Features 20 Aug 2014

MX Hub: 33

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

Time’s flying by here on Wednesday afternoon, ahead of two consecutive weekends of MX Nationals competition that will see all three titles – MX1, MX2 and MXD – decided come Coolum. Right now you could say it’s the calm before the storm.

Today has been a particular interesting one in terms of news stories, the most gut-wrenching coming for MXD red plate holder Jed Beaton after he sustained a broken leg in practice earlier this week.

Beaton’s injury is depressing not only for him and the tight-knit GYTR Yamaha team, but also fans and us in the industry who have been eager to watch the title race go down. What his injury also does is deny the new YZ250F any chance of a dual title – and a four-stroke altogether in MXD for that matter.

With Husqvarna-mounted Egan Mastin and Nathan Crawford sitting second and third respectively, then KTM’s Jack Simpson fourth, all indications are that a two-stroke will be crowned champion for the third successive season in MXD.

It will still be an awesome end to the season in the talent-packed Under 19s division, but you can’t help but feel bad for Beaton at this point. Good news is, he will be back next year and more than likely even stronger than he has been in 2014 to date.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Brighter news is that Raceline Pirelli Suzuki will be back in the game after missing motos at both Conondale and Raymond Terrace. It’s a very professional team that deserves good results on a limited budget, so great to see official riders Geran Stapleton and Dylan Wilson return from injury.

The other news we broke today was that Brad Groombridge has been named replacement for Brock Winston at Husqvarna in MX1. I think he’s a sleeper to be honest, maybe not right away, but you don’t finish in the top three back in New Zealand and win a moto without being really, really good. If he can convert that form to Australia, he could be here fulltime in the future.

Once again, as I’ve said in recent weeks, it’s been a hugely busy few weeks showcasing all the 2015 bikes (and plenty more to come) plus a selection of the latest gear currently arriving in store now, so navigate the Product Centre and check it out.

Let’s hand this over to Simon Makker for the latest, this week coming from New Zealand, with some intriguing news going on across the ditch…

It seems ludicrous that we’re only a shade over five weeks out from one of the world’s biggest motocross meetings and we still haven’t heard who will represent either Australia or New Zealand.

While Chad Reed put a sneak peek of his #10 plate on Instagram today, strongly indicating that Team Australia has been selected (I’m guessing Reed, Dean Ferris and Brett Metcalfe), on the other side of the ditch the organisation has been nothing short of shambolic.

With all three of last year’s MXoN competitors – Cody Cooper, Kayne Lamont and Rhys Carter – out with injury, it seems an apathetic Motorcycling New Zealand is completely befuddled about what to do and who to send.

It’s a far cry from the heights of 2006 when the Kiwis stood on the podium, but I think what hurts the most is to see the disorganisation attracting mainstream attention with this article that appeared in the New Zealand Herald.

MNZ president Jim Tuckerman said they were “implementing a more robust selection procedure”, which to me smacks of being a cop-out line rather than it carrying any substance. Hell, the cut-off date for expressions of interest was the day before the paper contacted MNZ and that was the line they used? Why is the country’s governing body still looking at selection procedures after the ship has practically sailed?

It’s also a telling factor when Kiwi MX legend Josh Coppins, who managed the team last year, has stood down, saying it was impossible to prepare when no organisation or information was available.
So what’s the likely result of all this? Expect New Zealand to not be present at this year’s Motocross of Nations.

Source: Red Bull.

Source: Red Bull.

On a different tack now, but this weekend will also see the final round of the Red Bull X-Fighters go down in Pretoria, South Africa. As well as being the 50th installment of the epic series, Australia’s Josh Sheehan is seriously in the hunt for his first-ever title.

Basically it’s going to boil down to a standoff between 2012 champion Levi Sherwood and Sheeny, with just five points separating the two. It’s probably fair to say Sherwood has better extension, but Sheehan has a beefier repertoire of tricks that includes the Double Backflip and the bigger quarterpipe moves.

Frenchman Tom Pages also has a mathematical chance of defending his title, but he’ll have to rely on both Sherwood and Sheehan making an absolute dog’s breakfast of their runs in order to lift the 2014 trophy.

Whichever way you look at it though, it’s shaping up to be an absolute banger of an event, and you can watch it live on www.redbullxfighters.com.

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