Moto News Wrap for January 17, 2017 by Darren Smart

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News Headlines
  • Toby Price – The Crash – The Future
  • Major Australian Supercross Changes
  • Brett Metcalfe Seals SD3 Team Line-Up for 2017
  • Jay Wilson to 2017 World MX2?
  • Grothues to Europe
  • Gibbs Signs Motocross Only Deal with KTM
  • Styke to Contest NZ Motocross Championships
  • Josh Strang Continues with Rockstar Husqvarna
  • Three Rider Line-Up for Synep Racing
  • Jarvis Wins European Extreme Enduro Cup
  • 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Rider Numbers Revealed
Race Reports
  • AMA Supercross Championships – Round 2 – San Diego
  • 2017 Dakar – A Bloody Pom Won It!!
  • AMA Arenacross Championship – Round 2 – Michigan
  • UK Arenacross Series – Round 2 – Glasgow
  • 2017 Australian Solo Championships – Rounds 3 & 4 – Undera/Kurri Kurri
Toby Price – The Crash – The Future

29 year old Toby Price has been cleared to fly home to Australia after crashing out of Stage 4 of the 2017 Dakar Rally and the Aussie has explained his accident, the perils since and the road ahead.

“All I can remember is hitting something hard, it was in a river bed and I’m sure as anything it would have been a rock. The last bit I remember is being face down into the ground after flying through the air and seeing the rocks go under me pretty quick. I landed and pretty much was just in a daze for a while, I’m not sure time frame wise but some people came running over and basically just helped me and checked if I was alright and I remember seeing Paulo Goncalves above me doing the same. I’m not too sure how the long the helicopter took to get me but I knew I broke my leg by then. It started to get painful and my leg wouldn’t move, so it was a helicopter ride back to the stage base, an airplane ride back to La Paz and then into an ambulance, but the road was that rough I needed to get strapped in and have another injection and that’s all I remember.”

Toby had been recovering in hospital in La Paz, Bolivia where doctors operated on his badly broken leg, inserting a rod and screws to secure the bones so they could heal.

With fellow Aussie Rod Faggotter at his bedside, Price suffered seizures that doctors think were caused by a blood clot in Toby’s lung but after treatment he has now been given medical clearance to fly home where he will be reassessed and begin his rehabilitation.

“I’ve had a couple of rough nights here in La Paz, the language barrier has been extremely challenging and I suffered a seizure which has rocked me a little bit but the specialist is working hard to target the trigger to this and they are suspecting this was due to a blood clot in my lung.”

Despite the set-back Price is looking to make it to the starting line for the opening round of the FIM World Rally Championship to be held in Abu Dhabi on April the 1st. “It’s going to be a long road back to 100% but one thing for sure is, I know I need to be back on the KTM motorcycle in 4 months so I will be doing all I can to make this happen. I’m really psyched to be cleared to fly home to Australia! I can’t thank everyone enough for the kind words, support and messages while I’ve been here in Bolivia!”

“Huge thank you to Rodney Faggotter for staying with me and helping wherever possible, let’s get out of here!”

Dakar 2017 - Stage 2 - Toby Price - Image: Marcin Kin
Dakar 2017 – Stage 2 – Toby Price – Image: Marcin Kin
Major Australian Supercross Changes

Motorcycling Australia, in conjunction with the 2017 Australian Supercross promotors – S.B Promotions, EMT Events, Gilbert Racing and AME, have officially announced the 2017 Championship calendar as well as an increase in prizemoney and a decrease in entry fees.

The prize money amount has been increased by almost $40,000 over the 2016 championship to sit at just over $180,000 in 2017 while the entry fees have been reduced to just $200 for senior entrants and only $50 for Junior entries across their four applicable rounds.

Queensland promoter, Scott Bannan had this to say of the 2017 series. “We all met last year and it was a really positive meeting. The Championship is getting stronger every year, but we just needed to be more consistent across the series at our end,” he started. “We have taken a step closer to achieving that in 2017. MA working with us has helped the series by helping to negotiate fees, structure and giving the SX freedom to give these benefits to the riders. Raising the prize money is awesome and lowering the fees is a bonus for everyone, especially the juniors,” Bannan finished.

Motorcycling Australia CEO Peter Doyle

“The meeting was aimed at bringing together the four promoters, and driving 2017 with one clear direction in mind for everyone,” he began. “The Australian Supercross is such a huge event on the Australian Off-Road calendar and ensuring its sustainability is a must. Introducing higher prize packages and lower fees is just one of the new initiatives we aim to bring to the riders. MA are committed to acting with the greater good of the sport in mind, and being able to work with these four promoters on the Supercross is just another stepping stone in MA development.”

