A Matthes Report: Recent News

Steve Matthes reflects on recent events

· 3 minutes read

Off-weekend in the motocross series over here, first one of the season, and we are heading east next weekend for round four out in High Point, Pennsylvania. Things are settled down a bit in both classes and we are starting to see some trends and patterns emerge and, unfortunately, some injuries have helped that out.

Let's surf around and a bit and touch on some topics and then offer up some analysis at the end…

Rockstar Husqvarna News

Holy crap, man, when it rains it pours for Rockstar Husqvarna, right? First up is Jason Anderson suffering a broken foot colliding with a slower rider at Glen Helen while practicing; he will be out for four to six weeks. Next up is defending 250MX champion Zach Osborne, already nursing a thumb injury, hurting his shoulder in a first-turn crash at Lakewood and going under the knife. Of course preceding this was 450MX rider Dean Wilson also colliding with a slower rider at Glen Helen and tearing his ACL, which put him out for the year.

Huge blow to the team losing a rider that was leading the points (Osborne) and a potential race winner (Anderson) so the team went and hired Phil Nicoletti to ride 450MX the rest of the year. Nicoletti was on JGR Suzuki, but only as a fill-in for Justin Bogle who is back riding again. Phil jumped ship for a guaranteed ride for the rest of the summer and he will be top ten in just about every moto and maybe even better on the Husqvarna.

Analysis; A bit of a surprise to see Nicoletti leave JGR after so many years there, but a guaranteed ride for the last nine is better than week-to-week, right? The only thing that may be difficult is, having been on a Suzuki and Yamaha for so long, how quick can he get up to speed on the white bike? But very good move for the team. Phil’s better than any of the other riders they were rumoured to be looking at and he is a good starter, so he will put the bike up there.

Zach Osborne will, unfortunately, not win four titles in two years (Husqvarna/Simon Cudby)
JGR Suzuki Moves

So in response to losing their "Phil-in" the JGR guys decided to move Justin Hill up to the 450MX class for "selected rounds" and then announce that they have signed 250MX fill-in Enzo Lopes to a deal for the rest of the season and they will have injured Jimmy Decotis back real soon to be Lopes' teammate.

Analysis: Hill had not been doing great on the 250F, but it was not like he stunk the joint out either. In talking to him after Lakewood he told me, "It is just that I just weigh more than everybody. I just have a hard time, because I am already losing on power because of how much heavier I am, so that is the hard part. You got to get through it. I feel like it is building some character for me," so clearly he is battling a bit of mental issues about the bike as well.

I question the "select rounds" thing, I suppose he is benched whenever Bogle comes back, but that is a bit weird, right? Hill’s wanted to be a on a 450 all year and here is his shot but it is selected rounds only? That is weird. Anyways, Lopes has been good his rookie season so keeping him on all year was a good move for everyone.

Enzo Lopes has picked up a much better deal at JGR Suzuki (Suzuki Racing)
Benny Bloss is, Like, Killing It

The RM ATV/MC KTM rider has been a real surprise so far in the 450MX class with some great rides. He would be even higher up in the points if he did not crash out of Glen Helen first moto with one lap to go while in sixth.  Yeah, I know the 450MX class is more like the walking dead with all the injuries, but full marks to Bloss for his riding.

Analysis: Bloss won the Horizon Award coming out of amateurs, which is for the rider who shows the most promise, so it is not like this is that surprising. Benny is huge so his size prevents him from interning down in the 250 class (he did it last year and crashed out), so I think a permanent move to 450s is where it is at for him. Yeah, there are the injuries but Bloss has been racing with (and beating) guys like Weston Peick who is no slouch in a stacked field. Bloss is really coming into his own here.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Husqvarna/Simon Cudby

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