Motocross

Strong Husqvarna squad primed and ready for Motul MX Nationals opener

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With a long off-season and pre-season disappearing over the horizon, Husqvarna Australia‰Ûªs factory and factory support riders are primed and pumped for the fireworks to begin as this year‰Ûªs MX Nationals begins at Wonthaggi in Victoria on Sunday.

The headline act for the oldest name in dirt bike racing is SD3‰Ûªs Brett Metcalfe ‰ÛÒ the highly decorated international journeyman who is back in Australian for his first full season since 2001 aboard the team‰Ûªs Husqvarna FC450.

The South Australian-born 32-year-old admits he‰Ûªs on a bit of a short lead up preparation-wise, but you can bet that the sport‰Ûªs highest-profile figures know not to count the most experienced guy on the line out of the running for this year‰Ûªs MX1 championship in any way.

‰ÛÏBeing back for the whole championship has got me excited more than anything," Metcalfe enthused. "It has been like 8 or 9 months since I have been behind a gate. Even though I have been doing this a long time you still get the first round jitters. A big part of this one is learning our setup and seeing where we‰Ûªre at, because it is all new.

"The Husqvarna this year is an awesome bike again but it just takes time to learn and develop a few things," Metcalfe continued, "A couple of top-fives this weekend would be good, if I can be on the podium, really good and if I can pull off a win that will be excellent. But we won‰Ûªt know until we get out there alongside our competition and see how the bike performs.

"My first full season out here since 2001 is the most exciting part. Last year was a pretty last minute decision to ride the first four rounds so this year it will be good to progress throughout the season. We have data from last year that will put us in a good place automatically and we can go from there. It would be quite a challenge to find a more competitive season here in Australia than this one is going to be in the 450 class. That alone is going to make this series great for everybody," Metcalfe concluded.
Zach Small will join Brett Metcalfe in the MX1 class
Metcalfe will share the premier class gate with two other factory-backed Husqvarna riders; Mega Motorcycles‰Ûª Zak Small and Nowra Motorcycles‰Ûª Kurt Gow, who have both banked on the lightweight verve of the Husqvarna FC350 to give them a leg-up as they try to mix it with the big boys.

"It is going to be a massive stepping stone but I have had a really good off-season," Small explained. "I have been training heaps so I feel like I can handle the longer motos. I am not going to be up there going for a championship but I have improved heaps since last year and I will only be getting better each round.

"My 350 is awesome," Small continued, "I have only ridden my race bike a couple of times but I definitely think it‰Ûªs the best weapon for the job. It is hard to explain, it‰Ûªs so light and the power just suits my riding style. You got the best of both worlds where if you want to rev the thing you can, or you can tractor it like a 450. It‰Ûªs good in the sand, or it‰Ûªs good in the hard pack because you can use it either way.‰Û
South Australian Luke Arbon has dropped back down to the MX1 class for 2017
In MX2, SD3 Husqvarna‰Ûªs Luke Arbon and Synep Racing‰Ûªs Dylan Wills are both coming back off injuries of varying severity as they attempt to build back into their rightful career trajectories, and while both are prepared for the possibility of a steady start, it‰Ûªs certain they‰Ûªll both take the ball up hard in MX2 aboard their Husqvarna FC250 machines, later, if not sooner.

"I feel good, I‰Ûªve been doing my thing, riding and training and getting the body ready," Arbon expressed. "It‰Ûªs been good to be back to normal and back to training and actually feeling like I‰Ûªm getting stronger. I‰Ûªm confident with where my body‰Ûªs at and just excited to see where I‰Ûªm at.

"With the Lites class it‰Ûªs hard to predict ‰ÛÒ on the one hand some people have moved out, but there‰Ûªs always young kids coming through with no fear who just twist the throttle," Arbon continued, "You never know what to expect, so I‰Ûªll just go out and find out. I raced at Wonthaggi a few years back and I like it. It‰Ûªs hard packed in sections, soft in sections and it gets pretty rough. I‰Ûªm looking forward to it.‰Û
Dylan Wills will be Husqvarna's second MX2 rider
Dylan Wills has had a tough off-season with injury and is going into the season a little under prepared.

"My off-season and pre-season were mentally very tough. I broke my scaphoid which as anyone in the industry knows it‰Ûªs pretty hard to deal with because the recovery time is difficult and it can go either way," Wills explained. "Luckily it healed fine but it was just getting the feel that was hard for me and put a halt to my riding so I am a little bit behind the eight ball. But I think these last couple of rides I was really starting to break through to the form I was showing in the supercross season, and I have a good set up with everyone around me. We‰Ûªre coming in maybe a little bit underdone but I don‰Ûªt think that is going to be a bad thing in the long run. I will ride my way into the championship, where as last year I was peaked before round one and I went downhill from there.‰Û
In MXD Kaleb Barham will be a force to be reckoned with on the SD3/Full Throttle Husqvarna FC250,
In MXD Kaleb Barham will be a force to be reckoned with on the SD3/Full Throttle Husqvarna FC250, and he‰Ûªll lead a quartet of hyperactive throttle twisters that includes Riley Dukes (R&D Husqvarna), Jy Roberts (Robertson‰Ûªs MC Dubbo) and Justin Hart (MPE) as they attempt to establish themselves in the development class.

"I‰Ûªve had an awesome pre-season, I got to work with Guy Andrews full time so the fitness is incredible, plus I spent a whole bunch of time with Dean, so I‰Ûªve got two of the best people in my corner and the results showing already," Barham said.

"I was fortunate enough to go over to New Zealand and do the four rounds of the championship which took my off-season to another level. I feel unreal going into round one knowing that I have already raced at that intensity and got all the pre-season cobwebs out. So, I am looking forward to going out there this weekend. I‰Ûªll take the championship race by race and corner by corner and that result should show by the end of the season. Having two years on the same bike now, MPE have got my suspension sorted and my new race engine is unbelievable. I am ready to get on the gate and twist the throttle.‰Û

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