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WMX CROWN JESSICA LEADS THE WAY

SOUTHWICK END OF THE LINE

OCTOBER 2013 VOLUME 16 NO10

OCT 2013

SOUTHWICK / BRETT METCALFE / PRIVATEERS / VILLOPOTO’S STYLE

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V16#10 CONTENTS

OFF YOU GO! James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto briefly made contact during their battle for the lead at RedBud, sending RV over the ropes.

PHOTO BY: Lissa Marsolek

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FEATURES 106 END OF THE LINE One of the series’ most storied rounds, the Southwick National at Massachusetts’ Moto-X 338 threw itself a fitting farewell party in July.

106 118 FASTER. NOW. Every now and then, a rider completely changes the way motocross bikes are raced— Hannah, O’Mara, McGrath, Carmichael, Stewart … and now Ryan Villopoto.

118 130 ROADS TAKEN Each summer, a high-profile crop of amateurs make their professional debuts with factory backing and more sponsorships than they can handle for years to come. This isn’t a story about them.

130 144 UNFINISHED BUSINESS Journeyman pro Brett Metcalfe, once pegged as Australia’s next great American hope, is trying to revitalize his career, just a little to the north.

144 RACER X ILLUSTRATED (ISSN No. 1099-6729) is published monthly by Filter Publications, Inc. at 122 Vista Del Rio Drive, Morgantown, WV 26508. Periodicals postage paid at Morgantown, WV 26508 and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Racer X Illustrated, PO Box 469051, Escondido, CA 92046-9051.

COVER PHOTO BY: SIMON CUDBY // INSET PHOTOS BY: SIMON CUDBY

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V16#10 CONTENTS REGULARS 16 MASTHEAD 20 CONTRIBUTORS 24 GATE PICS 36 REASON FOR BEING 40 PIt PASS 46 THE FEED 52 NOISE 58 ELECTRONIC PING 60 ONE RACE, ONE PAGE 64 338 66 SARAH SMILE 68 VOICE BOX 71 RACERHEAD 96 X MARKS THE SPOT 100 RACER EXPOSURE 158 GARAGE INSTOCK 162 MIXED MEDIA 164 2 TRIBES 166 5 MINUTES WITH ... 174 X RATED 176 INSIDE MOTOCROSS

PAGE 106 PHOTO BY: SIMON CUDBY 12

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V16#10 EDITOR/FOUNDER DAVEY COOMBS PRESIDENT BRYAN STEALEY PRODUCTION DIRECTOR JULIE KRAMER

EDITORIAL

ADVERTISING/PRODUCTION

CREATIVE DIRECTOR DAVID LANGRAN

PUBLISHER SCOTT WALLENBERG

SENIOR EDITOR JASON WEIGANDT

SALES DIRECTOR PETE MARTINI

COPY CHIEF JEFF KOCAN

SALES ASSOCIATE TIM CRYTSER

PRE-PRESS MANAGER DAVE BROZIK

ONLINE ADVERTISING COORDINATOR ALISSA GILLIGAN

ASSISTANT DESIGNER MIKE FISHER SENIOR PHOTOGRAPHER SIMON CUDBY

ACCOUNTS JERRI HEADLEE

MANAGING EDITOR ANDREW FREDRICKSON

SYSTEMS MANAGER DAN REINHART

ONLINE CONTENT MANAGER CHASE STALLO

DEALERSHIP COORDINATOR MIKE EBY

EDITORS-AT-LARGE DAVID PINGREE, STEVE MATTHES, AARON HANSEL

OTHER STAFF JESSICA COOMBS, KELLY KIRBY, HEATHER MOEBUS, MELANIE MARRA

MARKETING ASSISTANT JORDAN ROBERTS

VOICE OF REASON RITA COOMBS

SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR ERIC JOHNSON PHOTOGRAPHER-AT-LARGE GARTH MILAN SENIOR CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS PAUL BUCKLEY, FRANK HOPPEN, FRAN KUHN

SUBSCRIPTION HELP: 877-684-0080 CONTRIBUTORS: DANIEL AHLGREN, MATT ALLARD, DAVID BAILEY, LIZ BLACK, DANIEL BLAIR, ANDY BOWYER, JACK BURNICLE, RYAN CLARK, ADAM DUCKWORTH, JEFF EMIG, SARAH HAYES, DAVID IZER, KEVIN KELLY, STEPHAN LEGRAND, JEREMY McGRATH, DONOVAN MITCHELL, BOBBY MYERS, TRAVIS PASTRANA, RONNIE RENNER, HOSS SHARIFI, DENNY STEPHENSON, DAVID VUILLEMIN, SARAH WHITMORE PHOTOGRAPHERS: CARLOS AGUIRRE, RAY ARCHER, CAMERON BAIRD, PAUL BLISS, BROWNDOGWILSON, JOHN CLARK, MATT FRANCIS, SARAH GUTIERREZ, JOHN HANSON, CHRIS HULTNER, KINNEY JONES, JEFF KARDAS, JAMES LISSIMORE, MAX LUDWIG, RODDY MACLEOD, DICK MILLER, SHAN MOORE, TONY SCAVO, CARL STONE, RYNE SWANBERG, CHRIS TEDESCO, RICH VAN EVERY, MAX ZANZANI THE A LIST: ALLEN, ANDERSSON, BEEKER, BERRY, BLANCHARD, BOLTON, COMSTEIN, COOLEY, COTTER, COX, DUNNING, GIACALONE, HOOPER, HUSTED, JONNUM, KOESTER, LANNING, LOVETT, MEGAWATT, MESSENGER, MIDGLEY, PARKER, PROVANCE, RODRIGUEZ, RRD SCHEDULING, SCHUTTE, SMITH, SUNDELL, URSIC, ZOLLINGER RACER X ILLUSTRATED: 122 VISTA DEL RIO DRIVE, MORGANTOWN, WV 26508 TEL 304-284-0080 FAX 304-284-0081 WWW.RACERXONLINE.COM

The riders appearing in this magazine are, for the most part, highly trained professionals or experts. Please don’t try to imitate their tricks. When you ride a motorcycle, always wear appropriate safety gear and never ride beyond your capabilities. Use your head, wear a helmet, and enjoy the ride. Racer X Illustrated is published monthly by Filter Publications, Inc. Editorial contributions are welcomed but must be guaranteed exclusive to Racer X Illustrated. We are not responsible for the return of unsolicited material. Letters cannot all be answered, nor can all service inquiries. We appreciate correspondence sent to editorial offices and will use the most interesting and appropriate letters in the magazine. One-year print subscription rates (12 issues) for U.S. and possessions: $19.98 USD; Canada: $29.98 USD; international: $44.98 USD. Digital subscriptions $9.98 USD. Subscription inquiries: Please call 877-684-0080 (toll-free) or 760-233-2683. All subscription correspondence should be addressed to Racer X Illustrated, PO Box 469051, Escondido, CA 92046-9051, or email customer service at racerx@pcspublink.com. Back issues are available for $8 each including postage and packing. Supplies are limited; availability cannot be guaranteed. Visit www.racerxbrand.com to order. Advertising: Please call Scott Wallenberg (208-321-0037), Pete Martini (949-322-2422), or Tim Crytser (Vendor Row ads, 407-748-4663). Newsstand distribution by Curtis Circulation. Copyright ©2013 Filter Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing in this magazine may be reprinted in whole or in part without the express written permission of the publisher. HAVE YOU MOVED? Please notify us of any change of address. PRINTED IN THE USA

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V16#10 CONTRIBUTORS MIKE EBY

Our newest contributor, photographer Kit Engwall, grew up in the Pacific Northwest and currently resides just outside of Portland, Oregon. He’s developed quite the eye over the years, which he attributes partially to growing up reading National Geographic and riding dirt bikes. Traveling, photography, and writing are his passions (along with wicked self-portraits), and his nickname Camera Kit seems to have stuck. His first written and photographic contribution to this magazine comes in this month’s X Rated coverage of Chaos at Castle Rock on page 174.

A new addition to our headquarters in Morgantown, West Virgina, Mike Eby is heading up our new dealership network program. Are you a dealer who wants to carry Racer X? You need to get a hold of Mike! And if he calls you, don’t hang up— he’s got a can’t-turn-down deal for you. Aside from checking up with dealership reps and making sure everyone is getting their magazines, in his free time, Mike enjoys movies and reading and is a full-time student at West Virginia University, where he’s majoring in Business.

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FAST BIKES All summer long, GEICO Honda riders like Zach Osborne (338) and Wil Hahn (19) have been nailing their starts, like this one at the Red Bull RedBud National. Ironically, the team’s best starter, rookie Zach Bell, has been sidelined since the first race back in May.

PHOTO BY: SIMON CUDBY

GATE PICS 000 24


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ORANGE OUT Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin (25) and Ken Roczen (94) lead the second-moto wave of 250 riders into the second turn at the Southwick Moto-X 338 National. Roczen would stay out front the whole time and retain the points leader’s red plate he’d held since the Hangtown opener.

PHOTO BY: SIMON CUDBY

GATE PICS 26


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GATE PICS 000 28


AQUA MAN Jordan Roberts is the editor of The Racing Paper, as well as the man running the Racer X booth at races all over the country. With some rare time off this summer, he made the trip to Silver Lake Sand Dunes back home in Michigan and decided to show us he could “JMB” across the water. He would later claim someone was using a laser pointer to distract him. (Too soon?)

