Features 12 Mar 2016

Moto 360

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

We’re just over three weeks out from the season opening round of the newly-branded 2016 Motul MX Nationals championship, that off-season sure did fly.

As usual the bench racing continues to increase and here at MotoOnline.com.au we decided to gather a selection of opinions on who will rise to the top from a selection of industry personnel, including ourselves, for our latest The Point feature.

This is always a tough one, writing down a top three prediction in both the MX1 and MX2 classes isn’t something you can decide on in a split second, and you can be sure multiple riders will not be happy if they are left out.

Of the selected personnel we chose to offer up their predictions, we received quite a few variations and reasons why they thought their choices were going to stand on the box at the end of the championship.

It’s quite interesting to see who other people close to the sport feel will excel in the upcoming season, some may have their ‘guy’ and back him all the way, or others can base their opinion solely off previous results or pre-season form alone – it’s an enjoyable mix.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Personally, I had a very hard time selecting my choices, as it’s obvious both classes are stacked with talent and choosing three riders out of such deep fields is no easy task.

I’m unsure if any riders actually care what I think, maybe they do, maybe they don’t, but there’s always that feeling that you will upset someone along the way by leaving them out of your top three pick.

Unfortunately that’s just how it is and it’s what makes the feature so interesting, but I’d like to take this opportunity to touch on the fact that it’s actually awesome to have this problem. It means we have a long list of riders that can win races and contend for the championship in both classes, it’s so exciting to see.

Other than my top three choices in MX1, we’ve got an absolutely stacked field of riders that can definitely win races and championships.

To start with, Kirk Gibbs, he’s the defending champion and one impressive guy on a motorcycle. Some may think I’m crazy for leaving him out of my top three, maybe I am, but he’s coming off a substantial injury and may take some time to return to his 2015 form.

They also say winning the first championship isn’t as hard as defending it the next, is it true? I wouldn’t know, but if it is, the factory KTM rider may have a tough task ahead of him in 2016.

Former MX1 champion Dan Reardon is also in the mix, you can never count him out aboard his CDR Yamaha and his former teammate Kade Mosig is always super fast as well. He’s feeling comfortable aboard his NPE Monster Energy Kawasaki and you can be sure he’ll be up front all season long.

Then you have riders such as 2015 MX2 champion Jay Wilson, his teammate Dylan long, Lawson Bopping and former MX1 winner Jacob Wright who will certainly be mixing it up with the best during the year, there’s just so much talent out there.

Speaking of Wright, following his shock split from the SD3 Husqvarna team earlier this week, we gave him a call and he confirmed a new KTM-backed privateer outfit for 2016.

“Between myself and the team there were some disagreements along the way,” Wright told MotoOnline.com.au. “We just both decided that it was best for both parties to go our separate ways and still be mates at the end of it.

Image: Jeff Crow.

Image: Jeff Crow.

“When we decided to part ways, my mechanic Dan [Kersnovske] was the first person to stick behind me, he’s going to be with me the whole year as my fulltime mechanic. He went straight to Paul from Pro Motorycles Sunshine Coast and he then went to KTM and they ended up giving me two bikes thanks to Tam Paul.

“I’ve got my own gear sponsors on board still with Shift MX and FOX for the year, a friend of mine will drive Dan’s service truck to the races and Dan and myself will fly to the rounds. Dan will look after me as much as he can and we’re just going to work together as a little team.”

Wright was positive and confident in his last-minute privateer outfit, admitting he enjoys the opportunity to select the parts and bike setup he wants without any constraints. He says he’s in the best shape of his life, training with a triathlete four days a week and feeling 100 percent healthy.

Combine a healthy Wright with a bike he’s totally happy with and working alongside Kersnovske from MX Race Prep (MXRP) who tunes both his engines and suspension, he could be very dangerous. We all know how fast the 20-year-old is when he’s in form, he’s won before in the premier class and I have a feeling he’s planning on doing more of the same this season.

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