Features 14 Apr 2012

In Brief: 2012 MX Nationals Rd2 Coonabarabran

MotoOnline.com.au has the latest news from around the pits at Goanna Tracks.

  • Ben Townley’s injury has been the story of the weekend so far at Coonabarabran, a sad exit for him from the series after such a phenomenal performance at the season opener a fortnight ago. What we know is that he’s been airlifted out for further medical examination, due to a dislocated hip. It’s uncertain right now whether it’s fractured or not though. Either way, we send our best wishes to BT and fingers crossed he has some kind of a miracle speedy recovery.
  • The biggest challenge for us media outlets at Goanna Tracks is the internet, or lack of it, to be precise. We’ll be unable to provide the live social media updates direct from the circuit this week, however we’ll have all of our regular website content ready to be uploaded as soon as we regain reception straight after the round. It’s not ideal, but the content from the round will run as usual in the same positions as always.
  • Defending MX1 champion Jay Marmont is visibly fitter this weekend, coming down to Coonabarabran directly after spending a week in Toowoomba with the Monster Energy Kawasaki team. The word is that he’s still chasing 100 percent comfort in the KX450F, but remember, Goanna Tracks last year was where he made his real surge toward the title in 2011. This weekend is vital for his confidence heading into the next eight rounds.

Jay Marmont continues to race through a pre-season knee injury. Image: Alex Gobert.

  • The Goanna Tracks complex has been refined since the MX Nationals were here last season, featuring additional signage and more tracks throughout the venue. The track looks like it’s ‘settling’ as well, with grass more consistent around the edges of the circuit and the dirt turned over a lot more since there’s been a lot of riding taking place here over the past few months.
  • Ford Dale went from Conondale straight to New Zealand to spend time with Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing teammate Ben Townley, which should see his already explosive speed even more impressive for round two. The 41 actually rode a 450 over there with BT and in speaking to Ben on Friday at Coona, he was really impressed with his speed on the Open class bike as well. If he can keep his composure throughout this series, Ford Dale is going to be hard to beat in the MX2 title chase.
  • The two-day format is in place for the first time this year at Coonabarabran, with the addition of two Vets classes and the ATVs for round two. What’s interesting is that Craig Anderson will be on the gates in the Over 30s class, set to prove a real threat to defending two-time champion Cam Taylor. In the Over 40s it will be another current champion in Darryll King who’s coming in as pre-race favourite.
  • We’ve made mention of a few surprise guys who struggled more than expected at round one, including Hart and Huntington/InsureMyRide Suzuki rider Daniel McCoy. After an outstanding SX season, he wasn’t anywhere near the front at Conondale after losing his factory seat during the off-season, but Goanna Tracks is a favourite of his and he’s spent as much time as anybody here during the lead-up to the series and this particular race. Look for him to be well inside the top 10.
  • An exciting aspect on each sign-on day at the outdoors is seeing the red plates of series leaders for the first time. Ben Townley (MX1) had it before his incident, while both Kirk Gibbs (MX2) and Dylan Long (MXD) had their plates on yesterday and the funny thing is, it’s usually the teams with the red plates on that unload their bikes to put them on display during the day before riding starts. Either that, or it’s just a coincidence as they put their final preparations in place.

Kirk Gibbs has the red plate in the MX2 class after his Conondale W. Image: Alex Gobert.

  • This weekend’s motos will strictly be run to a time schedule, meaning that the back-to-back motos on Sunday morning will be no longer than 15 minutes each (they were around 20 or more at round one). The final moto will be 30 in MX1 at least, with the specific time caps coming at the request of former world champion Ben Townley. We’ll still see a certain number of laps scheduled, but they will be set in stone after qualifying rather than at a guess beforehand.
  • Coonabarabran will mark the final time we see longtime CDR Yamaha team member Shawn Hodgetts as part of the series in an official working role (for now). The Kiwi has taken up a role with East Coast Generators in Melbourne after 15 successful seasons with Craig Dack and co, so it’s sure to be an emotional one for the boys in blue come Sunday afternoon. Hodgetts has been vital in the team’s success during his years at CDR and has also offered great assistance to MotoOnline since we launched.
  • One thing that we were excited for a fortnight ago was GoPro’s increased support of Australian racing, on hand at the MX Nationals rounds to produce the films that have proven so popular in the U.S. this year. There were a few hold ups in the initial round one process, but here’s what the guys from Lusty (Australian distributors of GoPro) came up with and released late this week.

Note: This In Brief column was completed before qualifying took place this afternoon.