Features 10 Jul 2013

MX Hub: 27

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Following a lengthy six-week layoff and a lot of shuffling behind the scenes, the question has to be asked – will the dynamic of the Monster Energy MX Nationals be different when the gates drop at Appin’s Bellbird Circuit on Sunday?

It’s been a well-deserved break for some, a frustrating pause for many, but most importantly a chance for pretty much everybody to regroup and give their all in the final five rounds. In terms of the championships, these next rounds are where they will be won or lost.

As you will read below in Spence’s section, a host of riders were out laying down laps at Appin yesterday on the traditional track, which rests on the adjacent side of the hill both tracks are placed upon. The dirt is slightly different and the track is a lot more open for the most part, however there’s no better place to train in the week leading up to race day.

In my opinion, what we are going to see come Sunday is Matt Moss charging at the front and the rest of the field playing catch up from the outset. His confidence is at its peak, he has speed on his side from a recent stint in the US and he is completely comfortable with the Motul Pirelli Suzuki RM-Z450.

Now I haven’t seen his brother Jake ride since he’s back from California, but for anybody to touch Matt considering his current form fresh from that trip, I’d be highly surprised. Sometimes it’s difficult to translate that speed gained in America back to Australia, but it looks as though Matt has done it successfully after returning late last week.

One other thing to keep in mind is that he’s recently upped his training program with Dan Reardon from Alteregoelite and that has to be a mental boost as well. Like I said, from what I can see, the main person who stands a chance at beating Matt right now is himself.

On the subject of Jake really quick, remember he finished on the podium at Appin last year behind Josh Coppins and Todd Waters so it will have strong memories for him in particular.

A major factor in my prediction above comes from the fact that Waters has been out injured. While Matt’s at his best and probably peaking in form as we speak, Todd has been nursing a broken collarbone after undergoing urgent surgery.

Gareth Swanepoel had his first official test with the team in Melbourne today.

Gareth Swanepoel had his first official test with the team in Melbourne today.

Regardless of how good you are, these things take time to regain strength and after a number of falls, his confidence would be a little lower than at Raymond Terrace’s opener in April.

Of course the most recent round winner was Cody Cooper, who could surprise us all and produce another stunning performance, but we haven’t heard much of him during the break. Has he retained the intensity to challenge at the front? He won moto two at Appin last year and ended up fourth overall for the round.

CDR Yamaha is in the middle of a super busy period since the Motocross team is on its way to Sydney, while the off-road team is headed to Western Australia for the A4DE. The organisation that takes from a logistical standpoint are mammoth, so they’re probably major beneficiaries of the MX Nationals break.

Billy Mackenzie is another who will be hard to predict come Sunday. No doubt highly capable and gaining confidence with time on the YZ450F, he has to start winning motos and overalls if he is to win this MX1 title. From this point, more than consistency will be required and I believe he is capable of producing what he needs to win.

And when you consider teammate Lawson Bopping’s round six win 12 months ago, he too must be excited for the weekend. Appin is a home track of sorts for him so as long as he pieces together the puzzle when it counts, he will be a podium threat and potential winner. Time will tell.

How about Carlton Dry Honda’s new signing Gareth Swanepoel? He is a wildcard who will replace Daniel McCoy, who in turn earlier replaced Ben Townley, and it’s difficult to predict how well he’ll do. The team is confident he can rise to the challenge, but again, time will tell.

As for the rest, I’m really excited to see rookies Adam Monea and Kirk Gibbs keep developing, hope to see the more experienced likes of Jay Marmont, Cody Mackie and even Tye Simmonds gain momentum, and generally look forward to seeing how the season pans out.

The MX2 category is somewhat more predictable that we’ll see Luke Styke and Luke Clout shine at Appin (both do a lot of laps at the facility on the main circuit), plus Josh Cachia will do all he can to top the Serco Yamaha whitewash that we have witnessed so far.

And then there are the other podium prospects such as Kale Makeham and Brock Winston, as well as the return of Kade Mosig. Many of these guys will be riding for their futures in the series’ second half and that always adds to the excitement.

