Features 31 Oct 2012

MotoInsider: 43

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We have reached the halfway point of the Terex Australian Supercross Championships in 2012 (yes, already!) and already it’s reasonably safe to say that the series is in good hands with the International Entertainment Group (IEG) at the helm.

The addition of Chad Reed to the series and TwoTwo Motorsports’ debut in Australia was a massive boost at round two, plus IEG’s initiative to run a round of the series alongside the AirAsia Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was incredibly popular amongst both teams and fans.

Of course there were compromises such as a shorter track and the lack of grandstands for all fans to see the action, however you can bet in year two that those things will be addressed and it’ll be a sure improvement. The gains were clear though, because exposure and atmosphere were at their absolute premium all weekend long.

When Valentino Rossi turned up in time for the main events, I’m not sure if there were more people staring at him or the racing, but as far as he was concerned, the opportunity to witness Reed in action at one of his GPs was a huge thing. He was pumped with the race too, cheering on the TwoTwo and generally enjoying himself despite a nightmare two years with Ducati in grand prix racing.

The crowd at Phillip Island were certainly loving the on-track action. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

There were a host of internationals that made their way over to the Lukey Heights supercross precinct following MotoGP qualifying, including Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards, Randy de Puniet, Andrea Iannone, Mick Doohan and many more. It was unique and really helped shine a positive light on the series domestically.

Already IEG managing director Yarrive Konsky has confirmed that they’re investigating the possibility of hosting supercross events at more key motorsport events within Australia. Who knows, maybe next season we could see an event alongside the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars round or even Bathurst. The potential is huge.

Reed was in a relaxed mood all weekend long at the Island, not taking things too seriously, but obviously under immense pressure to perform as he was the main drawcard for supercross. He was spectacular in the main event, admitting he’s not yet in 100 percent shape, and planning to race himself back to fitness as he prepares for A1.

Reed wasn’t the fastest in practice or qualifying, and Simmonds managed to beat him in his second heat race. The indoor-style track was an equaliser of sorts, so it will be very interesting to see how the Aussie regulars stack up against Chad at the remaining two rounds on showground circuits.

The addition of Chad Reed and TwoTwo Motorsports has lifted the ASX series to another level. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

By the way, the first television program was a good thing from what I saw on SPEED last Friday night, showcasing Dubbo’s season opener with a great insight from Lee Hogan and Kam Williams. It’s definitely been a positive few weeks for the sport and although it’s different to what we were used to with Global Action Sports at the helm, it’s a refreshing start for the sport after an uncertain few months.

I was fortunate enough earlier this morning to spend some time shooting for an upcoming photo gallery of Dan McCoy and Tye Simmonds out practicing for the second half of supercross, along with NRL legend and massive moto fan Nathan Hindmarsh.

The three of them were sharing some laughs, putting in the hard yards in what has been one of our hottest days of the year in Sydney, and both DMC and Simmonds were sharing some tips with Hindmarsh before he competes in the celebrity race at Newcastle’s SX finale. That will be one event to see, because we hear they have some big names in the mix!

Silly season is in full effect as we speak and the music’s almost stopped for the 450 teams, from what we understand. The big news at Phillip Island was that CDR Yamaha is on the verge of signing Billy Mackenzie to partner Lawson Bopping outdoors, before McCoy could potentially return to the team in supercross if he is available at that point.

Stay tuned to MotoOnline to see the McCoy and Simmonds' mid-week practice gallery. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Monster Energy Kawasaki looks very likely to retain Jay Marmont and a second rider to replace Mackenzie will be signed this week from what we hear, but at this stage I’m uncertain who that will be. All as we know is that it’s a rider from the Lites class, according to Troy Carroll.

Apart from that, we’ve mentioned previously that KTM will consist of Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs, Suzuki will likely have Matt Moss and Cody Cooper (at least for the outdoors) and Honda has already confirmed both Ford Dale and Ben Townley.

The two top guys in the race for the MX2 title in the MX Nationals have unfortunately had their year cut short, with Ford Dale undergoing ACL surgery and Luke Styke suffering a broken wrist at Phillip Island during the Lites main event. It’s crazy in this sport how things can turn around, however no doubt both will be back and stronger than ever in 2013. Get well soon boys!

That’s all for another week here on MotoOnline.com.au’s MotoInsider, thank you for stopping by as always! We’re now preparing for a Bell Helmets launch tonight in Sydney, so stay tuned for more on that later this week.