Features 20 Feb 2013

MX Hub: 7

Take an all-access look at your sport every Wednesday on MotoOnline, presented by Oakley.

It’s a funny thing, the off-season, filled with a heap of hype and every year we seem to be telling the same story – this season coming will be the best yet. Naturally, it’s one of my favourite parts of the year as a moto-journalist, usually because the guessing games we play at this time of the year vouch for much of the pre-season interest.

This time next week we’ll be at the official launch of the Monster Energy MX Nationals, opening what is again shaping up to be a landmark year in the sport. There’s just something about Australian Motocross that gains momentum every year, much to the credit of Kevin Williams and his team from WEM. By the way, happy birthday Kev!

Anyway, teams have been hard at work of late and it’s not so clear right now who the contenders will be come round one at the same venue in less that two months on 14 April. Can Ben Townley bounce back? Will Jay Marmont win for Kawasaki? What riders will be crowned the new champs in 2013? There are so many questions that remain unanswered right now.

Late last week we scored Josh Cachia’s first published comments about his upcoming switch to Carlton Dry Honda. Never one to hold back his thoughts, the 21-year-old spoke out about his new ride and although a contract isn’t signed just yet, the deal is done and pen will meet paper within the next day or two according to team owner Yarrive Konsky. Here’s a first look at Cachia back in red…

Josh Cachia was spotted riding a borrowed Honda today complete with Shift/Fox gear for the first time. Image: Josh Cachia Fan Page Facebook.

Josh Cachia was spotted riding a borrowed Honda today complete with Shift/Fox gear for the first time. Image: Josh Cachia Fan Page Facebook.

By the way, nothing has officially been announced to my knowledge yet, but along with Honda’s switch to Shift MX this year, the factory team will also use Pro Circuit exhaust systems instead of Akrapovic. We don’t know the extent of their PC deal, but we’ll keep an eye out.

The addition of Cachia to the MX2 category is actually really good for the sport, because along with Serco Yamaha’s Luke Styke, Zero Seven Motorsports’ Kade Mosig and Raceline Pirelli Suzuki’s Ryan Marmont, those four will bring experience to the class.

Add in the rising stars such as Styke’s super-quick teammate Luke Clout, Marmont’s teammate Geran Stapleton, KTM’s youthful combo of Kayne Lamont, Dylan Long and Kale Makeham, plus more, and we have a real show on our hands.

New Zealand motocross will continue this weekend at Patetonga, providing a further insight of how Townley and Todd Waters will stack up this year. Then there’s Cody Cooper, Billy Mackenzie and Kirk Gibbs that will all feature in the MX Nationals mix somewhere in 2013.

A new addition to NZ this weekend will be Jay Wilson, who has headed over with GYTR Yamaha’s Mike Ward to contest the MX2 class as part of Josh Coppins’ new JCR Yamaha program alongside Mackenzie and Scott Columb. I have a feeling that Jay is going to really evolve quickly under the guidance of the Yamaha teams in that structure, especially when he returns for MXD.

Many of the national regulars not campaigning the NZ series were scheduled to ride the opening round of the Queensland-based Sunshine State titles at Coolum this weekend, however heavy rain in the region has forced the rescheduling of that event.

Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates Jay Marmont and Adam Monea are up in Toowoomba as we speak for some scheduled testing and in speaking to Marmont last night, he’s really happy with the progress made since last year on the 2013 KX450F. Last year was a disaster with no podiums for Marmont outdoors coming off four straight titles, but his SX title win came as a real confidence booster for him.

CDR Yamaha announced this week that it will officially take over from Ballard’s as the off-road team, as Craig Dack expands his powerhouse operation in his 21st year of running Yamaha’s factory motocross effort. How will it affect the moto program? Probably not at all, but it is something to consider and I’m sure he’s got it figured out to a tee. Everything CDR does is first class.

Craig Dack will take on an extended off-road program alongside his MX team this year. Image: Simon makker/Makkreative.com.

Craig Dack will take on an extended off-road program alongside his MX team this year. Image: Simon makker/Makkreative.com.

