Moss Insititute’s Greg Moss speaks with MX National’s newest recruit – Todd Jarratt

Greg Moss: So Todd, you are our new MX Nationals series commentator, could you give us a bit of a rundown on how you got this position? 

Todd Jarratt: “For sure Greg, I’ll give you an insight into how it all came about.

“Basically, I grew up racing the Victorian Titles and competed in a few Junior Australian titles over the years and then the MX Nationals last year. Back when I had just turned 13, I broke my wrist pretty severely and was forced off the bike for a couple of months. In that time my local club (Balranald, NSW) had an open event and needed a commentator for the weekend. I loved both talking and bikes, so they offered me the mic duties.

“It all went well, and Lorraine McDonald from Motorcycling Victoria was actually there as an official and was very impressed with my efforts so she invited me to start calling the Senior Victorian titles that year (2008). It all snow balled from there, and over the years while injured I took up one-off jobs at state titles and regional events.

“In 2011, I commentated the Women’s Nationals in Coolum which your rider Meg Rutledge dominated. The Coolum club then invited me to travel up the following year and commentate the Junior Aussie’s (which I did). This led to me being asked by fellow commentator and Horsham Club President Kenny Watts to call the action for their Junior Aussie’s the later year (which I did). It was there that Kevin Williams (Owner of WEM and MX Nationals co-ordinator) and I got talking.

“Now, I had commentated for Kev a few times before at some one off MX Nationals rounds, but it wasn’t until the presentation night of the Junior Aussie’s, that Kev announced he was inviting me to become their series commentator for 2014. From that point on there was a lot of phone calls, organisation and planning that came about to set up my role for this year – and now we are here, just a couple of days after my the first round has been complete.”

GM: Like you have said, the series kicked off over the weekend at Broadford, how was all of the behind the scenes work?

TJ: “Impressive. It was actually incredible to be honest. I’ve been on the rider’s side of the fence when it comes to the nationals and thought it was crazy, but until I was working alongside Kev and his team I didn’t understand how much went on behind the scenes. The amount of detailed planning and precise setup that goes on without the riders even noticing is insane!

“The track was prepared very well, and I think if we haven’t have had the massive down pour of rain early sunday morning, the track would’ve been a lot better for racing. It turned out a bit like 2013, with a very one lined course, but it actually dried up well into the afternoon and more passing opportunities became available.”

GM: What did you think of the racing?

“It was great! Obviously heading into the first race of the year there is always the pre season talk about who’s going fast, who’s a dark horse coming in, which rookies are quick, will the defending champs maintain their position at the top, and the main question – who’s going to win?

“Without any hesitation at all, I can say that every single one of these questions was answered at the first round!

“In the MXD class, Jed Beaton came out swinging with two wins and 5th, for the overall. In the 5th placed moto, he came from dead last, passing 34 riders in 20 minutes on a track that had only one main line, so that was definitely impressive for the GYTR Yamaha rookie!

“The other two riders that stood out to me were Nathan Crawford and Egan Mastin – two more MXD rookies. These guys showed great speed on the all new Husqvarna 250 2-strokes and each landed a spot on the overall podium.

“Jack Simpson, in his last year of the U19’s class was solid and consistent, finishing fourth overall, which he seemed quite happy with as he knows it is a long series and there are a lot of points to count.

“Another worthwhile mention, is Beaton’s team mate Wilson Todd. Todd, with little notice stepped up into this senior rider only a week prior to the event, filling in for the injured Joel Dinsdale (I wish Joel all the best in his recovery). He racked up some great results in the top 5, and I think with a little more time under his belt could even be a championship contender this year.”

“In the MX2 Class, all of the social media yahoo and pit talk in the off season led to the focus being on the duo of Luke Clout and Kale Makeham. Unfortunately though it wasn’t to be for either rider, with Luke Clout showing great speed, leading the majority of the opening moto before getting stuck in first gear for the last four laps of the race and dropping to second. Clout then struggled with poor starts and crashes in the remaining two moto’s. Makeham suffered the same fate throughout the day with poor starts and crashes hindering his chances of an overall podium.

“Instead, it was the recently crowned New Zealand MX2 champion, Kayne Lamont aboard his Red Bull Husqvarna 250 2-stroke that dominated the day’s proceedings taking two wins and a second. After a lacklustre 2013, many saw Lamont as a long shot title contender, but with the form he showed at Broadford I think a lot of people will be changing their tips.

“Brenden Harrison, in his return to nationals finished in a solid second place overall, carding one win on the day. Hamish Harwood, another rider from across the ditch picked up the final podium spot in his MX2 series debut!

