MX Nats: Five Things to Watch at Round 7
This weekend the Motul MX Nationals heads to Shepparton in country Victoria, and with Round 7 marking the crunch point in all three of the major championship classes, the MX Nationals Media crew put together five things that you need to watch this Sunday.
Ahhh, concrete starts. If there is one thing that divides a group of talented riders, it’s whether or not they have the ability to start on concrete. This weekend Shepparton will mark the only concrete start on the Motul MX Nationals calendar, and with most riders having limited access to a concrete pad to practice on, quite often starts are a roll of the dice on race day at the country Victorian venue. This weekend a jump off the gate is going to be more important than ever – combine the hard surface start with a right hand first turn and you have a challenge on your hands before the race has even begun… perfect for spectators, and a rider’s biggest obstacle.
Over the past two years, one thing that we have seen consistently at Shepparton is ruts as deep as the rider’s themselves. Blink and you could lose one of the athletes in a turn, meaning if you can’t ride ruts, you’re in for one difficult weekend of racing. With the start proving to be the most important, ruts come a close second at Shepparton. Riders will need to pick their lines carefully on Sunday because once you’re in a rut here there’s no getting out of it.
Gelling with the track
When you get to Shepparton you want to be at your peak because if there’s one track that you don’t want to have an ‘off day’ at, it’s at Round 7. With the circuit being one of the most technically challenging on the calendar, then throw in sub-zero weather conditions, and Shepparton challenges riders who 99% of the time rarely put a foot wrong. To be successful this weekend, riders will need focus, they will need to be sharp and have the ability to make decisions quickly. With upwards of ten lines per turn, options at Shepparton are a plenty, but in order to finish on top, it will be efficient riding and decision making that will set the winners apart from the rest on Sunday.
With only three rounds remaining after this weekend’s Shepparton outing, it’s getting to crunch time in the MX1 and MX2 championship classes. Currently in the premier Thor MX1 class, Dean Ferris has a healthy 61-point lead, and if he plays his cards right within a few rounds he could quite possibly wrap up the title early, BUT have an off day and things could turn around very quickly, so the CDR Yamaha rider will be hoping to bring his ‘A Game’ to Shepparton on Sunday. Meanwhile in the Motul MX2 category things are just firing up. We have already seen multiple red plate holders, and with Wilson Todd currently leading by a slim 5 points from Mitchell Evans, neither rider will want to put a foot wrong this weekend. Finally, the Pirelli MXD category only has a single round remaining after this weekend, meaning this Sunday will set them up for their decider at Port Macquarie. Currently Jy Roberts holds the red plate with 12 points up his sleeve, but with Cody Dyce nipping at his heels, he too will be praying he turns up to Shepparton fully prepared and ready to make one final dash at the Under 19’s Championship.
Finally, contracts. With the end of the season fast approaching, team managers are looking at the time sheets closer than ever. By now, any ‘luck’ riders had relied on has worn off, and success is built Monday to Friday when they aren’t at the races, and one thing’s for sure, teams will notice. Round 7 is when the subject of ‘signing on’ gets well and truly thrown around – whether it’s staying put with the team they’re with, exploring options elsewhere, trying to land the first factory ride, or clutching at straws to retain a seat, this is one round where you put a foot wrong and things could change quickly. But put a foot right and the chequebook and dotted line for 2018 could quite possibly become a reality.
Round 7 of the 2017 Motul MX Nationals will take place at Shepparton in Victoria on Sunday, July 16, with bikes on track from 8:00 am.
For more information on the Motul MX Nationals, head to the series’ official website, www.mxnationals.com.au