An incredible victory at the 2019 Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne has granted Justin Brayton (Penrite Honda Racing) his fourth-straight Australian Supercross Championship.
It was an eventful start to race one as Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) secured the hole-shot, as it was red-plate holder Luke Clout (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) who went down on lap one.
Chad Reed (Penrite Racing Mountain Motorsports Honda) made an aggressive pass on Anderson for the lead on lap one, the American going down – Clout also got caught up in the ongoing carnage, and took the Repco Shortcut lane as a result. It wasn’t to be though, as he went down a third time just a matter of laps later.
Anderson went down again while making a pass just before the finish line, as Justin Brayton (Penrite Honda Racing) maintained second for much of the outing, ultimately passing Reed to clinch victory.
Reed was second ahead of Josh Hill (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy), who attempted a pass on the final turn, while Brett Metcalfe (Penrite Honda Racing) and Dan Reardon (CDR Yamaha Monster Energy) locked out the top five.
Riche Evans (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) finished sixth ahead of Anderson, Dylan Long (Empire Kawasaki), Joel Wightman (Honda), and Clout.
Anderson rocketed to the hole-shot in main event two with Clout in tow – the New South Welshman momentarily earning the lead prior to clicking over lap two.
He was passed back by Anderson, while Brayton used his opportunity with the shortcut lane to overcome both of them, earning and maintaining the top spot for much of the outing.
Anderson passed him with two laps to go, securing victory as Clout earned third. Hill was fourth ahead of teammate Reardon, while the top 10 was completed by Metcalfe, Reed, Jackson Richardson (Honda), Evans and Jesse Madden (Honda).
The start to main event three was chaotic as Anderson couldn’t brake in time for the opening turns, causing the entire field to be held up. Clout crashed in the chaos, further damaging his title hopes.
Anderson rode flawlessly in what was mainly an uneventful outing – minus the start – while Hill put in an incredible ride to advance to second ahead of Brayton at the chequered flag.
Metcalfe was fourth over Reed, while positions six to 10 were taken out by Reardon, Clout, Evans, Todd Waters (Husqvarna), and Long.
Overall, Brayton was victorious over Anderson and Hill, who earned his first podium across three appearances in Australia. Brayton was crowned champion over Clout and Reardon, while it was Anderson who lifted the S-X Open International FIM Oceania Supercross Championship.
Penrite Honda Racing’s Chris Blose has been crowned the SX2 champion in the 2019 Australian Supercross Championship, while it was teammate Mitchell Oldenburg (Penrite Honda Racing) who claimed victory at the Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne.
It was Jett Lawrence (Geico Honda) who grabbed the hole-shot in race one while on debut, although his time at the front was short-lived after being passed by Chris Blose (Penrite Honda Racing) at the end of lap one.
Mitchell Oldenburg (Penrite Honda Racing) got by the rookie one lap later before engaging in a thrilling battle for the lead with Blose, ultimately securing victory over his teammate and fellow American.
Defending champion Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) put in a stellar ride, making a number of passes throughout the encounter – his most impressive coming at the last turn on the final lap, passing Lawrence for third.
Lawrence was fourth ahead of points leader Josh Osby (Raceline KTM Thor), while the top 10 was rounded out by Connor Tierney (Serco Yamaha) – who was the first to take the Repco Shortcut lane – Darian Sanayei (Kawasaki), Geran Stapleton (Honda), Regan Duffy (Raceline KTM Thor), and Rhys Budd (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing).
It was another hole-shot for Lawrence in race two as Oldenburg and Kyle Webster (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing) went down, but it was Blose who stole the lead at the halfway mark.
Tanti advanced to third, however later went down heavily while battling Wilson – he was stretchered off the track with the Racesafe medical crew.
Wilson managed to advance to second, once again passing Lawrence in the dying stages. Lawrence was third ahead of Osby and Oldenburg, followed by Duffy, Tierney, Bradley Taft (Empire Kawasaki), Morgan Fogarty (Davey Motorsports KTM) and Budd.
