Read on below as we take our weekly look into the world of all things dirt bike related, looking at the news and events from here in Australia and around the world.
KTM GROUP ANNOUNCES LOCAL OFF-ROAD RACING PLANS
KTM Australia has announced their Off-Road Racing plans for the 2022 season, which will include the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), Australian 4 Day Enduro (A4DE), and the Hattah Desert Race.
It’s fair to say the announcement of just a two-rider lineup of Stefan Granquist and Emelie Karlsson was a bit of a surprise, not in the fact that Stefan and Emelie are on the team, both very credentialed riders and great people who are a great addition to the KTM brand, not to mention Emelie has every chance of winning the Women’s class in 2022 and Stefan is sure to make consistent podium appearances in the E3 class, the only surprise in seeing both of these two riders with excellent support in 2022 is they are now on orange machinery after being on blue for so long.
The surprise is more of the fact that KTM has always had a very strong presence in the Off-Road, Enduro, and Desert racing scene in Australia; it is what KTM does, produce high-quality Ready to Race Enduro based motorcycles.
For many years in Australia, we have seen KTM’s motocross teams outsourced to private teams, while the Off-Road and Desert teams have always been in-house well-backed teams, consisting of high-profile championship contenders amongst the major E1, E2, and E3 classes.
For 2022 it looks as though the KTM group will have less of a presence in the Off-Road world here in Australia, but have increased their presence in the MX scene with an in-house effort across all three brands (KTM, Husqvarna, and GasGas) with at least one rider in each of the MX1 and MX2 classes.
Another press release was posted on the Husqvarna Australia press site today announcing that Todd Waters will once again contest both the AORC in the E2 class, along with Hattah and the A4DE on top of his MX1 duties in the Pro MX championship, which will give the KTM group a championship contender in the E2 class giving the group as a whole good coverage across E2, E3, and the Women’s class.
There is still time ahead of the opening round of the AORC, so maybe more announcements will be made; perhaps we will see a GASGAS rider in the E2 class to round out a complete KTM group attack on the AORC series in 2022, though just speculation on my behalf at this point.
At the end of the day, we look forward to seeing Stefan, Emelie, and Todd at the Off-Road events in 2022.
KTM and HUSQVARNA JUNIOR TEAMS
Continuing on their increased support on the Australian Motocross scene in 2022, KTM and Husqvarna have announced their junior racing teams for the upcoming race season.
The Husqvarna team will have support Husqvarna Genuine Parts, Husqvarna Technical Accessories, Husqvarna Apparel, Motorex, FLY Racing, Bridgestone, SKDA, ODI Grips, and Funnelweb Filters with three riders ready to pilot their way to success.
Braden Plath will take the most senior duties in the team aboard a TC 125 and FC250. The former world 65cc champion will race all junior racing events at a State and National level and also run the MX3 class at this year’s ProMX Championship.
Queenslander Heath Fisher will contest state and national events on both a TC 85 and TC 125, while Dubbo’s Jack Devenson will also contest the same two classes as Fisher and has already had success in 2022, winning the opening round of the Australian Arenacross Championship.
Over in the KTM camp, four riders will take it to Australia’s best with the support of KTM Genuine Parts, KTM Powerparts, KTM Powerwear, Motorex, Troy Lee Designs, Dunlop, Kustom MX, ODI Grips, and Funnelweb Filters.
West Aussie Kayden Minear will lead the way for the team, taking on State and National racing duties on both a 125 SX and 250 SX-F and will contest the MX3 class again after showing some great signs in the class in 2021, finishing 3rd in the shortened championship.
Joining Minear in the MX3 ranks will be three-time Australian junior champion Jet Alsop with Alsop also looking to add 125 and 250F junior titles to his name at the Australian Junior MX Championships being held in Rockhampton Qld later this year.
Two-time 65cc national champion hailing from Tasmania, Cooper Ford, will step up to the 85cc Big Wheel class for the 2022 season and will contest events all across the country with the newcomer to the team, Kyle Harvey, also contesting the 85cc class.
THE EAST COAST SWING
Jett Lawrence did precisely what most Australians were hoping for last weekend, taking the win in the opening round of the East Coast 250 class at this year’s Monster Energy Supercross Championship.
He didn’t qualify on top; he got an average start in his heat race and put in a calculated ride to move to second spot then when it mattered the most, he got a good start in the main event, sat on the rear wheel of the race leader then pounced for the lead, before going on to control the race from the front to take victory.
He made it look effortless, and in a field that looks pretty deep after the top 10 riders qualified within 7-10ths of a second each other, he looked a step above when the gates dropped on racing.
It is only one round, and there are plenty more to come, including the always unpredictable triple crown event this coming weekend, but from what we witnessed at round one, things are looking tough for his competition.
WINNING TITLES ON YOUR BAD NIGHTS
He might not have won last weekend, but Eli Tomac put in a championship-winning performance after an unlucky start to the 450 main event.
