Features 18 Jul 2012

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We are another round down in the 2012 Monster Energy MX Nationals and, once again, the title chase in the premier MX1 category is closing up for a mega finish in the final three rounds.

Horsham was another very solid event for the series, complete with a very promising crowd that makes me proud to be involved in the Australian Motocross Championship. The sport’s on the rise right now and seems to be going from strength to strength.

Todd Waters’ overall win for Motul Pirelli Suzuki was a vital one, but you can guarantee that he would have loved to beat Josh Coppins in that final moto. In fact, Coppins was probably more visually excited than I have seen him in the past two years when he won that moto in a clutch victory.

From what I can see (and I may regret saying this!), this title race is down to Coppins and Waters. It’s experience vs youth, New Zealand vs Australia and Yamaha vs Suzuki. It’s a rivalry that not many could have predicted, but one that creates a lot of hype as the rounds roll on. Plus, they’re two of the most approachable and nicest guys in the sport.

Josh Coppins and Todd Waters have cemented themselves as the top dogs in the MX1 class for 2012. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

We have to make mention of Suzuki’s 1-2 on Sunday. Jay Foreman opted to drop the MX2 program so they could focus on MX1 for the second half of the outdoors, and their dominance on the weekend has paid off. Cody Cooper could be key for Waters to win this title, if he can continue to get between Waters and Coppins.

Lawson Bopping was disappointed in fifth at Horsham, but in what was one of his ‘off’ days this year, the end result was pretty good. Boppo suffered from bad starts and it was a tough track to pass on in the conditions, but of course he expected more after that massive win at Hervey Bay a fortnight prior.

The man Bopping replaced at CDR Yamaha, Jay Marmont, was also back on the weekend and he said beforehand that he simply wanted to circulate, gain points and stay off the ground. He did do that and all in all it was a promising return – especially his fourth in the final 30-minute moto.

We thought that Marmont would be alongside Dylan Peterson at Monster Energy Kawasaki once again, but the young Queenslander was absent due to Kawasaki instead preparing for Billy Mackenzie’s return at Appin in a couple of weeks. Once BillyMac does come back, the team will finally be back at full strength with Marmont, Mackenzie and MX2 rider Kade Mosig.

One guy who wasn’t his usual self on the weekend was MX2 leader Luke Styke. I’m not sure if it was the conditions, which were mixed and could have easily led to costly mistakes, but he didn’t seem to be charging. Nonetheless he only lost 12 points to Ford Dale in the title chase and retains a very healthy 36-point lead.

Josh Cachia rode strong in Horsham to take his second MX2 overall of the 2012 season. Image: Dan McCallum.

Josh Cachia nabbed his second win and really looks as though he’s found his feet in MX2. Of course he was strong as soon as he joined the class last year, but now he’s winning on a consistent basis for JDR/KTM and belongs up front in any given moto. If he doesn’t win the title this year, don’t be surprised if he sets himself up as the favourite for 2013.

A strange situation unfolded in the MXD class at Horsham, with Shaun Redhead not there and instead replaced by Wade Hunter. Redhead has struggled a lot this year with injuries and his results just haven’t been where anybody expected. From what we know he’s taking time out and Hunter will be alongside Sam Martin for the rest of the season.

The weather at Horsham was looking to be wet and muddy (the first mud race of the season), but luckily on Sunday the sun came out for a basically dry weekend of racing. We’ve been lucky with the weather so far, although no doubt the sticky mud that we saw on Saturday and through parts of Sunday will make for a massive clean-up job this week.

I mentioned in the In Brief feature before race day that Tye Simmonds could be a contender in the mud, but of course he sat out the second weekend in a row due to his practice crash at home recently. It’s a shame for Simmonds since he had a podium right before the mid-season break at Murray Bridge, so hopefully he can return strong and make progress before supercross.

Rumours escalated at Horsham that the JDR/KTM Factory Racing team is set for some huge changes in 2013. This speculation has been floating around for a few rounds and we’ve even heard that KTM is taking its 450 program back in house and leaving JDR to field the MX2 team. There has also been speculation that JDR plans to focus on its US program alone next season. We don’t know, but this talk is gaining momentum by the round.

One person who I wanted to mention is Joel Milesevic, as he stepped up from MXD straight to MX2 on the weekend and will stay there for the rest of the season. The 16-year-old Victorian finished 10th overall, but it was his fourth place in moto two that got everybody talking – albeit on a privateer KTM 250 SX two-stroke! I wouldn’t be surprised if a team signs him up sooner, rather than later.

Making the move up to the MX2 class at Horsham, Joel Milesevic was very impressive on debut. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Last night we attended the Fox Roadshow, where our buddies at Monza Imports unveiled the 2013 range for Fox and Shift. The gear looks awesome, as we suspected, but unfortunately for you guys we’ll have to wait until 1 August before we can show you the pictures we snapped! A few key guests on the night included Lawson Bopping and Toby Price, plus NRL legend Nathan Hindmarsh.

Speaking of Price, with the Conondale round of the Australian Off-Road Championship postponed, the word is that he’s considering entering Appin’s round of Australian Motocross on 29 July. Considering his current form, a top 10 wouldn’t be that surprising from the off-road ace.

That is all we have here for another week, thank you for stopping by and as always, remember to search MotoOnline on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more from behind the scenes.