Actually, we are closer to being two weeks into the year than we are, but who is really counting now that we are already back racing for 2022!!
It has been a big first two weeks of action, especially on the international stage, with Dakar coming to a conclusion and the opening round of the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross providing some great entertainment.
By the time you are reading this, Dakar will be over for another year. Unless something extraordinary happens, Sam Sunderland should win his second Dakar and, in the process, give GasGas their first Dakar winners trophy, continuing their remarkable success since being taken over as part of the larger KTM Group.
While Sunderland will be remembered forever as the winner of this year’s event, Danilo Petrucci will also be remembered for what he was able to achieve, jumping from the MotoGP circuit and racing the Dakar as his first-ever Rally event.
But he is was in no way out there just making up the numbers ( Actually he sort of was after an 11-hour penalty in stage two), The Italian was able to achieve a remarkable feat and take a stage win, though it did come with a little help from fellow KTM rider and Australia’s favorite rally son Toby Price, taking a penalty on the same stage, relegating the Aussie from the stage win and promoting Petrucci to the top step for the day.
For the two big-name Australian’s in the race, it was another great showing, though both suffered a little bad luck along the way in this challenging event.
Daniel Sanders, in just his second Dakar, started the best way possible, winning the prologue and also snaring a stage win in the opening week of the race. If it were not for a couple of time, penalties would have entered the second week leading the way.
As it was, heading into the back half of the race, Sanders was within 5 minutes of the leader and sitting in prime position to have a run at winning this year’s race, until disaster struck on the road to the start of the stage where the Aussie crashed, breaking his arm and putting an end to his race.
For Toby Price winning stage 10 came at a cost, with the former Dakar winner leading the field out on the penultimate stage, finishing the day 52 minutes behind the stage winner, and with a 6-minute penalty, was relegated back down to 10th in the standings.
A1 Didn’t Disappoint.
How good was it to see the opening round of the 2022 Monster Energy Supercross return to Anaheim?
Ken Roczen did what he does best, rocketing out of the gate, getting an early lead with HRC teammate Chase Sexton; behind him until Sexton went down. Roczen then controlled his lead to take a comfortable and controlled win.
Behind Roczen, Cooper Webb did what Webb does, quickly recovering from a mid-pack start, rode solid early, then as the track broke down, he started putting in the best laps times, and before you knew it had climbed to second place to finish behind Ken.
Justin Barcia was back on the box at the opener but had to settle for the third step instead of the top step he has stood on the past three years.
Marvin Musquin might have had the most surprising result, though not too surprising on a track that broke down and became technical.
Most of the attention Musquin received after the race focused on his take out of Malcolm Stewart ( No surprise, Malcolm was fastest in qualifying), and the audio where he tells Malcolm he should have braked is a little mind-blowing, to say the least. Still, Marv was strong; he moved forward, made aggressive passes, and went toe to toe with Sexton on the final two laps, with the duo swapping positions a few times with Marv coming out on top muscling his way to 4th spot.
That is a 4th place finish after going down himself when he banked off Malcolm’s front wheel.
Sexton, Sextoned… Fast all day was running up front then crashed, then crashed again to finish 5th.
Tomac was fast and consistent early in the season, no Surprise there; Jason Anderson was quick, moving forward, then caught up with and went down while in an aggressive battle.
It was a bit of a strange opening in the fact that it didn’t really throw up any great surprises; the results and the way the main event in the 450 class played out was pretty much what you would expect to see three to four rounds into the series.
Not that there was anything wrong with the way Anderson and Barcia raced each other, but from the moment Anderson stuck it up the inside of Barcia and rubbed elbows in the near on 360-degree corner leading up to the whoops, you just knew it was going to end with one of them on the ground.
Probably the only other real standout ride from the entire field that you could say was a little bit unexpected was Joey Savatgy’s 8th place finish in the main. He qualified with 16th gate pick, rounded the opening lap in 12th, then worked his way forward; it was an impressive showing for sure.
The 250 West Class was a little less lackluster, after Colt Nichols crashed out heavily in his heat and with Swoll doing likewise; it was another two big names on the West out of action before the season started.
With Nichols out, there was really no surprise that Christian Craig won, running away. Really his only challenge this year will come from Michale Mosiman, who has the outright pace to run with Craig, but not the consistency, and Australia’s Hunter Lawrence, who looked to have found his groove in the second half of the main event. Hunter was a bit of Craig’s pace in qualifying, if he can get up to the outright speed early at each round, he might be the man to challenge for the title.
