Features 27 Aug 2016

Moto 360

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

Saturday at Coolum is always a memorable time of the season. The pro classes don’t hit the track until the afternoon and even when they do, it’s still just for a single practice/qualifying session each.

It provides a neat opportunity to compile some articles and video in a relatively relaxed atmosphere, while for the only time all year also enabling us to get some pre-race track content from the day before.

In the background through, everybody’s here for business. The week between Toowoomba and Coolum that has many staying up here in Queensland is a highlight, but that slowly fades as the races draw closer.

For Kirk Gibbs and Dean Ferris, just six points sits between them and the championship. If Gibbs wins, that’s back-to-back titles. If Ferris wins, that’ll be his first. And don’t completely rule out Todd Waters just yet.

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

As of right now, winning motos is the only option. They need as many points as they can get and it’s not until after that first race on Sunday that we will get a clearer picture of how it all stands when it’s this close.

You have to feel for Nathan Crawford, ruled out of the round with internal injuries after a practice crash earlier this week. After winning Toowoomba he built an 11-point buffer, but now, it’s Jed Beaton and Caleb Ward who will vie for the crow.

This weekend we are also welcoming Jeremy Hammer into the Foremost Media fold and he will be working on MotoOnline.com.au as well as its partner sites moving forward. We’re always trying to evolve and Jeremy is another great way to do so within the company.

Anyhow, there’s a lot going on here this afternoon as I type this from the Williams Event Management media centre at Coolum, so I’ll pass this onto Adam Spence for his take in the lead-up to the round…

As I’m typing away, it’s almost time to pack my laptop and camera gear, throw on my crisp MotoOnline.com.au shirt and make my way to Coolum for round 10 of the 2016 Motul MX Nationals – the season finale! Coolum is always an awesome event, it’s the one I personally look forward to the most, there’s just something about that venue and final round that brings the best out in everyone. The sun is shining, the track is awesome, the fans are loving it; you can’t really go wrong.

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

It’s going to be a nail-biter in each class this year when it comes to championship battles with the largest points margin being 15 between Mitch Evans and Connor Tierney in the MXD category. The smallest margin? Just six points between MX1 series leader Kirk Gibbs and second place rider Dean Ferris. As I mentioned in this week’s edition of Q&A, which you can click here to read, these two are really going to have to be on their game this weekend.

If Ferris were to go 1-1 and Gibbs 2-2, they would end up tied on points at the end of the day. But then we have factor in the GoPro Superpole, which we do expect at least one of the two riders to qualify for and score championship points. This is going to be a severe battle between these two premier class heavy weights and I personally can’t wait to see how it turns out.

If you’re a fan of the sport, make sure you head out to the event this weekend and get behind your favourite rider whether it be Gibbs, Ferris, Todd Waters, Jed Beaton, Evans, Tierney or even the American import Kyle Peters. Grab your mates, head to the track, swing over the fences and cheer these guys on. Don’t be scared to lose your voice yelling at your favourite rider, it’s what being a fan is all about – get amongst it!

That’s all from me this week, we’ve got a busy weekend ahead and you can be sure here at MotoOnline.com.au we’ll be bringing you the most comprehensive coverage possible from the sunny state. Be sure to check in during the weekend to stay up to date with qualifying and race results, and obviously our regular Highlights film will drop Monday afternoon! That’s all from me, here’s Jeremy…

This weekend marks my first time working with the MotoOnline.com.au crew, and I’m pretty damn keen to get amongst it.

Coolum has always been one of my favourite locations on the calendar, and with all three championships coming down to the final moto, it’s set to be one of the best to date. The title favourites of Gibbs, Beaton and Evans won’t have it easy, and as we’ve seen many times in the past, anything can happen in motocross.

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

It would be great to see Kirk Gibbs defend his title, especially after a lot of people doubted his ability to back it up when it was confirmed that Dean Ferris and Todd Waters would return from the MXGP series.

He has proven to be the most consistent rider this year, and despite a niggling knee injury that he suffered at Nowra, he has managed to hold his composure throughout the second half of the series to maintain the championship lead since round five.

The MX2 category received a real shakeup this week after it was announced that series leader Nathan Crawford would be absent due to an injury he sustained practicing in the lead up to this weekend.

I’m absolutely gutted for him after such a strong year, but I have no doubts that he will bounce back for the Australian Supercross Championship set to take place next at Jimboomba in Queensland on Saturday, 17 September.

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