Features 1 May 2013

MX Hub: 17

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Man, the Monster Energy MX Nationals have been epic this year, reflecting upon the first two rounds at Raymond Terrace and Murray Bridge. Luckily for us, the series fires up straight away this weekend in the first back-to-back rounds of the 2013 campaign.

There have been a heap of interesting talking points already in this series and we plan to cover as many as we can (and already have for most) right here on MotoOnline..com.au, but I have a feeling this year will only get better as it progresses.

Right now Todd Waters is no doubt firing on all cylinders, but even he was disappointed with his moto one mistakes (a crash and a stall) in South Australia. Billy Mackenzie has been a standout since joining CDR Yamaha and will only grow in confidence as the series progresses. In fact, I expect him to straight up beat Waters here and there, but doing it consistently at this rate will be tough.

It’s interesting to point out that if the GoPro Super Pole didn’t award points, Mackenzie would have actually won the overall due to his more consistent moto performances. As Craig Dack says, either way, the cream always rises to the top despite the series structure and its vital that riders make the most of every single opportunity there is to capture points.

Lawson Bopping was improved on the weekend, while Cody Cooper was a bizarre storyline of the round as he faded fast all the way down to 16th in moto two. I asked him what was up, but he simply said it was a few set-up troubles that held him back. Still, he finished fourth in moto one so it was strange.

Serco Yamaha's Luke Clout and teammate Luke Styke are looking to be the riders to beat as the series moves into round three. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout and teammate Luke Styke are looking to be the riders to beat as the series moves into round three. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

The privateer effort of Jake Moss was another great threat in SA, picking up the moto one win, but he too was annoyed with his second moto result. As for the likes of Ford Dale and Kirk Gibbs, small problems along the way upset their end result.

Monster Energy Kawasaki had to deal with a disastrous double DNF in moto one when Jay Marmont and Adam Monea clashed, before both were decent without being amazing in the second. Marmont faces a short turnaround for the weekend with a lower-back/upper-leg injury, but more than anything he needs to mentally move past last weekend if he’s to claw his way back into the title race.

And then there were the surprise packages like Jacob Wright in moto two with a fine fifth, plus Daniel McCoy was in the top six throughout the first moto before Bopping passed him in the final stages. Riders like Matt Moss and Tye Simmonds were consistent, but need that little bit more to edge closer to Waters at least.

What all this means is that, aside from Waters’ early dominance, this field is the closest we’ve seen in a long, long time – possibly ever. If you’re not inside the top three or four on lap one, good luck picking off the big names from that point.

The MX2 class is almost as interesting, although right now the question is can anybody catch Serco Yamaha? Luke Styke has been the pace-setter as expected, while rookie teammate Luke Clout was there to pick up the pieces when Styke stumbled in moto one – handing him the overall as a result.

What we need to note in all of this, for those who weren’t at the race, is that both Styke and Clout simply rode away from the field in moto two. Josh Cachia will no doubt get better for Carlton Dry Honda, but had the misfortune of a flat tyre in moto one, and Kade Mosig had a weekend he’d rather forget after a mechanical and a turn one incident during the motos.

While all that’s happening, we’re seeing more new faces in Brock Winston and Kale Makeham prevail on their two-stroke KTMs, and Ryan Marmont was improved for Raceline Pirelli Suzuki on Sunday. Teammate Geran Stapleton was stronger, as were the Choice KTMs of Dylan Long and Kayne Lamont.

Billy Mackenzie missed out on the Murray Bridge MX1 overall due to the Super Pole points system. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Billy Mackenzie missed out on the Murray Bridge MX1 overall due to the Super Pole points system. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Every single one of these guys are topical in their own right and that’s what makes this series so enjoyable to cover from year to year. In a lot of ways, the future has arrived and the new breed of talent is slowly but surely sweeping to the front.

That’s it from me this week, here’s Makker.

So, Super Pole hey? How about them apples? When Williams Event Management announced the inclusion of this new system for 2013 more than a few eyebrows shot up around the traps, but for the most part the jury was out as to how much bearing it would have on the championship.

As we’ve seen at both the opening rounds of the MX Nationals, that extra handful of points can make a huge difference to how things shake out. You only have to ask Billy MacKenzie, who missed claiming the Murray Bridge overall because Todd Waters claiming five extra Super Pole points, just what sort of effect the new format is having this year.

For the racers who usually excel at qualifying like Todd Waters, Jake Moss and Tye Simmonds, the Super Pole is a great addition and they love it. But if you ask riders who generally aren’t as solid at hot-laps, such as Cody Cooper and Jay Marmont, they’ll give you a totally different answer.

Whichever way you look at it, the Super Pole format has already affected outcomes more than most people would have anticipated and it’ll continue to make both fans and critics during the season.

Who will capitalise or capitulate on Super Pole this weekend at Wonthaggi is anyone’s guess, but you’ve got to admit it’s added a whole new element of entertainment and talking-point to this year’s championship.

That’s all from me this week – over to you Adam!

This weekend’s Wonthaggi round of the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals is going to be exciting – you might say that it’s always exciting, right? Yes, this is true, but this weekend marks the first round of the 2013 KTM 2-Stroke Cup and I bet I’m not the only one who’s pumped about that!

The KTM 2-Stroke Cup is kicking off this weekend in Wonthaggi with four rounds scheduled for 2013. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

The KTM 2-Stroke Cup is kicking off this weekend in Wonthaggi with four rounds scheduled for 2013. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Last year’s Coolum season finale saw the introduction of the first-ever 2-Stroke Cup event, and it was a great success. The class saw a full grid of riders on a variation of bikes – it was great. I also have no doubt that every rider, mechanic, team personnel, media guy and fan enjoyed hearing that crisp sound all day.

Not to mention the fact that riders such as Dean Porter, Brock Winston, Keiron Hall and US rider Mike Sleeter all got amongst the action, it was definitely a stacked field that had some seriously exciting racing going down. Click here to view MotoOnline’s raw edit from that event and remember to turn up the volume.

This year KTM Australia have continued to support the two-stroke’s and will provide backing for the series which now spans over four round. Not even one year after it ran as a stand alone event, this is quite impressive I think – it really does show how much of a resurgence the premix bikes are making right now.

Speaking of KTM’s support of the series and two-strokes in general, be sure to click here to read out latest news story from today where KTM’s general manager Jeff Leisk talks about their involvement in the event.

This year’s opening round of the KTM 2-Stroke Cup will see veteran Cam Taylor line up aboard his Yamaha YZ250, this will be interesting as Taylor obviously spent years racing at the highest level on a two-stroke. Another rider entered in the event is Errol Willis, the former Under 19s Motocross and Supercross champion is returning to the track.

Unable to land himself a ride for 2013 after a tough rookie season in the MX2 class, Willis resorted to working a regular day job and purchased himself a second hand Yamaha YZ250. We all know Willis has the skills and speed on a bike, so how will the time away from the track effect him? We will soon find out.

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