Osby claimed the hole-shot in race three, however is woes on the night continued as he later went down. Blose quickly earned the lead as Lawrence pulled the trigger on the shortcut lane, passing a number of people to position himself in second.
He passed Blose and led the remainder of the encounter until the last turn, where Oldenburg jumped the quad in the last rhythm lane – the only 250 rider to do so – to earn the win ahead of the debutant.
With the championship essentially in hand, Blose evidently relaxed his way to fourth across the line behind Wilson, earning the title in the process.
Budd was highly impressive fifth over Duffy, with the top 10 completed by Stapleton, Taft, Tomas Ravenhorst (KTM), and Tierney. Osby 12th.
Overall, it was Oldenburg from Blose and Wilson, while in the championship, Blose claimed top honours ahead of Osby and Oldenburg. The S-X Open International FIM Oceania Supercross Championship SX2 title went to Blose.
BMW has let some detail out of the bag about the new generation Big Boxer that will power a new cruiser range scheduled to debut in 2020 from BMW Motorrad.
A combination of art deco design cues fuelled by nostalgia and history have driven the desing of the new 1802 cc is a beautiful showpiece that delivers 158 Nm of torque and 91 horsepower. Those numbers are pretty much line-ball with Harley-Davidson’s 114 cube Milwaukee Eight.
With its OHV valve drive along with a separate engine and transmission housing, the new “Big Boxer” has the same structural features that distinguished the very first BMW Motorrad boxer engine, which at that time had laterally controlled valves.
The highest-capacity twin-cylinder boxer engine ever used in motorcycle series production is a 1802 cc engine, resulting from a 107.1 mm bore and 100 mm stroke. The engine output is 67 kW (91 hp) at 4750 rpm. The maximum torque of 158 Nm is already available at 3 000 rpm. More than 150 Nm is now available from 2000 to 4000 rpm. The maximum engine speed is 5750 rpm, while the idling speed is 950 rpm.
The new “Big Boxer” is air/oil cooled, has large ribbed cylinders and cylinder heads and weighs 110.8 kg including gearbox and intake system. It has a vertically split aluminium engine housing.
Unlike the classic air-cooled 2-valve boxer engines made by BMW Motorrad, however, the “Big Boxer” crankshaft, forged from quenched and tempered steel, has an additional main bearing at the centre, which was necessary due to the enormous cylinder volume in order to prevent undesirable bending vibrations of the crankshaft.
Like the crankshaft, the two connecting rods with I-shaft are mounted on plain bearings and are likewise forged from quenched and tempered steel. They accommodate cast aluminium pistons with two compression rings and an oil wiper ring. The running surface of the light metal cylinders is coated with NiCaSil.
Lubricating and cooling oil is supplied by a wet sump lubrication system with a two-stage oil pump via sleeve-type chain driven by the crankshaft.
Although the new “Big Boxer” has four valves, dual ignition, a modern combustion chamber architecture, intake manifold injection and the BMS-O engine management system for the best possible torque as well as optimum consumption and emissions, it uses the classic OHV configuration for its valve drive – as was the practice pursued by BMW Motorrad over a period of some 70 years.
When developing the valve drive for the “Big Boxer”, BMW Motorrad engineers were inspired by a very special engine design in the history of BMW Motorrad – in keeping with the Heritage concept: the 2-cylinder boxer engine of the R 5/R 51 (1936 – 1941) and R 51/2 (1950 – 1951), the latter having been the first BMW motorcycle with a boxer engine after the Second World War. In contrast to other OHV designs by BMW Motorrad, this engine – highly valued by connoisseurs – has two camshafts driven by the crankshaft via a sleeve-type chain.
As in the historical role model, the two camshafts are also positioned to the left and right above the crankshaft in the “Big Boxer”. The advantage of this “twin camshaft boxer” is the shorter pushrods. This also makes for reduced moving masses, minimised deflections and lower linear expansions. A generally stiffer valve drive with improved control precision and higher speed stability is the consequence of this more elaborate construction.
In the traditional BMW Motorrad boxer design, the two pushrods actuate one pushrod per cylinder side for the intake and one for the exhaust side, guided in a sealed pushrod tube on the top of the cylinders. The two intake and exhaust valves in the cylinder head are actuated in pairs via fork toggle levers.
