Wow, is it August already? Quickly, the end of the season is creeping up on us; there are just a few weeks left before champions are crowned worldwide! However the last few months of the year also signalise the start of silly season, which is the current focus for most, within the industry. So, let’s jump into the news (and rumours) that have emerged in the last week.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries:
Unfortunately a few guys left the Lausitzring this past weekend in the back of an ambulance, as the purpose built circuit claimed some victims. Rui Goncalves has run into a lot of niggling injuries thus far this year, which has hindered his results. The Portuguese pilot crashed again on Sunday; he fractured the C6 in his back as a result. Although Rui has to wear a neck brace for the next two weeks, the outcome could have been much worse. Goncalves’ injury will be assessed again in two weeks time – it will then be decided when his back is ready to take the strain of two forty minute motos. Rui has stated that he would like to return before the end of the season, however there really is not a lot of time; so that seems unlikely.
It has been a difficult few weeks for the Ice1 Racing KTM squad – it has been announced that Xavier Boog will miss the remainder of the season now, after his crash in Finland. Clearly, the injury is much worse than expected, as two ligaments have been damaged – one lateral, and the anterior crucial. Xavier will have a brace on for six weeks, which obviously means that he cannot jump aboard his Ice1 Racing KTM 450f. Unfortunately Boog will now have to focus on next year. Interestingly, he still doesn’t have a deal done – it will be quite interesting to see if Ice1 will keep him onboard, as his season has been riddled with injuries.
Fortunately, Gautier Paulin only suffered a concussion as a result of his hard fall in moto one at the weekend. Honestly, his injury could have been a lot worse – just like Goncalves’. I was shocked that he escaped with just a concussion (like many others), as most feared the worst as soon as he hit the ground. But the concussion that Gautier suffered was quite severe, as a result Gautier will not contest the GP of the Czech Republic this weekend, which is a wise choice I believe – he really didn’t have a lot to gain from going there.
The MX1 class will be sparsely populated this weekend, as Max Nagl won’t be present either. Max has been diagnosed with the Epstein Barr virus – notorious in motocross. Nagl has been struggling with his health for a few weeks, so it was clear that something would come of it. It seems as though his case is only mild at the moment, but he has to rest to allow the immune system time to recover. Currently there is no timeline for his return, although presumably he will be absent from the following Belgian GP also.
Motocross des Nations Team Picks:
Max Nagl (MX1), Ken Roczen (MX2) and Dennis Ullrich (Open) will represent Germany at the Motocross des Nations this year, and will enter Teutschenthal as the reigning champions. At the Lausitzring, the German federation announced their squad for the event. Although most are probably shocked to not see Marcus Schiffer on the team, he is out with a wrist injury at the moment, so he would not be one-hundred-percent in time for the race. Dennis Ullrich is a formidable competitor though; he finished eighteenth overall in the MX1 class on Sunday, so he is more than capable of helping the team land on the podium, which is their goal.
Silly Season Silliness:
Intriguingly, there were a couple of silly season rumours floating around at the weekend; the most popular topics seemed to surround Tyla Rattray and Jeremy Van Horebeek. Currently it seems as though Tyla Rattray could be heading back to Europe next year – it is no secret that he has been in contact with a handful of teams over here. Rumours suggest that he has been talking to Ice1 Racing Husqvarna, for 2014, which would make sense, as he has a history with factory KTM in the MXGP series. If I had to guess I would say that Tyla is going to stay over in the USA, as that is where he is based now. But, silly season can chuck up some surprises.
It seems as though a few factory teams are hoping to sign Jeremy van Horebeek for the 2014 season; Jeremy has clearly been quite impressive this year. Originally he was linked with KRT and Husqvarna, it seems Monster Energy Yamaha are now pursuing his signature now also. I think that Monster Energy Yamaha would be a good fit for him; but you have to wonder who he would replace, Frossard or Roelants? Presumably Van Horebeek will sign a contract soon, but whom with remains to be seen.
