Features 9 Jan 2019


The current week in dirt bikes with MotoOnline.com.au.

Words: Alex Gobert/Jeremy Hammer

Welcome to Motoview on MotoOnline.com.au, a new weekly fixture that we’re introducing for 2019 to take you between the lines and behind the scenes from our perspective. It’s similar to features we’ve posted in the past, albeit now posted mid-week on a Wednesday following a year’s hiatus.

January always begins with a bang when it comes to international competition and, with AMA Supercross opening at Anaheim last weekend, along with the Dakar Rally this week, it’s a case of all systems go. And we can’t get enough of the new year already!

The big question leading into A1 was how would the new NBC broadcast schedule in the US affect Australian viewers, however in the end it appeared to be a pretty smooth transition. ESPN maintains the rights here in Australia, although it’s coverage on Foxtel was delayed by three hours.

What wasn’t really established going in was the fact that ESPN Australia’s streaming service – WatchESPN – aired the supercross opener live online and via their app. All as you needed was your Foxtel login (the same as required for Foxtel Go) and you were able to stream it live. We’re not sure if that’ll be the case all season, but it was pretty straightforward.

Image: Supplied.

Aside from that, especially for those who don’t have Foxtel, the official Supercross Video Pass offered by Feld Motorsports is available per round or for the full season at a cost, which gives you extended coverage in terms of practice, qualifying and the lead-up. I’ve never used it, but it’s understood to be a decent option.

There’s always a lot of excitement in the early rounds and, if anything, I’d say that A1 resulted in more questions than answers at this point. The afternoon sessions were dry, before rain set in during the night show and we witnessed a number of surprises. We will be anxiously awaiting what happens in Glendale this weekend.

Australia always gets behind former winner Toby Price in the Dakar, which he has started strongly despite an existing wrist injury going in, so make sure you stay tuned for daily updates right here on the site, including countrymen Rodney Faggotter, Ben Young and James Ferguson.

Internally, we’ve got a bunch of new plans for the upcoming season in regards to how we go about content, what we cover and what events we’ll be attending. That will all play out in due course, but needless to say we’re definitely looking forward to bringing you guys all of the latest news, interviews and features week in, week out.

One last thing as well, in case you didn’t catch it when initially published in mid-December prior to the break, be sure to check out Road Dirt Digital for an assortment of racing-based content that we at Foremost Media pieced together. It’s a nice way to reflect upon each year and, personally, Issue 3 was my favourite product so far.

Image: Foremost Media.

That’s it from me for today, thanks for stopping by as usual. I’ll hand this across to Jeremy Hammer – who has created some mega content across our platforms already to begin the new year – to deliver his take on the start of the season…

It’s hard to believe another season is already upon us! We’re pretty lucky here in Australia that we’ve got motocross and supercross racing to tune into for at least 11 months of the year, starting with AMA Supercross and wrapping up with the Australian Supercross Championship.

Alex touched on the AMA Supercross opener, so I won’t delve into that, instead, I’ll touch on what’s been happening here locally in Australia. Surprisingly, the silly season has almost wrapped up – majority of major announcements have already been made or uncovered, leaving just one major question mark as the Pirelli MX Nationals approaches: What is KTM doing in 2019?

It’s understood Raceline will field the Austrian manufacturer’s factory efforts this year, which was initially supposed to be spearheaded up talented Queenslander Mitch Evans, although he landed an opportunity with 114 Honda Motorsports in the MX2 World Championship, which leaves KTM with limited options of selecting a title-winning worthy rider.

Hayden Mellross has been linked to the premier class seat along with Jy Roberts in MX2, plus graduating junior Regan Duffy has had his name thrown into the mix (possibly MXD), but nothing more has eventuated from these mumblings – only time will tell!

Image: Supplied.

This week, we also gained confirmation from Wilson Todd and Todd Waters that they’ll be joining DPH Motorsport Husqvarna, while it’s also believed Bailey Malkiewicz will feature in an expanded three-rider team. There’s a couple of interesting points to extract from this:

Firstly, with Todd and Malkiewicz on the move from Yamaha, it means the brand hasn’t retained any of its three MX Nationals champions (Dean Ferris is off to the US), which commercially isn’t ideal as the number one plate – in MX2 at least if Malkiewicz does in fact move up classes – will now sit on a Husqvarna FC 250, rather than Yamaha’s all-new YZ250F.

The other point is the return of Todd Waters – when he landed in Australia from his tenure in the MXGP World Championship, he was adamant on racing in the 2019 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, which he initially intended to do last year. From what the 28-year-old mentioned, it looks like talks began with Honda to lock something in locally, but it just didn’t eventuate and now he’s signed with Husqvarna.

It’s a move that only bolsters the domestic scene, as he is sure to contend for the title. If there’s one thing I noticed from chatting to him, it’s that he’s incredibly upbeat and excited to be back racing in Aus, which is something I haven’t sensed from him in the last couple of years.

That’s all for this week folks, we’ll catch you next Wednesday!