News 21 Apr 2010

Racing Insider #16

Catch up on the latest from behind the scenes in the world of two-wheel racing.

The Pro Open bikes in the pre-start staging area before the motos at Canberra's MX Nationals round.

The Pro Open bikes in the pre-start staging area before the motos at Canberra's MX Nationals round.

The second round of the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals was a massive weekend in Australian motocross, where Cougar Bourbon Honda Thor Racing’s Todd Waters and Serco Yamaha’s Kirk Gibbs came out the big winners in the Pro Open and Pro Lites classes respectively.

The Sprint format is something to see, with four motos contested back-to-back for each class, with a length of 15 minutes for the open motos and 12 minutes for the Lites.

In between the motos there were just five-minute breaks for all except for in between the middle two of the format, which were 10-minute breaks. For the riders and teams it’s like torture, however for the spectators it equals fast-paced racing with lots of action.

Many of the riders commented over the weekend that they do like the format, however they’re glad it’s not something that happens every weekend of the season.

It not only takes its toll on riders, but every member on the teams have to be prepared like no other round, lugging equipment and spares into the starting area just in case something needs to be attended to in between motos.

Some of the things that you don’t consider when these rounds are on is things like the riders’ gear. Many swapped helmets during the format, new goggles were put on for each race, and some even had replacement jerseys and gloves waiting to go.

Interestingly, the goggle companies from the weekend who sponsor the main players, had to provide anywhere between 60 to 80 sets of prepared goggles for the round!

Perhaps the most dangerous part of the weekend is the possibility of losing points if you have a bad round. Look at Kawasaki’s Billy Mackenzie. He entered the round with the Pro Open red plate, only to miss three of the four motos (he won the first) and dropping to eighth in the standings.

BillyMac says he can still win the crown, but these young guys from Australia are pushing hard right now – the likes of Waters, Tye Simmonds, Dean Ferris and co. are really upping the standard this year.

Don’t discount defending double champion Jay Marmont though, the CDR Rockstar Yamaha rider has been on the box both rounds, improving from third at round one to second at round two, and I have a feeling that he’s about to hit his stride.

A highlight of the weekend for many was having two ANZAC international stars on hand, with New Zealand’s former MX2 World Champion Ben Townley and current AMA-based Aussie Jake Moss attending the Canberra round as spectators.

The news came through yesterday that round the Broadford round is replacing Barrabool for next weekend’s third outing of the series, however we’ll probably see the Geelong-based track back on the calendar at a later date in the series.

Again we had massive coverage from Canberra, so check out the following links if you missed out:

Video Interviews

Pit Pass Image Gallery

Track Access Image Gallery

Kirk Gibbs Moto Talk (still to come!)

Round Report

Ryan Dungey is the 2010 Monster Energy (yep, another energy drink-sponsored series) AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, series champion.

I don’t think that he even knew it when leaving St. Louis last weekend, but the Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider has clinched the crown by default since closest competitor Ryan Villopoto is out with injury after breaking his right leg in this scary crash last Saturday night.

It was actually a huge night for the series, first with the leading title contenders clashing and going down together, and then secondly when Villopoto went over the ‘bars in an unfortunate season-ending spill.

Some may say Dungey only won the series because of his main rivals getting injured, including Chad Reed, James Stewart and now RV, however we can’t forget his spectacular win at Anaheim 1.

The story’s done now though, and RD is your new AMA Supercross Champion, capturing the title in what is his first full season on the 450!

Since Reedy has come back to the series he’s yet to land on the podium two rounds into his return from injury, but you can bet that he’ll have his momentum built up by the time he gets set to defend his outdoor title.

ONE HD’s coverage of the opening round of the Viking Group Australian Superbike Championship was televised last Friday night with late notice from the series organisers, however the telecast was quite popular for those who saw it.

Airing both the Superbike and Supersport races from Phillip Island, Greg Rust is again the host, this year joined by Ken Wootton instead of Daryl Beattie in the commentary booth.

An addition this year is having Adam Bailey, who is the live announcer at Super X, on the grid and podium for pre- and post-race interviews, giving viewers the opportunity to see and hear from the riders behind the helmets a little more than last year.

Valvoline Superbike Team rider Glenn Allerton has gone to Malaysia today to contest the first round of the Asian Road Race Series, riding an ex-Cal Crutchlow Yamaha YZF-R6 at Sepang’s season opener this weekend.

This weekend’s Superbike World Championship round at Assen in the Netherlands will finally see the return of Australians Chris Vermeulen and Broc Parkes, both of whom have missed much of the season so far due to injury.

CV and Parkes will be welcome additions to the WSBK grid alongside fellow Aussies Troy Corser and Andrew Pitt, however it’s now up to their equipment whether or not we’ll see them at the pointy end of the field come race day.

One of the biggest news stories in racing this week was the postponement of the Grand Prix of Japan, which was scheduled to take place at Motegi this weekend.

Due to the volcano in Iceland that has disrupted European air travel over the last week, none of the teams could get their equipment or personnel to Japan in time for the race – a surprising way to see a round of the series rescheduled!

It’s now been confirmed that the Japanese GP will revert to the end of the season on 1-3 October, which must be a massive logistical exercise to rearrange the round for all involved in the series.

It’s probably good news for reigning world champion Valentino Rossi though, since he crashed his motocross bike last week and suffered a badly bruised back.

That’s all for this week, thanks once again for reading the Insider!