[News]

NSW to Stage OZ’s Richest MX Titles

2 weeks ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: My Action Images

The NSW State Motocross Championship has seen windows of success over the past couple of decades. But an ongoing lack of coherent planning and promotion means it’s never exactly been a jewel in this country’s motocross crown. And in recent years, the series has declined to the point where it’s in desperate need a reboot.
Well, that’s exactly what Motorcycling NSW (MNSW) appears intent on doing for 2018. So to get the inside line on what we can expect from the completely redesigned NSW State MX titles, we asked Motorcycling NSW’s CEO, Dave Cooke, to help paint us a picture of its key ingredients.

TM: In a nutshell, Dave, what will the 2018 NSW State Motocross Championship look like?
DC: For 2018, the NSW State Motocross Championship will be completely reinvented. It’ll have a new name, a new format, and a massive injection of funding from Motorcycling NSW. The titles will now be known as the ‘King Of MX’, and will operate on a qualification basis. Six ‘qualifier’ rounds will be run all around the state for both Juniors and Seniors, culminating in one massive event on the June Long Weekend for the final at Coonabarabran’s Goanna Tracks.

Why the need for such a wholesale reinvention for the series?
Motocross is an exciting sport, full of riders who crave great, exciting experiences. We decided the old format was getting a little long in the tooth, and that some riders were genuinely looking for something new. After numerous discussions with Maree Kirby from our MX Committee, and MNSW Director and East Coast MX Series promoter, Michel Constantinou, we decided to create an event that would stand alone as unique in Australia. We wanted it to be an event that was truly targeted at the riders; not what might only be good for sponsors, or for MNSW. Our NSW State MX titles should always be, first and foremost, about the riders. If we can get the venues, promotion, branding and prize money right, then we believe we’ll have the key ingredients in place that ensure the series’ success.

How does the qualifying format work?
The new format borrows heavily from the famous and longstanding Loretta Lynn’s event in the USA, with each qualifying event’s top five or six riders earning themselves a much sought-after ‘Golden Ticket’ to score themselves a gate position at the final at Goanna Tracks at Coonabarabran. MNSW will offer a few wildcard places at the Final for overseas and interstate riders who can’t get to a qualifier. There’s already been plenty of interest from a wide range of competitors, including one of Australia’s biggest female MX stars, Mackenzie Tricker, who is planning to come home from America for the June Long Weekend just to compete in the Queen of MX event. State Championships will also be up for grabs in every class over the three motos. There will also be stacked All Powers feature races, pitting the best from all three Senior classes against each other.

The information on MNSW’s Facebook page suggests there will be some damn good prize money for your 2018 series…
Yep, that’s probably the biggest change of all for 2018. We’re planning a prize money pool that will be larger than any single motocross event in Australia. Every championship class – including the Junior classes – will receive much bigger winnings in prizes or cash. Then at the end of the Final event at Coona, we will have two massive feature races: one to decide the King Of MX, and one to decide the Queen of MX. Each of those feature races will carry a $10,000 winner’s cheque, with no second prize. That will really open things up for anyone to win the crown, as it only takes one mistake for the favourites to be out of contention. Plus, having no second prize will mean this race will be something completely different to anything else in the country. This will be the richest motocross race in Australia, by a long shot.
To put that in perspective, we’re giving away more prize money in just one feature race than Dean Ferris won for taking out the entire MX1 Nationals crown over 10 rounds this year. So MNSW is also expecting the big boys will want to come out and play for the King of MX.

What about series promotion? Will it be live-streamed or on TV?
We have many things planned for this event, and we’re talking to a couple of TV stations who’ve shown interest in televising the Final. But most of all, we want to build an iconic event that truly recognises the riders for the amazing athletes they are. Ultimately, our plan is to make this the one big event each year that everyone wants to win. The marketing and branding of the event is very different, too. Every year, the winner of the King of MX will be ‘immortalised’ via a digital cartoon created by American artist Wally Hackensmith, and their image will be used as the poster artwork for the following year’s series, so that will be something a bit special for the riders.

Nice. Shades of the infamous Mr Motocross series, eh? It’s almost as if you’re looking to take on the MX Nationals!
Why not? We’re hoping this event will get to the point where nobody will much care much who wins MX Nationals, because everyone is going to want that King of MX crown. We want to make it the title everyone remembers each year, because to get it you will have to beat another 39 desperate riders on the biggest, meanest, fastest track in the country. Coonabarabran’s Goanna Tracks is an incredible motocross circuit, and for the series finale, we’re rebuilding ‘The Ridge’, which hasn’t been raced on since the MX Nationals went there in 2012. It will be absolutely spectacular.

Where can people go for more details about the series?
The King of MX website will be up and running soon. In the meantime, they can keep up to date with all the news at the event’s dedicated Facebook page.

2018 EVENT DATES…

Qualifier 1: March 3-4 – Lower Mountains (Clarence)
Qualifier 2: March 10-11 – South Coast (Nowra)
Qualifier 3: March 17-18 – Hunter (Cessnock)
Qualifier 4: April 21-22 – Riverina (Young)
Qualifier 5: May 5-6 – Central West (Dubbo)
Qualifier 6: May 12-13 – North Coast (Moree)
FINAL: June 9-11 – Goanna Tracks (Coonabarabran)

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