MIDWEEK MOTO 2019 Week 11 – MXN Preview

Author: Aaryn Minerds


With Dean Ferris heading overseas in 2019, Australia will crown a new champion for the first time in four years at Coolum.

The 2019 of the Pirelli MX Nationals kicks off this weekend at Appin, NSW and while it has been somewhat of a low-key lead up to this year's national motocross championship, a quick look through the rider lists across the MX1 and MX2 classes show it could quite well be one of the most entertaining and close fought seasons on record.

The MX1 class contains only one rider who has a MX1 championship to their name and one rider who has a MX2 title to their name, and they are both riding for the Monster Energy CDR Yamaha team.

There are a couple of surprise names listed to contest the opening round, and along with the stacked MX1 and MX2 classes, the MXD class will once again unearth some future stars of the sport along with a host of junior and women support classes across the year starting with the YZ65 cup this weekend at Appin.

Below we take a look at who we think could be potential championship threats or possible standout riders at the opening round and throughout the 2019 season in both the MX1 and MX2 classes.

We have tried to keep it simple and wrote down a list of riders and teams who came to mind heading into round one and give our thoughts on where we see them in 2019

Kirk Gibbs will be the only rider on the MX1 gate this Sunday with a MXN MX1 championship to his name.
Kirk Gibbs - As the only rider with an MX1 championship to his name (2015) and one of very few riders who consistently challenged Dean Ferris in 2016 and 17, Gibbs despite a tough 2018 season would be hard to pass up as one of the favourites for the 2019 championship.

Always consistent with plenty of outright speed, the new CDR Yamaha rider won't have it easy in 2019 but will be one to watch.

Todd Waters - Could have easily had a national senior championship to his name by now, but crashes and some bad luck cost him the title in the past. At his best Waters is a top world class rider and with plenty of time spent racing the MXGP circuit over recent years will come into round one aboard his DPH Motosports Husqvarna as one of the favourites for the title.

Luke Clout - The 2014 MX2 Champion like his new team-mate Gibbs has landed at the winningest team in the pits and joins the ranks of a rider who could walk away with the number one plate in the MX1 class at Coolum. As fast as anyone on any given day, if Clout can string a few podium results together to kick off the season, he will be hard to beat come round ten.

Brett Metcalfe - Leading the way for Honda again in 2019, Metcalfe comes into round one as a bit of an unknown. We all know the talent the South Aussie has, a true world class racer, but while his championship rivals have been prominent in pre-season races, both here in Australia and in New Zealand, Metcalfe is yet to be seen.

We can't even think of any recent social media posts where Metty is seen riding; we are not sure how his pre-season has gone, though with some late news coming into us today that he spent most of the pre-season injured with a back injury, the lack of posts make sense.

No matter what, Metcalfe is a rider that can't be counted out of the list of riders who could stand on the top step come the end of the year to earn his first senior national motocross championship to his name.
Daniel Millner will trade rocks and bull dust for a potential mud mx track this weekend in Appin.
Hayden Mellross - After spending the past three years racing in the U.S primarily in the 250 class, and also spending summer back home in Australia where he came close to winning the Australian SX2 title on multiple occasions, Mellross returns to Australia full time in 2019 and returns to the MX1 class, the class he raced back in 2015 for Suzuki.

This year Mellross will lead the way for the Raceline THOR KTM team, and it will be no surprise to see him at the pointy end of the field challenging for podiums and race wins. It will be a tall order to win the MX1 class in his first year back in Australia, but don't rule it out, plenty of talent with a great work ethic will make him a potential championship threat.

Daniel Milner - Now this is a bit of a shock listing for the opening round of the MX Nationals. Milner has raced the MXN at Appin before so while not a complete surprise, it is a bit of a shock to see the Factory KTM Off-Road racer lining up for an MX round with only the opening two rounds of the AORC being contested.

His AORC team-mate Lyndon Snodgrass is also listed to race in the mX2 class.

The most interesting thing about their entry at the first round is the fact KTM outsourced their MX / SX race efforts to privately ran teams in 2019 but will race the opening round of the MX Nationals with their "In House" AORC team.

At the end of the day having two more top-line national level racers on the start line is an excellent thing for the series, and we are looking forward to seeing how they fare on Sunday.

Richie Evans - Staying with the Yamaha Yamalube team for 2019 but moving up to the MX1 class, Richie Evans has shown some great speed in the pre-season state-based races. Time will tell if the converts to front running pace when the gates drop on the national series, but there is no doubt he will be a rider to keep an eye on.

Dylan Long - After a couple of years at CDR Yamaha, Long will head up Kawasaki's efforts as part of the new Empire Motorsports Kawasaki team. A proven race winner in the MX1 ranks, there is no doubt Long will challenge for race wins and will at some stage this year stand on the podium

The biggest question for Long is, can he do it week in week out, the speed and talent is there, it always has been, if he can find a way to ride at his best at each and every round, there is no reason he can't be around the top of the points standings all year long.
Richie Evan's could be the smokey in the MX1 class, in what is looking on paper to be a very deep field in 2019.
Caleb Ward - Ward had a pretty good year in the MX1 class last year, and by season end was a rider who I thought would have been hot property for the 2019 season. It didn't quite pan out that way, but he has continued his partnership with the Davey Motorsports team and will race a KTM 450 SXF this season. It may be a bit of a slow start for the Queenslander after suffering a pre-season injury while racing in New Zealand, but he certainly is a rider who once back to full fitness will push for podium results and a chance at a race win.

