough to beat, because he knows how to win, especially in that one-lap shootout.”
Despite the season being put on hold for the time being, Darroch is adamant that as soon he hears of any racing, he’ll be there - and I think we’ll all join him.
“As soon as there’s some racing and some dates - I’ve got two brand-new YZ450Fs ready to go, so as soon as I hear of some racing, I’ll be there. For now, it’s full-time 110 racing and jumping…”
You’ll find John on the number 45 Cully’s Yamaha when racing returns this season, whenever that is.
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