Avoiding his Yamaha team-mate, who got all sorts of out of shape through the whoops, Tomac somehow came from dead last on lap one and raced all the way up to 6th position on a tight hard to, pass track with a field that is as deep as it comes.
The downside for Tomac was his closest championship contender, Kawasaki’s Jason Anderson, who actually looked a little off for the night, managed to sneak through after Honda’s Chase Sexton’s misfortune to take the round win and close the championship gap down to just three points.
In another twist, KTM’s Cooper Webb, who still did not look close to his best last Saturday, managed to take full advantage of riders crashing in front of him to finish 2nd.
At one point, it looked like it was going to be another night where the current champion moved from the lead back through the field and was on track to finish at best 4th, but with team-mate Musquin all over his back wheel, even 5th was on the cards.
It was not an impressive ride by Webb, but it might be all he needs; it was a ride that kept him in the championship hunt while he finds his form; there is still every chance this title stays a three-rider chase all the way down to the final round.
I’LL TAKE SECONDS, PLEASE
If you were an Aussie racing in an American Off-Road championship last weekend, you were destined to finish in second spot!
The opening round of the 2022 Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) championship kicked off in South Carolina with FMF/KTM Factory Racing’s Benjamin Kelley taking the outright and XC1 class win.
Finishing behind Kelley in second spot was Kawasaki mounted Australian Josh Strang, giving his championship aspirations a great start to the season.
Not to be outdone, Strang’s Babbitts Online/Monster Energy/Kawasaki Team Green, Australian teammate Lyndon Snodgrass finished second in the XC2 class and rounding out the clean sweep of second-place finishers was Australia’s Tayla Jones, who took the runner up spot in the Women’s class.
If that was not enough, Jack Simpson was back in action aboard his Honda CRF250R at the second round of the WORCS series finishing just nine seconds behind race winner Mateo Oliveira.
LOOK INTO THE FUTURE WITH DAVID HOGAN
Our resident medical expert David Hogan (Always Moto), along with putting together the world’s best Medical report on the current state of injured riders in this year’s American Supercross Championship, also found the time to contact the people over at Stark Varg.
Stark Varg, you ask? The company behind the all-new electric bike that Josh Hill has thrown sideways all over the interwebs.
David was able to get in contact with Benjamin Cobb, the Communication & PR Manager for Stark Varg, for a great little interview that you can read here.
FLYING IN WITH A GRIPPING MINI-INTERVIEW
After seeing the swarm of Honda Ride Red racers at a host of local state events across the country early in 2022, we decided to reach out to McLeod Accessories Brand Manager Duncan Hale for a quick insight into the support brands like Fly Racing, Bridgestone Tyres, and more put into the Honda racing program.
FULLNOISE: How did the partnership with the Honda Ride Red program come about.
DUNCAN: McLeod Accessories have a long-standing partnership with the Factory Honda Team here in Australia, and the Ride Red program is basically an extension of that.
A few years ago, Honda and McLeod’s saw the need to give more back to the industry and help the next generation of riders achieve their goals; that’s how the Ride Red Program began. The Ride Red program hasn’t been that visible over the last two years with no racing, but we are committed to the program, and it’s been growing each year.
FULLNOISE: Thanks for your time Duncan, kick us off by letting us know what products and services do Mcleod Accessories support the Honda Ride Red Program with in 2022.
DUNCAN: Fly Racing and Bridgestone tires are the biggest part of the program, but the Ride Red riders basically have access to all that McLeod Accessories offer, FMF, Asterisk, Shoei, to name just a few…
FULLNOISE: What is the difference between the levels of support from the different Honda racing programs? The difference between the Factory Honda Aus race team, the National based Ride Red riders, and the state/Dealership Ride Red rides.
DUNCAN: We basically have two levels of support, Factory Team or a dealer-based sponsorship. McLeod Accessories is an aftermarket motorcycle wholesale company; we just don’t have the internal structure to deal direct with riders, so all our sponsorship programs are organized through our vast dealer network, There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, all our sponsored riders are working with their local dealer.
The Ride Red program is supported by Honda Australian and their Dealer network. The level of support varies from rider to rider, Obviously, a national level racer will receive more support than club level racers, but we do our best to help with the high cost of racing.
FULLNOISE: How many riders are Mcleod Accessories supporting through the Ride Red program in 2022
DUNCAN: For 2022, we are supporting 17 Ride Red riders and probably about another 50 or so on other dealer sponsorship program. So yes, I have a bit going on… lol
FULLNOISE: As a brand manager of some of the products being used on the Ride Red program, what is the most satisfying thing about the program and seeing your products in action
DUNCAN: For me, it’s seeing my brands more and more on the weekends at the race track and ride parks. We invest so much time in our brands; it’s not just 8 – 5 Monday to Friday. It’s weekends too, trade shows, MX/SX events, Ride days, etc.; we see our growth on spreadsheets, but nothing beats seeing it first hand in the real world, and secondly, it’s helping our riders achieve their goals in moto.
