Features 11 Apr 2015

Moto 360

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

It’s Saturday evening here and time is flying by in between preparing a Preview film and first look gallery of tomorrow’s MX Nationals at Appin, which by all indications, will be even better than Horsham.

The way the track developed at Horsham was positive for some, negative for others, but now coming into round two Appin is looking absolutely epic ahead of race day.

The unique thing about Appin is that the Macarthur Motorcycle Club has two fullsize tracks at the facility, which sees a number of riders go and do motos on the traditional practice (and former national) circuit on the front-side of the hill.

JCR Yamaha’s Jay Wilson was one to take advantage of the facilities, because he has basically had two weeks by his brother Dylan’s bedside in hospital as he recovers from his scary Horsham incident. He said it was just nice to get back on the bike at this point.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

For me, this weekend I fully expect that we will see a different story to Horsham. Sure, there’s every chance the winners – Kirk Gibbs and Jed Beaton – will be on top again, but now is the time for us to see where everybody stands with the opening round jitters out of the way.

There were a lot of guys that had loads of potential at Horsham but didn’t get it together in the motos, so if they can fire when it counts then the battle for the moto wins could be insane tomorrow afternoon.

Interestingly, Gibbs doesn’t exactly target two moto wins coming into the round, but instead just aims to ride to the best of his ability. He knows ‘easy’ days like Horsham are rare and I believe that type of attitude will do wonders for his title hopes.

We didn’t catch a glimpse of Gibbsy’s KTM with the red plate today, but Serco Yamaha has Beaton’s YZ250F on display with the red plate. What was strange to see was Matt Moss’ #1 Suzuki without the red plate, as well as Luke Clout’s Yamaha.

CDR Yamaha has Jacob Wright on hand at this round as he recovers from his knee injury, and we managed to corner his for a quick ‘First Person’ film this afternoon. Keep an eye out for that next week.

That’s it from me for this week, here is Simon Makker with his latest…

As you read this the MX Nationals convoy is rolling into Sydney for the second round of the championship at Appin tomorrow.

After the initial plot-twists that were thrown up at Horsham two weeks ago, round two promises to be a fascinating affair.

The element of surprise has disappeared for returners Dan Reardon, Ford Dale and Lawson Bopping and the likes of rookies Jed Beaton and Luke Styke and now eyes will be on them to see if they can replicate the searing pace they all displayed at the opening round.

On top of that, Appin is the home round for the two defending champions, Luke Clout and Matt Moss, and I’ll put money on the fact they’ll both want to come out swinging.

Mossy particularly can’t afford another horror round like he did at Horsham where he haemorrhaged 40 points off the bat to series leader and hot favourite Kirk Gibbs.

Interesting stat for you though – since the MX Nationals returned to Appin in 2012, the round winners in both the MX1 and MX2 classes have gone on to win the championship every year.

Granted, Appin is appearing earlier in the calendar this year than it has in the past, but it still shows just how important it is to win at the hard-pack track.

Expect the guys who have their starts dialled to have a good showing this weekend. Appin is notoriously hard to pass on, particularly on the second half of the track that’s littered with off-camber corners that typically become pretty slot-car-ish.

Image: Alex Gobert.

Image: Alex Gobert.

The other significant event this weekend is the AMA Supercross returning to the West Coast for the Houston round.

The reason I’m looking forward to this is because the track they’re designing has to be one of the most revolutionary supercross tracks we’ve seen in years.

Provided the finished product replicates the video preview (and let’s face it, they’ve been significantly different in the past) the track will double back on itself twice, including one entire rhythm section.

That section in particular is what I’m most curious to see how the track-builders attack. Will they play it safe and make the section a series of forgiving rollers or doubles, or will they back themselves and create a gnarly straight that requires plenty of thought and challenges both the builders and riders? Here’s hoping they push for the latter!

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