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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.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

Pace returning says Febvre in Kawasaki debut

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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.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

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.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

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.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

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.

Detailed comparison report

Detailed top 10 report

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

Price faced with road book malfunction in opening Dakar stage

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Fan-favourite Toby Price faced a road book malfunction during the opening stage of the 2020 Dakar Rally, the reigning champion striking luck to follow Red Bull KTM teammate Matthias Walkner for the remainder of the route.

Despite the setback, which Price believes debris jammed the rollers of his scrolling road book, he was still able to post the fastest time to top the opening day.

Acknowledging the result looked strong on paper, the two-time Dakar winner admits it was quite a challenging day to start his title defence.

“I had a really good day today up until about 140 kilometres where my road book started to play up a bit,” said Price. “Something had got in there and jammed the rollers and so I was left without a road book for a while.

“Luckily, I caught Matthias after he lost a little time and I was able to stay with him towards the finish. My result looks good on paper, but it turned out to be quite a tricky day. I’m also opening the stage tomorrow, so hopefully that’ll go well, too.”

Racing resumes on Monday for stage two, where riders will take on 393 kilometres, the stage including a short 26-kilometre liaison and a timed special of 367 kilometres.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

Yamaha extends AORC naming rights partnership for 2020

Image: John Pearson.

Yamaha Motor Australia has strengthened its partnership with the Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC), extending its position as naming rights sponsor for the 2020 season.

The partnership now enters its 15th consecutive year, where the Yamaha brand has assisted in raising the level of the AORC series that has produced multiple ISDE winning riders.

“Motorcycling Australia is very pleased that Yamaha Motor Australia has again for a record 15 years cemented its support of the Yamaha AORC,” said Motorcycling Australia off-road events manager Matthew Falvo.

“Together we are growing the sport of off-road racing and 2020 will see a number of new categories introduced to further tap into Australia’s junior talent. Yamaha Motor Australia dedication to the sport will give confidence to teams and riders that when it comes to off-road racing there is only one road off-road – Yamaha AORC.”

Yamaha Motor Australia motorsport manager Ray Howard added: “Yamaha Motor Australia are pleased to continue our substantial and positive relationships with Motorcycling Australia and the Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship in 2020.

“2019 was a sensational season and we believe with improvements to the 2020 calendar with new classes and adding Tasmania to the championship there will be even greater progress and improved development of off-road racing in Australia.

“We look forward to continue working closely with MA and local clubs throughout Australia to further develop the championship that has proven to be a fertile ground for producing international standard riders.”

The 2020 AORC season kicks off on 22-23 February at Toowoomba in Queensland.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

Red Bull KTM signs WESS champion Lettenbichler

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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing has signed reigning World Enduro Super Series (WESS) champion Manuel Lettenbichler to a multi-year deal that will see him through the 2021 season.

Lettenbichler, a KTM-supported rider in 2019, has recently completed his most successful season to date, with the young German clinching the WESS title following a winning ride at the final round of the series, the GetzenRodeo.

“I’m really excited to join Red Bull KTM Factory Racing for 2020 and beyond,” Lettenbichler stated. “I’ve ridden KTM motorcycles since I started in enduro but joining the factory team really feels like the next chapter of my career is really beginning now.

“They are a team I’ve looked up to for a long time. We’ve worked closely together during the last two years, so I know how professional they are and I’m excited to make this an even closer relationship. I’m looking forward to the season ahead and know that racing to defend my title will be a lot of fun. I can’t wait to get started.”

Lettenbichler joins Red Bull KTM Factory Racing riders Jonny Walker, Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson for 2020, where he’ll aim to successfully defend his WESS Enduro World Championship crown. Additionally, he will also contest selected AMA Extreme Off-Road events.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

Champion Sexton undergoes surgery following pit bike incident

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Defending 250SX East champion Chase Sexton has undergone surgery after breaking his collarbone in a pit bike incident last weekend.

The Geico Honda entry, who was understood to be targeting an attack at the 250SX West championship, will now defend his crown on the east coast as a result.

Sexton has stated he’ll be sidelined for a three-week period, bringing his return to riding around the time of Anaheim’s Monster Energy Supercross season-opener on 4 January.

“Unfortunately I had a mishap on Sunday riding 110s that led me to break my collarbone,” Sexton said in a statement. “This feels like deja vu to last year, but I’ve already gotten surgery to fix it and we are on the mend now. Off the bike for three weeks and then back at it trying to defend the 1E this year.”

Sexton signed a unique deal for 2020 and beyond, which will see him race the 250SX East championship with Geico Honda before graduating to the premier class with Team Honda HRC for the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au

WESS runner-up Gomez re-signs with factory Husqvarna

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World Enduro Super Series (WESS) runner-up Alfredo Gomez has re-signed with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing in a multi-year deal that will see him through the 2021 season.

The Spaniard was a regular front-runner in all eight rounds of the 2019 WESS championship, finishing just shy of the crown behind Manuel Lettenbichler (KTM).

“I’m really happy to continue with Husqvarna Motorcycles for another two years,” said Gomez. “We’ve grown together a lot during the last few years and I have a really strong and enjoyable relationship with everyone in the team – in a way it has become like an extended part of my family.

“I’m really proud of what we achieved during 2019 by finishing second overall in the WESS enduro world championship and always fighting for the victory. When I seriously injured my leg, they stood by me. There was never any pressure to return to the bike early, they just wanted me to get better.

“I feel like that was when our bond became even tighter than it already was. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead during these next two years and in particular 2020. We’ve shown ourselves as title contenders with the TE 300i and for certain our goal is to become world champions together.”

The opening round of the 2020 WESS season is scheduled for 8-10 May for the Extreme XL Lagares in Portugal.

Source: MotoOnline.com.au