Features 23 Jan 2016

Moto 360

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

To open this week’s Moto 360 presented by Alpinestars Australia, I personally wanted to congratulate Toby Price on his incredible Dakar Rally victory for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team.

It was 10 years ago that the great Andy Caldecott, who was himself a favoured son of KTM Australia, passed away in the 2006 running during stage nine. Prior to that he starred with the stage three victory that same year.

Price’s win is special for a variety of reasons, becoming the first Aussie to conquer the extremes of Dakar. From his neck injury sustained in the US during 2013, to the memory of Caldecott and late American Kurt Caselli, it was a huge result.

Most of all it’s just epic to see one of the sport’s good guys rise to the challenge and win one of the hardest events of all, proving once and for all that good guys don’t finish last!

From here Toby will take part in a whirlwind promotional tour in the US (including this weekend’s A2 round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross) and then on to Europe for Red Bull, KTM and his large variety of sponsors.

So congratulations Toby, Australia was behind you the entire way and we’re both proud and thankful to see off-road motorcycling cast into the mainstream as a result. It’s a result for the ages and one we’ll never, ever forget!

Over to Adam Spence, who has come on as Foremost Media’s production manager for 2016, with his rundown from the past week…

Source: Supplied.

Source: Supplied.

Well hasn’t it been quite an interesting week within our sport? Teams doing last-minute rider swaps, injuries, riders returning from injury, this week has basically had it all. Here at MotoOnline.com.au we’re obviously excited and we can imagine all of our viewers are in the same boat.

Firstly it was the announcement that Serco Yamaha had released Luke Clout from his contract to take a fill-in ride with the MAD Racing Dirt Candy Suzuki team for the remainder of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross 250SX West Region Championship.

The opportunity came about after team rider Daniel Baker sustained an ankle injury, forcing him out of the series. Little did Baker know that his injury would kick-off a whirlwind of rider exchanges back here in Australia following the exit of Clout from Serco Yamaha.

With the 2014 MX2 champion leaving the Serco squad, the team quickly announced the singing of fellow MX2 contender Wade Hunter, but here’s where it gets interesting. Hunter had already signed with the Victoria-based DPH Motorsport team, the deal was done and dusted, or so we thought.

Hunter was released from the DPH squad to make his way to the Serco Yamaha team, an MX2 outfit held in high regard domestically, which then created questions as to who would fill his spot within the DPH squad alongside premier class contender Lawson Bopping for 2016.

To keep the Serco/DPH combination going, the DPH Motorsport crew then announced the signing of former Serco Yamaha rider Jed Beaton, it just continued to get better and better! Beaton spent just one season with the Serco Yamaha team before finding himself searching for a 2016 ride, meaning Clout’s decision to head to the US almost acted as a lifeline of sorts for his former teammate.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

So we now have our 2014 national MX2 champion racing in America aboard a Suzuki, former DPH Motorsport rider aboard his old Serco Yamaha steed and former Serco Yamaha rider Beaton moving on from Serco to finish up the DPH roster for the season – I almost confused myself writing that, what a turn of events!

Continuing on from that subject, Clout will now match up against fellow Australian Hayden Mellross who we spoke to earlier this week for our latest edition of Profiled, click here to read that. Mellross has been very impressive in his rookie Monster Energy AMA Supercross season with an 11th place on debut and a strong fourth place heat race finish at round two.

Mellross is feeling comfortable following two rounds of racing, admitting he did have some rookie nerves heading into his first ever US supercross event. It wouldn’t be surprising if Mellross slowly moves his way up the leaderboard and it’ll be interesting to see where Clout slots in amongst Mellross and the rest of the field.

Finally, reigning MX Nationals MX1 champion Kirk Gibbs swung a leg over his KTM 450SX-F this week after a three-month stint off the bike due to injury. The Queensland-based rider commented ‘what time off! Felt amazing to ride today guys” on our Instagram post today, signalling he isn’t too phased by the time off and we’re looking forward to seeing him defend his title against the rest of the stacked, and hungry, MX1 field this season.

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