A closer look at pre-season races in the build-up to the ProMX opener.
With the start of the 2023 Penrite ProMX Championship almost upon us, speculation continues to build surrounding the form and anticipated performance of each rider come gate-drop. In this Three Things feature, MotoOnline takes a closer look at some pre-season events that can be used as an indicator ahead of the opening round at Wonthaggi this weekend.
Wonthaggi has played host to the ProMX Championship opener across recent years, with the loamy and physically-demanding Victorian circuit to do so once more in 2023. In terms of pre-season events, the AMX MX Open was contested at the venue at the end of January, with the meeting serving as a first real form guide for a selection of our top domestic talent this year. Ultimately it was Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster who stood tall, winning three from four motos to lead new teammate and returning international Jed Beaton and completing the top three was Ride Red newcomer Dylan Wood. In the 250 class it was KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford who reigned supreme, winning three of the four motos to take the overall win ahead of his emerging, 15-year-old teammate Kayden Minear, while Honda Racing newcomer Brodie Connolly ended the weekend in third showing he has good pace, taking the win in moto three.
Known as one of the greatest motocross tracks in Australia for its undulation and well-prepared red dirt, much to the delight of riders and fans alike the Echo Valley Raceway will return to the national calendar for the first time since 2017. Toowoomba Motocross Club hosted its annual Mountain Man event in mid-February and, if that event was any indicator of who’s fast heading into the new season, Brisbane Motorcycles-backed Yamaha rider Dean Ferris is certainly ready to make his mark in the MX1 class. The 111 dominated the event with four holeshots and four wins against heavy hitters such as defending MX1 champion Aaron Tanti (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) and KTM Racing Team’s Kirk Gibbs. While there was no pro-level 250 category at the event, MX2 contenders Rhys Budd (Serco Yamaha) and the Yamalube Yamaha Racing duo of Alex Larwood and Jayce Cosford opted to race in the 450 class on a track that is extremely horsepower dominant. Notably, it was Budd who topped his MX2 rivals, finishing the event in fourth overall.
The Coolum Pines MX Club is famous for hosting the final round of motocross and, while that won’t change for this year, the event holds added importance seeing that it will be the last time nationals race at the circuit prior to its closure. Famous for its deep, dark sand and extremely rough conditions, the Coolum Pines track has always produced an unpredictable final round, and riders faced those same conditions when the venue held the first round of this year’s Sunshine State MX Series on this month. Once again, it was the Ferris show in MX1, winning every moto over the course of the weekend ahead of Gibbs and KTM-mounted privateer Jai Walker. Other notables at this event were the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy duo of Luke Clout and Tanti, both showing flashes of speed over the three-race format, but crashes and other issues would leave them off the overall podium. The MX2 Pro class was won by KTM Racing Team’s in-form Crawford, logging 1-1-2 moto scores to take the overall victory ahead of now full-time GasGas Factory Racing Team rider Noah Ferguson and moto three winner Cosford.