Could we see a different landscape during the final five MX Nationals rounds?
With Steve Matthes taking a short vacation during a rare week off for the American Motocross series, I decided to fill in with a column of my own today, basically just penning a few thoughts on the return of Australian Motocross this weekend.
This weekend will signal what feels like a new season around the corner. The points won’t be reset, but for riders, the past month has been their chance to refine their programs and adjust the goal posts in a bid to be competitive in the season’s second half.
This year’s Monster Energy MX Nationals have so far proven electric. Josh Coppins and Brad Anderson have proven strong for the international contingent, not to mention Ben Townley’s massive win at Conondale’s season opener in April.
On the other hand, the rise of Todd Waters and Lawson Bopping as Australia’s leading young guns on 450s has also been a great talking point. Add in the likes of Tye Simmonds and Jake Moss on their privateer Hondas and you’ll see we have a strong group ready to take centre stage at any moment.
Entering Hervey Bay come Sunday, there isn’t the hype that we had at round one, but there is a slight feel of expectation. Many feel like now’s their time to rebound if they didn’t reach their potential in rounds one through five, and these next couple of months are when the silly season reaches full swing.
As fans, we feel as though now’s the time for the season to really fire up. It’s time to get serious and believe me, these next five rounds will be over almost before we know it during a two-month period. Come Coolum, three brand new Australian champions will be crowned.
At this stage, it’s going to take a brave man to bet against Coppins in MX1 during what will be his final five rounds of a legendary professional career. Waters has been exceptional, but he’s going to have to dig deep to beat the Lizard when it comes to the crunch over the next 15 motos. As for Anderson, I have a feeling that he’s going to be much stronger in the next few rounds.
The fact that Bopping has been spending much of the mid-season break in America will either be really good for him, or possibly even upset his momentum. But, in speaking to him yesterday, something tells me that he’s made the right move and he’ll be stronger than ever.
Unfortunately Simmonds’ momentum picked up at Murray Bridge is likely to stall since he suffered a broken nose this week in a heavy crash, but I’m pretty sure that we haven’t yet seen the best of Jake Moss on his privateer Honda (Coonabarabran was an indication of his real potential).
Out of the guys I’d like to see more from in the series’ second half, I’d have to say Cody Cooper on a more consistent basis, Daniel Reardon and Dan McCoy. All three have what it takes and have been up front before, but it’ll be a vital five rounds for them in my eyes.
Jay Marmont’s decision to sit out Hervey Bay is a tough one for both him and Monster Energy Kawasaki, essentially spelling the end of a season that seemed to have so much promise. He’ll be back before the year’s out, but no way will he catch Coppins and co to win title number five.
The MX2 and MXD classes are also shaping up as classics. Luke Styke has gone from strength to strength for Serco Yamaha, so if the likes of Ford Dale and Cheyne Boyd want to chase him down, they need to start now. If they don’t, a championship win for Styke could prove the surprise of the season – and a popular one at that!
This continuing four-stroke versus two-stroke rivalry has been fierce in recent weeks, especially since we here at MotoOnline have been doing various stories ‘investigating’ the plusses and potential minuses. If Dylan Long (or Sam Martin for that matter) manages to win the title on a four-stroke, he’ll turn a lot of heads in factory teams. That’s a fact.
Right now there are six two-strokes in the top 10 and guys like Kayne Lamont, Dylan Leary, Joel Milesevic and Kale Makeham have what it takes to win on any given weekend. It’s going to be up to Long, Martin, Jay Wilson and Mitch Norris to keep the 250Fs up front.
No matter what happens from this point onwards, it’s been a dramatic MX Nationals season to date. New stars are rising, the more experienced men are fighting as hard as ever, and the general interest in the series is higher than it’s ever been.
MotoOnline.com.au will be there, as usual, every step of the way to cover the series from all angles and, maybe even more importantly, assist in creating profiles for the top riders on a domestic level. It may be a busy time of the year, but for me, it’s no doubt one of my favourites.