Features 7 Jul 2016

Top 10: Rising MX Nationals talent

A closer look at the new generation of Australian motocross racers.

Australian motocross is currently seeing a resurgence of fresh talent climbing through the Motul MX Nationals ranks and it’s quite exciting to see. There’s a long list of riders who are making their mark on the sport and ensuring their presence is known as they chase their motocross dreams. MotoOnline.com.au takes a look at a selection of those riders who currently stand out on their journey to the top.

Image: MXN.

Image: MXN.

1. Caleb Ward:
Ward kicked off his MX Nationals career in the MX2 category, opting to skip the traditional path many riders take using the MXD category as a stepping stone from the junior ranks to the professional scene. Since then he has continued to impress with a list of awesome performances on multiple circuits. The young Queenslander has a knack for laying down dominating rides and really separating himself from the rest of the field; he has that ‘wow’ factor out on the track. Off the track he’s a well mannered professional with plenty of time for his fans and the motocross media and it’s easy to see why he’s the sole factory KTM MX2 rider in Australia for the 2016 season.

2. Jay Wilson:
Jay Wilson had been a hot prospect for many years, and in 2015 he came through with the goods capturing the national MX2 motocross championship. As part of the Crankt Protein Honda Racing squad for 2016 as a premier class rookie, Wilson has battled injury from the get go and is yet to show his true potential on the big bike. Wilson has shown flashes of brilliance on the CRF450R and it’s a known fact he has the talent and work ethic to make his way to pointy end of the field – watch this space.

3. Dylan Long:
Although Long is yet to capture a national title, he’s noticed as one of the most naturally talented riders in the country at this point in time. Teammate to Jay Wilson on the factory Honda team for 2016, Long had bounced around between MX1 teams in past years, yet still managed solid results during that time. Long looks at home aboard the CRF450R and although he hasn’t set the world on fire this season, he’s slowly putting it all together and showing strong signs of great things to come.

4. Nathan Crawford:
2016 marks the year Nathan Crawford put it all together and cemented himself as a serious and consistent title contender in the MX2 category. The 18-year-old Husqvarna-backed rider has always been fast, but he has lifted his program to a new level this season and those red backgrounds on his FC250 are a testament to that. At such a young age Crawford has a lot of years ahead of him in his career and it will be interesting to see just how far he can take it.

5. Jed Beaton:
Coming into the 2016 season with a last-minute DPH Motorsport deal due to a shuffle of riders at his former Serco Yamaha team, Beaton was a slight unknown due to his unsettled off-season. We quickly found out this hadn’t affected him one bit as he captured the MX2 red plate at round three in Broadford. Beaton has been up front all season long and his hard work and dedication are really shining through. Although back to third in points currently, he’s still in this championship hunt and pushing to claim his first national championship.

Image: MXN.

Image: MXN.

6. Wilson Todd:
Wilson Todd kicked off his MX Nationals career the right way as part of the GYTR Yamaha team and now holds the 2015 MXD number one plate. Making the move to the Serco Yamaha team for 2016 in the MX2 class, Todd has shown flashes of brilliance with blistering speed, but he has also posted his fair share of sub-par results. This kid is the real deal when it comes to raw talent and speed on a motorcycle, but his future success will rely heavily on his ability to remain consistent each and every weekend.

7. Jayden Rykers:
Hailing from Western Australia, Rykers is one MX2 contender that stands out in 2016, he’s not messing around out there. Part of the Davey Motorsports outfit aboard a KTM 250 SX two-stroke, Rykers has been right in the thick of things this year and even claimed a podium finish at Wanneroo. Would his results suffer if he made the move to the four-stroke? We’re not sure, but if he keeps things going this way, the factories should be knocking on his door and we’ll have our chance to see how that works out.

8. Dylan Wills:
2015 saw Wills really step up his game as a privateer aboard a KTM 250 SX two-stroke, he was right up there mixing it up with the factory riders and even capturing race wins. In 2016 Wills made the move to the KTM 250 SX-F four-stroke as part of the Raceline Pirelli KTM squad and although his results haven’t been as impressive as his 2015 performances, the best is definitely yet to come from the hard working 20-year-old.

9. Connor Tierney:
Working alongside former multi-time national champion Ryan Marmont in 2016, Connor Tierney has been very impressive in his rookie MX Nationals MXD campaign. The Western Australian came out with a bang at Horsham’s season opener and continued to lay down strong results throughout the following five events. The Husqvarna rider is on-track to claiming the 2016 MXD number one plate and will surely be a big name in Australian motocross in years to come.

10. Mitch Evans:
As part of the premier development team, Yamalube Yamaha Racing, Mitch Evans holds down a spot in the MXD category that young riders dream of. Evans has had his fair share of ups and downs this season, but it’s clear that he will become one of the next top national contenders in years to come. Evans has his sights set on climbing through the ranks with Yamaha through their Serco Yamaha and CDR Yamaha programs as many have done before him with great success.