Features 21 Aug 2014

Rewind: MX Nationals title fights

Some of the best domestic battles over the past decade.

With the 2014 Monster Energy MX Nationals throwing up tight championship fights across all three classes, MotoOnline.com.au digs into the archives of Australian motocross to relive some of the closest championship battles we’ve witnessed over the past 10 years.

Image: Simon Makker.

Image: Simon Makker.

2012 Ford Dale vs Luke Styke (MX2):
After leading the vast majority of the MX2 championship, Serco Yamaha racer Luke Styke’s campaign unraveled in dramatic fashion at the penultimate round at Moree, and he entered the series final 21 points behind Ford Dale. Dale let the pressure get to him in a big way and bled points throughout the day while a hungry Styke attacked non-stop. Still, it wasn’t enough and Dale won the title by just two points. “I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the championship win,” Styke said at the time. “I look back now and think how many times I could’ve gained those extra two points but I also think that I gave it everything I had and left nothing out there on the track.”

2012 Josh Coppins vs Todd Waters (MX1):
After playing tit-for-tat all season, only 14 points separated CDR Yamaha’s Josh Coppins and Motul Pirelli Suzuki’s Todd Waters entering the final round of the 2012 championship.
Waters made no bones about his intentions, slicing through the pack to win both the first and third motos, but the wiley, consistent Coppins claimed the moto 2 victory and kept Waters within arm’s reach all day to claim the title and finish his illustrious career on a high. “The win is a big weight off my shoulders, I am just happy that it is over to be honest” Coppins admitted afterward. “I am pretty happy with how everything went down, I would have like to win the day but I was struggling to stay relaxed so I decided to play it safe and won the championship, that is all that matters at the end of the day.”

2011 Matt Moss vs Kirk Gibbs (Pro Lites):
After dominating the MX2 class and building a healthy 66-point lead, JDR KTM’s Matt Moss saw his points halved after a disastrous outing at Moree. After the opening two races at Coolum, Serco Yamaha’s Kirk Gibbs had closed the gap even further to just 16 points by tearing to 2-1 finishes while Moss struggled to find his rhythm in the first moto (fourth), then crashed in the second race before finishing ninth. Moss recollected himself and entered the final two races a different guy, leading the third moto wire-to-wire from Gibbs. With the hard work done and a 19-point buffer, Mossy could play it safe in the final moto as he cruised to a fifth place and the 2011 title. “I seem to like to make it hard for myself with things like the tip-over in the second moto,” a relieved Mossy said on the podium. “I’m stoked to get this one behind me and come away from Coolum again with a championship win.”

2011 Jay Marmont vs Josh Coppins (Pro Open):
Jay Marmont produced a superb performance to win the final round of the 2011 Rockstar MX Nationals and in turn create history by being the only rider to win the coveted national motocross championship four years in a row. Marmont entered the final round 18 points down on series leader and CDR Yamaha teammate Josh Coppins, but in typical ‘never say die’ Marmont fashion, he produced four scintillating motos to win the final round and take the Pro Open championship. Marmont racked up 1-2-1-1 results in the four races while Coppins fell early in race three and had to withdraw from a shoulder injury. “From where we started at the beginning of the year, it is hard to believe I have won it,” Marmont recalled. “Even coming into today and with the form Josh has been racing with lately it was a long shot but I wanted to win the round and hope for a bit of luck. Unfortunately for Josh, his fall with another rider in race three was the bit of luck I needed and I feel for him as he rode a great championship and was a fierce competitor.”

Image: Alex Gobert.

Image: Alex Gobert.

2008 Luke George vs Adam Monea vs Kade Mosig (Pro Lites):
Although Kawasaki Racing Team’s Luke George had held the MX2 red plate since the opening round of the 2008 championship, fellow Kawasaki pilot Adam Monea and Honda Racing’s Kade Mosig had kept him honest enough all season to take the championship down to the wire at Coolum. In the end, though, George’s fourth-place finish at the final round was enough to claim the title by just nine points over Monea, while Mosig rounded out the podium just one point in arrears. “It’s been overwhelming this year; it’s been phenomenal,” an emotional George said. “I’ve learnt so much at every single round and it’s great to race Monea and Mosig because it makes me a better rider.”

2007 Brenden Harrison vs Todd Waters (Under 19s):
In its debut year, the Under 19s threw up one of its closest battles ever, as Serco Yamaha’s Brenden Harrison managed to claim the 2007 title by just two points from Motorex KTM’s Todd Waters. Heading into the final round at Coolum, Waters needed to win both motos but could only manage a 3-1 result while Harrison bled 11 points after crashing in the opening race, then fighting nerves in the second to finish fourth in both the moto and the day. Still, Harrison was ecstatic. “Considering that my broken foot bothered me for the first couple of rounds, I’m really happy with the way it’s turned out. It’s awesome to take out the Under 19s in its first year.”

2005 Daryl Hurley vs Darryll King (Pro Open):
The final round of the 2005 Maxxis Australian MX Championship at Conondale was about as tense as they come. Team Shift/Motul Suzuki racer Daryl Hurley entered the round with just a six-point lead over fellow Kiwi and defending champion Darryll King (CDR/Nokia/Yamaha). Hurley recovered from a slow start to win the opening moto, but was then pinged for failing to slow for a yellow flag. The 15-second penalty he copped saw him relegated behind Craig Anderson and King and the title fight narrowed to just three points. As if to make amends, Hurley blasted out of the gate in the final moto and stretched out a healthy lead over King to claim the win and the championship. “I have been second so many times, it just feels awesome to finally be up here – number one,” a jubilant Hurley said afterwards. King on the other hand was gutted to lose this title: “Second place means nothing to me. I am so disappointed I couldn’t retain the number 1 plate but I will be back to take the plate from Hurley next year.”