Category Archives: Competition

Start of MX Nationals season delayed further until August

Series organiser confirms latest status of motocross series.

Image: Foremost Media.

The 2020 MXstore MX Nationals has been delayed further, with series organiser Williams Event Management (WEM) confirming the championship is now due to commence in August.

WEM is intending to complete the scheduled nine-round series from August into October across six weekends as it navigates the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was announced last month that the MX Nationals would be commencing at the end of June with the Conondale round, however, that plan has now been shelved upon the latest advice from the Australian government.

An updated revised calendar is anticipated to be released toward the end of May, with WEM adamant that the MX Nationals championship will go ahead this year.

“We have been watching both the NRL and AFL regarding the comments they have been making around resuming their codes,” explained WEM director Kevin Williams in a statement released to the industry this afternoon.

“After listening to PM Scott Morrison this morning and trying to look at a realistic model, we are planning on a return to racing in August and running through into October. It is still our full intention in planning to run all nine rounds across the six weekends.

“We plan to release the actual calendar in late May, subject to social distancing announcements from the state and federal government. Racing in 2020 will definitely need some adjustment from all of us, but together we will be racing and the gates will drop.”

The postponed of the MX Nationals will require the Australian Supercross Championship to be pushed back, with most recent provisional plans released in February stating that the series would open on 3 October.


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New YZR-M1 has more potential indicates Rossi

Image: Supplied.

Multi-time world champion Valentino Rossi believes the 2020 Yamaha YZR-M1 has greater potential than its predecessor following three days of testing in Malaysia.

The Italian legend experienced one of his stronger pre-season outings in recent years, dipping into the 1m58s lap times to finish fifth on the timesheets during the final day.

Despite the positive improvements, Rossi is still adamant there’s work to be done in order to build an advantage over his competitors.

“Everybody is very strong, very fast as always,” Rossi stated. “We are not so far from the top. The second day was better than the first day because we worked a lot on the new bike. We need some more experience and some more kilometres, but today we already found something good, especially for the grip, and the pace with the race tyre is positive.

“For me, the bike has better potential than last year, but we need to work because also the other manufacturers are making steps, and like I said before, they are very strong. So, we need to continue to work hard, but it looks like we’re heading in the right direction.”

Rossi will be out on track next on 22 February in Qatar for the final pre-season test ahead of round, scheduled for 8 March at the Losail circuit.


WorldSBK determines rev limits for 2020 season

Image: Supplied.

The Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WorldSBK) has determined the initial rev limits set for 2020 as the all-new Honda Fireblade and updated Yamaha YZF-R1 are rolled out this season.

The performance balancing algorithm has been used to determine the RPM of each of the five manufacturers and their respected models. The performances are based on the final three rounds of the 2019 season.

The 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R (SP) Fireblade with its all-new engine has a limit based on the maximum rpm of the homologated street machine, while the 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1M with its engine incrementally revised for EU4 legislation has a rev limit based on the performance balancing algorithm following the 2019 season.

The championship-winning Kawasaki ZX-10RR has been capped at 14,600rpm, with the Ducati Panigale V4 R coming in at 16,100rpm and the Yamaha YZF-R1 at 14,950rpm. The BMW S 1000 RR is set to 14,950rpm and the new 2020 Honda CBR1000RR-R at 15,600rpm.

The opening round of the 2020 WorldSBK season kicks off on 27 February-1 March at Phillip Island.


Bayliss secures WorldSSP wildcard at Phillip Island opener

Image: Russell Colvin.

Teenage talent Oli Bayliss will make his international debut as a wildcard in Phillip Island’s opening round of the 2020 World Supersport Championship (WorldSSP).

Bayliss will pull double-duty in round one of the Australian championship and WorldSSP with Cube Racing, following in the footsteps of triple world champion father, Troy Bayliss.

“I’m really excited and grateful to have this opportunity to race at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in the World Supersport Championship for the first round as a wildcard rider,” 16-year-old Bayliss commented.

“It’s going to be really tough with how fast them guys have been going over the years and it’s going to be a great opportunity to ride with some of the fastest guys in the world to see how I can place amongst them.

“I will be doing double duties, so it’s going to be a big weekend and a bit of a challenge – I’m going to be training very hard coming up to that round to stay fit.

“When dad was racing with World Superbikes, I grew up around a lot of the mechanics who are still around in the paddock now. They might help me a little bit, but the main thing is going out there and giving it my all.

“The difference between my ASBK bike and World Supersport bike is around 10 to 15 horsepower. It’s not much, but enough to go a second or two a lap quicker.”

Bayliss will also be on track during the final official pre-season test on 24-25 February, just days before the Motul Superbike World Championship, Yamaha Finance round, at Phillip Island between 28 February and 1 March.


Pace returning says Febvre in Kawasaki debut

Image: Supplied.

Frenchman Romain Febvre says his pace is returning after making his Monster Energy Kawasaki Factory Racing debut at Sardinia’s opening round of the 2020 International Italian Motocross Championship, marking the first race since breaking his femur in August last year.

Febvre, who donned his new number three for the first time, rode to 14th in the opening MX1 moto before finishing 11th in the Superfinal, which was ultimately won by reigning world champion Tim Gajser (Team HRC).

