[Yamaha]

YAMAHA’S PROMX ASPIRATIONS

5 months ago | Words: Andy Wigan | Photos: Yamaha Motor Australia

Yamaha has always tipped a bunch of resource into their national motocross racing program in Australia and, spearheaded by this country’s most successful race team, CDR Yamaha, it’s paid handsome dividends for the Japanese brand more often than not – in terms of both championship trophies and bike sales. And nothing appears to have changed for 2022. In fact, you could argue that this season sees the most impressive line-up of talent we’ve ever seen across a range of Yamaha-backed teams.

With so many Yamaha teams and riders in the paddock for 2022, Yamaha’s PR department has been kind enough to help us take stock of their extensive rider roster…

The countdown is on for the opening of the 2022 ProMX Championship and the Yamaha Racing Teams are ready to put all their hard work and pre-season training to the test this weekend at Wonthaggi.

After two seasons where only three national races have been contested, Yamaha Racing are filled with anticipation for a full and intense season ahead where all five motocross teams will contest the eight-round ProMX, starting in Victoria this weekend and concluding in Queensland in August.

Yamaha will have five teams in action across the eight rounds, ranging from the CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team, through to Serco Yamaha, Yamalube Yamaha Racing, WBR Yamaha as well as Yamaha Junior Racing. It’s a massive sea of blue at the Pro MX, with riders and teams desperate to win in 2022.

MX1: CDR YAMAHA MONSTER ENERGY TEAM

The CDR Yamaha team has a powerful line up in 2022 with reigning champ, Luke Clout, back to defend his title while he is joined by Aaron Tanti, on the YZ450F. Clout has been quietly working way behind the scenes in preparation for his title defence and has been pleased with his progress on and off the bike.

And in a late boost of confidence, his brother Aaron has just returned from the US and will again be on the tools with Luke at the ProMX rounds. Their bond is tight, and the pair have racked up an impressive list of results working together over recent years.

Meanwhile, Aaron Tanti continues to improve in his transition over to Yamaha and enters this year’s championship as a real dark horse. Pre-season events in Queensland have seen Tanti take it to the more established names in the 450cc division and he is riding a wave of confidence as we head towards the opening weekend.

“It’s been a relatively smooth off-season for us with no major dramas or issues. Both riders have been putting in the work and from a team perspective, we are all desperate to get back to national racing again. The YZ450F is an awesome bike and its achieving global success, and we look forward to keeping that going here in Australia and with the ProMX Championships,” states team owner, Craig Dack.

MX2: SERCO YAMAHA

The Serco Yamaha team has been hard at it over the off-season, making adjustments to the team in which they hope with land them the MX2 championship at season end. Former World Junior Champion, Bailey Malkiewicz, now rides alongside last year’s runner-up, Jesse Dobson, and the pair have been doing countless laps in preparation for this year’s championship.

Both riders have the skill to match it with anyone and the team have fined-tuned the bikes to ensure they have the best possible chance of success. Even the look of the bikes got a makeover. But the team are under no illusion that a fresh set of stickers is all that’s needed to win a national motocross championship and head to Wonthaggi prepared and ready for battle.

“The guys have been hard at it since returning to work in January, the riders and the mechanics Ben and Paul,” explains Serco’s Gavin Eales. “We have put more time into testing with the riders to ensure they have what they need to win and given them every opportunity for success. We also understand that the first round doesn’t win you the championship, but I feel we are heading into this year’s championship in a good position and expect the team to do well and get the season off to a good start.”

MX2 & MXW: YAMALUBE YAMAHA RACING

The Yamalube Yamaha Racing Team take three riders into this year’s championship with Rhys Budd and Alex Larwood handling the MX2 duties, while for the first time in a while, a manufacturer team will support a female motocross rider in the Women’s championship.

Sixteen-year-old Charli Cannon will line up on her YZ250F in the Women’s class for the three rounds scheduled at Wonthaggi, Gilman and Coolum, but will still work with the team when she contests the MX3 class at other rounds. Cannon comes into the championship in good form with success at local events in Queensland in recent weeks.

Budd and Larwood are two dedicated and determined riders on the rise and out to make a name for themselves in 2022. Both riders have worked tirelessly in recent months, both on and off the bike and the opening round can’t come soon enough.

“We are fortunate to have three riders who take their role seriously and are prepared to put in long hours to achieve their goals,” says team manager, Mike Ward. “All three riders put a plan in place several months ago as far as their riding and training goes and have followed it closely working with good people, so they have given themselves every chance for the year ahead. It’s a long season across a variety of tracks and with three riders it’s a busy workload, but we are happy to do it and look forward to seeing all three of them reach their goals in 2022.”

WBR YAMAHA

The Echuca based Yamaha dealer team have two young guns of Australian motocross at their disposal for season 2022, in Levi Rogers and Ryder Kingsford. Unfortunately, Rogers had shoulder surgery in January and will be forced to sit out the opening two rounds, but in his place will come New Zealand Yamaha racer, Brodie Connelly. Connelly rides for the JCR Yamaha Team in New Zealand and with the tight relationship between WBR and JCR Yamaha, Connelly was an easy solution to slot right into the team and fill the gaps until Rogers returns.

For Kingsford, this is his first year in the MX2 class after an impressive season racing MX3 in 2021. Kingsford has moved through the Yamaha Junior Racing program and continues his journey into professional racing with Yamaha for 2022. No pressure is placed on the 16-year-old; just to learn the ropes of professional racing and find his feet as the year progresses.

“It’s unfortunate that Levi went down with a shoulder injury at the start of the year, but getting it addressed right away was the correct thing to do and we expect him back on the bike in a couple of weeks and back racing around the Wodonga round. Ryder has shown us he is prepared to work hard and not afraid to mix it up with anyone in the MX2 class. He is young and has a lot to learn but we are happy to help guide him and I’m sure we will see significant improvement in his racing and results as the year progresses,” said Travis Whitten of WBR Yamaha.

MX3: YAMAHA JUNIOR RACING

The Yamaha Junior Racing crew will fly the Yamaha flag at the ProMX Championship and no less than six team riders will be on the gate at Wonthaggi. Seth Burchell, Jake Rumens, Angus Pearce, Pat Martin, Kobe Drew and Jake Cannon will all be on board the YZ250F and ready to take their first steps into racing at this level.

The 2022 ProMX action gets under way this Sunday at 8am. Those who can’t get to the track can view it via Stan or SBS during Sunday.

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