Features 5 Sep 2015

Moto 360

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

It’s been a massive week here at MotoOnline.com.au HQ and around the country, firstly on the ground at Coolum for the MX Nationals finals and then late this week with Yamaha Motor Australia at Gum Valley in Mackay for the 2016 model 250 launch.

We were out in force on the Sunshine Coast with Adam Spence, Simon Makker and myself, firstly for the annual Racing 4 Diabled Charity Golf Day that we’re proud to be presenting sponsor of, and then the end of season MX Nationals celebrations.

All three regular championships were decided at Coolum and with deserved winners in Kirk Gibbs, Jay Wilson and Wilson Todd, and the weather was on our side across the weekend despite a huge storm on Saturday night. Kudos to the organisers and track crew for keeping it all in tact for a memorable end to the season.

Yamaha held its dealer meetings up at Mackay prior to the national moto media arriving on Thursday, enabling Spence and our off-road tester Guy Streeter to test the 2016 YZ250F, YZ250, YZ125, WR250F, YZ250FX and YZ250X models.

There was a lot of silly season speculation doing the rounds at Coolum, but nothing too firm that we can report right now. Word is Dean Ferris is almost certain to come back to Australia in 2016 and he’s most recently been linked to CDR Yamaha, alongside Kade Mosig who you’d think has done enough to gain a second full season at the team.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

That’s just the rumour though for now and, to be honest, it’s been one of the more difficult years to gauge in terms of who is going where. It’s understood Matt Moss will move away from Team Motul Suzuki, which will likely trigger a bunch of changes if that does actually happen as suggested.

KTM Motocross Racing Team looks set to remain as is with Kirk Gibbs – seemingly unable to secure anything overseas at this stage – and Luke Styke, plus sources indicate Caleb Ward will be in-house as an MX2 rider (one of the few full-factory 250 rides if that does happen).

Husqvarna looks very likely to be starting a two-rider factory 450 team, similar in structure to the KTM program, and that will also generate much interest from riders since the title-winning KTM outfit is regarded as one of the best in the business with direct factory resources.

The likes of Gibbs, Mosig, Adam Monea, Lawson Bopping and even the Moss brothers when healthy fall into that current crop of frontline racers in this country, while Dan Reardon, Cody Cooper, Ben Townley to an extent if he wants to race fulltime again, are all options that are capable of delivering results week in, week out.

And then there’s the next generation riders such as Dylan Long, who has starred in his appearances with NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki, Jacob Wright despite missing the MX Nationals as part of CDR Yamaha, Husqvarna satellite talent Jesse Dobson, and we’re hearing new MX2 champion Jay Wilson will move up to MX1 if he doesn’t get an international opportunity. They are all deserving of good seats.

As for the MX2 teams, Luke Clout confirmed on Sunday afternoon that he’s targeting America next year, which will open up a space at Serco Yamaha. With Jed Beaton in a strong position to build on his experience and he should be staying on, the second seat could go to MXD champion Wilson Todd, or even Dylan Wills has been linked to the team. We will see what happens.

Of course, there are a heap of satellite teams in the wake of the factories and varying levels of support, so when all the dust settles we could potentially see a very different line-up of riders/teams come 2016.

Looking a little closer, with the Australian Supercross Championship right around the corner, it looks as though Supercheap Auto has come on board as series title sponsor, alongside Penrite as presenting partner. Nothing apart from an updated logo has made the news official, however tickets are finally on sale for Bathurst’s opener next month and we’re excited.

Defending supercross champion Matt Moss is back on the bike and a heap of riders switched directly to the tighter confines of SX following Coolum, so combined with the AUS-X Open that will headline the series, it’s shaping up to be an extremely positive season with a mix of promoters.

And just before we wrap things up here, best of luck must go out to Team Australia ahead of next week’s International Six Day Enduro (ISDE). The likes of Toby Price and Josh Strang may be absent, but we’re in for a very real shot at the podiums once again this year in a variety of classes.

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