Features 7 Mar 2015

Moto 360

An all-access view of Australian dirt bikes, presented by Alpinestars.

In three weeks time we’ll be en route to Horsham for the MX Nationals opener after an off-season that has seemingly taken an eternity this time around. And for many, it’s these final few weeks that the real rush begins in preparation for the 10-round season.

With a bunch of storylines to follow this year – and we’ll be ramping up our coverage of various changes in the build-up – the 2015 season will be off to a spectacular start this year. And as per usual, it is seriously hard to predict a dominant force despite Matt Moss’ back-to-back titles in recent seasons.

What I’m excited for in particular is the addition of many new factory riders in the MX1 ranks; Jacob Wright (now fulltime at CDR Yamaha), Kade Mosig (CDR Yamaha), Luke Styke (KTM), Kale Makeham (Team Motul Suzuki) and Jesse Dobson (factory-supported Husqvarna).

Combine these guys with the current and more experienced/established stars of the sport locally in Matt Moss (Team Motul Suzuki), Kirk Gibbs (KTM), Adam Monea (NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Jake Moss (NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki), then it’s clear we’re in for a massive year.

Image: Andy McGechan (BikeSport NZ).

Image: Andy McGechan (BikeSport NZ).

And then there’s the ‘veterans’; Kiwi champion Cody Cooper (Penrite Honda) and Dan Reardon (CDR Yamaha), who announced his stunning comeback just last week in a shock to the whole sport. Cooper was out basically all of last year, but he’s back in form at home, and Reardon has been absent altogether since 2012. Big question marks hang over this pair entering round one at least.

Like teammate Cooper, Ford Dale is on the comeback trail after a disastrous last year at KTM in which he made just one start. Don’t forget he won the 2012 MX2 title with Honda, so if he can remain fit then there’s no reason why he can’t be a podium regular and threat for race wins.

Same goes in MX2, because after winning the title last year, Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout has been somewhat under the radar since injuring himself prior to supercross. What you can guarantee is he’ll be right there ready to defend that number one place on the YZ250F.

New Serco Yamaha recruit Jed Beaton will be great to watch, as will the Josh Coppins-supported Jay Wilson after he was let go by Serco in favour of Beaton. His form in NZ has been remarkable and he’s had plenty of attention of late, so confidence will be peaking.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

KTM has multiple round winner Caleb Ward in its stable for this year on a 250F, which will be an interesting topic in itself, and I personally haven’t seen if Kiwi charger Hamish Harwood will be back for CMR Red Bull KTM in Australia this year… let’s hope so!

Add Luke Arbon and Nathan Crawford on the factory-supported Husqvarnas – also now on four-strokes – and I’m positive there will be more talent in the mix, so there’s no shortage of depth in either of the pro classes for 2015.

A host of these guys will continue to hone their skills and bike settings in New Zealand this weekend at round three of the series in Rotorua, and then with the final round the weekend after at Harrisville. They’ll take one weekend off and then dive straight into the MX Nationals action – potentially the perfect preparation for the series ahead.

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