In contrast to today’s widespread engine technology, valve clearance compensation is not effected by means of hydraulic elements, but – as was the case in most classic air-cooled BMW two-valve boxers for decades – via one adjusting screw with one lock nut for each valve. As was formerly the case in the classic 2-valve boxers, valve clearance adjustment (0.2 – 0.3 mm) in the R18 “Big Boxer” is also achieved very quickly. The valves are made of steel, with a disc diameter of 41.2 mm on the inlet side and 35 mm on the outlet side. The valve angle is 21 degrees on the inlet side and 24 degrees on the outlet side.
As in most BMW Motorrad boxer engines for decades (with the exception of vertical-flow, air/water-cooled boxers since 2012), a single-disc dry clutch transmits the torque generated by the engine to the transmission. For the first time it is designed as a self-reinforcing anti-hopping clutch, thereby eliminating unwanted stamping of the rear wheel caused by engine drag torque in the event of hard downshifting.
The constant mesh 6-speed transmission is located in a dual-section aluminium housing and is designed as a 4-shaft transmission with helical gear pairs. The gearbox input shaft with lug dampers drives the two gearbox shafts with the gear wheel pairs. An output shaft is provided to bridge the distance and reverse the direction of rotation. A reverse gear is available as an optional extra. This is driven by an intermediate gear and an electric motor and can be shifted manually.
As in all BMW motorcycles with boxer engines, torque is transmitted from the gearbox to the rear wheel in the R 18 via a propeller-shaft or universal-shaft drive with universal joint, shaft and rear-axle drive with bevel and ring gear.
The propeller shaft and universal joint are examples of fascinating classic motorcycle technology since they are nickel-plated and open, as was commonly the case in BMW Motorrad models up to and including model year 1955. A so-called tripoid joint is applied on the gearbox side for the purpose of length compensation.
Current SX1 points leader Luke Clout has topped qualifying at the 2019 Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne for round five of the Australian Supercross Championship.
The CDR Yamaha Monster Energy rider set the pace with a 43.984s time inside Marvel Stadium, edging out rival and three-time defending champion Justin Brayton (Penrite Honda Racing), who set a 44.111s.
Visiting American Jason Anderson (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing) was third fastest following a best-lap of 44.536s, while CDR Yamaha Monster Energy duo Dan Reardon and Josh Hill were fourth and fifth respectively.
The top 10 was rounded out by Brett Metcalfe (Penrite Honda Racing), Dylan Long (Empire Kawasaki), Lawson Bopping (Empire Kawasaki), Richie Evans (Yamalube Yamaha Racing), and Jackson Richardson (Honda), who was the only rider from the unseeded session inside the top 10.
Image: Foremost Media.
In the SX2 category, red-plate Josh Osby (Raceline KTM Thor) emerged fastest after setting a 44.674s, as fellow American Chris Blose (Penrite Honda Racing) was a fraction off, recording a fast-time of 44.866s.
Defending champion Jay Wilson (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) lodged a 45.469s time for third, followed by Aaron Tanti (Serco Yamaha) and Mitchell Oldenburg (Penrite Honda Racing).
Making his professional debut, Jett Lawrence (Geico Honda) was sixth ahead of Kyle Webster (Penrite Pirelli CRF Honda Racing), Dylan Wills (Davey Motorsports KTM), Geran Stapleton (Honda) and Darian Sanayei (Kawasaki).
15 World Championships titles, 123 Grand Prix victories, 18 Italian Championships titles, 10 Tourist Trophies’ wins for a total of 311 victorious races: these are the impressive numbers of Giacomo Agostini’s racing career, which extended from the early 60’s to the late 70’s, and most of which was spent under the MV Agusta colours.
This unprecedented heritage now has a museum to preserve it and share it with enthusiasts and motorcycling fans from all over the world. It is located in medieval Bergamo, Giacomo Agostini’s hometown, nested between the Po plain and the Alps, a stone’s throw from Milan.
“The history of my life is all there in this one room, and being able to spend some time there alone with my thoughts, going back to those extraordinary memories, fills me with joy.”
