Moto News Weekly for March 17, 2020

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What happened this week

  • Kailub Russell wins GNCC Round 3 – The Specialized General
  • Daniel Milner wins shortened Dungog AORC
  • Gibbs and Purvis top New Zealand Motocross Championship
  • Jackson Richardson wins 2020 Jimboomba Triple Crown
  • Jack Bell wins Champions Flat Track School Pro championship
  • 2020 Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations scoring changes
  • Andrew Short & Ross Branch to Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team
  • Connor Tierney & Brodie Ellis join SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki
  • Luciano Benavides joins Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
  • Motorcycling Australia update on motorcycle events
  • 2020 X Trial Australian Championship cancelled
  • Steele Creek GNCC postponed as facility closes
  • AFT postpones Atlanta Short Track & Charlotte Half-Mile
  • 2020 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge postponed
  • 2020 Manjimup 15,000 Motocross postponed
  • 2021 FIM Oceania Speedway Championship to be held in SA
  • 2020 Championship Calendars
    • 2020 AMA Motocross
    • 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross
    • 2020 MXGP
    • 2020 American Flat Track
    • 2020 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Speedway
    • 2020 FIM Speedway GP Championship
    • 2020 Australian Dirt Track Championship
    • 2020 Australian Track Championship
    • 2020 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC)
    • 2020 FIM SuperEnduro Championship
    • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East/West
    • 2020 FIM Flat Track World Championship
    • 2020 King of MX
    • 2020 Australian Motocross National Championship
    • 2020 Fox New Zealand Motocross Championship

Kailub Russell wins GNCC Round 3 – The Specialized General

Round three of the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series – The Specialized General – concluded over the weekend in Washington, Georgia, with Kailub Russell coming through the claim the win.

GNCC Rnd The Specialized General Kailub Russell KH
Kailub Russell – Image by Ken Hill

Russell had his work cut out for him after a mid-pack start, and coming through timing and scoring fourth on the first lap. He made his way into the lead as they came around on lap four, but Steward Baylor Jr. would remain close.

Baylor Jr. battled back-and-forth with K. Russell the entire last lap, swapping the lead position multiple times. As the duo made their way to the motocross track portion of the track, K. Russell found an inside line and make the pass stick.

Baylor Jr. held onto second overall, coming in just 1.8 seconds behind K. Russell and earning Sherco’s first GNCC podium finish at the premier level.

Josh Strang came through the pack to earn third overall on the day. Strang was sixth on the opening lap, but would put his head down and push throughout the entire three-hour race. Strang currently sits second in the National Championship points standings after three rounds of racing.

GNCC Rnd The Specialized General Steward Baylor Kailub Russell Josh Strang podium KH
Steward Baylor, Kailub Russell, Josh Strang on the podium at The Generalized Special – Image by Ken Hill

Coming through to take the fourth place position in XC1 Open Pro and sixth overall was Grant Baylor. As the riders made their way through the course, Baylor found himself starting out eighth. However, as time wore on Baylor moved through the pack to get towards the front and battle with the top riders.

After grabbing the $250 All Balls Racing XC1 Holeshot Award Ricky Russell finished fifth in XC1 and eighth overall on the day. Jordan Ashburn would come through leading the way on lap one, but fell back to sixth in XC1 and ninth overall.

Sitting seventh for majority of the day was Andrew DeLong. Layne Michael came eighth in his class and 15th overall, while rounding out the top 10 in XC1 Open Pro were Levi Keller and Evan Earl.

GNCC Rnd The Specialized General Steward Baylor KH
Steward Baylor – Image by Ken Hill

Round three saw another new winner in the XC2 250 Pro class, with Craig DeLong coming through to earn his first XC2 win of the season, while also placing fourth overall on the day. Jonathan Girroir battled for a second place finish in XC2, and held onto the class points lead. Mike Witkowski rounded out the XC2 podium with a third.

Earning the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class was Jason Raines. Raines led the race from start to finish, putting over a 2 minute gap on the rest of the class. Cole Mattison battled through the pack to earn second in his class, followed by points leader Zack Hayes rounding out the top three.

At the conclusion of the 10 a.m. race it was WXC competitor, Becca Sheets taking the overall win and her third-straight WXC class win. Sheets had her work cut out for her, fighting from fourth on the opening lap. Sheets put her head down and pushed as she made her way into the lead on lap three, finishing with a 21 second gap back to second place.

Grabbing the $100 Trail Jesters Holeshot Award was Mackenzie Tricker. Tricker battled for the lead, but would remain in the second place position as the checkered flag flew. Third was Tayla Jones claiming the final place on the podium.

At the conclusion of the 8 a.m. youth race it was Jack Joy taking his first overall win. Joy battled with fellow Team Green Kawasaki’s Grant Davis through the entire race, swapping the lead multiple times. Davis held on for second overall in the youth, with KTM’s Caleb Lane rounding out the overall podium and YXC1 Super Mini Sr. class top three.

Georgia’s David Parsons was nominated by his wife for GNCC’s Moto Hero Award, and on Sunday during the 10 a.m. start he was awarded with the Moto Hero plaque and a set of Greenball’s premium light truck Kanati brand tires valued over $1,000 courtesy of GBC Tires. Parsons retired from the military in 2007, but still helps train different active and reserved military branches. During his time in the military Parsons was deployed to Desert Storm, and many other countries. The GNCC thanked David for his service, and being part of the GNCC Racing family.

