MotoOnline.com.au takes fans behind the scenes of the sport in the latest edition of the Insider column.
To kick off this week’s edition of the Racing Insider column, we have to give huge props to CDR Rockstar Yamaha’s Jay Marmont for claiming a third straight MX Nationals Pro Open title at Coolum in Queensland last weekend.
It’s been a super tough year for Marmont as he’s come under increased pressure from the likes of Billy Mackenzie, Dean Ferris and even Todd Waters in the early stages, however Mr Consistent was able to pull through with great form in the closing rounds of the season.
Ferris has proven a revelation this year onboard his privateer Honda, and his sights are firmly set on a career in Europe if he can secure a ride for the 2011 season over there.
In fact, Ferris is heading over this week in a bid to get some more international experience under his belt, and he’s had some very experienced guys in his corner this year including Glen Bell and Jon Hafey, so it’s a credit to that tight knit team to go up against the factory might.
Kiwi Cody Cooper was peaking in his form at the end of the season with a string of podium performances, however a crash in moto two at Coolum saw him suffer a nasty cut to the arm – one that will require surgery this week to completely heal.
That’s likely the last that we’ll see of Cooper on Aussie soil for this season at least as he was on a motocross-only deal with Suzuki for the year, however we’re hearing that he may be at the New Zealand rounds of Super X.
Jake Moss was on hand at Coolum along with good friend and Pro Lites competitor Kurt Chalker, and speculation continues to increase that Moss is considering returning to Australia fulltime in 2011.
He’s signed with Suzuki for Super X this year, however various sources in the pits have him in negotiations with Suzuki, Kawasaki and even Yamaha for next season.
Some are suggesting that Cheyne Boyd is preparing to join Suzuki for next year, but nobody has confirmed that just yet. Boyd has a tight relationship with Craig Dack and the CDR team, however it’s been clear that he’s yet to gel completely with the latest version of the YZ450F when you compare his form to 2009.
We’ll have to wait and see what pans out there, because he and Marmont have made for a killer combo at Yamaha in recent seasons.
American PJ Larsen has had an incredible first – and maybe only – season in Australian motocross, absolutely dominating much of the Pro Lites season for JDR Motorex KTM.
It was excellent to see the team take out a title after the devastating passing of Andrew McFarlane at Broadford earlier in the season, and you can bet that there were a lot of thoughts going Sharky’s way over the weekend.
Larsen is heading back to the States for a while before Super X starts and there has been whispers that he’s considering doing a round or two of the Nationals over there, so that would be something to see.
As was reported in our news story yesterday, Jay Marmont could also be a starter at the Pala Raceway round to wrap up the AMA season before hoping for a shot at the Des Nations.
Coastal KTM’s Josh Cachia has to also be commended on his Under 19s title and he’ll build momentum from that result to become a contender in the Pro Lites next season – perhaps on a full JDR bike if there’s room under the factory tent.
With the team all but confirmed to be setting up an American squad for next year and transferring Larsen and Tye Simmonds over there, the word is that Ryan Marmont could be in line for a 350 ride in the Open class.
Who would join Marmont on the factory team? Everybody from Todd Waters to Kirk Gibbs has been mentioned at this point in time, which essentially means that nobody really knows just yet!
Just quickly before we go, how about Craig Anderson’s surprise switch to a Honda before Coolum? He’s said to have bought the bike from his local dealer, but the question remains if he chose to switch too soon since Husqvarna is releasing a brand new 450 for 2011? Either way, the Honda should greatly improve Ando’s form for Super X once he gets some extra seat time on it.
All in all the MX Nationals were unreal this season and a great effort was put in by all involved in the industry, so well done to WEM and everyone who helped along the way.
Aussie Chad Reed was diagnosed with Epstein Barr virus late last week and ruled out of the remainder of the AMA Motocross Championship, leaving Australia to wait and see if our dual defending Super X Champion will return to defend his title fulltime this year.