The museum was designed as a private trophy room by architect Michele Giavarini for the champion to keep his more than 350 trophies, with the idea of also opening it to the public.
The museum hosts some of the historic bikes used by Agostini, as well as helmets, race suits and personal objects, displayed in a chronological order.
On the inox-concrete floor, a giant no.1, black on yellow, the number Agostini raced with, and the word “Ago” painted in bright red, his nom de guerre, remind everyone that Giacomo Agostini’s record number of victories and championships titles is as yet unequalled.
The museum is private and can be visited by groups (8 people minimum) upon reservation through Villa Vittoria Charme and Relax luxury bed & breakfast. The resort is managed by Agostini’s daughter Vittoria, and offers a complete package including one-night accommodation, visit to the museum and dinner with the champion. Contacts: +39.035.239209 [email protected]
New motorcycles, team changes and rookie and returning riders made headlines across the two day test, which took place in more-or-less untroubled conditions. Despite a handful of red flags, it was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK) who topped the time-sheets on the fiinal day ahead of Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) and Alex Lowes (Kawasaki Racing Team WorldSBK).
Having just been pipped for top slot at lunch time, the KRT squad were back on top come the end of the test, as Jonathan Rea was the first rider into the 1m38s. The time, which is under Alvaro Bautista’s race lap record from last year, put him at the top whilst team-mate Alex Lowes completed day two of the test in fourth place, and fifth on combined times.
On combined times though, over the two days, it was Rea from Razgatlioglu in P2, Baz in P3, Van der Mark P4 and Lowes in P5 ahead of Scott Redding.
Jonathan Rea – P1
“Overall it was pretty good. I had good motivation for this test. Normally at the end of a busy season it is easy to get lost but we focused on quality rather than quantity. We did a lot of back-to-back testing of things we had ideas to try out during the year. Then we tested some new items and new ideas. The biggest thing was in my riding position on the bike and getting used to the rear brake lever on the handlebar, plus some different engine braking. Aside from that Pirelli brought some different tyres. At the end we could do a time attack with a qualifying tyre and that put us right there. It was hard at the end doing that, because a couple of hours before the session finished there was oil all over Turn One. The track was compromised a bit but I still feel that we did a really good job at this test, both with our outright pace and also consistency. We are where we should be and I am really happy to sign off on an incredible 2019.”
Pere Riba – Crew Chief for Jonathan Rea
“We did the best lap time with the Q tyre, after the oil spill. Jonathan did very well at this test so I am happy, as usual. I am always happy because he is always there. We collected almost all the information we wanted during these winter tests – just one small item is missing – but we can test that in January. We understood the balance of the bike that we have been using in the last couple of races, and we also worked with the suspension and electronics, quite deeply. In some small details we collected a lot of information, also with a different bike balance. We found positives here, positives there, so depending on track conditions and layouts we can use this one, or another one. This was the target of the winter tests. Jonathan was enjoying the bike and we go into the winter break at the top of the lists again. This makes for a little bit happier Christmas.”
Alex Lowes – P5
“The test was really positive as my feeling with the bike was very good. After the Aragon test, Marcel and I wanted to work on the braking because how I rode my old bike was a little bit different. But already from the first laps here we made a big step, and today I felt really comfortable with the braking. This, I am really happy about. We did some longer runs today and I could keep it in a nice consistent pace, which was another really good thing. Obviously, at the end I fell while using a qualifying tyre but that was just a small detail. I have had instantly a good connection with all the mechanics and working with Marcel is really easy. It has been real good fun to be here with two good days and good weather; it has been enjoyable.”
Xavi Fores (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) enjoyed a successful comeback to WorldSBK and finished just outside the top ten as he continues to become more accustomed to the bike.
Yamaha were once again heading the charge against Team Green. Loris Baz (Ten Kate Racing – Yamaha) was second on day two but third on combined times. The Frenchman bolted up to the top just after lunch but was pegged back by the reigning five-time WorldSBK Champion later in the day.