XC1 Pro Event Results

  1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  2. Steward Baylor Jr. (SHR)
  3. Josh Strang (KAW)
  4. Grant Baylor (SHR)
  5. Ricky Russell (HQV)
  6. Jordan Ashburn (KAW)
  7. Andrew DeLong (HON)
  8. Layne Michael (YAM)
  9. Levi Keller (HON)
  10. Evan Earl (KAW)

Overall National Championship Standings

  1. Kailub Russell (90)
  2. Josh Strang (67)
  3. Ricky Russell (59)
  4. Michael Witkowski (45)
  5. Jordan Ashburn (45)
  6. Jonathan Girroir (44)
  7. Steward Baylor Jr. (43)
  8. Craig DeLong (43)
  9. Cody Barnes (31)
  10. Grant Baylor (30)

XC2 250 Pro Event Results

  1. Craig DeLong (HQV)
  2. Jonathan Girroir (KTM)
  3. Michael Witkowski (YAM)
  4. Cody Barnes (BET)
  5. Lyndon Snodgrass (KAW)
  6. Liam Draper (KTM)
  7. Evan Smith (HQV)
  8. Tegan Temple (KTM)
  9. Jesse Ansley (KTM)
  10. Thorn Devlin (BET)

XC2 250 Pro Series Standings

  1. Jonathan Girroir (80)
  2. Mike Witkowski (76)
  3. Craig DeLong (72)
  4. Cody Barnes (51)
  5. Liam Draper (42)
  6. Evan Smith (39)
  7. Jesse Ansley (37)
  8. Thorn Devlin (35)
  9. Simon Johnson (32)
  10. Lyndon Snodgrass (32)
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Daniel Milner wins shortened Dungog AORC

See the class report here:
Daniel Milner wins rain shortened Dungog AORC (link)

Daniel Milner has won a shortened AORC Round 3 at Dungog, taking the overall win by over a minute from Daniel Sanders, with Luke Styke completing the top three.

AORC Rnd Dungog Daniel Milner
Daniel Milner

Michael Driscoll came home in fourth overall, ahead of Josh Green in fifth, while Jonte Reynders, Mason Semmens, Fraser Higlett, Broc Grabham and Jeremy Carpentier completed the top 10. Todd Waters was just outside the top 10 in 11th.

The results left Milner topping the E2 class, Sanders the E3 victor, and Styke the E1 leader at Dungog, before Sunday’s action was cancelled due to heavy rainfall overnight.

Milner was perfect in mixed conditions on Saturday, powering through the tests aboard his KTM 450 EXC-F to extend his advantage in the standings. Sunday’s action was cancelled following a large amount of rainfall in the region overnight.

Daniel Milner – P1

“I always seem to gel with the enduro format and am able to get the best out of them in the tests. It’s definitely something that I enjoy doing and my results were pretty much perfect, so it was a flawless day. I made sure we stayed consistent, got through cleanly and it was a really good result for us. I understand why we couldn’t race today, but for me it was definitely a shame because I’ve been feeling really good on the bike – the 2020 KTM 450 EXC-F is unbelievable. It’s the best package that I’ve had so far and we’re enjoying going racing a lot, which shows in the results.”

AORC Rnd Dungog Daniel Milner
Daniel Milner

Husqvarna Enduro Racing Team rider Daniel Sanders picked up another commanding class win in E3 at Dungog on Saturday.

Daniel Sanders – P2

“It’s always a good enduro at Dungog and it was positive to win the E3 class on Saturday. We made some changes with the bike going into the weekend, we’re still moving forward and I’m getting fitter as well, so it was a good weekend. There is a lot of room for improvement overall, so we will get back to work and look forward to the next round. Sunday didn’t go ahead, which was unfortunate after it rained all night, so that was their decision and it was fair enough.”

AORC Rnd Dungog Sanders FM AORC RDS Dungog
Daniel Sanders

The round saw a return to a traditional enduro format favouring Styke, who was back to his best, positioning his 250cc machine inside the top three in outright times as he thundered around the bush surrounding Dungog. He won every special test in class, but more importantly, regained confidence after a frustrating run of injuries. The result also propelled Styke into his class lead.

Luke Styke – P3

“It was good to come into the weekend feeling healthy and ready to race, the opening weekend was tough as I was carrying an injury and then sustained a pretty good head knock during the event, so it was good to be fresh and ready to go here at Dungog. I was able to have a good run and win on Saturday. It was disappointing that we couldn’t race Sunday but the amount of rain we had meant completing the course and getting medical to all areas would be difficult, so the decision was made to call it off and I completely understand it. The tests on the weekend were good and we were fortunate to get the majority of them done before the rain came. I have got the points lead back now and the plan is to not let it go until the championship is done.”

AORC Rnd Dungog Luke Styke
Luke Styke

Josh Green continued to rack up podiums and again took third place in the E2 division, alongside fifth overall, despite some ups and downs along the way. Green started the day strongly, but fell heavily in one of the morning tests which really set him back on the time sheets. He was able to rebound well from the fall and post some fast test times again as the day went on, but the damage was done on the time sheet and Green was forced to settle with a third place finish for the round.

Josh Green – P5

“It was a bit of an up and down weekend for me with some good test times but also a couple of ordinary ones that hurt me at the end of the day. I think there were a few top three times in tests but there was also some way down in the top 10 when I fell off. No rider can afford to be inconsistent in a championship as competitive as this. Still, despite the mistakes, its still good to be on the podium and leave here healthy. I’m second in the championship but only two points separates three riders and we still have a lot of racing to go.”

AORC Rnd Dungog Josh Green
Josh Green

Milner’s rookie teammate Mason Semmens contested his first-ever enduro round to finish second in the E1 division riding the KTM 250 SX-F, quickly adapting to the format and now just one point outside of the championship lead.

Mason Semmens – P7

“The enduro format was new to me, so I learned a lot on the trail and with the tests in between, which was good. My day wasn’t too bad, finishing second in class, even though we always want to win. I look forward to doing some more enduro and really picking it up further, plus Dungog was a good location to gain further experience. It would have been nice to race on the Sunday, but it is what it is and we’ll move onto the next one now.”

AORC Rnd Dungog Mason Semmens
Mason Semmens

Next on the 2020 Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) calendar will be Nowra, New South Wales, scheduled for 18-19 April, but currently under review as to how the rounds will be run under coronavirus restrictions.

