Industry experts weigh in on the new season of Australian Motocross.
Just days out from the much-anticipated start of the 2015 MX Nationals, MotoOnline.com.au gleans the top three championship tips from a range of people with their finger on the pulse.
Mick Sinclair – Marketing at Monza Imports:
MX1: I’m picking Kirk Gibbs, Dan Reardon and Kade Mosig in that order. Kade has gone on record saying he has no choice but to win this year. He’s on a fast bike has a lot of good people in his corner and I think he’ll peak at the right time. I haven’t seen Dan riding yet, but everyone I’ve spoke to says he’s flying. Fitness, speed and spark is a dangerous combination. I think the championship will go to Gibbsy though. I don’t know if he’ll win that many races, but he’ll podium at most of them and that’ll win him the championship.
MX2: Jay Wilson, Luke Arbon and Jed Beaton. Jed will be the fastest in the class but consistency will be his biggest issue. Luke Arbon is a no-brainer. He’s always fast, has a great bunch of people behind him now and I think he’ll be hard to beat. Jay’s had an incredible off-season and almost clean-swept the New Zealand championship. He’s riding exceptionally fast and smooth and he’s got probably the best guy, Josh Coppins, in his corner. I think Wilson will be the one to watch.
Brenden Harrison – MX Nationals commentator and riders rep:
MX1: Kirk Gibbs, Matt Moss and Kade Mosig. There’re so many who could do it this year. Kirk’s had two years at KTM now and works hard. If anyone can beat Matt, it’s him. Mossy’s just a winner and knows how to find the line and even though he’s coming in with an injury, he’ll get stronger as the championship progresses. Mosig has a lot of desire and a point to prove with his factory ride and I expect him to win races this year.
MX2: Luke Arbon, Luke Clout, with Jed Beaton and Caleb Ward tied for third! Arbon has a really good set-up this year and is so motivated right now. I think Clout will be good again for sure, but I’m expecting the younger guys Jed Beaton and Caleb Ward to really shine this year, as long as they can get good starts. Everyone I’ve talked to has said those two are flying right now, but it comes down to whether they can put it together solidly for 10 rounds.
Jeff Crow – MX Nationals series photographer:
MX1: Matt Moss, Kade Mosig, Adam Monea. Matt’s the obvious one and is just a gorilla on the bike, but after watching some of the guys in pre-season I’ve got big tickets on Kade Mosig, who’s looking on fire at the moment. I also like Adam Monea’s chances now that he’s been at Kawasaki for a few years and he’ll know how the team works and can concentrate on getting the job done.
MX2: Jay Wilson, Luke Arbon and Nathan Crawford, not necessarily in that order. Jay’s a nice guy, his head’s in the right place he’s is bloody fast, and he’s got Josh Coppins behind him, who’s an amazing motivator and rider. Arbon proved last year he had the speed as a privateer and this year the SD3 team has stepped up a lot and he’s a great starter. I also like Nathan Crawford. He might only be a rookie but he’s got a lot of mongrel in him that racers need and it was only bad luck that kept him from winning the MXD title last year.
Joe Stevens – NRGTV host and commentator:
MX1: Matt Moss, Kirk Gibbs, Kade Mosig. As much as I’d love to say there’ll be a different champion this year, Mossy will be there like always and for the second half of the series he’ll do whatever it takes to win races and take the championship. Gibbs will be second, but will surprise and win more races than people expect. You could throw a blanket over five to eight riders for third, but I’ll say Mosig because I’ve seen him ride and he’s super confident and is really moving right now. I reckon he’ll come close to winning round one this weekend.
MX2: Caleb Ward, Luke Clout, Luke Arbon. Last year Ward was feeling out the series, but he has so much raw speed and if he fixes his bad days no-one will be able to touch him. Clout’s probably back to 100 percent after his health issues last year, but I don’t think he’ll have the luxury of having inconsistent rivals like he did in 2014. If he fixes his own consistency issues he could smoke them. Luke Arbon is a veteran in the class now and while I don’t think he’ll have the speed of the top guys and mightn’t holeshot as many races without his two-stroke, his consistency will make him stand out.
