News 24 Mar 2021

Clout, Mellross ideal in CDR’s search for another title

Refreshed rider combination sets factory Yamaha team up for 2021.

Image: Jeff Crow.

CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team owner Craig Dack has labelled the rider line-up of Luke Clout and Hayden Mellross as the ideal combination ahead of the 2021 season as both riders are capable across motocross and supercross.

Dack has often featured motocross-only riders within the factory Yamaha team throughout his decorated history as a team owner and manager, which has meant additional riders have had to be called in for the Australian Supercross Championship later in the year.

While Clout or Mellross are yet to win an MX1 championship, the pair finished second and third in 2019 behind Husqvarna’s Todd Waters and will be certain to factor into the 2021 Penrite ProMX Championship when it commences at Wonthaggi on 11 April as both reach the prime of their careers.

“To me, in your mid-20s is when you physically become a man and at that age you’ve been around long enough that you start to mature, which is where Luke and Hayden are at,” Dack told MotoOnline. “For a long time – more than any other team – we’ve been juggling a specialised rider, meaning a motocross-only rider like a Josh Coppins, Darryl King, Dean Ferris or Kirk Gibbs.

“Because of that, you have to then go and find a supercross guy – that is really hard to achieve. It’s not easy and costs you a lot more. This is the first time in many years that both riders, Luke and Hayden, are capable motocross and supercross guys. We can lock into a 12-month program and get some continuity, because otherwise it’s really difficult.”

CDR’s last rider to win championships outdoors and in supercross was Jay Marmont in 2011, while since then, Daniel Reardon captured the 2015 SX1 crown. In motocross, CDR Yamaha Monster Energy’s most recent title was delivered by Dean Ferris in the 2018 season.

Clout had been with CDR Yamaha in 2019 for a single term, where he finished second outdoors and in supercross prior to heading to the US, but will return home this year. Meanwhile, Mellross too has international experience in America and had signed with CDR before the cancelled 2020 season. The fact that both appear set to remain in Australia for the longer-term is another strength for the team’s future prospects.

“The opportunity with Luke came at the 11th-hour, we didn’t see that coming, but once it popped up we jumped on it really quickly to get that deal done,” Dack continued. “Whereas, with Hayden, he was with us last year, but obviously didn’t get to race.

“It’s a breath of fresh air having these two, who have been overseas before, because when you have the guys that are younger and have aspirations to go overseas, that’s fine, but Luke and Hayden have pretty much got that out of their system now. It’s all good and well when riders want to go, they generally want you to help them get overseas and I never understood that because it’s got nothing to do with me.

“I’m the team manager, not their personal manager. If they want to go, all the power to them, but they seem to want you to put it all together for them, so I always found that very unusual. I’m not saying I’d get in their way to go, of course, I will advise them and wish them all the best, but it’s not my position to start putting deals together.”