MotoOnline.com.au delivers its weekly look behind the scenes in the world of bike racing.
Last weekend’s Queensland Raceway round of the Australian Superbike Championship marked the final standalone round of the season, and possibly the best one yet in a close race with the Hidden Valley round.
The vibe on Sunday made you feel like you were at an event, even if I personally was stuck in the media centre typing away for most of the day, but you must give credit where its due when the excitement levels genuinely do rise compared to previous rounds.
So what were the simple things that made the round that much more energised than the one a coupe of months prior?
Beverage giant Monster Energy Drink was on hand in a massive way, featuring a prominent display in the paddock with its 18-wheel ‘Monster Truck’. The semi-trailer doubles as a bar with a live DJ on hand, plus the very popular Monster Energy promotional girls. That was extremely cool and upped the vibe in the paddock.
Monster wasn’t the only company with an increased presence at Queensland Raceway, with Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing pitted out of a spectacular semi for the first time this season.
The Cougar truck usually is the team’s motocross and supercross transporter, however since the MX Nationals are over and Super X isn’t quite here yet, the team put it into good use for double winner Bryan Staring.
Also added to the schedule were Freestyle Motocross demos, with renowned stars Matty McFerran Brad Burch all wowing the crowds on Sunday in an action-filled dose of aerial acrobatics. The FMX show was in addition to the usual stunt riding from Triumph rider Lukey Luke.
Throw in the addition of Supermoto for the first time, plus the always exciting Aussie Racing Cars and the event offered a lot for enthusiasts to go home happy about. The increased attendance at Trade Alley was also a positive step ahead for the sport.
Some old school fans of the sport may say that all of these supporting acts take away from the main show, but in a world where entertainment is everything, I give the sideshows the thumbs up.
Adding to the Queensland round further was the return of the powerhouse three-rider Yamaha Racing Team in the Supersport class, returning to racing in the ASBK series for the first time since Phillip Island’s season opener. The factory effort’s return also saw the comeback of Kevin Curtain, Rick Olson and Pat Medcalf to the series, adding some much needed depth to the Supersport field.
The big question is whether or not Yamaha will return to ASBK fulltime in 2011 or if they’ll remain as the lone factory effort in Formula Xtreme once again? It’s probably too early to say, however I wouldn’t put money on their return just yet…
A wet Friday greeted teams on arrival to Queensland, with some of the Superbike title contenders looking worse for wear following the pair of practice sessions run on the opening day. Wayne Maxwell was the first to go down at Turn One in the first practice, before Bryan Staring hit a false neutral and crashed in the second session into Turn Four on a brand new bike. Glenn Allerton also fell, the only one of the three not to suffer bruising in the spill.
A familiar face in the paddock at Queensland Raceway was British Superbike contender and former ASBK champion Josh Brookes, there to support good friend Maxwell and always one to keep a close eye on the domestic racing scene.
The on-track action was as fierce as ever with Staring doing an incredible job to clinch his fourth straight win, plus you have to give props to Curtain for coming in and sweeping Supersport.
A massive congratulations has to go out to all the new development class champions, including Cru Halliday in Superstock 1000 C and D, Matthew Walters in Superstock 600, James Mutton in 125cc GP and Lincoln Gilding in the 250-Mono category.
Bring on Phillip Island’s L&H500 round at the start of next month, but if you can’t make it, the good news is that International Entertainment Group has confirmed live television on Seven during the V8 Supercars coverage.
Suzuki MotoGP team manager Paul Denning has dismissed claims that the Japanese manufacturer is considering quitting grand prix racing at the close of the current season.
Denning told British Motorcycle News that the British-based team won’t be downsizing its operation for next season or pulling out altogether, committed to improving results after a frustrating couple of seasons.
“There is always a rumour about Suzuki pulling out and reducing its involvement but as it sits of right now, Suzuki is committed to maintaining its current level of involvement,” Denning explained. “Keeping the credibility of Suzuki as a top brand is imperative and MotoGP is a very important part of that strategy. The focus now is more on improvement rather than any fundamental change of plan.”
It’s believed that Suzuki will retain Spanish rookie Alvaro Bautista for 2011, while Moto2 series leader Toni Elias is tipped to replace GP veteran Loris Capirossi, who is all but confirmed to be joining the Pramac Ducati team.
Superbike World Champion elect Max Biaggi could make a shock return to MotoGP in 2012, with Aprilia researching the possibility of a premier class return according to Italian reporters.
The MotoGP series will revert to 1000cc engines after next season, with Aprilia interested in developing its four-cylinder RSV4 Superbike engine in a bid to win in grand prix racing.
If the move is confirmed, Biaggi will return to the GP paddock for the first time since 2005 when he rode for Repsol Honda, the former four-time 250cc GP World Champion poised to be a threat despite being forced to Superbike racing back then.
Another new manufacturer interested in re-joining MotoGP is iconic marque Norton, with European reports indicating that Norton owner Stuart Garner is contemplating a GP comeback from the brand.
Reports have even hinted that Norton has been accepted for a MotoGP return by series commercial rights holders Dorna, an all-important step when considering entering the pinnacle of world motorcycling.
Riders or engine configurations for the Norton are yet to be revealed.
Here’s an interesting one: Davide Brivio could quit Fiat Yamaha at the end of this year in favour of becoming a rider manager. You could bet he has the power to pull strings in that particular role…
The JDR Motorex KTM 450 SX-F motocross bike of the late Andrew McFarlane has been stolen from MX World in Queensland, with the McFarlane family desperate for the bike to be returned. McFarlane was tragically killed at Broadford’s third round of the 2010 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals, his race bike given to the McFarlane family with great sentimental value. Contact MX World at 07 3823 2244 if you have any details regarding the motorcycle.
Global Action Sports has released the race formats for the 2010 Monster Energy Super X, Australasian Supercross Championship series, the revolutionary series entering its third season of competition. Designed to encourage short, action-filled racing, the formats can be viewed at www.superx.com.au.
Also available on the Super X website are the track maps for this season, so go over and check those out in our first real glimpse of what we can expect for this year’s series.
With Chad Reed pulling out of the Motocross of Nations yesterday and paving the way for CDR Rockstar Yamaha’s Jay Marmont to represent Team Australia in the event, the question again has to be asked, will Reed be 100 percent fit for Super X?
We have been assured that he’ll be at Super X, however there’s every possibility that he could be challenged by Australia’s best over the duration of the season if he’s not 100 percent fit.
We broke the news last week that Kade Mosig will join the Cougar Bourbon Honda team on the Lites bike in Super X, and the word is that the team is now looking to recruit a second 450 guy to line up alongside Todd Waters for the series.
At this stage it would seem like a smart move to put Dan Reardon on the bike considering his Super X form in recent seasons, however that does depend on his deal with Valli Motorsports Yamaha in the U.S. He’s no doubt fast, knows what to expect, and does have quite a big profile when it comes to the Super X series.
That’s all for today, as always, thanks for stopping by!