Australia’s 16 riders competing at this weekend’s FIM Junior Motocross World Championship will be hoping to achieve something that nobody has ever previously accomplished before, and become the first Australian to win a Motocross World Championship.
The championship is being held in New Zealand, at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park, and Australia will be represented by eight riders in each of the two classes, many of whom stand a fantastic chance of success, according to team coach Greg Moss.
“We’ve never won a World Motocross Championship,” Moss said.
“Jeff Leisk could have been our first all those years ago, Chad [Reed] was second in the world before heading to America, Andrew McFarlane came so close and got hurt, so we’ve certainly had guys capable … but this team will hopefully get one this weekend, it’s all within their ability.”
Moss believes that the competition will be fierce among competing nations and riders, and that the local track will certainly prove an advantage for the local riders.
Kiwi heroes such as Cameron Dillon, Hamish Dobbyn, Ethan Martens, Matt Hunt, John Phillips, Mitchell Rees and Kayne Lamont, to name just a few, are very familiar with and very fast around the Taupo circuit.
“If we get a good start and are able to match the New Zealanders’ pace early and then develop as the race builds up, we’ll be fine,” Moss continued.
“Nobody will catch the Kiwis early, and definitely at the practice on Saturday they’ll show us how to go around this track … we’re going to have to learn off them.
“I’m sure if the track roughs up a bit, the Europeans will be really fast, and Eli Tomac (the American) is definitely world class.
“The competition is there – it’s the world championships so you’re going to have to be the world’s best to win.”
Following an early morning team meeting yesterday, the Australian contingent, consisting of riders, team management, parents and spectators, all made their way to the sandy Digger McEwen Motocross Park to assemble their bikes and walk the track, and this was followed by a visit to a nearby paddock where the riders put their bikes through their paces during a practice session in preparation for the weekend’s racing.
Moss was highly impressed with the Taupo track, and since being appointed as team coach he has also noticed a considerable improvement in the attitude, preparation and morale of Australia’s young riders, citing the recent MA-AIS Training Camp — as well as the MX Nationals Under 19’s series — as two major factors contributing toward this improvement.
“The facility looks great, we’ve been well looked after here – Motorcycling Australia have done a top job in setting the team up,” Moss continued.
“The AIS Camp was good because whilst these guys have a pretty good idea of what is expected, the AIS Camp reassured them about what their coaches and parents have taught them in the past,” Moss said.
“They’re all eating and training a little bit better, they’re all keen, and I think Kevin Williams bringing on the Under 19 series means they’re all professionals now at a young age, not kids struggling and wondering where their careers are going to go … all these guys want to make it to the top.”
Photo by Andy McGechan, www.BikesportNZ.com