Overall Results – AORC Round 3, 2020

Pos. Rider Time
1 Daniel MILNER 39:31.6
2 Daniel SANDERS 40:46.0
3 Luke STYKE 41:09.5
4 Michael DRISCOLL 41:20.8
5 Josh GREEN 41:29.7
6 Jonte REYNDERS 41:36.8
7 Mason SEMMENS 41:52.2
8 Fraser HIGLETT 42:19.7
9 Broc GRABHAM 42:23.9
10 Jeremy CARPENTIER 42:41.8
11 Todd WATERS 42:46.8
12 Andrew WILKSCH 42:49.4
13 Beau RALSTON 42:51.8
4 Stefan GRANQUIST 42:53.7
5 Geoff BRAICO 42:54.7
16 Hayden KEELEY 43:04.1
17 Cooper SHEIDOW 43:10.4
18 Kyron BACON 43:28.7
19 Ben KEARNS 43:29.4
20 Corey HAMMOND 44:16.8
21 Matt MURRY 44:38.2
22 Dalton JOHNSON 44:50.1
23 Brad HARDAKER 44:53.3
24 Lee STEPHENS 44:53.3
25 Brock NICHOLS 45:06.0
26 Richard CHIBNALL 45:17.1
27 William PRICE 45:20.6
28 Harrison TEED 45:28.6
29 Wesley KEELEY 45:35.7
30 Joshua KILVINGTON 46:07.1
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Gibbs and Purvis top New Zealand Motocross Championship

Hard work and a strong team behind the scenes has seen Altherm JCR Yamaha do the double, with Kirk Gibbs crowned the Fox New Zealand Motocross Championship’s MX1 winner and Maximus Purvis taking out the MX2 title.

The double title winning Altherm JCR Yamaha team celebrate victory in the MX and MX Fox New Zealand Motocross Championships.
Altherm JCR Yamaha celebrate the double win with Gibbs and Purvis – Image by CLMINTIEPIX

Well-deserved celebrations ensued last night after the final round of four wrapped up, with two of the team’s riders on top of their podiums at Taupo’s Digger McEwen Motocross Park.

Sunshine Coast-based Gibbs knows how the rollercoaster of motocross racing goes. He won the New Zealand MX1 championship in 2018, then just missed the title last year by a meagre five-points. This year, he bested defending champion Cody Copper by four-points to take the win.

Kirk Gibbs

“It’s so awesome to win the championship again. To come so close last year and just miss out was disappointing. Everything just went really well for me this season and things started clicking for me. I was riding well and the Yamaha YZ450 was great. Working hard with Josh during the weeks between the four rounds and with my Australian team helped me to feel really comfortable and strong, which was what I believe led to the championship win. I’m stoked to get another championship over here and I’m really stoked for Josh and Amy [Coppins] and the team. I know how much hard work that everyone that’s involved puts in. I couldn’t be any more thankful for them and my team back home for being part of it.”

Altherm JCR Yamahas Kirk Gibbs wins the Fox New Zealand Motocross Championships MX title
Kirk Gibbs – Image by CLMINTIEPIX

Thirty-one-year-old Gibbs used his experience to manage the final round well. He won the first race and from there had a 10-point lead. Gibbs settled for second in the final two motos, knowing that he’d have the points on board to take the MX1 trophy back across The Ditch with him.

Cody Cooper took the round overall win from Gibbs, by a single point, with Hamish Harwood completing the top three, and Kayne Lamont and Ethan Martens fourth and fifth.

The standings saw Cody Cooper take runner-up, with Hamish Harwood a more distant third overall. Mirroring the round results, Kayne Lamont and Ethan Martens were fourth and fifth overall in the MX1 standings.

MX1 Round Results

  1. Cody Cooper – 70
  2. Kirk Gibbs (YZ450) – 69
  3. Hamish Harwood – 62
  4. Kayne Lamont (YZ450) – 54
  5. Ethan Martens – 46

MX1 Championship Results

  1. Kirk Gibbs (YZ450) – 280
  2. Cody Cooper – 276
  3. Hamish Harwood – 244
  4. Kayne Lamont (YZ450) – 203
  5. Ethan Martens – 176

Mangakino’s 19-year-old Maximus Purvis had a slightly more nail-biting road to victory on-board his Yamaha YZ250F. Coming into the final round he had a narrow four-point lead over main rival Josiah Natzke.

A second in the opening moto meant he was on track for the title but a wrong tyre choice for the second race dropped him back down the pack and piled on the pressure for the final moto. A swap back to the original tyre saw race three success, sealing the championship. Purvis described the championship-winning feeling as “unreal” as he snatched the title from Natzke.

Maximus Purvis

“I’ve been working so hard and fighting all season and it feels so good to take the win. It definitely came down to the wire in the last race, but I wanted that win badly. I fought through a couple riders then just put my foot down, went for it, and pulled the win off.”

Altherm JCR Yamahas Maximus Purvis holds his Fox New Zealand Motocross Championships MX trophy aloft.
Maximus Purvis on the top step of the MX2 podium – Image by CLMINTIEPIX

Maximus Purvis took the round win by two points from Josiah Natzke, with Dylan Walsh third and final podium place-getter, while James Scott and Morgan Fogarty completed the round top-five.

The MX2 championship standings saw Purvis grasp the title with 252-points to Natzke’s 246, while James Scott was third with 228-points. Dylan Walsh and Caleb Ward completed the MX2 championship top five.

MX2 Round Results

  1. Maximus Purvis (YZ250F) – 69
  2. Josiah Natzke – 67
  3. Dylan Walsh (YZ250F) – 63
  4. James Scott – 56
  5. Morgan Fogarty – 47

MX2 Championship Results

  1. Maximus Purvis (YZ250F) – 252
  2. Josiah Natzke – 246
  3. James Scott – 228
  4. Dylan Walsh (YZ250F) – 224
  5. Caleb Ward – 188
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Jackson Richardson wins 2020 Jimboomba Triple Crown

The 2020 Jimboomba Triple Crown ran over the weekend with 5000 spectators turning up to watch Jackson Richardson claim the overall win from Kaleb Barham and Noah Ferguson in the All Stars Final combined results. Jackson Richardson was undefeated across all three races.

