Features 23 Apr 2014

MX Hub: 16

An all-access view of Australian MX and SX, presented by Alpinestars.

Welcome to MX Hub presented by Alpinestars Australia, where we dish the latest news and events in brief each and every Wednesday afternoon. And as usual in the lead-up to an MX Nationals round, there’s plenty going on behind the scenes!

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Hondas back in full force
Good news came through late last week following evaluations that Penrite Honda riders Cody Cooper and Josh Cachia will be back on track for this weekend’s third MX Nationals event of the season at Wonthaggi. It must be a relief of sorts for Honda after a pre-season of so much promise, so fingers crossed the guys are as close to race fitness as can be. It’s no easy task coming into a series a few rounds in!

Coolum crashes
Makker mentions it below, but keep a close eye on both Jake Moss and Kirk Gibbs this weekend at Wonthaggi. Both crashed at Coolum’s Queensland state event pretty heavily from what we hear, coming off podium finishes at the Appin round of the MX Nationals a week prior. Expect both to be strong enough to race up front on Sunday, but any sign of injury should be evident at a loamy, rough circuit like what we’ll witness this weekend.

The great debate
Wow, we had a lot of feedback on The Point feature last week after we asked a host of experts to give us their take on the whole 250 two-stroke versus 250F in MX2. It created all kinds of comment, much of which had relative points. Check the feature here and be sure to take a look at the MotoOnline.com.au Facebook Page for more feedback. Interesting stuff!

Milner to MX?
There’s been increasing speculation that reigning Australian Off-Road Champion Daniel Milner will make a guest appearance at this weekend’s MX Nationals in Victoria. He’s been doing some training on motocross back home, so with his obvious CDR Yamaha ties, it’d be awesome to see him in the mix between AORC events.

Three-peat for Moss
Entering this weekend’s Wonthaggi round of MX after two consecutive round wins, it’s becoming increasingly important for somebody – anybody! – to step up and beat Matt Moss. The Team Motul Suzuki defending champion has been incredibly strong up front this year and so far is the class of the MX1 field. He finished second at Wonthaggi last year to Todd Waters, but we also have a feeling that Adam Monea will be back at his best come Sunday – a track he podiumed at last year. Things are about to really heat up!

Townley’s take
In speaking to former world champion Ben Townley last week, he is confident that Matt can be challenged at the front, especially by twin brother Jake and then of course Kirk Gibbs, who himself has two podiums to his credit. If the likes of those guys can step it up just a touch at the beginning of the moto before settling into the pace of Matt at the front, there could be fireworks for the victory. And then there’s Billy Mackenzie and the aforementioned Monea. Add to that the fact that Townley’s certain Cody Cooper has been in his best form prior to his injuries and this season is shaping up to be a cracker.

And that’s about all I have here today in what is one of the year’s shortest working weeks – plenty of time for motos! Here’s Simon Makker for the latest from up in Queensland.

Image: fuelfotographyandmedia.

Image: fuelfotographyandmedia.

Queensland titles shake-up
The new-look Husqvarnas are definitely proving to be ultra-competitive machines, with the now KTM-owned brand claiming both the Opens and Lites trophies at the Queensland titles at Coolum over the Easter weekend. Brock Winston and Nick Sutherland were the surprise winners in fields that featured some of Australia’s fastest riders, who shone on a track that’s been described as the roughest Coolum circuit in living memory. NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Moss was among the starters at the event, but a crash on the opening day left him with a bruised tailbone. It’ll be worth keeping an eye on him this weekend at Wonthaggi to see whether that has any impact on his results. Meanwhile, in the Lites class, Serco’s Jay Wilson opted to sit out the Queensland titles, as he continues to battle an illness that’s plagued him since round one of the MX Nationals at Broadford.

Enter the Sandmen
With two hardpack rounds in the books, the MX Nationals heads into a string of sand-based circuits, starting at Wonthaggi this weekend. The MX2 class in particular promises to be a cracker, as the heated debate about the power discrepancies between the 250 four-strokes and the 250 two-strokes continues to gather steam. Another factor comes into play this weekend, with MX2 pre-season favourite Josh Cachia confirming he’ll be on the gate. Between Cachia, championship leader Luke Clout and the two-strokes of Brenden Harrison, Kayne Lamont, Kale Makeham, and Hamish Harwood, we’re in for a beaut battle. In MX1, all eyes will be on the Moss brothers, who are proving to be the boys to beat this year. Keep an eye on Cody Cooper, who returns to the fray, and privateer Lawson Bopping (who claimed Super Pole at Wonthaggi last year) who’s returning for a one-off race.

Ralston makes the switch
After a number of years racing national level motocross, Newcastle’s Beau Ralston has made the transition over to the Yamaha Australian Offroad Championship for 2014. Riding for the Active8 Yamaha squad alongside title hopeful Josh Green, Ralston has taken to the change like a duck to water. He finished the Boyland, Qld, rounds in sixth and seventh positions in the premier E2 class over the weekend, and 12th and 13th Outright. He’s currently 12th in the Overall standings and an impressive seventh in E2 after four rounds.

Byrner’s new MXoN role
After a couple of seasons battling injuries and misfortune, Aussie MX legend Michael Byrne has apparently come on board as a consultant for the Australian Motocross of Nations team for the 2014 event in Latvia in September. While we have yet to see any official release from Motorcycling Australia announcing is involvement, we understand the multi-time MXoN representative will assist the selected Australian riders both in the lead-up and during the world’s biggest race.

As always, remember to check out all of MotoOnline.com.au’s social networking channels and be sure to Like us on Facebook or Follow us on Twitter and Instagram for even more behind the scenes insights. Just search MotoOnline.