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Former GP Riders In Battle

Former GP Riders In Battle

May 22

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A long list of former Grand Prix riders will head to this weekends round of the Australian motocross championships with high hopes of victory and securing major points in the 2024 title race.

Leading the way is former Husqvarna factory rider Jed Beaton, but he will have serious competition from another former Husky/KTM and Honda factory rider Dean Ferris, not to mention Kyle Webster, Nathan Crawford and Todd Waters.

As the 2024 Penrite ProMX Championship, presented by AMX Superstores, powers towards the halfway point, this weekend’s two-day round at Maitland will serve up a double the action with gate drops across both Saturday and Sunday.

The importance of a good points-scoring performance is even more elevated than usual this weekend, with the MX1, MX2 and MX3 classes all racing three points-scoring motos at round four of the season.

Located an hour’s drive northwest of Newcastle, the Maitland track has been a staple on the ProMX calendar since the championship was inaugurated in 2021, and it will continue into a fourth year alongside a new partnership with Maitland City Council.

Lined with tall trees and known as a hardpack circuit that produces some of the most challenging ruts in the championship, the racers must keep their wits about them and pick their lines carefully as they dart in and out of the dark shadows.

Headlining the action will be the Thor MX1 and Pirelli MX2 Championships, while the MAXXIS MX3 Championship and Fox Racing MX85 Cup and KTM Group MX65 Futures will guarantee there’ll be no shortage of bar-banging, on-track battles across the two-day extravaganza.

From a race fans’ perspective, the Thor MX1 championship is already shaping up to be a slug-fest between the red and blue corner. Boost Mobile Honda Racing’s Kyle Webster and CDR Yamaha Monster Energy’s Jed Beaton have proven to be the class of the field so far, and just one point separates the two as we enter this vital fourth round.

After a near-flawless performance at the previous round at Gillman – and an overall victory at the Wonthaggi opener – Webster holds the slender points advantage over the former MXGP regular Beaton, and another strong showing will only help his cause.

However, the Maitland circuit hasn’t been the happiest of hunting grounds for Webster in the past, and Beaton proved at Horsham’s second round that he’s arguably the faster of the two on the hardpack tracks. But there are plenty of other factors that could potentially spoil the party for the two front-runners.

Last year, reigning MX1 champion Dean Ferris tore the field apart at Maitland with a perfect 1-1-1 result from the weekend’s three races. The CDR Yamaha Monster Energy rider sits fourth in this year’s points chase and is desperate to reduce some of the 32-point deficit he currently faces.

And don’t count out third-placed Nathan Crawford; at Horsham he proved he’s more than adept at hardpack tracks when the KTM Racing Team rider broke through for his first MX1 win. There are plenty of others who will fancy their chances this weekend, too.

Empire Kawasaki’s Luke Clout was consistently runner-up to Ferris at last year’s Maitland round, Kirk Gibbs (GASGAS Racing Team) is traditionally a good performer on these types of tracks, and Todd Waters (Raceline Husqvarna Racing Team) is gaining momentum after an inspired result last time out at Gillman where he scored a round podium.

This weekend, every Pirelli MX2 class racer has one goal – stop Brodie Connolly. The Polyflor Honda Racing rider has wasted very little time establishing himself as the red-hot class favourite, having chalked up five wins from the six races that’ve been held so far.

As a result of his ruthless consistency, the New Zealander has already amassed a daunting 38-point advantage over his Honda Racing Australia team-mate, Noah Ferguson, and Connolly will be eyeing up Maitland’s three motos as a real opportunity to stretch that margin out even more.

But Ferguson is known for his hardpack-riding prowess and his ability to never quit, and if he is to give himself a fighting chance for this year’s title, he needs to ensure he finishes ahead of Connolly in every outing.

Further back in the points standings is Raceline Husqvarna Racing Team’s Rhys Budd, who put in a great round-winning performance at this venue last year. Budd’s currently sitting seventh in a log-jammed MX2 leaderboard, and if he can replicate the form he displayed 12 months ago, he could make some serious moves up the standings.