Australian Supercross Championship full calendar
  • Round 1: Jimboomba, Queensland – Saturday September 23rd
  • Round 2: TBA, VIC – Saturday October 14th
  • Round 3: Wayville, South Australia – Saturday October 28th
  • Round 4 & 5: Sydney Olympic Park, NSW – November 11th/12th
  • Round 6: Coolum, Queensland – Saturday November 18th
Australian Supercross 2016 - Toowoomba - Image by Marc Jones
Australian Supercross 2016 – Toowoomba – Image by Marc Jones

Brett Metcalfe Seals SD3 Team Line-Up for 2017

Brett Metcalfe has signed a deal with the factory backed SD3 Husqvarna team to contest the MX1 class in the 2017 MX Nationals and Australian Supercross Championships alongside Luke Arbon who will continue in the MX2 class and MXD contender Kaleb Barham.

“The decision was fairly simple for me and my family,” Metcalfe explained. “I’d done some brief stints in 2015 and 2016 with the SD3 team and we have a successful working relationship established with good sponsors. Our 2016 run was in some ways a trial run and we learnt what a standard Husqvarna FC 450 is capable of – we won races and had podiums. I know we have a product that can win, a team and company of people committed to work and most importantly, we want to make it fun and creative for the team. I wanted to be a part of this! A huge factor is bringing my family down for the season to experience the lifestyle Australia can offer.”

Brett Metcalfe
Brett Metcalfe

Metcalfe will need to beat the likes of Dean Ferris, Todd Waters, Kirk Gibbs, Luke Styke, Luke Clout, Nathan Crawford, Kyle Peters and Kade Mosig if he wants an Australian title in 2017. “Last year the competition was intense [and] you need to go back many years to find that depth and talent. It was how Aussie motocross needs to be, so 2017 will be no different. I expect the same players, plus a few new entries to run up front. I may be the oldest in the field now, but I embrace that. I want to win more than ever and I believe in myself and my team.”

Luke Arbon was set to make the move to the MX1 class for 2017 but with the signing of Metcalfe the team needed the 24 year-old to continue in the MX2 class.

“The 450 class would have been a massive step up after a season of pretty much no racing,” said Arbon. “Even though I was looking forward to that challenge, when Steve said to me that it would be a help to him and to Husky for me to fly the flag in MX2, I was happy to do that. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason, and at the moment I’m training pretty hard and riding a fair bit, and training on the 450 has probably brought me on a fair bit quicker,” he explained. “I’ve got three or four months to go still, and I’m sure that when the time comes I’ll definitely be ready to go.”

Luke Arbon
Luke Arbon

Husqvarna Australia national brand manager Jon Hafey

“I’m so pleased that we are heading into our fourth season now in partnership with SD3, Stephen and Dimity McKinnon. I’m over the moon that we have once again been able to grow that partnership and build on what we had last year. This will be our fourth season with Luke [Arbon] and our second with Kaleb [Barham] and Brett and that’s great. SD3 is going in-house this year with a work-bay based out of our new headquarters in Sydney alongside the enduro team, so it’s an exciting development that will make life easier for everyone.”

Look for the SD3 team to make a serious impression on and off the track at the opening round of the MX Nationals scheduled for the 2nd of April in Wonthaggi, Victoria.

Grothues To Europe

Former World Junior Motocross Champion and Multi Australian Junior Motocross Champion Caleb Grothues will contest the 10-round EMX250 series, part of the MXGP World Championship, throughout the 2017 and 2018 seasons with the German based DIGA-Procross team on Husqvarna machinery.

There will be a lot of interest for Aussie moto fans with the Western Australian joining fellow Australian young-guns in Jed Beaton, Caleb Ward, Hunter Lawrence and Jet Lawrence in Europe.

Jay Wilson to 2017 World MX2?

Jay Wilson crashed during qualifying at the Glasgow round of the UK Arenacross Series and his team curiously posted this on Facebook: ‘Following Jay Wilson’s crash in the Glasgow Arenacross qualification, he was receiving physio’ today and is positive to be back on the track this Saturday night in Birmingham. In between then… Such is the jet-set lifestyle of a pro-motocross rider… Jay is heading to Italy to test his 250cc MX2GP bike… Happy days..’

Jay Wison getting physio after crashing in Glasgow
Jay Wison getting physio after crashing in Glasgow

At the time of writing there has been no official press release regarding Wilson and a GP ride.

Gibbs Signs Motocross Only Deal with KTM

After losing the 2016 MX Nationals MX1 Championship by just six points, Kirk Gibbs has signed a ‘motocross only’ contract with the factory KTM team so the 2015 champion can concentrate on regaining the MX Nationals crown and in turn a spot on the Motocross of Nations team.

