Features 27 Feb 2013

MX Hub: 8

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Today’s a pivotal day in the Monster Energy MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, pre-season, marking the official launch of the 2013 season at Raymond Terrace’s MX Central complex, near Newcastle in New South Wales.

All the major teams are in town, apart from the Carlton Dry Honda Racing team, and the good news is that recent rain in the region has cleared for the first real hit-out of the new year. And what a season it’s already shaping up to be!

Last night saw Yamaha launch its factory race teams in a fun event at the Raymond Terrace Ten Pin Bowling alley, but the real test will come today just a few short months following the Australian Supercross season conclusion. For us here at MotoOnline, it’s the perfect opportunity to gather content in the lead-up to the opening round at the same venue in April.

Part of the official announcement today includes some exciting news about MotoOnline.com.au and the MX Nationals, as we have increased our involvement with Williams Event Management for this year. The official series website at www.mxnationals.com.au will now be ‘Powered by MotoOnline.com.au’ and we’re stoked to finally officially break the news after what has been a lengthy project to date.

You can expect to see the fresh new site in the next week or so, featuring a lot of similar sections to MotoOnline, but what we mostly aim to do in this arrangement is give the series a real home on the internet that fans and sponsors will be proud of.

Between the series-leading content that we continue to produce on a daily basis right here on MotoOnline, all the complete series and team announcements will be posted on the series website. It’s a very unique relationship we’ve developed with WEM over the years and one that will greatly benefit the sport on a national level.

Jay Marmont revealed his 2013 Monster Energy Kawasaki setup at Raymond Terrace today.

Jay Marmont revealed his 2013 Monster Energy Kawasaki setup at Raymond Terrace today.

We’ll release more information across both sites when the site is up and running, but believe me, our team has done an exceptional job since we commenced the project late last year.

The interesting thing about these launches is that riders enter them uncertain of where the competition stands outdoors, eager to size up their main opponents. This year is especially important because KTM Australia is back in the mix with an in-house factory team, we have a pair of factory-backed rookies in Kirk Gibbs (Motorex KTM) and Adam Monea (Monster Energy Kawasaki), and a heap of rider swaps have taken place.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing if Waters can live up to his early expectations of being Australia’s title favourite against Ben Townley even if he has switched brands? Can Jay Marmont rebound for Kawasaki? Will Matt Moss finally excel on a 450? How comfortable is Billy Mackenzie on the CDR Yamaha? Is Lawson Bopping ready to be champion? How is Ford Dale’s fitness?

Not to mention the likes of Tye Simmonds now with Craig Anderson on the Yamaha, Jake Moss mounted on a Suzuki in an official satellite team, Cody Mackie back in the game on a Zero Seven Motorsports Kawasaki, and Cody Cooper’s flying start to 2013 for Suzuki in New Zealand. See what I mean? This year will be incredible.

Anyway, stay tuned for all the coverage we can piece together over the coming days as the real countdown commences to the Raymond Terrace season opener once and for all. For now though, here’s Makker.

Well the NZ Farm Jam is done and dusted for another year and my word, what a cracker of an event. Last year’s Jam was plagued with rain and sub-par weather, but for 2013 the weather really came to party, with cloudless, blue, windless days for both the new free-ride contest and the Farm Jam proper.

This year’s media-only free-ride comp was an all-new feature to the Jam, but it couldn’t have gone any better if we’d tried. The riders fought hard to impress their peers (both the free-ride and FMX contests are 100 percent rider-judged), with all sorts of crazy transfers, first-ever dirt-to-dirt flips, 150ft tricks, massive whips and blind over-hill hucking going down.

Some intense action went down at this year's Farm Jam in New Zealand. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Some intense action went down at this year’s Farm Jam in New Zealand. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Not surprisingly, Aussie legend Matt Schubring took out the free-ride comp. Schuie used to own the best free-riding property in Australia and is more than handy on dirt jumps. His eye for inventing new lines and his ability to easily conquer and trick a never-before-seen jump was awesome to watch.

However, on his way back home Schuie crashed in a creek and mashed his hand on the rocks, forcing him out of the next day’s FMX contest. Kiwi OG Nick Franklin, who impressed everyone with a second place at the free-ride, tore the FMX course a new one on his way to (finally) winning his first Farm Jam title.

After a big night around the bonfire sucking back beers and getting rowdy, myself, Schuie, filmer Allan Hardy, Unit’s new athlete manager Grant “Goba” O’Brien, MTB freak Andreu Lacondeguy and BMX phenomenon drove to the spectacular town of Queenstown for the night. Most of them hadn’t been to Queenstown before and had their jaws in their socks the entire time as they absorbed the soaring mountains and bright blue lake.

We flew out the next day and actually ran into the Motorex KTM racing team at Auckland airport as they returned from round two of the New Zealand MX Nationals at the always challenging Patetonga circuit. Todd Waters claimed second behind the in-form Cody Cooper, while Kirk Gibbs had a rough first moto and finished the day in seventh.

The boys seem to be enjoying the racing across the ditch in the lead-up to the MX Nationals in six weeks time (still that far away?!) and no doubt will have their eyes in when round one at Raymond Terrace heats up in mid April.

That’s all from me for this week. I’m about to head to Japan for a snowboarding trip (poor bastard, I know), so you’ll hear from me when I get back. Over to you, Adam!

Yamaha officially launched their Australian motocross and enduro teams last night at Raymond Terrace in New South Wales. The Yamaha crew put on a unique event which was held at the local ten pin bowling centre, providing a fun and relaxed atmosphere for all attending.

Billy Mackenzie's CDR Yamaha was on display at the Yamaha teams launch in Raymond Terrace. Image: Alex Gobert.

Billy Mackenzie’s CDR Yamaha was on display at the Yamaha teams launch in Raymond Terrace. Image: Alex Gobert.

CDR Yamaha, Serco Yamaha, GYTR Yamaha and the all-new CDR Yamaha backed enduro team were on hand in their first official outings for 2013. Team bikes were on display throughout the venue and as always the blue machines were looking great for 2013.

The Serco Yamaha team revealed their all-new look to the media in attendance, but the team planned to officially reveal Luke Styke and Luke Clout’s 2013 machines today at the official Monster Energy MX Nationals series launch.

The team has opted to take a different route in designing their race bike look, using the same base design, while changing certain colours throughout the bike. With a background in design myself, I think this idea is innovative and exciting – you have to commend the Serco crew for thinking slightly outside of the box.

Speaking of teams revealing new looks and changes for 2013, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jay Marmont has revealed his new ride with a difference this year. Marmont has returned to his former number two for this season, after his impressive four year run of Australian motocross championships came to an end in 2012.

Marmont’s 2013 setup, number wise, will align itself with Ryan Villopoto’s Monster Energy Kawasaki in the US. Both Marmont and Villopoto will run number two for the outdoors, and the number one for supercross. Although this is obviously a complete coincidence, it’s funny how these things work out!

We have just wrapped up our day here at Raymond Terrace, the track was prepped and the riders certainly put in some solid track time. While the riders did their motos, I ran around the track and grabbed some footage to put together – stay tuned for that film along with various interviews from a selecton of riders throughout the day.

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.