Features 30 Apr 2016

Moto 360

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

Broadford is a venue that holds many memories for me, from my younger years all the way through to the many years travelling there as part of the MX Nationals media. And for 2016, this Sunday will be the last time we see the nationals at the hillside venue.

It’s understood a new Victorian venue will be added to the calendar as of 2017 – please be Ride Park – which will be interesting. We’ll look up further information on that this weekend from Williams Event Management.

As critical as many have been regarding track prep at Broadford over the years, it’s still a favourite for many in the MX pit. And that’s because it’s nature is that of a ‘real’ motocross track – there’s nothing that’s easy about the track there.

Of course when we think of Broadford there are two things that primarily tend to come to mind, being that it’s where the 2000 and 2001 grand prix rounds were held, and that it was also the unfortunate place of Andrew McFarlane’s death in 2010. We, like many, will have Sharky front of mind during the round.

The racing this weekend is going to be incredibly intense and I have a feeling that we could see MXGP exports Dean Ferris and Todd Waters really establish themselves as true title favourites on this type of circuit (like we all expected in the pre-season). If not, it further proves the current strength of Australian racing.

Image: MXN.

Image: MXN.

Ferris brings the red plate into Broadford following his Appin round win, while Waters is coming off his first podium of the year. Both have said they’re not particularly comfortable on the Aussie tracks so far, so this round should be more relatable to Europe for them to an extent.

And then there’s Brett Metcalfe, who was actually racing in the Junior support category of the 2000 GP at Broadford, and we’re tipping he took a lot from that second moto win at Appin. If he finds himself and the Husqvarna gelling at 100 percent come Sunday, he has what it takes to become the third different winner in as many rounds.

Bumped off the podium at round two, our two most recent domestic MX1 champions Kirk Gibbs and Matt Moss will be seeking redemption this time out. Moss won the overall at Broadford in 2013 and 2014 on his way to the titles, whereas Gibbs won moto two there last year.

The overall actually went to his rookie KTM teammate Luke Styke in 2015, but of course he is still sidelined as he recovers from an Achilles injury. And on top of that, replacement Jesse Dobson has also been forced out of action for this round, but Luke Wilson on the factory Suzuki is fortunately back in the mix.

That’s all from me for this week as we wrap things up, be sure to tune in across Sunday especially for all the action and we’re definitely targeting a big one. Here’s Adam Spence with more…

Round three of the 2016 Motul MX Nationals is upon us, and as Alex mentioned, it will be the last time the series makes its way to the iconic Broadford circuit. For me personally, 2016 marks my first season touring the entire MX Nationals schedule as a part of the MotoOnline.com.au team, so this will be my first and last visit to Broadford!

I’m definitely glad I’ll get to shoot there at least once in my young career, it’s a circuit that obviously holds a lot of history and it’ll be awesome to get out there and see what I can create. Although I must break the news that a hint of rain has been forecast for the weekend which could throw a spanner in the works for everyone.

Either way I feel this weekend’s event, being three rounds in, might be the point we start to really see who’s got it together this season. It’s a 10-round series, so we’re obviously creeping up on the midway point rapidly and that’s the time we see the field begin the split apart slowly.

Will it be the returning MXGP contenders Dean Ferris and Todd Waters who begin to pick it up? Or will Matt Moss regain his round one form and stamp his dominance once again? We obviously can’t forget defending champion Kirk Gibbs who’s right there in the mix too, I have a feeling this weekend is going to be very interesting.

Image: MXN.

Image: MXN.

It will also be interesting to see how riders such as Jay Wilson of the Crankt Protein Honda Racing team perform. Wilson, your 2015 MX2 champion, entered the 2016 season as a rookie in the premier class with a lot of hype surrounding him, and unfortunately to date he hasn’t been able to live up to it.

Yes he kicked off round one with a GoPro Super Pole performance, he’s got lighting fast speed, that’s not the issue at all. It looks to be a combination of things that are holding Wilson back from showing his true potential in the ‘big boys’ category, and he has been visibly disappointed in himself after both the Horsham and Appin events.

In speaking to Wilson following Appin’s round two, Wilson was thoroughly frustrated with him performance and let me in on a little bit of information. The wrist injury Wilson sustained late last year was aggravated in a pre-season crash and it’s something that’s hindering his performance quite a lot.

He explained that he was lacking strength and actually having his hand blow off the handlebars in big impacts, something that every rider knows is a recipe for disaster – especially on a 450 in the heat of a race situation on the roughest tracks in Australia. Let’s hope Wilson can overcome this issue and really show us what he can do on that CRF450R in the near future!

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