In the Junior 85-150 Final results it was Liam Owens taking the win from Jyle Campbell, with Wiremu third overall, while Jake Cannon after taking two race wins ended up fourth, after a disappointing Race 3 result.

The Junior Lites saw Jack Mather clean sweep all three races, ahead of an equally consistent Cameron Steel and Kode Drew.

All Stars Final Merged Top 10 Results

Pos Rider R1 R2 R3 Total
1 Jackson Richardson 1 1 1 3
2 Kaleb Barham 2 4 2 8
3 Noah Ferguson 3 5 3 11
4 jai walker 5 3 4 12
5 Jesse Madden 4 8 7 19
6 Lochie Latimer 6 6 11 23
7 Connor Tierney 16 2 6 24
8 Luke Zielinski 9 11 8 28
9 Blake Cobbin 10 10 9 29
10 Ricky Latimer 7 7 16 30

Junior 85 – 150 Final Merged Top 5 Results

Pos Rider R1 R2 R3 Total
1 Liam Owens 2 2 2 6
2 Jyle Campbell 3 5 1 9
3 MR Wiremu 4 3 3 10
4 Jake Cannon 1 1 9 11
5 Jayden Binger 5 4 4 13

Junior Lites Final Merged Top 5 Results

Pos Rider R1 R2 R3 Total
1 Jack Mather 1 1 1 3
2 Cameron Steel 2 2 2 6
3 Kode Drew 3 3 3 9
4 Cody Kilpatrick 4 5 4 13
5 Kees Mortimer 7 4 5 16
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Jack Bell wins Champions Flat Track School Pro championship

Cranwell racer Jack Bell has won the Champions Flat Track School Pro championship with a 16-point advantage over Franco Bourne. National Superstock rider Tom Neave took the overall win on the day with an impressive performance taking four wins from the six races in the penultimate round of the championship at Glentham near Market Rasen.

Jack Bell rode well to take a couple of wins and finish the day in second place. There was a good entry with many British Superbike riders taking part, including the two Honda Racing riders Glenn and Andrew Irwin.

Tom Laycock Tom Neave Jack Bell on podium
Tom Laycock, Tom Neave and Jack Bell on the podium

The next and final round of the championship is on March 28.

Overall Results

  1. Tom Neave
  2. Jack Bell
  3. Tom Laycock
  4. Andy Irwin
  5. Taylor Mackenzie
  6. Steve Gurnhill
  7. Glenn Irwin
  8. Mikey Taylor

Championship Points

  1. Jack Bell 77
  2. Franco Bourne 61
  3. Steve Gurnhill 53
  4. Tom Neave 40
  5. Kier Armstrong 33
  6. Tom Laycock 32
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2020 Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations scoring changes

There will be no more drawn heats in the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations after changes to the World Championship pairs competition were confirmed for 2020 onwards. Riders will now be awarded four points for winning a heat, with three points for second place, two for third and no points for last place, being disqualified or failing to complete the race.

As a result, if a team finishes second and third in a race, they will win the heat 5-4, rewarding the countries that produce the best team performance and avoids last places.

The changes mean that if a country claims second and third spot in the Grand Final, they will be crowned world champions, even if one of their rivals won the heat – ensuring there will be no need for a title-deciding run-off.

Steven Gould, vice president and managing director of BSI Speedway at IMG Events, hopes the changes will offer greater clarity for everyone following the action.

Steven Gould

“The Monster Energy SON is a competition where team riding is vital and to reward this, we have changed the scoring system to ensure the countries that perform best as a pair come out on top. With no drawn heats, it will be much easier for fans to work out which country wins a race, finishes highest on countback in the event of a tie on overall points and ultimately claims the world title. We’re looking forward to some fantastic racing as the Monster Energy SON gets started with the Semi-Finals in Landshut on April 25 and Daugavpils on May 2, before the competition culminates with a thrilling final at Manchester’s National Speedway Stadium on May 8 and 9.”

Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations scoring changes
2020 Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations scoring changes announced

The top two countries in each Semi-Final – formerly known as Race Offs – will still automatically reach the Final. But there will only be one Final Qualifier heat at the end of the initial 21 heats, with the teams in third and fourth place on the overall scorechart battling it out for the last spot available in the Final.

After 42 heats have been completed in the Final, there will still be a Grand Final Qualifier between the sides ranked second and third on the score-chart.

The winning team in this race meets the nation ranked first on the scorechart in the Grand Final, with the team scoring the most points in that race crowned world champions.

Countries will be required to declare a squad of up to three senior riders and two under-21s three weeks before the opening round in Landshut, with countries nominating their starting line-up of two seniors and one under-21 six days before their respective meetings.

FIM president Jorge Viegas has welcomed these changes.

Jorge Viegas

“These improvements to the scoring system will make the competition even more intense and encourage team riding which this format is designed to provide. Spectators at the tracks as well as television viewers should see more tactical riding and will be able to follow the progress of teams more easily as the championship progresses. The FIM sees this as a positive move as the Monster Energy FIM Speedway of Nations continues to be a major event in the track racing calendar.”

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Andrew Short & Ross Branch to Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team

The Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team have announce a strengthened rider line-up for the 2020 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, as Andrew Short and Ross Branch join the squad. Both racers showed impressive pace at this year’s Dakar Rally and look set to become key members of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team.

Andrew Short Ross Branch Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team
Andrew Short & Ross Branch join Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team for 2020

Andrew Short is one of the world’s most versatile and successful off-road motorcycle racers. A hugely experienced US supercross and motocross competitor, with close to 40 career podium results to his credit, he was also a winning member of the USA’s 2010 Motocross of Nations team.

