Features 13 Apr 2015

Trackside: 2015 MX Nationals Rd2 Appin

Why the injury of Matt Moss changes the shape of this year's outdoors.

Over the course of the 2015 MX Nationals season, MotoOnline.com.au will pin-point some of the more focal topics that take place during any given round in the return of our popular Trackside feature. This week, we look at the unfortunate incident of Team Motul Suzuki’s Matt Moss in MX1 at Appin on Sunday.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

The exit of Matt Moss from Appin’s MX Nationals round in the first corner of moto one on Sunday was a major talking point on Sunday, airlifted out after undergoing treatment at the venue by Suzuki RACESAFE while his rivals racked up points on a hugely technical, difficult circuit.

Already 40 points adrift of round one winner Kirk Gibbs entering Appin, Mossy’s home stop of the series was supposed to be where he started chipping away at his points deficit in the championship chase. But it wasn’t to be and now, it’s all but certain a new champion will be crowned as Moss is now 107 points back in 20th position.

We are still awaiting an official update on Moss from Team Motul Suzuki at this stage, however the general reports suggest no major injuries despite the heavy impact of the incident, in which it’s understood he was hit and run over in the melee.

You could instantly see the pain Moss was in and it was at that moment the battle for the number one plate effectively blew wide open. Longtime challenger Gibbs later said it was disappointing to see Moss go out like that, but still expects him to be strong upon return when he’s fit. And hopefully he’s back sooner, rather than later.

So who will it be to step up and capture the crown that has belonged to Moss since he stepped up to MX1 in 2013 and won again in 2014? As we’ve seen before, when a championship is up for grabs and riders start believing – which many will now that Moss is out – then they are able to elevate for the challenge.

Gibbs has to be the favourite and his ride from the rear of the pack to third in moto one yesterday showed he can race to the front regardless of where he starts. He’s finished runner-up to Moss on so many occasions before that it’s only natural he will now become the favourite – especially after his Horsham win and Appin form. Plus, KTM will take delivery of the all-new 2016 450 SX-F in time for the series’ second half.

Alongside him, Kade Mosig looks better than ever with CDR Yamaha and his results show that, while Luke Styke has quietly been going about his business alongside Gibbs at KTM in his first season of the premier class – all three hogging the podium spots at the opening two rounds.

Lawson Bopping, in his return to the outdoors, has been quick as usual but doesn’t look to be on the level of his competition over a race distance right now, while Kawasaki’s Adam Monea is currently fifth in the standings and more than a full moto’s worth of points behind the red plate holder after just two rounds. He needs to get moving at Broadford to factor in this thing.

The big question mark is man of the moment Dan Reardon, coming back to professional racing after two full years away from the sport, and he picked up that thrilling moto two win at Appin. But inconsistency, both due to a mechanical at the opener and a number of first lap incidents, have him sitting down in 10th overall for now.

As for the Penrite Honda combination of Cody Cooper (currently sixth in the standings) and Ford Dale, who’s 14th after a DNF in moto two yesterday, they will have to convert their speed into race wins and podiums on a consistent basis to have a shot at the number one plate come Coolum.

Expect a number of flashes of brilliance from the newcomers throughout the year as well, riders like Jesse Dobson, Kale Makeham and Dylan Long all out to make their mark and with speed on their side to burn. Which makes me think; imaging the added depth if Jacob Wright and Jake Moss weren’t sidelined through injuries!

But as always when a defending champion is ruled out of the running early on, we as industry and genuine fans of the sport can’t help but miss the guy with the #1 plate on his bike when the gates drop. Here’s to a speed recovery, Mossy!