Assortment of top-level racers expected to be available regardless.
The date clash between round two of the 2018 Australian Supercross Championship and this year’s Motocross of Nations (MXoN) will pose little threat for Team Australia selectors as Motorcycling Australia (MA) narrows down its likely squad.
Coolum’s second round of AUS Supercross is to be staged on the same weekend as the RedBud MXoN event in the United States between 6-7 October, however barring injury Australia has a wide-range of top-level riders to select from.
MX2 World Championship regulars Hunter Lawrence and Jed Beaton are both firmly in the frame for selection – Beaton the more fitting candidate for one of the 450 seats – and MX Nationals MX1 class contender Kirk Gibbs is also on the short-list for a second MXoN appearance. Gibbs was on a motocross-only deal with KTM last year, but it remains undecided if he will commit to the upcoming supercross season.
Newly-signed Team HRC MXGP rider Todd Waters has previously been announced to be riding supercross with Penrite Honda Racing, however it’s understood he will continue in grands prix through the final rounds – overlapping with AUS Supercross – if the opportunity is available and that could extend into MXoN. Longtime export Brett Metcalfe is also contracted to Penrite Honda through supercross, but may instead opt for RedBud with the continued backing of Honda if Team Australia comes calling.
American-based Hayden Mellross could also be a potential debutant for Team Australia as he gears up for a full season of Pro Motocross with CycleTrader Rock River Yamaha, however he has also been a regular in AUS Supercross during the past few seasons and will be high on the agenda for teams in search of riders locally. Meanwhile, Australian icon Chad Reed has been solely focused on supercross in recent years, not representing Australia since 2014.
“There are a number of people involved in the decision-making process,” MA CEO Peter Doyle told MotoOnline.com.au. “Dean Ferris didn’t want to go to the Nations, Kirk Gibbs isn’t expected to be doing supercross, plus we have Beaton, Lawrence, Mellross… a bunch of guys already overseas. Based on that, we figure most of the people who want to do the Nations, it isn’t going to affect their supercross.”
CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team’s dominant two-time Australian MX1 champion Dean Ferris has already declared that he will be unavailable for MXoN selection this year despite the date clash, opting to focus on an SX1 title challenge, in which he finished third in last season.
Last year’s MXoN roster of Ferris, Lawrence and Gibbs finished sixth overall, as Ferris finished 10th in the MXGP category, Lawrence won MX2 overall and Gibbs impressed with sixth position in the final Open class standings.