PHOTOS BY: ANDREW FREDRICKSON

GATE PICS 29


000 30


WASHOUGAL GOON SQUAD Seems like motocross fans are getting more and more creative with their getups— case in point: the Washougal Goon Squad. These grounded superheroes lack actual superpowers but make super fans, and they roamed the infield at the Peterson CAT National, cheering on riders and earning a few laughs from their fellow spectators.

PHOTO BY: GLENN KASIN

GATE PICS 31


000 32


YELLOW SUBMARINE Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson has had a decent summer, though he’s spent much of his time chasing GEICO Hondas and Red Bull KTMs. Here he dives into a Southwick berm on his way to a solid fifth overall. With the series twothirds complete, Anderson was holding down sixth in the points standings.

PHOTOS BY: SIMON CUDBY

GATE PICS 33


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REASON FOR BEING

J

CUDBY

ames Stewart picked a good day to get back in the mix. Not because the Red Bull RedBud National was jam-packed with motocross fans, or because a global television/online audience was watching, or even because it was July Fourth weekend and a great time to jumpstart the rest of his season. What made his

BY DAVEY COOMBS

those terrible tornados hit his home state of Oklahoma. Stewart helped out there, too, as did Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed, Broc Tickle, and Ken Roczen; all rode with with #oklahomastrong on the back of their Fox/Shift Racing pants. After his hometown Spring Creek National, defending 450 Motocross Champion Dungey woke up early Sunday for his annual MN Major River to River Ride to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, a foundation he set up in honor of his grandmother. Dungey pledged to match up to $50,000 in donations and was was joined on the ride by several friends and fellow riders, including Wil Hahn, who holeshot both 250 Class motos the day before. Last year, when Jeremy McGrath put out word that he wanted to help expand the national registry of bone-marrow donors that might be able to help people with cancers like leukemia—from which his wife, Kim, was suffering— our sport came out in droves for www.bethematch.org, a national registry for all patients in need of donors. Budds Creek is located very close to Washington, D.C., and the HQ of Walter Reed Veteran’s Hospital. Every year, promoter Johnathan Beasley and his friends Robert and Travis Pastrana help bring Wounded Warriors to the races. The same group is also treated to FMX shows and arenacross races by Feld Entertainment Motor Sports whenever they travel to the area. We’ve had “pink” races both indoors to aid the fight against breast cancer, and the annual Ride-4-AT at Bremen, Georgia, is a great way to spend the day after the Atlanta SX. Want to see a lot of smiling kids who are otherwise in tough circumstances? Check out the Big Air Kids Fair that Steve Bauer and friends produce every year at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital near Riverside, California. Want to enjoy a special supercross experience with your own family while benefitting others who are hospitalized? MX For Children has been hosting fundraising contests at events like Toronto and Seattle for years. Make-A-Wish, Toys for Tots, the Jimmy Fund—these and other well-known charities have benefitted from motocross athletes, clubs, and promoters. And then there’s the close-to-home need to help injured riders and prevent injuries, which includes Road 2 Recovery, the Clayton Foundation, Rider Down, the Brett Downey Safety Foundation, Wings For Life, and many more—all great causes that our riders have championed over the years. And anything that benefits the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit and allows all the riders on the professional SX/MX circuit to have quality urgent care is something we should all raise our hands for. James Stewart’s ride at RedBud was his best of the summer, and not just because he got second overall—those Infinite Heroes he was riding for got on the podium too.

MOTOCROSS RACERS HELPING OTHERS WHILE COMPETING FOR WINS IS SOMETHING WE DON’T TALK ABOUT ENOUGH. RedBud result so good was the simple fact that he was riding in support of someone else: U.S. military personnel injured while protecting our nation and freedom. The Infinite Hero Foundation (www.infinitehero.org) funds programs to help drive innovations that will assist veterans and their families who are dealing with injuries suffered in the line of duty. It also helps these men and women when they need critical physical and mental health services. The Yoshimura Suzuki rider and sponsors like Oakley and James’ own Seven MX brand are helping Infinite Hero by entertaining some of our nation’s real heroes at races like RedBud and Budds Creek, as well as wearing special gear in their honor. The gear was signed by Stewart and will be auctioned off later this year (possibly on September 11) by Infinite Hero. Motocross racers helping others while competing for wins is something we don’t talk about enough. Our athletes have a long history of being there to serve others, just as Trey Canard and the Honda Muscle Milk team did after 36

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With the memory of Supercross Championships and race wins still fresh, Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin look to the performance proving grounds of outdoor motocross for more wins. Look for them and the powerful 2014 KTM 250 SX-F up front. READY TO RACE!


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PIT PASS

WE GET YOU IN!

Number of times your stomach just flipped.

CUDBY

BROWDNDOGWILSON

BROWDNDOGWILSON

Jamie Mac and Ami Houde compare guns.

Been coming to RedBud since Easy Rider was in theaters.

CUDBY

CUDBY

Many, many moto mommas share your sadness.

Meet the Naritas.

CUDBY

John Tomac and Dano Legere hang between motos.

These soggy fans just learned The Villy!

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CUDBY CUDBY

CUDBY

The Creative Works’ Jake Klingensmith surveys the scene.

Stars and Stripes from above kick off race day at RedBud.


Budds Creek’s Jonathan Beasley checks on the 22 team.

Washington loves their local.

CUDBY

CUDBY

CUDBY

REDBUUUD!!!

Henry Highway is now as nostalgic as Route 66.

CUDBY

She’s calling in more reinforcements.

ROSSI’S #1 FAN

FREDRICKSON

CUDBY

GUTIERREZ

The man in orange rises in a sea of green.

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Mike Williamson, the championship-winning T-handle spinner for Ryan Villopoto, has a thing for Valentino Rossi—he worships the guy! So when Parts Unlimited global motorsports director Hylton Beattie and national sales magager “Sweet, Sweet” Lou Lopez had a chance to visit with the iconic MotoGP champion, they asked for a special gift for Williamson: one of his hand-painted AGV helmets. Rossi was glad to hand one over, along with a simple message: “To Mike: Make sure you keep the bolts tight. Ciao!” How did Mike like it? He’s apparently sleeping with it, cuddled under his arm!

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PIT PASS

WE GET YOU IN!

CUDBY

CUDBY

There’s an upside to Buchanan’s hot, hot weather.

Vann Martin’s golden locks glisten in the MX338 sun.

CUDBY

Zach and Kenny cool down the Southwick crowd.

Georgia Albertson updates us with the RedBud news.

CUDBY

DC

CUDBY

Washougal brought out the next generation in droves.

Chupa’s team was on the gas as well.

THE MAN IS HONORED

DC

Each summer at the RedBud National, the track honors a legend of the sport who has made an impact not only on RedBud, but on motocross in general. So it was inevitable that Roger DeCoster, global motocross hero and a regular winner at RedBud in the 1970s when he was racing Trans-AMA events there, would get the nod. The Man was introduced into the track’s Hall of Fame by RedBud’s Amy Ritchie before the race, and then he went back to work—only to find himself again atop the podium, this time as 250 national winner Ken Roczen’s Red Bull KTM team manager.

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CUDBY

CUDBY

Michigan Mafia: Pat, Heather, Katie, and Calvin Schutte.

Final lap: Southwick promoters Diane and Ralph Pitello.

COURTESY SCHUTTE

The Stewarts do their best Reservoir Dogs.

Carey Hart and Kenny Watson ham it up at the ’Wick.

Someone’s trip is already planned.

CUDBY

CUDBY

CUDBY

Doc Bodnar says “hang on for saftey.”

Chad’s parents, Mark and Robyn Reed.

Team Stewart enjoys their morning coffee run.

CUDBY

MATTHES

CUDBY

TV bigwigs Weege and Emig’s egos are this big.

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THE FEED ticles written by Sarah Whitmore, and David Pingree keeps me laughing. Thank you to the Racer X family for producing an amazing magazine. Adrienne McClinton Willow Grove, PA Thanks for the note, Adrienne. We wondered why Simon was walking around with a big head at Budds Creek … or maybe that was Phil Collins? DC

KOY

MAIL

Our ace shooter, Simon Cudby.

