Features 2 Apr 2017

Trackside: 2017 MX Nationals Rd1 Wonthaggi

Pit briefs from Victoria's first round of the new outdoor season.

While much of the attention is on-track at each round of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals, Trackside takes you beyond the action for brief pieces of interest.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

– The injury toll is particularly high coming into round one when it comes to factory 450 riders. Nathan Crawford (radius) and Dylan Long (scaphoid) are still recovering from pre-season injuries, while Todd Waters fractured his foot last weekend in NZ according to some pit whispers. They won’t be at 100 percent today.

– Crankt Protein Honda Racing has impressively stepped up its program for 2017, with Jay Foreman now managing the team, Todd Waters and Luke Clout forming an all-new dynamic rider line-up, plus they’re on the latest CRF450R. They will be far stronger this season as a result.

– There’s a familiar face back in the Serco Yamaha camp, as Michael Marty – who has his own business in Brisbane Dirtbike Services – is back and helping on the factory-supported YZ250Fs of Jackson Richardson and Mitch Evans.

– If you’re at any of the events this year, do yourself a favour and go check out the Penrite CRF Honda Racing bike of Kyle Webster – it is one of the trickest 250s in the country. And this year the team also has Joel Whiteman on the 450 as well, so there’s some strong young talent in that pit.

Image: Alex Gobert (Foremost Media).

– Class rookies on factory-supported bikes should create plenty of interest this season, namely Nathan Crawford (MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Luke Clout (Crankt Protein Honda Racing) in MX1, plus Mitch Evans (Serco Yamaha) and Wade Kirkland (Raceline Pirelli KTM) in MX2.

– We have some high-quality internationals in the field full-time for 2017, as Alekandr Tonkov (MEGA Bulk Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki) and Kyle Peters (Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki) have secured leading MX1 rides. Will they deliver championships or can the Aussies maintain the titles?

– One rider who has been beneath the radar of sorts in the pre-season has been Brett Metcalfe, back here for the first time since Murray Bridge last year and in for all 10 rounds this time – he is going to be supremely quick. And it’s also good to see SD3 Husqvarna teammate Luke Arbon back in the mix within MX2 as well.

– The majority of front-runners are on four-strokes this year, but Egan Mastin will most certainly be at the front of MX2 on his Davey Motorsports KTM 250 SX. And teammate Hamish Harwood is on a two-stroke in both MX1 and MX2 – now that is an ironman effort!