The PBR Australia Touring Pro Division will make its annual pilgrimage to the Yass Show for its 7th year at the Yass Showgrounds this Saturday night.
PBR Australia’s heavy hitters will take their place in the 28-rider Yass Touring Pro field with the top 15 progressing from the long round into the Championship Round.
Action will begin at 6:00 pm local time (AEDT) and there will be a maximum of 350-points up for grabs towards the race for the 2019 PBR Australian National Standings.
Cliff Richardson (Gresford, NSW) enters as the defending champion. The 28-year-old was one of five riders in 2018 to go a perfect 2-for-2, finishing with 169.5 points and edging out Daniel Rogan by just half a point. Ethan Watts finished in the third spot on 165.5 points.
If we look further back, past winners in Yass include Dave Mason (2013), Dave Kennedy (2014), Damian Herden (2015), Troy Wilkinson (2016) and Budd Williamson (2017).
Current No. 1 Cody Heffernan (Singleton, NSW) leads the pack into Yass looking to make it a three-peat after recording successive wins on the Monster Energy Tour. The 28-year-old took the lead from Aaron Kleier (Clermont, QLD) following his win last weekend in Ballarat with the margin between the two sitting at 205-points.
Kleier has had to contend with some tricky draw’s and re-rides over the past few events but remains well in the championship fight. The 2018 PBR Australian National Champion will be hoping to gain back some confidence as we progress towards another break in the 2019 season.
In his last four starts, Lachlan Richardson (Gresford, NSW) has recorded three 2nd place finishes and a fourth and ridden all 9 of his bulls. The 26-year-old sits third in the standings, just behind Kleier and is well overdue to put another event win on the board.
Another rider who looks overdue for an event win is the fourth-placed Troy Wilkinson (Upper Horton, NSW). Wilkinson has put together six straight top-10 finishes and has covered over 50% of his bulls so far this season. The 2017 Aussie Champ will be hoping for another strong result to maintain contact with the top-3 in the standings.
Round 1 Preview
Troy Wilkinson will face Battle Jack from TnR Bucking Bulls in the long round. This matchup looks a tough draw on paper, but the 28-year-old has made a habit of making the whistle on these types of bulls. We have only seen Battle Jack twice, and he is unridden in PBR competition. Last time out in Shepparton he took a little while to work into his best work, but once he got into his rhythm around to the right, he made quick work Jay Borghero.
2018 Rookie of the Year Lane Mellers (Mundubbera, QLD) gets a rematch with John Gill and Sons’ Earth Bound. These two met last year in Bendigo with the bull winning in rapid time. He has been covered in four of his previous seven outs and will turn back to the left. Earth Bound is probably not the best fit for a right-handed rider, but Mellers has been picking up cheques everywhere he has been of late so you can’t rule him out.
Cody Heffernan matches up with Buck from Diamond S Bucking Bulls. Buck is a very consistent bucker and likes to look to the right before turning back to the left with good tempo and lots of power. Four riders have covered Buck with an average ride score in the mid 83 point range. I think this matchup has the potential to put the 2016 PBR Australian National Champion in another strong position to claim a third straight buckle.
Lachlan Richardson appears to have one of the better draws in the Yass long-round. Switch Back from TnR Bucking Bulls has been covered in four of his six performances in PBR competition with the average score just above 82 points. He will turn back to the left, but this shouldn’t worry the red-hot Richardson. Switch Back can reverse the spin mid-ride but this should only push the odds further into the seven-time PBR World Finals qualifiers favour.
Other matchups to keep out eyes on are Aaron Kleier on Worm Cruncher from George Hempenstall. This bull has put three straight cowboys in the dirt but remains a bit of an unknown with some fast buck off times.
Other than his previous two rides in Australia I don’t know too much about Maycon Moura (Curitiba, PR), but the Brazilian looks to have a very lovely draw. On Point from TnR Bucking Bulls gives up a qualified ride in almost 50% of his outs and he will be around to the right.
Cliff Richardson has an excellent record a the Yass Touring Pro but will have to get by a debut bull from TnR Bucking Bulls called Jack Reacher if he is to add another strong finish to his profile.
Young-gun Joshua Jones (Kingaroy, QLD) has been riding very well since making his debut and faces Spokane from TnR Bucking Bulls. This bull has been covered in both of his two PBR outs with Brady Fielder the high marked of the two at 86 points.
Championship Round Pen
Headlining the Championship Round pen is Call Me Joe from TnR Bucking Bulls. Joe is averaging an astonishing 43.95 point bullscore since the beginning of the 2018 PBR Australia Season and has given up five qualified rides from those 19 outs with an average score of 87.80 points.
Leading the John Gill and Sons’ string will be High Flying Akubra who has averaged a bullscore of 42.78 points over the same period. He has carried three cowboys to round wins during this time and a further three riders to podium finishes.
Local stock contractor George Hempenstall will flank rider favourite Maximum Rat in the short-go. This bull has given up scores to five riders across his last six outs with the latest to Cliff Richardson in Shepparton where the two combined for 87.50 points. Maximum Rat’s average bull score in his ten PBR outs since the commencement of the 2018 season is 42.63 points.
I am going to put Lachlan Richardson on top this weekend. With a solid draw in the long round and the stats on the board, I think he will be hard to hold out. I think he can deny Heffernan a third straight victory.
Cody Heffernan has also drawn well and should find himself right in the spot once again. It will come down to which rider fills which slot heading into the short round.
Hard to pick a third this weekend with such an open field I think Lane Mellers is in too good of form to leave out.
I am not expecting too much coverage of this event on Social Media, and we usually have to wait a day or two for scores from Touring Pro events to be published so check back on Monday afternoon for full results in my PBR Weekend Wrap up.