Supercross

Melbourne’s in for a serve of a different kind

Author: Mark Fattore

Posted:

Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena, home to the Australian Open Tennis, will be given its annual makeover into a motorcycle racing mecca on October 1 for the penultimate round of the 2005 Nokia Supercross Masters.
With Matt Moss sitting out Melbourne with a broken leg, the CDR/Nokia/Yamaha duo of Cheyne Boyd (6) and Troy Carroll will looking to make the podium a blue affair. Photo: Greg Smith
Located just 1km from Melbourne's CBD, Rod Laver Arena always produces pressure-packed racing, on a purpose-built circuit which is one of the smallest on the national supercross calendar. In the blue-ribbon Pro Open (250cc 2T vs 450cc 4T) class, Shift Motul Suzuki's Daryl Hurley (RM250) currently leads the field on 20pts after winning two of the opening three rounds ‰ÛÒ but that's where his belligerence will end. The New Zealander, chasing the first Australian motocross-supercross double since Craig Anderson in 2002, recently suffered a knee injury while practicing at home, which will keep him out for the balance of the season. "I slid out on a slow, second-gear turn‰Û_ it wasn't much of a fall, but the handlebars collected my knee and damaged the ligaments, even though I was wearing knee braces," said Hurley, who was forced to forfeit a place on New Zealand's Motocross of Nations team following the crash. "I've been injured before, but the thing that makes it so hard to take this time is that I was winning races and two more championships were well within reach. "I've never had any problems with my knees, so this is pretty disappointing." With the former world supercross winner a scratching from Melbourne and the final round in Wollongong (NSW) on October 29, defending champion Troy Carroll (CDR Nokia Yamaha YZ250) is now the quasi 'pacesetter' on 15pts, ahead of injured teammate Matt Moss (YZ250, 12), Anderson (No Fear Honda CR250, 12), Cheyne Boyd (CDR Nokia Yamaha YZ250, 11), with Shane Metcalfe (Kawasaki Racing Team KX250, 10) the final rider in double figures. Twenty-six-year-old Carroll, who has recently inked a deal to stay at CDR Nokia Yamaha in 2006, won last year's Pro Open final at Rod Laver Arena, and he also dominated the Pro Lite (125cc 2T vs 250cc 4T) event in 2003. More recently, strong form in the inaugural Supercross Skins in Melbourne on September 16-17 has him raring to go this Saturday night.
Current SX Lites leader Daniel Reardon. Photo: Greg Smith.
"It has been an up and down year, so it is good to have the stability of knowing what I am doing next year prior to racing in the two most important events of the year," Carroll said. "It has been a long time since I have felt this complete so late in the season. I feel 100 per cent, my form on the bike is fantastic and my YZ250 has never felt so good." Five riders have qualified for the three Pro Open finals so far this year ‰ÛÒ Carroll, Anderson, Hurley, Metcalfe and Boyd. That list will definitely be whittled back to four in Melbourne while Hurley begins his convalescence, and it would go against the grain not to see the other four continue their strong form. Anderson, who became a dad for the first time on Monday, bounced back to his inventive best at the last round in Sydney, and will be confident of continuing the onslaught this Saturday ‰ÛÒ if he is not sleep deprived! "It is crucial that I get as many points as possible this weekend," Anderson said. "This series is highly competitive and has been anything but predictable. The tight tracks and elimination format mean that any one of a number of things can go wrong on the night for any rider. I am sorry Daryl is out. He's a great rider and none of us want to see a top guy like that taken out for six months. "This week has been something else with the birth of my daughter, Tatum. She is beautiful and my wife Katrina and I couldn't be happier. It is all giving me even more inspiration to do my best on Saturday night." Other contenders will include Shift Motul Suzuki pairing Luke Burkhart (RM250) and Danny Ham (RM-Z450); Cody Cooper (No Fear Honda CR250); Lee Ellis (Motorex KTM 250SX) and veteran Craig Carmichael (Full Throttle Sports Honda CRF450R). Burkhart was an excellent third in round three, while Ham, Ellis and Cooper have just returned from the French-hosted Motocross of Nations, which was held last weekend. Meanwhile, American import Tyler Evans (Motorex KTM 250SX) will sit out Melbourne to allow his injured knee more time to recover. In Pro Lite, Daniel Reardon (Whale's Kawasaki KX250F) has been on a gradual climb all year, which reached a crescendo with a win in round three. Added to his third and second places in the opening two finals, the Queenslander is now on 21pts, five in advance of Robbie Marshall (Serco Yamaha YZ250F, 15). Three-time champion Troy Dorron (No Fear Honda) and reigning No. 1 Cameron Taylor (Serco Yamaha YZ250F) are deadlocked on 13pts, followed by Cody Mackie (Academy Development Racing YZ250F, 9) and Ryan Marmont (Motorex KTM 250SXF, 8). While Marshall will ride after recovering from a recent dose of chicken pox, his teammate Taylor has finished second at Rod Laver Arena three of the past four years (twice in Pro Open and once in Pro Lite), and would love nothing better than to win in front of his home crowd. "My starts and corner speed have both been a problem but over the past couple of months I have focused on these two weaknesses and the results of that are really showing," said Taylor. Marmont won last year's race at Rod Laver Arena, and will be the lone Motorex KTM ranger in the Pro Lite class this time out, with teammate Daniel McCoy not set to return to supercross action until 2006. Main Photo: New father Craig Anderson.
Credit: iKapture - Spokes Promotions

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