Supercross

Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba

Author: Aaryn Minerds

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Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Welcome to MID WEEK MOTO presented by Fullnoise.com.au, our look into all aspects in the world of dirt bike racing.

It has been quite some time since I sat down at a keyboard and typed out a Mid Week Moto Column and with the opening round of the 2016 Australian Supercross Championship about to kick off this weekend, it is a great time to get back into the flow of typing!

There is no doubt there is a lot of hype around this 2016 SX season, it is something that has been building slowly since last year after what has to be considered a very successful new look Australian Supercross Championship.

Allowing individual promoters look after one or two of their own events last year really let them focus 100% on the task at hand and each and every round in 2015 proved to be a hit with the large crowds on hand.

Was the series and every round perfect? Not quite but they were in every sense a huge step towards where Australian SX needs to be. Big vocal crowds with great on track racing and plenty of off track entertainment.

For 2016 we will see a six round series held over five weekends, starting with the two Queensland rounds hosted by Scott Bannan promotions.

The series will then head down the East Coast to the bottom of the country with Gilbert racing hosting round 3 in Adelaide before the racings heads to Melbourne with Scott Anderson looking after the event at Avalon.

The championship will wind up over two big nights at the AUS-X Open that will once again be hosted by AME Management.

It certainly has been a busy week and a half in terms of Supercross news as each and every team released their rider lineups for this years championship and with the releases came some lively debate about the number of American riders heading to Australia this year.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
The riders lists for SX1 and SX2 at Jimboomba
The debate had plenty of good points, both for bringing the U.S riders over and while no one was really complaining about the great international talent heading down under, there were a number of people questioning why there were not more Australian based riders being given some of the opportunities / rides that were available over the international talent.

At the end of the day, when looking at the overall rider list that popped up this evening on the new Australian Supercross Championship facebook page, there is only six out of the 70 or so riders that will contest round one that are heading over to race, luckily for us race fans they just happen to be some very talented riders that will be great to watch with Justin Brayton, Wil Hahn, Kyle Peters, Adam Enticknap all heading over to contest the SX1 class while Jimmy Decots and Gavin Faith, both former championship winners in the SX2 class will both be back to go head to head in 2016.

And while most of the news this week has been based around the factory and factory supported teams, it has been great to see so many privateers picking up a little support and have announced they will be racing either the full series or at least be at the opening two rounds with the hope of finding the support or funding to continue on as the series progresses and with the prize money being paid out at this years events, a good result at the opening two rounds will certainly help pay towards getting to the next rounds on the calendar.

With all the rider line ups now settled the attention turned to this Saturday nights venue with images of the layout appearing online on Monday with more being posted tonight of the final track and the lighting system starting to be put in place.

The track layout for J1 this year looks to be based of J2 of 2015, with the track following the same path as last year from memory with just a few of the jumps and obstacles being changed up. Also going by the photo tonight and speaking to Scott Bannan over the past week, the soil should be a little loamier than last years super hard pack track and they will also have a new piece of machinery on hand to help with getting the track ready for the night show.

The big question on everyone's lips is..... Who is going to be the rider to beat in each class??
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
2015 Champ Dan Reardon will lead the Aussie charge against American stars Justin Brayton and Wil Hahn
In my opinion in the SX1 class it is going to be a battle between Honda's Justin Brayton snd Kawasaki's Wil Hahn, with reigning Australian SX champion, CDR Yamaha's Dan Reardon the Aussie who will mostly likely be the rider to take it up to the two American‰Ûªs week in week out.

It is hard to go past the experience and talent of Brayton, a consistent top ten rider in the American Supercross Championship for many years which includes finishing 4th at the conclusion of the 2012 season and 8th in this years Monster Energy Supercross Championship.

Wil Hahn has a 2013 East Coast 250SX title to his name and backed up that championship with an 11th place finish in the SX class in 2014. However the past two years have not been kind to the Factory Kawasaki rider with an injury in the first practice session, of 2015 putting him out for the entire year and 2016 was not much kinder with injury sidelining him for the majority of the American championship. Despite the recent run of bad luck, Hahn is a proven SX racer with talent to burn.

Reardon comes into the SX season after missing the second half of the MX Nationals due to injury. There has to be a little question mark over him coming into this championship on the back of his quick recovery, but if fully fit Reardon has the pace to run with the two American's.

For the most part Reardon and Matt Moss were in a league of their own during the 2015 Australian SX season and if Reardon has the same form in 2016, it could be back to back titles for him.

Now that does not mean there are no other riders that could win this title or at least challenge for race wins.

American Kyle Peters was recruited into the KTM team after both Luke Styke and Kirk Gibbs were forced out with injury. Peters has been racing in the 250F class in the U.S since 2011 and has a podium result to his name when he finished second at Indianapolis in 2013. He finished 8th in this years 250 West Championship.

It is hard to tell will Peters will fall in the scheme of things here in Australia as he moves up to the big bike class, but I guess we will find out on Saturday night.

