Matt Moss Makes It Back To Back Monster Energy MX National Titles
Luke Clout and Egan Mastin Come of Age Winning MX2 and MXD Titles Respectively
Under sunny Queensland skies, Motul Suzuki’s Matt Moss cruised to his second straight Monster Energy MX Nationals titles at the Coolum Motocross track on Sunday the 31st of August, 2014.
The two-day Monster Energy MX Nationals Championship finale kicked off on Saturday with qualifying where Moss joined his only real title threat heading into the final round, Kirk Gibbs (KTM Racing) along with NPS Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Moss and the CDR Yamaha pairing of Jacob Wright and Billy Mackenzie, all qualifying inside the top five and a place in Sunday’s Superpole event.
With a maximum of five points up for grabs in the Go Pro Superpole, Gibbs fired the first shot off for the round, finishing 3rd, one position ahead of Matt Moss, gaining one point back on the defending champ in the title fight.
Up front it was the CDR duo who blew the other three riders away by close to four-seconds on their qualifying flying lap, with Mackenzie just edging out Wright by a fraction.
When the gates dropped on moto one it was DPH Motorsports Yamaha rider Kade Mosig who claimed the first holeshot of the day, however his run at the front was short lived, his bike expiring early in the race.
Mackenzie took control of the race at the front, while things got interesting a little deeper in the pack as Matt Moss hit the deck for the first time for the day, while Gibbs was making moves forward to the front of the field.
Gibbs was on a mission, quickly closing the gap to the race leader before making his move and checking out to what looked as though was going to be a comfortable win.
Jacob Wright had other ideas however and closed in on the South Australian over the final two laps, but Gibbs managed to hold on for a narrow victory. Further back in the field Matt Moss crossed the line in 6th position after fighting back from well outside the top ten after his crash.
After the first moto Gibbs had cut the points lead from 37-points down to 26, the title fight was starting to warm up.
Moto two saw a resurgent ride by former world champion Ben Townley, the New Zealander raced his Penrite Oils Honda MX machine to a runaway race win ahead of Mackenzie as the two elder riders of the class gave the younger pros a lesson in sand riding.
After a terrible start Gibbs worked his way back up to 3rd in the final couple of laps, while Matt Moss raced to a steady 5th place finish despite another small tip over. The results only allowing Gibbs to close in by another fou-points, leaving him 22-points down heading into the final race.
With Gibbs needing to win and have Matt Moss finish 19th or worst, the odds were well in truly in Moss’ favour heading into the final race.
It was Mackenzie who raced to the final moto win of the year however, and also the final round win of the year, beating home Gibbs in the moto of the season, leaving the duo tied on points, Mackenzie scoring the win on count-back.
Wright rounded out the podium for the round also on count-back, ahead of Townley.
All the major spoils however belonged to the now two-time champion Matt Moss as he strolled over the line in 8th position aboard his Suzuki RM-Z 450 to claim the 2014 MX1 championship.
“I would personally like to start off by thanking the whole team,” Moss said from the top step of the championship podium. “A big thanks to the Motul Pirelli Suzuki team, the Foreman family, my mechanic Jess. We are one big happy family and we enjoy going racing.
“My beautiful fiancé and her parents, living at home with them we have dinner cooked every night, they look after us, and also the Mcleary family who let me live at their place at Newcastle when I am riding, without these people behind me I would not be able to achieve this championship
“My dad and the Moss Institute thanks heaps.
“Jay Marmont said to me at the start of the year it is harder to defend your championship. I want to pay tribute to Jay, he is getting to the end of his career and is getting out of it and I would love to be that sort of guy when I finish my career and it is great to see him finish out his career while I am on top.”
While obviously a little disappointed to finish in 2nd place after a hard championship fight, Gibbs was proud of his achievement and could not thank his team enough after they signed him to ride two years ago, after Gibbs nearly lost his life at Coolum after a big crash in the MX2 class.
“I didn’t leaving anything behind,” Gibbs stated from the podium. “I put in everything today and I tied for the win for the round.
“Billy rode awesome and so did Jacob. There was a lot of pressure today and the track was gnarly rough. I am really happy with how I went and how good everything is with the team.
“The KTM team is amazing and the bike was awesome again today and I am just glad to be walking away from here healthy and with second place in the end.
