News 14 Sep 2011

Moto Insider #36 has the latest dirt on the world of motocross, supercross and off-road every Wednesday. has the latest dirt on the world of motocross, supercross and off-road every Wednesday.

American Motocross

Last weekend’s final round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship was a relatively quiet one for the Aussies, a weekend that for Chad Reed, pretty much summed up his season.

Reedy was quick at Pala, a jump-filled, high-speed track that some had labeled dangerous by the end of the day’s racing, however he had a luckless round with two frustrating crashes.

The first one saw the TwoTwo go down in the first turn after squeezing title rivals Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey out of the gates, while his second crash was just as costly and frustrating as he went down while leading moto two.

Chad was visibly disappointed in the way his season ended, but all things considered, he’s had a remarkable year in 2011 as team owner and rider for TwoTwo Motorsports. When I asked him later how he felt about his year, he said it was a different kind of satisfying compared to his championship years.

Countrymen Brett Metcalfe, Tye Simmonds and Michael Byrne all had mixed weekends as well. Metty was his usual solid self with fourth overall after an entertaining battle with Reed in moto two, while Simmonds put in a good effort to take 11th in the last moto of the season. As for Byrner, he had two mechanicals and wasn’t too happy at all once all was said and done.

Pala was the place to be last Saturday as the two Ryans - Villopoto and Dungey - did battle for the 450 Class AMA Pro Motocross title.

Pala was the place to be last Saturday as the two Ryans - Villopoto and Dungey - did battle for the 450 Class AMA Pro Motocross title.

For Villopoto is was a dual championship season, adding the outdoor title to the one he won during supercross, and defeating Dungey while he was at it. Both were sporting the Team USA Motocross of Nations colours in moto two, and the crowd absolutely loved it as they battled from mid-pack toward the front.

Despite speculation, it’s still very much up in the air whether or not there will be a second rider on TwoTwo Motorsports for next year. The surprising thing we found out at Pala is that it’s Queenslander Byrne who stands first in line to grab the spot of it becomes available. However, a slight problem is the fact that Byrne has a two-year deal over at BTOSports/BBMX Suzuki and they want him to stay there.

Tony Alessi would seemingly like nothing more than to have Mike on TwoTwo with Chad, especially on a Honda, but that too remains uncertain. Currently, I’d say the chances of a second rider with Chad are 50/50 – he wants one there, but it’s not as simple as just adding another bike under the semi on race day.

How about Dean Wilson? He and Chad have sparked a great friendship and it’s obvious that Chad admires him a lot, but whether or not that will eventuate in a deal at TwoTwo for next year is uncertain. Is he ready for a 450 indoors? Can Chad match the money that PC and Monster will likely offer him to stay? Who knows!

Anyhow, those would seem to be the main candidates and Reedy must be proud to be in the position that he’s in. The word is that he’s locked in a major energy drink deal, which sources suggest is Rockstar, but we don’t have confirmation on that just yet. What’s also unconfirmed is the manufacturer that TwoTwo will be teamed with. Many say Suzuki, but Honda fits the shoes nicely at this stage as well. It’ll be one of those two.

We had confirmation that Metcalfe will be staying at American Suzuki next year, albeit with no mention of Rockstar, Makita or a second rider. The question is, will Metty be a one-rider in the factory truck, or will he be sourced out to a satellite-type team using factory equipment? All as Brett told me at Pala was that things would be “a little different” next year. Watch this space.

Simmonds would like to return to the U.S. in 2012, but it definitely won’t be with the JDR/J-Star/KTM team as they’re moving to a Lites only program. Tye would be a good fit on one of the many capable satellite teams in the States, especially on a 450. At 19 years of age, you can’t underestimate his performances as a rookie this year in the toughest class of all.

That leaves JDR with Matt Moss and PJ Larsen, while Malcolm ‘Mookie’ Stewart has also been linked to the team. How about this though, our friends in the U.S. media say Ryan Marmont will likely be back for at least Supercross Lites on the east coast – even if it means missing the MX Nationals back home. We’ll have to chase that rumour down a bit more, but I’d believe it considering his form and popularity earlier this year.

There are a lot of changes to come in the U.S. for next year, but they probably won’t all be finalized and revealed until Red Bull KTM confirms Ryan Dungey to their program. Then we can expect TwoTwo’s manufacturer revealed, along with James Stewart’s, Joe Gibbs’ and the rest. Things are about the get exciting!

