Features 20 Jul 2017

Top 10: Products of MXD

Current Under 19s graduates who've gone onto greater achievements.

The Motul MX Nationals MXD category has produced many of our current top talents in the sport, with much of the MX1 and MX2 leading riders having a significant showing throughout their time in the Under 19s class. In this Top 10 feature, we list 10 current riders who graduated from the MXD division and have gone onto bigger and better achievements in motocross.

Image: MXN.

1. Dean Ferris (CDR Yamaha):
In his first year of Under 19s, Dean Ferris finished fourth overall with a handful of podiums to his name. He gradually progressed through the categories, with 2010 being a breakout year for the then Honda privateer, who later raced a selection of grand prixs in the same season. His efforts were rewarded with a factory Kawasaki ride in Australia for 2011, before he made the most of an opportunity to race for then Kawasaki-backed IceOne outfit in the MXGP World Championship for 2012. Ferris made the switch to MX2 in 2013 with Dixon Yamaha, where he recorded his first grand prix podium. In 2014, the New South Welshman signed a surprising deal with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing in America, however after the first portion of supercross, he was sidelined with injury. Ferris would return to racing later in the year, although this time as a fill-in rider for Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing in the GPs. For 2015, he signed with Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna Factory Racing, before returning home to Australia with CDR Yamaha, claiming the MX1 championship in the process. The number 111 has also raced a selection of Motocross of Nations events, delivering Australia several top finishes.

2. Kirk Gibbs (KTM Motocross Racing Team):
Falling just shy of Todd Waters in 2007 to claim third in Under 19s, Kirk Gibbs was later a strong contender throughout the MX2 ranks, however failed to secure a national title. In 2012, Gibbs suffered a horrific accident at Coolum’s finale, and made his return to racing in the premier MX1 class the following year with the KTM Motocross Racing Team. Just two years in the division and he solidified himself as a championship contender, wrapping up the national title that eluded him for so many years in 2015. Gibbs went onto make an appearance at the American MXGP that year, and came agonisingly close to defending his championship in 2016. He was finally selected to represent Australia at the Motocross of Nations, although a heartbreaking leg injury forced him to withdraw. Still a member of the factory KTM team, Gibbs sits second in the championship points.

3. Todd Waters (Crankt Protein Honda Racing):
In the first ever class of Under 19s, the now widely-know Todd Waters was crowned runner-up in the title chase of 2007. In the years to come, he progressed to MX2 and then MX1 with varying teams, but with a professional title still eluding the number 47, he soon set off to Europe to contest the MXGP World Championship with Red Bull IceOne Husqvarna Factory Racing. After two years in the GP’s, with a podium to his name and multiple appearances at the Motocross of Nations, he returned to Australia with Wilson’s Coolair Motul Suzuki, before switching to Crankt Protein Honda Racing for the 2017 season.

4. Luke Styke (KTM Motocross Racing Team):
Crowned as the Under 19s champion in 2009, Luke Styke went on to be a strong contender in MX2 over the following years. Falling just two points short of the title 2012, Styke came out with a vengeance in 2013, dominating the season to wrap up the motocross championship a round early, and securing the SX2 title later in the year. The New South Welshman jetted to Europe the following season to contest the MX2 World Championship with Kemea Yamaha, however the season appeared to be a struggle for the multi-time champion. He then returned home, signing a deal with the KTM Motocross Racing Team, finishing his rookie MX1 year fourth in the standings, tied on points for third. An achilles injury at the end of year proved be a major problem for the number 26, after he re-injured it just days back on the bike in the early stages of 2016, ruling him out of the season. Styke is currently fifth in the standings as he endeavours to return to form.

5. Jed Beaton (Carglass Honda Racing):
At 16 years of age, Tasmania’s Jed Beaton made his debut in the MXD category during the 2014 season. After leading the championship into the final sector of the championship, a broken leg just prior to the closing rounds would ultimately deny him of the title. Following a stint with Serco Yamaha in MX2, the teenager transferred to DPH Motorsport Yamaha, where he claimed the 2016 MX2 title. He was also selected for the Motocross of Nations, although a broken collarbone forced him to withdraw just days beforehand. Beaton is now contesting the EMX250 championship with Carglass Honda Racing, and will make his world championship debut this weekend with the factory-backed Team HRC in special guest appearance.

6. Nathan Crawford (MEGA Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki):
In the MXD class of 2014, Nathan Crawford was a standout talent travelling the country in a small family-operated Husqvarna effort. After falling short of the title, he transitioned to MX2 in 2015, before making a run at the championship the following year, which saw him lead the series up until the final round at Coolum, where was unable to race due to an injury sustained during the week. The Queenslander was then signed by MEGA Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki to contest the premier MX1 category, where in his rookie season, he’s finished as high as fourth – an impressive effort.

Source: Supplied.

7. Jay Wilson (Raceline Pirelli KTM):
After multiple attempts, an MXD title eluded former 85cc junior world champion Jay Wilson. He progressed to MX2 with Serco Yamaha, however a lacklustre season saw him struggling to secure a deal for the follow year. He was able to lock in private deal with Yamaha, along with the support of Josh Coppins. He went onto win his first professional Australian championship that year, and was selected to represent the country at the prestigious Motocross of Nations, although an injury in the lead up to the event meant he was unable to participate. Returning home, he signed with Crankt Protein Honda Racing to contest MX1 in 2016, before a short stint in the 2017 MX2 World Championship with JK Yamaha. Wilson has since rejoined the Motul MX Nationals series in the second half with Raceline Pirelli KTM.

8. Wilson Todd (DPH Motorsport Yamaha):
With intentions to remain as a junior in 2014, Wilson Todd was granted a last minute opportunity to step up the MXD class with Yamalube Yamaha Racing – formerly known as GYTR Yamaha Racing. The Queenslander had a modest season with several impressive performances, re-signing with the team in 2015, which saw him claim the title at the final round of the season. Graduating to MX2 with Serco Yamaha in 2016, Todd displayed glimpses of potential, finishing the season fifth overall. Now, the number two is a member of the DPH Motorsport Yamaha squad and controls the quarter-litre category with an eight-point advantage.

9. Dylan Long (CDR Yamaha):
A junior prodigy, Dylan Long stepped into the MXD ranks with a lot of expectations, which he significantly met. In 2012, the Victorian came narrowly close to the title, moving to MX2 the following year. It would be an up and down two years in the class before he moved to MX1 in a privateer effort for 2015. He was offered a lifeline as a fill-in rider with now named MEGA Fuels Monster Energy Kawasaki, shining aboard the factory machine to be offered a full-time gig with Crankt Protein Honda Racing in 2016. After a year with the Victorian-based outfit and several impressive outings, the highly-regarded CDR Yamaha team locked in the talented rider to pilot its factory machine in 2017. A pre-season injury has seen Long sidelined for much of the current season, denying him of displaying his potential thus far.

10. Mitch Evans (Serco Yamaha):
A rough entry to MXD in 2015 saw Mitch Evans’ season riddled with injuries, however the Yamalube Yamaha Racing Team had faith in the young Queenslander, extending his contract for the following year. After battling tooth and nail with Connor Tierney for the title, Evans prevailed in the final rounds of 2016, wrapping up the championship. That year Jed Beaton would injure himself just days before the Motocross of Nations, with Australian selectors choosing Evans to fulfil the spot, making him one of the youngest riders in recent years to contest the event. Now a member of the Serco Yamaha squad, the teenager finds himself in the thick of MX2 title hunt in just his rookie year, sitting second in the standings.