News 14 Jan 2019

Simpson eyeing MX Nationals start in new Honda desert racing deal

Victorian signs with Penrite Honda Racing for Finke and Hattah.

Image: Supplied.

Freshly signing a deal with Penrite Honda Racing to spearhead its desert racing efforts in 2019, Jack Simpson is eyeing a start in at least one Pirelli MX Nationals round this year.

Simpson is a former MX Nationals regular who last contested a round in 2015, transitioning to off-road and desert racing the following year, where he clinched the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) E1 crown in his debut season and most recently earned third at the 2018 edition of Finke.

Declaring he won’t challenge any AORC rounds, the Victorian believes it will allow more time to involve motocross training as he targets the Wonthaggi stop of the MX Nationals, which he intends to compete regardless if it’s self-funded or under Penrite Honda’s official motocross and supercross team.

“At this stage the deal is just for desert racing only,” Simpson told MotoOnline.com.au. “I’m not doing AORC this year, I’ll just be doing the Finke, Hattah and the Mint 400 in Las Vegas. I’m planning on doing a motocross round – I’m kind of over the off-road (AORC) stuff – and I’m still going to do a round [of the MX Nationals] on my own even if it’s not with the motocross team.

“Hopefully I can do Wonthaggi, but I just have to figure out what does and doesn’t clash – you might only think it’s two events a year, but for Finke there are five weekends of pre-running and a couple for Hattah. I’m going to have more time to do motocross stuff now and throughout the year because it’s either riding desert stuff or I’m riding motocross.”

The youthful talent will pilot a Honda CRF450R in all of his desert and motocross endeavours, recently surprised by the premier class contender after sampling it in stock trim.

“I had an impression it was going to be slow compared to the KTM, but the ’19 engine is really strong,” he added. “It seems to turn really well and it’s really light in the air – I’m very impressed with it. I’ll be riding a 450 up at Finke and everything else I’m doing – I won’t be doing any big-bore stuff.”

Penrite Honda Racing has confirmed just one rider for its MX Nationals campaign, retaining former international Brett Metcalfe for another season. Simpson’s move to the outfit ends his lengthy association with KTM, the manufacturer in which he’s spent his entire professional career aboard.

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