News 17 Nov 2016

Australian 2017 silly season ramps up as supercross concludes

Anticipated Waters switch to Honda at the peak of speculation.

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

Image: Jeremy Hammer (Foremost Media).

A host of Australia’s factory motocross and supercross teams are expected take on a new approach for the 2017 season, with a raft of top-level rider transfers expected to be confirmed into the new year.

The major rumour headlining the silly season is that Todd Waters will switch to Crankt Protein Honda Racing for the new season aboard the all-new CRF450R, departing Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki following a single season.

Expected to be announced at this month’s Moto Expo in Melbourne, Waters is almost certain to be joined by longtime factory Suzuki team manager Jay Foreman to steer Honda’s revamped official effort. Neither 2015 MX2 national champion Jay Wilson or Dylan Long will return for a second term, however the second rider hasn’t been indicated.

Replacing Waters at Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki will be American revelation Kyle Peters, who won a moto on debut at Toowoomba this season with Kawasaki before transferring to KTM for supercross. He was spotted at Appin this past Tuesday shaking down the RM-Z450 and will partner team fixture Luke Wilson.

It’s widely-thought that CDR Yamaha will field a three-rider roster for 2017, with Dean Ferris due to defend his MX Nationals MX1 crown in a motocross-only arrangement, while a supercross-only deal remains in the works Dan Reardon. Tipped to be joining them will be youthful Victorian Long in both motocross and supercross after switching from Honda.

KTM Motocross Racing Team has yet to announce its line-up for 2017, however at this stage it appears Kirk Gibbs and Luke Styke – who missed much of this year through injury – will return once again. However with Caleb Ward heading to Europe, the team will scale back to a 450-only program after fielding an MX2 entry this season.

National Pump Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team remains up in the air at this point, long-linked to MX2 standout Nathan Crawford if he moves to the 450s, however a lead rider hasn’t been determined according to paddock speculation last weekend at AUS-X Open. Kawasaki’s factory squad won’t be entering the new KX250F next year.

That leaves the Serco Yamaha operation as the lone MX2 team with full factory backing at this moment, which is rumoured to be fielding newly-crowned SX2 champion Jackson Richardson fulltime following his title win, however Wilson Todd, Mitch Evans and Luke Clout have also been linked to the Queensland squad.

Once the final of the factory-backed seats begin to be finalised, that will also settle the satellite line-ups ahead of the Victorian-based Motul MX Nationals season-opener kicking off proceedings next April.