Styke Fit and Ready to Contest NZ Motocross Championships

Many of the local motocross tracks around South East Queensland have been witnessing a KTM rider with the number 26 on the number plates ripping around at warp speed and it has been none other than Luke Styke who has recovered from an Achilles injury that saw the former MX2 National Champion miss a huge chunk of the 2016 season.

Styke is expected to return to racing in Australia with the factory KTM team in the MX1 class but it has been confirmed that Styke will make his official return to racing at the first round of the New Zealand Motocross Championship in Timaru on the 5th of February.

Luke Styke
Luke Styke seen here at Manjimup in 2015
Josh Strang Continues with Rockstar Husqvarna

Australia’s Josh Strang will return with the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team for 2017 as part of a four-rider squad which includes Colton Haaker, Thad Duvall and Jacob Argubright.

Strang is set to contest the National Enduro series and the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series where he will continue his rivalry with Kailub Russell who won the GNCC series in 2016.

Strang’s 2017 GNCC campaign kicks off at the VP Racing Fuels Big Buck event on 4-5 March in Union, South Carolina.

Josh Strang
Josh Strang
Three Rider Line-Up for Synep Racing

Husqvarna is backing a new three rider team for the 2017 Australian motocross and supercross season with Synep Racing signing Dylan Wills for the MX2 class, Keiron Hall for the MX1 category and Kane Fischer as a rookie in MXD.

Jarvis Wins European Extreme Enduro Cup

The first round of the European Extreme Enduro Cup was held at Tong, Leeds, in Great Britain last weekend and as you would expect it was Graham Jarvis who won the event over ex-trials champion Billy Bolt, Paul Bolton, Keelan Hancock and Danny McCanney.

The Opening Round of the European Extreme Enduro Cup was held in tough conditions
The Opening Round of the European Extreme Enduro Cup was held in tough conditions
2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Rider Numbers Revealed

The 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix rider numbers have been revealed as Russian racer Emil Sayfutdinov wears No.89 in the World Championship for the first time.

The Salavat-born star selected No.89 when personal rider numbers were introduced for the 2014 season but he never got the chance to wear it in the SGP series after withdrawing from the competition, but the double European and World Under-21 champion is back for 2017 after receiving a wild card pick from the SGP Commission.

GP Challenge winner Patryk Dudek has picked No.692 for his first SGP season after being unable to choose the No.69 he prefers to race with, as this is held by Aussie icon Jason Doyle.

Jason Doyle led an Australian one-two with Chris Holder at the Stockholm Speedway Grand Prix. Fredrik Lindgren completed the podium.
Jason Doyle led an Australian one-two with Chris Holder at the Stockholm Speedway Grand Prix. Fredrik Lindgren completed the podium.

Slovak star Martin Vaculik selected his No.54, while triple world champion Nicki Pedersen switches from No.3 to No.12 – his new ranking for 2017 – after opting not to race with a personal number once again.

The rest of the riders retain their 2016 numbers with four-time world champion Greg Hancock wearing No.45 – his hero Bruce Penhall’s former number – while Great Britain racer Tai Woffinden is No.108, which represents his birthday.

Bartosz Zmarzlik dons No.95 and Chris Holder keeps No.23. Doyle sticks with No.69, while Piotr Pawlicki races with No.777 and Antonio Lindback is No.85 – his year of birth.

Niels-Kristian Iversen retains No.88 and Matej Zagar is No.55. Maciej Janowski keeps faith with No.71 and Fredrik Lindgren is No.66.

First series reserve Peter Kildemand rides with No.25, while Martin Smolinski dons No.84 and World Under-21 champion Max Fricke has chosen No.46 for his first appearance on the SGP reserves list.

2016 Speedway GP Melbourne - Michael Jensen leads Chris Holder into turn one
2016 Speedway GP Melbourne – Michael Jensen leads Chris Holder into turn one
2017 FIM SPEEDWAY GRAND PRIX RIDER NUMBERS (in ranking order)
  • 45 Greg Hancock (USA)
  • 108 Tai Woffinden (Great Britain)
  • 95 Bartosz Zmarzlik (Poland)
  • 23 Chris Holder (Australia)
  • 69 Jason Doyle (Australia)
  • 777 Piotr Pawlicki (Poland)
  • 85 Antonio Lindback (Sweden)
  • 88 Niels-Kristian Iversen (Denmark)
  • 55 Matej Zagar (Slovenia)
  • 71 Maciej Janowski (Poland)
  • 66 Fredrik Lindgren (Sweden)
  • 12 Nicki Pedersen (Denmark)
  • 692 Patryk Dudek (Poland)
  • 54 Martin Vaculik (Slovakia)
  • 89 Emil Sayfutdinov (Russia)
SUBSTITUTES
  • 25 Peter Kildemand (Denmark)
  • 84 Martin Smolinski (Germany)
  • 46 Max Fricke (Australia)

Smarty’s Race Reports
AMA Supercross Championships – Round 2 – San Diego

WOW, what a race!! The 24 lap 450 main event was a dead set cracker with Ken Roczen holding off a decidedly determined Ryan Dungey right up to the final lap while Shane McElrath backed up his opening round win when the Monster Energy Supercross hosted its fourth annual Military Appreciation Race last Saturday night inside Petco Park, Dan Diego.

