Why we're already excited for next year's Australian championship.
With racing done and dusted for another year, we’re already getting keen in the lead-up to 2016. Anaheim 1 and Dakar are right around the corner and will take much of the early spotlight, however if you set your sights forward a few months further, next year’s MX Nationals, Australian Motocross Championship, may just be the best on record. With Kirk Gibbs defending his crown for KTM, Matt Moss hoping to regain the number one plate now on Kawasaki machinery, Dan Reardon coming off an incredible supercross title, and MXGP exports Todd Waters and Dean Ferris coming home – plus a heap of additional factors – we’re set for an all-in brawl come round one.
Alex Gobert – MotoOnline.com.au founder:
When the chequered flag flew on Coolum’s final round earlier this year, nobody predicted the shuffle that was to take place over the silly season. While we’re still awaiting a few key announcements, many of the major team changes are confirmed. Throwing the biggest spanner in the works will be Todd Waters (Factory Suzuki MX1 Racing) and Dean Ferris (CDR Yamaha) upon return home from Europe – there’s every chance they could run away with it in a two-horse race if they catch our domestic regulars off-guard. But I doubt that will happen as Kirk Gibbs (KTM Motocross Racing Team) strung together a mega year to claim his first MX1 crown this year, Matt Moss (NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki) would love nothing more to reclaim his title and has also show he’s world-class, plus coming off a dominant supercross title win, Dan Reardon (should be back at CDR Yamaha) will have a renewed dose of confidence outdoors as well. Between them, Kade Mosig and Adam Monea (teams not yet confirmed), MX2 champ Jay Wilson and Dylan Long (both will be in a new-look Honda factory program), Luke Styke (back for another year at KTM), and potentially even more top-level racers in the mix, picking a clear title favourite is just about impossible. Consider MX2 (we’re yet to hear much at all team-wise) and the talent-filled MXD ranks, expect an incredibly intense season to come.
Adam Spence – MotoOnline.com.au production manager:
The upcoming 2016 MX Nationals series has excitement written all over it, the premier MX1 class is going to be absolutely stacked. We’ll see Kirk Gibbs return as the defending champion and Matt Moss, along with his all-new green look, will surely be shooting for the top spot following an unfortunate 2015 campaign. Not to mention the likes of Dan Reardon, Kade Mosig, Luke Styke, Adam Monea and Lawson Bopping, to name a few, who will also be very strong contenders throughout the season. Then we throw in the return of both Todd Waters and Dean Ferris following their impressive MXGP experiences, this is where the excitement factor rises for me personally. I say this not because the Australian regulars are lacking excitement out on the track, it’s the added unknown element of Waters and Ferris. We all know that both of these riders are world-class on a motocross track, and following multiple seasons following the MXGP circuit, you would have to expect that they’ve picked up a thing or two along the way. In saying that, this doesn’t mean that everything will translate over perfectly to their 2016 Australian MX Nationals campaigns. The tracks, schedule, opponents and the machines they’re aboard are totally different, this unknown factor is super exciting and round one couldn’t come any sooner!
Simon Makker – MotoOnline.com.au lead contributor:
It’s pretty rare that I’d say a defending champion and one of the most consistent guys in the paddock will enter 2016 as the underdog, but in Kirk Gibbs’ case, I think there’s more than a little element of truth to it. Gibbsy was a class act all through this year’s MX Nationals and a cut above the rest of MX1 field, but next year, with both Dean Ferris and Todd Waters returning from their European campaigns, he’s going to have his work cut out for him if he wants to go back-to-back. On top of that, we’ll see Matt Moss on a new green steed and Dan Reardon riding the crest of the momentum wave on what’s expected to be a return to the CDR camp (it’s not a done deal, but I expect this is what will happen). If you then factor in MX2 champ Jay Wilson who’s graduating to the big boys’ class, then all of a sudden you’ve got a lot of potential champions elbowing their way towards one title. There are going to be a lot of pretty disappointed lads come the end of August, but that’s more a reflection of just how deep the field runs in Australia now. As for the MX2 class, with Wilson stepping up and if Clouty makes his way over to the US as intended, that title is wide-open for the taking. If I was to put money on it I’d probably put the cash behind Jake Moss who’s likely to score a MX2 ride with his current Kawasaki team, but then you’ve also got KTM new signing Caleb Ward, Jed Beaton who carried some amazing form this year, Dylan Wills, the graduating Wilson Todd and a host of others. No matter which way you look at it, 2016 is shaping up to be a fascinating season on a domestic level, and that’s not even taking into account the drama that we’ll see in AMA Supercross and motocross championships and the MXGP.