Features 11 Jun 2014

MX Hub: 23

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

Perspective’s a funny thing. And in the current era seemingly ruled by social media, a person or two stating their usually uneducated opinion that the sport is in serious trouble or even dying domestically tends to escalate quickly. According to our statistics and knowledge, those claims couldn’t be further from the truth.

Behind the scenes, as far as our resources indicate, expanding interest in Australian motorcycle racing is still very real. Things can always be improved and progression could be quicker, but we’re proud to report consecutive record months in unique visitors right here on MotoOnline.com.au – and our partner road racing site at CycleOnline.com.au as well, for that matter.

Often we see the odd person airing all kinds of incorrect information, which has a knock-on effect when Chinese whispers take charge. Right now, the way I see it, motocross and dirt bikes collectively are on the rise. Racing is exceptional, exposure worldwide is as good as ever, and the 2015 model bikes, gear combinations and varying equipment we’ve seen so far look incredible.

We’ve taken time out during the mid-season break, looked at our surroundings and have just appreciated moto for what it is – which is a killer sport to follow and participate in for competitors. We’re not America, nor are we V8 Supercars, or any other sport we’re often compared to. This is motocross on a domestic level and it’s come a long way in this century so far. So has enduro.

The MX Nationals series has been tripped-up by a series of streaming and timing issues once again this year, and supercross is still unconfirmed aside from what we’ve found out will be a tentative three-event schedule. All that adds to ongoing conjecture, but in the background there are people trying bloody hard. And I’ll admit, even we’re a touch hard on those in power at times.

Of course, I’m not saying lets ignore the negative matters and paint some unrealistic positive picture, but if you’re going to be critical, be sure to tip your hat toward the positive aspects when noted as well. If we as an industry (meaning teams, riders, sponsors, media, etc) aren’t hyped on our sport, then we sure as well won’t see many returning or new fans filling the stands.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Let’s ride when we can, salute the pros that do incredible things on the bikes, and attend events locally when we’re able to – potentially taking along mates and introducing them to the sport as well (Coolum MX, or Brisbane indoor SX, anyone?). Motorcycles are made to be fun, and most will agree that whether we’re riding them or watching skilled people in action, the passion for all seriously involved people stems deep from within.

We here at MotoOnline have some pretty rad things planned as part of a slightly revised strategy entering the second half of 2014, which we hope will boost your interest in the sport domestically while also ensuring we’re in a strong and sustainable position for the future. Times are tough, as the say, but as always, things could be worse!

On that note, I wanted to direct you to an open letter from new Motorcycling Australia president Braxton Laine, who published this article on MA’s website just yesterday. With Laine and new CEO Dale Gilson working collectively on a number of matters to refine the operations of the sport, we may just be about to witness a real upswing in due course.

Here’s Simon Makker…

It was the worst news to hit us all week, with Penrite Oils Honda’s MX1 gun Cody Cooper out for the rest of 2014 after rupturing his ACL at Murray Bridge. We’d been waiting for an announcement for a few weeks as Coops sought specialist advice, but deep down we’d hoped it wasn’t as bad as what it really was.

With Cooper out, Honda has made it clear they want a teammate for Josh Cachia. While the short money would be on Ben Townley to make something of a comeback after a good showing in the sand at Wanneroo and Manjimup, there have been many calls from the public and fans for the team to hire Lawson Bopping for the ride.

Boppo was left out in the cold in 2014, despite an impressive showing at the opening six rounds of the AMA Supercross. Whether he’d switch from his favoured Suzuki to Honda for nothing but bonuses remains to be seen, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

Another factor is the return of Honda riders Jackson Richardson and Taylor Potter from their US campaigns. Both guys raced the 250 class, and Jatz in particular has been impressive and is finding more speed and consistency as the year goes on.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

I actually spoke to Potter last night and he said that while he’s keen to find a ride or some support for the remaining rounds of the MX Nationals, he’d prefer a MX2 ride instead of trying to come to terms with a bigger engine bike. And as for Jackson, well, no doubt last year’s femur break at Hervey Bay on his first factory Honda outing is still fresh in his mind!

The 2014 Summer X Games was held in Austin, Texas, over the weekend. Victoria’s Blake ‘Bilko’ Williams charged to a silver medal in the Speed and Style contest, while Yamaha’s Chris Hollis made the final of the Enduro X contest. Hollis actually had a direct bearing on the outcome of the race when he crashed in a tricky rock garden and tangled with the leaders (who were lapping him), including eventual winner Taddy Blazusiak.

The FMX contest was scrapped due to the high winds, meaning a tonne of international riders wasted staggering amounts of time, energy and money to travel to the comp to then sit around for three days. The FMX downer has thrown up speculation as to whether X Games will even hold the moto contest next year. If ESPN does pull the pin on FMX, it could be absolutely disastrous for the sport.

Lastly, the new MX vs ATV Supercross game was announced at the E3 conference in Los Angeles last night. After the disappointing awkward goon-fest of MX vs ATV Alive, it looks as though the new developers have taken all the good aspects from Reflex, combined it with the one or two good parts of Alive and revamped the whole thing.

Expect the game, complete with 17 supercross tracks, real-name riders and some OEM bikes to drop in September 2014, with a whole heap of downloadable content released soon afterward. My thumbs are already itching…

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