450SX Main Event

With Mike Alessi and Trey Canard watching from the stands due to injury, Dungey got the 40,682 fans on their feet when he earned the holeshot ahead of KTM teammate Marvin Musquin, Roczen, Justin Brayton and Cole Seely but Roczen was able to slot into second when Musquin sensationally almost flipped his KTM in the next rhythm section.

Roczen sat on Dungey’s back wheel for six laps but on lap seven Roczen was able to dive under the KTM rider going into a right hand berm to assume the lead but the race was far from over and while the crowd and every arm-chair bound fan sat on the edge of their seats Dungey fought back and was able to put a wheel inside Roczen on several occasions.

It was nail biting stuff and when the white flag came out for a lap to go it was anyone’s race but just as Dungey looked like he was ready to pounce he lost critical drive out of a bumpy rut and lost too much ground thus handing the win to his arch rival. It really was a sensational race and the pace set by the Roczen/Dungey battle saw the pair leave the third place rider in Musquin 20 seconds in arrears.

It’s just the second time in Roczen’s career that he’s been able to win back-to-back races.

“Ryan kept me on my toes. The track broke down and it was really rough out there, but that’s the fun part,” said Roczen. “I hope the fans enjoyed it. That’s what they want to see [a battle for the win]. I’m actually happier with this weekend’s win than last weekend’s. I’m happy to be up here again. Another day in the books and I’m looking forward to next weekend.”

Dungey’s runner-up finish was the landmark 90th podium result of his career. He’s finished inside the top three in 35 of the past 37 races, going all the way back to the final round of the 2014 season.

“I had two spots where I thought I could [make the pass] and I made a mistake before each of them. I came in too hot into one of the corners. I knew it was the last lap and I was trying hard,” said Dungey. “We [Roczen and I] fought to the end. It was an intense race. It was good because I led a little bit and then he led. We were really pushing the pace and if you’re going to race someone like that, it’s going to be a battle to the end.”

After recovering from his ‘moment’ Musquin settled into third place and went virtually unchallenged en route to duplicating the finishing order of the top three from the opening round one week ago.

“I was really happy about my start and I was trying to be really aggressive and trying to pass Ryan [Dungey],” Musquin told RacerX. “I went on the inside and doubled and it was not the rhythm that we were used to doing all the time. But I tried to jump on the next table. I don’t know what happened but I thought I was going to crash. Up in the air, all I could see is the sky! I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what’s going on?’ I thought I was going to die, and then everybody was coming behind! So I don’t know how I didn’t crash. I went off the track and rode over the big puddle. I jumped back on the track. I was like, ‘Man, what are you doing?’ But I’m really glad to be here right now. It was a good race. I was trying to ride really hard and try to keep up the pace with those guys. At the end they were going really fast. I couldn’t do more. I tried to maybe save the third place. Nothing I could do against those guys, but third is really good.”

Jason Anderson charged his way to fourth (again) after a poor start to finish ahead of Cole Seely, Eli Tomac, Weston Peick and David Millsaps who held off a charge from Chad Reed who made a mid-pack start but by race end crossed the line in ninth position as the final rider on the lead lap of the race.

“I definitely have heard how crappy my starts have been lately a lot, but it’s all good,” Anderson told RacerX. “I’ve just got to get it together. I got a holeshot in that heat race and was able to win that, but in the main I actually was pretty good. I just had Davi [Millsaps] on the inside of me he was a little bit ahead of me and I had to chop the brakes. Once you’re mid-pack it’s wild back there. I saw my training teammate, Marvin, almost Larry Loop-out out there in front of me, but I made it through the first lap and was able to make it through the pack. But I really need to get it together and get out front so I can battle with those guys. We’re getting smoked right now.”

Roczen extended his lead in the championship to six points over Dungey, with Musquin 10 points out of the lead in third.