I had the pleasure of meeting Simon Cudby at the Red Bull National at Budds Creek, and I thank him for taking the time in between shooting at the race to provide me with his autograph. Simon is to motocross what Annie Leibovitz is to fashion. Meeting him and getting his autograph was incredible for me since he is my alltime favorite photographer. I am an amateur photographer and female rider who enjoys receiving Racer X each month. I identify with the ar-

I wanted to comment on your August 2013 Reason for Being about visiting different national motocross tracks. My husband (an avid fan and racer since he was 15 years old in 1972) and I made a pledge to visit all twelve national tracks in 2007, the year we went to the Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek. When that race was announced, I made the suggestion, “Why don’t we go?” My husband brightened up. “Can we?” Of course we could! We had never been to a national outside of California, so it was an adventure to go to a totally different track that we had only seen on TV. We had so much fun that I made the

suggestion to visit a different national track each year as part of our annual vacation. Of course, he happily agreed. For the past six years it has proven to be the highlight of our year. We not only attend the race, but we take a couple of days before to explore the area. At Washougal ’08 we explored the Columbia River Scenic Highway and Mt. Hood, and in ’09 it was Unadilla, with stops at Niagara Falls and the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. In 2010 it was the MXoN at Thunder Valley in Colorado, with a side trip to the top of Pikes Peak and an impromptu decision to see our home team, the SF Giants, play the Rockies in their World Series-winning season. After Southwick ’11 we visited Boston and Plymouth to see the Mayflower II and Plymouth Plantation. It was the year of Hurricane Irene that drenched us during the races and shut down everything in the area the day after. Last year my father-in-law died, so we were unable to attend any live events, but this year it was High Point in Pennsylvania, and we started in

LETTER OF THE MONTH

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a mistake.” She took the result sheet and added trophies down to eighth! She then put us in her golf cart and rode us to the Lucas Oil tent to get her award. I asked the lady who the woman was who decided to give Emily an award, and she said it was DC’s sister, Carrie Russell! Please let her know how much I appreciate her thoughtfulness and kindness. That was so nice of her to do that, and she made my daughter’s weekend so extra special. Vann Gibson Sanford, NC COURTESY GIBSON

My 8-year-old daughter, Emily, and I attended the Budds Creek National. Emily had to race the 65cc 7-9 class because they had no youth girls’ class. She was intimidated by the track in practice, and I thought it was going to be a very long day. Out of the twelve riders in her class, Emily went 10-8 for eighth overall! She battled all second moto with several kids because she really wanted to bring home a trophy, and I told her she had to get in the top ten. Here comes the kind and memorable part: We walked over to the sign-up area to check her results, and it turns out the cutoff for trophies was top six. We walked over to the lady who had been so busy signing all of us in for the race. She knew Emily was the only girl racing those boys, and when she saw that she finished eighth, she smiled, gave me a little wink, and said, “Ah, I think we made

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THE FEED

FREDRICKSON

Philadelphia and visited Gettysburg, then drove across the state and stopped to see the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville before attending the race.

The 2011 Southwick National just missed Hurricane Irene.

We have never been disappointed at any of the races. Though there are some similarities between the tracks, each one has its own special flavor. The Lucas Oil Championship presence adds a familiarity that allows us to feel like we fit in and we know what to expect. It is our goal to walk the entire track and see it from all angles, but even with that, it’s hard to recognize the tracks we see on TV since the race is shot from different angles (and usually close up). But it has definitely added a new layer of appreciation when we do watch the events on TV. Alyce & John Traverso Walnut Creek, CA I have been doing a pool for a few of my moto accounts for the last few SX and MX seasons. We bet on the top three and tenth place in both classes, with tenth getting the most points if you get it correct. At RedBud, the TV broadcast had Dungey for tenth but the Racer X results listed Tickle in tenth, so then I checked the MX Sports site and they had Tickle in tenth too. They both got 20 points, but Dungey had the better second moto, so he should have gotten it.

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Pat Lytle won our pool, but I told him I’m protesting the results, so of course he contacted his brother Casey, who works for the Red Bull KTM team, and he agreed with me that Dungey should have gotten it and they didn’t catch it. Well, it doesn’t matter for them anyway, because the points are the same and Dungey doesn’t get a bonus for tenth or anything like that. Not a huge deal but kind of interesting, and I would like to know why Tickle got it. For the record, I’m in last place and way behind, so it’s not going to make much difference to me. Dan King RacerXOnline.com Good eye, Dan. After we got your letter, we checked the results again and realized that due to a computer glitch, a mistake was made in determining the tiebreaker. It has since been fixed, and Dungey was indeed the tenth-place finisher. DC What a mess the laser situation was. Please understand, I felt your pain as one who has been in position to impose penalties in AMA racing. I have been questioning Mike Alessi’s fine regarding responsibility for team actions. Should that not fall on the team owner? I am thinking it through regarding other sports. If Earnhardt Jr.’s crew guys get in a dust-up in the pits, fines fall on those who fought, and possibly Hendrick Motorsports. Likewise, with car infractions, the burden falls on the crew chief and team owner, not the driver. Thomas S. Mueller Racer X Online Tom: The way the AMA Pro Racing rules are written, the rider is responsible for anyone he brings into the pits with him, which is different than NASCAR’s policy. And because Jeff Alessi’s actions took place during the actual competition, Mike’s points were withheld, even though he apparently had no idea what Jeff was doing. DC

FACEBOOK Mitchell Spring: This is how we do it in Washington! David Jenkins: believe it or not i have a plain white t-shirt signed by villopoto and j alessi from unadilla 08. start the bidding? Tenille Pulley: Out of everyone in the pits at Red Bud this weekend this little girl helping her dad change a tire at the Dunlop rig was by far my favorite! Gregg Hansel: Cole first moto hitting the finish line jump wrong, saved it and back on the gas in no time at all!

TWITTER @dano044: @racerxonline Stewart’s new single Yellow Rain debuts #1 at Millville @wideopenwade6: Suppose to be studying for chemistry tomorrow but reading the new @racerxonline! @Dforwty: After beating his father @elitomac has not lost a moto way to go ET @racerxonline @Kierkie: I get so pumped just reading @racerxonline ‘s tweets. Shits too real when I actually sit and watch an mx race. @kaitlynn_paygee: “@racerx online: STEWART LEADS!!!! (the parade lap)” im a stewart fan.. This was still funny.


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“It didn’t really affect me, but it’s probably not doctor-recommended to get a laser in the eye.” Ryan Villopoto on “Lasergate”/PulpMX Show

“You kind of would know about those gat gate picks, yo all the races you’ve won with ins inside gate outs picks or outside gate picks—wha picks—whatever you like.” CUDBY

Ryan Villopoto to Steve whe Matthes Matthes, when h inside pick questioned his Southwic at Southwick.

OVERHEARD. OVERREAD. OVERSAID.

“It’s hot, sweaty, stinky, all that. It’s pretty gross.”

“For some reason as I read this, I can hear the old Bud Light commercial playing ‘Real Men of Genius ... Mr Motocross Wrist Brace Maker!’”

Zach Osborne describes conditions between motos at the GEICO Honda truck/Racer X Online

ramair350’s comment on our Between The Motos with Allsport Dynamics’ Jeff Brewer/Racer X Online

“The first MX1 moto felt like 35 hours, not 35 minutes.” Adam Wheelers’s Racer X Online Race Report from the first MX1 moto of the Swedish GP, which didn’t feature much excitement. The second moto was better.

“I’m here complaining about ‘Oh my gosh, which team am I going to ride?’ and half the guys don’t even make a salary. It’s just crazy.” Eli Tomac on his choices of rides for 2014.

“Last year tthey were totally on now I hear some people my side; no booing, but it’s just bebooi cause cau I’m getting better and an I think for Americans it’s it just hard to cheer for f a foreigner.” G Germany’s Ken Roczen talks about the Stateside crowds/Racer X Online

CUDBY

“I’m going to make an omelet in my kitchen and then walk over ov to the pro pits.”

52

Jeremy Martin M explains what it will be like to race the Spring C Creek National, a track he actually lives on/ Racer X Motocross Show

www.racerxonline.com

“This track has so many lines, it’s like going into a paint store and you see all of these color samples and you’re just overwhelmed trying to pick one.” Ricky Carmichael on the multi-lined RedBud track/AlliSports.com

“Perhaps Brazil is a little too rough on referees?” AMA referee Harv Whipple’s email header forwarding a story from Brazil about a soccer referee who was beheaded by fans after a local match, his head hoisted above the playing field on a spear; he himself had stabbed a player on the field after an argument, killing the player.

“Roy, I am afraid the skydivers are running late....” Radio message from NBC’s Corey Myerson to RedBud television coordinator Roy Janson, just before opening ceremonies at RedBud were set to begin.

“I’ve been naked on a Jet-Ski, but never on a motorcycle.” Tarah Gieger, following her revealing shoot for ESPN the Magazine’s Body Issue, where she rode her Red Bull KTM “starkers.”

“Dealing with idiots and untangling cords, that is my life.” VurbMoto’s Jason Crane discusses the glamorous life of the traveling videographer.

“I don’t think we’ll hear the end of that, to be honest.” MX-Life.tv’s Paul Malin after watching Clement Desalle and Tommy Searle spend much of a lap banging into each other before Desalle knocked Searle down at the Finnish Grand Prix.


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“I feel like I’ve gotten my money’s worth at every national, as I th think I’ve hit eve single lap of every single bump, every every race.... My bike’s been horrible ridin horrible. It’s because I’ve been riding an not what I embarrassing for me and expect out of myself.”

CUDBY

Chad Reed on his 2013 season.

“I didn’t even know how to spell motocross correctly until this book ca came across my desk, but I was compelled tto read it having heard the Linkogle urban-leg urban-legend tales—and I loved it cover to cove cover.” Xaque Gruber of the Huf Huffington Post was impressed with Larry Linkogle’s new book, Mind Of The Dem Demon: A Memoir of Motocross, M Madness, And The Metal Mu Mulisha/HuffingtonPost.com

OVERHEARD. OVERREAD. OVERSAID.

COURTESY SCHUTTE

Photo contribution from Pat Schutte; it was a lady putting the cap back on a bottle of barbecue sauce.

@COLESEELY43: I love “your mom” jokes but I hang out with my brother too much.. @BROKESCHMELYUN: Pull up to the pump and see this. I guess I’m not the only one with privateer problems.

“It was #613. I think he hurt a sensitive area.” An AMA official’s radio call to the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit after privateer Jimmy Decotis “racked” himself in the first moto at RedBud.

