Features 13 Mar 2013

MX Hub: 10

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It’s Wednesday again, time for another MX Hub, and one of the most popular posts of the week right here on MotoOnline.com.au. It has actually been a busy past few days in terms of racing and those preparing for the Monster Energy MX Nationals.

The big news of the past weekend was Ryan Marmont’s debut win with Raceline Pirelli Suzuki in the MX2 category over in New Zealand. Many had doubted his abilities outdoors of late, but lets not forget that he is a former national champion in his own right.

Marmont had a successful supercross campaign at the end of last year and no doubt knows how to run at the front as a veteran of the sport in the Lites, so it’s nice to see him back in form and also, more importantly, fit and healthy to do the job.

Another Suzuki rider who is on a tear right now in NZ in Cody Cooper, the Motul Pirelli Suzuki rider who is well on his way to reclaiming the MX1 title that he first won in 2011 before giving it up to Ben Townley last year. Cooper finished the MX Nationals strong last year and sat out supercross, but he is shaping up as a real title favourite.

What’s also interesting is that Cooper would like to do supercross in Australia, it just hasn’t worked out that way for whatever reason in recent seasons. He’s not an outdoor specialist by any means and has supercross experience over many seasons, so we’ll watch this space to see if he can secure a deal later this year.

Speaking of Townley, where is the current NZ champion and Australian championship favourite? He reportedly escaped any serious injuries when he crashed at the opening round in his homeland at Pleasant Point, but hasn’t been back since.

“It took the wind out of me and rather than risk anything I decided to get myself checked out,” Townley said of the incident at the time.
“I have been given the all clear, which I am thankful about, and other than some days off to recover we will continue to refine everything and prepare for our next race.”

Cody Cooper has been on fire in New Zealand aboard his Motul Pirelli Suzuki. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Cody Cooper has been on fire in New Zealand aboard his Motul Pirelli Suzuki. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

A quick call to Carlton Dry Honda Racing team owner Yarrive Konsky confirmed the team has been focusing on their setting away from the races at the moment, but stay tuned for a complete news story once we have more from BT and the team.

Another major talking point after last Sunday was Luke Styke’s dominance at Canberra’s East Coast round. He won the Open overall from Cody Mackie and Daniel McCoy, while Jay Marmont was also right in the mix before a bike problem effectively ended his day. Still, the big talking point was Styke and he’ll take a lot of confidence out of that performance.

A film popped up on Facebook yesterday afternoon of Josh Cachia absolutely ripping at Frankston aboard a Honda, but we’re still yet to receive confirmation on his signing from the Carlton Dry team. However, according to Konsky, the announcement could come as soon as this week.

That’s all from me for this week, here’s Makker fresh back from Japan, with the latest from his perspective. Welcome back!

The freestyle world got a hell of a shake-up this morning with ESPN announcing they’re dropping FMX Best Trick and Snowmobile Best Trick from all X Games contests going forward. There have been rumours circulating to this effect for a few weeks after the tragic death of Caleb Moore during the Winter X Games Best Trick contest at Aspen, but the announcement has still come as a shock to everyone.

While this smacks of a knee-jerk reaction to Moore’s passing and to stop more blood landing on ESPN’s hands, the more frightening picture here is what this means for action-sports progression. With no Best Trick competition there’s no legitimate place for riders to showcase their aerial inventions that can eventually find their way into full freestyle runs.

FMX is already going through a tough phase and ESPN’s decision could stagnate the sport’s progression and growth to a level that will be brutally tough to come back from.

Could the removal of best trick from the X Games hinder the growth of freestyle motocross in the future? Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Could the removal of best trick from the X Games hinder the growth of freestyle motocross in the future? Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

On the racing side of things everyone I’ve talked to since I’ve returned from my Japan trip has the name “Cody Cooper” on their lips. Not only is he keeping the likes of Todd Waters, Billy MacKenzie and Kirk Gibbs at bay in the New Zealand Nationals, he SMOKED them on the weekend at Pukekohe.

He carried double-digit margins over second place in the first two motos and finished the day with a 1-1-1 result. Word is he’s hit a whole new level in 2013 and people who witnessed his pace first-hand have said he will win the MX Nationals championship if brings that speed to Australia in four weeks time.

Four weeks, bring it! Over to you, Spence.

Maybe it’s just me, but these weeks seem to be ticking over faster and faster as we make our way into the 2013 season. Finally we are seeing a more complete picture of the upcoming season and the bench racing is heating up with more and more pre-season action going down each weekend.

Ryan Marmont is one of those riders getting amongst the action, recently taking the MX2 win at Pukekohe’s third round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship. For an experienced rider like Marmont, the win isn’t much of a shock, but after chatting with him earlier this week it had become apparent that he certainly had his work cut out for him.

Marmont revealed that he was riding a borrowed bike with minimal modifications, and to add to that it was his first time aboard a 2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 – he had previously been riding last year’s model from the Raceline Pirelli Suzuki team in Australia up to that point.

Aboard an almost stock bike, without any previous seat time, Marmont’s win definitely becomes much more of an impressive feat. It also points out that the 2013 Suzuki MX2 machine is a very solid package in near stock form.

Working alongside his new team manager Ben Lane, Marmont explained that he was very comfortable and excited for the future with the team. After many years aboard a KTM, I think some may have speculated that Marmont’s switch could have been a tough one – but there is no doubt now that he did it with ease. Click here to read the complete interview.

You can count on Ryan Marmont to be in the mix Raymond Terrace on 14 April. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

You can count on Ryan Marmont to be in the mix Raymond Terrace on 14 April. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

I had also spoken with Lane before they made the trip to New Zealand, and both he and Marmont are definitely on the same page. Both are looking to not only put in great performances during the year, but also lift the profile of their team and try to bridge the gap between themselves and the factory setups. If you happened to miss it, click here to read our Industry Insight with Lane.

I mean, yes it’s great to have your big factory teams such as CDR Yamaha and Monster Energy Kawasaki. But in Australia the gap between those guys and the smaller teams is a very large one. Even though the struggling economy is not allowing the big budgets needed, it is something that I think needs to be worked on in order to pull in more funding. Tricky situation, right?

I believe that we need teams and personnel, such as Raceline Pirelli Suzuki and Lane, to maintain a positive outlook and keep working to build their profiles. With sponsorship from outside the sport being a vital factor for the sport’s growth within Australia, this can only improve the chances and in the end create an improved program for everyone involved – from a privateer level, all the way to the top.

I would like to quickly take a few steps back now to touch on the topic of the 2013 Suzuki RM-Z250. As I spoke about last week, we received the first batch of goodies for our Project Moto RM-Z250, and with great weather over the weekend we were finally able to hit the track and test it all out.

All I can say is that the bike itself in stock form is amazing, and we have now lifted that level again with just some small adjustments. Once again, we can’t thank our friends at C&R Imports and Link International enough – keep an eye out for an update on the bike this week and in-depth reviews to follow.

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