MotoOnline.com.au investigates who should make up the Australian team at this year’s Motocross of Nations in September.
It’s that time of the year again, where selectors are finalising who will be the riders on the team representing Australia at the Motocross of Nations, to be held at Thunder Valley in Colorado on 25-26 September.
With Chad Reed ruled out of the remainder of the AMA Nationals due to Epstein Barr virus and the FIM introducing an age limit of 23 years in the MX2 class, 2010 is shaping up to be one of the most challenging yet for selectors.
Last year’s team consisted of Reed, Michael Byrne and Brett Metcalfe, however with Reed likely to be out and Byrne struggling to date this season, Metcalfe could be the only rider to return – this time on a 450 after showing top form in the AMA series.
Also based Stateside are Byrne and fellow Queenslander Dan Reardon, while Matt Moss is the lone American-based rider who is eligible for the MX2 campaign this year.
Moss has had an injury-plagued year to date with the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team as teammate to Ryan Dungey, while his twin brother Jake recently suffered a back injury that rules him out of contention.
This year could be the year where some of our best domestic stars are selected to represent Australia after a very strong year in the Rockstar Energy MX Nationals, and leading the hopes for a spot on the team has to be three-time champion Jay Marmont.
Marmont is the likely replacement if Reed is indeed ruled out and could join Metcalfe on the 450 squad, however the 250cc position could go to a number of MX Nationals youngsters including Kirk Gibbs, Tye Simmonds or Dean Ferris.
MotoOnline.com.au called some of the top team managers in Australian motocross this week to see what their thoughts were on the saga, producing some very interesting answers that consist of a mix of international experience and Aussie youth.
CRAIG DACK (CDR Rockstar Energy Yamaha):
“My own opinion is that Jay Marmont should definitely be on the team. He’s won three national motocross championships in a row, so what more does that guy have to do to represent his country? I believe he should be on there in the Open class. I don’t know what’s going on with Chad at the moment, but if he is available then he should be the other 450 rider. If Chad’s not available then Metcalfe should be selected.
“The Lites class is a tricky one, but I think it should be Matt Moss or Tye Simmonds – I’m kind of on the fence with that one. Matt’s over there and he has the infrastructure of a team behind him with good equipment, but in saying that, JDR will be having a team over there so I’m sure they could have bikes available with KTM.”
JAY FOREMAN (Rockstar Motul Suzuki):
“The first choice, who I don’t know will be available, would be Chad, and also Metcalfe. And then you have to find a 23-year-old Lites guy, which then becomes the tricky part.
“Matt Moss is potentially the pick of the Lites riders, but with the form that he’s in considering his health and injuries, I don’t know if you could take a punt on him right now.
“Being in America, you have to also look at who can get the best bike in the Lites class. It doesn’t matter who you are in that class, you need as close to a factory bike that you can get.
“You would think that Tye Simmonds could get a factory KTM, and also Ben Townley has kind of taken Dean Ferris beneath his wing, so you would think that Ben could organise a decent bike for Dean.
“If Chad isn’t available for the Open class alongside Metcalfe, then you have Reardon or Marmont, and he’s probably deserving of it since he has three national championships. Maybe he does deserve to finally get a crack at it.”
TROY CARROLL (Kawasaki Racing Team):
“For the guy on the 250 my first thought is Matt Moss, obviously because he is over there and has been racing in the AMA so he’ll be ready for it. I think Kirk Gibbs would also be good, because he was the top Aussie in the Australian championship, so he deserves it and it helps to develop our riders.
“My third choice for the MX2 would be Dean Ferris – you could still put him back on a Lites bike because he is a well-deserved Motocross Des Nations rider as well.
“In the Open class, the first pick would be Chad Reed and the second pick would be Brett Metcalfe. For the reserve rider I’d pick Jay Marmont or Daniel Reardon.
“Again, with Reedy looking like he’s going to be out, I would say that Marmont would be a solid choice because I believe that if you do win the Australian championship then you should get a shot on the team to prove yourself to the rest of the world. All of these guys could get recognised on the world stage, so I think it would be a good idea.”
YARRIVE KONSKY (Cougar Bourbon Honda Thor Racing):
“Considering Chad is out for the rest of the AMA series this year, when we look to the AMA at the moment we have Brett Metcalfe who is running in the top 10 over there on the 450, and now so is Dan Reardon.
“The top 10 speed in the AMA seems to be far greater than the top 10 speed over here, so unless Jay Marmont can go over and prove that he’s faster than either of them then they should get the opportunity to compete for Australia.
“As for the Lites rider, it’s a very difficult one. Matt Moss left Australia as the current champion in the Lites, but how injured is he? Kirk Gibbs maybe, but then again, I don’t know if he is up to speed. On sheer speed, Ford Dale deserves an opportunity, but Gibbs has the overall strength.
“It depends on Moss’ injuries over the duration of 35-minute motos because there’s no doubt that he has the talent and ability to represent his country, but both Gibbs and Dale have proven as fast, if not faster, than many of our Open class riders here in the MX Nationals. It’s a very tricky one, for the Lites.”