450SX Class Results
  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
  3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
  4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
  5. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda
  6. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
  7. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki
  8. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM
  9. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha
  10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki
450SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Ken Roczen, Clermont, Fla., Honda – 50
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 44
  3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM – 40
  4. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna – 36
  5. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 31
  6. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda – 31
  7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM – 27
  8. Weston Peick, Wildomar, Calif., Suzuki – 27
  9. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 22
  10. Justin Bogle, Cushing, Okla., Suzuki – 20
    14. Chad Reed, Kurri Kurri, Australia – 13

Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event

Former Australian Supercross Champion Jimmy Decotis was the bravest under brakes going into the sweeping left hand first corner to earn the holeshot ahead of Dan Reardon and Martin Davalos while Hayden Mellross looked to have a top ten start before a coming together with another rider during the opening lap dropped the Aussie to 18th place.

Decotis was able to sprint to a comfortable lead while Davalos aggressively made the pass on Reardon to take over second. Reardon would then crash out of third on lap four and fall out of contention while McElrath took over third just ahead of Justin Hill, Austin Faulkner and Aaron Plessinger.

Davalos passed Decotis for the lead on lap ten and McElrath followed suit to pass Decotis for second on the same lap and it wasn’t long before Davalos, McElrath, Hill and Plessinger were all fighting for the top spot as Decotis lost his composure to drop back to sixth place.

McElrath got to the lead on lap 16 and Davalos quickly fell into the clutches of Hill who took over second with Plessinger slipping into the final podium position on the final lap.

“I try to just treat the race as another practice day. We go through pretty much every scenario that we can be in during a race. We’ve been working hard, spiritually, mentally, and physically,” said McElrath. “I’ve just kind of been in the zone all around and I think that’s been the biggest part [of my success]. Last weekend could have been seen as a fluke, but tonight I proved a lot to myself and I’m just happy to keep it going.”

“I was mentally just trying to fight through the pain and the tightness of dealing with a tough track,” said Hill. “Shane [McElrath] rode awesome and he deserves the win. He made me work really hard for second. I think I put in a really good effort tonight and I’m more confident going into next weekend that I can earn one of these [wins].”

McElrath added to his championship lead in the Western Regional standings, and now sits eight points ahead of Plessinger. Hill moved into a tie with Davalos for third, 12 points back.

Reardon was able to rebound to 17th after falling back to near last place and now sits 10th in the championship standings while Mellross would make his way through the field to finish an impressive 9th position. Both Aussie are due some luck and will be in contention for a podium in the coming rounds….exciting stuff.

The season continues next Saturday, January 21, for the third round and a second visit to Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California.

Western Regional 250SX Class Results
  1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
  2. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
  3. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
  4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
  5. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki
  6. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
  7. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda
  8. Phil Nicoletti, Cohocton, N.Y., Suzuki
  9. Hayden Mellross, Clermont, Fla., Yamaha
  10. Josh Hansen, Elbert, Colo., Husqvarna
    17. Dan Reardon, Australia, Yamaha

Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM – 50
  2. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 42
  3. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki – 38
  4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna – 38
  5. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 29
  6. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 29
  7. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda – 27
  8. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Yamaha – 20
  9. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM – 18
  10. Dan Reardon, Australia, Yamaha – 18
    14. Hayden Mellross, Australia, Yamaha – 13

2017 Dakar – Paraguay to Bolivia

27-year-old Sam Sunderland became the first British rider to win the Dakar Rally when he took victory in the 38th edition of the rally which began in Asuncion, Paraguay and ran through Bolivia and Argentina.

Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderland

After 12 stages and 31 plus hours in the saddle, Sunderland came home 32 minutes ahead of his nearest competitor Matthias Walkner of Austria after the final stage in Argentina.

In 2014, Sunderland became the first British rider to win a stage of Dakar since John Deacon in 1998 and this was the KTM pilot’s third attempt at winning the rally, having been forced to retire in 2012 and 2014 with mechanical problems.

“When I crossed the line I felt all the emotion hit me. The weight on my shoulders of the race over the last week, leading the rally, has been really heavy,” said Sunderland. “It’s been difficult, especially in some of the moments with navigation mistakes or when things get stressful, to stay calm. But we’re here, we did it, and I couldn’t be any happier.”

Dakar 2017 - Stage 2 - Sam Sunderland - Image: Marcin Kin
Dakar 2017 – Stage 2 – Sam Sunderland – Image: Marcin Kin

Sunderland secured the 16th victory in a row for KTM after safely navigating the final special stage, a 40-mile race into the Argentine town of Rio Cuarto.

Todd Smith is no stranger to winning events on Australian shores but a 18th outright in his first ever Dakar could well be the start of something big for the 32 year old Aussie. Smith’s highlight would have to be his 6th outright at the end of Stage 7 which backed up his 9th overall at the end of Stage 4.