“I don’t think it’s dying; it’s just changing. We’ve got to go bigger.” Nik Wallenda, the tightrope walker who crossed Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, on the challenges of getting attention for his very extreme sport/Sports Illustrated

“Broc Tickle is the cheese pizza of the 450 Class. He’s not great, he’s not bad, he’s just there. I’m not walking past the cheese pizza if that’s all there is, but I’m also not specifically ordering the cheese pizza either.” Food-based analogies are one of Matthes’ strengths.

“Google puts muscle behind Moto X” Wall Street Journal headline.

54

www.racerxonline.com

“I can honestly say I have nightmares about this place from my days racing out here.” Carey Hart explains his past at Southwick’s MX-338 during national coverage on the NBC Sports Network.

“Loamy caramel dirt, big fluffy berms, rolling wave sections and perfectly formed table tops sum up the circuit known as ‘Zelta Zirgs’ in Kegums, Latvia.” Press release description of the track that will host the 2014 Motocross of Nations.

“He’s going to have some road rash.”

“He’s a mess. He’s a dumpster fire as a human being.” ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on disgraced New England Patriots football player Aaron Hernandez, who has been charged with the murder of another player/ ESPN Radio’s In The Herd

“No wonder I could never get ‘MX 112,’ which was always my number. Some other dude has it!” Former pro Ryan Huffman on spotting this plate in the Washougal pits.

NBC Sports color commentator Ricky Carmichael after rookie Adam Cianciarulo crashed hard while running third in the second moto at RedBud.

“What a good day. Keep chasing the high of success. Thanks to all who support me and especially that crowd chanting my name on the podium.” Instagram post from Josh Grant after his return to the podium at RedBud.

DC

“I captured this shot at RedBud, you’re welcome to use in Gate Pics. Thought it really captured the spirit of the 4th @ RedBud...”


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ELECTRONIC PING

BY DAVID PINGREE //

ears ago, I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, a professional surfer named Mike Parsons, who is best known for his ability to surf big waves. Really big waves—as in 70’ tall mountains of water. As an amateur hack surfer, I have a deep appreciation for the power of the ocean, and watching Mike and

CUDBY

Y

than an intimidating mass of water. He changed my perspective that day, and ever since I’ve had a newfound respect for professional athletes in any sport. I tend to be a little cynical, so sometimes I’ll make a crack about the curling or Olympic speed-walking. But those curlers are probably dazzling on the ice, and in their element, the speed-walking elite are … you know what? No. While I’m coming clean on this stuff, I have to specify that I’m only talking about professional sports here—all you Brits who participate in the Cheese Rolling Competition in Gloucestershire in the spring, don’t think you’re included in this. Same goes for Takeru Kobayashi and his fellow hot-dog-eating gluttons. Oh, and the most ridiculous sport I’ve ever heard of takes place in Madrid. In the National Siesta Championship, participants start by eating a meal, then they lie down on a sofa and sleep. Pulse meters determine if competitors are really sleeping. Snoring earns extra points. I’ll bet I could kick some ass in that tournament of indolence. So just to clarify: These folks are not to be lumped in with the professional athletes I’m referring to. I guess my whole point here is that elite professionals, in any sport or craft, are amazing. Whether you’re watching Ryan Villopoto ride a bike, LeBron James dunk a basketball, or Taylor Swift sing about one of her ex-boyfriends screwing her over, you’re seeing the best of the best. It’s something to be marveled at. I’m sure that even watching someone like Johnnie Cochrane in the courtroom was breathtaking. You would have to be a fantastic lawyer to get a murderer like OJ off the hook, right? If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit? That’s brilliant! Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to ski with Daron Rahlves, snowboard with Shaun Palmer, ride jet skis with Victor Sheldon, surf with Sunny Garcia, mountain bike with John Tomac, and road bike with Floyd Landis. I’ve also ridden dirt bikes with some pretty talented people. Seeing their ability firsthand is impressive, and you quickly understand how much time and effort goes into building your skills to reach that level. (In Floyd’s case, there was also a significant amount of injectable testosterone.) I tip my cap to dedicated professionals everywhere. Athletes, doctors, engineers, construction workers, moms—I appreciate anybody who dedicates their life to becoming truly great at something. I’m not big on quoting French presidents, but Charles de Gaulle said this of greatness: “Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so. For glory gives herself only to those who have always dreamed of her.” Well said, Chuck.

IF THE GLOVE DOESN’T FIT, YOU MUST ACQUIT? THAT’S BRILLIANT! his peers paddle into those monsters always leaves me shaking my head. I asked him how he even worked up the courage to get into the lineup when the surf is that heavy and he turned it right around on me, asking, “Well, what goes through your head when you’re out with your buddies in Beaumont and approaching a 150’ gap jump?” “Pfffffttt, that’s not even the same,” I told him. We’ve been riding our whole lives, so that stuff kind of comes naturally. Then he explained how he grew up surfing, and over time the bigger waves were more of a challenge 58

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@DAVIDPINGREE


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ONE RACE, ONE PAGE

2000 RedBud National By Jason Weigandt

know the French helped the Americans win the Revolutionary War, but on this Independence Day Weekend, we’ve had two Frenchmen win the motos. It’s like Bastille Day!” ESPN play-by-play man Art Eckman had it right during the broadcast of the 2000 RedBud National.

KENNEDY

“I

While we celebrated the birth of our nation at the summertime capital of American motocross, the French MX revolution was at full song. Sebastien Tortelli and Stephane Roncada scored resounding 1-1 overall wins in the 250 and 125 classes, respectively—and the French government actually had a hand in the attack, as a private academy for athletes had helped raise a generation of French stars. From 1998 through 2002, Frenchmen Frederic Bolley, Mickael Pichon, and Tortelli had a five-year stranglehold on the 250cc World Championship title. When the French set their sights on America, they aimed right for the top. By 2000, the cadets were challenging our biggest stars. David Vuillemin took on Jeremy McGrath in supercross, winning four races in his first full U.S. season and finishing second in points. DV was also up front in the nationals, winning back-to-back races at Hangtown and High Point. Then came a charge from Tortelli, who would battle America’s young hope, Ricky Carmichael, for the title. Carmichael became the GOAT, but Tortelli provided his strongest outdoor challenge ever in 2000. One race before RedBud, at the Budds Creek National, RC 60

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stalked Tortelli all day before unleashing a full-contact block pass on the last lap to steal the lead and the win. Tortelli came back with fire at RedBud. “I was kind of pissed about it,” said the alwayspolite Tortelli. “Hopefully it doesn’t happen anymore this year or anymore in my racing career.” In the first 250 moto at RedBud, Tortelli caught Carmichael and passed him for the lead on a daring outside line in the right-hander after the start. In moto two, Vuillemin got out front early before Tortelli’s Honda teammate Kevin Windham took over. Tortelli closed on Windham, then used the same passing line from moto one to grab the lead. Carmichael got a so-so start, couldn’t make up ground, and ended up third. Roncada ruled the 125s that same day on his Yamaha of Troy YZ125; he’d gone 1-1 in the previous race at Budds Creek to take the points lead from Steve Lamson. Rookie pro Travis Pastrana was emerging as the strongest American title contender, but he had nothing for Roncada at RedBud, going 2-2. “I couldn’t really battle Roncada, but I was able to at least see him a little bit,” said Pastrana, enthusiastic even in defeat. As for Roncada, he had more to celebrate. “My mechanic told me he would take me to Magic Mountain if I won,” he said. “Not quite Disneyland, but I’ll take it.” RedBud started the second half of the season, and Roncada and Tortelli left with the points lead in each class. It’s the only time someone has ever held the points lead over Carmichael in the second half of the nationals. With Vuillemin eyeing MC’s crown indoors, the entire U.S. scene looked ripe for the picking. “Yeah that’s great, we are three good friends and we are doing our best,” Tortelli said. “I don’t know if there are any riders coming up behind us, but I think we’re going to be here for a long time.” Alas, things didn’t last for the French. RC launched a win streak that lasted to season’s end and claimed the 250 National Championship in his first year in the class. Roncada kept stretching his lead in the 125s until he hurt his knee at Millville. Then Pastrana hit his stride, coincidentally right around the time he snagged another X Games gold medal on an off-weekend. TP rode a seven-moto win streak to the series finale to overtake Roncada and win the 125 title by two points. Christophe Pourcel would come heartbreakingly close to winning this title twice, but France has yet to claim another U.S. National Motocross Championship; Jean-Michel Bayle (1991) remains the only French rider to win an AMA Motocross title. But for one day on America’s Independence Day Weekend, the French ruled. It remains the only national in which French riders won both classes on the same day.


