Features 24 Sep 2014

MX Hub: 38

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

Team Australia’s Matt Moss and Luke Clout departed Sydney this week to converge on the 2014 running of the FIM Motocross of Nations at Kegums in Latvia. They’ll meet up with Chad Reed over there this week for what’s shaping up to be the biggest race of their careers on Saturday and Sunday.

Social media speak has some people downplaying the local inclusion of national champions Moss and Clout, but while we can understand it would be nice to have Brett Metcalfe and Dean Ferris in the mix, I’m not writing off the talents off our own domestic competition here at home in Australia.

Moss has finished on the podium overall at MXoN in 2011 with Reed and Metcalfe as the team’s 250 rider, so this opportunity to come back as a 450 rider in the Open ranks coming off the back of two national titles will be awesome. Don’t forget, he has mixed it up with some of the best in the US as recent as earlier this year.

As for Clout, we know he is an emerging talent, and after fending off the two-strokes in MX2 this year on board the YZ250F, he is used to racing at a high intencity. Plus, he too has international experience as an amateur in America. It will all count come race day.

Reed is making his welcome return to the MXoN and while his season in America was a challenging one, we know he rises to the challenge of representing Australia every time he puts his hand up. If Chad says he is ready for the green and gold, he’s ready.

Source: KTM.

Source: KTM.

Most of all though, for me in 2014, I’m just interested to see where our domestic duo of Moss and Clout stand against the world’s elite racers. I honestly believe our local MX Nationals are as rich in talent and class as they’ve ever been (you only have to look at the likes of Ferris and Todd Waters performing on the world stage in recent years).

But it’s not easy over there, things take time to adapt to, so we’ll see how they go as a team and cheer them on the entire way. Go, Aussies!

By the way, it was nice to see Waters back in action last weekend contesting the German championship, and this week he’s been on track with current Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna teammate Ferris for further training.

The pair of them will be awesome to see in action next season across the MXGP calendar, although I don’t think we’ve seen conformation from either who they are riding for. And remember, Kirk Gibbs is also scheduled for select world championship appearances in between his Australian calendar.

Here’s Simon Makker with his weekly update from up in Queensland…

While the dust has well and truly settled on the 2014 MX Nationals, promoters Williams Event Management (WEM) have already been busier than a one-armed bricklayer in Gaza locking in the calendar, formats and rule changes for 2015.

WEM released a couple of announcements over the past five days that have shed plenty of light on what we can expect to see next year.

The first cab off the rank was also probably the most topical, as WEM outlined their plans to restrict 250cc two-strokes in the MX2 class. It’s an issue that has received plenty of vocality this year as some of the two-stroke privateers capitalised on the ability to race the higher-horsepowered machines against the four-strokes by spending additional money to widen the power gap between the two.

These two-stroke racers weren’t breaking any rules, but they were certainly capitalising on the loop-hole in the rulebook and causing all sorts of headaches for the MX2 factory teams and riders.

But WEM has now closed the loophole by spelling out that 250 two-strokes racing in the MX2 class must have a stock engine made up of OEM parts only. Racers may add an aftermarket pipe and tinker with the air filter and airbox, but that’s the extent of any power-inducing modifications. Anything to do with handling, brakes and suspension is still fair game.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Personally I think it’s a great move that will go a long way to levelling the playing field and keeping the four-stroke manufacturers happy(ish). It’ll also make racing even more affordable for privateers (fewer aftermarket bits to buy).

In an exclusive with MotoOnline that we published over the weekend, Kevin Williams also revealed plans to scrap the three-moto format and tweak the two-moto plan so MX1 races two 30-minute motos, the MX2 class a 30-minute and a 20-minute, and MXD two 20-minute races.

I’m a fan of mixing it up as we’ve seen in years past, but this year the 3×20 minute races pushed the day’s schedule out, especially at Conondale, where racing came close to running an hour past the advertised cut-off time.

Next year’s provisional calendar released yesterday also threw a bit of light as to what we can expect, with three rounds each in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland, and one in South Australia.

Kev said there will be some new venues next year, and with some deductions I’m guessing we’ll see new (or possibly a return to old) venues in Queensland and NSW. If I could put my wishlist in I’d love to see the series return to the rider-favourite tracks of Moree (NSW) and Mackay’s Gum Valley, but we’ll have to wait and see what WEM releases in late October.

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