Features 12 Sep 2012

MotoInsider: 36

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September is a month that feels like Australia is in a holding pattern of sorts for motocross, kind of like the calm before the storm that will be the Australian Supercross Championship when it commences in October.

While preparations are underway for teams and riders, the next few weeks will blast by and round one at Dubbo will be here. It’s going to be an interesting series for many reasons, with so many unknowns shaping up just one month out from the opener.

Will Jay Marmont get to grips with his Monster Energy Kawasaki? Will Ben Townley be back for Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing? Will Tye Simmonds bounce back from injury? Will Dan McCoy adapt quickly enough to his brand new CDR Yamaha? Will Australia’s MXoN team be able to prepare for the series despite focusing much of this month on riding sand outdoors.

Lommel’s Motocross of Nations comes first of course, at the end of this month, but in no way do the likes of Lawson Bopping, Todd Waters and Luke Styke want to give up their title hopes completely when it comes to supercross.

Those questions noted above (and there are many more that I haven’t listed!) are what gets me amped for the series, although it’s a different kind of anticipation compared to what we feel ahead of the MX Nationals. The funny thing is, in the US it’s the SX season that has all the hype, before things are more settled come the outdoors.

Craig Dack will has some big decisions ahead of him for the 2013 season. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

It begs the question… should supercross or motocross come first in Australia? So many things come into play when asking these kinds of questions, especially the seasons and Mother Nature. But, an early supercross season in the summer time would be something pretty neat for the sport. On the other hand, positioning the MX Nationals first has also worked so well in recent years.

If there is one thing we can compare to America, it’s that the longer championship is staged first. Over here our outdoor season is longer at 10 rounds compared to four supercross events, while in the US their supercross season has 17 rounds before the outdoor series goes the distance at 12 rounds.

The signing of McCoy to CDR Yamaha has been one of the hottest topics in the sport recently, a bit of a surprise, but a very wise catch for Craig Dack and the guys at Yamaha. He finished third last year, is a renowned supercross contender and would have come at a bargain price.

He’s going to have to ride at his best throughout all four rounds and gel quickly with the team if he wants a fulltime seat in 2013 though, because so many good guys are up for grabs right now (McCoy being one of them) and there are a heap of factory teams with seats to fill.

CDR Yamaha hasn’t confirmed Bopping, but it’d be surprising if they parted ways, and of course Josh Coppins won’t be back next year. Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing has confirmed both Ben Townley and Ford Dale in MX1, meaning that Brad Anderson is likely out of a job at big red after just one season. Will he return to the UK or land somewhere else? But then again, team owner Yarrive Konsky said as recent as last week that he’d consider Anderson again if he has the budget to field three 450 riders.

Todd Waters is the main player for 2013, where will he end up? Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Motul Pirelli Suzuki would be smart to retain both Todd Waters and Cody Cooper after they went 2-3 in the outdoors, but then again Waters is believed to be being courted by KTM. In an interview last week he said he does have multiple offers, but would prefer to focus on the MXoN before considering next year seriously. In my eyes, it is he who holds the key to this silly season and once he decides, the rest will quickly fall into place.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s priority is Jay Marmont of course, so once he’s sorted then you can expect that team to move quickly toward securing its line-up. As for KTM, Waters is the rider at the top of their shopping list if rumours are to be believed. The brand won both the AMA and world titles this year, so their priority in Australia will be the outdoors. It’s important they win with this new 450 SX-F, or at least go very close to it.

And then there are the satellite teams (not to mention the many MX2 and MXD teams) that are going to fill once the factory slots are gone. With Craig Anderson retiring, a range of riders have also been linked to the Berry Sweet/Lucas Oil/Yamaha team.

I spoke to Jake Moss at Coolum’s MX Nationals round and he’s content to stay where he’s at with the Campbell Mining/TLD/Maxima Honda team for at least 12 more months. He’s shown flashes of brilliance this year and no doubt has the speed and experience to win, so going around again with the same team structure will only make him stronger for 2013.

Some of the more interesting prospects for next year are Jake’s brother Matt and also Dean Ferris. Both went overseas in 2012 and suffered seasons cut short through injury, which could result in a return to Australia. The word is that Matt Moss could be striking up a deal to ride AMA SX Lites-only for JDR/J-Star/KTM again, and maybe Australian Supercross on a 450 (now that would be a cool deal for a rider who loves supercross).

Josh Cachia had a tough American debut for JDR Motorsports. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Last weekend saw two of the MX Nationals’ top riders on the international stage, with Aussie MX1 champion Josh Coppins claiming 12th in the German round of World MX and Josh Cachia crashing out in spectacular fashion twice during moto one at Lake Elsinore’s AMA finale.

While both finished the Australian season strongly and they were racing in completely different parts of the world, the experience of Coppins on the world stage allowed him to make a reasonable impact. Meanwhile, at the other end of his career, Cachia had his first shot at America’s best in the 250 Class and saw first hand just how tough the competition is over there.

It’s interesting to see, because while we have a heap of local riders doing well over here, the step to the US (or even Europe) is a steep one that cannot be underestimated. In some ways it’s a comfort thing, getting used to a new series against the world’s best without being overwhelmed, and it makes you respect just how great the likes of Chad Reed, Brett Metcalfe, Michael Byrne and even the late Andrew McFarlane have gone over the years. The Moss brothers are two more that have landed podiums at the top level of the sport.

That is it for another week here in the Insider, but thank you for reading and remember to check back tomorrow in The Matthes Report if you’re looking to get your dose of news from behind the scenes direct from the US.