News 17 Nov 2010

Racing Insider #46

MotoOnline.com.au is back again with the latest in international motorcycle racing from around the globe.

Marmont, Hansen and Moss have asserted themselves at the top of the Open class rankings. Image: Sport The Library.

Marmont, Hansen and Moss have asserted themselves at the top of the Open class rankings. Image: Sport The Library.

Australian Supercross
Last weekend’s round of Super X was one of the most exciting to date, with Josh Hansen, Jay Marmont and Jake Moss asserting themselves as the top contenders for season 2010.

The trio dominated the round to take the podium positions in the Open class, marking Hansen’s first Super X round victory as well as the first time either Marmont or Moss have reached the podium this year.

There was actually a lot of action going on through the field with guys like Moss, Dan Reardon and Mike Alessi making mistakes on what was a technical track – possibly the most technical of the season to date.

One rider who was surprisingly quick and strong on the bike was Jeff Alessi, the CDR Rockstar Energy Yamaha replacement who will complete the season in place of Cheyne Boyd alongside Marmont.

I don’t know about you guys, but Jeff may have produced the surprise performance of the season in my eyes. The kid wasn’t only quick, but he looked comfortable doing it.

Now I must admit that I kind of expected Jeff to be fast since I spoke to Marmont before the race weekend, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff land on the podium before the season’s out.

He’ll have to keep it on two wheels though, because he left Auckland with two very damaged YZ450Fs for the CDR guys to work on in time for this weekend at Dunedin.

Much of the attention was on the Lites class after JDR Motorex KTM’s PJ Larsen won to regain the series lead by nine points, with arch-rival Matt Moss involved in a controversial incident with Kawasaki’s Luke Arbon.

The pair went down and Moss had a clutch problem on his RM-Z, but as Moss was airing his disappointment, Arbon seemingly fell onto Moss as he tried to remount.

That’s where the fireworks began as Moss aggressively shoved Arbon off him, snapping his helmet peak in the process. It may have been an overreaction from Moss and we don’t condone his actions, however scoring points in each and every race is vital when there are 25 points up for grabs each time the riders take the chequered flag.

Moss bounced back at the end of the night to take second on a borrowed Suzuki, a result that put him back on the championship radar while his number one bike was out of action.

Larsen was strong in Auckland though and with teammate Ryan Marmont making it a 1-2 finish for JDR Motorsports and KTM, those guys made the trip across the Tasman very worthwhile at least in Auckland.

The most emotional ride of the night had to go to Luke Styke for GYTR Rockstar Yamaha, finishing third and dedicating the podium to injured teammate Harley Quinlan.

Tributes were flowing Quinlan’s way in Auckland, and many were really happy to see the team managed by Scott Bishop get a result that they deserve after a devastating month.

I think everybody was devastated to see Ben Townley dislocate his hip in the heat race, concerned for his 2011 season more than anything, so fingers crossed he can regain full fitness and really challenge Antonio Cairoli for next year’s MX1 world title.

For an update on Townley, check out our news story we posted this morning because it looks as though he’s had some good news.

Get well soon, BT.

We’re past the halfway point of Super X 2010 and it’s been a great year of racing to date with four separate winners in the Open class in the four rounds contested so far.

Now, it’s up to Marmont and Jake Moss to make a real championship out of this as they try their best to chase down Hansen in the chase for the Open class championship.

Speaking of Moss, unless he goes back to the States next year, surely he has done well enough in Super X for Suzuki to re-sign him for the entire season next year.

Bryan Staring wrapped up the series in the most difficult of conditions at Symmons Plains on Sunday. Image: Keith Muir.

Bryan Staring wrapped up the series in the most difficult of conditions at Symmons Plains on Sunday. Image: Keith Muir.

Australian Superbike
While Super X is just hitting its stride, the Aussie Superbikes wrapped up alongside the V8 Supercars at Symmons Plains in Tasmania last weekend and it was Bryan Staring who held on for the crown.

I’m a huge fan of what Staring has achieved this year and you really can’t underestimate his feat, so hats off to him and the entire Cougar Bourbon Honda Racing team.

Staring won the title by 6.5 points as we all know by now, backed up by fellow Honda riders Wayne Maxwell and Glenn Allerton – the latter taking his first round win of the season.

You also have to acknowledge the achievement of Troy Herfoss at Team Suzuki in Supersport to win the title in just his second season of road racing, and it’s all but confirmed that he’ll be on the Superbike next year.

Everybody is wondering what Waters is going to do next year, whether he’ll stay in Australia or head over to the AMA series in the United States full time with Rockstar Makita Suzuki.

Well, Phil Tainton said in Suzuki’s post-race release that Waters will be back to try and reclaim the number one plate next year, while Suzuki Australia general manager Perry Morrison said he’s “headed for bigger and better things in 2011”.

What does that mean exactly? If I was a betting man, I would say Waters will focus on the ASBK with Suzuki in Australia, but will contest a number of AMA rounds as well. That’s my guess and it’s not confirmed, but we shall see.

It’s still not confirmed that Honda is coming back in an official role next year, however with all four Motologic Ducati Superbikes up for sale, as well as their two-seater, all indications are that the team will revert to Honda for 2011.

The funny thing is, it’s very unlikely that the championship-winning Cougar Bourbon Honda team will continue without Staring if he opts to go overseas, and who knows what amount of support the Demolition Plus GAS Honda team will have next year.

Overall though, it’s been a great year of on-track action despite very difficult financial times. I’m still sticking with my opinion that if the series doesn’t switch to Superstock-spec equipment across the board, the ASBK grid sizes could be in even more trouble within the next 12 months.

World Superbike
Apart from the news that Chris Vermeulen has returned home from Europe, World Superbike racing has been exceptionally quiet of late as the off-season well and truly kicks in.

We’ve mentioned the possibility of new ASBK champion Bryan Staring joining the Pedercini Kawasaki team in the Superstock 1000 FIM Cup for next year aboard the next ZX-10R, and now we’re hearing that Andrew Pitt will be the team’s Superbike contender.

The team wants Pitt to lead its campaign, which would be an ideal situation for Staring to learn from in his first full season racing in Europe. If both riders are in fact signed, you can bet the Pedercini squad will be very popular in Australia come the season opener at Phillip Island in February.

Australian Off-Road
Chris Hollis will return home from Europe and the Enduro World Championship in 2011 as he’s signed for the Ballard’s Yamaha Off-Road Team to join Stefan Merriman in the battle to stop Motorex KTM’s dominance.

Hollis has ridden for Yamaha in the past, winning the championship and the A4DE with the team back in 2008 before switching to the Italian Husqvarnas last year.

Replacing Hollis at Husqvarna will be Motocross regular Matt Ryan as he attempts to emulate the success of Toby Price in the off-roads, while there’s a chance that Husky could rely on some of its top internationals to get results too.

Speaking of Price, he was hoping to head overseas full time in 2011, but now all indications have him staying at home in an attempt to capture a third straight title.

Let’s just hope the series is strong enough to make all this manufacturer support worthwhile, because it really does have the potential of being a great series in Australian motorcycle racing.

That’s all for this week, thanks for stopping by!

Former AORC champion Chris Hollis will return to Yamaha for the 2011 season after two seasons at Husqvarna.

Former AORC champion Chris Hollis will return to Yamaha for the 2011 season after two seasons at Husqvarna.

Related