Michael van der Mark (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) suffered a mechanical problem which resulted in an oil leak and subsequent crash at turn one, bringing out the red flags. Federico Caricasulo (GRT Yamaha WorldSBK Junior Team) and Andrea Locatelli (BARDAHL Evan Bros. WorldSSP Team) also crashed on oil.
Toprak Razgatlioglu (Pata Yamaha WorldSBK Official Team) was P2 on combined times as he became acquatined with Ohlins suspension for the first time. The Turk was seventh on day two but his day one time saw him closest to Rea overall at the test, and the fastest Yamaha in what are only early days on the YZF-R1M for the 23-year-old.
Toprak Razgatlioglu – P2
“It’s been a solid two days for me aboard the Yamaha R1 here in Jerez. The conditions meant we were able to complete a lot of laps and test a lot of new parts on the bike, with very positive results. The focus here was on evaluating new components rather than chasing a fast lap, but my lap times have been consistently quick, so I’m happy about that. We had some issues with the rear spinning up out of the turns, which was losing me some time, but we managed to make a big improvement in this area this afternoon ahead of my race simulation. I think I’ve adapted now to the Yamaha, as my feeling with the bike is good. I leave Jerez a little bit tired after such an intensive test program, but happy with second place on the timesheet and with the progress we’ve made.”
Michael van der Mark – P4
“After the rain in Aragon it was good to come here to Jerez and have almost perfect conditions for the final two days of testing this year. Normally in testing you have both positives and negatives as you work your way through the program, but these two days were overwhelmingly positive. We completed a lot of laps, trying different things on the bike, and we managed to find a solution to the spinning issues we had during the second half of the season. Working with my new crew has also been easy; it’s already like we’ve spent a season together, so this test was a great way to end 2019 on a high note and I’m already looking forward to getting back on the bike in January.”
On the 2020 R1, Yamaha test rider Niccolò Canepa was eighth on combined times. GRT Yamaha’s top rider was Federico Caricasulo in 13th, whilst American debutante Garrett Gerloff was 14th.
Federico Caricasulo – P13
“For me, this has been a very positive test. We improved a lot, both in consistency and pace, and we finished the two-days closer to the fast guys than we were in Aragon. I was hoping to push for a good lap time on the qualifying tyre at the end, more to get a feeling with the tyre than anything else, but it wasn’t possible after I had a big crash on oil dropped on the entry to the first turn this afternoon. Anyway, I leave here happy with where we are right now and I’m already looking forward to picking up where we left off today when we return to Jerez in January.”
Garrett Gerloff – P14
“It’s been good to get some time on the bike in the better conditions we’ve had here in Jerez, as it’s made it easier for me to assess the differences from lap to lap. This was a problem at the first test in Aragon because of the wind, the effect of which was unpredictable. The feeling with the bike is good, but the Jerez track feels a little more connected in terms of the rhythm and the flow so, for me, to be consistent on every lap has been a little bit tricky. Luckily, we have the data from the official team, so I’ve been able to make comparisons, but there are definitely a few things I need to work on. We’ve tested a lot of things on the bike, with the normal mix of positives and negatives but, overall, the feeling is good, and we just need to keep working in the same direction when we return here in January.”
WorldSBK rookie Scott Redding (ARUBA.IT Racing – Ducati) was the leading Ducati Panigale V4 R rider in fifth on day two but finishes the test sixth overall.
Scott Redding – P6
“Today we tried to find a bit more rear grip, something that I’ve struggled with here at Jerez since yesterday, and thanks to the work of the guys in the team in the end we found something that helped a lot. We’re still not where we’d like to be but we’re making progress. As well as testing the new tyres brought by Pirelli, we managed to work a bit more with the electronics, which are totally new to me in Superbike. In general I was quite happy by the end of the test, it’s good to have that bonding between myself and the Panigale V4 R and know which direction to work in ready for the 2020 season.”
For Chaz Davies, the Welshman finished in ninth, over 1.6-seconds behind Jonathan Rea.