The likes of Garrett Hammaker, Seth Marchbanks, and Jo Shimoda will be good, but I can’t see them having the consistent or outright speed of Craig, Lawrence, or Mosiman.
I think the best thing about the West this year will be watching Vince Friese take the holeshot and hang on upfront for as long as he can; his starts and consistency could see him in with a shot of a season podium.
Bring on round 2 in Oakland.
Back On The Local Front.
Things are about to kick off this weekend on the local front, with the first of the big regional events for 2022 taking place at Coffs Harbour in N.S.W.
The annual Coffs Harbour stadium cross has become the must-attend first event of the Australian racing year, with racers flocking from all over the country, including some of our top Pro riders, to kick off their season of racing.
It is fair to say over the past few days, our Instagram feed has been swamped with coaches and riders at specialised stadiumcross Schools in the lead-up to the race, and with practice and qualifying to happen on Friday (later tonight), there are plenty of posts popping up trackside.
It looks as though a number of the Yamaha junior racing team will be in attendance, along with names of the likes of Luke Clout and Aaron Tanti aboard their CDR Yamahas, Dean Ferris for his second race aboard his Honda CRF450, and both the Moss brothers of Matt and Jake in action.
The race will also act as a good hit-out for the opening round of the Australian Arenacross series, which kicks off in two weeks at Baccus Marsh in Victoria; entries are still open but filling fast, so if you are planning on racing or need to buy a ticket to watch some great racing live head over to the Australian Areancross website, and for those entering you can even purchase a Marc Jones photography package to capture all those unforgettable moments.
It has been another busy week for Fullnoise.com.au. The boss man has been hard at work again this week, keeping up with each and every stage of the Dakar Rally; it’s fair to say he won’t be too disappointed to see the end of this year’s event.
David Hogan’s first edition of THE EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT went live last Friday. After a hectic opening round of racing with quite a few injuries sustained, he has been busy all week putting the second installment for the year together, which is well worth a read, and certainly worth checking out before putting in your PulpMX fantasy team!
Also, please keep a lookout for another product review shortly from David, a nice little set of Boots that he has spent some time breaking in.
For myself, it has been fun getting back into the flow of typing, from last week’s season-opening article, to the supercross report Sunday afternoon, a product comparison on a couple of Fly Racing Roost protectors, and now this article. It’s been great to find some time to swing off the keyboard again.
ON THE PERSONAL FRONT
While most of the focus last weekend was on the opening round of Supercross, I still managed to find time to get the boy out for a little training and practice on both the YZ65 and YZ85.
We spent Saturday morning at a friend’s house along with five other junior riders who are all starting to get their season underway. The Track was Ryder Woodrow’s personal track, and having just been named on the Yamaha Australia Junior team again for 2022, he had two brand new 2022 YZ85’s, which gave us a chance to look them over the first hand.
It was also great to see a former pro-level racer and former junior front runner with his two sons out on track, with Shaun Williamson spending the morning out being part of the newest generation of 50’s dad in South Aus.
For us, it was a chance for Jayden to jump back on board his YZ65 for the first time since November last year; the last time he rode the 65 ended with a crash and pile up 5 meters out of the starting gate. Having grown some more and being used to seeing him on the 85 of late, he looked a little awkward on the smaller bike, but by Sunday morning, for the second straight day of riding, he was looking back at home and probably the best I have seen him ride the 65.
Unfortunately, the second day was cut a little short after some damage from the crash mentioned above reared its ugly head. The underside of the throttle housing had a small crack in it, and internally, it was even more damaged with the throttle cable being caught up and slowly deteriorating with every throttle movement.
Thankfully another current Junior Yamaha Aus team rider in Wil Carpenter still has his state title-winning bike on hand, and they have been kind enough to lend us some parts to get through this upcoming weekend, while the new parts we have ordered through Pitmans Motorcycles come in.
The team over at Moto Factory, as always, went to work and got not only the YZ65 fixed and ready to go for this weekend’s Shane Metcalfe Rev Rookies school at MRA but also completed a full top end rebuild on the YZ85 ready for some early season racing and practice.
As for myself, I am yet to throw a leg over a bike in 2022; Saturday morning might be the day it finally happens; it’s either that or asleep in! I really should ride.
We will end this week and head into the weekend with a big decision on our minds, do we side with the Council and hope for an invite to the Cook Out from the Vantalord, or go down the dark path and side with the Rouges.
This is one TikTok Beef we want to be on the right side of!