The finishing touches and final adjustments have been made to the race bikes, the trucks are loaded and they are all pointed at Newry as the Yamaha motocross teams take on round one of the MX Nationals in Victoria this weekend.Yamaha racing will have no less than four major teams at the MX Nationals this year under their new racing structure. The CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team will handle the MX1 duties armed with the industry leading Yamaha 2018 YZ450F, Serco Yamaha tackle the MX2 class on the championship proven YZ250F, WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha now take on the Under 19 division while Yamalube Yamaha Racing continue their development role in motocross, this year armed with two pilots in the MX2 category.
CDR Yamaha Monster Energy Team – MX1
Just this week CDR Yamaha revealed their partnership with Monster Energy and pulled the curtains from the teams' new look for the 2018 season. The addition of Monster Energy to the CDR Yamaha program can only bolster what already is the benchmark for domestic motocross and with Dean Ferris and Dylan Long piloting the YZ450F for another season, the scene is set for another successful year for the powerhouse CDR team.
Ferris is the two time and current MX Nationals champion and looking to make it three in a row. He pre-season form is ominous to his rivals and he is determined as ever.
Long finished the 2017 season, both in motocross and supercross and now with a full and healthy pre-season under his belt, Long is looking to make the 2018 season his best yet.
“It’s exciting to have Monster Energy on board for the next two seasons and it’s a relationship we hope to grow over many years,” states team manager, Craig Dack. “But the success of our business is winning races and championships and that’s what CDR is built on and we will continue to strive for that again in 2018, like we do every year.
“As a team we have had a good pre-season and feel we have prepared well. We raced the 2018 YZ450F in supercross last year and found it to be a great bike in standard shape so testing has gone well and both riders are extremely happy with the race bikes so we are ready to go and looking forward to round one,” Dack ends.
Serco Yamaha – MX2
Serco Yamaha have made a few changes to their team for 2018 with an all new rider line up as well as bringing in some new technicians to elevate the team to the next level and stay one step ahead of the competition. Wilson Todd and Nathan Crawford form a formidable duo in the MX2 category as both riders have all the skills, talents and support to take them to championship success.
Todd finished second in last years’ championship after falling during the final moto in a championship thriller that came down to the wire and that has fuelled his fire throughout the off season.
Crawford has moved from the MX1 class and feels he still has unfinished business in the MX2 division after leading the championship into the final round in 2016 before an injury halted his aspirations.
“Every year we look to improve as a team and continue the success we have had and this year we feel we are as well prepared as we have been in some time,” explains team owner, Gavin Eales.
“We have two of the best MX2 riders in the country and both riders are dedicated and determined to win this championship while Paul and Ben have been working huge hours in the workshop to ensure the bikes are good and we have what we need.
“It feels like it has been a big break since our last race but everyone at Serco Yamaha is motivated and ready to go for the MX Nationals.”
Yamalube Yamaha Racing- MX2
The role for the Yamalube Yamaha Racing team has changed slightly for 2018 but their primary function remains the same, to nurture and develop Yamaha talent. Long been Yamaha’s development team into professional racing with Under 19 riders, the team will continue to develop riders but for 2018 the aim is to bridge the gap between the CDR and Serco teams with riders who are important to Yamaha.
Jay Wilson and Richie Evans will spearhead the Yamalube team in 2018. Wilson returns to Yamaha and racing full time in Australia after a season abroad in 2017. The 2015 MX2 champ has rekindled his passion for racing again and after a good pre-season working with long time mentor, Josh Coppins in New Zealand, Wilson is enjoying his racing now more than ever.
The little-known Richie Evans has been in good form at local events in Queensland in the lead up to round one. The former Yamaha privateer now has the support of a major team and has been enjoying the challenge of taking the next step in his racing and training.
“Like most teams, we have made a few tweaks during the off season and it has been for the better. We have bought in Ben Griffith to work along side Mike Ward in the work shop and be the race day mechanic with Richie, while Mike will partner with Jay.
"And the change of class has been a positive thing for the team. We had done MXD for 10 years and while we are MX2 this year, the team has been set up to be flexible in the future depending on where the rider talent is so everyone is happy and motivated heading into the new season,” states Scott Bishop, team manager.
WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha- MXD
The Yamaha dealer based team who have been contesting the MX nationals for the past five years have now been drafted in to take care of the MXD role at Yamaha. The extra support from Yamaha is in reward for the effort, energy and professionalism the team showed over the years and now roll into round one armed with two championship contenders and serious support from Yamaha.
Hugh McKay, who has worked with the team for the past two seasons stays on for his final year in MXD (Under-19). The hard-working Tasmanian based rider is determined to finish his time in MXD with a championship win and has pulled out all the stops in his preparation for the new series.
Joining him with be the current Australian Junior Champion, Bailey Malkiewicz. 2018 will mark his first year in professional racing but Malkiewicz is a talented and experienced racer who won’t be overawed in his new surrounds. He has already chalked up some good results in the lead in for round one and is hoping to keep that momentum rolling.
“As a team, we can’t wait to get the MX Nationals under way,” says team manager, Travis Whitten. “Over the off-season we have been able to get plenty of testing done on the bikes and we even spent a week in Tassie where we got everyone together and put the bikes and riders through their paces.
“The extra support from Yamaha has been amazing and we hope to continue the success Yamaha has had in developing future championship of Australian motocross.”
The action gets under way this Sunday at 8am at the Newry circuit in Victoria.