Grading a selection of Australian pre-season performances.
In this latest edition of Rated, MotoOnline.com.au takes a look at the annual migration of Australian racers competing in New Zealand as pre-season preparations for the MX Nationals championship.
Rider: Dean Ferris
Rundown: On return from the MXGP circuit, aboard his new Yamaha YZ450F, Ferris has been very impressive in New Zealand to date. The Queenslander began his 2016 NZ campaign with a second overall at Woodville behind defending champion and local star Cody Cooper. Ferris then went on to win the invitation only feature race ahead of Cooper and fellow Australian ace Todd Waters. At Timaru’s opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship, Ferris swept all three MX1 motos, a very strong performance against riders of Waters’ and Cooper’s calibre. If this is anything to go by, expect Ferris to be very fast when round one of the MX Nationals comes around at Horsham on 3 April.
Rider: Todd Waters
Rundown: Waters’ results on paper, especially during the Woodville event, don’t look too bad, but they don’t stand out like his fellow countrymen Ferris. But this doesn’t mean the former MXGP contender isn’t riding well, Waters is warming up for a strong year and ironing out the bugs. At the Woodville event on paper Waters was sixth overall, but that is due to a DNF in moto one before returning to take a third followed by a final moto win – he also logged the fastest lap of the event. The Queenslander went on to capture 3-2-3 moto scores at Timaru’s opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship, landing him third overall on the MX1 podium behind Ferris and Cooper.
Rider: Jed Beaton
Rundown: In his second year as a professional MX2 contender, Beaton is a rider to keep an eye on. His recent New Zealand result may not seem amazing, but along the way to his third overall at the season opening round, he did sneak in a moto win. Before the day began, Beaton locked in the fastest qualifying time by more than two seconds over Rangiora’s Micah McGoldrick. The Tasmanian then went 9-3-1, progressively building and improving throughout the day, a very promising sign for the 18-year-old. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Beaton claim an overall NZ win aboard his Triple B Valley Fresh Yamaha YZ250F before the four-round series ends.
Rider: Joel Wightman
Rundown: Wightman kicked off his 2016 New Zealand campaign in a challenging position when his personal bike didn’t make the trip over from Australia in time for the stand alone Woodville event. Wightman jumped on a relatively stock bike Honda CRF250R with no engine work, just suspension to suit his weight, and managed an impressive seventh overall. At Timaru’s opening round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship he went on to take ninth overall aboard his own machine. Wightman used 8-7-9 moto scores to do so, he’s not setting the world on fire, but he’s riding solid and you should see him slowly improve as the series moves on.