July is a busy time of the year for everyone who works within the industry; contract talks for the following year are starting to heat up, and all riders and teams are right in the middle of their current title fight. So there is quite a lot of noteworthy news coming from the world of motocross at the moment. Of course, this MX Vice ‘Weekly Wrap Up’ column is the place to find out exactly what is going on out there, so let’s jump in.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered:
Officially, there has been just one contract signed for the 2014 season this week – it has been announced that Ken de Dycker has signed with the Red Bull KTM team for two more years. It was not too surprising to see him re-sign with them, as he has done exactly what is expected from their second rider. In my opinion, the Red Bull KTM squad does have the strongest two-man team in the premier division, which is evident by the results posted in previous weeks; I foresee much of the same next year. Now that Red Bull KTM have a second MX1 rider signed up, their lineup for next year is read to go, as Jeffrey Herlings, Jordi Tixier and Antonio Cairoli have already been re-signed.
Switching Things Up:
In the last seven days two guys have revealed that they will be switching to some new teams this weekend. Remember Gareth Swanepoel? I feel as though the South African has dropped off of the face of the earth since his moto win at Southwick, in 2011. However, he resurfaced in Australia this week; Gareth will be filling in on the Carlton Dry Honda squad, for the rest of the season. Swanepoel fit the criteria that the team was looking for well; they wanted a rider that had international experience. Appen will be hosting round six of the Australian Monster Energy MX Nationals this weekend; Swanepoel will make his debut there.
Klemen Gercar is currently in possession of the red plate in the MX3 series. But, he will be jumping over into the premier MX1 division this weekend, in Hyvinkää. The Slovenian will be aboard a 24MX (formerly LS) Honda on a one-race deal; the Belgian team has not had an easy year, as they have been hit hard with injuries and rider problems. Although Gercar is not a name that is well known, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him just outside of the top ten.
Injuries and Illness:
Joey Savatgy has opened a lot of eyes so far this year. Savatgy came into the year a bit under the radar, as not many people considered him to be one of the hottest rookies coming out of the amateur ranks. But, Joey has been impressive, as he has ran top five at times, and he has not looked out of his depth. However his season came to a halt at Southwick, as he broke his wrist in practice – he is now out indefinitely. Savatgy has a screw in his wrist at the moment, we should know more about when the “AMA Supercross Rookie of the Year” will be back on-track in the next two weeks.
Prior to Red Bud, Blake Wharton was having a turbulent time in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series. In the week following the final supercross round, Blake had a surgery on his nose – so he struggled in the first few rounds. Although his results began to pick up at round three, he started to struggle again at Budds Creek and Southwick. Why was this? Well no one knew at the time, but Wharton has now been diagnosed with a virus. It is treatable – but there is not a timeline on his return just yet.
Silly Season Silliness:
Suddenly, the MXGP silly season took off at Kegums, as many, many rumours were discussed at the race. Intriguingly, the hot topics were surrounding Tommy Searle, and Jose Butron. If I understand correctly, it seems as though Searle has three options: return to his current team again, or change to Monster Energy Yamaha or Husqvarna. Obviously, everyone has differing opinions on what he should do; but a decision probably won’t be made for a few weeks. Jose Butron is one of the hottest properties at the moment, as Jose has really broken through this year. It seems he has options everywhere, including Honda, Yamaha and his current team; at this point I’m sure a few others team are sniffing around also.
Some of the other rumours floating around are that Clement Desalle may be looking to leave the Suzuki that he has been aboard for a few years. Honestly I don’t see him moving over to another squad; maybe he is fishing around to get a little bidding war started? Rumours do suggest that Jeremy van Horebeek could be on his way to Husqvarna, also.
The Sour Side:
Unfortunately, the Maxxis Kawasaki by LPE squad has announced that this year will be their last. In their five years, the team has enjoyed a good amount of success. Obviously this year hasn’t gone the way that they expected; I wonder if this played a part in the decision to pull the plug? Undoubtedly, it is a huge blow to the paddock – as LPE Kawasaki is one of the only teams that have a professional setup, with a big rig etc. In regard to the outside sponsors, it is important to have more squads like this, rather than less, as it makes the sport look much more professional to outsiders. Anyway thanks to Steve James for his contribution to British Motocross in recent years.
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Twelve – Hyvinkää
It is always interesting when the FIM Motocross World Championship heads to a new venue, which is exactly what the riders and teams, will face in Finland this weekend. Although there is not too much information on the track at the moment, it seems as though it is quite sandy with a hardpack base similar to Kegums. With this in mind you can certainly base predictions from what we saw on Sunday – Toni Cairoli, and Jeffrey Herlings are obviously the favourites heading in alongside their Red Bull KTM teammates. I am very intrigued to see what Tommy Searle can do, he is deserving of some good luck after his misfortune in recent weeks and he is on his way up.
Coming Up Elsewhere in the World (Canada and Australia):
Okay, let’s start with the Monster Energy MX Nationals. Appin will host round six of the 2013 series on Sunday – the standings could be turned upside down. Whether Todd Waters will be on the line, or not remains to be seen, as he broke his collarbone not too long ago, even if he is out there he won’t be one-hundred-percent. So, Matt Moss and Billy Mackenzie could gain a large sum of points in the points chase. Luke Styke has a shot at stretching his series lead in the MX2 class, as Luke Clout (second in the series) is out with a broken femur, unfortunately.
The Canadian CMRC Nationals will head east this weekend, to the circuit of Gopher Dunes. It [the circuit] is deep sand, which will favour Brett Metcalfe. However, Brett does have a forty-four-point lead to his name, it is quite clear that he would have been the favourite wherever the series went to on Sunday. Interestingly Cole Thompson will be racing in his homeland for the rest of the championship, as a replacement for the injured Colton Facciotti on a Red Bull KTM. Bobby Kiniry, Tyler Medaglia and Teddy Maier are in a battle for second place, which is something to look out for, also.
Words by Lewis Phillips