Features 29 May 2013

MX Hub: 21

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Grand prix Motocross is well and truly back on the radar for rising Australian riders, so it’s fitting then that a GP return – most likely to Victoria – is becoming more realistic as every year passes.

Youthstream president Guiseppe Luongo makes no secret that he’s well keen to have the FIM Motocross World Championship return to Australia, over 10 years after the series graced Broadford back in 2000 and 2001. It’s unlikely to happen in 2014, but it’d be no surprise to see an event take place the following year.

We contacted Motorcycling Victoria’s Andrew Weiss on the subject earlier today, however he wasn’t able to comment on the record about a possible return to Broadford at this stage.

It’s interesting to see the interest our guys now currently have in the GPs. Current MX1 series leader Todd Waters was scheduled to ride the French and Italian GPs during the MX Nationals mid-season break, however following his recent head injury he’s decided to wait until later in the season.

MX2 series leader Luke Styke had been in talks with Dean Ferris’ Monster Energy Yamaha team to do those same races according to our friends at MX Large in Europe, but Yamaha Australia put a stop to that in order for him to focus on his Australian title.

Still, it’s expected Styke will go over and spend time with Ferris to see if he can potentially land a deal full time for 2014. Remember, Styke rode a Monster Energy Yamaha at last year’s Motocross of Nations, so he’s familiar with the Dixon team and does have links to them from that event.

It’s great for the sport locally and will really give us some quality riders to watch for alongside Ferris in the years to come. Personally, I think it’s a result of the MX Nationals series here being so strong that many of our top guys are real Motocross specialists rather than putting so much emphasis on Supercross.

Luke Styke will have to put his GP plans on hold for now. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Luke Styke will have to put his GP plans on hold for now. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Speaking of the mid-season layoff, Moss brothers Matt and Jake are scheduled to spend time in the US. Both former regulars in the AMA, no doubt they will take full advantage of the Californian tracks and come back even faster for the MXN’s second half.

Also remember that during the break we’ll see the likes of Waters, Jay Marmont and Kirk Gibbs racing the Manjimup 15,000 in Western Australia at Cosy Creek. In addition, top American privateer Weston Peick will headline the internationals alongside Jamie Law. Should be awesome!

That’s all from me for this week, here’s Makker.

Last week I hit up five moto industry heavyweights to find out who they think are the next kid-racers coming through the ranks. Surprisingly the opinions were extremely varied, which can only be a solid indication of just how deep the field of potential champions is in 2013.

While Todd Waters and Matt Moss start to gather a head of steam in the MX1 class and Luke Styke and Josh Cachia begin pulling away in the MX2 class, there’s a huge swathe of rookies biting at their heels. The likes of Kale Makeham and Kiwi Kayne Lamont have almost seamlessly adjusted to the MX2 class after just one season in MXD, while Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout continues to be a revelation at each round.

The same can be said for Adam Monea and Kirk Gibbs, who have both scored podiums within the first four rounds in the packed MX1 class. It certainly throws a spanner into the theory that it takes racers at least a season to find their feet when the jump classes!

If you want to know just how much the classes have changed from last year, take a look at these facts: from last year’s round at Conondale, only two of last year’s top five MX1 finishers (Todd Waters and Jake Moss) will contest the MX1 class.

More surprising, only three of the last year’s top 10 MX2 finishers (Luke Styke, Josh Cachia and Brock Winston) will race the MX2 class. And in MXD? Only one top 10 racer (Jay Wilson) will race Conondale this weekend. It just goes to show just how fast the sport is changing in Australia. We’re seeing a real changing of the guard at the moment and it’s exciting to sit trackside and witness it.

With Ford Dale out for the season, who will replace him alongside Josh Cachia and Dan McCoy? Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

With Ford Dale out for the season, who will replace him alongside Josh Cachia and Dan McCoy? Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Yesterday Carlton Dry Honda Racing’s Ford Dale confirmed he’ll sit out the rest of the year with a(nother) busted knee. I feel sorry for the bloke, and hope his operation on Wednesday goes smoothly. Dale’s season DNF no doubt has the Honda team scrambling to find someone to pit alongside Josh Cachia and Dan McCoy, but who could Honda potentially be sounding out?

Obviously Ben Townley is more than happy to be retired (if his constant stream of junk food MMS’s are to be believed!), so who else is out there? Japan’s Takeshi Katsuya has ridden solidly on a Honda so far this year (currently eighth in MX2), and you’d have to hope Cheyne Boyd will be in contention for a ride after the mid-season break (he’s currently recovering from some busted ribs at Wonthaggi). Jacob Wright perhaps? I guess time will tell.

As well as Conondale being on this weekend, the next stop in the Red Bull X-Fighters championship visits Osaka, Japan for the first time on Saturday. Aussie Rob Adelberg will be chomping at the bit to continue his run of form after winning the wind-blown round at Glen Helen earlier this month, while WA’s Josh Sheehan and defending champion Levi Sherwood are desperate to get their seasons back on track. A win will go a long way to halting the Tom Pages/Adelberg steam-trains before they gather any more momentum.

It’s shaping up to be a big weekend for sports fans – just how we like it! Over to you, Spence.

If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed I have been absent from the last two editions of MotoOnline’s MX Hub. I took a trip overseas for two-weeks and I’m back feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and excited to see talk about some recent revelations in the Monster Energy MX Nationals series.

The MX1 class is where a majority of the excitement is at currently, and as Makker said we’re slowly seeing a changing of the guard throughout each and every class. The MX1, MX2 and MXD classes are stacked with fresh talent and I think it’s so exciting for the fans and media guys like us!

Obviously Motorex KTM’s Todd Waters has stepped up this season and marked himself as the man in the premier class, but what’s exciting is the recent performances from riders including Motul Pirelli Suzuki’s Matt Moss, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Adam Monea and Motorex KTM’s Kirk Gibbs to name a few.

Kirk Gibbs took his first-ever MX1 podium at Broadford and remains level headed as he prepares for round five. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Kirk Gibbs took his first-ever MX1 podium at Broadford and remains level headed as he prepares for round five. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

These guys have been impressive this season, not to mention Campbell Mining Suzuki’s Jake Moss who scored himself a moto win already this season aboard his privateer Suzuki. He may not be a rookie like Monea and Gibbs, but he’s still relatively fresh in the class and definitely a rider who is yet to reach his MX1 peak.

Jake’s twin brother Matt earned his maiden MX1 overall win at Broadford in an impressive display. Moss has earned himself multiple titles in the MX2 class and spent time in the premier class in the past – his win was definitely something we all expected from him sooner rather than later.

The guy has serious raw speed and great fitness, this combination has now landed him right in the mix to take out the 2013 title. We’re only four rounds in, and although Waters’ Broadford performance was hindered after his Leyburn crash, Moss looks to be peaking at the perfect time.

The most recent rookie to make waves in the premier class is Gibbs. The South Australian landed himself his first-ever MX1 podium at Broadford’s round four and definitely turned some heads. We all know Gibbs has serious skills and great speed, but following a scary finish to his 2012 season, I’m not sure if many expected him to be up to speed this early.

I spoke with Gibbs this week for our latest Catching Up interview, which you can click here to view. Although he landed himself on the podium with Moss and CDR Yamaha’s Billy Mackenzie, Gibbs remained humble and certainly isn’t getting ahead of himself right now.

As we gear up for Conondale’s round five, he feels that his conditioning and speed is coming back to where it was when he lead the MX2 series in 2012. A bonus for Gibbs is that he is a big fan of that venue and has had success there in the past. I’d keep my eye out for the number five this weekend, he might just continue to turn heads.

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