Factory-supported team yet to decide upon future MX2 plans.
South Australian Luke Arbon has announced his retirement from professional motocross after exiting SD3 Husqvarna, following just one round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals series at Wonthaggi earlier this month.
Following a serious spinal injury prior to the Murray Bridge round last season, Arbon briefly returned to racing this season as part of the SD3 Husqvarna team in the MX2 category and finished 11th overall at the opener.
However a surprise statement released via social media on Monday outlined his frustration within the SD3-operated team and he has decided to exit the team and racing altogether prior to this weekend’s second round at Appin in New South Wales.
“I’m just not enjoying going to the races and racing my bike,” Arbon told MotoOnline.com.au today. “As soon as that comes into play, you’re never really going to be able to succeed. I don’t want to be going out and risking my life every day for something I’m not enjoying and something that isn’t paying the bills.
“The last few months I haven’t enjoyed it that much, I haven’t had that passion for it and at the races I’m not enjoying it, so when that starts creeping up on you and you’re not motivated to push harder or whatever else, you’re never going to succeed. I just felt like I was beating my head against the wall a little bit and I’m not going to go out there to come fifth to 10th. I believe I can win, but with the wrong stuff around you it makes it really hard.”
Whilst working a regular day job and coaching young aspiring racers, 24-year-old Arbon – who recently became a father – looks to regain his passion for the sport away from the pressures of racing at the highest level domestically.
“For now I’ve got a normal job I can go to down at the wharfs and I can do my coaching thing and stuff like that,” he explained. “I want to purchase my own bike and just ride for the love of it, just take the stress and everything away and go back to the grassroots. Just enjoy riding my bike, that’s what got me into the sport and why I love it so much, just the freedom of riding my bike and enjoying it.”
SD3 Husqvarna owner Stephen McKinnon reflected on the success and hardships during the lengthy relationship with Arbon and wishes the former team rider the best in his future beyond racing. The pair finished third in the MX2 standings during 2014.
“We’ve had a great four years with Luke,” McKinnon told MotoOnline.com.au. “It’s been fun, we’ve had a good time and we had some success and some challenging times with the neck and what not as well. All of us at SD3 Husqvarna wish Luke the best for the future, there’s certainly no animosity from our side and we send him our best wishes in continuing his success in whatever he decides to do going forward.”
The future of the SD3 Husqvarna squad’s MX2 program is not yet certain with Arbon’s retirement announcement made public just yesterday. The factory-supported team will now evaluate their options and make a decision in the coming weeks, while continuing to field Brett Metcalfe (MX1) and Kaleb Barham (MXD) in the meantime.