Features 28 May 2014

MX Hub: 21

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

Welcome to the MX Hub feature on MotoOnline.com.au presented by Alpinestars, today coming to you as a somewhat brief edition following two stacked weekends of MX Nationals racing in South and Western Australia. Combined last weekend with the MXGP round in the UK and Pro Motocross kick-off at Glen Helen, it’s been a busy time in the sport – just the way we prefer it!

Before we get too far into this though, take a minute on Facebook if you have an account to Like the page set up for injured MXD rider Blake Colleton, who sadly sustained serious back injuries at the Wonthaggi round of the MX Nationals and is currently without feel below his chest. Any donations put toward his recovery would be a major help big or small, and from us here at MotoOnline, we wish him the best during this difficult period.

It’s about that time of the year during the mid-season break where riders and teams begin looking toward 2015. Bikes are already starting to break cover, so it’s natural that talks start to take place for the following season. We have some information on Matt Moss that we’ll bring to you shortly, which will make for very interesting reading to start the silly season. Yes, already!

We already broke the news earlier this week that Luke Clout has headed to the US in search of a seat over there for next year, attending Hangtown this weekend and very determined to get back. Considering he’s the lead four-stroke with a fleet of six two-strokes on his tail in the standings, he’s the most suited to go race the 250 Class of anyone and previous experience over there could help his cause.

Speaking of the whole two-stroke versus four, word from America is that there are significant updates on the 2015 YZ range. If the rules remain in place allowing two-strokes in MX2 (and we think they will), what are the chances of Yamaha fielding a factory YZ250 in the mix? Right now it only makes sense for them to race the brand new YZ250F, but if they have an updated 250 to promote, I wouldn’t count it out no matter how vocal the boys in blue have been about two-strokes of late.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

We’re now at the halfway mark of the MX Nationals for 2014 and it’s been an incredible season to date on track. Four different MX1 winners in five rounds have risen and the MX2 battle is getting tighter and tighter. Not to mention the MXD ranks, cos that class (which entered its mid-season after Murray Bridge) is stacked. Aside from a few troubles with timing and streaming (plus difficulties with any working 3G reception at the tracks), it’s been a stellar season. Sometimes it seems people simply look past the big picture, just how good we have it with this sport on a national level.

That’s it from me for this week, I’m heading off to wrap a few things up before tonight’s State of Origin. It’s a fun time of the year for New South Wales and Queenslanders – especially with NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki team manager Troy Carroll telling everyone who will listen that Queensland is on track for series win number nine in a row. When NSW wins – sooner or later – he’s not going to hear the end of it! Here’s Simon Makker for his latest from up north…

Finally, after a year and a half of the worst luck imaginable, Penrite Honda had something to breathe a sigh of relief and smile about at Wanneroo. Former world and AMA Supercross champion and brand ambassador Ben Townley made a last-minute return to the track for his first MX Nationals appearance since the beginning of 2012.

Despite only having limited training, the bearded BT proved he’s still got the goods on the track as he stormed to third in the first moto, before fitness and a brutally rough track got the better of him in the second (ninth) and third (15th) races to finish the day in seventh overall. BT has ruled out an immediate return to racing, but hinted to Alex Gobert earlier this week that he might pop up behind the starting gate at other selected rounds this year.

Meanwhile, pre-season MX2 title contender Josh Cachia continued his rapid improvement with a third overall, Honda’s first motocross MX2 podium in almost a year. If any track was going to cause Cachia’s wrist any issues, it was Wanneroo, but the South Australian resident passed with flying colours. Although the championship is out of reach for him, Cachia is going to be a vicious competitor when the season recommences in six weeks.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

North Queensland’s Caleb Ward has also blindsided his MX2 rivals over the past two weeks of sand races, convincingly winning the overall at Wanneroo. His recent show of form has seen him rocket up the points ladder to eighth overall, just four points behind Serco Yamaha’s Jay Wilson.

While all that was going down, and on the back of Australia’s factory Yamaha teams pulling out of the 2014 Australian Supercross Championship, supercross promoters IEG have quietly transformed their website into a one-frame site that lists a new-look 2014 calendar. The three venues look like they’ll all host double-header weekends, with Darwin now officially dropped from the schedule. However, the opening two rounds at Bathurst could be a mouth-watering affair, with the racing scheduled to coincide with the legendary Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercars event that same weekend.

Finally, if you missed the Red Bull X-Fighters round at Osaka on the weekend, give yourself a hiding. The level of riding hit an all new level of crazy, with three riders – Levi Sherwood (Double Grab Indy Flip), Mat Rebeaud (Flair Nac) and Taka Higashino (a new unnamed body varial) all throwing tricks for the first time. Defending champ Tom Pages didn’t huck his revolutionary new Bike Flip trick as he didn’t feel confident with the set-up.

But the day was all about the mullet-sporting Levi Sherwood who rode probably the best I’ve ever seen him ride on his way to his second consecutive win of 2014. To cap it off, Sherwood’s victory has now made him the most dominant rider in X-Fighters history, with a record-breaking eight wins to his name. With three rounds remaining, Sherwood already has a firm grasp on the championship. Watch a video of the biggest tricks of the event here.

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