Kawasaki's Kade Mosig and DPH Yamaha's Lawson Bopping come in as the other two Australian riders who showed some very good form in the SX1 class last year and both have the speed and talent to win.

Mosig finished the series in Second position last year and was in the running to win the title heading into the final round before he was injured early in the day's proceedings.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Lawson Bopping picked up the win at the final round in 2015 and will be one of the many riders to watch again in 2016 aboard his DPH Yamaha
While both Mosig and Reardon were injured at the final Melbourne round, Bopping who put on a great showing running up with Reardon, Reed and Webb at the AUS-X Open the round prior in Sydney, finished his 2015 SX season on a high taking the final round win and finishing third in the championship and is certainly a rider with the talent to win in 2016.

Enticknap is a bit of a wild card, despite suffering from injury the past couple of seasons in the U.S, he has still managed to make the majority of main events at the races he has contested in recent years.

It will be interesting to see how he stacks up against the Aussies on home soil. One thing is for sure, he will be a big crowd favourite and a great personality to have here in Australia.

Crankt Honda's Dylan Long is a rider that we know can race Supercross and has long been a fan favourite here in Australia for his big whips and exciting style on track.

His 2015 SX season was wrecked after a few big crashes, but along with his team-mate Jay Wilson he will be another rider to keep a close eye on at Jimboomba this weekend.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Dean Ferris along with Todd Waters will race the opening round of SX before flying out to Italy to represent Australia at the 2016 MXoN
Two riders that should probably be mentioned earlier than now are CDR Yamaha's Dean Ferris, the current Australian motocross champion! And Wilson Coolair Motul Suzuki's Todd Waters.

Both are exceptionally talented dirt bike riders, but with both spending recent years racing the World Motocross Championship, their Supercross form is a little unknown right at the moment and there is a lot of interest in how they will both fair come Saturday night.

The other thing both riders will have on their minds will be the MXoN that will take place between the opening two rounds of the series with the duo set to represent Australia along with DPH Yamaha‰Ûªs MX2 rider Jed Beaton.

Three other riders are also in the somewhat of the unknown category before the season starts.

Jay Marmont, yes the multi time Australian Motocross and Supercross champion is returning to the race track. A legend of Australian SX and MX, Marmont may just be the surprise packet of this season. If he can capture his form of years past there is no reason he can't land on the podium or better during this series.

Jesse Dobson will line up for the KTM Australia race team. Dobson is another rider that has suffered from a few injuries of late and does not have a lot of supercross experience under his belt, but a naturally gifted rider who has proven that he can race with the countries best despite his young age.

The final rider that could really get into the mix at the very pointy end of the field is Jacob Wright after he put together a deal for the opening two rounds with local Jimboomba Yamaha dealership Star Yamaha. If nothing else, the Toowoomba rider will be a crowd favourite at the opening two rounds.

With 22 riders listed for the opening round of SX1 racing and prize money paying down to 15th there are sure to battles all the way down the field. While a riders like Luke Wilson, Boyd Hocking and Joel Newton may not have the pace to run with the front runners, pushing towards a top ten finish could make a big difference in the cash they take home at the end of the night.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Despite finishing 2nd at round two in 2015 and showing plenty of speed at each round before injury, Adam Monea will not be in action in 2016
So who is missing from the SX1 class?

Two of the biggest names missing from the SX1 class heading into round one are Kirk Gibbs and Adam Monea. Gibbs as we know broke his femur practicing for Supercross that also left the KTM to miss out on the opportunity to race for Australia at this years MXoN.

Monea as we know was left with no ride for 2016 despite a great showing in 2015 in Motocross and also in Supercross where he was showing plenty of speed before a crash at the AUS-X Open cut his season short. Going from his social media posts, Monea is still enjoying a holiday traveling around Australia.

As we mentioned above Styke is still on the sidelines from an injury he sustained during the 2015 SX season and being a former SX2 champion is a big loss for this years series.

Another name that we are unlikely to see in 2016 is Sam Martin who will be heading to Europe to contest the German supercross series and other events, though would be open to a ride in Australia if the right opportunity was available.

Brett Metcalfe looked as though he may return to Australia to race the entire season with the SD3 Husqvarna team, however after a big crash during the Canadian MX series it looks as though that won‰Ûªt be the case this year, though we will endeavour to find out more today.

The other big name missing is Matt Moss as he continues to appeal his suspension handed down by ASADA earlier this year.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Jimmy Decotis is back to defend the title he won last year
While there is plenty of talent in the SX1 class the SX2 class is chock full of experienced and young talent all eager to take home this years title.

Once again it is hard to go past the two American riders and for good reason.

Jimmy Decotis is the current champ and deserves to be the favourite heading into this season. However this year he will be up against a former two time Australian SX2 champion and the current American Arena-cross Champion Gavin Faith.

Their challengers will come thick and fast with a host of Australian riders ready to take it to the two American's.

Jackson Richardson who finished second in last years series will lead the charge, return home for 2016 after being signed up by Serco Yamaha team.

