Features 22 May 2024

Q&A: Australians racing overseas

Our internationals to keep track of throughout the 2024 season.

This year has already been another strong one for Australian racers on the world stage in both Europe and the United States. In this latest Q&A, MotoOnline looks at the prospects of our internationals during the 2024 season.

Image: Supplied.

Q: Outside of the Lawrences, who else has lined up in the AMA series this year?

A: While Jett Lawrence stormed to the 450SX crown as a rookie with Team Honda HRC, and elder brother/teammate Hunter Lawrence also displayed podium form on multiple occasions upon stepping up to the premier class, we’ve seen a mixture of other Aussies in the field as well. Former Australian MX1 champion Aaron Tanti has battled injury all year, but managed to line up with PRMX Racing Kawasaki in Birmingham and made the 450 main event, plus Joel Wightman bookended the series in a privateer program. We’ve also seen Geran Stapleton and Brad West make 250SX regional mains, continuing to try their hands on the biggest stage of all. Next stop is Pro Motocross beginning with Fox Raceway this Saturday, so while the Lawrences will be sure to be in the spotlight and for good reason at the very front of the field, keep an eye out for the other guys who do go ahead and line up in the great outdoors as well.

Q: Has there been any word on what former MXGP regular Mitch Evans is up to this year?

A: Unfortunately, there has been nothing but silence from the talented Australian this year. In 2023 Evans raced 13 MXGP rounds with the Kawasaki Racing Team, but was hindered by an ongoing wrist injury that he’d constantly battled since a crash at the Spanish GP back in 2020. At his last race of 2023 in Turkey he qualified P5, then battled to 12-17 results, after which he reported he was losing feeling in his hand and sat out the final two rounds, then made himself unavailable to represent Australia at the Motocross of Nations. Despite multiple attempts to get in touch to find out his whereabouts and plans for 2024 after Jeremy Seewer was drafted in to take the second Kawasaki seat this year, we haven’t heard anything from the Queenslander. It’s a really disappointing end to this stage of Evans’ MXGP career and here’s hoping it’s not the end of the road altogether.

Image: Octopi Media.

Q: Who are the Australians racing motocross in Europe now?

A: There are currently two – Ryan Alexanderson and Liam Owens. Alexanderson is riding for the German WZ Racing KTM Team, competing in the EMX250, the German ADAC Youngsters Cup and rounds of the Dutch Masters. It’s been a roller-coaster affair for him so far, with his best results being an encouraging 10th overall (12-6 moto results) at the muddy Portugal round. Alexanderson also raced MX2 at the Galacia GP, but finished out of the points. Meanwhile, Owens is also racing the EMX250 championship with the Cat Moto Bauerschmidt Husqvarna team. He’s just returned to the bike after dislocating his shoulder in a practice crash and should be back behind the gate for the Teutschenthal round next weekend. While we don’t currently have any riders in the MXGP or MX2 categories, having the grand prix series travel to Darwin in 2025 could open the door for a lot more interest – from both sides – to come in the next year or two.

Q: Can Wil Ruprecht reclaim the E2 crown in EnduroGP this year?

A: After winning the E2 championship in 2022, Ruprecht moved across to the Sherco Factory Racing team last year, but it was largely a more difficult season. He then broke his thumb and missed the final two rounds, which saw him end 2023 in eighth overall. This year has also been a mixed bag for him so far, with his best result was a P4 at Portugal and at the most recent round in Romania he finished P6 on day one, then DNF’d day two. He’s currently positioned seventh in the E2 class after three rounds of action. Aussies have had a rich history in the world championship, but especially more recently, the US has been the more appealing route for our own.

Image: Supplied.

Q: How are the Aussies faring in American GNCC so far?

A: FMF KTM Factory Racing Team Landers’ Gus Riordan is the top of the Australian off-roaders racing the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series in the US at the moment in terms of results. With three class wins to his name so far this year (Big Buck, Camp Coker and Hoosier), Riordan is placed second in the XC2 250 Pro points behind teammate Grant Davis, while we’ve also seen flashes of potential from Josh Strang now in his own Sherco-backed program, and Kawasaki’s Lyndon Snodgrass as he takes on XC1 Open Pro this season. Danielle McDonald also lined up for her GNCC debut at Powerline Park earlier this month, claiming a solid P7 result in WXC. There are a whole bunch more Aussies in America, too, including the likes of Mason Semmens, Jack Simpson and Sam Pretscherer contesting varied off-road series on the west coast, and Will Riordan has a GasGas Factory Racing ride in US Hard Enduro, where he’s currently sitting P4 in the standings. That deal will extend into EnduroCross later in the year.

Q: Where can we see even more Australians based overseas in 2024?

A: While it can be difficult to keep track of all Aussies overseas, especially in the lower profile series, one of the favourites has become Jay Wilson in Japan, this year defending his IA1 crown with the JW Innovation Racing Team. Elsewhere, the Canadian Triple Crown Series drops the gates in Calgary next weekend, where you can catch 17-year-old sensation Tiger Wood with the Honda Canada GDR Fox Racing team in the 250 Pro class. After making his mark as an amateur in the US system, he’s opted to turn pro in Canada, and a strong campaign could quickly place him on the radar of American teams again. Plus, a late addition to definitely watch for in the 450 Pro class will be Aaron Tanti, who is planning to race the series and hopefully salvage his year with PRMX. It’s expected we will also likely see him at select AMA Pro Motocross rounds when the schedule lines up. And not to overlook our absolute legends in the rally scene, the likes of Daniel Sanders and Toby Price – who has split with KTM since Dakar – doing great things abroad as always, as did Matt Moss and Reid Taylor (250) in winning the inaugural Indian Supercross Racing League titles, while contesting the unique new E-Xplorer World Cup in between their regular two-wheel commitments has been Jess Gardiner and Jack Field.