Features 27 Mar 2014

Rewind: Matt Moss' 2013 MXN title run

MotoOnline.com.au recalls the Suzuki stars maiden MX1 championship.

This weekend the Monster Energy MX Nationals Championship will ignite in the hills behind Broadford, Victoria.

At last year’s championship opener at Raymond Terrace, all eyes were on Motorex KTM’s new star recruit, Todd Waters. After narrowly missing the 2012 title to CDR Yamaha’s Josh Coppins, Waters was widely touted to become the next heir to the throne.

At the other end of the pits sat Matt Moss. A victim of the JDR KTM collapse shortly before the season started, Mossy had landed a deal to fill the seat at Motul Pirelli Suzuki that Waters had left.

With little preparation and the fact that 2013 was Moss’s first campaign back in the MX1 class, many believed the former Lites champion could probably push for the MX1 podium, but was unlikely to be a podium contender.

The opening three rounds of the championship went according to plan. At Raymond Terrace Waters devastated the MX1 field in both motos, while Moss finished fifth. A slight mishap in the second moto at Murray Bridge saw Waters finish second to Billy Mackenzie, while Moss finished sixth.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

At the third round at Wonthaggi, Waters cruised to a perfect 1-1 weekend, to Moss’s second overall, boosted by winning the Super Pole.

“It’s going to be hard to try to catch Todd, he’s on fire,” Moss admitted at the time. “But we’ve got to chase someone so it might as well be him. We’ll chase as hard as we can.”

The turning point came at last year’s Broadford round. Just days before the gate dropped at round 4, Waters suffered a huge crash and concussion at a round of the Sunny State Motocross Championship and was 50-50 as to whether he’d even ride.

Smelling blood in the water, Moss pounced. He won Super Pole by a ludicrous three seconds, then caught and passed a clearly woozy Waters to win moto one.

In the day’s final moto, Billy Mackenzie literally rolled his sleeves up and went to work dominating the chopped-up track, while Moss played it safe and rode to second for his first MX1 overall since 2007.

From there the momentum swung dramatically towards Moss for the rest of the series as Waters battled to recover from his concussion, then broke his collarbone during the mid-season break.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

Moss capitalised on Waters’ weaknesses and relentlessly turned the screws on the rest of the field each and every weekend. At an emotion-charged round seven at Hervey Bay the Suzuki rider finally caught and passed Waters’ points lead as both fellas accused each other of dirty racing tactics.

The remaining three rounds were all about the Moss express: he clean-swept Swan Hill, claimed overall at Toowoomba, then cruised to third overall at the finale at Coolum, cementing himself as the 2013 Australian Motocross Champion.

“You know, I had a lot of people at the start of the year saying that ‘Mossys won’t finish the season’, so it’s sweet to have the number one plate and prove them wrong,” a beaming Moss said.

“That’s what drives me, you know, when people doubt me. I make bets just to prove myself that I can win and this championship is the best feeling for sure.”

When the gates open on Sunday’s championship opener, Moss will find himself in the same position that Waters was last year: the heavily favourited racer on the gate, oozing in confidence and carrying searing pace and form. Let’s see if he can use the pressure to his advantage.