Kevin Williams – MX Nationals promoter:
MX1: Dan Reardon, Kirk Gibbs and Matt Moss. I think Gibbs and Moss will be right up there the whole way through, but I’m expecting Reardon to come home with a wet sail and take the championship. I’ve spoken to him a couple times and seen where his mind is at, and I think he can do it. He’s always been fit and fast, but lost his drive and he’s now got that drive back. Craig Dack has re-energised Darryll King and Josh Coppins in the past and taken them to titles, and I think he’ll do the same with Dan.
MX2: Caleb Ward, Jed Beaton and Nathan Crawford. I think the young guns will stand up this year and the MX2 class is going to provide some of the most exciting racing we’ve seen in years. As well as the young guys, Clout will be strong, Arbon is back at his best, Jay Wilson’s current form is great and the likes of Geran Stapleton will also surprise many. There are six or seven guys who could do it this year.
Jay Marmont – Eight-time national champion:
MX1: Matt Moss, Kirk Gibbs, Cody Cooper. Mossy has won four championships in two years and is #1 for a reason. He’s had a slow off-season but he knows how to win and will get it done. Gibbs has improved a lot over the past year and he’ll be strong every weekend. Once he learns to win races regularly he’ll be hard to stop. Cooper is coming off another championship win in New Zealand and definitely has the speed. He just needs to walk into the series with the same mindset he has back home, grab the bull by the horns and make it happen.
MX2: Caleb Ward, Nathan Crawford, Luke Arbon. I think we’ll see a new MX2 champ this year and Caleb has a bit to prove this year, he works hard and has youth and speed on his side. The rest of the field is really close, but for mine, Nathan Crawford and Luke Arbon are really stepping up and have the bit between their teeth. I also really like what I’ve seen out of Dylan Wills so far this year. I think Luke Clout will be top four or five, but I’d love for him to prove me wrong and step up.
Simon Makker – MotoOnline.com.au contributor:
MX1: Kirk Gibbs, Cody Cooper and Matt Moss in that order. Gibbsy’s always been a picture of consistency and an impeccable pre-season sees him right at the top of the tree in my book. I’m choosing Cody Cooper for second place, but only because of his incredible pace and domination (again) at the NZ Nationals. He’s struggled with motivation and consistency in Australia in the past, but he knows full well time’s running out for him and he’s desperate to add a MX1 championship to his mantelpiece. Matt Moss is going to have a tough time of it this year. Coming off a pre-season shoulder injury, I’ll be surprised if he’s fighting for wins at the beginning of the series, but provided his shoulder stays strong, he’ll get faster and more dominant as the championship progresses.
MX2: Luke Clout, Jay Wilson, Luke Arbon. Luke Clout has had a quiet pre-season, but he’s going to surprise a lot of people at Round 1 and continue to take scalps for the rest of the season, especially now that he’s kicked his glandular fever and is 100 percent healthy again. Jay Wilson has obviously had an awesome lead-in to the Nationals, and Luke Arbon is looking hellishly quick and very motivated now that he’s stepped back onto the four-stroke Husky.
Alex Gobert – MotoOnline.com.au owner:
MX1: It’s difficult to go past Matt Moss for the championship, because as he’s proven for the past two years, his skill and desire is second to none in the series. Moss has been overcoming some injuries and I’m not certain he will win round one, but he says he is fitter than last year going in and who am I to argue? One thing is for sure, he will be there over the course of the 10 rounds. Behind him, going off years past Kirk Gibbs should be at least runner-up, and I believe with Jacob Wright now out that we should see Adam Monea get up for third. It really is going to be a tight battle and great to witness.
MX2: Like Moss in MX1, as defending champion Luke Clout has to be the favourite and we have no reason to think otherwise at this point. With a national title now his, I think this year we will see a lot more aggression from Clout throughout the whole series if he’s planning on heading to the US next year. I do think though – and I said so in the MXN Mag – that if Clout stumbles whatsoever, Luke Arbon will take home the crown, while Caleb Ward will be third with a heap of race wins to his credit. It’s hard to leave out Jay Wilson judging by his NZ form, but if he can carry that confidence into Australia he could prove me wrong altogether!