Well, here we are again. In the past seven days, there has not been too much news regarding team moves for 2014, which is surprising. Usually the news is coming in thick and fast at this time of year, as this news begins to filter through. However, seeing as there is one round of the FIM Motocross World Championship remaining still, I expect more announcements to come in in the coming days. However, although news regarding team moves has been quite slow, there have been some very surprising announcements this week.
TwoTwo Motorsports Torment Us:
It is hard for a rider to master social media, it seems. But, some have mastered it; Chad Reed is seemingly a leader in that department – the Australian has us all glued to his various social media accounts. In the coming days, Chad will reveal the machine that he will ride next year, which is obviously big news in the world of motocross. It seemed like he was going to end up on the RCH Suzuki team last week. However Reed declined that offer and elected to keep his TwoTwo Motorsports dream alive.
Chad Reed now has to decide on the machine that he will pilot next year, which isn’t an easy choice. Chad has revealed that he will not be on a Yamaha and a Honda appears to be out of the equation, also. I would be surprised to see Suzuki provide him with support for his team, as it seems as though they do not have the budget for it. So, with that in mind, Kawasaki and KTM seem to be his only options. Chad has suggested that he could end up on a 2012 Honda also. But, in my opinion that won’t happen – I think that he is chucking fuel in the fire.
Intriguingly Chad Reed has also posted pictures of a white bike with what seems to be a KTM front fender, hinting that he is almost certain that his bike with be white in 2014. Perhaps he could be on a Husqvarna next year? Really, it seems like everything is an option. But, there is one thing that is certain – he will be on his own team, TwoTwo Motorsports.
Champions Crowned Worldwide:
The Monster Energy MX Nationals (Australian Motocross Championship) concluded this past weekend, which meant that a champion was crowned – Matt Moss clinched the MX1 title at Coolum, on Sunday. The Motul Pirelli Suzuki pilot has been in a season long battle with Todd Waters, which he eventually won after finishing in third overall at the final round following a calculated ride to secure a first and a ninth in the two motos. Despite winning the title, Matt has decided to not take part in the Motocross des Nations, as he would rather focus on their domestic supercross series, which begins in one week. Obviously, it was a tough decision for him – it is unfortunate that the two clash.
Just a few days after it was announced that he would be staying with the MBO Sport Yamaha team next year, Kristian Whatley went out and captured the Red Bull Pro Nationals MX1 title at Hawkstone Park. It is very impressive that Whatley is currently undefeated, when it comes to overall victories in the Red Bull Pro Nationals. Clearly he is deserving of the championship. Kristian clinched the title one round early, so at Culham in two weeks time he will be looking to end the season with another win, to conclude a great campaign for him and the squad. Of course, Whatley has to capture the MX1 title in the Maxxis British Championship on October 6th, also, which has to be the greatest goal for him.
Switching It Up:
Weston Peick has been trying to lockdown a ride on a top-level team in the USA for quite a while now. Unfortunately, Weston has had no luck, as he has had to go the privateer route most years. But, it was announced just a few days ago that he will be on a respected team in the coming weeks – it just is not the type of deal that most expected. Peick has spent a lot of time in Australia recently, so perhaps it should not be too surprising to see that he will be on a Carlton Dry Honda throughout the six round Australian Supercross Championship. Weston will be hoping to claim the Pro Open title over there, however he will face some stiff competition.
Christian Craig has decided to switch up his program massively; he announced last night that he has retired from professional racing, effective immediately. I was shocked by the news, to be honest, as you don’t expect a rider as young as him to make an announcement like this so early on in his career. Christian mentioned that injuries were the reason for this – he has had to deal with quite a few, which has left him on the sidelines most times. It is not known what he will do with his life next, but we wish him good luck.
Surprisingly Rui Goncalves has fully recovered from the fractured C6 that he sustained at the German GP, five weeks ago. I honestly didn’t think that Rui going to be healthy enough to return by the end of the year, but I was wrong, evidently. Obviously, Lierop is not the easiest place to return. However, Goncalves has always been strong in the sand, and he didn’t really have a lot of choice, as he is still looking for a ride for 2014. The Portuguese pilot has put in a lot of laps on the sand, recently; Goncalves should be well equipped for his return. At Lierop, Ludde Soderberg will continue on with the team as a replacement rider for Xavier Boog.
Injuries, Injuries, Injures:
Shane Carless has had an amazing year, as he has set a couple of personal bests thus far. But all of that momentum came screeching to a halt at Hawkstone Park this past weekend, as he fell after colliding with Bryan Mackenzie in the first corner. Carless dislocated his shoulder in turn one, and required local anesthetic to put it back in. The Oakleaf Kawasaki pilot said that he was going to find out what was going on with the shoulder towards the end of this week, so we should know more in the coming days. Shane has a little bit of time to rest up before he has to be behind the gate again – hopefully the problem is not too major.
2014 Team Moves Confirmed:
It was well known that Glenn Coldenhoff would be on a Rockstar Energy Suzuki in 2014 – the switch has been rumoured for a few weeks now. However, it was only announced yesterday that the move was one-hundred-percent confirmed. Glenn will be beneath the awning alongside Julien Lieber and Jeremy Seewer – two formidable competitors. The Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe effort is set to undergo revised organisation for 2014; it seems as though the change is for the better. The equipment beneath the Dutchman should be competitive, as the team will enjoy increased co-operation with GRP (Geboers Racing Development).
Luke Hawkins clearly gels with his Phoenix Tools Honda, and the guys on the team. So, it isn’t really surprising to see that he has re-signed with them for next year, as they have seemingly established a solid base to work off of. It seems as though the Phoenix Tools Honda team are hoping to sign another top rider in the coming weeks – they should have a formidable squad, next year. Hawkins has enjoyed some success thus far this season, as he is leading the Expert Open class in the Phoenix Tools Premier Championship.
The End of the British Masters:
Sadly, Ken Winstanley announced on Wednesday that the popular British Masters series has reached the end of the line, following thirteen years of providing the riders (and fans) with a great, competitive championship. In the press release, Winstanley stated that the reason for this decision was that he has elected to focus on family, and other businesses. So is the door now open for another group of people to run the series, or something quite similar? Maybe. Some have mentioned that this could prompt the Maxxis British Championship series to add a few more rounds next year, which could be interesting. However one thing is certain – the sport has lost a solid series in the British Masters, and the British motocross will be worse off without it.
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Seventeen – Lierop
Lierop is notoriously known for being an extremely deep sand circuit. So, the FIM Motocross World Championship finale could be the greatest test for the riders, interestingly. Obviously all of the riders that are based around Belgium and Holland will have an advantage at Lierop – they will have a lot more knowledge, and practice, on this type of surface. It has been confirmed that Jeffrey Herlings will not race Lierop, as his shoulder is too painful, still. With that in mind, Glenn Coldenhoff has to be the favourite heading into his home GP. I expect Jake Nicholls to be strong, also, as he is very capable on the sand, and he has momentum on his side.
In MX1, Antonio Cairoli is the undoubted favourite, as the sand is his favourite track surface. But, following Matterley Basin, the Sicilian announced that he would have a surprise for fans at Lierop. Whether this ‘surprise’ will hinder him in the race for the win or not remains to be seen. Clement Desalle should be strong, also, as he is on a three-race win streak currently. It is well known Clement he does not enjoy the sand as much as hard-pack – so I doubt that he will be as strong as he has been. I doubt that anyone else will appear in the fight for the race for the win. Perhaps Ken de Dycker could get in there.
Words by Lewis Phillips