Reed’s in his third year with Super X and has been instrumental in making the series as strong as it is today, but speculation going around Coolum last weekend had Reed only contesting a part-time schedule if he’s not back to 100 percent fitness.
That scenario would blow the title wide open and may even be a great thing for the sport at this point as the likes of Marmont and co. work to become household names, however it would be good to see Reedy stick around fulltime for one more season – and Super X press is still indicating that he will be here all year.
The word is that Reed returned home to Australia this week.
The Moss twins, Jake and Matt, will step up for Rockstar Motul Suzuki in place of Cody Cooper, and that will be something exciting to see as the pair battle through injury woes to be back for Super X.
Scottish star Billy Mackenzie will be working hard on his supercross skills with help from former champ and Kawasaki team manager Troy Carroll, but the pressure will be off him at team green as the likes of Reed and Ryan Villopoto pinch much of the spotlight on the KXFs.
CDR Rockstar Energy Yamaha will see Marmont and Boyd joined by Justin Brayton at a couple of rounds, but there’s been no word if Dan Reardon or Michael Byrne will be Yamaha-mounted since that’s what they race in the States. Ivan Tedesco was also previously said to be coming for CDR, however he hasn’t been featured on the latest Super X press releases.
Cougar Bourbon Honda Thor Racing will be interesting to watch since they always put up some bikes for Super X, however it’s uncertain whether Jeremy McGrath will return for any rounds this year. His podium at Sydney last year was impressive, to say the least.
We’re hearing that Brett Metcalfe is a possibility if he remains at GEICO Powersports Honda in the U.S. for next season, otherwise he won’t come for Super X if he has to switch brands.
It’s also interesting to note that Ben Townley will be doing the New Zealand rounds, and we can’t look past the fact that he won an AMA title with Pro Circuit in the Lites a few years ago.
Many of Australia’s top Superbike stars have been globetrotting in recent weeks, and the surprise star of the show has been none other than Brodie Waters after he won the Suzuka 4 Hours on Saturday in Japan.
Waters was a late addition to the Moriwaki team and become the first non-Japanese rider to win the event that’s run as a support race for the prestigious 8 Hours event, so well done to Brodie for taking pole and getting the job done.
Honda’s Wayne Maxwell has had a highly publicised excursion to Japan for the 8 Hours and was in podium contention before his teammate Chojun Kameya crashed out, so look for him to return even stronger next year.
Both Waters and Maxwell landed back in Australia yesterday after a long few weeks of testing and preparation over at Suzuka.
Reigning ASBK champion Josh Waters was ruled out of the AMA Superbike weekend at Laguna Seca after still feeling the effects of a nasty concussion suffered in a recent test crash, but expect him to be over there for the Barber round in September if all goes to plan.
Another Aussie who went all the way to America and didn’t get to ride was Aaron Gobert, ruled out of the e-Power round with mechanical gremlins before the weekend even commenced.
This weekend’s Silverstone round of the Superbike World Championship will give Aussie fans a couple of extra things to cheer about when Josh Brookes makes his return to the series as a wildcard onboard his factory HM Plant Honda that he usually rides in the British Superbike Championship.
Brookes has important knowledge on the heavily revised circuit since he won the British Superstock round there last month, and that should prove crucial over the weekend on what is a super technical circuit.
It was also revealed this week that South Aussie and British Supersport contender Billy McConnell will ride World Supersport at Silverstone, so that will give us an extra Aussie to cheer on over the course of the weekend.
It’s expected that BMW’s Troy Corser will be back in action and he’s having a shakedown test in Italy this week, recovering nicely from his massive Brno crash that ruled him out of the weekend with severe bruising.
As for Queenslander Chris Vermeulen, he had his surgery completed on his troublesome knee late last week, and doctors found that the injury was actually worse than expected once they performed the operation. CV has been ordered not to move his knee at all for three weeks and will likely take six months before he’s 100 percent fit again.
That’s all for today’s edition, thanks for reading as always!