Making Motocross mobile around the country is no easy task, the deadlines are exacting, the venues can be difficult to access and technical issues and mechanical breakdowns always throw a spanner in the works, just like any trucking business! Diesel News takes a turn behind the wheel of the Honda MX transporter to see how the job gets done.
Like many racing teams in Australia, the year, for the Honda MX team, consists of a series of journeys to and from events. The team are on a constant roller coaster ride, heading out to events, competing, heading back to base and then preparing, in short order, for the next race and then hitting the road to the next racetrack.
The Honda MX racing team is run by Motologic and competes in the MX Nationals competition. This consists of ten events each year around the country, running from April to October. After this there is a six round Supercross season, to finish off the year.
At this time, the MX side of the Motologic business employs two professional riders and one full time mechanic. Only available at the weekend, there is a second, part time, mechanic, plus a team manager, whose job is to make the call on set ups and tactics.
Diesel took the opportunity to join the team at the Nowra MX event before driving the team’s transporter back to its base in Campbellfield in Victoria, an area in Melbourne’s North, filled with automotive and racing businesses.
The basic prime mover is an Iveco Eurocargo ML120, with a crew cab fitted, on a normal 4×2 wheelbase. This leaves enough room for the team to have a large storage body for toolboxes and other equipment behind the cab. At the rear of the truck is the trailer coupling with enough room to swing the long trailer.
The trailer coupling itself is fitted upside down, with the king pin on the prime mover and the turntable upside down on the bottom of the trailer. This design is compact and allowed the trailer designers to include more cubic capacity over the turntable and increase the storage options for the team.
The king pin is retractable, enabling the team to use the truck as a single rigid used transport the bikes on the rear flatbed, when training and testing the bikes closer to home. The crew cab comes into its own at these times, the entire team is able to get on board on the way to the test venues.
The tandem axle trailer is designed to both hold all of the teams equipment and provide accommodation for the team at events. All up, the whole combination weighs in at around 14 tonnes when going between races. The design uses elements from a typical semi trailer, a horse float and the fifth wheelers we see on our highways in the hands of the grey nomads.
The trailer is set unusually low, with the roof height matching that of the prime mover. This helps with aerodynamics and in terms of presentation at the racetrack. However, by employing the mini upside down turntable to save space, the area at the front of the step frame trailer is tall enough to be fitted with four bunks and serve as a sleeping area for the crew.
Behind the step in the frame is a living area with a fully functioning kitchen. The team who built the kitchen specialise in houseboat kitchens and all of the equipment runs off a 12 volt system, including fridge, microwave, coffee machine etc. Next comes the shower, this time powered by gas.
The rest of the trailer is taken up with workshop and bike storage area. This includes a fully fitted workbench, nitrogen gas bottle storage and when the bikes are taken out there is a set of drop down tables and seats to make an area where riders can get changed and the team can sit down and take a well-earned break.
Above them, as they sit down, are three large storage bins, used to store things like tyres, the warm-up training bike used by the riders and other odds and ends. The training bike is a vital piece of equipment enabling riders to warm up their body temperature and be alert and physically prepared for the race when they jump on the bikes.
A roof mounted solar system has surprised the team with its effectiveness as none of the racetracks have shore power. On a sunny day, the solar array creates enough power and the generator remains idle. Items like the air compressor or air conditioning draw too much power, when they are in use the generator kicks in. The solar system uses just four batteries for storage, but when fully charged, will provide 100 hours of charge for the team on board.