Well, we are nearing the end; the motocross season is almost over. But before that, we have the British GP to get through this weekend! Obviously the MXGP Festival is one of the largest events on the global motocross calendar; so a lot of the news is based on this weekend. Shall we jump in, and take a look at what has gone on in our sport in the past seven days?
2014 Team Moves Confirmed:
At the Belgian GP this past weekend, the CLS Kawasaki team announced their lineup for next year. Unsurprisingly, Tommy Searle (MX1), Alessandro Lupino and Arnaud Tonus will stay with the squad again. However, the team will welcome Dylan Ferrandis aboard, which shocked me a little bit. Searle was in discussion with a few teams again, including Yamaha and Husqvarna. However, he elected to stick with what he knows, beneath the CLS Kawasaki team. It sounds as though Tommy is going to have some better equipment next year, which will only help his results.
It was a foregone conclusion that both Alessandro Lupino and Arnaud Tonus would return to the CLS Kawasaki team next year, as both signed a two-year contract when they agreed their deal last year. However, the French based team clearly feels like they need to add something to their squad, as they have decided to draft Dylan Ferrandis in from Bud Kawasaki. Whether the move will drastically alter Ferrandis’ results remains to be seen; presumably the bike will be slightly more competitive.
It has been known for a while that Glenn Coldenhoff would be sticking with his current team in 2014. However, it seems as though the squad will become Standing Construct Suzuki next year, interestingly. Rumours suggest that Julien Lieber will be on the team, which makes me wonder what the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Europe team will be doing next year, as there has not been a lot of talk about the squad.
In more CLS Kawasaki news, Arnaud Tonus looks set to make a return to racing this weekend at the British GP. Arnaud has been missing all year, as he has struggled with a shoulder injury for a large portion of the year. Tonus has only been back on the bike for a handful of weeks, I (and many others) am surprised that he is making a return so early. Presumably he feels a lot of pressure to complete a race for his team. I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see Tonus go DNF-DNF on Sunday, as I find it quite hard to believe the Swiss pilot is in a position to finish a pair of forty-minute motos.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries:
Jeffrey Herlings has had many close calls this year, as he has had a handful of vicious falls. One of those falls finally bit him on the Saturday at Bastogne – he crashed whilst chasing after Ferris in the qualifying heat. Initially it seemed as though he had just dislocated his shoulder, which he popped in himself whilst trackside. However, an MRI on Tuesday has revealed that he has a broken shoulder blade, which will rule him out for the remainder of the year. So Herlings is going to miss the final two GPs, as well as the MXoN, unfortunately. But the door is open for another MX2 rider to grab their first GP win in the coming weeks.
Yoshimura Suzuki have announced that James Stewart will miss Lake Elsinore on Saturday as a result of his neck/back injury from Utah this past weekend. The American has been dealing with these issues since the week prior to Unadilla – so he has been pushing through the pain barrier for a while now. In the first moto at the Miller Motorsports Park, James over–jumped one of the huge jumps, and further aggravated the problem. Obviously, this is still giving him some grief, hence why he will not be at the final round this weekend.
The Wildcards Run Wild:
With the FIM Motocross World Championship heading to Matterley Basin, for round sixteen, this weekend, a number of high profile riders have entered the race as wildcards. In the MX1 class, Tony Craig, Gert Krestinov, Alex Snow and Marc de Reuver will take to the track for the first time this season. Graeme Irwin, Steven Lenoir, James Cottrell, and Nathan Watson are a handful of the wildcards entered for the MX2 class, also. In MX3, James Dodd, Shane Carless, Ashley Wilde, Jamie Skuse, Adam Chatfield are all down on the entry list. Obviously there are a lot of British riders entered in the youth classes, also – you will have plenty of opportunities to wave that Union Jack this weekend!
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Sixteen – Matterley Basin:
It is finally here! The British GP is just around the corner, and we couldn’t be happier! Again, the MXGP Festival will be held at Matterley Basin for the second consecutive year. Although last year’s event will be hard to beat – the fact that Antonio Cairoli will lock up the MX1 title on Sunday is worth the ticket price alone! Antonio has never lost a moto at Matterley Basin, so it is clearly a track that suits his style. However I believe that the circuit would suit French riders also, so I expect to see guys like Paulin, Charlier and Ferrandis up front in their classes over the weekend. With the absence of Herlings, there is a high possibility that we will see a first time GP winner again this weekend – unless Ferris can win again, which is a possibility.
Obviously, there will be many different classes throughout the four-day festival including the Veterans, the Women, EMX125, EMX250, EMX150 EMX65, EMX85, MX3 and Amateurs. So it is definitely worth the ticket costs! If you read our interview with SD Events on Tuesday, you will know that a lot of improvements have been made (on and off the track) to ensure that it is a great experience for the fans!
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, Round Twelve – Lake Elsinore:
Despite initial rumours that the event would not go ahead, the twelfth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series will run at Lake Elsinore on Saturday. With both championships already locked up, the last round won’t have the same interest level, as it would if the titles were yet to be decided. But, this will be the last chance to see these riders in action for a while, so it is worth tuning in just to get your moto fix! Ryan Villopoto and Eli Tomac are on win streaks, at the moment, so they will surely be looking to end their season in the best way possible.
Coming Up Elsewhere in the World (Australia):
There are now just two rounds remaining in the Australian Monster Energy MX Nationals, as round nine (Toowoomba) will be held on Sunday. In the Pro Open class, the fight for the title is still wide open, as Matt Moss has an eleven-point lead over early favourite Todd Waters. It is still too close to call, as a lot could go on in the final two rounds. However, judging by their current form, Moss seems to be the favourite. In the Pro Lites division, Luke Styke is almost a guaranteed champion, as he has a huge lead of more than a one hundred points over second place, Kale Makeham.
Words by Lewis Phillips