It is fair to say that 2021 was another year we are all glad to put behind us, another year that saw national-level racing cut short due to this virus they call Covid.
Much like 2021, many national championships were either cut short or did not start at all and left riders to focus on local state-level racing. However, for states like Victoria, not even that was possible with the majority of Victorian stuck at home in lick down for the majority of 21.
It was another strange year to watch unfold; early on, things looked like they were going to be a little more “NORMAL.”
Events like the Coffs Harbour Stadium cross took place; I myself ventured over to Victoria from South Australia, so my son could race the 2-day Shipwreck Open at Warnambool.
Here in South Australia, tracks were packed, the opening round of our State Titles was a massive event; I honestly had not seen that many riders at an event in South Australia for years, sure a lot of those riders, especially in the senior ranks, were from interstate and a good portion were there to get track time ahead of the national round of the ProMX Championship that was meant to be held a few weeks later at the same venue.
On a national front, things were really starting to take shape; the opening round of the 2021 ProMX championships was held in some wet and wild conditions at Wonthaggi in Victoria before heading over to Canberra for round 2.
Things started to get shaky when the third round scheduled for South Australia was postponed due to border closers, with round 4 then going ahead in Maitland before the season came to a grinding halt.
Three rounds were enough to award Luke Clout the MX1 championship and Kyle Webster the MX2 championship, while Blake Fox dominated the inaugural MX3 championship. It may not have been perfect, but unlike 2020, at least we were able to witness a little national-level motocross and could crown champions.
It was the opposite case for the AORC championship. After being able to sneak in enough rounds in 2020 to award championship status, for 2022, only one round was able to be completed, and with the A4DE not being held, it was impossible to award any national Enduro champions.
On the local front, things were a little different; while Victoria was unable to host any racing after the beginning of February due to widespread state lockdowns, all other states were able to fit in enough racing to crown State Champions across most disciplines, and while we had to withstand another year with limited national racing, the one positive was the upturn in State level racing and the number of national-caliber riders that attended State events.
If we can take anything away from the past two years, it is that State-level racing certainly benefits from having the best riders in the nation heading back to race local events.
On an international scale, things were a little better, with both American Supercross Championship and the American Motocross championship finding a way to complete both series, which was great news for us Aussies as we watched both Jett and Hunter Lawerence thrive on the international stage.
Jett claimed Supercross race wins, a championship podium before going on to win the American Motocross Championship in the 250 class, while Hunter also impressed in Supercross, landing himself on the podium on a number of occasions on his way to a championship podium result before also finishing third in the motocross championship to make it an Aussie 1-3 and the first time in history two brothers had finished on an American Pro motocross championship podium together.
Dakar was another event where Australians shined in 2021, with Toby Price and first-timer to the event Daniel Sanders both spent time in the spotlight.
Price, in typical fashion, proved why he is one of the fastest and toughest desert racers in the world, winning two stages, finishing a marathon stage with a tire that was literally zip-tied to the bike, but unfortunately, 2021 was not Prices’ year with the former winner eventually succumbing to the gruelling event.
For Sanders, his learning year proved to be a successful one, placing himself in the top three in a handful of stages on his way to an incredible 4th place overall finish.
Jed Beaton was more than impressive on his way to finishing 5th in the World MX2 championship, securing multiple motos and overall round podium results, which were enough to see him secure a ride in the MXGP class for 2022. Wilson Todd had an up and down year in the same class, showing glimpses of his true talent on his way to finishing 12th in the championship.
Though Courtney Duncan is not Australian, it was great to see one of our Kiwi counterparts race to another Women’s world championship, while Australian Tahlia O’Hare kept the Australian flag flying finishing out the season in 10th position, a truly great result.
On the international enduro front, a pair of Kawasaki racers from down under lead the way in the U.S, with Josh Strang finishing 4th in the highly competitive XC1 class in the GNCC championship, while Lyndon Snodgrass in his first year in America was equally impressive finishing 3rd in the XC2 championship and claiming 11th outright for the year.