Just one final reminder, if you’re in Victoria this weekend and want to catch some action, head down to Phillip Island for the opening round of the Superbike World Championship and check out the national Arenacross action at Lukey Heights while you’re at it. We’ll be there to see how it’s all going down!

That’s it from me for today, here’s Makker.

This edition of MX Hub comes to you from the deep, dark, armpit of New Zealand’s South Island. I’m here in Southland helping the Frew brothers put the finishing touches to the NZ Farm Jam, which will go down on Saturday.

Basically the event is unique in the fact it features FMX, BMX and MTB contests all combined in one location at the same time and each comp is 100 percent rider judged.

This year the FMX is shaping up to be the best ever. About 10 Australian riders are making the journey over to ride the green hillsides in a brand-new two-day format that includes a freeride contest only open to media and riders (which will be 50 percent of the final score), before the proper Farm Jam comp on Saturday.

The weather forecast is for mostly fine with little wind, so we couldn’t ask for better conditions than that! Some of the moto riders who are competing include Matt Schubring, Pat Bowden, Tyrone Gilks, Joe Sheppard, Nick Franklin, Joel Brown and Spanish MTB shredder Andreu Lacondeguy, who is going to compete in all three disciplines. The guy is loco.

Unfortunately the likes of Josh Sheehan and Levi Sherwood have their sights set on the Red Bull X-Fighters in a couple weeks’ time, and it sounds like they may have had the screws put on them to save themselves for the high-profile series.

Interestingly, I also heard this week at Wagga’s Truman Carroll has been invited to compete at the opening X-Fighters round at Mexico City for the first time, but we haven’t heard any confirmation on that.

Farm Jam will take place in New Zealand this weekend. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Farm Jam will take place in New Zealand this weekend. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

On the racing side of things, I’m in the process of getting a few people’s opinions on the recently announced Darwin round of the Australian Supercross Championship for a ‘The Point’ story for later this week. The general consensus? Mixed to say the least. You’ll be able to read more in the next few days.

That’s all for me for now. Over to you, Spence!

The excitement is slowly building in lead up to the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals series, with the official series launch set to take place next Wednesday at Raymond Terrace in New South Wales – that same venue will also serve as the opening round.

MotoOnline.com.au will obviously be on hand to cover all of the event’s happenings and I personally will be getting behind the lens to grab some footage throughout the day. Stay tuned for that.

The official series launch will definitely boost the amount of hype amongst media, industry and riders. With competitors hitting the track together for the first time in 2013, they will be inspecting their rivals and possibly kicking off little battles before the racing has even began.

I personally can’t wait to see the fresh team outfits for the new year, along with checking out who is really going to bring the heat come round one. All I can say is, let the bench racing begin!

Speaking of round one, a familiar face who you will not see lining up behind the gates will be Cheyne Boyd. The Victorian veteran will be toning down his program for 2013, but in no way does this mean Boyd is disappearing from the sport any time soon. Click here to read the complete news story.

While chatting with Boyd last week, he told me that he just could not put together the right deal which would allow him to compete in both the motocross and supercross series – financially it was not possible.

Cheyne Boyd has reduced his racing priorities ahead of this season. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Cheyne Boyd has reduced his racing priorities ahead of this season. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Boyd will still race the complete 2013 Australian Supercross Championships, but will only attend the Vet events during the outdoor season. Although this will give him time to get back to his roots and race some local events, along with plans to put together some free riding style film clips.

Boyd has picked up a job with quarry owner Dan Krusic, who has offered up a very unique opportunity for him. Already having built his supercross track last year on Krusic’s property, he now has the opportunity to work full time and have Krusic’s multiple tracks at his disposal.

He has a selection of motocross tracks and his very own supercross track right there at his workplace. Boyd now finishes up work and can ride within minutes, can anyone say convenient?

Boyd will still be Honda mounted, receiving continued support from them, along with a new deal where he will wear Alpinestars gear and Bell helmets. We’ve recently seen Justin Barcia go this same route with the Alpinestars gear in the US, and surely Boyd will give great exposure to the brand domestically.

Remember to check out all of MotoOnline.com.au’s social networking channels and be sure to Like/Follow us for even more behind the scenes insights. We will be further increasing our focus on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for the season ahead. Just search MotoOnline.