Jesse Dobson - After looking like he would be out of a ride for 2019, Jesse Dobson has teamed up with MPE Suspension and will pilot a Husqvarna 450 with support from Pengelly Trucks and Jamsie Construction. Another talented young rider who is just one good result from really cementing his name on the Australian racing scene. Dobson has shown glimpses of what he is truly capable of. Hopefully, 2019 is the year it all comes together.

KSF SUZUKI Riders - Coming in a little under the radar both John Prutti and American Justin Rodbell are a bit of an unknown quantity leading the way for Suzuki. After earning their spots on the Suzuki Australia supported ECSTAR KSF Factory Suzuki Racing team, with support from MXSTORE it is certainly a team to keep an eye on this year.

They are going about things a little differently than we have seen in the past in Australia and good things are happening.

Suzuki Privateers - Two other riders also aboard Suzuki RM-Z450's are former MXD runner up Jayden Rykers, who also has a 4th place MX2 series result to his name, along with former MXD champion Cody Dyce.

Joel Wightman - One of the Honda Red riders who will feature strongly during this season, a podium finish might be out of reach, but we would expect to see Wightman pushing deep inside the top ten at most rounds and will be one of the top full privateer riders come season end.

Tomas Ravenhorst - Our pick for the privateer that could really turn some heads. After posting some solid top ten results in the MX2 class as a privateer in 2018, Ravenhorst will have his work cut out for him to do likewise in the MX1 class and we look forward to seeing how he goes in throughout the season.

Wilson Todd will take his number one plate and bolt it on to his new DPH Motosports Husqvarna for the 2019 season.
WIlson Todd - When it comes to picking a favourite for the title it is hard to look past the guy with the big ole number one plate on his bike. Originally planning to move to Europe to race in 2019, Wilson Todd who won the title last year and was running up the year prior is on a new team but will be harder than ever to stop. Expect to see his DPH Motorsports Husqvarna upfront battling for wins all season long.

Jay Wilson - A former MX2 champion and current SX2 champ, Jay is another significant title threat in 2019. With a team, he trusts and knows well Wilson will be a force to be reckoned with this season.

Aaron Tanti - Tanti has always said if he could stay injury free he could run with the best and he showed in 2018 that was the case.

With his Kawasaki team folding at the end of last year he has found himself at the championship winning Serco Yamaha team. If he irons out the handful of mistakes he made last year, he will be a real title threat come Coolum.

Nato Crawford - Injuries are the only thing that have kept Nathan Crawford from already having a title to his name. Forced to the sidelines while leading the championship in 2018, Crawford returns to racing at Appin and will join the three riders listed above as the leading contenders for this year's title aboard his Serco Yamaha.
Kyle Webster comes into the 2019 Australian season with some great momentum after posting some great results in New Zealand.
Kyle Webster - As fast as anyone in the MX2 field, consistency will be the key for the West Aussie aboard his Penrite Honda Racing CRF250R if he is to challenge for the title. He will win moto's and will stand on the podium, but will need to keep his bad days to finishing still inside the top five if he is to be a chance to win. Coming off a great showing in New Zealand where he scored a round win, Webster will be one to watch this Sunday.

Dylan Wills - Running out of the Davey Motorsport truck aboard KTM machinery, Dylan Wills is another rider who has shown at times he is a genuine championship contender, like Webster consistency, will be key, the speed is there.

Bailey Malkiewicz - There was not much Bailey didn't win last year including the MXD title and the World Junior 125 championship. Super talented the DPH Motorsports Husqvarna racer steps up to the MX2 class for 2019 and is likely to land on the podium at some point during this championship.

Jye Roberts - Jye had a bit of a break out season last year that included race wins and podium results. With his move over to the Raceline KTM team, he will be an even bigger threat in 2019 and could be the big dark horse coming into the MX2 championship battle.


For some more insight into the opening round of the 2019 Pirelli MX Nationals check out.

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Tayla Jones kicked of the 2019 GNCC season with an impressive race win.
Josh Strang - Starting the opening round of the GNCC championship in a strong position, sitting inside the top three as the race got underway, Strang had to settle for a sixth-place finish aboard his KX450F.

Tayla Jones - Rockstar/Husqvarna/Moose Racing/Shaw Wines Tayla Jones, not only won the Women's class at the opening round of the GNCC held in Florida, she also won the outright the morning's amateur race in her quest to retain the her title again in 2019.

Mackenzie Tricker - Tricker once again ensure it was a double Aussie podium, finishing in 3rd position in class and 8th outright.

Chad Reed - Chad finished 10th at Dayton aboard his JGR Factory Suzuki and continues to sit in 7th position in this year's Monster Energy Supercross championship.