Calling time on his 16-year supercross and motocross career, the Texas native switched to cross-country rally racing at the end of 2017. Competing in his first Dakar Rally in 2018, Andrew has since completed three Dakars, placed as runner-up in the 2019 Silk Way Rally and won the 2019 Rally du Maroc.

Andrew Short

“I am really excited to be joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team ahead of the 2020 FIM Rally World Championship. I’m looking forward to working with a new group of people and a brand that has enjoyed a lot of success in rally in the past. I know everyone in the team will be pushing me to improve and get better results. My main goal is Dakar 2021, but between now and then we hope to get a lot of racing and preparation work done, and I can’t wait to get it all started.”

Ross Branch was one of the stand-out performers at the 2020 Dakar Rally. Quickly adjusting to the unpredictable Saudi Arabian terrain, the 33-year-old from Botswana won the event’s second stage, going on to challenge for further wins and take four more top-10 stage results, despite carrying an injury throughout the event.

Competing in his first Dakar Rally in 2019, Ross completed the South American event in 13th overall in the motorcycle class and as the event’s highest-finishing Rookie competitor. He also finished as runner-up in the Merzouga Rally and eighth in the Rally du Maroc in 2019.

Ross Branch

“Joining the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team is a dream come true for me. To become a part of an official factory rally team is what I have been working hard to achieve over the last few years. The opportunity to work with a team that is focused on both Dakar and the rally world championship is amazing for me. I want to improve as a racer and believe that I have the speed to get improved results. Winning a stage at Dakar this year was a huge boost for my confidence, now I have the support of Monster Energy Yamaha I’m excited to see what I can achieve.”

Short and Branch were set to make their competitive debut for the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Official Team at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. However, with the opening event of the 2020 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship postponed due to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak, the new target is Rally Kazakhstan, which runs from 24-29 May.

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Connor Tierney & Brodie Ellis join SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki

SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki team returns for the 2020 Australian motocross and supercross series’ with a new rider line-up. Connor Tierney and Brodie Ellis will contest the MX1 and MX2 championships respectively on board Suzuki RM-Z machinery with the support of Byrners Suzuki in Victoria and Cycleworld in Tasmania.

Brodie Ellis And Connor Tierney SB Motorsports Suzuki Team Photoshoot Marc Jones Photography
Brodie Ellis, and Connor Tierney – Image by Marc Jones Photography

Originally from Western Australia, 21-year-old Connor Tierney will transition to the RM-Z450 and will be looking to establish himself as a premier class title contender after a series of strong top-10 finishes and a supercross race win last year.

Connor Tierney

“It’s great to be a part of the SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki team. It’s been a really smooth transition to the RM-Z450, I feel like the bike’s handling really compliments my riding style well. We’ve been working hard with the team and Steve from SPMX to get everything dialled in for me. I’m healthy, feeling fit and can’t wait to head to Horsham.”

Connor Tierney Sb Suzuki Team Photoshoot Marc Jones Photography
Connor Tierney – Image by Marc Jones Photography

19-year-old Tasmanian Brodie Ellis will make his senior debut graduating from MXD to MX2 competing on board the Suzuki RM-Z250.

Brodie Ellis

“I’m excited to step up to MX2 this year with the support from SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki team and Cycleworld Suzuki. The bike and team have both been awesome so far, I’m really looking forward to round 1 and getting the season started.”

Brodie Ellis Sb Suzuki Team Photoshoot Marc Jones Photography
Brodie Ellis – Image by Marc Jones Photography

SB Motorsports ECSTAR Suzuki will make their 2020 racing debut at Horsham, Victoria in April 4th and 5th for the first two rounds of the MX Nationals championship.


Luciano Benavides joins Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing

Husqvarna Motorcycles have announced the signing of 24-year-old Argentinian Luciano Benavides, who will compete for Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing starting with the upcoming Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the opening round of the 2020 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Over recent seasons Luciano has established himself as one of the most promising young rally racers, claiming the 2019 FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies World Championship title. A rider that is still very much learning and improving, Luciano already has two top-10 Dakar Rally finishes to his credit. In 2019 he placed eighth before then finishing in an impressive sixth position in 2020, as the event moved to Saudi Arabia for the first time ever.

LUCIANO BENAVIDES JOINS ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING TEAM
Luciano Benavides

Joining Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory team in time for round one of the 2020 World Championship, Luciano will partner long-standing team member and former World Champion Pablo Quintanilla. Under contract with the team until the end of 2022, Benavides will contest the 2020, 2021 and 2022 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship as well as the Dakar Rally through to and including the 2022 event.

Pela Renet – Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally Team Manager

“We are very pleased to have Luciano joining our team. Over the last two seasons he has improved considerably and as well as being the reigning FIM Junior Cross-Country Rallies World Champion he is also now among the very best rally racers. Luciano has a wise and friendly head on his shoulders and is extremely motivated. Over the last two years he has improved at the Dakar, and we hope that together with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Rally team he will continue to learn and grow as an athlete.”

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2020 X-Trial Australia Championship cancelled

The organisers of the X Trial Australian Championship have confirmed the 2020 event will not go ahead. The decision was made in response to ongoing concerns relating to the global COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic and in order to protect the health and safety of spectators, riders and officials.

Australian X Trial Championship Wollongong
2019 Australian X-Trial Championship – Wollongong

Event manager Simon Price confirmed all proposed rounds, in Wollongong, Melbourne and Perth, had been cancelled this year, however preparations had already begun on planning the event’s return in 2021. He said the decision was a hard one to make, but the right one.

Simon Price – Event Manager

“We have taken advice from Government, Motorcycling Australia, and industry, and considered many factors in making this decision, including the effect on our riders’ sporting careers, as well as the important health concerns. But ultimately it is our responsibility to protect our riders, officials and our fans and the many people involved with putting on our spectacular event. Now it is more important than ever to support your local clubs, competitions and their sponsors by engaging with them on social media and purchasing merchandise online. X-Trial may not be happening in the flesh this year, but we will be more active than ever on our social media channels sharing awesome videos, tips and all sorts of great content to keep you pumped for a huge return to the arena next year.”

