News 15 Jul 2014

CDR Yamaha evaluating 2015 rider combinations

Matt Moss and Styke on the factory Yamaha MX1 team shortlist.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Iconic Australian motocross team CDR Yamaha could enter 2015 with an all-new rider line-up following the news of Jay Marmont’s retirement and mounting frustration with grand prix winner Billy Mackenzie.

Marmont will hang up his helmet at the close of this season off the back of a subdued return to Craig Dack’s factory Yamaha outfit, while 30-year-old Mackenzie has become a long-shot at this year’s title – 68 points from leader Matt Moss with three rounds remaining – much to the dismay of Dack.

It’s been no secret that tension has been rising between Dack and Mackenzie in the middle stages of the season, but Dack is yet to completely rule out the re-signing of the Byron Bay-based Scotsman who finished third in 2013 and currently sits in that position again.

“We’ve definitely got Jay’s spot open, that’s for sure, and apart from that I’m keeping an open mind at the moment,” Dack told “I’ve just had a recent mid-year meeting with Yamaha between Steven Cotterell, Ray Howard and I, and as always, we want to win. It’s in our DNA.

“At the start of this year we thought we would have a better chance at the championship than we have had. I’ve thought Mackenzie has had plenty of opportunities this year to grab the championship by the horns, but he has failed at that – we should have and could have been a lot closer. That’s been rather disappointing. We do need to win next year and we will do whatever we have to do to get us back winning.”

Last weekend’s Conondale round saw 19-year-old Queenslander Jacob Wright drafted in alongside the heavyweight duo of Marmont and Mackenzie, which could potentially serve as a casting call in preparation for next year as a secondary rider.

“Jacob has been a fairly solid performer most of the year and was really, really impressive at Swan Hill,” Dack said. “He was struggling financially to be able to finish the series, but we don’t want those talents dropping off the face of the earth – we need to take responsibility and help keep those guys going if and whenever we can.

“We did a deal for the last four rounds, there’s no pressure on him, and we want to see what he’s got. On the weekend he really struggled and felt the pressure, but that’s understandable. Over the course of the four rounds we will get to know eachother and get a good read on him. As far as the future goes, we will have to see.”

Reigning MX1 champion Matt Moss continues to be linked to the CDR Yamaha squad, as his current Jay Foreman-run Team Motul Suzuki outfit looks to firm its financial position in the coming weeks. If Moss does go on to win a second title and Suzuki can’t meet his financial requests in the immediate future, Yamaha could be in the box seat to secure him back for the first time since 2007.

Loyalty between Moss and Foreman after huge amounts of success together remains paramount in negotiations, however Dack also has a unique bond with Moss after providing him his first full factory opportunity midway through 2005.

“I’m not sure where [Suzuki’s] at financially, but we are a close-knit family and there are no secrets there,” Moss said. “They’ve let me know that there’s probably not any more money there than this year and, if not, they might even have to cut back more. We’ll just see… it’s not so much about money. There’s bills to pay obviously, but it’s [about] a team that wants to win.

“That’s my main focus, having someone behind me that wants to win. I know what I am worth, so hopefully we find out in these next weeks if we have a budget to go racing. I’ve had a couple of conversations with some people, but I’m having a good time at Suzuki, so we’ll play it by ear.”

Moss could also reignite his international career after a strong showing in the opening rounds of this year’s American Monster Energy Supercross series, now recognised by US teams as a strong competitor in either the 450 or 250 divisions.

With Dack and Yamaha management becoming increasingly anxious to win following a five-year reign with Marmont and retired Kiwi Josh Coppins from 2008 through 2012, next year’s rider line-up will be pivotal in terms of regaining the number one plate.

And while Moss is largely speculated as CDR’s number one choice, last year’s MX2 champion with Serco Yamaha, Luke Styke, has also emerged a serious candidate as he eyes a comeback to Australia within the 450 ranks.

“We’ve been approached by a lot of riders,” Dack added. “Luke Styke has been a Yamaha guy in Under 19s, the Serco team and he’s in Europe at the moment, but has talked to us about coming home. He is highly considered. But for me, it’s still fairly early to make a decision – I still don’t feel I have a definite read on it yet.”

Other names linked to CDR include surprise Swan Hill MX1 winner Kade Mosig, who has shined in a development-type role at DPH Motorsport this year, as well as current NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki recruit Adam Monea – himself a revelation since returning to the sport in 2012.