Features 13 Jun 2015

Moto 360

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

After taking a week off last weekend with the Moto 360 feature – trying to get some sneaky downtime over the Queen’s Birthday Weekend – we’re back and, as always, thanks to Alpinestars Australia as presenting partner.

Funnily enough last weekend was a busy one regardless between many dirt bike and road events (that we cover on CycleOnline.com.au), as well as content flowing through from Ryan Marmont at the 2016 KTM launch at Ironman Raceway in the US.

We may not be halfway through the year yet, however already we have a selection of KTM reviews online, with two more to come next week – the 350 SX-F and 125 SX. On top of that, we’ve seen the 2016 bike reveals from Kawasaki, Yamaha and Honda in recent weeks, so there’s plenty of testing coming up.

With the KTMs obviously brand new and based on the current Factory Editions that took Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin to their respective AMA Supercross titles earlier this year, plus Kawasaki releasing an all-new KX450F it’s shaping up to be another progressive year.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

I’m particularly interested to see what Husqvarna brings out considering the updates of the KTMs, because judging by the factory MXGP FC 250 we saw debuted by Aleksandr Tonkov in MX2 a couple of months ago, we should see some major revisions – probably not too dissimilar to the KTMs.

A host of riders are currently over in the US training in between MX Nationals rounds, including Dan Reardon, Ford Dale and Geran Stapleton at the halfway point of the season. If anything it’s a good refresher after pounding laps on the Aussie tracks all year, so it will be good to see how these guys progress when round six takes place at Raymond Terrace.

Speaking of Stapleton, he received some invaluable American publicity when he sat in on this week’s Pulp MX Show, hosted by Steve Matthes with David Vuillemin as co-host. AMA rookie Hayden Mellross was also a guest calling in, so it’s definitely worth a listen and great entertainment.

While it is obviously a quiet time for Australian motocross, there were two very special events on last weekend in the 40th Finke Desert Race – dominated by Toby Price despite a painful foot injury – and also the Manjimup 15,000 that Kirk Gibbs swept.

Internationally the X Games took much of the attention with live television all over the world, plus Pro Motocross, World Enduro, Erzberg and GNCC competition. As I mentioned above, it definitely wasn’t a quiet long weekend!

That’s it from me for this week, here is Simon Makker with a unique insight on the Aussie season so far.

It’s hard to believe that we’ve already reached the halfway mark of the MX Nationals and all the racers are now making the most of a hard-earned break. For some like Luke Clout, that means rushing straight into hospital to get surgery on a banged-up thumb.

For others like Matt Moss and Jed Beaton, it’s an opportunity to kick some niggling injuries to the curb and ensure they’re fighting fit for the second half of the series.

So, after five rounds of frantic racing, here’s what I’ve learnt:
– Even when he doesn’t win races, Kirk Gibbs has perfected the art of still extending his points lead every round.

– On a similar note, what’s with #5 plated KTMs leading both the AMA and Australian championships?

– The old adage that anyone in the top 8-10 of both the MX1 and MX2 classes can win races is actually true this year.

– Kiwis are coping less away from home in 2015 more than ever before.

– In saying that, Ben Townley is the only guy who can win races on a Honda.

– Jake Moss is probably the unluckiest bloke in Australian motocross this year.

– The livestreaming this year is streets ahead of where it’s been in the past.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

– Caleb Ward is a beast in the sand.

– Serco Yamaha must be stinging for a return to hardpack tracks after Luke Clout’s and Jed Beaton’s points/injury slump at Murray Bridge and Coolum.

– Maybe the 250 two-strokes were pumping out 63hp last year after all?

– Taka Katsuya isn’t getting nowhere near enough credit for his results in the first five rounds.

– I’d quite like to see if Kade Mosig and Dan Reardon had good behaviour clauses added to their contracts after their clash at Broadford.

– Surely Wade Hunter, Jesse Dobson and Dylan Long must all be on team radars for rides next year.

– Luke Styke is having a hell of a rookie MX1 season.

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