So, with the hype building rapidly, it seems the bench racing has been kicked into overdrive. But, it seems as though one team is not being talked about as much as you would expect in the lead-up to the Motocross des Nations (MXdN). Obviously, most have been talking about the USA, Belgium and Germany, as you expect. However team Australia is going in under the radar – they could do some serious damage, in my opinion.
Why have Australia not been talked about? Well they will not have their greatest rider, Chad Reed. So, immediately fans presume they won’t be a podium threat without him. However, I would not be surprised at all to see them stood on the box, at the end of the weekend. Brett Metcalfe (MX1), Dean Ferris (MX2), and Todd Waters (Open) will represent the Aussies; they are a strong squad on paper, evidently.
In his rare American Motocross rides this year, Brett Metcalfe has shown that he has not lost any of his speed, hence why he is a strong rider to lead the Australians into Teutschenthal. In all honesty, I am skeptical about how strong his machinery will be. Recently, Metcalfe posted a picture of some parts that were being shipped over for the race. So it doesn’t look like they are lending him a factory-supported machine, which surely would have helped his cause. It is going to be interesting to see how he fares after a year in Canada, as Brett hasn’t had a lot of time to compare himself against some of his rivals in the AMA series.
Australia has an impressive list of riders, as they have the 2013 Canadian National champion (Brett Metcalfe) and a GP winner (Dean Ferris). Ferris has not represented his nation before, so the experience will be new to him. However, the fact that he now has a year’s experience in the MXGP series will aid him I feel, as the whole weekend is not too dissimilar to a normal round of the FIM Motocross World Championship. Admittedly, the MX2 class at the MXdN is going to be more stacked than it usually is in MXGP – but, I still think that he can finish inside of the top five in the individual classification.
Todd Waters is the unknown quantity on the Australian Motocross des Nations squad. But, I am actually quite excited to see how Todd will fare, as he is certainly capable of great things. In 2012, Waters finished eighth overall in the Open class individual classification, which is by no means a lackluster finish. Obviously, the deep sands of Lommel were foreign to Todd. So I think that he will be much closer to the front of the pack on Sunday; he is fast enough to end up inside the five individually.
You might be wondering why Todd Waters was chosen over the 2013 Australian National champion, Matt Moss? Well, Matt actually didn’t want to go; he chose to focus on the Terex Australian Supercross Championship, which conflicts with the MXdN. I believe that Waters is the faster rider, anyway, as he had a commanding lead early in the season. In fact, you could argue that Todd only lost the title, because of a concussion suffered, mid-season. However, I digress, what I’m getting at here is that Australia has a very strong squad – they shouldn’t be overlooked in the pre-race bench racing, as they may just surprise you.
Words by Lewis Phillips