Both Tayla Jones and Mackenzie Tricker could have easily finished on the GNCC women’s championship podium; unfortunately, injuries at the start of the season for Tricker left here to fight back to 6th in the final standings, while it was the opposite for Jones who suffered a nasty hand injury at the end of the year but still managed to finish 5th despite missing the final four rounds.
In the EnduroGP World Championship, Wil Ruprecht powered his way to second overall in the Enduro 2 world standings and only just missed out on an outright Enduro GP championship podium finishing 4th, only 9 points shy of the podium.
And not to forget our Speedway stars, with two riders finishing inside the top ten in 2021, Max Fricke in 8th and Jason Doyle 9th.
It’s fair to say our small Island nation once again achieved great things on dirt bikes across the globe last year, and there is a good chance I have missed some outstanding achievements above. There is even more talent on the junior front that we have not even dived into, something we may leave for a little later this year. One thing we know for sure, these amazing results are sure to continue in 2022.
For us here at Fullnoise, it was a bit of a strange year yet again.
With two years of very little domestic national racing, it’s fair to say we have found ourselves a little lost, though as you can see by the list above, there have been plenty of international events to keep the news ticking over with plenty of Australia’s in action all across the globe.
In 2021 for the second time within four years, Fullnoise’s leader, Gaz, went to work and rebuilt the site from scratch, this time moving the entire website to a completely new platform, which meant backing up 17 years of articles and images, saving all the old date bases, and working out how to successfully transfer them all onto the new sight in order to not lose one of the longest digital histories of the sport not only here in Australia but around the world.
I spoke to him regularly during this update, and he was putting in 16-18 hours a day for months on end; it was an amazing amount of work accomplished and has left us with more freedom going forward with the content we will be able to create.
In terms of creating content, while Gaz was hard at work day in day out posting the general news, with the occasional assistance from myself, David Hogan joined the party with his medical reports ( THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT ), mainly focusing on the U.S racing and then also moved into writing some product reviews, which can all be found our features section.
For myself, it was a bit of a mixed year, the past two years, my full-time job has taken up a lot of time, and after a big start to the year writing the weekly American Supercross reports and a review on the super fun GAG GAS 350F on the annual Rickaby ride in South Australia, the rest of the year became a little interrupted.
I thought we were on course for a somewhat normal year; I headed to Canberra to cover the second round of the ProMX championship and was looking to get two the majority of rounds in 2021, but as we all know, that quickly came to a halt.
Riding wise it was another year with minimal seat time; Kawasaki Australia was kind enough to send us a KX250 which we spent a bit of time aboard, and we did have plans to spend a weekend riding and racing a Kawasaki KX450X, but unfortunately, the planned weekends for that was right when South Australia went into lockdown. It was probably the least amount of seat time I have had in the past 20 years, but after a few rides on the KX250, I decided I liked it too much to let it go and purchased it, with the hope of doing more riding in 2022.
Between Covid, my day job, and chasing my son around the state focusing on his racing, there was not much time to race or even ride in 2022.
So what does 2022 have in store?
It’s fair to say every one of us in Australia heads into 2022 with a hint of scepticism, hoping we can get through a full season of racing across all disciplines.
The year of racing itself is well underway with two big-name Australian’s in action at this year’s Dakar Rally, with both Daniel Sanders and Toby Price having up and down days. It’s a long race with plenty of racing still ahead, and both racers are still in the hunt.
On Sunday morning Australian time, the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross Championship will kick off back at its traditional home of Anaheim. The year already feels more ‘NORMAL’ with A1 taking shape.
For us Aussies, it will also give us another rider to cheer on with Hunter Lawerence lining up in the 250 West class for the HRC Honda team. Younger brother Jett was due to race the West, but a practice crash leading up to A1 left him with some damaged ribs and the need for the brothers to swap coasts at the last minute.
As we heard at the end of 2022, an all-new World Supercross Championship is taking shape and will be headed up by an Australian company, with the team behind the AusX Supercross races forming the new SX Global company to run the championship.
