Moto Media

Luke Styke - is he the 'dark horse' of 2014?

The Australian MX2 Champion will make his Grand Prix debut at the opening round of the 2014 season in Qatar and some inside the paddock feel he could be a bit of a surprise.

The only time Styke has been able to match his speed against the FIM World Motocross Championship riders was in the 2012 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations, held in the deep sand of Lommel. Styke put together two strong motos, going 26-20 for 8th overall in the MX2 class. While it might not sound that impressive he did beat home riders such as Jeremy Van Horebeek, Tim Gajser, Jake Nicholls, Glenn Coldenhoff and Alessandro Lupino in the MX2 class results.

Styke, who has just finished racing the Australian Supercross Championships, will spend the majority of his off-season time in Australian, enjoying better weather conditions in preparation for the opening round of the 2014 FIM World MX2 Championship, set for Doha, Qatar, in early March.                                                              Luke Styke - Motoonline image

"From mid December to January I’ll ride a stock 250F that I picked up from Yamaha at their YZ250F launch at Toowoomba,” Styke said. "I’ll get a feel for the bike, then head to Europe for a month and do some testing and engine development.”

"I’ll be back in Australia for a month leading up to the first round at Qatar on March 1, because it makes sense to train during our summer for a race that’ll be in 40-degree heat. I spoke to both Dean [Ferris] and Ben Townley and they both said that would be the perfect scenario.”

With the departure of Dean Ferris from the Grand Prix series Styke picks up the apartment of his fellow Aussie and will be based in Belgium, right around the corner from the Lommel circuit where he enjoyed his first taste of International battle.

"As for accommodation, Dean has given me first dibs on his unit. I’ve bought all the internal stuff from him and I’ll rent it from there. It’s all worked out pretty perfectly.”

No doubt many will keep an eye on Styke as he tries to keep the Australian tradition of racing in the FIM World Motocross Championships alive, and like Jeff Leisk, Chad Reed, Andrew McFarlane and Dean Ferris will be working as hard as possible to get himself on top of the Grand Prix podium.