Chaz Davies – P9
“It was a busy couple of days, and all in all I’m pretty satisfied. We had some new parts to get through but mainly we were just trying a lot of different things to find a good base set-up. I think we learnt a few things, working on the rear of the bike to help the weight transfer, one goal which we improved at this track. Now it’ll be nice for me and the team to have a break and recharge our batteries but it doesn’t take long before you want to go racing again next season.”
The best of the BMWs was once again Tom Sykes (BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team), as the British rider continued his progress and used all of his famed development skills in order to get the bike to his liking.
Tom Sykes – P7
“Definitely I think we had a very strong test and credit to all the BMW Motorrad WorldSBK Team. We had a big list to go through and they were working so hard. I am very satisfied with what we achieved. We really tried a lot on the BMW S 1000 RR, definitely made progress and for me now I can go into the winter feeling happy with our performance. Certainly on race tyres as well, we found quite a step and also over the distance. The bike was working nicely and we obviously tried the qualifying tyre at the end. It was incredible but after two strong sectors I unfortunately made a small mistake in the hairpin and crashed. But I was interested in how the bike feels with high grip and I also went for another lap after the crash. For me that was good because we have extra information going into the winter and the guys can keep working. So for me that was a good test with a consistent track to work through a very big list and that’s what we needed all season. Thanks to the whole team and the guys back at the factory for working so hard to make things possible. I think the decision to skip the Aragón test paid off because it was a very structured test and we worked very well.”
New BMW team-mate and former WorldSBK title rival Eugene Laverty was quietly going about his business, as he finished in tenth place on his return to the Shaun Muir Racing fold.
Eugene Laverty – P10
“Overall, it was a good test. I think I can tell I’ve got a bike with the best chassis I’ve ever ridden. The way the bike turns and enters the corner is incredible. It’s surprising just how physical it is to ride right now. We have to get the power under control for the corner exit. Once I can get that it will be even more rideable. Right now I can wrestle it for one lap if we wanted to get a lap time but it’s testing so it’s not necessary. So we’ve been working and just trying to tame the beast a little bit so we can get a bike that is going to be comfortable for 20 laps. The chassis is incredible and that’s the important thing. The base of the bike is good, now it’s just another fine-tuning of the electronics.”
Marc Bongers – BMW Motorrad Motorsport Director
“Already during the final stages of the past season, we have been working intensively on the further development of the BMW S 1000 RR for 2020. Our first winter test in Jerez de la Frontera has been very productive. Among other things, we were able to test various chassis variants, new shock absorber elements, a range of tyre options, and electronic updates. Tom had a few minor issues at the start of day one, but they were resolved quickly and we were able to complete the busy programme, which included many test points. Eugene first had to find his feet on the RR, but was soon able to start to configure the bike to his own personal requirements. We are happy with the progress he has made at his first test with the RR. We must now analyse the large amount of data and comprehensive rider feedback we have received, which will help determine the direction we will take to start the 2020 season.”
The next test for the WorldSBK circus will take place back at the Jerez circuit before moving immediately on to Portimao, from the 21st to the 26th January. Until then, riders and team personnel will be looking forward to relaxing over the Christmas break.
Tickets for Australia’s Yamaha Finance round, the season-opener of the 2020 world championship at Phillip Island, are available at Ticketek or www.worldsbk.com.au
The 2019 Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne will be aired live on Fox Sports across Australia, while a number of alternative live streaming and broadcast options have been made available for local and international viewers.
Foxtel subscribers will be able to tune into what will be the final round of the Australian Supercross Championship via Fox Sports (channel 507) from 7pm AEDT, as the same coverage will be streamed live on Kayo Sports.
A shortened and delayed one-hour telecast will be on offer through the Channel 10 network, airing on 10 Bold and its streaming service 10 Play from 10:15pm AEDT.
USA and Canadian viewers will have the chance to watch the action live on www.ausxopen.com, starting from 3am EST and 12am PST respectively.
New Zealand viewers can view the covers on Fox Sports Five and Sky Go from 9m NZDT, and fans in Asia can tune in via Fox Sports 3 and Star Sports from 4pm SGT.
