WORDS SCOTT BISHOP
Queensland recently completed a two-round supercross championship to finish off 2014. Robbie Marshall hosted round one at his property west of Brisbane while the other was hosted by concreter Scott Bannan on Brisbane’s south side.
Bannan worked with the local council in his home town of Jimboomba, got a semi- permanent track build on the oval of the local school and then hosted an event with over 4000 spectators on a damp and soggy night. And he hopes to host several more events there, including a 50km event in the name of Andrew McFarlane in 2015.
He didn’t reinvent the sport or run the greatest show on earth, but he did run a well-organised event that drew a good crowd on a night most would have stayed indoors. But what he did do, instead of complaining, was get off his butt, put his money and energy where his mouth is and make things happen. Prize money was good, the event was well run with fireworks, freestyle and trails demos, and the community got behind it and are welcoming him back for future events.
At the end of the night, there was no one prouder than Bannan himself. Despite being unable to move around due to recent knee surgery, he tried to thank every rider who attended his event and he was flattered by their presence. Class act, in my opinion.
Twenty years ago, Joel Elliott, one of the most talented riders Australia has ever produced, lost his life in a motorcycle-related accident in the US.
The Elliotts were a real racing family and Joel’s death turned their world upside-down. The family kept one of Joel’s KX125s as a memento and a tribute to his life with a view never to ride it.
Recently, the tragic passing off family friend Barry Cockle made the Elliotts reassess the situation. When the 20th-anniversary Joel Elliott memorial event rolled around, brother Tony, a former pro racer himself, wheeled the KX125 onto the dirt of the Kurri Kurri motocross track for the first time in two decades. In front of a crowd of long-time motocross friends, Tony fired up the KX125 and raced the bike his brother once rode.
I can’t imagine the emotion of the day but it’s awesome that it finally happened and I couldn’t be happy for Tony and the Elliott family to see that bike on the track again and the Elliott style back in action.
It might not have received any publicity but I reckon it’s one of the coolest things that happened in 2014. The Elliotts are good people and Joel would have been as pumped as Tony’s forearms after the day.
On paper, things are shaping up well for the 2015 season. The MX Nationals have their calendar out with 10 rounds and are seriously looking into televising the rounds as well as providing internet coverage. We have a supercross calendar out that will at least allow teams to budget and plan for those events as well as talk of a GP coming to Australia in 2016.
One thing that’s interesting is the return of a lot of riders to four-stroke machinery in the MX2 division. Arbon, Crawford and Caleb Ward have all stated they’re running the four-bangers and we’ll see the introduction of a Kawasaki-mounted team featuring Matt Ryan and Dylan Leary. Plenty of other riders have signalled their intention to move back to four-strokes so it will be interesting to see how it plays out.
Canada adopted similar rules to Australia with limited modifications allowed to two-strokes in the MX2 class. The only real difference there is that a rider must stay on the same style of bike on which they start the series — ie, there’s no horses for courses or swapping bikes to suit the track: all the good guys on the same bike in the same class.
No RV. James Stewart serving a racing suspension for doping. Roczen changing teams. Reed and Millsaps returning from injury. Canard in awesome form.
The 2015 AMA Supercross championship is as open as it’s ever been, with no clear favourite. Neither Chad Reed nor James Stewart has finished an SX championship in a few seasons so they’ll need to find a way to make all 17 rounds while Stewart will need to work his way around the drug suspension to even front the start line at A1.
Two riders are really entering their prime and are the ones to watch. Roczen is on a roll and a rare talent. He’s the only person on the planet at the age of 20 who’s been able to master a 450 week in, week out, racing at the highest levels. Despite the change of brand, I think he must be the favourite entering the championship.
The other rider I think is ready to step up is Eli Tomac. The guy just might be the fastest rider in the world right now in the right conditions. He struggles when the conditions are super hard-pack and slippery, as they are in California, so if he can get out of the first few rounds in good shape I expect him to make a real run at the championship when it heads for the tackier dirt in the east.
My top five for the championship are Roczen, Tomac, Canard, Reed and Dungey. It’s also good to see a few Australians on the start line. Matt Moss is back over there and hitting up a few races while brother Jake and teammate Adam Monea are pencilled in for the first six rounds. Sunday afternoons are now officially a write-off until we get to Vegas.
I’m no Rhodes scholar and my English and grammar are hardly ready to claim the world’s greatest literary prize but, let me tell you, the next MX kid who thinks the plural of “you” is “use” — well, we’re going to have issues.
In the most damning evidence yet that riders and social media are no mix, the abuse of the English language has got the better of me and I’m about to explode. The plural of “What for you think of this?” isn’t “What do use think of this?” The correct use of the word “use” is, “The next time you post something on social media I’d use a tyre lever to beat you upside the head.”
So “What do you guys think of my bum whip?” is fine to post on your Instagram pic. “What do use think of my bum whip?” will see the writer cop a tyre lever.
I don’t make the rules; I just follow them.