2016 is done and dusted but the 2017 Motocross and Supercross seasons kick off in just a matter of weeks with the opening round of the AMA Supercross Championships at Anaheim, January 7, and from there we moto fans get to enjoy the racing from across the globe.
The 17-round AMA Supercross Championship has several points of interest for 2017 with Ken Roczen’s move to the factory Honda Team being one of the critical talking points during the off-season.
Honda hasn’t won an AMA 450 title since 2004 so they threw the cheque book at Roczen to secure the hottest rider on the planet right now. The German will have close company from the in-form Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac and let’s not forget that Cooper Webb is now 450-mounted alongside Chad Reed in the Yamaha team. Webb has a way of getting to the pointy end of any field in a short period so there won’t be any first season jitters from the youngster.
Throw in the Stewarts, Justin Barcia, Cole Seely, Marvin Musquin, Trey Canard, Jason Anderson, Josh Grant, Blake Baggett, Justin Bogle, Davi Milsaps, Phil Nicoletti, Christophe Pourcel, Benny Blose, Mike Alessi, Broc Tickle, Justin Brayton, Dean Wilson and Weston Peick and you have the hottest 450 field for quite a few years. It would be a brave man to bet against a Roczen, Dungey or Tomac championship when they hit Vegas.
In the 250 class you have the experienced duo of Jeremy and Alex Martin taking on a plethora of talent including RJ Hampshire, Christian Craig, Jimmy Decotis, Joey Savatgy, Austin Forkner, Chris Alldredge, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Hill, Mitchell Oldenburg, Tyler Bowers, Shane McElrath, Jordon Smith, Aaron Plessinger, Colt Nichols, Mitchell Harrison, Dylan Ferrandis, Scott Champion, Zach Osborne, Martin Davalos and Aussie Jackson Richardson. Predicting a winner of the East or West Coast series at this stage is impossible but you can bet that the racing for the podium at every round will be breathtaking.
Now, take all of those riders (minus Chad Reed) and throw them into the 12-round AMA Motocross Championship which starts in May and ends in August, and you will have more action than a Bruce Willis blockbuster.
The 20-round World Motocross Championship starts at the end of February with all eyes on the arrival of Jeffrey Herlings into the 450cc MXGP class and you can bet the likes of Tim Gasjer and Romain Febvre are champing at the bit to bang ’bars with the multi MX2 World Champ.
Antonio Cairoli, Max Nagl, Evgeny Bobryshev, Gautier Paulin, Valentin Guillod, Jeremy Vanhorebeek, Glenn Coldenhoff, Tommy Searle, Arnaud Tonus, Clement Desalle, Jordi Tixier, Max Anstie, Kevin Strijbos, Arminas Jasikonis and Rui Goncalves are all capable of running at the front but for mind it will come down to Herlings, Gasjer or Febvre for the title.
The MX2 class is wide open with Herlings, Max Anstie and Dylan Ferrandis out of the picture but 2016 Vice Champion Jeremy Seewer will have to deal with Thomas Covington, Pauls Jonass, Brian Bogers, Hunter Lawrence, Caleb Ward, Conrad Mewse, Thomas Kjer Olsen, Darian Sanayei and Jorge Prado-Garcia if he wants to go one better in 2017.
Locally the Australian MX Nationals will once again offer 10 rounds of racing throughout Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia starting in early April, finishing mid-August with the rivalry between Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Kirk Gibbs set to continue for another year with Kade Mosig, Jay Wilson, Jess Dobson and Dylan Long all looking to get among the winners circle throughout the season.
In the MX2 class we see 2016 champion Jed Beaton and vice champion Caleb Ward heading to Europe leaving Nathan Crawford to finish off what he was so close to achieving in 2016, while Jayden Rykers, Wade Hunter, Wilson Todd, Dylan Wills, Mitchell Evans and Cooper Pozniak (to name a few) will having something for the factory Husqvarna rider during the long series.
After the MX Nationals the revamped Australian Supercross Championship takes place during October and November culminating in the highly successful AUS-X in Sydney where a great series is capped off with a world class event.
All that aside, we also have the New Zealand, Canadian, French, Netherlands, Belgian, Italian, Switzerland, Spanish, Swedish, Czech Republic, Irish, Russian, British, Japanese, South African, Estonian, Mexican, Lithuanian, Danish and Austrian championships to enjoy so lookout, 2017 is going to be a cracker!