Features 12 Mar 2024

Three Things: ProMX 2024 form guide

A closer look at pre-season races in the build-up to the ProMX opener.

With the start of the 2024 Penrite ProMX Championship almost upon us, anticipation continues to build surrounding the form and expected performances of the title favourites. 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.

Image: Supplied.

SSMX – Hervey Bay

Given the amount of professional racers who now call Queensland home, the opening rounds of the Sunshine State MX Series have often been a good test ahead of the ProMX championship. This year’s season-opener was held at the sand-based Hervey Bay circuit in late February, and the turnout of national-level riders across both classes was immense. The MX1 class saw battles between Boost Mobile Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster and CDR Yamaha Monster Energy’s defending national MX1 champion Dean Ferris, with Webster taking the day’s podium glory with two wins from three races. That doesn’t tell the full story though, since Ferris led more than half of the second race before a late mistake saw him fall down the order to finish P5, while Webster cruised past to win by 12 seconds. Third on the day went to Raceline Husqvarna Racing Team’s Todd Waters, who contested both the MX1 and MX2 classes and only snuck ahead of Wilson Todd (Terrafirma Honda Racing) on countback. Two thirds and a come-from-behind P9 saw GasGas Racing Team recruit Kirk Gibbs finish the day in fifth. Meanwhile, the MX2 class also threw up some mega racing, with three different riders winning the three races. While Raceline Husqvarna signing Rhys Budd claimed round honours, you’ve got to feel sorry for Ryder Kingsford (Yamalube Yamaha Racing), who crashed out of the lead and finished mid-pack in the opening race, then led the vast majority of the final race of the day before being edged out by a hard-charging Alex Larwood – the points were so tight across the day that he only finished third overall. Race wins went to Budd and Honda Racing’s latest MX2 pairing Noah Ferguson and Larwood, but overall it was Budd, Larwood and GasGas Racing Team rookie Byron Dennis who featured on the round podium. Behind them, Waters and KTM Racing Team’s Kayden Minear finished the day fourth and fifth overall.

MX Open – Wonthaggi

Wonthaggi has been a staple as the season-opening round of the ProMX Championship and the loamy Victorian circuit will again host the first round this Sunday. As such, the AMX MX Open at the venue in early February serves as a teaser into the form of some of the nation’s top riders as their pre-season preparation builds. The MX1 class offered up some entertaining action as MX1 newcomers Nathan Crawford (KTM Racing Team) and Todd finished the day tied on points, with Crawford edging his Honda Racing rival on countback. But let’s not forget Webster, who won two of the four motos – the final one by a solid 15-second margin – but DNF’d the third race and finished off the podium overall. Behind the Crawford vs Todd battle, Honda privateer Chandler Burns impressed with a consistent 4-4-3-4 result from the weekend’s four motos to finish P3 on the podium. In the MX2 field, it was a red-letter day for Honda Racing, with the team’s riders winning all four motos and filling every spot on the podium. Kiwi Brodie Connolly was in searing form as he charged to three victories, but new teammate Ferguson denied him a clean-sweep when he came from behind to catch and pass Connolly in the final moto. As Connolly wrapped up the weekend’s overall, it was yet another Honda Racing rider in Larwood who put together four consistent scores (2-3-3-3) to finish runner-up. With his late moto win, Ferguson made sure Honda owned the MX2 podium as he finished the weekend third overall. Fourth went to Dennis off the back of another consistent weekend, with Kingsford claiming a P5 result for his efforts.

Image: Supplied.

ECMX – Coffs Harbour

We also saw the opening round of the East Coast MX Series drop the gates in Coffs Harbour last month in mid-February, where a selection of ProMX riders turned out as part of their pre-season schedules. The entry list for this event was stacked, but the event unfortunately didn’t turn out to be the exciting preseason match-up between some of the country’s best that we thought it was going to be. Heavy rainfall in the days leading into weekend deterred riders and made for muddy conditions, but there were still a few of the big names that showed up to get time behind the gates, including Waters, Budd and Jack Mather, with all three contesting both the MX Open and MX2 categories. In the 450 class, Waters opened the first two motos with back-to-back wins, before crashing off the start in moto three, sidelining him for the remainder of the day. With Waters’ mishap, it was teenager Mather taking the overall win with 3-5-2-3 moto scores ahead of Raceline teammate Budd, whose P14 in moto three cost him the overall win in the end. Joining the Husqvarna duo on the podium was Yamaha-mounted privateer Cooper Holroyd. In MX2, Budd dominated by winning all three motos, getting the better of Mather after he went 2-2-2, and the final spot on the podium belonged to Minear, who made his return to racing after being injured during supercross last year. Prior to that, as well, the North Coast NSW town hosted its annual Stadium MX event during January, where Ferris won the 450 class on countback over Crawford, with Budd finishing third. In the 250 class it was Budd that won both motos, from Empire Kawasaki standout Reid Taylor and Ben Novak in third overall.