We’re counting down the days now and we can’t wait to get back into the think of it! For now though, here’s Makker…

Appin's Bellbird Circuit always brings in a solid crowd. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Appin’s Bellbird Circuit always brings in a solid crowd. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

After what seems an eternity we’re about to get back into the thick of the action with round six of the MX Nationals cranking up again this weekend. Personally I’ve got high expectations from this weekend’s event at Appin. Last year it was awarded the round of the season due to the tight racing and big crowds that turned up to watch the boys throw it down.

Last year’s rider feedback from the hardpack track (the hardest we’ve seen so far this year) was that it was one-lined and hard to pass on, but that also contributed to the tight racing we witnessed.

I haven’t heard any word on whether the track layout has changed, but WEM have been at the venue for the better part of a week in the lead-up to it.

It’ll be interesting to see who’s put in the hard work during this extended mid-season break. Avid MotoOnline followers will be aware that the likes of Luke Styke, Billy Mackenzie and Jake and Matt Moss have all been overseas to Europe and the US respectively to keep themselves race-ready.

Others like Josh Cachia and Kade Mosig have used the six weeks get themselves healed up as much as possible and enter the second half of the championship at full (or close to full) health.

The biggest question-mark is over MX1 series leader Todd Waters, who broke his collarbone a couple weeks back. Will he pass the fitness test, and if he does, will he be able to battle with the likes of Team Motul Suzuki’s momentum-shifters Matt Moss and Cody Cooper, and CDR Yamaha’s rejuvenated Scotsman, Billy Mackenzie?

With the amount of questions I’ve got rattling around in my head, it’s almost as if we’re at Round 1 again. And after this break, timewise, it kinda feels that way too…

That’s all from me this week – take it away Spence!

It’s finally time to head back to the race track, this weekend the Monster Energy MX Nationals are returning at Appin in New South Wales where the sixth round of 10 will take place.

If you happened to be out at the Macarthur Motorcycle Club yesterday like we were as we laid down some motos on our Project Moto Suzuki RM-Z250 (stay tuned for more on that), you would have definitely known the MX Nationals were in town with the amount of professionals hitting the track for some last-minute preparations.

Motul Pirelli Suzuki’s Matt Moss was on hand pounding out laps throughout the day. The current number two MX1 contender looked fast and you can bet he has Todd Waters’ unfortunate injury status in the back of his mind. This might just be Moss’ chance to take control of this championship.

Matt Moss might just be the man to beat this weekend at Appin. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Matt Moss might just be the man to beat this weekend at Appin. Image: Simon Makker/Makkreative.com.

Speaking of Water’s current situation, his teammate Kirk Gibbs was out at Appin also with the Motorex KTM crew. It’s definitely an interesting situation to see the current points leader’s teammate and team out at the track without him. But the main thing is that Waters will be there on Sunday when it counts.

Troy Lee Designs – Maxima Zero Seven Motorsports Kawasaki’s Cody Mackie was also laying down laps on Appin’s general public circuit yesterday. Speaking with Mackie last week for our latest Catching Up interview (click here to view), he mentioned his string of injuries and that this six-week break has benefitted him greatly.

He looked fast and comfortable on his Kawasaki and I’m going to throw it out there that Mackie will be putting in a string of strong performances throughout the final five rounds, which kick off this Sunday, 14 July.

The Serco Yamaha combination of Luke Styke and Luke Clout were there pushing their YZ250Fs to the limit. Styke definitely looked fast on the hard-pack surface, as did his rookie teammate Clout. KTM two-stroke MX2 rookie Kale Makeham was also on hand with Raceline Pirelli Suzuki’s Ryan Marmont capping off the list of MX2 heavy hitters.

This small preview of the action ahead of us really got me hyped up for the weekend, with that many MX Nationals contenders on pushing each other on the same track mid-week, it’s hard not to be excited for them to hit the track in race mode!

This weekend’s event also see’s the return of the Pirelli MXD class. These young riders let it all hang out and it’s always great to watch. Keep your eye out for GYTR Yamaha’s Jay Wilson this weekend, MotoOnline has spoken with him a couple of times over the break and he is definitely hoping to land himself on the box.

Adding even more excitement to Appin’s round six will be the return of the KTM 2-Stroke Cup. A fan favourite and a personal favourite of mine, the event is always something that gets the crowd pumped. Errol Willis took out round one and he will be back for round two along with the rest of the premix field. Bring on Sunday!

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