Mr Price urged fans to continue to support Trials and other sports even if they cannot physically attend competitions.


Motorcycling Australia update on motorcycle events

In response to the ongoing developments and global health concerns in relation to COVID-19 (commonly known as Coronavirus) including governmental imposed restrictions recently on travel and mass gatherings, Motorcycling Australia (MA) has advised its members, State Controlling Bodies (SCB) and Key stakeholders on the status of MA permitted events initially scheduled between 16th March and 1st June.

MA is moving to implement the guidelines, requirements and regulations as defined by the various National and State Governments. Some MA permitted events may be able to continue without spectators or where they involve fewer than the recommendation number of people for mass gatherings, while with other events this will not be possible without a significant financial impact on the clubs or promoters. In this case MA has stated it supports postponement and/or cancellation as needed.

MA also advised that it is in continual contact with FIM and FIM Oceania with respect to the status of FIM sanctioned International events. The postponement of FIM championships may result in further impact with upcoming FIM events and riders are advised to follow these developments of www.fim-live.com

MA has reminded its members and licence holders that for updates and further information in regard to State Championship and Club events, please contact the local State Controlling Bodies (SCB) in that area.

The table below indicates the status of MA permitted events as of 16th March 2020.

Motorcycling Australia Event Status
2020 Motorcycling Australia Events status as of March 16

Steele Creek GNCC postponed as facility closes

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Steele Creek Park in Morganton, NC, has notified GNCC Officials that is has closed the facility to large gatherings. Accordingly, the Steele Creek GNCC previously scheduled for April 4/5 in Morganton, NC, has been postponed. Riders pre-entered for the event will have their entries transferred to the next GNCC, unless they request a refund by emailing rules@gnccracing.com. Rescheduling details will be announced in the near future.

GNCC Racing has continued to urge the sick and the vulnerable (the elderly and those with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems) to avoid large events and public gatherings, including GNCC events. GNCC Racing will comply with restrictions imposed by federal, state and local authorities, including the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC) and the World Health Organization (“WHO”) regarding this matter.

GNCC Racing has further affirmed that the health, safety and welfare of their riders, teams and fans remains paramount, and will keep the race community apprised of all further developments.

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AFT postpones Atlanta Short Track & Charlotte Half-Mile

Due to the ongoing unprecedented situation regarding COVID-19 and expanding restrictions on domestic and international travel, and in accordance with national, state and local governments prohibiting large group gatherings, American Flat Track has postponed the March 28 Atlanta Short Track and April 4 Charlotte Half-Mile events until further notice.AFT Twins Springfield Mile II Start FA

The health and safety of those involved was stated as the top priority, and the reason that the AFT will continue to assess the situation ahead of the remaining events within the CDC’s recommended eight-week window of caution.

Ticket sales for the May 2 Texas Half-Mile and May 9 So-Cal Half-Mile have been postponed until further notice. As more information is available within the coming weeks, specific announcements regarding those two events will follow.

Advance ticket holders are offered equivalent admission for any other AFT Events race occurring within the next 18 calendar months. Contact tickets@americanflattrack.com for inquiries and requests.


2020 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge postponed

As a result of global developments regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM), the United Arab Emirates Motorcycle Club (UAEMC) and the Rally organizers have taken the decision to postpone the 2020 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge originally scheduled to take place on 20-26 March.

Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge postponed
2020 Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge postponed

Emirates Motorsports Organization and rally organizers have been in permanent contact with the government authorities in the UAE and were following all precautionary measures to protect the motor sport community and the wider public.

All parties are currently evaluating if it will be possible to re-schedule the events later this season. Further updates will be issued in due course.

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2020 Manjimup 15,000 Motocross postponed

The Manjimup 15,000 Motocross has released the following statement, with the event postponed at this point in time, with further information to be announced as available.

“We do not wish to cancel this event so we will call it postponed at this point in time. Legislation has just been passed that events with the likelihood of over 500 involved will be considered illegal and those running them risk $25,000 fines and legal ramifications if someone infected decides to sue, therefore the Manjimup 15,000 is postponed until further notice. We will keep you updated when we have more information.”


2021 FIM Oceania Speedway Championship to be held in SA

FIM Oceania has announced that  for the second year in a row, Oceania region speedway riders will battle it out in the 2021 FIM Oceania Speedway Championship on January 30, 2021, at Gillman Speedway, South Australia.

Australian speedway superstar Jack Holder won the inaugural FIM Oceania Speedway Championship in 2019, and FIM Oceania hopes to build on the success of this event.

FIM Oceania are working closely with the FIM to forge a pathway for this region’s best speedway riders to compete in the FIM Speedway Grand Prix.

FIM Oceania will open nominations later this year for the 2021 FIM Oceania Speedway Championship to be held at the Gillman Speedway, South Australia, on January 30, 2021.

FIM Oceania Vice President, Peter Doyle, said this was another significant boost for the region.

Peter Doyle – FIM Oceania Vice President

“We are working closely with the FIM to ensure that we develop speedway further in the region as we have had a rich history of World Champion riders and want to ensure we can provide them with greater opportunities, as displayed with the recently held FIM Speedway Training Camp Down Under, in South Australia.”

FIM Oceania Speedway Championship to be held in SA
2021 FIM Oceania Speedway Championship to be held in South Australia

The highest placed Australian in the FIM Oceania Speedway Championship will gain automatic entry into the 2022 Australian Speedway Solo Championship.

Sam Redfern – Motorcycling Australia Track Events Manager

“This is a fantastic opportunity for Australia’s world class riders to gain a guaranteed, highly sort after spot, in the Australian Speedway Championships which has produced sensational racing in recent years as well as multiple World Champions.”