Australian Motocross

We revealed this week that Ben Townley is seriously considering racing in Australia next year, turning his back on Europe and the U.S. to enjoy life at home in New Zealand while still competing in a world class series and probably earning good money while he’s at it.

Australia has huge respect worldwide and it’s a bonus for us as fans to have the likes of Townley, Josh Coppins, Billy Mackenzie and co. race in our national series. Coppins is all but confirmed for Yamaha, and you’d have to think that Townley’s Monster support would place him in the frame for a ride at Kawasaki.

But there’s also the rumour that four-time champion Jay Marmont will part ways with Yamaha, potentially joining Kawasaki with longtime friend Troy Carroll as team manager. Craig Dack and Yamaha Australia Motorsport manager Ray Howard were at Pala, with Dack telling us they’re no further down the track when it comes to negotiations with Jay.

So if Jay does in fact leave Yamaha for Kawasaki, where does that leave Dean Ferris and Billy Mackenzie? Ferris is almost certain to be Europe-bound as its believed he’ll return to Australia from a vacation over there this week with a contract in his back pocket. As for BillyMac, who really knows? He says in the latest edition of Motocross Illustrated that he’ll likely be in Australia, but Europe hasn’t been ruled out yet.

Where Townley will end up after all that is hard to say. Kawasaki would be a good fit, JDR Motorex KTM seemingly has the money it would take to lock him in, and Suzuki has the bike he needs to get the job done. I’m sure Honda would also be willing to give him a shot at the title, too. At this point, Ben told us what really wants is an opportunity to prove he has what it takes on first class equipment.

If Marmont moves on, Yamaha would have to consider putting a young Aussie in place of him alongside Coppins. The first person who comes to mind is Kirk Gibbs, but Jake Moss is also going to ride for the team in Super X and he could be a good option as long as he remains fit and focused.

Will Tye Simmonds be back in Australia next season? That's not yet certain. Image: Alex Gobert.

Will Tye Simmonds be back in Australia next season? That's not yet certain. Image: Alex Gobert.

One person we forgot to mention in all that who could also throw another spanner in the works is Tye Simmonds, if he decides to return home from the U.S. I would imagine he’ll stay with JDR Motorsports and KTM if he does, which would also mean he’ll race Super X with the team to finish out this season.

It’s all fun and games right now, but remember, Monster Energy Super X is just over one month away, beginning in Melbourne on 22 October. That’s when the wheeling and dealing will really start to get serious, if you were to ask me!

World Motocross

The FIM Motocross of Nations are on this weekend in France, with teams from all around the world currently on their way and set for what’s shaping up as the race of the year. Many of the biggest names in the sport are confirmed, including the likes of Reed, Metcalfe, Villopoto, Dungey, Antonio Cairoli, Dean Wilson, Ken Roczen, Blake Baggett, Tommy Searle, Tyla Rattray, Marvin Musquin and more.

It’s the event that could finally enable Matt Moss to make his mark on the world stage for Team Australia alongside Reedy and Metty, so fingers crossed the Aussies can stay out of trouble, perform how we know they all can and make big things happen.

There are actually a lot of rising European stars who have been killing it in the GPs this year, including Steven Frossard and Clement Desalle, however unfortunately both of those guys are out injured. One to watch with be Guatier Paulin though, who won Italy’s GP finale on debut in the MX1 class for Yamaha.

Is Christophe Pourcel in for Team France alongside Paulin and Musquin? Sources in Europe say yes, but nothing official has been sent out by the nation or Kawasaki just yet. If he is in that will simply add to the event as he’s been in good form back in Europe and would love nothing more than to beat the Americans on his home soil.

You can check out all the action on this weekend for fee, so look into that or follow a heap of the world’s leading media outlets on Twitter for minute-by-minute plays. As always, we here at MotoOnline will be striving to provide the best Aussie perspective in the game.

Freestyle Motocross

The Red Bull X-Fighters have arrived in Sydney, set to qualify on Friday and compete on Saturday in their first ever appearance on our shores. It’s a sell out, but never fear if you missed out on tickets as yesterday announced a competition to giveaway General Admission tickets in association with Red Bull.

To win is simple. All you have to do is head over to the Facebook Page, ‘Like’ it and then post on our wall in 20 words or less why you deserve to win General Admission tickets to the Red Bull X-Fighters finale in Sydney!

Check out this link for more information, plus the terms and conditions of the competition.

That’s all for this week, but meanwhile remember to follow us on Twitter and to ‘Like’ us on Facebook. We’ll be back on deck in the morning as I’m just on my way to LAX before hopping on the plane to Sydney.

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