Standing in his way is Yamalube Yamaha Racing’s Ryder Kingsford, who currently holds down P3 in the points chase, while Kayden Minear (KTM Racing Team), rookie Byron Dennis (GASGAS Racing Team) and Jayce Cosford (Yamalube Yamaha Racing) are all galvanised to pick up good points this weekend.

We’ve seen four different race winners from six motos so far in this year’s MAXXIS MX3 championship, and as a result, the points chase is the tightest of all of the senior classes.

With just eight markers separating series leader Kayd Kingsford (WBR Bulk Nutrients Yamaha) from fourth-placed Deacon Paice (KTM), with WBR Yamaha riders Kobe Drew and Koby Hantis sandwiched between them, the stage is set for a scintillating battle in the development class.

Adding another layer of complexity is the sizzling recent form of Terrafirma Honda Racing rider Jake Cannon, who blitzed the field at Gillman on his way to a double-moto victory.

Despite missing the opening round, Cannon is rapidly gaining ground in the standings, and if he can tap into that same speed this weekend, he’ll be well and truly in the MX3 championship conversation by Sunday evening.

Adding to the pressure-cooker weekend, Maitland hosts the third and final round of the Fox Racing MX85 Cup, as the youngsters fight to qualify for Team Australia at the World Junior Motocross Championship (WJMX).

Exacerbating the fight for national pride is the fact that New Zealander Levi Townley has proved to be a fierce competitor and has won two of the four races so far, and was unlucky to not clean-sweep the previous round at Gillman.

Townley’s late-moto DNF proved to be a lifeline for GASGAS rider Seth Thomas, who won the round, and became a joint red plate holder with Heath Davy (Yamaha), who won the opening race of the mini-series at Horsham.

Just five points separate Davy and Thomas from Townley entering the final round, and you can guarantee none of the young Australians will leave anything in the tank as they race for the chance to represent their country later this year.

For the first time in 2024, our youngest future stars of the sport will roll out onto the Maitland circuit for the opening stop of their three-round series. The KTM Group MX65 Futures boasts an entry list of 30 riders, who will all tackle the same track as their premier class heroes.

The youngsters will race one moto on both Saturday and Sunday before their mini-series heads north to Queensland for the two final rounds of the ProMX Championship at Gympie and QMP.

You can watch all the action right here with a live stream: FIM-MOTO.TV

Saturday – Schedule

8.00 8.20 Pirelli MX2 Practice / Qualifying

8.24 8.39 Fox Racing MX85 Cup Practice / Qualifying

8.43 8.53 KTM Group MX65 Futures Practice

8.57 9.17 Maxxis MX3 – Group 1 Practice / Qualifying

9.20 9:40 Maxxis MX3 – Group 2 Practice / Qualifying

9:43 10.03 Thor MX1 Practice / Qualifying

10.17 10.27 Track Prep – Opening Ceremony

10.32 10.57 Fox Racing MX85 Cup Moto 1

11.02 11.17 KTM Group MX65 Futures Moto 1

11.21 11.31 AMX Superstores MX1 Pole Shootout

Top 10 MX1 Riders - Pole Shootout

11.37 12.02 Maxxis MX3 Moto 1

12.17 12.37 Maxxis MX3 – Non qualifiers Moto 1

12.50 1.20 Pirelli MX2 Moto 1

1.30 2.00 Thor MX1 Moto 1

Sunday - Schedule

8.30 8.40 Fox Racing MX85 Cup Warm Up

8.43 8.53 Pirelli MX2 Warm Up

8.56 9.06 KTM Group MX65 Warm

9.10 9.20 Maxxis MX3 Warm Up

9.23 9.33 Thor MX1 Warm Up

9.56 10.21 Fox Racing MX85 Cup Moto 2

10.36 11.06 Pirelli MX2 Moto 2

11.16 11.41 Maxxis MX3 Moto 2

11.51 12.06 KTM Group MX65 Moto 2

13.13 13.43 Thor MX1 Moto 2

13.53 14.18 Maxxis MX3 Moto 3

14.32 15.02 Pirelli MX2 Moto 3

15.21 15.51 Thor MX1 Moto 3

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