Locky Kennedy - For the second week in a row Locky Kennedy tried his hand at qualifying for an AMA Supercross night show, this time at the tough Daytona round. Unfortunately for the South Aussie, he finished timed qualifying in 47th position, missing out on a night show appearance by just on 1.5 seconds.

The ZETA launch control assist is one of the easiest set up's you will find on the market to both install and use.

It is hard to imagine racing without the use of some form of Launch control button to help hold the front wheel down as you launch out of the gates in this day and age.

You only have to look down the line at any race, from pro level to the local club day to realise they are a must-have piece of equipment on your race bike, but if you are like me, the thought of fitting one of these "Hole Shot" devices is about as exciting as changing a tyre. Sure it is necessary, but a massive pain in the butt!

That was until the good people at Steve Cramer Products sent us a ZETA Launch Control device.

What is so good about the Zeta Launch Control you ask?
Putting the Zeta launch control to the test on the weekend.
Well, simply it bolts straight on to your bike with no need to line up or drill holes for the locking device that sits on the front fork cover, and that is because the Zeta launch control comes already fitted to a front fork guard!

Installing the device as you can see in the video below is as simple as unbolting your current fork leg protector, attaching the aluminium lock pin that is held in place with by two screws, then simply bolt on the new Zeta fork guard and bam you are done.

On race day, locking the device into position is merely a matter of holding the button as you compress the forks low enough to secure it in place.

We ran the Zeta launch control on our YZ450F last year, and have just moved it over to the 2019 Yamaha YZ250F and put it to use again on the weekend. Not only was it easy to install, it is plain and simple to use, has popped free heading into every first turn over the past 12 months.

For value for money and a super easy to install launch control device, it is hard to look past the ZETA launch control.

- A hinge style aluminum clamp body for easy installation.
- The front fork does not need to be removed to install this kit.
- Comes with clamp body and integral lower fork guard. One side only.
- Hinge pin is constructed of high strength Ti-6Al-4V titanium.
- Nylon sleeve prevents front fork scratches.
- Light weight 7075-T6 aluminum lock pin.
- The integration of the lower fork guards and lock pin unit creates a rigid light weight body.

We quickly racked up a few hours aboard the Yamaha YZ250F last weekend and can't wait to get some more ride time very soon
It has taken a couple of weeks, but we have finally broken in our 2019 Yamaha YZ250F with a tonne of seat time over the weekend just gone.

After spending about 30 minutes riding at a local track the week prior, we spent Thursday night moving a few parts over from the YZ450F to the new 250F, including our Tag T2 bars, ZETA / DRC pivot brake and clutch lever, Zeta shift lever, Zeta launch control unit as well as the number plates ready for our first race aboard the new bike.

With a two-day fun race event being held in memory of Tyler Lange at Renmark, it is fair to say our first race meeting for our Yamaha YZ250F was not only a lot of fun but provided plenty of bike time as we racked up just over two hours of seat time across the two days.

It actually proved to be a great event to get comfortable and set up on what will be our primary race bike for 2019. Starting Saturday with a teams race, we lined up with five teammates in a pony express style, MX race that had two riders from the team on the track at once, racing a single lap before tagging in the next rider.

It essentially meant around 10 one lap sprints over 40 minutes, with just under a two-minute break before going again on the Renmark track.

This was followed by a ten minute plus one lap race on Saturday afternoon. We backed up for another two ten minute plus one lap races back to back on Sunday morning, then another team race again on Sunday afternoon.

By the end of Sunday, with some help from Grant Beale from Bike Tune to dial in the ride height and sag, I was feeling more than comfortable on the YZ250F, and just about up to a speed I was happy with considering my limited ride time over the past few months.

By Sunday arvo I could not be happier with my decision to jump back on a 250F and am as excited as ever to go racing this year, and really am hanging to get out for another ride ASAP, but unfortunately it won't be this weekend, ill be to busy taking photos of some fast blokes!


While our YZ250F was the focus last weekend, Jayden also racked up a few hours aboard his YZ65 which is still going strong after being ridden week in week out since we picked it up in June last year.

For this weekend coming Jayden will be heading to ride the YZ65 Cup at Appin, the first of three events that will take place at this years MX Nationals for riders around the nation who own a Yamaha YZ65.

We were not sure if we would head to Appin to start with, Jayden is still somewhat new to the 65 class and is sure to be one of, if not the youngest on track this weekend, but with myself heading over to shoot the action for Fullnoise and another S.A rider needing to get a bike over, we decided a road trip was in store!

It should be a great event, and while Jayden will be aiming to finish each race, it will be great to watch some very fast riders on their YZ65's carve laps around the Appin track, the exact same track the pro riders will be racing on that same day.

With the likes of Jake Cannon, Kayd Kingsford, Phoenix Blanchette, Wil Carpenter, Koby Hantis and even Ben Townley's son Levi, along with some other super quick, talented riders, the crowd might just get a bit of a surprise at just how fast some of the young talents in this country is.

A WEEK IN MOTION - A collection of video's and films from the past week

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