Australian MX - Preview

Posted on April 03, 2024

There will be no shortage of intense racing action at Sunday’s second round of the 2024 Penrite ProMX Championship presented by AMX Superstores, as national motocross returns to Victoria's historic Horsham venue for the first time in the current era.

Horsham hasn't been on the calendar since 2017 and the hard-pack track surface will be a stark contrast to what the country's best racers experienced in the deep, dark loam of Wonthaggi three weeks ago.

What awaits competitors this time around is a technical 1.7km circuit, complete with a state-of-the-art in-ground watering system and near-perfect spectator viewing opportunities, which all saw the facility host the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship with significant success in 2018.

Headlining the action will be the Thor MX1 and Pirelli MX2 Championships, while the MAXXIS MX3 Championship and Fox Racing MX85 Cup will ensure close, entertaining action will come thick and fast throughout the day.

After a commanding display at Wonthaggi’s series opener, the aim will be for Boost Mobile Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster to keep the ball rolling at Horsham. Widely regarded for his prowess in softer terrain, Webster is going to need to put in another near-perfect day if he wants to keep his main challengers at bay.

Webster’s competition is likely to come in the form of CDR Yamaha Monster Energy duo Jed Beaton and Dean Ferris. Beaton had incredible speed at round one, setting a qualifying time that was almost two seconds faster than the rest of the field, and challenging for Webster for the second moto win on his way to a 2-2 result.

For the defending champion Ferris, Horsham signals the opportunity for some redemption after a third overall result at Wonthaggi. The four-time champion focused on banking solid points around a circuit he’s never truly gelled with, and with a string of hard-pack circuits looming, Ferris will fancy his chances of spraying the winner’s champagne on Sunday.

There are a multitude of other racers who will be chasing glory at Horsham. MX1 newcomers – Terrafirma Honda Racing’s Wilson Todd and KTM Racing Team’s Nathan Crawford – showed impressive speed and ability to slice through the pack last time out, while Empire Kawasaki’s Luke Clout is getting more and more confident on his new machine every time he hits the track.

With more than 40 riders entering this year’s Thor MX1 Championship, the series is promising to be one of the most fiercely-contested we’ve seen in many years. We’re guaranteed to see a new MX2 champion crowned this year and the contenders began to show their hands at the Wonthaggi opener last month.

Polyflor Honda Racing’s Brodie Connolly and Boost Mobile Honda Racing rider Noah Ferguson split the moto wins and looked in fantastic form, but with both racers regularly using Wonthaggi for their pre-season training, the real test begins on Sunday at Horsham.

Ferguson has built himself a solid reputation as a hard-pack specialist, but Connolly too showed plenty of race-winning pace on the harder surfaces last year. Who gets the upper hand at Horsham will come down to who can minimise the mistakes as the track gets more rutted and challenging later in the day.

Meanwhile, third-placed Ryder Kingsford stunned many with his pace at the opening hit-out, and if the Yamalube Yamaha Racing rider can continue his searing early season form, he could easily steal moto and round wins.

The quality of potential race-winners continues deep into the Pirelli MX2 field, as Yamalube Yamaha Racing’s Jayce Cosford sits in fourth, ahead of pre-season favourite Rhys Budd and Raceline Husqvarna Racing Team teammate Jack Mather, GASGAS Racing Team’s 2023 MX3 champion Byron Dennis and a legion of others.

MAXXIS MX3 saw GASGAS rider Ky Woods and WBR Yamaha Bulk Nutrients Racing’s Koby Hantis split the race wins at Wonthaggi, but a late crash and DNF for Woods proved costly to his points chase, and he’ll line up at Horsham desperate to make up lost ground.

Any one of these talented teenagers could charge to the top step of the podium at Horsham, and that’s without even considering KTM riders Jet Alsop and Deacon Paice – among many others – who ran inside the top five and showed flashes of brilliance at Wonthaggi.

The demanding Horsham layout is going to challenge some of Australia’s brightest future stars when the Fox Racing MX85 Cup races towards the first turn on Sunday. Horsham marks the first stop of a quick-fire championship that will run over the next three ProMX rounds, and there’s an extra incentive for these youngsters to shine – the MX85 Cup serves as a qualification process to represent Australia at the FIM Junior Motocross World Championship in The Netherlands this July.

The class was introduced last year to replicate the same structure and format the riders will encounter on the international stage, and with no less than 60 young racers on the entry list, you can expect to see some no-holds-barred racing over the two 20-minute races. And it's only fitting that Horsham itself hosted the WJMX event just over five years ago.