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338

BY ZACH OSBORNE //

@THEREAL338

T

CUDBY

he outdoor season has passed the halfway point, and we’re in the real dog days of summer. Training in the South during the weeks means every day is at least 90 degrees with some sort of high humidity level. At this point in the season it’s easy to overdo it and go too deep during the week and

Some people choose to stay in California all summer; other guys spread out across the country. Eli Tomac, for example, chooses to stay in Colorado, in the altitude, by himself. It obviously works for him. At this point with five races left you’re starting to get a little burned out, but it’s time to just keep pushing and working for the goals you set at the beginning of the season. My goal at the start of the season was to be in the top five every weekend, and so far I’ve only missed that once. I’m currently fifth in the championship standings as well, so I have a lot to focus on and push for during the week. But as it wears longer and longer, you get worn down a little easier. East Coast summer is nothing to play with. Oftentimes you can’t drink even close to enough during a hard day of training, which results in dehydration. I think people on the outside really underestimate the weekly routine that goes into what you see on the weekends on TV. It’s no easy task to be in tip-top form from January to August. With the Tour de France going on, I look at that race and know how hard it is, but at the same time I feel motocross is a lot harder to train and be prepared for. Guys who race for the GC and win in the Tour are mainly hired to do well in one three-week race per year; motocross athletes are expected to be in their best form every weekend all season. I can see how the public would view that as pretty simple due to the fact that the Tour covers, like, 5,000 miles in three weeks, but that’s basically their only goal. In motocross, to win a title you have to be there every single week during the season. One off-weekend or even a bad moto can make or break everything you’ve worked for. Take RV, for example. That guy has been on an absolute tear all year and hasn’t faltered once since A1. For me, that’s more impressive than anything any other sportsman can do. Trying to juggle being away from home and all the familiar things in your life three days a week at minimum is just a huge ask, and then you want to be on peak all year? Most people and trainers in other sports would say “Yeah, right!” That’s what makes our sport so awesome: the fact that it’s a tight-knit group of high-end athletes who are way under-glorified but don’t care. We all just charge on week to week trying to claw our way to the top and make it happen. So next time you’re watching your TV going, “What’s wrong with so-and-so?” take a second to try to respect what it takes to be at the level where you actually make it on TV in this sport, and appreciate the hard work we all put in!

WITH THE TOUR DE FRANCE GOING ON, I LOOK AT THAT RACE AND KNOW HOW HARD IT IS, BUT AT THE SAME TIME I FEEL MOTOCROSS IS A LOT HARDER TO TRAIN AND BE PREPARED FOR. be tired for the race weekend. It’s a delicate mix that is hard to find. There are so many different ways to go about being prepared for the races and the season. Obviously, during supercross, basically everyone is in California doing testing with the teams and riding at the test tracks, but during outdoors most of the testing is done before the season, and it’s basically down to the rider from there. 64

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BY SARAH WHITMORE //

F

RICE

or the last couple of months I’ve been very sick—so sick I could barely ride. That, along with prior commitments, kept me away from the first two rounds of the WMX Triple Crown. But with so

the two-stroke I figured I should be able to finish the shorter WMX motos with no problem. I called KTM that day with my idea and was able to pull a switcheroo the Monday before the race. I have only ridden a 125 once since 2005 and only had a few days to adjust. I have also, in all of my years, never ridden with stock suspension. But the only modifications made to that bike were an FMF silencer and cutting down the stock bars for my narrow shoulders. Sure, it was a bit of an adjustment having to shift down another gear in each turn, but I was surprised by how quickly it came back—and how good that bike was straight out of the box. I was also aware of how much more I was able to control this bike with less weight. That only makes me more worried about how out of control I always seem to be on my 250F! Dead-last starts in both motos might have obscured it, but my speed was actually right where it should have been. It was just a little harder to make passes, especially in the more one-lined sections, since momentum is key to a two-stroke and most of the girls would come to a dead stop in the turns. That would slow me down and then I’d have to work that poor little clutch overtime to get back up to speed. I went into Southwick with one goal in mind: to have fun. I wasn’t in the championship points chase and was riding a bike I had almost no time on, so there was no pressure at all. But I knew it was the last Southwick ever, and I needed to ride that amazing track one last time. Also, we’re all fully aware that WMX may be on its way out of the nationals. None of us know for sure, and I don’t believe it will be the end of women’s motocross—we’ve come too far and there are too many amazing riders to end the series altogether. But just in case this was the last one ever, I wanted to be there, since I’m one of the few who have been around since the very beginning. And I might as well go out the same way I came in—on a 125. I definitely met my goal of having fun at The Wick. And now, for the first time I can remember, I have a couple of months off before the Endurocross series starts up again. That means I’ll be having lots more fun riding the 125 in local races, riding my 200 over logs, and practicing balance on my trials bike. I know some other girls are retiring now that things are looking somewhat rocky for the WMX. Not me—I don’t ride for the money or recognition; I ride because I feel lost without it. And if things are looking rocky in my future, I’ll just remember my trials training and ride right over them!

I WENT INTO SOUTHWICK WITH ONE GOAL IN MIND: TO HAVE FUN. much history taking place at the last round, there was nothing that could keep me from going to Southwick. First of all, I love sand. I went home to my parents’ house the week before and tried to ride on our sand track, which was great practice since it’s even rougher than Southwick. After being off the bike for so long, it was all I could do to finish three laps. I had been riding my 200 two-stroke for most of the winter for off-road, and I’d barely put any time at all on my 250F before getting sick, so my dad and I tossed around the idea of riding a 125. With the lightness of 66

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@SWHITMORE89


VOICE BOX

BY JASON WEIGANDT //

W

KAWA

e do some cheating every Monday at Racer X Online. During the nationals, we’ll run our standard Monday Conversation, Insight, and Open Mic features with quotes from the riders. They’re really just transcriptions from the post-race press conference,

@JASONWEIGANDT

each weekend, things were just too serious and too intense between them. The room got tense and the quotes were no good. So then many of the journos, like Steve Bruhn and Steve Cox, started pulling the riders aside. They got exclusives and a little more relaxed atmosphere. That was good for them, but one year at the Houston SX, not a single member of the press asked a question. The PCs were promptly canceled after that. For a few weeks, teams tried to organize their own sessions, with San Manuel Yamaha even setting up a table, chairs, and backdrop with sponsor logos. Those ideas faded, and today when the SX races end, there is no official press time. So we do a mad dash to the podium and the pits to try to get interviews before the riders split—and good luck finding 250 guys still around on a cold night after the 450 podium is complete. For a while, riders had to answer the same questions over and over in a series of one-on-one sessions, but we’ve all relented and pretty much share the interviews now and shove as many recorders in their faces as possible. The nationals still hold the pressers, and I don’t want them to end, so it’s pretty much my sworn duty to go to them, ask questions, and use all the quotes on our site just to prove their worth. Would the interviews be better oneon-one? Would exclusives be cool? Yes, but you’d never get to talk to all three podium finishers in both classes. None of this would be an issue if the sport had more real writers, but the truth is, most moto journalists are just interviewers. The story with quotes has become a lost art, and the idea that fifty reporters could get the same info at a presser and produce fifty different stories doesn’t seem to materialize in motocross. Here, everyone wants their own audio, their own video, and their own Q&A, and that puts unneeded pressure on the riders to accommodate. That won’t work in the long term. It’s key to respect the process and not just go back to the old days of calling the rider and doing it on your own. Bigger sports have much more closely guarded press sessions, run with very specific rules by the league and team. There are even unspoken rules (reporters never, ever interview a starting pitcher the day of a baseball game). But if you play by those rules, you’ll always get access. I try to contain midweek interviews to the riders who are officially attending press day on Thursday or whoever is around on Friday. Race day? Maybe some small talk, but otherwise I let the guys go to work. There’ll be a press conference with the main players when the day is over, and we need to use that to its fullest before the riders are gone—and before the presser is, too.

WOULD EXCLUSIVES BE COOL? YES, BUT YOU’D NEVER GET TO TALK TO ALL THREE PODIUM FINISHERS. with a few other interviews from riders who didn’t make the top three. So while the site might say I’m the author of the interview, some of the questions don’t come from me—heck, some come from journalists covering the race for other websites. I could pull the riders aside and do a one-onone, but we’ve been down that road before, and it will ruin the press conferences altogether. I used to host the post-race sessions in supercross, and they were pretty exciting back in the day (especially when you had some combination of Grant Langston, Davi Millsaps, or both in there for the Lites race. Much comedy, lots of laughs, little info, and no complaints). But after a while, things got dicey. The same three riders—Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and Chad Reed—swept the podium far too often, so they were in every conference. With mind games being played 68

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LASERGATE AT THE STARTING GATE BY JASON WEIGANDT

78

radio and Tony’s team manager hard card, which immediately connected him to the team Mike races for. MX Sports handed down penalties including $10,500 in total fines to Jeff and Mike Alessi and the MotoConcepts team. Jeff is suspended from the races indefinitely, Tony for the rest of the season, and Mike lost the points he earned at the Washougal National. A few days after the incident, Jeff posted an apology letter on VitalMX.com, MCR produced a press release to apologize for the situation, and Tony also apologized in an interview on MotoXAddicts.com. No one has accused Mike Alessi of being behind the laser incident. He was offered the chance to comment on the Fuel TV and NBC television coverage of the next race at Spring Creek but declined. While industry insiders had a bit of fun with the general immaturity of the infraction and the reaction to it, the situation doesn’t paint a very good picture of the sport. Any attention the incident gathered from mainstream sources is likely negative, and the Alessi family, once again, will have to try to rebuild its reputation from the ground up.

