Annual feature highlighting the winners and events of the year gone by.
In the 2019 edition of the MotoOnline.com.au Moto Awards, we name the stars of the season past in a reflection of domestic and international racing. These Moto Awards are done purely for editorial purposes, pieced together from an Australian perspective via what we witnessed during the year both locally and abroad.
National Rider of the Year – Luke Clout:
Transferring to CDR Yamaha Monster Energy for 2019, Luke Clout delivered his greatest season to date in the premier class. The New South Welshman found himself in the title hunt at the final rounds of both the MX Nationals and the Australian Supercross Championship, finishing runner-up in each series.
International Rider of the Year – Cooper Webb:
After two difficult years in the premier class, many didn’t even consider Cooper Webb a title favourite despite his switch to Red Bull KTM Factory Racing. He proved everyone wrong as he charged to the Monster Energy Supercross crown in commanding fashion.
Off-Road Rider of the Year – Daniel Sanders:
Popular Victorian Daniel Sanders levelled up his riding again in 2019, clinching the AORC E3 title and unofficial outright championship, while his biggest accolade yet was dominating the individual outright standings at Portugal’s International Six Days Enduro (ISDE).
Rookie of the Year – Regan Duffy:
It was an incredible rookie season in the professional ranks for Western Australian Regan Duffy, who stormed to the MX Nationals MXD title in fine form. He really established himself when he won the Manjimup 15,000 against the country’s best 450 riders before selected to represent Team Australia at the Motocross of Nations (MXoN), where he put in a glowing performance aboard the premier class machine at 16 years of age.
Personality of the Year – Jett Lawrence:
Another 16-year-old Australian that made waves in 2019 was Jett Lawrence, who soon became a fan-favourite for his unfiltered and humorous personality. The Geico Honda rider finished up his amateur career at the Monster Energy Cup, where everyone remembers the Queenslander eating a doughnut while being interviewed on the podium.
Race Series of the Year – AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship:
The Monster Energy Supercross series continues to pull through on all fronts, and 2019 was no different! The 450SX class title saw multiple series leaders, and both 250SX championships came down to the wire. Along with that, series organisers did an excellent job producing race highlight videos within hours of the race, along with sharing a number of interesting video pieces throughout the year.
Most Anticipated Motocross Model – 2020 Yamaha YZ450F:
The Yamaha YZ450F was already a strong platform that has seen great success in Australia, but Yamaha heavily updated the MX1 machine for 2020. The changes improved performance and handling, receiving immediate positive feedback from riders, making it the most anticipated motocross bike of the year.
Most Anticipated Enduro Model – 2020 KTM 300 EXC TPI:
For 2020, KTM overhauled its complete EXC range, but the bike attracting the most attention was its 300 EXC TPI. TPI is now standard on its off-road two-strokes, and it’s been majorly improved over its predecessor. It impressed us at the international launch in Spain and has been a hit with riders since landing in dealerships.
Top Team – Penrite Honda Racing:
Penrite Honda Racing was always a favourite to pick up a title in 2019, especially after recruiting Justin Brayton for a fourth-straight season. Not only did Brayton secure his fourth Australian Supercross Championship for the Victorian-based operation, but fellow American Chris Blose delivered the SX2 title in a complete Penrite Honda Racing domination of the series.
Best Event – AUS-X Open Melbourne:
The Monster Energy AUS-X Open has always been our favourite of ours, but the move to Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium has only elevated the event! A full-size supercross track, 35,000 fans, and a stellar line-up made for an amazing and entertaining night of racing.
Hottest Topic – Chad Reed’s pending retirement:
At 37 years of age, we’ve known Chad Reed’s retirement was coming, and he finally announced at the AUS-X Open Melbourne, where he confirmed 2020 will be his final season. It was without a doubt the hottest topic of the year.
Greatest Disappointment – MXoN conditions:
This year’s Motocross of Nations at Assen in the Netherlands built considerable hype and anticipation around it, although it was met with rain-soaked conditions. Unfortunately, the conditions were a massive disappointment as the rain hit hard over the entire weekend, making for a somewhat underwhelming event.
Most Surprising Moment – Tim Gajser crowned again:
Winning his first premier class crown in his rookie season, Honda HRC’s Tim Gajser has had a rough run since. That all changed in 2019 when he turned his fortunes around, delivered strong and consistent results to be crown MXGP world champion for a second time.
Social Standout – Jackson Richardson:
When it comes to social media, Jackson Richardson is as entertaining as it gets. Despite sitting out the MX Nationals, the popular Queenslander managed to continually share humorous videos throughout the year, which only got better as his Australian supercross campaign ramped up.
Special Mention – Aussies abroad:
It was amazing to see so many Australians overseas full-time this year, with many posting some impressive results. Both Lawrence brothers made quite the impression in Pro Motocross, while Mitch Evans – who podiumed on debut – and Jed Beaton represented Australia well in the MX2 World Championship.