“It’s a great feeling to be back racing after such a long break,” said Febvre. “I knew coming here that I am still working on my speed but that’s normal at this stage of the season.

“Physically I was okay though I suffered some arm-pump in the first race and then in the second one it was carnage at the first corner – I made a small mistake during the race but my speed was coming back all day.

“I know what I have to work on and since the beginning of this month I can train every day on the bike so we’ll stay here in Sardinia for a few days before heading to our final warm-up race.”

Febvre will be on-track again at the Lacapelle Marival in France next month.


Whoop speed key to A2 says red-plate holder Roczen

Image: Octopi Media.

St. Louis winner Ken Roczen says his whoop speed needed to be stronger if he wanted to claim victory at Anaheim 2, the Team Honda HRC rider earning the 450SX points lead with a runner-up result.

The German ace led the opening stages of the 24-lap affair, however relinquished the lead to eventual winner Eli Tomac (Monster Energy Kawasaki), admitting he lost all his time in the whoops.

The section caused dramas for a number of riders throughout the night, Roczen indicating he took multiple approaches in an effort challenge Tomac before settling for second.

“I hooked up really good and got my first holeshot of the year, so that was nice,” Roczen stated. “We’ve been putting in a lot of work on my starts, so it’s been paying off. For me to be able to win tonight, I had to be a lot better in the whoops. I was just struggling there the entire race, so that didn’t help me out – I feel like I lost all my time there.

“I was trying to skim them, then went to jumping them, which was horrible too; I lost a lot of ground so went back to skimming and just was all over the place and that was where Eli [Tomac] made up a lot of time and closed in on me.

“We definitely have some work to do but don’t want to get too crazy. We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We’re in a good spot right now and we just have to keep it up. First last weekend and second this weekend, plus the red plate is really great. I’m really happy.”

Roczen leads Justin Barcia (Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing) by three points in the standings ahead of Glendale’s fourth round of Monster Energy Supercross this Saturday night.


Reed auction raises funds for Australian bushfire crisis

Image: Octopi Media.

An online auction arranged by the retiring Chad Reed following the St. Louis round of 2020 Monster Energy Supercross has gone toward raising vital funding for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Reed, originally from Kurri Kurri in New South Wales, wore a special set of Fox Racing gear at round two of the season last weekend in Missouri before auctioning it off on eBay post-race.

The jersey and pant combination netted $3300 US when the auction closed, all of which the proceeds will be donated to the NSW RFS to assist in the devastation that has affected Reed’s home country during recent months.

This season marks the final year for Reed in the American-based Supercross series following a career that has spanned near two decades at the highest level. He’s riding with the Mountain Motorsports cbdMD CR22 team aboard Hondas in 2020.


Team UK named for International Island Classic

Image: Supplied.

The UK team for the International Island Classic has been named for the 2020 instalment set to take place on 24-26 January.

Captained by Tony Hart, the squad will feature Alex Sinclair, Michael Neeves, Rich Llewellin, Richard Peers-Jones, Paul Gaskin, Hasse Gustafson, Johnny Nordberg, Roger Gunn, Damien Kavney, Jim Agombar, Clive Warner and Brendan Wilson.

“Team UK is coming to race the might of the Aussies and the Yanks, and we are well aware that we are up against it,” said Hart. “I know our bikes are seriously underpowered against the big 16-valve motors the others will be running but that can’t be helped, until we get our new 2020 UK regulations for the class.

“Our riders and their machines know the Challenge they face in the race and if the outcome is simply we did our best with honest period bikes then we shall be humble and leave with pride in the knowing we did our best, we can’t let the others have all the fun.

“We love the camaraderie of the motorcycling community, we’ve got some beautiful bikes to share with the fans, and a lot of British good humour to bring to the party. Australia has been through a lot these past weeks, and we’re keen to come and share our love of motorcycles with everyone.”

A total of 400 bikes will take to the Phillip Island circuit over the three days, where each class will be decided after one qualifying session and four races – and the Phil Irving Trophy will be the rider who scores the highest points in non-International Challenge events.


Yamaha tops declining Australian dirt bike sales in 2019

Image: iKapture.

Dirt bike sales across Australia posted a 1.6 percent decline in 2019, while it was Yamaha who topped the segment following the latest Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) report.

The motorcycle market as a whole recorded a 6.1 percent drop in sales, with all market categories except scooters affected by the downturn.

The 2019 market remained relatively steady in terms of its composition, however dirt bikes regained the status as the most popular category and comprised 38.5 percent of the market. Road bikes claimed a 35.8 percent share, ATV/SSVs accounted for 20.1 percent of total sales, and scooters again took an increased share of the total sales with 5.6 percent.

Among individual brands, Honda came in at number one with 23.3 percent market share across all segments, followed by Yamaha in second place with 22.4 percent share, Kawasaki in third with 8,962 sales 10 percent share, followed by KTM 8.6 percent share and and Suzuki with 7.8 percent share..

In the dirt bike segment, Yamaha was the highest seller, followed by Honda and KTM. Overall, Honda, Husqvarna and Kawasaki were the only brands to record an increase in dirt bike sales in 2019.

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