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n the inside, the industry had a field day with this one. On the outside, it doesn’t look so funny. Jeff Alessi, not seen anywhere near the racing scene in quite some time, was back at the races at Washougal, and he had one heck of an impact. Jeff, standing off to the side of the start straight, was caught shining a high-powered green laser toward the eyes of riders on the line, including Malcolm Stewart on the parade lap, and then Ryan Villopoto just as the gate was about to drop for the race. There’s no debating if Jeff is guilty; the green light was picked up on Villopoto’s GoPro camera, and a member of another race team was standing next to Jeff and witnessed him operating the laser. A few days later, Jeff wrote an apology letter admitting his guilt. At the race, Jeff was immediately approached by MX Sports president Davey Coombs (also editor-in-chief of Racer X Illustrated) but denied his involvement. Jeff was actually wearing the credential of his father, SmarTop MotoConcepts team manager Tony. Tony believed Jeff’s denial and then summarily lashed out at both Coombs and our Steve Matthes, who had tweeted that Jeff had been caught aiming the laser at Villopoto. These were some ugly scenes, but given the Alessi family’s history of drama, many couldn’t help but laugh. By Monday after Washougal, everyone seemed to have a oneliner about lasers on social media. Photoshop wizards went to work. The legendary Hitler clip from the movie Downfall? Yep, its subtitles now reference “Lasergate.” But it’s still a serious issue. The AMA Pro Racing Motocross rulebook states that the athlete—in this case Mike Alessi—is responsible for the actions of his crew. Jeff Alessi was wearing an MCR (MotoConcepts Racing) team shirt and

REED AND STEWART

BOB HARRIS

WMX TRIPLE CROWN

SOUTHWICK LOCALS

Unlikely seasons

Rest in peace

Patterson tops again

Best of a fast bunch

71


Confidence. It’s never felt better.

ATLASBRACE.COM | SOCIAL @ATLASBRACE | USA 661 505 4407 | GLOBAL 604 542 5661


THE STRUGGLE WITHIN BY STEVE MATTHES CUDBY

I

n some ways, it’s been a semi-predictable season in both Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship classes. Villopoto,

Dungey, Roczen, and Tomac are fighting it out for their class titles. Most of us figured these would be the guys, but farther back are a couple of multi-time champions who just aren’t getting it done like they used to. Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart, second in all-time outdoor MX wins with fortysix, sits sixth in points with just five podiums. Even farther back is TwoTwo’s Chad Reed in sixteenth (!), his best moto finish being a seventh. Reed’s never finished outside the top three in points in a season when he’s raced the entire series. It’s been bizarre to watch these two icons CUDBY

race in the back of the pack, and Stewart admits it’s been tougher for him than in past years, mostly due to the talent in the class. “I think the progression has gotten so high with not only bikes but riders and tracks and everything,” Stewart said after RedBud. “Everybody’s training. Everyone’s taking it seriously. There’s a lot of talent on the gate at the end of the day. If you’re not clicking perfect, it’s so tough. If I’m, like, a second off, I’m just getting my doors blown off. It was like that at Budds Creek. I was in fifth the whole moto, but I looked behind me and within three seconds there were seven guys on my tail. They were just waiting for me to make a mistake.” Reed says his struggles are of a physical

3

Holeshots in a row for GEICO O Honda’s Wil Hahn, after his return to racing following a hand injury. He would miss his chance at four in a row when his bike blew up on the parade lap of Southwick’s second moto. He took the holeshot in his next attempt, the first moto at RedBud.

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12

CUDBY

MX BY THE NUMBERS

40

Years that Indiana fast man Larry Witmer has been racing at Buchanan, Michigan’s RedBud, including many as a reg top regional pro. Witmer is also trac the track’s longtime announcer.

Consecutive wins to start the 2013 Grand Prix season by defending MX2 World Champion Jeffrey Herlings, who is hoping to become the first rider in series history to win every GP.


CUDBY

“It’s tough,” he said after Southwick. “I’m just cover-

CUDBY

nature, although he’s still as frustrated as he’s ever been. ing my eyes and head and wanting to put a hood on and get the hell out of there. For me, it’s embarrassing. It’s not the results that I expect out of myself or the team. But there’s issues, and that makes it … as much as you try to want basically an overnight fix, there’s just things there that don’t get fixed overnight. I feel like 2013 is the year of ‘22 meets patience.’ It’s just been a frustrating year from the beginning to now.” Neither rider is getting too down, though—the last thing you lose at this level is your confidence. “I’m not freaking out,” Reed said. “I see it. I know how horribly bad I’m riding. I know what I’m like at 100 percent, and that’s your maximum. I don’t even feel like I’m close to that. I feel like I’m riding around 50-60 percent. So I’m not stressing too much, to be honest with you.”

CUDBY

There’s been a noticeable change with Stewart this year; he’s a little more at peace with his results. The desire and talent are still there, but if the win doesn’t happen, he says he’s learned how to deal with it a little better. “I still get frustrated at the races,” he said. “I’m mad. I want to win. But the one thing I have learned over the last few years is just to enjoy the process no matter what happens. And I think before if I won a race by thirty seconds I would come in and be pissed off that I didn’t win it by forty-five seconds. Now I would have told myself just to enjoy the ride and enjoy the process of being a champion, a loser, being the fan favorite-just enjoy it.” Ricky Carmichael aside, every legend hits that dropoff at some point. Is 2013 the year that we all acknowledge Reed and Stewart are in decline, or is this just a slump? Stay tuned, as 2014 will be a big year for

2-3

300+ 763

Hig Point finishing posiHigh t tions for Ken Roczen and T Tyla Rattray, whose bikes are tuned by brothers Kelly and Wayne Lumgair. It’s the first time we could think of where mechanic brothers b both made the podium.

Exhibitors committed, as of press time, to the inaugural AIMExpo, to be held on October 16-20 in Orlando, Florida. More than two-thirds have ties to the motocross and off-road industry, specifically Yamaha, Suzuki, and Tucker Rocky.

Miles driven on Friday night from the Charlotte airport to the Southwick National by Rockstar Energy Racing’s Jason Anderson and two mechanics after their flight was canceled. The drive took thirteen hours.

CUDBY

CUDBY

these two, one way or the other.

6-4 Anderson’s moto scores at Southwick. 75


COVER ME

BY JASON WEIGANDT

B

reak the entire season down for a 250 rider and the lack of racing time is startling. Including the Dave Coombs Sr. East-West Shootout in Monster Energy Supercross, there are ten races, each lasting about twelve minutes. Add in twelve nationals with a little over an hour of racing each weekend, and that gets you about fifteen hours of racing all year—which is a shockingly small amount of time to make a judgment about a racer. That’s less than half a week of work for the average person! Eli Tomac’s judgment day came during just twelve miserable minutes of the Salt Lake City Supercross. With a golden opportunity to capitalize on Ken Roczen’s DNQ, Eli bucked, bounced, and floundered through the whoops. His bike setup was off, but outsiders put most of the blame on the rider— people left the event saying he just couldn’t handle the pressure.

ktm + ryan dungey + moto-master

= 2012

CUDBY

450 mx championship

Tomac then logged the race of his life under similar stress a week later in Las Vegas, winning the West main event in come-from-behind fashion. “I know what happened [in Salt Lake City], and people can say I choked, but I personally don’t think that I choked,” he told us. “There was just as much pressure [in Las Vegas] as there was Salt Lake. I had to go out there and do it.” But he still lost the SX title to Roczen, who finished second in Vegas to seal it. The heartbreak might have shown, as Tomac struggled an hour later in the Shootout. Then Roczen rolled everyone with a 1-1 at the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship opener at Hangtown. Tomac was a late switch back to the 250 for outdoors (he and his GEICO Honda team considered racing a 450 for the nationals), and Eli was also fielding offers and testing other bike brands to decide where to go in 2014. That’s a lot of noise. By midseason at RedBud, his 2014 deal to stay with GEICO Honda was official. His 450 thoughts were far away, that SX title defeat was far in the rearview, and Eli hit his stride. Down the stretch in this championship, he’s coming into his own. His season has been filled with ups and downs, but when we look back and judge it as a whole, it will be remembered as the season where Eli came into his own. moto-masterusa.com 800.749.2890


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GODSPEED, BOB HARRIS BY DAVEY COOMBS JIM GIANTSIS

M

otocross lost a good man in July when Bob Harris passed away. Harris was a pioneer of pro

motocross in New York, racing up and down the East Coast in the sixties and seventies, back when few could make a living racing motocross. In fact, Harris often augmented his income between races by teaching motocross clinics, or even working on the tracks he was about to race on. “Bob and some of the other guys were always on a tight budget, so when he came to Florida to race I let them help get the next track ready to make some money,” recalls Bill West, the longtime promoter of the Florida Winter-AMA Series. “Bob was a real nice guy, and he was a

He also raced for CZ, but his real claim to fame may be the

very fast man too.”

fact that he was somehow competitive in the mid-seventies

When the AMA Motocross Championships were launched in 1972, Harris nearly won the second 250 National ever, at Desoto Cycle Ranch near Memphis, finishing second on a Bultaco to fellow New Yorker Sonny DeFeo.

on an American-made Rokon 340 automatic motorcycle, a bike as heavy as it was ugly. Bob Harris died on June 27 at his home near Binghamton, New York.

O

MIKE EMERY

TRUE GRIT BY AARON HANSEL n June 23, Dubach Racing Development owner and former factory Yamaha racer Doug Dubach

crashed hard at Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross, resulting in a trip to the hospital. The tally for “Dr. D” was fourteen broken ribs (twelve on one side), a punctured lung, flail chest (in which a portion of the chest wall becomes unattached and “floats” independently), a broken collarbone, and a concussion. The injuries’ severity kept Dubach an in-

patient for about two weeks, forcing him to celebrate his fiftieth birthday from a hospital bed. Fortunately, Doug’s about as tough as they come, and he’s expected to make a 100 percent recovery. In fact, he’s even planning to get back

Dubach Racing Development. “We try to limit him to a few

on the racetrack in time for the Vet World Championship

hours a day, but when his time is up he doesn’t want to

in November, where he says he’d like to race in the 30+,

leave—he already hurt himself last week trying to put a

40+, and 50+ age groups. Of course, that will depend on

bike on the stand! He’s an old-school dude that doesn’t

whether he can take it easy enough to heal up in time.

want to slow down.”

