After 19 events held across 12 tour stops, the battle for the 2020 PBR Australian National Championship is down to two riders.
Just 56-points separate Clermont’s Aaron Kleier and Gresford’s Lachlan Richardson on the PBR Australian National Standings leaderboard as we head into the final five rounds of competition for the season.
There is a maximum of 200 points available to any single rider at the 2020 PBR Australia Grand Finals with 20 points allocated to each round winner and 100 points awaiting the event champion, so the Gold Buckle could fall either way.
First, let’s take a look at the stats for each rider in PBR Australia Competition during the 2020 season.
|Aaron Kleier||Lachlan Richardson|
|Career PBR Experience||268 outs||921 outs|
|2020 PBR Australia Ranking||No. 1||No. 2|
|2020 PBR Australia Events||17||18|
|Championship Points||587 points||531 points|
|Riding Record||19 / 32||17 / 29|
While Richardson was dominant throughout the Monster Energy Tour stops during October, we have seen Kleier fight back hard in November.
Richardson held his most significant lead of 148-points in the standings as the tour left Beaudesert following his Event 2 victory, but he has since bucked off four straight bulls and failed to advance his points total of 531-points.
Kleier, on the other hand, has been hitting top gear, riding six bulls from eight attempts during the same period. He has put together two event wins and a runner up finish, accruing over 200-points to push his total to 587-points.
Previously, in Townsville
The Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre has proved to be a happy hunting ground for both Kleier and Richardson over the years.
Back in 2017, Kleier went 3-for-5 for 252.75 points at the Iron Cowboy event to finish one score ahead of Richardson, who finished runner-up.
Kleier finished third at the 2018 PBR Australia Grand Finals, going 2-for-5 en route to his maiden National Championship.
However, his visit to North Queensland a year later didn’t go to plan as he covered just one bull during the long rounds and failed to make the Championship Round.
But for Richardson, the 2019 Grand Finals Event would be one to remember after he posted qualified rides aboard King Kong, Call Me Joe, King’s Ransom and Black Tuxedo to take the win with an aggregate total of 350.25 points on 4-for-5 riding.
Against the Rank Pen
The performance of each rider aboard the rank bulls will most likely decide this race. Let’s say that those are the bulls who are a 43-point bull score or higher, which almost guarantee a round win if you can make the whistle.
Since the beginning of the 2019 season, Kleier is 10-for-24 and Richardson is 10-for-20 aboard this standard of bull.
In the 2020 season, Kleier is 4-for-8 with his best score of 89-points coming aboard Flyin Hippie in Bundaberg and POA Fully Locked & Loaded last weekend at Airlie Beach.
Richardson is 4-for-5 this season, and his high score came on the back of The D.O.C at Ballarat before the COVID-19 break. If we look back to the end of the 2019 season, he has ridden eight of his last nine 43+ point opponents.
Kleier is aiming to become the first rider in PBR history to win the Australian National Championship in three consecutive seasons.
Richardson is gunning for his first Gold Buckle after finishing second in 2016 behind Cody Heffernan and 2019 behind Kleier.
This race could simply come down to luck of the draw. I say it’s too close to call.
Good Luck Aaron and Lachlan!
Stay tuned to Ride The Rage for live coverage of the Grand Finals and check back for a full wrap up of the weekend’s action early next week!