Features 6 Feb 2016

Moto 360

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

The New Zealand Motocross Championship commences this weekend, where Australian internationals Todd Waters and Dean Ferris will ramp-up their preparations for the 2016 MX Nationals.

Waters and Ferris will take much of the spotlight over the next four rounds, while many of their local opposition will be preparing back home.

Whether or not they can overcome the serious challenge of reigning NZ MX1 champion Cody Cooper is yet to be seen, as he will once again be extremely competitive in his home country.

But interestingly, after struggling to convert his NZ form to Australia, it doesn’t look as though Cooper has a seat here in Australia this season. We’ll follow up more, but a good performance against the former MXGP regulars will help largely.

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ.com).

Image: Andy McGechan (BikesportNZ.com).

And for the likes of Waters and Ferris, strong results against eachother will give them a real advantage heading into Horsham’s opening national round on 3 April.

A major breaking news story we’d been chasing for a little while was the future of Adam Monea, who lost his NPE Monster Energy Kawasaki seat while recovering from a seriously broken wrist sustained at the AUS-X Open.

We knew he’d been off the radar of late, but once some contact revealed he was in fact hanging up his helmet professionally, it was only natural to get Simon Makker to interview him for the story. And it was a major one.

It’s no secret that very few racers earn major money in motocross locally, but at the same time the factory riders usually have a very good opportunity of gaining bonuses and incentives on top of their sign-on. So if a good season is had, the pay day is reasonable.

But, as we know, it’s an extremely dangerous sport, so to put your body on the line each weekend takes a lot of commitment and you’ve got to respect Monea’s decision to step away if he’s not properly remunerated as the national number three.

One thing I wanted to note this week is that we’ve relaunched our weekly newsletter, essentially delivering you this very website to your inbox each Friday – complete with our top content from the week. Be sure to sign up via the envelope at the top of the site or by using the Contact Us area in the Resources tab.

That’s it from me for this week. here’s Adam Spence for his take on the week just past…

The month of February has arrived and everything began to settle down this week, in contrast to the previous weeks filled with excitement, drama and plenty of shock announcements, this week has been fairly subdued. In saying that, there’s still a couple of points I’d like to touch on for this fourth edition of Moto 360 for 2016.

We announced this week on the site that Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart would be sidelined indefinitely. Now although Stewart did not gain any fans with the whole AUS-X Open debacle, I feel the general motocross population and fans of the sport need to take a step back and be realistic about the current situation.

Stewart took a hard hit to the head at Anaheim’s season opening round of the 2016 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, hard enough that he was knocked unconscious and the main event red flagged. AMA 450SX main events are not red flagged for just any crash, it was a serious hit to the head, the most vital area of your body.

Concussions are a serious injury and the effects linger for longer than most would think, just ask Kale Makeham about his concussion experience a few years ago, he tried the exact same thing as Stewart and it didn’t work out well for him. These guys ride at a level us regular human beings can’t comprehend; it’s something that requires an unimaginable level of fitness, concentration and precision.

Image: Simon Cudby.

Image: Simon Cudby.

So before you go ahead and make harsh or uneducated remarks via social media, take that into consideration and think about just how serious this situation is. The guy is a racer, yes he may have made bad decisions recently and upset a lot of people, but this is a dangerous sport and if someone feels like a hazard to themselves or their competitors, it’s actually a very commendable move to step away and return at 100 percent health.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s take a look at the sport domestically as things begin to get underway as far as pre-season preparations go. We’re starting to see more riders out at the local tracks laying down endless laps. One of those riders was Raceline Pirelli KTM’s Dylan Wills, we spoke with him for our latest edition of First Person interview.

Wills had a breakout season in 2015, proving he had the speed to run at the pointy-end of the MX2 field on a regular basis. After spending his entire career as a privateer, young New South Wales rider is looking refreshed and comfortable aboard his KTM-backed ride. Oh, and if you were wondering about his speed on a four-stroke after years aboard a premix machine, no issues there whatsoever.

Another MX2 contender we spoke with this week is Serco Yamaha’s new recruit Wilson Todd. The 2015 MXD MX Nationals champion underwent off-season knee surgery and returned to the bike just two weeks ago, but he feels comfortable and will begin testing with the team next week. He’s aiming for top fives and podiums, can he do it? He’s fast that’s for sure, we’ll just have to see how he stacks up experience wise with the rest of the field.

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