Features 25 Apr 2012

MotoInsider: 16

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We’re two rounds into the Monster Energy MX Nationals season and with the third round in six weeks this weekend, it’s fair to say the season’s grind is just beginning.

With Williams Event Management scheduling the series in a brand new format for this year when it comes to the calendar, I’m already a big fan. In short, we have three rounds run every second weekend to start to year, then back-to-back rounds in WA and SA lead us into the mid-season break.

At that point we’ll take time out for a full five weekends before the series enters its second half, which will play out much the same as the first. I like the consistency and in speaking to the riders, they’re mapping out their schedules in much the same way.

What I mean by that is, those who may not be getting the results they expected to start with are anxious for this break to come, simply because it gives them some time to hit the reset button – both mentally and physically. Before then though, each class has no less than nine motos (three per round) to run!

This weekend at Wonthaggi is going to offer some real insight as to who’s hot for these titles. It’s the first of the ‘softer’ rounds in the season, meaning that those who excel in sand or soft soil should much prefer these upcoming events compared to Conondale and Goanna Tracks (that’s way easier to type than Coonabarabran, by the way!).

With Wonthaggi, Wanneroo, Hervey Bay and Coolum all featuring soft dirt that will really roughen up during the rounds, it’s essential that riders search for those type of training grounds, which is easier said than done for the most part.

The race is on for the 2012 MX1 title in the Monster Energy MX Nationals. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

That’s why I’m a big believer that the likes of Todd Waters, Jay Marmont, Jake Moss, Ford Dale, Kade Mosig, Dylan Peterson, Aden De Jager and Brock Winston to name a few will quickly adapt this weekend at Wonthaggi, since they were at the Sunshine State round at Coolum during the past weekend.

Waters has been incredibly quick this year and was again fast in Queensland, but you have to give credit where it’s due for Moss, Marmont and Mosig travelling all around the country to ensure they’re prepared as best as they possibly can be.

In fact, when you count the Moree round of the New South Wales state titles the weekend before Coona, pretty much all of those guys have been racing every weekend since Conondale’s MXN opener. Remember, seat time and race miles are what Marmont feels won him the Pro Open title in 2011.

Speaking of Peterson above, props go to Monster Energy Kawasaki for giving a young Aussie a chance on the factory bike of Billy Mackenzie. Rather than going the American route, which was originally the plan of Monster and the team, it was decided that an Aussie rising star would be the wise choice.

Besides, when you have Jay Marmont on the team and he’s just gaining momentum, why potentially take away resources to have an American come and race? Fair enough they could win some races for some short-term benefits, but the long-term gains if Marmont can win this title will be far greater.

It’s good for Kawasaki too, because they’re indicating to the young guys in this country that they’re prepared to give them a chance if the opportunity arises. It’s a shame to see Mackenzie out of the running so soon though, because many were impressed with his form at the opening two rounds despite the falls.

For any of these Aussies to step up and battle Kiwi Josh Coppins for the title though, they’re going to have to start getting it together on race day at the nationals. It’s still early in the season, but you don’t want to let a guy like him gain an advantage too soon, because he’s unlikely to make any major mistakes with comfort on his side.

Josh Coppins is the early leader of the MXN premier class and you don't want to let him get away. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

The news stemming from down south right now is that it’s been raining this week, which will hopefully make for a top track come race day. The bad news is that it’s schedule to shower pretty much all week, including a ‘shower or two’ on race day – whatever that means!

With all the rain we’ve had on the East Coast of Australia recently riders should be prepared for it, but then again, I don’t know too many guys who like to ride in the mud when it’s not a necessity – especially privateers that mostly pay for their own equipment.

Rain, hail or shine, one guy I’m predicting to be fast this weekend is Brad Anderson. He’s spent a lot of time at the venue and definitely had the pace at Conondale, so believe me when I say this weekend is his best chance yet to win. He needs to win basically, because the Lizard has a 31-point lead on him already and that could quickly become 40-plus if Josh has a good weekend.

Before we head off real quick, the news that Yarrive Konsky’s International Entertainment Group will take over the Australian Supercross Championship continues to gather traction. Sources at Darwin’s Australian Superbike round (run by IEG) last weekend believe it’s pretty much a done deal, which at least gives the sport a platform to stand on. Lets hope we get confirmation soon so people can start planning.

As usual Doova is running the official MotoOnline.com.au MX Nationals Fantasy League in the iMoto Community Forum, so stop by the Events section and remember to get your tips in. They’re hard to win, but it’s a good feeling if you do manage to get it done and we’re close to announcing some sweet prizes in a round-by-round structure!

Anyhow, that’s enough from me on this Anzac Day in Australia, thank you for taking the time to stop by and we look forward to seeing how the MXN round plays out come Sunday. Remember, we’ll be live on Twitter and Facebook all weekend long!