Smith was third fastest early in Stage 10 before crashing heavily but Todd managed to limp his way through the final two stages and clinched an incredible result, even more so considering he only secured a Dakar start less than a month before the start of the rally.

Jake Smith, Todd’s brother posted this on social media. “Todd Smith is the boss!! From a broken neck and not riding for a full year to come back and ride Finke with a broken leg, then have two weeks to prepare for the hardest race in the world. Not joking he would’ve ridden a bike 5 times since Finke and to show up to Dakar on a bike he’s never ridden and prove he has what it takes to run up front and finish the rally injured is something special. I know he’s bitterly disappointed with 18th but imagine what he could do with a factory bike and a full year to prepare! Hands down the toughest bloke I know.”

‘The other Aussie’ Matthew Hart had a rough start to his Dakar adventure after crashing and injuring his shoulder during the opening stage (he finished 138th) but the plucky ‘Sand Groper’ rebounded to card six top 50 finishes over the next 11 stages to finish an incredible 44th outright.

Aussie Matt Hart finished his first Dakar in 44th
Aussie Matt Hart finished his first Dakar in 44th

35 riders failed to finish Dakar 2017 including the defending champion Toby Price as well as fellow Aussie Rod Faggotter and the entire Zongshen team, led by former World 500cc Motocross Championship contender Thierry Bethys, who contested the event on the Chinese brands Cyclone NC450.

Four rider Zongshen team had a crack at Dakar 2017
Four rider Zongshen team had a crack at Dakar 2017

Top 3 after Stage 1

1. Xavier De Soultrait – Yamaha

2. Juan Perdo Garcia – Sherco

3. Ricky Brabec – Honda

Top 3 after Stage 2

1. Toby Price – KTM

2. Matthias Walkner

3. Paulo Goncalves

Dakar 2017 - Stage 2 - Toby Price - Image: Marcin Kin
Dakar 2017 – Stage 2 – Toby Price – Image: Marcin Kin
Top 3 after Stage 3

1. Joan Barreda – Honda

2. Sam Sunderland – KTM

3. Paulo Goncalves – Honda

Top 3 after Stage 4

1. Pablo Quintanilla – Husqvarna

2. Matthias Walkner – KTM

3. Stefan Svitko – KTM

Top 3 after Stage 5

1. Sam Sunderland – KTM

2. Pablo Quintanilla – Husqvarna

3. Adrian van Beveren – Yamaha

Stage 6 was cancelled due to inclement weather
Top 3 after Stage 7

1. Sam Sunderland – KTM

2. Pablo Quintanilla – Hus

3. Adrien Van Beveren – Yamaha

Top 3 after Stage 8

1. Sam Sunderland – KTM

2. Pablo Quintanilla – Hus

3. Adrien Van Beveren – Yamaha

Stage 9 was cancelled due to landslide
Top 3 after Stage 10

1. Sam Sunderland – KTM

2. Matthias Walkner – KTM

3. Gerard Farres Guell – KTM

Top 3 after Stage 11

1. Sam Sunderland – KTM

2. Matthia Walkner – KTM

3. Gerard Farres Guell – KTM

Dakar – Final Standings after Stage 12

1. SUNDERLAND (GBR) – KTM – Total Time – 31 Hours. 34 Minutes. 11 Seconds .

2. WALKNER (AUT) – KTM – +00:33:09

3. FARRES GUELL (ESP) – KTM – +00:37:22

4. VAN BEVEREN (FRA) – YAMAHA – +00:38:10

5. BARREDA BORT (ESP) – HONDA – +00:44:32

6. GONCALVES (PRT) – HONDA – +00:52:46

7. RENET (FRA) – HUSQVARNA – +00:56:01

8. CAIMI (ARG) – HONDA – +01:40:53

9. H. RODRIGUES (PRT) – YAMAHA – +02:00:46

10. J. RODRIGUES (PRT) – HERO SPEEDBRAIN – +02:16:06

18. Todd SMITH (AUS) – KTM – +03:45:31

44. Matthew HART (AUS) – HUSQVARNA – +09:12:57

DNF (1) Toby Price (KTM) crash, Stage 4

DNF (43) Rodney Faggotter (Yamaha) mechanical, Stage 4

Dakar 2017 - Stage 2 - Rodney Faggotter
Dakar 2017 – Stage 2 – Rodney Faggotter
2017 AMSOIL Arenacross – Round Two – Van Andel Arena , Michigan

Jace Own and Heath Harrison have continued their dominance of the 250AX and Eastern Regional AX Lites classes respectively at the second round of the 2017 AMSOIL Arenacross which took place last Saturday night inside Van Andel Arena, Michigan.

