Empire Kawasaki racers Cody Cooper, Haruki Yokoyama and Cambell Williams battled a brutal round of deep mud and ruts at the Wodonga round of the 2023 Australian ProMX Championship.

Despite plenty of experience in wet conditions, multi-time New Zealand champion Cooper struggled to come to terms with the treacherous conditions of the Wodonga circuit, particularly earlier in the day.

A 13th-fastest qualifying time in the short session set the tone for the opening moto, where he circulated to 13th. As the track dried slightly and developed for the second moto, Cooper felt more at home and he was able to push his 2023 Kawasaki KX250 through the pack to a P10 result and 12th overall.

“I didn’t think the track would be so gnarly,” Cooper recalled. “The first moto wasn’t fun and I think most people would agree with that. Conditions improved for the second race and there was a line that you could follow, rather than just push through the mud. It was still difficult, but I enjoyed it, even though I didn’t really turn it on until halfway through the race. I’m used to riding a 450, so once I get used to getting good starts on the 250cc machine it’ll make my life a lot easier in the motos.”

Also in the MX2 class, former Japanese national champion Yokoyama continued his journey back to form from a pre-season shoulder injury with a 15th overall for the day.

Yokoyama qualified 23rd, then replicated that result in the first rain-soaked race. An improved jump off the gate on his 2023 Kawasaki KX250 saw him placed in P8 position early in the second moto, but some small errors throughout the race saw him finish 15th.

“It was a tough day in the office and when it’s especially muddy like this it’s really hard for me,” Yokoyama said. “I’m disappointed with the result and how I rode today. I’ve been racing state rounds in Victoria and Queensland to try and get my speed back to where it was, so I’ll just need to keep working.”

In the MX3 class, talented teenager Williams finished the day in ninth overall. A fifth-fastest qualifying lap aboard his 2023 Kawasaki KX250 showed he has plenty of speed in challenging conditions, and goggle issues in the opening race saw him work his way from last to 12th. A conservative ride Williams earn a P7 result in the second moto.

“There was a lot of rain through the week and last night. There was some good racing, even though the track was very technical and hard to ride,” Williams commented. “I had some goggle issues off the start of the first race and I had to come from last to 12th. I had an average start to the second moto and felt it was better to gather some good points, so I rode conservatively to seventh.”

The fourth round of the 2023 Australian ProMX Championship will be held at Maitland, New South Wales, from 6-7 May.

2023 ProMX Championship Rd3 Wodonga, VIC

**MX2 results:**1. Brodie Connolly 2. Kayden Minear 3. Wilson Todd 12. Cody Cooper (Empire Kawasaki) 15. Haruki Yokoyama (Empire Kawasaki)

**MX3 results:**1. Jack Mather 2. Liam Owens 3. Byron Dennis 9. Cambell Williams (Empire Kawasaki)