Features 1 Apr 2014

Q&A: Broadford's 2014 MX Nationals opener

What we learned as Australian motocross fired into life.

The opening round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals is always highly anticipated, with new talent on the rise each year and some older favourites still in their prime. MotoOnline.com.au was there to take in all the action.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

Did the winners deserve their red plates following round one? No doubt; they were the strongest over the course of the day.

Damn straight, they did! The opening round was competitive across the board, but when all was said and done, Matt Moss (MX1), Kayne Lamont (MX2) and Jed Beaton (MXD) were the class of their respective fields on Sunday.

Has Jake Moss met expectations as a title threat now he’s back on a factory team? He has as long as consistency is on his side.

The end result of P7 wasn’t great on paper, but Jake is clearly a contender now with NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki. He was quick, confident and definitely consistently at the front apart from when he crashed and took Matt with him in moto one. Stamp that out and he’s well in the mix.

What did riders think of the Broadford track come Sunday afternoon? Some liked it, others didn’t…

There were mixed reactions. Billy Mackenzie was satisfied with the conditions – he loves a brutal stomping ground – while Matt Moss admitted in his Race Recap interview on MotoOnline that he was expecting better at a venue he usually loves. If one thing was certain, the track was ultra tough to open the season.

Can a four-stroke with the MX2 or MXD championships against the powerful two-strokes? Yes, but they’ll have to work for it.

This is the debate of all debates. Two-strokes swept the MX2 podium, with Luke Clout (who led much of moto one) the best of the 250Fs in fourth. As for MXD, Beaton debuted the new YZ250F with a win ahead of two very capable Husqvarna two-stroke riders. Starts will be critical, but the four-strokes still have their strong points with some very quality riders aboard.

Were there any real surprises emerge in the pro categories? As always, underdogs arise at the opener.

Adam Monea shouldn’t really be a surprise, but his skill and strength head-to-head with the Moss twins proved he’s as ready as he’s ever been. He hit his strides even earlier than we expected. As did Kade Mosig, who was super impressive for DPH Yamaha in his MX1 debut for fourth overall. In MX2, the initial form of rookie Hamish Harwood, the rejuvenated Errol Willis, Nick Scott, Wade Hunter and even veteran Daniel McCoy turned heads. Lamont and Brenden Harrison surprised with wins, but many predicted they had what it took to run up front.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

Is the next generation finally here? Hell yeah!

We’ve touched on it above and we probably say it each year, however the next generation of riders are definitely emerging and this year possibly more-so than ever. Just look at the results lists (especially in MX2 and MXD) and you’ll see just how good these young kids are. Intensity is rising every year.

Do we know who Rhys Carter is yet? Sixth place in MX1 says yes.

When Carter signed for Team Motul Suzuki alongside defending champion Moss, we won’t blame you if you said “who?”. He flew under the radar to sixth in MX2 as a privateer last year, but this year the Kiwi is definitely on the map as a full-factory rider. With sixth overall and a very consistent showing, he’s already proving his worth as a rising star.

Why didn’t the live streaming or timing work – again? A few reasons.

Once again fans were unfortunately let down as organisers struggled to get enough 3G reception to get the information out online. There were additional strategies in place to gain coverage after the problems witnessed last year at various events, however yet again it wasn’t enough once the crowd arrived (said to be around 4000 spectators). To impact the problems, the promoter, media or teams had difficulty even posting to social media channels. The good news? We’re hearing further meetings are going down with Telstra this week and the Tag timing system is about to be scrapped altogether (there were additional transponder issues from what we understand).

Can Jay Marmont return to his best? Never say never.

Okay, the four-time champion didn’t set the world on fire upon return to CDR Yamaha with ninth overall, but he or Craig Dack aren’t throwing in the towel yet. Guess what? The last time Marmont won the title in 2011, he finished ninth at Broadford’s first round then, too. If he gets the ball rolling and some confidence back, he hasn’t forgotten how to ride.

What did we think of the three-moto format to open the season? It works.

From a media standpoint, it’s a touch harder to follow and report on with races in quick succession (notes are crucial). But from a rider and fan’s point of view, there was action aplenty. Between a selection of triple-moto rounds and traditional two-moto rounds, we should see a great mix of competition as the series progresses.