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"Dirt", December 1, 2012

LET US REJOICE

with Damien Ashenhurst

What a crazy month of sport it’s been. It’s been difficult to take it all in but, being Australians, we are blessed with the ability to keep track of multiple sports at once. In fact, we are the greatest nation on Earth when it comes to multi-sports tasking (MST). We are genetically designed that way and it’s one reason why we’re such a great nation. It also keeps us out of trouble on the world stage.

Consider all the violent hotspots on the planet: Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Syria, Pakistan, Eritrea and Chechnya, just to name a few. They either have just one sport to concentrate on or none at all. That one sport would be soccer and, let’s face it, if you’re already irritable, that’s not the game you want to be watching.

In Australia we’re just too busy to go starting wars or roughing up our neighbours because there’s always a big game or race coming up. Who wants to miss a big weekend of sport to go to war? Not me, mate.

So, we had the International Six Days Enduro in which our boys and women did extraordinarily well. They showed skill, courage and spirit and beat most of the rest of the world to take a magnificent second place. A bunch of them were even carrying bad injuries through the event — Toby Price’s broken ribs, Glenn Kearney’s sickeningly opened-up knee, Chris Hollis’ broken collarbone — and still they came second. Viva Australia ... oi, oi, oi.

Just as the ISDE finished, the Motocross of Nations began, but squeezed tightly between the two were the AFL and NRL grand finals. I don’t know much about AFL. Tuffy’s educating me whenever possible and it’s starting to make sense to me now. It helped that my local team won the GF, mind you.

I’m a Bulldogs supporter; have been since I was little. Sometimes it’s been a curse and sometimes it’s been brilliant. Melbourne beat the Dogs in every aspect in the GF and when you get done over that good you just got to tip the cap and move on. Billy Slater is a freak.

While all this was going on, Australia was also in the Twenty20 World Cup cricket. Shane Watson playing the way he has is one of the better sights in all of sport. Twenty20 is yet to win me over totally but watching him and David Warner put balls out of the arena is awesome and signals that summer is upon us.

The Wallabies played. They got smashed. I’m sick of hearing that the Wallabies are building for something.

The Motocross of Nations was amazing this year. The track was brutal and the gap between the top Euro riders and the Americans was insane. Ryan Dungey getting towelled up by more than a minute isn’t something you see often. Antonio Cairoli and Jeffrey Herlings put on a clinic that was just mesmerising to watch.

The Aussie team of Lawson Bopping, Todd Waters and Luke Styke did a great job in bringing it all home in 10th. None of those boys had represented at an MXoN before or even spent time on European soil, let alone ridden a track that monstrous. The Todd Waters shoot you see in this issue was the first time he’d ridden on a beach and that track was a beach with fencing.

Of course, the Australian Junior Motocross titles got underway around the same time and what a huge event that is. Coolum hosts the event this year and it’s a week-long motopalooza that has to be seen to be believed.

We’ve had people at each of these moto events so you get the word straight from the track. We’ve also managed to sneak in some pretty special photo shoots, the first of which is in this issue (Todd Waters), plus a tonne of bike testing and we’ve even done some racing of our own in between.

Sport is awesome. Being Australian, surrounded by sport, is awesome. Soak it in, people — this is the best country in the damn universe.

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