Get the latest in the world of dirt bikes in this latest edition of the Insider on MotoOnline.com.au.
This weekend marks round two of the MX Nationals, the series returning to Sydney at Appin for what’s poised to be an action-packed weekend of competition.
There were so many stories left unanswered following Broadford’s mud-fest that we experienced for the Pro Open class, so you could look at this weekend as the first real indication of where everybody stands – if it’s dry, that is!
A massive storm hit the Macarthur region earlier today with hail and wind blowing a gale, however the long range forecast for the weekend does say Mostly Sunny on my iPhone App at the moment.
The interesting thing about this weekend is that although many pros ride at Appin during the week on any given Tuesday, they’re actually riding the old national circuit and not the new Bellbird racetrack that we’ll see used this weekend.
The majority of riders did debut on the new track at the series launch last month, plus the Macarthur club usually races on the track. In fact, last time we saw a club event held at Appin it was Lawson Bopping who won ahead of triple national champion Jay Marmont.
Billy Mackenzie is the leader in the premier class right now, but even he admits he’s not 100 percent certain where everybody stands at the moment. He’ll have to bring his A-game though, because you can bet that Cody Cooper will be super confident following his first NZ national title win.
What about Josh Coppins, teammate to Marmont at CDR Rockstar Energy Yamaha? He was forced out of last weekend’s Kiwi finale with a severely swollen ankle, now facing a race against time if he wants to contend on Sunday in Sydney.
Matt Moss has also proven his form on the new track by winning the club events of late, but we never had any doubt that the 2009 Pro Lites champion would be fast anywhere.
Moss and his JDR Motorex KTM teammates Brenden Harrison and Josh Cachia enjoyed a tight tussle at Broadford’s opener to go 1-2-3 on the podium, but I’m predicting even tighter racing this weekend at Appin.
A new format will be implemented this weekend in the Pro Open class, those guys scheduled to race two sets of dual 20-minute motos back-to-back. That is, two races together, a lengthy break in between while the final Under 19s and Lites motos take place, and then another pair of 20s to finish the day.
Personally I think this is a good compromise between having the traditional two 30-minute motos, or the four 15-minute motos back-to-back that we saw at round one.
There’s been a lot of work and adjustments put in since round one, not only in the bikes and equipment, but also for the riders who have no doubt fine-tuned their training programs after the opening hit out.
I can’t wait to see things get underway, so be sure to gather your mates and make it a day. It’s one thing to watch these guys in Supercross live on TV, but another thing altogether to experience them at full speed in the outdoors.
If you can’t make the weekend’s on-track action, be sure to tune into MotoOnline.com.au all weekend long as we present our very own pre- and post-race films, galleries worth of images all uploaded during the race weekend, plus news, results and reports as it happens direct from the circuit.
This weekend will also see us boost our Twitter coverage of the MX Nationals, so make sure you follow us @MotoOnline and don’t be shy to ask any question you may want to know as the races take place.
Finally, we also have the Fantasy League up and running in 2011, where each round winner will receive a custom MotoOnline.com.au #1 plate, as will the eventual series champion in a larger format. Check the competition out by clicking here.
Can season 2011 get anymore bizarre when it comes to U.S. Supercross? With just five rounds to go we have Australia’s privateer hero (or privateam, if you ask Doova!) Chad Reed leading by a mare three points and nobody expected that.
Former title leader Ryan Villopoto has had a crushing couple of weeks to fall behind the TwoTwo, while defending champion Ryan Dungey has clawed his way back into contention somewhat under the radar after his A2 chain disaster.
Reed was on ONE HD’s returning motorsport show RPM last night direct from Florida in a Skype connection, which was great to see on one of my all-time favourite television programs.
Check that interview out here online and make sure you tune into RPM every Tuesday at 9.30pm because Greg Rust and the boys really do give dirt bikes a good wrap in what is one of the country’s leading mainstream shows.
Now onto perhaps the most bizarre story of this year, hands down. James Stewart in prison! Yes, the news quickly spread yesterday afternoon when Bubba was locked up following what we believe was a prank of sorts gone horribly wrong.
Stewart reportedly used a set of red and blue lights in the front of his pick-up truck to pull over a vehicle on a Freeway in Florida, only to discover that he had in fact pulled over two off-duty police officers.
Once he realised then he sped away, only to be caught later at Orlando International Airport and taken into custody on Monday evening. He was discharged during the early hours of Tuesday morning and embarrassingly confronted by a heap of reporters, which is exactly what he doesn’t need considering he is on the brink of falling out of contention in the series.
The question now is what will happen next, and will he be allowed to race this weekend in Texas? From what we understand it’s a very serious crime to impersonate a police officer – especially to the extent of pulling over another person – and he could find himself in very deep water over the incident.
Part of me feels really sorry for JS7 regarding the matter, but he is an adult and is surely regretting what he thought would simply be a bit of fun in a quick road trip.
There have been some incredibly funny Photoshop images of Stewart popping up on Facebook and Twitter, making fun of his cop impersonation by placing lights on his bike – one even going as far to place him on a police bike while racing – so keep an eye out for them.
We’ll have a pretty cool surprise coming up over the next week or so regarding our AMA Supercross and Motocross coverage, so be sure to keep an eye out for that!
That’s all for this week, thanks for reading and we hope you have a great finish to the week.