MONSTER ENERGY MOTOCROSS NATIONALS
COOLUM RE-CAP TAKEN FROM DIRT ACTION ISSUE 186
PHOTOS BY DAMIEN ASHENHURST
Matt Moss was challenged by KTM’s Kirk Gibbs too late. He was already building to the ultimate goal when Gibbs started to climb the points ladder.
Matt is a machine. He’s barely taken any time off the bike in the past 18 months and he’s also struggled with a nagging wrist injury. That said, he didn’t win a lot of overalls — only three in fact — but he was able to keep the leader’s red plate for the entire year. His moto scores of 1/1/2 at Raymond Terrace for his second overall took him within reach of the title and stopping him was a tough ask, although his crash in moto one at Coolum had plenty of people working the calculators to see if that may have cost him the title. Nope; he remounted and made his way back through the pack so the maths was still in his favour.
Matt gets good starts and his early laps are excellent, whereas Gibbs hasn’t excelled off the line and tends to build speed later in the moto. That speed is insane and he rides so smooth but it’s still a job to catch up and pass.
Billy MacKenzie had his Yamaha up the front a heap during the year but suffered in the points chase via a couple of bad rounds. His qualifying was brilliant, though, and he was legitimately the third-fastest guy in Australia this year with a comfortable lead over Adam Monea. It’s a shame we won’t see Billy on a CDR Yamaha in 2015. Things didn’t seem to end on a happy note in their camp but he looked good on the YZ-F and finally got through an injury-free year.
The MX1 class developed slowly into a three-rider chase with a fourth just a little back but the rest dropping off through injury and poor form. A lot of fans we spoke to lamented the lack of true and consistent contenders throughout the year. What’s lost in that, though, is the fact that the overall wins swapped around a lot but mixed in were some DNFs and bad moto scores that removed a few guys from the mix in the end.
Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout won the MX2 title through consistency. He only won a single round outright (round one) but, just like Moss, he kept the leader’s red plate for the entire year while the rest of the field traded wins but also carded poor results.
Behind him, things were hectic. Luke Arbon, Caleb Ward and Hamish Harwood flew the two-stroke flag with Jay Wilson sitting strong amongst them on his YZ250F. Arbon went on a late-season charge and Ward carded some amazing rides at Conondale and Coolum, but Clout and Harwood banked the points when others couldn’t.
After a year of the vigorous two-versus-four-stroke debate it was refreshing to see that, if nothing else, the numbers of privateers were well up. It’s not the trucks that make the sport; it’s the riders. Fast or slow, it doesn’t matter, and every entry is as valuable as the next. It’s a valid debate that 250Fs shouldn’t be racing 250 two-strokes but it’s an inescapable fact that more riders are competing. More gear is being bought, more bikes and parts, and to the spectator the sport looks to be doing much better than just two years ago.
The MXD class was headed for a showdown between Yamaha’s Jed Beaton and Husqvarna’s Egan Mastin but the moto gods saw it differently. Jed broke his leg during a practice session and the title was Mastin’s if he just kept it all together. He did just that and had the championship in the bag by the end of the second of three motos at Coolum.
As was the case with Clout, Egan only won a single overall but he also dropped out of the top three only once all year. He picked up the leader’s red plate in round nine and turned his first year as a senior and his first ride on a two-stroke into a title for the Berry Sweet Husqvarna team, who sure needed a good story to end a difficult year. This is also the first title won by a 250 two-stroke in Australia since 2000.
For a big finish to the year, though, Nathan Crawford hammered everyone at Coolum. He was all over that track and nobody had anything for him over the three motos. The overall quality of the young guys coming up through MXD is outstanding and they’re going to shake up the MX2 class very soon.
MX1 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
MX2 CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
MXD CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS
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