Rounding out the MX1 podium for the year was Billy Mackenzie.
“I felt awesome out there today, the improvements they have made to this track were awesome,” Mackenzie commented. “The rain we had here before the weekend made it so rough and it was probably the most technical and toughest track I have raced in Australia.
“It was good to get the overall win today, I came into the round wanting to finish the season out on top. I felt great on the bike since first practice, we made a few changes to the bike today.
“Brad my mechanic has been behind me all year, it has been a bit of a balancing act for him all year and we got there in the end and it was great to finish it off with taking the overall round win.”
In the MX2 class is was Serco Yamaha’s Luke Clout who headed into the final round with a handy 32 point lead in the standings, with the New South Welshman riding a smart and calculated three races to clinch the 2014 and his maiden senior Australian MX Championship.
Needing only to keep SD3 Husqvarana’s Luke Arbon and CMR Red Bull KTM’s Hamish Harwood in his sights all day, Clout finished directly behind Arbon in the opening two races with the pair going 2-3 while out front 17 year old Caleb Ward blew the field away winning comfortably.
The championship was still alive heading into the final moto of the day but with Clout holding a 28-point advantage over Arbon, the championship looked all but out of reach for the South Aussie.
The task of stealing away the title then became near impossible for Arbon after he went down in a big first-turn crash. Re-mounting slowly, Arbon put this years result beyond doubt only moments later with a huge crash on the down ramp of the big crowd pleasing table-top, and was taken away by Racesafe after gingerly getting to his feet.
Out front Ward raced to his third win of the day, after qualifying fastest the previous day to clean sweep the MX2 class for the weekend, making a big statement that he will be one to watch heading into 2015.
But the man that deserves the biggest applause for the year was Luke Clout who raced smart all season long to pick up his maiden title and leave his first big mark on Australian motocross racing in the senior ranks.
“It feels pretty good, though it has not really sunk in yet, I am sure it will in the upcoming days.” Clout remarked about his championship win.
“I have to give a big thanks to the guys at Serco Yamaha, I am very thankful for those guys, my mum, dad, brother, girlfriend all my friends who came up this weekend and made the trip.
“Hopefully I will come back next year and do it all again.”
Hamish Harwood who has been battling injuries for the second half of the season, capitalised on Arbon’s final moto mistakes to sneak home for second in the championship, the New Zealander edging out Arbon by three points.
“I am stoked to come away with second in the championship,” Harwood admitted. “It was not the ideal way to do it with Arbon crashing out, but that is racing.
“I have had my fair few injuries over the past three rounds. It has been a big series especially coming off the back of New Zealand’s championships.
“I am stoked with second and a big thanks for everyone for helping me out.
Arbon who only picked up his race bikes on the Tuesday before the first round of the year back in March could not have been more proud of his and his small team’s privateer effort throughout the season, taking third in the championship and a equal high three round wins along the way.
“A massive shout out to the SD3 Husqvarna race team and Stephen McKinnon and his family, there really is to many people to thank who made it possible for me to get back out on track and enjoying myself.
“We won a few races and Overall’s. I have to be happy with that, we were a little bit unfortunate in that last race after a big crash out the back, but I am thankful to be back walking now.
“A big congratulations to the Serco team and Luke Clout, they had a great year and also Hamish for second as well.”
Husqvarna’s Egan Mastin won the battle of the young chargers in the MXD class for the season, following in the footsteps of this New South Wales counterparts of Matt Moss and Luke Clout riding a smart final round after heading into Coolum with a solid points lead.
The 16-year-old finished second to fellow Husqvarna rider Nathan Crawford in the opening two races to clinch the title with one moto to spare.
“This championship has taken a lot of consistency and that is what we have done this year and to win the title is just awesome.
“I definitely would not be up here if it wasn’t for Ando (Team Manager Craig Anderson) he took me out of juniors and gave me a ride this year and I can’t thank him enough along with Husqvarn, Scott, they were a massive help this year.
“Also M2R, Pirelli, Belray, and everyone else helping me out, especially my dad, I definitely would not be up here if it was not for him, he puts in 100% for me and I can’t thank him enough.
Crawford’s continued his winning form in the final moto to end the season with a perfect 1-1-1 result and in the process lifted himself into second place in the championship standings with Tune Tech KTM’s Jack Simpson rounding out the MXD podium for 2014.
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