Signed, Sealed and Delivered:
Undoubtedly Jose Butron has been the most popular free agent in the MX2 class for 2014, as there have been a few teams hoping to sign Butron, because he is a consistent contender for podiums. Despite the interest that others have shown, it does seem like he is going to stay at Silver Action KTM. But there will be a key difference with his program next year, as he will be on a factory machine (with Silver Action graphics). Obviously, Butron is deserving of a factory bike, but I do wonder whether he would be better off on a full factory team? Time will tell.
Glenn Coldenhoff is another rider that will be sticking with his current team in 2014; it seems as though the Dutchman will be back underneath the Standing Construct KTM awning. Glenn will hopefully transition to the factory squad in the year following this. I have said it a lot this year – Glenn is the most underrated MX2 guy, at the moment. I do believe that Coldenhoff is just a tick off of becoming a consistent podium contender; now that he has got his first overall podium out of the way, perhaps we will see this from him from this point onwards?
In more KTM news, Andrew Short has re-signed with the BTO Sports KTM team for 2014 and 2015, in a new two-year deal. Forrest Butler – the co-owner of the team – thinks that having Andrew onboard will be instrumental in maintaining their relationship with the KTM factory. It hasn’t yet been confirmed who his teammates will be, although you have to presume that Matt Goerke will make a return to the team – I would be surprised to see Goerke move onto pastures new.
X Games 19, Moto X Entrees:
Interestingly, the Moto-X event at the X Games will make a return for the men this weekend, after a brief hiatus of a few years. The Moto-X event wasn’t completely extinct, as there was a race for the women in recent years. Chad Reed is headlining the event; it is slightly peculiar to see a rider of his calibre racing an event such as this mid-season. Wil Hahn, Justin Brayton, Jason Lawrence, Josh Hansen and Josh Grant are among a few of the competitors. Of course, the track will be more similar to an arenacross than a supercross – I expect to see some hard racing in the men’s race particularly.
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Fourteen – Loket:
The FIM Motocross World Championship will head to the popular old-school circuit of Loket, in the Czech Republic, this weekend. It is going to be strange to see a world title locked up at Loket; rarely is a series won this early. Despite this Jeffrey Herlings will more than likely hoist the number one plate above his head this weekend. Of course, it is not definite that Herlings will get it done this weekend, but barring a DNF – it should happen. The MX1 title fight won’t be solved this weekend; but Antonio Cairoli will be looking to further assert his dominance. I am expecting to see another double moto victory from the Sicilian.
Red Bull Pro Nationals, Round Five – Canada Heights:
The Red Bull Pro Nationals will roll into the track that most call their favourite this weekend, as Canada Heights will host round five of the series. Kristian Whatley is very much in control of the MX1 class at the moment, as he has won every round (remarkably) and holds a thirty-seven-point lead over Milko Potisek, with Nicolas Aubin a further thirty-one points behind. I am looking forward to seeing Brad Anderson on a Buildbase Honda this weekend – it will be quite interesting to see if the switch has turned his season around. The MX2 class is actually quite close, as Steven Lenoir currently leads by just ten points over Neville Bradshaw.
Coming Up Elsewhere in the World (Canada):
The CMRC (Canadian) Nationals will head to the Riverglade MX Park this weekend, for round eight of the 2013 series. Interestingly, Brett Metcalfe hasn’t won the overall at the two most recent rounds, so I am sure that Metcalfe will want to end that brief losing streak on Sunday. But he really does not have to, as he is in control of the points. In fact Brett could potentially wrap up the MX1 title for Leading Edge Kawasaki this weekend, if everything goes his way. It isn’t surprising; the Australian has been the clear favourite since the start. The MX2 class has a tighter points chase; Austin Politelli has a five point lead over Josh Clark and Topher Ingalls is just fifteen points further back with two rounds remaining!
Words by Lewis Phillips