Owen’s sweep of the two main events gave him back-to-back overall victories while Chris Blose bounced back from a difficult opening round to finish in the runner-up spot (2-2) and Matt Goerke landed on the box in third (3-4). Heath Harrison finished fourth (4-3), with Cameron McAdoo rounding out the top five (5-5). 

Jace Owen dominated opening two rounds of the AMA Arenacross
Jace Owen dominated opening two rounds of the AMA Arenacross

Owen extended his lead in the championship standings and now holds an 11-point lead over Goerke while the defending champion Faith, who finished ninth overall (8-11) dropped from second to third, 19 points out of the lead.

250AX Class Results – Main Event 1
  1. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda
  2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Yamaha
  3. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Fla., Yamaha
  4. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM
  5. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Honda
  6. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
  7. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, KTM
  8. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki
  9. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
  10. Isaac Teasdale, Robbinsville, N.C., KTM
250AX Class Results – Main Event 2
  1. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda
  2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Yamaha
  3. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM
  4. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Florida, Yamaha
  5. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Honda
  6. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki
  7. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, KTM
  8. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM
  9. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda
  10. Samuel Redman, Clarksville, Tenn., Kawasaki
250AX Class Overall Results (Main Event Results)
  1. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda (1-1)
  2. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Yamaha (2-2)
  3. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Florida, Yamaha (3-4)
  4. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM (4-3)
  5. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Honda (5-5)
  6. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki (9-6)
  7. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, KTM (7-7)
  8. Cody VanBuskirk, Harvard, Ill., KTM (6-8)
  9. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (8-11)
  10. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (11-9)
RMATV/MC Head 2 Head Challenge Results (Bonus Points)
  1. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki (2 points)
  2. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda (1 point)
  3. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki (1 point)
  4. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda (1 point)
  5. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Florida, Yamaha (1 point)
  6. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki (1 point)
  7. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., Kawasaki (1 point)
  8. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Yamaha (1 point)
250AX Class Championship Standings
  1. Jace Owen, Matoon, Ill., Honda – 67 (4 Main Event Wins)
  2. Matt Goerke, Lake Helen, Florida, Yamaha – 56
  3. Gavin Faith, Fort Dodge, Iowa, Kawasaki – 48
  4. Gared Steinke, Woodland, Calif., Kawasaki – 44
  5. Chris Blose, Phoenix, Yamaha – 43
  6. Daniel Herrlein, Bethesda, Ohio, KTM – 42
  7. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM – 41
  8. Ben Lamay, Forney, Texas, Honda – 41
  9. Cameron McAdoo, Sioux City, Iowa, Honda – 39
  10. Jacob Hayes, Liberty, N.C., Kawasaki – 29

2017 AMSOIL Arenacross – Round Two – Van Andel Arena – Eastern Regional AX Lites Class Main Event

When the gate dropped on the Eastern Regional AX Lites Class Main Event it was Jacob Williamson who grabbed the holeshot over Harrison and Isaac Teasdale. However, as he looked to establish the top spot Williamson crashed out of the lead while navigating a rhythm section on lap two, allowing Harrison to assume the top spot. Justin Cooper moved into second, with Teasdale settling into third. From that point on Harrison cemented his hold of the lead and took his second chequered flag of the season. Cooper followed in second, with Teasdale third. Williamson recovered from his early crash to finish eighth. 

With his back-to-back wins Harrison now holds a four-point lead over Cooper in the Eastern Regional AX Lites Class standings. Williamson dropped from second to third, eight point behind Harrison.

AMSOIL Arenacross will head to Baltimore next weekend for the third round of the championship from Royal Farms Arena. It will signify the first two-night round of 2017, on Friday, January 20, and Saturday, January 21.

Eastern Regional AX Lites Class Results
  1. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM
  2. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha
  3. Isaac Teasdale, Robbinsville, N.C., KTM
  4. Samuel Redman, Clarksville, Tenn., Kawasaki
  5. Brandon Gourley, Boonville, Ind., KTM
  6. Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., Kawasaki
  7. Carter Gordon, Matoon, Ill., Yamaha
  8. Jacob Williamson, Swartz Creek, Mich., Kawasaki
  9. Cody Williams, Barneveld, Wis., Kawasaki
  10. Donny Brown, Hermitage, Tenn., Yamaha
Eastern Regional AX Lites Class Championship Standings
  1. Heath Harrison, Silverhill, Ala., KTM – 32 (2 Main Event Wins)
  2. Justin Cooper, Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., Yamaha – 28
  3.  Jacob Williamson, Swartz Creek, Mich., Kawasaki – 24
  4. Scott Zont, Algonquin, Ill., Kawasaki – 20
  5. Carter Gordon, Matoon, Ill., Yamaha – 18
  6. Cody Williams, Barneveld, Wis., Kawasaki – 15
  7. Isaac Teasdale, Robbinsville, N.C., KTM – 14
  8. Kyle Bitterman, West Pelzer, S.C., Kawasaki – 14
  9. Samuel Redman, Clarksville, Tenn., Kawasaki – 13
  10. Brandon Gourley, Boonville, Ind., KTM – 12
UK Arenacross Series – Round 2 – Glasgow