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2020 Championship Calendars

2020 AMA Motocross race schedule

  • May 17 – Hangtown Motocross Classic – Rancho Cordova, CA
  • May 24 – Fox Raceway National – Pala, CA
  • May 31 – Thunder Valley National – Lakewood, CO
  • June 7 – Florida National – Jacksonville, FL
  • June 21 – High Point National – Mt. Morris, PA
  • June 28 – Southwick National – Southwick, MA
  • July 5 – RedBud National – Buchanan, MI
  • July 19 – Spring Creek National – Millville, MN
  • July 26 – Washougal National – Washougal, WA
  • August 16 – Unadilla National – New Berlin, NY
  • August 23 – Budds Creek National – Mechanicsville, MD
  • August 30 – Ironman National – Crawfordsville, IN

2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Calendar

  • Jan. 4 – Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
  • Jan. 11 – The Dome at America’s Center, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Jan. 18 – Angels Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, Calif.
  • Jan. 25 – State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
  • Feb. 1 – Ringcentral Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.
  • Feb. 8 – Petco Park, San Diego, Calif.
  • Feb. 15 – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
  • Feb. 22 – AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
  • Feb. 29 – Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Ga.
  • March 7 – Daytona International Speedway, Daytona, Fla.
  • March 14 – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianpolis, Ind.
  • March 21 – Ford Field, Detroit, Mich.
  • March 28 – Centurylink Field, Seattle, Wash.
  • April 4 – Broncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, Co.
  • April 18 – Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Mass.
  • April 25 – Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.
  • May 2 – Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City, Utah

2020 MXGP Calendar

  • March 1 – Great Britain, Matterley Basin (EMX125, WMX)
  • March 8 – The Netherlands, Valkenswaard – (EMX250, WMX)
  • March 22 – Patagonia, Argentina, Neuquen
  • April 5 – Trentino I, Pietramurata – (EMX250, EMX 2t)
  • April 19 – Spain, (TBA) – (EMX125, WMX)
  • April 26 – Portugal, Agueda – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • May 10 – France, Saint Jean d’Angely – (EMX125, EMX Open)
  • May 17 – Italy, Maggiora – (EMX Open, WMX)
  • May 24 – Germany, Teutschenthal – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 7 – Russia, Orlyonok – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 14 – Latvia, Kegums – (EMX250, EMX Open)
  • June 28 – Indonesia, Jakarta
  • July 5 – Indonesia, Palembang
  • July 26 – Czech Republic, Loket – (EMX65, EMX85, EMX 2t)
  • August 2 – Belgium, Lommel – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • August 16 – Sweden, Uddevalla – (EMX125, EMX250)
  • August 23 – Finland, Litti-KymiRing – (EMX125, EMX250, EMX 2t)
  • September 6 – Turkey, Afyonkarahisar – (EMX Open, WMX)
  • September 13 – China, (TBA) –
  • September 20 – Emilia Romagna, Imola – (EMX125, WMX)
  • September 27 – Motocross of Nations, France, Ernee

2020 American Flat Track

  • Round 1. March 14: Daytona 200 &  TT – Daytona Speedway, FL
  • Round 2. March 28: Atlanta Short Track – Dixie Speedway, Woodstock, GA
  • Round 3. April 4: Charlotte Half-Mile – Charlotte Speedway, Concord, NC
  • Round 4. May 2: Texas Half-Mile – Texas Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
  • Round 5. May 9: So-Cal Half-Mile – Perris Speedway, Perris, CA
  • Round 6. May 16: Sacramento Mile – Cal Expo, Sacramento, CA
  • Round 7. May 30: Red Mile – Red Mile, Lexington, KY
  • Round 8. June 13: Laconia Short Track – New Hampshire Speedway, Loudon, NH
  • Round 9. June 20: OKC Mile – Remington Park, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Round 10. June 27: Lima Half-Mile – Allen County Fairgrounds, Lima, OH
  • Round 11. July 4: New York Short Track – Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport, NY
  • Round 12. August 9: Buffalo Chip TT – Buffalo Chip, Sturgis, SD
  • Round 13. August 11: Black Hills Half-Mile – Black Hills Speedway, Rapid City, SD
  • Round 14. August 22: Peoria TT – Peoria Motorcycle Club, Peoria, IL
  • Round 15. September 5: Springfield Mile I – Illinois Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
  • Round 16. September 6: Springfield Mile II – Illinois Fairgrounds, Springfield, IL
  • Round 17. September 12: Williams Grove Half-Mile – Williams Grove Speedway, Mechanicsburg, PA
  • Round 18. September 26: Meadowlands Mile* – Meadowlands Racetrack, East Rutherford, NJ

2020 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Speedway Calendar

  • Round 1, January 3 – Kurri Kurri Speedway, Loxford Park NSW
  • Round 2, January 6 – Diamond Park, Wodonga VIC
  • Round 3, January 7 – Undera Speedway, Echuca Road, Undera VIC
  • Round 4, January 9 – Olympic Park, Regina Street, Mildura VIC
  • Round 5, January 11 – Gillman Speedway, Wilkins Road, Gillman SA

2020 WESS Enduro World Championship Schedule

  • Round 1: Extreme XL Lagares (Portugal) May 8-10
  • Round 2: Trefle Lozerien AMV (France) May 21-23
  • Round 3: Erzbergrodeo Red Bull Hare Scramble (Austria) June 10-14
  • Round 4: Red Bull 111 Megawatt (Poland ) June TBC
  • Round 5: Red Bull Romaniacs (Romania) July 21-25
  • Round 6: Tennessee Knockout (USA) August 15-16
  • Round 7: Hawkstone Park Cross-Country (UK) September TBC
  • Round 8: Hixpania Hard Enduro (Spain) October TBC

