Retiring champion Josh Coppins bowed out in true style at the end of the 2012 season, and the highly promising Gold Coast resident and rising star Todd Waters will be one of several hopefuls looking to rise when the new season gets underway. Williams Event Management announced major changes to the start of the 2013 Australian Motocross Championships; here is a lowdown of what you should know before the action gets underway.
New points system
This is the headline change. It came about via riders and supporters having their say in a number of surveys carried out. Many riders felt, with their focus mainly on chasing the championship and with points only available for the top 20, the system was not helping them develop overall. Points are now being awarded all the way down to 30th position, with the winner getting 35 points, 2nd earning 32 points, and decreasing down to 1 point for finishing in 30th spot, which gives riders an added incentive to ride right to the line every time they race.
It has been confirmed all classes will now be conducted over a standard two-moto format. This means the MX1 and MX2 classes will be over 30 minutes plus one lap, and the MXD class will be a shorter 20 minutes duration plus one lap. The changes were made after a lot of consultation with riders and spectators alike and should create optimum racing conditions.
When timed qualifying has reached a conclusion, the top five riders get to return to the start line. Each rider will then be fitted with a GoPro camera and get to do one flying lap. The outcome of the flying lap will decide the top five positions for qualifying. This will also earn championship points with the first place gaining 5 points down to one point for fifth. There will also be $500 prize money up for grabs for the fastest qualifier, which is bound to add to the excitement levels al round.
Helmet eject system
Safety is always a big issue, and the new rules state every rider must fit a helmet ejection system to their helmet. The typical price of these systems is around $80-90; you can purchase them from your local distributor or get them from the track.
The new rule changes have gone well if the word on the street is anything to go by; that is understandable when you consider pretty much everyone who has an involvement in the sport has been given a chance to have their say. As with any spectator sport, especially one with an element of danger involved, which is true of all motor sports, there is a fine line between meeting the current need for the highest levels of safety and making the MX Nationals as exciting as ever. Williams Event Management appear to have successfully ticked a lot of the right boxes, addressing the safety aspects with the compulsory use of the helmet ejection system also adding an extra dimension to the races with the new points format and the Super Pole system.
If you decide to take your bike down and join in the fun, either as a spectator or a participant, make sure your motorcycle insurance policy covers all eventualities. There is plenty of time to get familiar with the new rules at the event. When everyone converges at MX Central Barleigh Ranch in New South Wales for round one on Sunday 14th April 2013, there will the usual buzz of excitement, a real sense of anticipation, as the new rules kick in for the start of what is surely going to be an awesome season ahead.
Joanne Lemke is a final year creative writing student at UOW, who is looking to break into the corporate copywriting space once she graduates and hopefully go on to eventually some day write a book around her other passions, namely cooking and travel.