Features 21 Jan 2017

Deadline

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

There we have it, two weeks are already in the books for this year and, so far, it’s been a top start to the year. Traffic is flowing on MotoOnline.com.au following our layoff of sorts and we’re churning out information that you won’t read anywhere else when it comes to an Aussie perspective on the sport.

One of the highlights for me this week was being able to chat with Dan Reardon about his progress in the US so far and I feel it’s pretty clear that the best is yet to come. That crash while running inside the top three at San Diego left him with a case of ‘what could have been’, but thankfully for him there’s a race pretty much every weekend over there.

Reardon is genuinely enjoying his time back in America and kudos to him for believing in himself, putting in the work – both on- and off-track – and clawing his way back overseas with one of the best teams in the sport. It’s pretty incredible when I think back to 2013 when he joined us as a test rider for some time before stepping back from motocross altogether.

Source: Supplied.

And, as well as Reardon is going, we’re super-impressed by Hayden Mellross and have managed to log updates on him following the first two rounds. He’s already beaten his career-best and is on track to better than again as the rounds continue. Hopefully in the next week or so we can also check in with Chad Reed for an update on his campaign to date as well.

Closer to home, we tracked down Troy Carroll for an update on Kawasaki’s roster for 2017 and, surprisingly, he indicated that they’ve signed their MX Nationals rider to join Nathan Crawford, but won’t be announcing it for a month or so. The smart money – and speculation – still points toward Aleksandr Tonkov, but TC wasn’t letting the cat out of the bag just yet by any means.

We’re going to see things really ramp up from this weekend as New Zealand’s Woodville Grand Prix is on with a bunch of big-name Aussies behind the gates, before the NZ motocross series starts next month and leads all the way into the Australian MX Nationals. Hopefully we can cover the racing over there well, as long as we can source the information and assets – easier said than done.

But that’s it from me for another week aside from the odd news article or race report to come over the weekend, so thanks again for stopping by and supporting the site. Here’s Spence with his take on the week that was…

Two weeks into the 2017 season and things are coming along well here at MotoOnline.com.au. We’ve been doing the rounds, chatting with riders and industry personnel, basically checking in and ensuring we cover any deals or program revisions still occurring at this stage.

There’s quite a lot happening in terms of Australian teams with plenty of riders switching it up for the year. Unfortunately we saw two great riders turn their focus to a regular working life this week, and I was the guy set with the task to announce the bad news.

Both Kale Makeham and Jordan Hill confirmed they will take a step back in 2017, with Makeham bowing out of the Motul MX Nationals and Hill removing himself completely from both the motocross and supercross championships. Both riders are planning to work fulltime, but will continue to ride and race at certain levels.

Image: MXN.

It’s good to hear Makeham plans to return for the 2017 Australian Supercross Championship, most likely with the Proformance Yamaha team. Hill plans to buy a bike and race local Queensland rounds and although he did hint at a possible supercross appearance, it seems quite unlikely as the injury risk for the now-apprentice electrician is too high.

To be clear on this situation, both riders still love the sport of motocross and the decision to step back wasn’t easy, it was just something they felt they needed to do. These guys spend their lives chasing the dream and transitioning to a life without racing wouldn’t be easy. Let’s hope their plans work out and you just never know, they may just return at some point – we’ve seen it many times before!

That’s all from me this week, be sure to clear your Sunday schedule, reserve your favourite spot on the couch and enjoy Anaheim 2!

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