Features 3 Jul 2013

MX Hub: 26

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The news that Josh Cachia has re-signed for Carlton Dry Honda Racing officially opens the silly season in a roundabout way, just midway through the 2013 Monster Energy MX Nationals campaign. In the coming rounds we’ll begin to hear a lot more speculation, however it was interesting to see Honda announce this move so quickly.

In fact, it was always pretty certain that Cachia would remain with Honda for another season, especially considering there’s a brand new CRF250R. With the mid-year break in full effect, the news of his signing keeps Carlton Dry Honda in the headlines and that’s always a good thing.

Yamaha too has been pretty strategised in the way it keeps its teams and riders in the news, distributing mid-season reports including results and quotes from the CDR Yamaha and Serco Yamaha teams so far. It’s a good idea and for us in the press, makes life a little easier during what is a lengthy layoff.

Some people like the break, others don’t, but for me personally I think it’s a time to refresh, reset the goal posts and prepare for a big second half of the season. It also gives us a real chance to schedule bike tests in the year’s second half, plus the opportunity to make sure the budgets are all intact.

Speaking of Cachia’s signing above, what we are clearly seeing in the current climate are teams signing riders largely based on their outdoor abilities. Cachia is safe because he is obviously strong all-round, however in Australia with the 10 MX Nationals rounds taking centre stage, you need to be a threat in Motocross if you want a top factory ride on good money.

We lately see the likes of Todd Waters, Billy Mackenzie and even Kiwi Cody Cooper at the top of the pecking order when it comes to quality seats, mostly due to their skills outdoors (and the fact that they too now spend their off-season in New Zealand). In saying that, I think Waters will take a lot of momentum into Supercross this season and shine in that arena as well.

Josh Cachia has his 2014 deal done and dusted and it's only July. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

Josh Cachia has his 2014 deal done and dusted and it’s only July. Image: Jeff Crow/Sport the Library.

For riders like Dan McCoy, finishing runner-up in Supercross in no way confirms you for a factory deal, let alone good money. There’s the opportunity to pick up a late deal when the time comes for the SX series to commence, but until then he’s not on the radar for the major sign-on fees. It’s the same for riders like Ryan Marmont too, because while he is no doubt talented in MX and has won a title, right now his stronger discipline is SX.

What will be interesting to watch is Jay Marmont ahead of 2014 if his outdoor results don’t pick up. Currently 11th in the standings but no doubt able to turn things around come Supercross (as he did in 2012), the defending champion’s contract will be up for renewal.

The following that Marmont has and numerous titles will play into his favour especially if he wins another Supercross crown, but it will be more difficult to secure a lucrative deal without recent major success in the outdoors at this stage.

This is more of a sign of teams putting the majority of their hopes on Motocross, which is the more stable and established series of the two, rather than not paying attention to the talents of the Supercross riders. As Craig Dack has said before, in an ideal world they would have one Motocross contender and one Supercross contender.

For the likes of Matt Moss, almost guaranteed to be able to ride both at the front is the obviously the best position to be in at this point. Still, Motocross is definitely the benchmark right now and it’s where riders need to excel for the best seats.

With dates released relatively late, the calendar constantly changing and the relevance of the MX Nationals growing by the year, Supercross has become an afterthought of sorts – not a great thing when teams plan their budgets in November.

Those are my thoughts for this week, in which we have plenty of time to mull over these topics during the downtime. For now though and just one weekend away from Appin’s sixth MX Nationals round, here’s Makker!

In 2010 I had the privilege of shooting a round of the Lucas Oils AMA Motocross Championship at Southwick, MA and witnessed Ryan Dungey being crowned as the series champion at the same time.

Southwick’s Moto-X 338 circuit was always one of my favourite rounds to both watch on TV and check out the professional photos afterward – the spraying sandy roost, the stupidly rough tracks, amazing afternoon lighting and the way the track flowed over the rolling hills made this unique circuit a veritable feast for the eyes.

Southwick will be missed. Image: Simon Cudby.

Southwick will be missed. Image: Simon Cudby.

And being there in person to watch and shoot the world’s best racers hammer the constantly shifting, evolving circuit with the single-minded determination to beat the bugger in front of him was something I’ll never forget.

I couldn’t believe the news on Saturday when it was announced that the weekend’s round of the championship would be the last time we’d see Southwick as a round of the AMA Championship. It’s the result of greed more than anything, as the land-owners told the promoters and club they were going to quadruple the rent.

It doesn’t take much sawdust between the ears to quickly do the math and come to the conclusion that’s simply not a viable option, and with no alternative, the world has been forced to wave farewell to 35 years of motocross heritage and one of the world’s most iconic and unique tracks.

Back closer to home I interviewed Victorian Honda rider Cheyne Boyd earlier this week for a Fast Thoughts interview and it was interesting to hear his take on how his season has gone and what he intends to prove before the year is out.

Two things are for certain, though – he’s gained a whole new appreciation for the privateers who work a 9-5 then travel to races in the weekend, and he’s still less than impressed with Billy Mackenzie after the two of them tangled at Wonthaggi earlier in the season.

On the FMX side of things, it seems no matter where you were in the world, the rain wrecked your weekend. As well as the X Games at Munich, the opening round of the Australian FMX Championship was scheduled for Saturday on the Sunshine Coast, but heavy rain washed both events out.

Round two of the AFMXC (which will now be round one), will be held at Coonabarabran on 2 August. Let’s hope the weather’s kinder!

That’s about all my news this week. Here’s Spence!

During the weekend the news started filtering through that our current Monster Energy MX Nationals MX1 series leader had been injured – yep, it happened. Todd Waters had crashed hard enough to force a restart of the race and head off to hospital.

Initial reports were a suspected broken collarbone, which turned out to be unfortunately correct. Obviously as a media guy it was time to give him a call and get to the bottom of the situation and let the fans know the whole story and severity of the situation.

Todd Waters has undergone collarbone surgery and will attempt to return for Appin. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Todd Waters has undergone collarbone surgery and will attempt to return for Appin. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

At times this can be quite an uncomfortable situation to be in, I myself know I would not be excited to talk to anyone after injuring myself two weeks out from the series return while holding the points lead. But in saying that, I’m obviously not Todd Waters.

I happened to catch the Motorex KTM rider just as he had returned from surgery and he was obviously quite groggy and unable to have a regular conversation. So I called back later in the day and was greeted with a surprisingly upbeat and dare I say happy person on the other end of the phone.

This was impressive. Not only did I feel relieved that Todd was happy to chat about the accident and fill us in on the whole situation, but it proved how much of a mature and professional competitor he has become

The 22-year-old was looking at the positives and will use this current situation as another hurdle to jump in his journey to taking out his first premier class Australian Motocross championship.

“Injury reports are always so depressing, this is just another challenge and we’re going to accept that,” Waters said.

“Everyone gets devastated and I’ve looked at it and thought that if I get myself in a good mental state anything can happen. That’s what racing’s about.

“Everyone is so depressing, I’m trying to change that with Motocross, I’m trying to be the guy that gives a positive out of everything and people like being around – that’s my outlook on the sport for me.”

Todd Waters is exactly what our sport needs, a super-talented, modest, positive and overall great person. Lets hope the younger generation is looking at Waters’ current situation and taking notes. If Waters is able to return from this injury and wrap up the 2013 championship it sure will be something special.

Be sure to click here and check out MotoOnline’s exclusive news story with Waters covering the injury, his surgery and his recovery plan over the next two weeks before Appin’s round six on 14 July.

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