McLeod Accessories was one of my very first sponsors a couple of decades ago, so it’s great to be in a position now to help the next generation of racers!!
I SCOTT TO GET A PAIR
Taking it back to the very start of SCOTT’s dominance in the world of motocross and off-road racing, SCOTT introduces you to the new Heritage Edition Prospect and Fury goggles.
Two classic ‘70s inspired designs to represent the true DNA of SCOTT’s racing heritage and give a nod to the fifty-plus years SCOTT have been making goggles for old-school legends, modern-day champions, and everyone in between.
Based on one of SCOTT’s very first winning goggles, the iconic design of the new Heritage Edition Prospect goggle features the classic blue and red colours with the subtle off-white strap and outriggers, as well as the same ‘70s era SCOTT logo that was used on the original moto goggles.
Used by an ever-growing list of champions, the Prospect goggle has everything you need to ensure your vision is the best it can be on the track or trail. With perfected features such as the NoSweat face foam, a maximum field of vision, the innovative SCOTT Lens Lock System, articulating outriggers and much more, the super-stylish SCOTT Prospect goggle has been engineered to Defend Your Vision no matter how extreme the conditions get.
Featuring an eye-catching, vintage-inspired design and colourway that combines classic racing yellow with rich two-tone red, along with an original SCOTT logo to give it that ultimate ‘70s motorcycle vibe. A Yellow Chrome Works Lens completes the look and guarantees this goggle will boost your style points to the next level.
The SCOTT Fury Goggle is guaranteed to shake things up. Shaped by innovation, technology and design, the Fury follows in the steps of SCOTT’s flagship goggle, the Prospect. Featuring the proven SCOTT Lens Lock System, 3-layer face foam, no-slip silicone strap, and supporting all the same accessories as the Prospect, this low-profile, high-performance motocross goggle was fully developed to Defend Your Vision in all conditions.
CONSISTENTLY GETTING TOUGHER
Well, my hopes for making this a weekly article were dashed last week after a brutal week at my day job; things went from steady to crazy busy and threw a spanner in my outside of work-life! But hey, that’s life; we do what we do.
My plan for this year was to put together a weekly article, looking at the news in a different way, a bit of a personal blog of how I have seen the news and events of the sport of dirt bike racing over the past seven days. There will be weeks where it is tough or near on impossible to put together, but I’ll keep pushing.
Another big week has meant this is coming late on a Friday evening instead of a Wednesday or Thursday afternoon. As soon as it is published, there will be a few hours of sleep and then back into work for a little Saturday fun, followed by bike prep ready for a ride on Sunday.
The article will include looking at certain aspects of local and international news or racing events, some mini-interviews, any new products that have come our way, either physically or via a press release links to our latest product reviews or interviews.
A little section of what David Hogan has been up to, this section here (My mini-blog within a blog), and because I am a mini dad, a small section about going racing with the boy.
On the riding front, things have certainly been a little better for me; for the third week straight, I was able to log some hours on my KX250, and that sweet sensation of riding with some confidence is starting to come back; the fitness is not, though being able to push for two laps instead of a handful of corners is and improvement I guess.
The plan is to make it four out of four weekends this Sunday with another trip to Gilman as I take aim at my racing goals for 2022, but we can get into that in the coming weeks.
2022 FINALLY COMING TOGETHER FOR JAYDEN
I had almost given up on getting a new 85 for Jayden for the 2022 season. The budget to go racing is a little tight this year, and with racing getting close and the 2020 YZ85 we have still in excellent condition, I was all but set to give it a good freshen up and let him race that bike for another season after some other plans did not come to fruition.
However, after looking for some camping gear at a shop across the road from Pitmans Motorcycles here in South Australia, I decided just to pop in and talk to the team there, as they were actually very good supporters of myself when I started racing at a senior and I have had a good relationship with them for years.
For a few years there, they were not stocking the blue bikes but have recently once again become a Yamaha dealership, and that alone has made life so much easier having a Yamaha dealer in the North of Adelaide to buy parts from.
After talking to the sales manager and letting him know our plans for the year ahead and Jay’s racing results from last year, he told us to put together a resume which we quickly went to work on.
We have just received word back this week and are pleased to say Pitmans Motorcycles have offered Jay some excellent support for the year ahead with a race plan that will see him on a new 2022 YZ85.
It did mean parting with my enclosed trailer in a bid to sure up some extra funds to both purchase the new bike and ensure we had the funds available to commit to the racing we have planned for the season ahead. Still, we are super thankful to be in a position thanks to Pitmans Motorcycles and Yamaha Australia to have a new bike for the upcoming race season.
The bike itself is still a couple of weeks away from landing in South Aus, so in the meantime, it is back to the practice track on the 2020 YZ85 and some time on his YZ65 for good measure.
LET’S FINISH THE WEEK OFF WITH A LITTLE VIEWING PLEASURE
We will kick it off with Australia’s best kept hidden race that played out at Nowra on the weekend.