2019 AUS-X Open Melbourne broadcast and streaming times:
Fox Sports (channel 507) – 7pm AEDT (Australian viewers)
Kayo Sports – 7pm AEDT (Australian viewers)
10 Bold – 10:15pm AEDT (Australian viewers)
10 Play – 10:15pm AEDT (Australian viewers)
Ausxopen.com – 3am PST/12am EST (USA and Canadian viewers)
Sky Sports 5 – 9pm NZDT (New Zealand viewers)
Sky Go – 9pm NZDT (New Zealand viewers)
Fox Sports 3 – 4pm SGT (Asia viewers)
Star Sports – 4pm SGT (Asia viewers)
An emotion-charged Chad Reed will make his Australian farewell as a full-time professional on home soil in tonight’s Monster Energy AUS-X Open Melbourne.
The 37-year-old formally confirmed in Friday’s pre-race press conference that the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season will be his last, marking the end of a spectacular 20-year career.
With AUS-X Open taking centre stage at Marvel Stadium in what is being regarded as the biggest and most important race in Australian supercross history, it is a fitting opportunity for Reed to race at home as a professional one last time prior to hanging up his helmet next year.
Despite sitting out the Monster Energy S-X Open Auckland two weeks ago with a rib injury sustained in Paris, Reed has healed further since and is confident he will be fit to line up this evening. A special send-off will take place during the night show.
“I feel like if I really, really had to race in Auckland I could have and would have been far less than my 100 per cent, but this one for me is the main one and it was more important to have a shot at it tomorrow night,” Reed explained.
“Pretty much, what you see is what you get at this point [for 2020]. Mountain Motorsports has been amazing in helping and supporting everything that I’ve been doing – the goal is to go racing and I’m pretty confident that we’ll make that work. Sponsors, how we look and feel is all a moving target, but I’m excited.
“2020 will be my final season, so it’s a big one and I’m excited. I need to race this weekend for that reason… to do it this long and see where the sport’s been, to be at this stadium, I’m just excited for everyone involved.
“I think this will be my final race in Australia as a full-time racer, but my goal is to do off-season races – I really enjoy those. I’d love to keep my roots strong and come back, which you want to race, but maybe a year from now I don’t know if I’ll want to put the work in to do it, so maybe I’ll just come and race Ricky like BT does.”
Reed is currently working on a deal that could see him contest the entire American championship one final time, however, at the very least he’s expected to be behind the gates at Anaheim 1 on 4 January for his historic 250th milestone.
Once the longtime international does hang up his helmet, current S-X Open FIM Oceania champion Reed is almost certain to become an event ambassador in a similar role to the likes of Ricky Carmichael and Ben Townley.
“You may not have the skills and knowledge, money or time to build the real thing but Lego of recent times have released a number of licensed motorbike construction kits based on the real thing,” he says.
Todd has been spending quite a few hours lately at the workbench in his garage building the licensed Lego motorcycles.
“They are quite large in scale being around a foot long fully built and in the region of 1000 pieces in the Harley case,” he says.
“It means several hours or even days to put together — Milwaukee could build one of the real things quicker but we get the enjoyment of being able to do it ourselves.”
He says the instruction booklets contain more than 150 pages of in-depth instructional steps.
“Lego has always specialised in easy-to-read and explicit instructions,” he says.
“The bonus of the licensed kits is that within the instructional manual are several feature articles of the company and the motorcycle it is based on making it quite the collector item.”
Anyone can do it
Todd says anyone able to follow directions, sort shapes and colours and some Lego experience can manage it with “patience”.
“I needed some of that as there were a couple of times I missed a brick here or a subtle fit there and several pages and instructions later went oops and had to backtrack,” he says.
“Building the intricacies of the bike such as the primary drive gears, oil tank, a creatively constructed finned air cleaner and even the 43-piece chain assembly make this quite the satisfying build.”
Todd says another downside is the “chunkiness” that comes with building with bricks.
“Technology and design advances have been at work though and curves are becoming a stronger feature of a Lego creation kit, ensuring that the finished build is as realistic as possible,” he says.
“The brick building company has surged in popularity from its low a couple of decades ago.
“Part of that has been by catering for the older collector generation through licensed kits such as the Mustang, Porsche, even earth movers from the CAT range.