“He’s out of the hospital and is already back at work,” says Casey Huntley, who works in media relations at 78

www.racerxonline.com

Take it easy and heal up quickly, Doug. We want to see you on the gate in November!


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THE BUZZ

CARMICHAEL To no one’s surprise, Ricky was a unanimous choice in his first appearance on the ballot for the 2013 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. His 150 wins and fifteen major titles make him the headliner of the class of 2013, which includes the late Danny Hamel as well as Mike and Diane Traynor, the founders of Ride for Kids and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation. The induction ceremony will take place in Las Vegas on October 18. GEICO HONDA This team has had a nice few years, and things got better with the announcement that they’ve signed Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn to 2014 450 rides. A brand new 450 truck is also in the works. YAMAHA A rebuilding process has begun, with fresh faces like Cooper Webb and Jeremy Martin and all-new YZFs for 2014. Things won’t change overnight, but the blue crew is headed in the right direction. BAGGETT Sometimes it looks like old El Chupacabra is back, like during his win at Budds Creek; others times he’s still struggling. His bum wrist is not helping his grip on the #1 plate. BLOSE This veteran was never an outdoor specialist by any means, but for a guy as good as Chris Blose to have zero points through eight 450 rounds—even though he qualified for all eight—is pretty remarkable. SOUTHWICK It’s sad to say goodbye to Moto-X 338, which has been on the AMA schedule since 1976, but when the American Legion raised the rent beyond the reach of the longtime track promoters, early retirement was the only option. Hopefully, the track will survive, but the Legion will have to find a new local promoter with much deeper pockets.

CUDBY

REDBUD Forty years after hosting its first big race, the Michigan track on the Ritchie family farm continues to evolve and improve. A massive crowd turned up for the facility’s fortieth birthday, celebrating wins by Lucas Oil Motocross Championship leaders Ryan Villopoto and Ken Roczen.


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CUDBY

SHORT BUT SWEET BY AARON HANSEL ven though the new WMX Triple Crown format had cut the number of women’s races down to three, the series still produced plenty of drama—and a surprise winner.

The series kicked off at the Red Bull Hangtown Motocross

Classic with a head-jerking bang when the relatively unknown (in the U.S.) New Zealander Courtney Duncan showed up with Rock River Yamaha and laid utter waste to the field in both motos aboard a 125 two-stroke. To boot, it was her first race as a professional—and her first time attending a national in the States. “I could hear them yelling my name and ‘two stroke!’

CUDBY

following the race. “People screaming your name just gets

CUDBY

when I went by, and that was cool,” an excited Duncan said you excited and makes you want to go for it” Unfortunately, the 17-year-old never got the chance to back up her stunning performance, as a broken wrist suffered during practice took her out of action for the rest of the year. Further adding to the drama at Hangtown was six-time WMX champ Jessica Patterson’s mechanically induced DNF in the first moto. In a season consisting of only six motos, a DNF looms large, and Patterson’s bid for another championship had seemingly evaporated in the first moto of the season. Still, she came back strong at the GEICO High Point National, putting her N-Fab TiLube Yamaha on top of the podium in both motos.

the already tough track even more treacherous. But it didn’t

Fittingly, the Triple Crown came to a close at the final

seem to matter to Patterson, who streaked to the win and

running of the famous Moto-X 338 National in Southwick,

perhaps her most unlikely WMX title. Behind her, Rock River

Massachusetts. After finishing second overall at the first two

Yamaha’s Mackenzie Tricker showed heart by going 2-2 for

rounds, Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Sayaka Kaneshiro held a

second overall with a torn ACL.

commanding points lead and was poised to wrap up her first

Having won her seventh WMX title, Patterson is now retir-

WMX title, but disaster struck in the first moto when she went

ing from motocross and is looking forward to mastering a new

down and was only able to finished seventh. Patterson, once

kind of racing in the Amsoil GNCC series.

thought to be out of contention, could now take the championship with a win in moto two.

“I’ve been doing motocross for a long time, and I’ve enjoyed it all, but I’m just ready to try something different,” Patterson

A rainstorm rolled through for the second moto, making

says. “Maybe I can get a different kind of championship.”

2013 WMX TRIPLE CROWN FINAL STANDINGS 1.

Jessica Patterson

122 Points

11.

Courtney Duncan

50

2.

Sayaka Kaneshiro

120

12.

April Zastrow

34

3.

Taylor Higgins

100

13.

Shelby Rolen

32

4.

Mackenzie Tricker

99

14.

Chelsea Newbold

31

5.

Sara Pettersson

94

15.

Alexah Pearson

29

6.

Jacqueline Strong

81

16.

Mariana Balbi

28

7.

Lindsey Palmer

71

17.

Kaylynn Kotlar

27

8.

Amanda Brown

66

18.

Hailey Larson

23

9.

Sade Allender

64

19.

Brianna DeGray

23

Marissa Markelon

55

20.

Sarah Whitmore

22

10. 82

www.racerxonline.com


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very national has a few resident rippers who know the lines and characteristics of the track better than anyone else. This is especially true at Moto-X 338 in Southwick, Massachusetts, where the lo-

• 1976 Jimmy Ellis Cobalt, CT 11th • 1977 Jimmy Ellis Cobalt, CT 16th • 1978 Jimmy Ellis Cobalt, CT 3rd

cals almost always seem to surprise the rest of the world with great results and lightning-quick qualifying times. Going back to 1976, here’s a look at the standout rides from local heroes at the Southwick National.

• 1981 Jo Jo Keller Plymouth, MA 3rd • 1982 Jimmy Ellis Cobalt, CT 3rd • 1986 Leo Fauteux Bedford, NH 10th

• 1979 Mike Guerra Cobalt, CT 2nd • 1980 Jo Jo Keller Plymouth, MA 2nd CLASS LEGEND: 125 MX 250 MX 450 MX 500 MX

84

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MA 8th , th u o m ly P r e ll • 1987 Jo Jo Ke

• 1988 Patrick Barton South Dartmouth, MA 5th • 1989 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 3rd


• 1995 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 10th • 1996 Doug Henry Torrington, CT 3rd • 1997 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 1st • 1998 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 1st • Doug Henry Torrington, CT 1st • 1999 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 2nd • 2000 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 7th • 2001 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 2nd • 2002 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 6th • 2003 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 2nd • 2004 Tony Lorusso Brockton, MA 20th • 2005 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 3rd • 2006 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 6th opee, MA 7th • 1990 John Dowd Chic , CT 6th on gt in rr To ry en H g ou D • 1991 ington, CT 3rd • 1992 Doug Henry Torr on, CT 1st gt in rr To ry en H g ou D 3 • 199 icopee, MA 1st • 1994 John Dowd Ch

• 2007 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 7th • 2008 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 6th • 2009 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 3rd • 2010 Robbby Marshall Stow, MA 15th • 2011 John Dowd Chicopee, MA 8th • 2012 Robbby Marshall Stow, MA 11th • 2013 Jimmy Decotis Peabody, MA 18th

85


Davi Millsaps Rockstar Energy Suzuki

BYTES “Malcolm Stewart was telling me that and I was thinking there was no way that was going to happen!” Cooper Webb suffered from some severe blisters after his professional debut at Hangtown and wasn’t sure if his friend was kidding when he told him peeing on them would speed up healing and thwart infection

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CUDBY

EXCERPTS FROM THE INTERNET’S TOP MOTOCROSS RADIO SHOW

“They don’t become champions by not finding ways to win. It was definitely looking a little rocky there for both of them at the beginning of the season, but they do what champions do by finding a way to stay in the game and pressure the guys up front leading the series.” Ricky Carmichael knows a thing or two about winning championships and still has plenty of faith in Blake Baggett and Ryan Dungey “It’s unbelievable to see Villopoto flat-out pass Stewart on pure speed. I remember Stewart being so much faster than anyone on the face of the earth, and the fact that these guys are going faster than him is quite frightening.” Travis Pastrana, no stranger to racing against the sport’s elite, knows motocross is in good shape for many years to come “I knew it was my time to go when I was lying in the mud at Glen Helen. I call it my racing spirit, and there was just something that I felt leave me inside, and I knew it was over.” Retirement is one of the hardest decisions a pro can make, and Jeff Emig had to make that call after suffering the worst injury of his career “Stay in school.” TwoTwo’s Lars Lindstrom had some unexpected but sage advice for amateurs thinking about going pro “It was Katie Cox in sixth grade to Whitey Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’ Racing hasn’t always come easy to me, but the lady game is another story!” Nick Wey has been working that chiseled jawline since his first kiss in middle school

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“You could have easily been the first FMX rider to land a front flip if they would have just put a set of Daytona whoops leading up to the ramp.” DMXS itself points out to Pastrana that he could have added to his list of accomplishments with a little more planning

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DEPLOYED

M

y name is MSgt John Farmer. I am in the USAF and am currently deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, as an Air Advisor. Basically,

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what I do here is advise the Afghan Air Force on how to maintain Russian MI-17 helicopters. Pretty cool, huh? Americans teaching Afghans how to work on Russian helicopters! I am 43 years old, and ever since I first saw a dirt bike when I was a little kid, that was all I wanted to do. I religiously follow moto back home on TV and your website. Since I have been deployed, I still get my updates through your website, but watching has taken a little more effort. Thank you to the people who make the live streaming happenâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;big shout-out to those individuals! I watch all the live streaming on Alli Sports that is available but cannot connect to NBC Live Extra since I have DirecTV at home and they are not on the approved-provider list. Fortunately, there are some other die-hard moto fans that post the races on YouTube, so I can usually watch the races a couple days after it actually happens. Thank you, Racer X, for providing me with moto content

while deployed. It is my release from my daily ops over here.

