Features 19 Jun 2013

MX Hub: 24

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How good is this time of year? New models are breaking cover almost weekly and we’ve now had the major five Motocross brands confirm their new models for 2014 from Honda, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha. Needless to say, we can’t wait to get out hands on each of them later this year!

KTM continues to upgrade its ever-popular range by the year, while Honda is packing a new CRF250R that has already made headlines worldwide. This month Yamaha unveiled a radical new YZ250F and YZ450F, then late last week Suzuki uncovered its RM-Zs. Yesterday it was Kawasaki’s turn, resulting in an ultra competitive year ahead.

Yesterday was a pretty interesting day in regards to content right here on MotoOnline.com.au, as Daniel McCoy confirmed he’s departed Carlton Dry Honda, plus we had a pretty insightful interview with WEM managing director Kevin Williams.

I touched on the McCoy news a week ago after it became widely known he and the team decided to mutually part ways, however the team is yet to actually confirm anything. McCoy was willing to speak out about the whole deal and overall it seems like a reasonable decision for both was made.

Following the story on McCoy a few teams have been in touch with him, plus there’s also the potential of having him form a privateer deal with a manufacturer for Supercross. His skills there cannot be ignored after finishing third in 2011 and second last year, so it’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.

Billy Mackenzie made a brief return to the GP scene in Italy aboard this factory Monster Energy Yamaha YZ450FM.

Billy Mackenzie made a brief return to the GP scene in Italy aboard this factory Monster Energy Yamaha YZ450FM.

As for the Williams story, the current halfway break in the MX Nationals enables many including WEM to recollect the first five rounds, make some minor adjustments in the operations and refine everything for when the series resumes at Appin on 14 July.

Williams also spoke out further about the timing troubles that have somewhat plagued the series in 2013. The good news is that WEM continues to work hard on it was Tag and Kevin also provided some more detailed info on what the problems have been this season so far. Fingers crossed for the remainder.

Billy Mackenzie’s guest return to grand prix racing didn’t go to plan 100 percent, although it looks like he enjoyed his time back in Europe as part of the factory Yamaha team. Exciting news for Aussie fans is that it looks like BillyMac is planning on remaining here for as long as he can rather than return to GPs full time, which is a major coup for Australia to have such a recognised international in our series.

Funnily enough, while Mackenzie has been back in Europe, retired Kiwi and current Australian MX1 Motocross Champion Josh Coppins has been back on track this week in Queensland with his former CDR Yamaha team in a development role. We’ll have more when we track down some info later this week.

On the subject of retired Kiwis, Ben Townley’s return to racing in Australia is less than a month away at Hattah, the popular Victorian desert race in which attracts a host of quality off-road contenders. Is it a one-off return for BT? Or could this light a fire for some part-time guest rides elsewhere? Either way, we’re pumped to see him on track at Hattah.

That’s it from me for this week, I’ll hand it over to Makker.

I had the opportunity to speak with Aussie GNCC racer, Josh Strang, this morning for an interview feature that will be up on MotoOnline tomorrow.

Although he’s now in his seventh season or banging bars, slamming mud-holes and claiming multiple race wins and the 2010 GNCC Championship against some of the fastest off-road racers on the planet, Strang has been forced to follow the same route as Chad Reed and set up his own team this year. He’s had to buy his own bike and truck, most of his own parts and work as a one-man-band.

Australia's Josh Strang is doing it the hard way in the US and making it work.

Australia’s Josh Strang is doing it the hard way in the US and making it work.

It’s a far cry from the five years he enjoyed with the factory Suzuki team, but the tightening of purse-strings and belts across the board, and a season-ending broken leg in 2011, saw him lose both his title and his Suzuki seat. After focusing on the WORCS races on the West Coast in 2012 (aboard a KTM), Strang has returned to the GNCC as a privateer and is sticking it to the guys, with regular podium finishes.

Strang’s persistence and motivation to win against the highest echelon of racers is nothing short of impressive; most others would’ve packed their bags, cut their losses and headed home to their friends and family when the opportunities dried up, but Josh is toughing it out and isn’t going to let go of his dreams of again claiming the GNCC crown.

Make sure you come back tomorrow to check out the interview – it’s going to be a good one!

Closer to home, I want to give my heartfelt condolences to Harley Quinlan and his family after the passing of his father, Shane, last week. Shane was a top bloke who always had time for everyone, and he will be sorely missed from the motorcycling family. Our thoughts are with the Quinlans during this tough time.

That’s all from me this week. Take it away, Spence!

I must admit that these first three weeks of the six-week mid-season break have felt more like 30 weeks – they just seem to drag on forever. With just over 24 days until the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals resume at Appin in New South Wales, we’re over the hump and I cannot wait to see those gates drop once again.

Without a great deal of domestic racing going down at a national level, what’s keeping me excited at this time of the year? I’ll tell you what it is, the release of fresh 2014 models, and lots of them. As Gobert mentioned, we’ve now seen next year’s KTM, Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki’s revealed and it’s only June!

It's impossible to deny the excitement an all-new Motocross model brings to the table.

It’s impossible to deny the excitement an all-new Motocross model brings to the table.

As always, I’m excited to swing my leg over any bike, doesn’t matter if it’s a two-stroke, four-stroke, completely revised model or just the same setup as last year’s featuring ‘bold new graphics’. But I have to admit those new Yamaha’s have caught my eye more than any other updated model set to be released.

Following a few years of bad press, Yamaha look to have taken that into account and put together some impressive units. Their YZ450F has already been quite proven within Australia, so domestically I don’t think the public was begging for all-new blue MX1 contender – the US is however is a totally different story.

What interests me is the decision to completely revise their YZ250F. This bike has achieved great results within Australia and worldwide, sure it needed EFI desperately, but why not just add that and stick with the proven formula? Obviously Yamaha have dialed in their reverse-cylinder technology, and that’s the exciting part.

Could these 2014 models have the bugs ironed out and set the trend for the coming years? Could this set off a chain reaction and force the competition to convert their designs to the innovative and unique setup we see on the blue bikes? It creates so many questions and soon enough we will have some answers.

Speaking with Serco Yamaha’s crew chief Michael Marty last week, he expressed his excitement about the bike and definitely thinks the team will benefit greatly with the all-new MX2 weapon. With riders Luke Styke and Luke Clout currently occupying the top two MX2 overall spots on the current model, these guys have to be pumped at the though of receiving even better equipment.

Here at MotoOnline.com.au we can’t wait to get our hands on the fresh 2014’s. But as always, seeing these all-new models in race trim with the best pilots aboard them, it’s just unbeatable. Lets just hope they can hit out shores in time for Supercross!

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