CAIRNS, Australia – Jason Mara isn’t ready to call himself a secret weapon for Team Australia, but the 31-year-old has quietly risen from the ashes to become the hottest rider currently riding in the land Down Under.
Mara went 2-for-3 Saturday night to win the PBR Australia Monster Energy Tour Cairns Invitational at the Cairns Convention Centre for his third consecutive victory in a month.
“I don’t know about secret weapon,” Mara said with a laugh. “I tell you what. There are a lot of other guys on that team that are good tough cowboys. Not to take anything away from the other countries, but I can’t wait to see them.”
Team Australia head coach Troy Dunn named Mara to his squad for the upcoming Sydney Global Cup (June 9-10) earlier this week.
“When he is on fire, he is pretty hard to beat,” Dunn said. “He is peaking at the right time isn’t he?”
Fans can watch the Global Cup on June 9-10 exclusively on RidePass beginning at 5:30 a.m. ET.
Mara went into the championship round on Saturday night leading the event after beginning the evening with qualified rides aboard Google.com (84.25 points) and Pistol Whip (86.25 points).
He then clinched the victory before he was bucked off by Rock The House in 3.13 seconds on the final ride after the seven riders ahead of him in the championship round all fell short of the 8-second mark.
“He is a real tough bull in the short go, and I would really like to have got him down,” Mara said. “But he beat me today.”
Mara earned 120 world points for the victory and moves up to 41st in the world standings.
Rounding out the Top 5 was Matt Triplett (2-for-3, 167.25), Nathan Burtenshaw (2-for-3, 166.25 points), Lachlan Richardson (2-for-3, 166.25 points) and Troy Wilkinson (2-for-3, 164.75 points).
Triplett bucked off Barn Yard in 3.11 seconds to miss out on the victory. The Team USA rider was still happy to pick up 70 world points, but he admitted it was also a good wake-up that you can’t stub your toe in Australia.
“Not the finish I wanted,” Triplett said. “I let a nice, good bull buck me off. I stubbed my toe and lost my feet. I have some work to do to get ready for the Global Cup.
“I got some good points and that will move me up. That is basically the goals right now. Get points and move up in the world standings. I am ready to go represent Team USA and that is not going to happen again.”
Burtenshaw won Round 2 with 86.5 points on Annihilation in his first event back since undergoing surgery to repair a broken clavicle in April.
“That is the best I have felt so far,” Burtenshaw said. “Actually I am kind of surprised because last time I got hurt it took me a while. I guess when you get hurt a couple of times you learn how to come back. I came here to pretty much practice, get some down and string some together."
The 24-year-old picked up 30 world points to move up to 25th in the standings.
Mara had never won three consecutive events until now.
“I am pretty tickled right now,” Mara said. “I didn’t expect to win tonight. I just backed myself to ride my bulls and that’s what I wanted to do.”
Mara had ridden six consecutive bulls before bucking off Rock The House.
“The thing is I am probably not as hot and cold,” Mara said. “Normally I get on a good roll for a while and then I get a bit injured and sore and I go away and I probably just have to many gaps between my bulls.”
Mara has begun getting on more practice bulls during the week to try and curb his streaky habits.
He attempted four practice bulls on Friday night and things went in his favor once again.
“I was sore,” Mara said. “Now I am really sore.”
Mara will spend the next three days in Cairns at the Team Australia training camp before making the trek south to Sydney for the second edition of the Global Cup.
There is no plans for the team to attempt practice bulls at the training camp, according to Dunn.
Regardless, Mara’s recent hot streak is only adding to his budding confidence ahead of the battle for international bull riding dominance.
It is also has brought him some unexpected media attention.
“Oh it is definitely going to help me, but now it is putting too much media on me,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting that much attention. I like to run under the radar a little bit. It helps when I am riding to stay out of the limelight so I have something to fight for. But anyway, it just comes with the job.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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