The second round of the UK Arenacross Series was held inside the SSE Hydro Arena in Glasgow last Saturday night and the Pro class Main Event was led from start to finish by Cryille Coulon, who also posted the fastest Hot Lap to take a valuable extra three points. He was swiftly followed across the finish line by reigning AX Pro champ Thomas Ramette, with Adrien Escoffier in close pursuit.

UK Arenacross 2017 - Start
UK Arenacross 2017 – Start

In the overall results on the night, the newly-introduced Hot Lap result bumped Cedric Soubeyras up to third while Aussie Jay Wilson crashed during qualifying and didn’t make it to the main event but is expected to be on the gate next weekend.

The 2017 Arenacross Tour now heads south to Birmingham for round three at The Genting Arena next Saturday the 21st of January.

Pro Class Final
  1. Cyrille Coulon
  2. Thomas Ramette
  3. Adrien Escoffier
  4. Cedric Soubeyras
  5. Adam Chatfield
  6. Jack Brunell
  7. Matt Bayliss
  8. Billy Mackenzie
  9. Hugo Richier
  10. Florent Richier
UK Arenacross 2017 - Round Two Glasgow - Cyrille Coulon the winner, Thomas Ramett 2nd
UK Arenacross 2017 – Round Two Glasgow – Cyrille Coulon the winner, Thomas Ramett 2nd
Pro Class Championship Standings
  1. Cyrille Coulon – 33
  2. Angelo Pellegrini – 31
  3. Adrien Escoffier – 31
  4. Cedric Soubeyras – 30
  5. 5Adam Chatfield – 30
  6. Thomas Ramette – 29
  7. Florent Richier – 27
  8. Jack Brunell – 27
  9. Matt Bayliss – 25
  10. Hugo Basaula – 22
2017 Australian Solo Championships – Rounds 4 – Kurri Kurri

Sam Masters has been crowned the 2017 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Champion after winning the final round held at the Kurri Kurri speedway circuit last Saturday night.

Feeling comfortable at his home track, the 25-year-old from Newcastle topped the heat scoring highly on 14 points, becoming the number one seed ahead of the A Final decider which saw Brady Kurtz, Nick Morris, Sam Masters and Troy Batchelor fly off the line and pile into turn one, where Masters looked to be off line but local knowledge saw local hero drive hard around the outside and take control of the race before the opening lap was complete.

Sam Masters was wrapped with his effort “I won all my heats, but I got second in my last, my engine was starting to get tired. It has been working well all series, but race engines don’t last very long. We got what we needed out of it and I’ve come out the winner!”

The new Championship winner Sam Masters vowed to return and defend his title in 2018, racing harder than ever before to remain on top of the tree.

Sam Masters - 2017 Speedway Champion
Sam Masters – 2017 Speedway Champion

Round three winner Justin Sedgmen did not have the night he hoped for, scoring only 9 points, barley getting him a start in the B Final but he still managed to finish the championship in second place overall thanks to his consistent racing in previous rounds, sitting on a total of 55 points.

Likewise with early series leader Dave Watts who struggled all night at Kurri Kurri to score 11 points to finish the series in third overall while future Speedway GP stars Max Fricke and Jack Holder couldn’t pull a trick and didn’t worry the front runners throughout the event.

Kurri Kurri Heat Scores on Saturday, 14th January 2017
  1. Sam Masters (14)
  2. Brady Kurtz (13)
  3. Troy Batchelor (12)
  4. Rohan Tungate (11)
  5. Dave Watt (11)
  6. Nick Morris (9)
  7. Justin Sedgmen (9)
  8. Max Fricke (8)
  9. Mason Campton (8)
  10. Todd Kurtz (6)
  11. Ty Proctor (6)
  12. Jaimon Lidsey (4)
  13. Jack Holder (3)
  14. Jordan Stewart (2)
  15. Josh Pickering (2)
  16. Cooper Riordan (2)
2017 Australian Speedway Senior Solo Championship Standings after the Final round 4
  1. Sam Masters (58)
  2. Justin Sedgmen (55)
  3. Dave Watt (50)
  4. Troy Batchelor (49)
  5. Max Fricke (47)
  6. Nick Morris (43)
  7. Brady Kurtz (42)
  8. Rohan Tungate (30)

* Top 8 are automatically seeded for 2018 Australian Championship