“Errol Willis, also in his return to full racing showed great speed and even led laps throughout the day, proving that he too will be one to watch throughout the year.

“Dan McCoy, back in the Lites class aboard the TM250 2 stroke was another rider to impress carding a 4th in moto one, and if it wasn’t for some bad luck in the other two races, probably would’ve been fighting for an overall podium spot as well. So basically, the lites field is stacked!

“In the MX1 Class, Billy Mackenzie aboard his CDR Yamaha qualified fastest and took home the $500 GoPro SuperPole award. Once it came race time though, there were four riders that stood apart from the rest of the field – Matt Moss, Jake Moss, Adam Monea and Kirk Gibbs.

“In the opening moto Jake grabbed the early lead from his twin brother Matt and the two were streaking ahead of the field early on, before Jake had a big off at the top end of the circuit, taking down both riders. As a result, Adam Monea, inherited the lead and maintained this position for the entire moto to take his first ever MX1 win. Matt would charge back to finish second and Kirk Gibbs rounded out the podium in third. Kade Mosig was very impressive aboard his new DPH Motorsports YZF450 coming home in fourth place. Two notes to take from this race were that 1. Jake Moss suffered a DNF as a result of his bike being damaged in the early moto incident, and 2. Cody Cooper, fresh off his New Zealand title was a non-competitor as he crashed heavily in practice and was taken to hospital suffering a broken cheek bone.

“In moto 2, once again the Moss brothers started out front, though this time there was a lot less action as Matt rode to a comfortable win ahead of Jake and Kirk Gibbs. Monea chased Gibbsy for the majority of this 20 minute moto, but couldn’t find a line to make the pass stick, so he ended up in fourth place. Answering our rookie question, Jesse Dobson finished 11th, right behind 4 time series champion Jay Marmont – not bad for a 17 year old.

“Well, when the gate dropped on the final moto, Jake Moss moved into the lead early on ahead of his team mate Adam Monea and twin brother Matt. Jake, now with some more track time set the fastest lap of the race despite having a broken seat and checked out  to win the moto ahead of Monea and Matt. Jakob Wright was running well in a top five position until he went down hard in the closing stages of race and dropped to 18th. Mackenzie had his best result of the day with a 4th and Gibbs rounded out the top 5, giving him third overall for the day behind Matt Moss (1st) and Adam Monea (2nd).”

GM: Sounds like there is a ton of depth in all three classes then?

TJ: “Absolutely, in all three classes I can think of at least 5-10 guys straight off the top of my head that could win races throughout the year.”

GM: So, what do you expect we will see at Round 2, Appin in a week and half time?

TJ: “The track there is a hard packed red clay with lots of different lines and big jumps, so completely different to Broadford, which changes everything up a lot. I think all of the classes are going to be stacked, not only at round 2, but all year, and with the revised racing format that WEM have put in place, it will make for some good racing!

“I think in MX1 we will see the Moss twins, Monea and Gibbs up front again. I also think Gibbs will have a little more to give as he won’t be in so much pain from that recently broken hand.

“In MX2 I believe we will see much better results from both Clout and Makeham, with Lamont and Harrison up front once again. I also believe Willis will surprise a few people as he is an excellent hard packed rider, and looked fired up at Broadford.

“The MXD class as always will be mixed, but Beaton, Crawford, Mastin and Simpson will probably once again be our front runners. If Wayde Carter, Jayden Rykers and Wilson Todd can start at the pointy end of the field, I also think they can win races as they have proven that throughout their junior careers.”

GM: One last thing before you go – I see you are managing a junior race team now, can you tell us a bit about that?

TJ: “Definitely. For 2014, I am managing the WBR Junior Race Team, which is a team owned by Travis and Nathan Whitten (WBR Motorcycles). It consists of 13 junior riders from both Victoria and Tasmania who compete at club, regional, state and national level events all throughout the year. On our team we have Morgan O’loughlin, Sam Maynard, Tyson Woodall, Hugh McKay, Will and Frank Campagnolo, Ben and Joey Garlick, Liam Andrews, George Knight, Sean Biber-Williams, and Fraser and Noah Milner.

“Trav approached me about the position just after the Junior Aussie’s last year and I couldn’t have been more excited about it. Not many 18 year old’s get the opportunity to travel the country training, supporting and mentoring young riders who are trying to achieve their goals.”

GM: Well, thanks for your time Todd, we will see you around the tracks soon!

TJ: “You sure will Mossy, thank you.”

Links – MX Nationals Round One ReportSmarty’s Moto WrapGallery AGallery BGallery C

Todd Jarratt - 2014 MX Nationals Series Commentator
Todd Jarratt – 2014 MX Nationals Series Commentator