Features 2 May 2012

MotoInsider: 17

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The conclusion of Wonthaggi now means that we’re three rounds into the Monster Energy MX Nationals, leaving seven to go in what’s shaping up to be a real dogfight for these titles across all three categories. I’m pumped and, to be honest, the general feel of each event so far has been even more positive than last year.

Wonthaggi was a breakthrough in my opinion. It had the feel of a big event and the pit setting meant that the atmosphere was first class due to the ‘pit lane’ style of truck parking for the factories. People seemed to be enjoying their time at the track too, which bodes well for a positive return in 2013.

The Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team couldn’t have won both the MX1 and MX2 classes on a better weekend. Yarrive Konsky had a massive hospitality unit set up trackside, complete with catering and all to serve a huge amount of corporate guests. I ducked in there for a minute and they were loving it, so to win was a real bonus for the Melbourne-based squad.

One thing to note from Sunday across the three regular categories that are MX1, MX2 and MXD, we had nine different winners in nine motos. That screams parity across the board and the talent is deep within all of the races. Whoever wins these titles this year will need all kinds of things on their side, including speed, consistency and of course a sprinkle of luck.

If you happened to miss our coverage for whatever reason, remember to flick back through the archives from across the weekend and also early this week for the Pre-Moto Show and post-Moto Show, as well as a selection of images, news, results and features. Plus, there are plenty more to come this week and next.

We saw plenty of biffo on track over the weekend, but the standouts included one between Josh Cachia and Errol Willis in moto two of the MX2, plus one between Anderson and Lawson Bopping in MX1. Red mist was definitely seen on both occasions, but at the end of the day it was harmless stuff that will no doubt create further rivalries as the season progresses. We’ll be sure to keep an eye on it!

Another topic on the weekend was the expanding return of 250cc two-strokes in the MXD ranks. Kiwi Kayne Lamont switched to a KTM 250 SX at Wonthaggi and won overall, plus we’ve seen them strong all season long.

The thing is, some team managers that I’ve spoken to have commented that these guys racing two-strokes isn’t ideal for their development if they’re to step back to a 250F later in their career.

It’s an interesting topic and one that can be seen from multiple dimensions, especially since two-strokes are generally thought to be cheaper to run than four-strokes and create the power without so many mods. Only time will tell how they go once they switch to four-strokes later, so that’s another thing to watch for.

I spoke to Josh Coppins today as he landed back in New Zealand and he was kind of disappointed with his performance in the first two motos at Wonthaggi. He knows these young guys have raw speed on their side and lay it on the line, so it’s up to him to ride well in those first races before capitalizing on the final 30.

The MX Nationals have been thriving under the support of Monster Energy in 2012. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Coppins and Bopping were testing at Rosebud this week preparing for the sands of Wanneroo, and he said he’s already feeling at home in the sand since he was based right near Lommel in Belgium during his iconic grand prix career. I’m actually excited to see him in action in WA against the Aussies and Brad Anderson.

Today I also took some time out to give Ben Townley a quick call across the Tasman to see how he’s travelling, and although he’s understandably frustrated with his injuries, he’s in good spirits. BT will probably be at every round from Murray Bridge onwards, all going well with his health, so that will be a welcome return for him.

A number of riders will head west early in a bid to prepare for Wanneroo, including Jay Marmont and a host of others. Each round is vital for these guys, so to get over there and make themselves at home in the very different dirt to the east coast is a good idea and shows just how committed these guys are to winning.

Speaking of Marmonts, Ryan has been ruled out of at least the Wanneroo and Murray Bridge rounds of the MX Nationals, following his scary crash in moto three last weekend. He’s been struggling with his hand all season and he said today that he’s not even certain if he’ll be back for the rest of the season – watch this space.

It’s a big number of weeks coming up here in Australian MX, so that’s all for now, but remember to check back tomorrow for when FOX presents The Matthes Report from our good mate Steve Matthes with all the latest news from the U.S. Until next time…