Features 5 Feb 2015

Top 10: Most anticipated events of 2015

The upcoming events we can't wait to watch this season.

With 2015 upon us and the action firing up, MotoOnline.com.au pin-points the Top 10 events in chronological order that we’re most looking forward to over the course of this year.

1. MXGP, Qatar (28 February):
Hooo boy, we’re salivating over this event like a rabid dog. In three weeks time we’re going to witness one of the most anticipated showdowns of the decade, when one of the greatest American riders ever, Ryan Villopoto, goes head-to-head with one of Europe’s finest, Antonio Carioli. It’s an even bet who’s going to come out on top of this one, but this first hit-out is going to be crucial to establishing the pecking order. And let’s not forget Frenchman Gautier Paulin and Belgians Jeremy van Horebeek and Clement Desalle, who could be real dark-horses in this fight.

2. MX Nationals, Horsham (29 March):
The 2015 domestic season is already shaping up to be an absolute cracker as the pre-season shake-outs get under way. The MX1 class in particular promises to be a real nail-biter with Kirk Gibbs coming into some serious form, while two-time champ Matt Moss will enter Horsham fresh off a dislocated shoulder. While the Horsham track itself isn’t going to provide many challenges, the action that takes place upon it should be red hot.

3. AMA Supercross, Las Vegas (2 May):
Can you believe we’re almost a third of the way through the AMA Supercross championship already? The 2015 chapter of the 450SX class has been one for the ages, with four winners over the first five rounds and just 20 points separating the top five. While Cooper Webb is stealing the show in the Western Regional 250SX class, we’ve yet to see who’s going to dominate the East series… or who will win the annual East-West Shootout. The Vegas finale is always a huge exclamation mark on the series and if the 450SX class keeps going the way it is, we might see the championship come down to the final round.

4. Finke Desert Race (6-8 June):
The pinnacle of off-road racing, the Finke Desert Race, keeps getting better and better as each year passes and now it’s arguably the most prestigious off-road race in the country. If you’ve never been out to the red centre and watched these guys hammer kilometres and kilometres of dirty, rolling sand whoops at over 100km/h, get your backside trackside to check it out. It’s an addictive place and once you’ve made the trip out there, you’ll find yourself wanting to go back every year.

5. FIM Motocross Of Nations, France (27 September):
After a disappointing year for our Aussie battlers are such a promising build-up to the 2014 MXoN at Latvia, 2015 will be all about redemption. Providing everyone stays fit and healthy, we could potentially have our strongest team in years with Todd Waters and Dean Ferris all gaining swathes of international experience on the world stage, while Chad Reed and Brett Metcalfe continue to shine in the US. It’s too early to tell who’s going to be the team to watch this year, but the 2014 champs France will be pumped to defend the title on home soil at the Ernee circuit. The MXoN is always one of the biggest highlights of the motocross calendar and never fails to deliver the goods.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

6. MX Nationals, Coolum (29-30 August):
The final round of the MX Nationals at Coolum is always something special. The crowds always turn up, the atmosphere is cranking, some of the biggest motorsports stars in the country soak in the dirty action, and somewhere in the middle of this, championships get decided. This year series promoter Williams Event Management (WEM) is running two rounds at Coolum (round six and round 10), with word on the street that one round will utilise the circuit backwards.

7. International Six-Day Enduro, Slovakia (7-15 September):
Fun fact: the FIM International Six Days Enduro turns 90 in 2015. That means there’s a very high probability that the event has survived longer than its first competitors. For the first time in 10 years the legendary event returns to Slovakia and, for Australia, 2015 is a year to right the wrongs of last year when they came agonizingly close to a momentous third overall. The Women’s team however, will enter the event looking to maintain their 2014 crown. Whichever way you look at it, it’s cooking up to be a winner.

8. Red Bull X-Fighters, Athens (12 June):
For the first time ever, the spectacular Red Bull X-Fighters championship will arrive in Athens, Greece, and it’s already being hyped as one of the showcase events of the year. The arena will be held inside the spectacular Dionyssos Marble Quarry that’s been operating since about 400BC and was used to build the Acropolis. It promises to be an amazing spectacle, and on top of that, our own Josh Sheehan will be in the middle of defending his 2014 crown.

9. Monster Energy Cup, Las Vegas (17 October):
The thing we love about the Monster Energy Cup race is how it doesn’t settle for the same-old same-old race formats and track layouts. It’s all about progressive thinking and coming up with new, innovative ways to host and run supercross, and shows that anything is possible in the sport. On top of that and the $1-million up for grabs, the MEC provides us a great insight and preview into the new teams and bikes for the upcoming season.

10. The Sharky Memorial/Invitational (TBA):
Very little is known or has been aired about this event, but man, if it comes to fruition, it could be something special. Late last year some riders made noises about an upcoming Andrew ‘Sharky’ McFarlane Memorial/Invitational race with big prize money that would be held this year. However, after a couple of speculative Facebook posts and some vague mentions, it faded away again. Is it still simmering away somewhere in the background? We’d love to know!