Features 3 Dec 2014

MX Hub: 48

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

Every year seems to race by quicker and quicker, but, to be honest, when December came around this year it became ever-so clear that 2015 is right around the corner. Aside from the content you see, we’ve been flat out ensuring we have the budget to continue charging into the new year!

In fact, whether you’re a website publisher like myself, a team, or privateer searching for sponsorship to go racing at this point of the year, we’re all in a similar boat. And for the local distributors, they’re also busy allocating their 2015 budgets and ensuring product is racing out the door for Christmas and beyond.

With the confirmation that Ford Dale will be at Penrite Honda next year, just a few rides remain available now. The second seat at Honda is yet to be filled (potentially by Cody Cooper or Kale Makeham), as is the teammate role of Matt Moss at Team Motul Suzuki (Rhys Carter and Lawson Bopping have been linked, as has Makeham again). But we’re sure there are others in the hunt.

We’re yet to hear who will be at DPH Motorsport Yamaha in place of CDR Yamaha-bound Kade Mosig, but Boppo is also said to be in pretty deep discussions with those guys. And as for Husqvarna, we’re anticipating a number of changes after the factory effort was fielding by Craig Anderson this year.

CDR Yamaha (Jacob Wright and Mosig) is complete, NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki (Adam Monea and Jake Moss) will remain the same, KTM (Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke) has been confirmed, and in MX2 Serco Yamaha has already locked in Luke Clout and Jed Beaton.

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ.com).

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ.com).

There are plenty of rides and teams otherwise that will soon be filled, but usually not until the major teams have selected their riders and all is announced. We’ll continue to follow this throughout the off-season.

With Dale back at Honda, the once anticipated comeback of Ben Townley looks to be in doubt (and remember, he just formed a Lusty Industries arm in New Zealand), and who knows what Billy Mackenzie will be doing, if anything, over here. On paper, it looks as though options are rapidly running out despite winning the last MX Nationals round of the season.

Another rider we’re yet to learn much about is Jay Wilson, who was ejected from Serco Yamaha after a single season in MX2, but he’s been over in NZ with Josh Coppins’ team and will at least do their nationals in the factory-backed team.

There will be a large presence of Aussies in New Zealand during the start of the year again, with CDR Yamaha shipping a bike just this week for Wright and Mosig also due to make an appearance over there from what we understand. On top of that there will be the KTM guys (Styke has been riding and training hard!) and others in the mix.

Just last weekend Sam Martin rode a Honda to the New Zealand Supercross opening round win, but it was Wilson who edged him out for the overall in the Lites class – both titles belonging to the Aussie duo.

That’s all from me for now, I’ll pass this over to Simon Makker, who has just now relocated to New Zealand after more than a decade in Australia. Good news is, he’ll still be on deck with us and we’ll also have much improved NZ content in the new year. Over to you, mate…

Well, the past week has been absolutely bananas for me; as well as wrapping up 11 years of my life in Australia, we (my wife and I) packed up all of our worldly possessions, moved back across the ditch to Christchurch, and started a new job at the New Zealand Red Cross as a communications manager around the big 2011 earthquake (yep, the recovery is still going on!).

While there have been big changes in my life, things are staying the same as far as being part of the MotoOnline team goes. There’ll be no changes to the stories written and content generated, although over time, it’s probably natural that you might see a smidgeon more NZ stories and images cropping up.

Anyways, enough about me. This week Moto Expo Melbourne was held and by all accounts it was a raging success. As well as being a cornerstone event for the Australian motorcycle industry and a huge drawcard for punters, it’s also a great opportunity for those immersed in the industry to catch up with each other, undertake a bit of bench-racing and share any number of inside jokes over cold ales.

Image: Deus Images.

Image: Deus Images.

This year’s expo also saw a couple of key events being held, including the Head-2-Head EnduroCross. While it’s a standalone race with no real pressure, the racers soon got tunnel-vision and the competitive nature came to the fore.

The biggest talking point from the two days of racing was the re-emergence of Tye Simmonds. After 18 months of hunting pigs, working the mines and mustering goats, Simmonds has made the surprise switch to off-road racing and has signed a 12-month deal with the KTM Enduro Racing Team.

I caught up with Simmo earlier this week to get the low-down on his return to professional racing and his excitement and passion for bikes has definitely returned. Even over the phone you could tell he was genuinely pumped to be back in the saddle, and trying his hand at a whole new discipline has well and truly reignited the fire. Winning his first race on a stock-standard 450 EXC certainly wouldn’t have hurt either!

Another big story to emerge this week was Ford Dale returning to Penrite Oil Honda after a year at KTM. Ford’s had a brutal run of injuries over the past two years, moreso than probably any other rider in the paddock, but I’m pumped to see him mustering up the courage to give racing another shot. Surely all of his bad luck has run out by now?

If he stays healthy and can regain the blistering form from a couple of years ago, Dale could easily be a top five contender next year. If he finds himself on an ambulance stretcher again, well, I don’t think you’ll find anyone who’d blame him if he hangs up his boots.

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