Rising star Hayden Mellross to ride MX1 in satellite role.
Raceline Suzuki will relocate to Newcastle in 2014, confirming today that the combination of Ryan Marmont and Geran Stapleton are almost certain to return with the team.
Former national champion Marmont is on the verge of signing for his second season with Raceline, while Stapleton has officially re-signed following an injury-affected first season with the team last year.
After a year housed in Toowoomba, the privately-run Suzuki operation will benefit from the return of ex-team manager Chris Woods this season as race shop manager, alongside current team manager Ben Lane. Woods spent last year as team manager in the official factory Honda team.
“At this stage, Raceline has definitely re-signed Geran Stapleton and Ryan Marmont is all but definitely returning as well,” Woods revealed. “It’s looking likely that the team will remain with the same riders as it had last year, which is great.”
Woods will personally work alongside talented teenager Hayden Mellross in an MX1 support program aboard an RM-Z450. The pair previously worked together at Honda during supercross last year.
“I’ll be looking after Hayden Mellross and he’ll be the poster-boy for the Raceline shop in the MX1 class,” he added. “All our stuff will go with the Raceline truck to the races, then we’ll set up next to the team.
“Because Raceline Suzuki is a Lites team, it would be a clash to have Hayden’s 450 under the same roof. The best way to describe it would to say we’re closely aligned to the Raceline team, but will run our own program.”
Despite ongoing speculation that Lawson Bopping will return to the Raceline fold with Woods following two years at CDR Yamaha, Woods ruled out that possibility at this point.
“If I had some extra funding I’d love to help him out, but there’s not much we can do if we don’t have the time, money and resources,” Woods added.
“It sucks to see a rider of his quality not have a ride as yet, but at the same time it sounds like he’s starting to pick up a little bit of support in the US, so hopefully he can make a good fist of it over there in the meantime.”
Click here for a fresh new interview with Woods, posted earlier today on MotoOnline.com.au.
For more on the current state of the 2014 national ‘silly season’, click here.