MotoOnline.com.au names the Top 10 surprises of the Monster Energy MX Nationals so far.
Every year a handful of riders step their game up to a whole new level and send bench-racers and pit-walkers into a frenzy with their sudden surge of form. At the same time there are always several racers who either fail to live up to the hype, or generally just have a shitter of a year.
MotoOnline takes a look at 10 surprise packages who have either seriously stepped up their game during this year’s Monster Energy MX Nationals, or will be the first to admit they haven’t met their goals and expectations… so far.
Todd Waters – Motul Pirelli Suzuki
Cairns’-born Todd Waters has come into his own under the Motul Pirelli Suzuki tent this year. Often hailed as one of the next big things in Australian motocross, Waters has grabbed the MX1 bull by the nuts and continues to apply relentless pressure on current leader Josh Coppins. Just eight points shy of the lead and with two round wins next to his name, the ever-professional Waters is on fire this year.
Lawson Bopping – CDR Yamaha
Always touted as one of the Australia’s fastest young racers, Boppo has found a new head of steam after shifting from the Motul Pirelli Suzuki to CDR Yamaha for 2012. Whether or not it the need to fill the massive shoes left by four-time champion Jay Marmont provided the incentive, the likeable Canberra lad has exceeded expectations. He picked up his maiden MX1 win at the grueling Hervey Bay and will be excited to end this season on a high note.
Jake Moss – Campbell Mining Services Honda
The highest-placed privateer in the MX1 class, Jake Moss has had to do things the hard way this year. With no factory backing or a plethora of gophers to do the donkey work for him, Moss has proved how formidable he can be when he’s got his back to the wall. He’s claimed race wins, and currently sitting in sixth with three rounds remaining, will be pushing hard for a top five finish.
Luke Styke – Metal Mulisha Serco Yamaha Racing
Just a year ago Luke Styke had a reputation as a loose cannon and a rider who was more hard work than he was worth. Look who’s laughing now. Serco Yamaha took Styke on for the Super X season, then the MX Nationals, and he has rewarded them with multiple wins, a work ethic that’s second-to-none, and a hunger to go out there and dominate the MX2 class each and every weekend. Regardless of the track, you can guarantee Styke will come out with swinging.
Adam Monea – Zero Seven Motorsports
You know a bloke is a talented racer when he can take a break and go concreting for four years, then return to be a podium contender every weekend. That’s Adam Monea in a nutshell. His hiatus from the sport has renewed his enthusiasm for racing, and, besides a new attitude and constant smile, it’s like he never left. Zero Seven Motorsports took a gamble signing up Lil Monz, but he’s now the highest-placed privateer across both the MX1 and MX2 classes, with several podium performances to his name.
Joel Milesevic – Privateer
When was the last time you saw a of two-stroke finishing in the top four of a senior MX national-level race… at the hands of a 17-year-old in his first-ever outing with the big boys? Probably back in the early 2000s, right? Well Victorian grom Joel Milesevic did just that at Horsham, when he opted to leave the MXD class (where he’d achieved moderate success) and jump to the MX2s for the rest of the year. His fourth place in the second moto raised a tonne of eyebrows, as was his top 10 finish for the day. Was it beginner’s luck? We’ll find out at Appin…
Kayne Lamont – Privateer
Kayne who? That was everyone’s reaction to Kayne Lamont’s inaugural MXD moto win at Conondale. Now the two-strokin’ kid from a tiny New Zealand town is a regular talking point as he continues his impressive form in the 2012 series. With four overalls from six rounds, Lamont is staking a serious claim on the MXD class, and his ability to ride a four-stroke as well as a two-stroke should see him become hot MX2 property in 2013.
DOING IT TOUGH
Jay Marmont – Monster Energy Kawasaki
OK, the reign of Australian motocross doyen Jay Marmont was bound to end sooner or later; you can’t keep winning titles forever. However, it’s disappointing his tumble from the top happened at the same time he switched from Yamaha to Kawasaki, then picked up a niggling knee injury just before the series started. He’s now seventh in the MX1 points and although he’s conceded defeat, expect him to try and have the last laugh as the series enters its final legs.
Kirk Gibbs – Metal Mulisha Serco Yamaha Racing
After starting the series with a hiss and a roar by winning the opening round at Conondale, Serco Yamaha’s Kirk Gibbs is experiencing an unrelenting spate of bad luck and disappointing results. His confidence is rattled and as hard as he tries, the easygoing bloke can’t seem to catch a break. He’s unaccustomed to having such a drought of top results, but we’re hoping things will turn around for him and we see him back on the box soon.
Jay Wilson – Raceline Pirelli Suzuki
Heralded as a hot favourite for the MXD title before the 2012 championship started, Wilson will be the first to admit he’s struggled this year. A wrist injury that refused to piss off hindered the 2008 World Junior MX Champion during the first half of the series, but even now that he’s fully fit, his bad starts have regularly left him scrambling for top 10 finishes and he’s yet to score a podium round result. Jay’s one of the most naturally-talented youngsters in the paddock and you can bet he’ll be working his arse off to get back to where he belongs.