So, here we are, the off-season! With the 2013 season in the rear-view mirror, most riders are finalising their deals for 2014. There has been a lot of news this week, so this edition of the MX Vice ‘Weekly Wrap Up’ is packed with content!
Signed, Sealed and Delivered:
It really is not too surprising to see that a large amount of British teams are now revealing their line-up for next year, seeing as the season concluded last weekend. On Monday, Steven Clarke revealed via Instagram that he would be joining the Dyer and Butler KTM squad in 2014. In fact, he will already be sporting the graphics of his new team this weekend at the Weston Beach Race. I was slightly surprised to see that he was not going to stay with HM Plant KTM UK. But, Dyer and Butler will surely be a good home for him – they should be able to provide him with everything that he needs to contend for a title.
Shane Carless has really had a breakthrough year, undoubtedly, as he acquired his first overall podium in the Maxxis British Championship (at Milton Park), and he also won a moto at the British round of the MX3 World Championship. So, because of his success, the Oakleaf Kawasaki team decided to offer him a full-time, professional contract for 2014! Shane had to complete forty-hours a week as a carpenter this year, which obviously did not give him a lot of time to practice mid-week. So, he will be able to focus all of his energy on his racing next year – presumably his results will drastically improve, as a result of this. Interestingly, Oakleaf Kawasaki are going to become the official Kawasaki UK MX1 team next year, which will undoubtedly help him to improve, also.
Unfortunately, there was no longer any room for Alex Snow beneath the Oakleaf Kawasaki tent. So, he has signed a deal with Phoenix Tools Honda (to ride alongside Luke Hawkins) for the 2014 season. I do not think that his equipment will be any better than what he had this year, to be honest. However, Hawkins has shown that the bike is competitive, as he has had a handful of great starts (and finishes) throughout the year. Alex actually had a great performance at Farleigh – I expect to see more of that, if he can get through the winter injury-free.
Although it was originally announced that the LPE Kawasaki squad were going to stop racing at the end of this year, it now seems as though they will continue on in 2014. But whether they will be present with the same kind of setup remains to be seen. Evidently, they are cutting back a little bit, as they have only announced Gert Krestinov as a rider for next year. Gert is going to be an asset to the team, I believe; he has already started his time with them in the best way possible, as he landed on the podium as a guest rider for the team at Farleigh Castle.
Following his impressive rides this summer; it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Malcolm Stewart would sign with the Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda team for 2014. However, the deal was only finalised this week. Although most would love to see Stewart get on a 450f full-time, the team does not complete the East Coast portion of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. So, Malcolm will be taking part in the 250SX West Coast series (alongside his teammates, Cole Seely, Jessy Nelson and Shane McElrath) before jumping on a 450f in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross next summer.
Ken Roczen and Aldon Baker Partner Up:
It seems as though the common consensus from motocross fans worldwide is that Aldon Baker is the greatest trainer in the sport. It isn’t too surprising, as he has helped Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto reach their full potential in recent years. So, because of his impressive list of clients, a lot of riders attempt to get him in their corner each year. Ken Roczen announced this week that he has achieved this, as he will begin working with Baker from this point onwards. I am quite interested to see how this will work, as Aldon is based in Florida, so that he can work with both Villopoto and Adam Cianciarulo. Perhaps Ken will move to Florida, and get on the same program as those two guys?
The Weston Beach Race:
The Weston Beach Race has become a staple on the British motocross calendar in recent years, as the popular event (that resembles more of an enduro) has attracted some of the world’s greatest riders. Unfortunately, both Jeffrey Herlings and David Knight will not be contesting the event this year, but there is still some great homegrown talent ready to go! Steven Clarke, Tom Church and Josh Waterman are probably the biggest names, but there are hundreds of other riders signed up, and that is what makes the event great! If you have never witnessed the action, I would recommend getting down there at some point this weekend, as there is a lot going on.
Terex Australian Supercross, Round Three – Mount Gambler:
In my opinion, the Terex Australian Supercross series is a great championship, and one that should probably get more attention. The opening two rounds took place almost a month ago, so a lot could have changed since then. It is undoubted that Matt Moss is the favourite for the title at the moment, as he is undefeated thus far. However, Brett Metcalfe will be present this weekend, so the race for the win should be hotly contested. The Pro Lites class will be wide open, also, as both Luke Styke and Gavin Faith are tied at the top of the series standings at the moment.
Words by Lewis Phillips
Image courtesy of Elliot Spencer