Richardson like fellow Yamaha rider in the returning Hayden Mellross will both call on their U.S experience in a bid to keep the SX2 title on Australian soil.

Mellross had an outstanding start to the year in the U.S until a big crash put his season on hold. He returns to Australia with the DPH Yamaha team.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Jackson Richardson finished second to Decotis in 2015 and will be looking to go one better when the gates drop at Jimboomba
In somewhat of a surprise the two riders who battled it out at the final round in 2015 for the final spot on the SX2 championship podium will both return as privateers to contest the 2016 championship.

I spoke to Lewis Woods early this week and he confirmed that he would be back under the Davey Motorsports truck, which is a private team, where Woods will also have the support of his personal sponsors.

Like Woods, Geran Stapleton who was on track for the final podium spot until a first turn crash put an end to any real chance at the final round in 2015, returns as a full blown privateer with the help from a couple of personal sponsors. Check out the Interviews section on the site to see his plans for the season.

Wade Hunter was a standout on his way to 5th in last years SX2 championship with the series result along with three main event podium finishes landing him a ride with Serco Yamaha for 2016.

While his MX season has not gone to plan, if the Queenslander can find the SX form from last year, he will be a rider that could land himself on the top step come the final round in Sydney.

The list of potential race winners or podium performers is endless in the SX2 class, in no particular order the likes of, KTM's Jayden Rykers, Performance Racing Yamaha's Kale Makeham ( A former SXD champion), KTM Australia's Caleb Ward, Raceline Pirelli's Dylan Wills, Serco Yamaha's Wilson Todd, the Yamaha young guns of Mitch Evans and Jordan Hill all have the talent and skill to pull out a race win or land on the podium at any given round making this one of the most hotly contested SX2 titles in Australian SX history.

And lets not forget Josh Cachia. Returning to racing after missing all of the 2015 season, Cachia is a proven race winner that is sure to have the crowd on their feet when the gates drop at each and every round.

Between himself and Adam Enticknap the Honda pit is going to be a popular and busy place on raceday especially when the pit party gets underway at Jimboomba this Saturday afternoon.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Lewis Woods is back as a privateer with support from Davey Motosport and his personal sponsors after finishing 3rd in SX2 last year.
Like the SX1 class there are a handful of riders in the SX2 class that will be missing on Saturday night.

Husqvarna's Nathan Crawford is one of two big name Husky riders that will be out of action this weekend. A rider that would have to be considered a title threat was unfortunately injured in the lead up to the final round of the MX Nationals, a series that he was leading at the time. While he will miss the opening rounds he is likely to be back for the second half of the series.

Oh by the way the Nathan Crawford listed in the SX1 class will be racing. Yep there is more than one Nathan Crawford that hails from Queensland and can race Supercross!

SD3 Husqvarna's Luke Arbon is still recovering from a nasty practice crash earlier this year that left him with back and neck injuries.

Speaking to him last week he was hoping to be back for Supercross but after returning to the bike he quickly realised there is still a lot of work to go before he returns to racing, especially SX, expect to see him back racing full time again in 2017.

Jack Simpson finished 7th in last years SX2 championship but will be firmly focused on the Australian Four Day Enduro after making the move to Off-Road racing this year. Simpson on the weekend just gone secured the 2016 AORC E1 title, we have not spoken to him yet to see if he does have any supercross plans, though we are sure KTM would be keen to keep him in Enduro mode for the time being.

Thinking about that KTM currently have three very good supercross racers all dominating their classes in the Off-road world! Jack Simpson, Toby Price and Tye Simmonds could easily form one more than handy supercross line up!

Luke Clout who showed some good early signs in his start to his U.S racing plans earlier this year before being injured is currently in Australia but at this point in time will not be lining up to race the 2016 series instead looking towards returning to the U.S in 2017.

We quickly spoke to DPH Yamaha's Jed Beaton earlier this week and he confirmed to us that he will be missing the opening round of SX to focus on representing Australia at this years MXoN and has now flown out to Europe to start his final preparations.

It is a wise move for the 18 year old who has plenty of years of racing ahead of him and a great opportunity to show his talent on the world stage in motocross in the coming weeks. Hopefully we will see Beaton line up later in the series.
Mid Week Moto – All Roads Lead To Jimboomba
Saturday nights track map
While the SX1 and SX2 classes will get the majority of the focus on Saturday night, the two junior classes are set to showcase the future of Australian SX talent.

Speaking to Scott Bannan over the past two weeks he is very passionate about making sure that the future of Australia's SX riders are looked after and given the respect and the track time they need to develop their supercross skills.

Last year Scott and his team put on a first rate show both on and off the track at the opening Jimboomba round and this year promises to be even better.

A big crowed rolled in for the opening round in 2015 and an even bigger crowd his expected this Saturday night.

The best place to watch Supercross is trackside!

That will do for our SX preview, I am sure there will be plenty out there who have their own thoughts on who will win the respective SX championships this year, feel free to jump onto our Facebook page and let us know who you have for your top three in each class.

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