Details on the new series are scarce at the moment, with more information expected to be released over the coming months.
However, SX Global’s Adam Bailey caught up with SwapMoto’s Michael Antonovich, which is well worth a listen. For most of us, it is probably worth skipping the first 10 minutes of the interview, there is not a great deal of information, but after the first sponsors break in the interview, there is some good informative content. While it does not go into in-depth detail on how the series will run, it does give an insight on how the team at SX Global is looking at structuring the entire championship from how teams will play a major part and the logistics of a global series.
Back on the local front, things are shaping up for a highly competitive year of racings for both the ProMX championship and the AORC.
Most manufactures have announced their teams and support riders for motocross which we will look at in more depth in the coming weeks.
Yamaha has once again announced a host of Factory backed and supported motocross teams. Honda between their Factory team and a host of Honda Support and Ride Red riders will have a huge stable at riders at each round of the national series, while the KTM group have named two riders for each of their teams, with KTM, Husqvarna, and GAS GAS all containing one MX1 and one MX2 rider under the Factory tents in 2022.
We are expecting to hear an announcement from Kawasaki shortly, while unfortunately, we will not see a Suzuki team in Australia in 2022.
Looking through the list of riders already named for the ProMX championship, its fair to say the talent all the way through the top ten and beyond in both classes is as good as it has ever been, and with a couple of riders returning from the World MX Championship and last years, MX2 champion moving up to MX1, racing across both classes will be intense all year long.
We are still awaiting more announcement for riders for the AORC, with really only Yamaha making their team and rider announcements so far, but as more news come to hand, we will take a deeper look at what the AORC series has in store for 2022.
Before either of those championships fire into action, though, we have an all-new national championship that is set to take place mainly in the Southern part of the country in 2022 but is sure to grow over the coming years.
Jess and Josh Proctor (ProTraxx Australia) have created an all-new series to kick off the race season in Australia with a four-round Arenacross championship that is aimed at all levels of riders and as a stepping stone for junior and upcoming senior riders to the Supercross ranks.
It is a series we will cover across the site; unfortunately, two of the rounds clash with events I already had committed to, but I will make It trackside for at least two rounds while Gaz is looking at making his way to the season opener at Baccus Marsh.
One thing is for sure; we are excited for the year ahead.
Gaz is already hard at work gathering all the information and results daily from the Dakar Rally In order to post daily reports.
It is no easy task putting all the information together. It is not always as it seems with Dakar; there are plenty of times the provisional results we will see in the early evening Australian time will change by morning with all the official event and team press releases coming through. I spent a few years putting together the daily reports from Dakar, and while I am still following along with the stages, I am more than happy that it is Gaz doing all the hard work each day!
David Hogan will return in 2022 with The Emergency Department and already has his first product review up for the new year; expect to see more product reviews from David (AlwaysMoto) on Fullnoise throughout the year.
As for myself, I’ll be back for another year helping Gaz out with weekend race reports, a few feature articles, and some product reviews.
I have felt a little lost with no national racing the past couple of years; there is honestly nothing I enjoy more than covering the local, national racing, nothing beats being on track taking photos, and writing a race report from the perspective of standing trackside, or for the rounds, I cant attending watching the live coverage and writing a race report.
For 2022 the plan is again to attend as many rounds of the ProMX championship as possible while also juggling my son’s racing and also throwing in a few rounds of capturing some AORC action, which will, unfortunately, mean another year with minimal riding myself.
I have a few events I still would like to ride and race in 2022; I have already entered the upcoming Rickaby ride in South Australia and hope to get back to Hattah this. With the Coolum track’s time coming to an end, I will be doing everything I can to race the Vets class at the final round of the ProMX championship, nothing like getting lapped by some former pro racers!
My mini dad duties kick off in just a couple of weeks when we head over for our now annual season opener, crossing the border into Victoria for the Shipwreck 2 Dayer, and from there, will look at doing one r two rounds of the all-new Australian Arenacross Championship.
2022 is shaping up nicely; let us hope it stays that way.