WHAT HAVE WE LEARNT SO FAR IN 2014?

Words Scott Bishop

OK, we’re barely two months into the New Year but there are plenty of things going on in the racing world. The AMA SX series is already reaching the halfway mark, the GPs are about to fire up and the MX Nats just got underway here in Australia, so let’s take a look at the knowledge already gained.

NO CRYING ON TV

Crying should be saved for a rom-com with your new girlfriend, a small animal that got wiped out by a reckless driver and some TV weddings (see Neighbours, Home And Away) — not in a TV interview after winning a heat race or making the podium in a motorbike race.

Mike Alessi cracked open the 2014 waterworks fest after howling like a two-year-old who crashed their bike when he won the opening heat race of the year. While I admire the emotion and understand the huge investment Mike has put into his chosen sport, I’m not sure crying on live TV is the way to go. What does he do if he wins a main event? Go all Tom Cruise and start jumping on seats? I wouldn’t want to watch.

UNAUSTRALIAN

If you didn’t shout at the TV when Reed worked his way from sixth and into the lead at A2, you’re unAustralian. If you also didn’t shout at the TV when Reed went down in the whoops at San Diego, you should be deported. They are the rules and they should be enforced.

Reed’s win was worth crying over — in the privacy of your own home, of course — as, after a tough couple of years, he bounced back and passed all the big guns on his way to the win. He didn’t luck out; he didn’t rely on the mistakes of others; he simply outrode and outraced the best guys in the world to win A2. Then, just two weeks later, he backed it up and showed the doubters it was no fluke by winning again.

But triumph soon turned to tragedy when, on the final lap of the San Diego main event, he was in a three-way battle for the final podium position, clipped the back of the German guy on the pumpkin and went down in a screaming heap, much like myself in the living room that afternoon. Chad has still got it and the world is a better place when he’s kicking butt in the AMA.

Just a side note: the live broadcast of the AMA Supercross Championship has totally ruined my Sundays. The afternoon is spent in front of the TV and my tan is suffering.

MOSS BELONGS

Matt Moss hit the US and has done pretty well for himself. He makes the mains with ease, holds his own in a very fast pack of riders and has even won the odd semi or two. The AMA series is where Matt belongs and hopefully he’ll get the opportunity in the not-too-distant future to stay in the US and get a well-supported ride so he can race to his full potential. You’re only a product of your environment and the more Matt rides with faster riders, the more he will increase his speed.

DEAN IN DAMAGE CONTROL

Dean Ferris took up a last-minute gig to race in the US and jumped right into the deep end, fronting up at A1 in early January with very little preparation. Ferris has acquitted himself well and been conservative yet extremely consistent with his results as he learns the SX game. Remember, he did very little supercross here in Australia and, even when he did, injury always cut short his track time. He’s now doing well and will continue to get better.

QUALITY OF THE RACING

How good is it that up to nine riders could potentially win a round of SX? Gone are the days of total domination or a two-horse race as in 2014, Villopoto, Reed, Roczen, Dungey, Stewart, Barcia, Tomac, Brayton and a fully fit Canard are serious contenders for a round win.

As a result, the racing has also changed. It’s now as if the riders acknowledge they aren’t going to motor away from their opposition and there is some strategy in the main events. The first 10 laps are just jostling for position and the last 10 are where the real racing begins and the sprint for the finish starts. Even the lap times show the majority of the fastest laps logged are in the second half of the race for the top guys. Not one race has been a snooze fest so far in 2014. Let’s hope it stays that way.

EUROPE

All right, nothing has really happened here and a championship win to Cairoli and Herlings is as bankable as death and taxes, but at least we’ll have some Australian interest. Todd Waters in MX1 and Luke Styke in MX2 will fly the flag in the GPs this year and both should be able to achieve some good results. Both riders deserve their place in the GPs and manufacture support as years of hard work has put them there. Hold it on, boys!

BACK HOME

It’s been an interesting off-season here in Australia, with rumours doing the rounds about all sorts of things, none of which has proved to be true. It was much ado about nothing. By the time you read this, round one of the MX Nats will have hit Broadford in Victoria and the season will be underway. Times are tough and it will be interesting to see how things pan out, but let’s hope motocross has a resurgence at all levels and people get pumped on racing again.