2020 FIM Speedway GP Calendar

  • May 16 – PZM Warsaw SGP of Poland – Warsaw
  • May 30 – German SGP – Teterow
  • June 13 – Czech SGP – Prague
  • July 18 – Adrian Flux British SGP – Cardiff
  • July 25 – Swedish SGP – Hallstavik
  • August 1 – Betard Wroclaw SGP of Poland – Wroclaw
  • August 15 – Scandinavian SGP – Malilla, Sweden
  • August 29 – Russian SGP – Togliatti
  • September 12 – Danish SGP sponsored by ECCO – Vojens
  • October 3 – Revline Torun SGP of Poland – Torun

2020 Australian Dirt Track Championship dates

  • April 11-12 Australian Junior Dirt Track Championships
    • Mick Doohan Raceway, QLD, North Brisbane Jnr Motorcycle Club
  • October 17-18 Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships
    • Fairburn Park, ACT Motorcycle Club

2020 Australian Track Championship dates

  • May 16-17 Australian Senior Track Championships
    • Qurindi, Tamworth, NSW, Tamworth Motorcycle Club
  • September 26-27 Australian Junior Track Championships
    • Gunnedah, NSW Gunnedah Motorcycle Club

2020 Australian Off-Road Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 & 2: Toowoomba, QLD 22 – 23 February 2020
  • Round 3 & 4: Dungog, NSW 14 – 15 March 2020
  • Round 5 & 6: Nowra, NSW 18 – 19 April 2020
  • Round 7 & 8: Murray Bridge, SA 1 – 2 August 2020
  • Round 9 & 10: Omeo, VIC 19 – 20 September 2020
  • Round 11 & 12: Wynyard, TAS 17 –18 October 2020

2020 FIM SuperEnduro World Championship Calendar

  • Round 1: December 7, 2019 – Krakow, Poland
  • Round 2: January 4 – Riesa, Germany
  • Round 3: January 18 – A Coruna, Spain
  • Round 4: February 1 – Budapest, Hungary
  • Round 5: March 14 – Lodz, Poland

2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East/West Calendar

  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road East Series
    • March 28-29: RevLimiter Extreme Enduro, Decatur, Texas
    • May 16-17: Madd Moose, Marquette, Mich.
    • July 4-5: Tough Like RORR, Tamaqua, Pa.
    • July 18-19: Fallen Timbers, Little Hocking, Ohio
    • Aug. 1-2: Battle of the Goats, Taylorsville, N.C.
  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road West Series
    • Feb. 8: King of the Motos, Lucerne Valley, Calif.
    • March 28-29: RevLimiter Extreme Enduro, Decatur, Texas
    • May 2-3: EnduroFest, Reno, Nev.
    • June 6-7: Last Dog Standing, Devore, Calif.
    • June 20-21: Stix and Stones, Kellogg, Idaho
  • 2020 AMA Extreme Off-Road Grand Championship
    • Aug. 14-16: Trials Training Center, Sequatchie, Tenn.

2020 FIM Flat Track World Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 – June 13: Diedenbergen DE
  • Round 2 – July 26: Boves-Cuneo IT
  • Round 3 – September 5: Morizès FR
  • Round 4 – October 3: Pardubice CZ

2020 King of MX Calendar

  • Qualifier 1 – February 15-16, Bega – Top 7 qualify for final **Run & Won**
  • Qualifier 2 – February 29-1 March, Narrabri – Top 7 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 3 – March 14-15, Lake Macquarie -Top 7 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 4 – March 28-29, Wagga Wagga – Top 6 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 5 -April 18-19, Bathurst – Top 6 qualify for final
  • Qualifier 6 – May 9-10, Dargle – Top 7 qualify for final
  • Final – June 6-8, Cessnock

2020 Australian Motocross National Championship Calendar

  • Round 1 & 2 Horsham, Victoria April 4/5
  • Round 3 Newry, Victoria May 3
  • Round 4 Gympie, Qld May 24
  • Round 5 Conondale, QLD June 28
  • Round 6 & 7 Maitland, NSW July 25/26
  • Round 8 & 9 Coolum, QLD August 22/23

2020 Fox New Zealand Motocross Championship

  • Round One – Balclutha, 1st February 2020
  • Round Two – Rotorua, 23rd February 2020
  • Round Three – Hawkes Bay, 1st March 2020
  • Round Four – Taupo, 15th March 2020

2020 AMA Supermoto National Championship Series

  • April 4-5: Primm, Nev.: Anthony Hart Memorial Race
  • May 2: Honolulu, Hawaii: Aloha Stadium
  • May 30: Dacono, Colo.: Colorado National Speedway
  • June 12-13: Austin, Texas: 25th Annual Republic of Texas Rally
  • July 31-Aug. 2: Trois-Rivieres, Quebec, Canada: 51st Grand Prix of Trois-Rivières (CMA/FIM North America sanctioned)
  • Sept. 11-12: Sturgis, S.D.: 8th Annual Streets of Sturgis (AMA/FIM North America sanctioned)

2021 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Championship

  • TBA – Qualifying Round – TBA, TBA
  • 3rd January – Round 1 – Gillman Speedway SA
  • 5th January – Round 2 – Olympic Park, Mildura VIC
  • 7th January – Round 3 – Diamond Park, Albury Wodonga VIC
  • 9th January – Round 4 – Loxford Park, Kurri Kurri NSW
  • 13th January – Round 5 – Mick Doohan Raceway, North Brisbane QLD

2021 Australian Speedway U21’s & U16’s Championship

  • 14th January – Practice / Qualifying 125cc Sidewinders SA
  • 15th January – Under 16’s – 125cc Individual Championship Sidewinders SA
  • 16th January – Under 21’s Championship Gillman Speedway SA
  • 16th January – Under 16’s 250cc Championship Gillman Speedway SA
  • 17th January – Under 16’s 125cc Teams Championship Sidewinders SA

2021 Australian Speedway Sidecar Championships

  • April 3rd – Practice and Qualifying Pinjar Park WA
  • April 4th – Junior & Senior Sidecar Championships Pinjar Park WA
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