I am looking forward to seeing some folks in the pits come January at the Phoenix Supercrossâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;Rob Henrickson, that means you, my friend. Twist it!

STYLE CHECK BY SIMON CUDBY

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MARKS THE SPOT

6TH ANNUAL RACER X INTER-AM

STORY BY RICK SIEMAN PHOTOS BY ALLEN PICARD

OMC RACEWAY (BOISE, ID) APRIL 6&7, 2013 WWW.OMCRACING.COM

I

can remember back in 1971 and 1972, leaning over a fence, camera in hand, taking pictures of racers like Roger DeCoster, Joel Robert, Mark Blackwell, and Gunnar Lindstrom at the various tracks around the country. Little did I realize that about (Clockwise from top left) forty years later, I would be leanRiders’ meeting with Tim ing against a fence, camera in hand, Kennedy; minibike action; taking pictures of Mark Blackwell and Ron George (78) went Gunnar Lindstrom riding around the 1-1; Boise Vintage Cycle’s track once again. This time, however, Terry Williams (7). Mark and Gunnar were special guests at this year’s Racer X Inter-Am vintage event. Sections of the 1971-72 Inter-AM races were run here, with the exceptions of a really steep uphill and a genuinely 96

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horrifying downhill. Indeed, this track has some serious history, and having Mark and Gunnar there to relive the moment was a really amazing experience. This time, the one-mile track was specially prepared to be vintagefriendly—a bit easier to ride, yet still challenging enough. The race was brainstormed over pizza and beer by Scott Wallenberg and his friend Tim Kennedy, a certified Bultaco nut and a member of the AMA Supercross tech inspection crew. Scott and Tim had just come back from racing their Monarks and Buls over in Washington and thought, What will it take to put on an event here at our track? Boise is the biggest city in the middle of nowhere of the United States, so the challenge was to create an event


that would entice vintage riders to make the journey. In true if-you-buildâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;it-they-will-come fashion, the Racer X Inter-AM has only grown in size and reputation over the last six years. It is also Round 1 of the Pacific Northwest Vintage MX Series, another incentive to make the trip. Saturday and Sunday racing wrapped up by the early afternoon each day, with people having plenty of time to relax, put something on the grill, and perhaps have a cold one or two. There are classes for every vintage bike era, so no one who shows up gets turned away. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have to be a member to race, nor are they so crazy about the rules that tech inspectors with measuring tapes are looking for violations.

Races were five laps each and two motos, which was plenty, considering that the track was very technical and rough. The soil condition was just about perfect too. Special number-plate trophies and even awards for the coolest bike and lon(Clockwise from top left) gest distance traveled to get there Gary Heath (45) on the CZ; were handed out. about to get underway; Entry fees were only $25 per Husky duel between Rob Davis (10) and Curt class, and because of great indusMastrude (67); Travis try sponsors helping to defray the Kinder on a nice YZ. costs, there were no gate or spectator fees. There was no camping fee at all, either, so if you popped a tent, slept in the back of your truck, or had a motor home or camper, you were set for the weekend. 97


MARKS THE SPOT

A food stand at the facility served great food at unbelievably reasonable prices as well. Another highlight was the special meet-and-greet and supercross viewing party, sponsored by Fly Racing. Boise Vintage Cycle sponsored a bus (Clockwise from top left) to take riders who were camping at Jay Lael leads the charge; the track back and forth to the party. Russ Hoehn (31N) on a About 150 racers showed up for the Honda; Lindstrom (left), Super Hunky, Wallenberg, event, and like they say, a good time and Blackwell; Warren was had by all. Lew gets low. This race had a different feeling to it than an ordinary race. Somebody would pull up in their truck and without even asking, people would help him unload. We even heard rumors of a can of chain lube be98

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ing returned to its owner—which, we all know, is unheard of in modern-day racing. All things considered, this event captured the heart of racing as it used to be, when the sport blossomed and grew like wildfire. The people who put on the event and the people who were there took it all back to a simpler time and place in the world. This, for me, was the heart of motocross racing. Plenty of great old bikes, a few legends from the past to add color to the festivities, and a bunch of stories passed around by people who were there in the early days of the sport. It’s one thing to see a bunch of Huskys and Maicos all properly restored sitting in a shop, but it’s another thing to see those legends in action on the track like it used to be.


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SPOTLIGHT ON FUTURE STARS

JAISAAC SLOAN BY ARAN EVERSMAN DOB: Novermber 21, 1995 Hometown: Phoenix, AZ Classes: 450 Pro Sport, 250 Pro Sport Bikes: Honda CRF450R, Honda CRF250R

EVERSMAN

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100 www.racerxonline.com

Racer X: This is your first and only year in the A Class. How has the season been so far? Jaisaac Sloan: I was going to race B Class again this year since I only raced two amateur national rounds, but at Ponca City 2012 I set the fastest lap time of the week and they told me I had to move up to A for 2013, so I had no choice. I felt really good coming into this year. I was in great shape and felt my speed was there. I went to a qualifier at Arizona Cycle Park and twisted my knee in a first-turn pileup. I got burnt real bad. The doctor left a piece of ligament in my knee when he did the surgery, so it set me back for almost three months. I did the qualifiers and ended up making it for the summer races, so I’ve been trying to train and prepare for the rest of the season. Where do you do most of your training? When I’m in California, I train with my dad every day. We work on everything and areas we need to improve between races. I go home to Arizona as well and train with Justin Buckelew in the heat to prepare for all of this. I’m happy riding both California and Arizona. You have a tight crew of friends that you travel, train, and film with. What’s it like? I think it’s awesome. In fifteen years, I can look back and see all the fun stuff I did and show my kids what I was like when I was 15 or 16. I think it’s cool, and it keeps everything interesting. It’s fun to get to see yourself riding and be able to critique yourself. What’s the best part about racing motocross? The racing aspect is what I love about motocross. A lot of people like to freeride or do tricks. That’s not really for me—I like to race. Being on the gate and racing into the first turn, any kind of racing sport, I usually like. Battling—that’s my favorite part of motocross. Freeriding is fun, but it’s more fun when you have competition. What’s the best day of racing you’ve ever had? When my dad used to ride, we’d race every day, all day, at our turn track in Arizona. You never get bored. That feeling of battling, when you do win and come out on top, it feels a lot better. What are your plans for after the amateur nationals this year? I’m definitely going pro. I’m not going to race another year of amateur. The plan for right now is West Region supercross. I like supercross a lot. I’ve been told I’m pretty good at it. I like having the rhythm and the flow. Tracks get rough and rutted up, but you get to blast bowl berms all day [and] do whoops and fun rhythms. I think I’m definitely going to be ready for it.


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For its final national, Moto-X 338 at Southwick served up more of the memories that have made it unforgettable WORDS: JASON WEIGANDT PHOTOS: PAUL BUCKLEY

107


In order to pay tribute to the last Southwick National, we asked Paul Buckley, a Southwick legend in his own right, to shoot the event. He came back with a mix of race action and Moto-X 338 nostalgia. That’s GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn (19), Eli Tomac (17), and Zach Osborne (338) vying for the first-moto holeshot; Jason Anderson (21) navigates the sandy ruts on his Rockstar Energy Suzuki RM-Z250 in his way to fifth overall. 108 www.racerxonline.com

“H

ey, come look at this,” said Dan Walsh of Lucas Oil Studios. A veteran production man and one of the leaders on the ground for each weekend’s Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship TV broadcast, Walsh had seen something for the first time. “It’s raining so hard, but look at this radar. There’s not a spot on it!” The map on the screen didn’t show even a drop of precipitation anywhere near Southwick, Massachusetts, but the skies were unloading, pouring heavy rain onto a track that has seen an unfair share of nasty weather over the years. At the moment, this unexpected deluge was more symbolic than scientific; the venerable Moto-X 338 facility had just run its last outdoor national motos, the sheets of rain falling like a curtain closing on a show that had ended abruptly.


LOCAL 338 It really wouldn’t have been a true Southwick National if something unexplainable hadn’t happened. You would miss the essence of the race in trying to simply sum it up in understandable terms. For example, you can talk about Southwick as a sand track, but no other sand track is like it—Team USA found that out at last year’s Motocross of Nations in Belgium. The track looks sandy, but it actually has a hard base underneath that gives its corners an unexpectedly slippery feel. Also, the dynamic circuit presents a combination of rolling sand whoops in some areas and hard, square-edged chop in others. That mashup is what ties into the local knowledge. NESC races run rain or shine at this track, so the local riders have logged a ton of laps here, which gives them a boost unlike any national track. New England faves like Jim Meenan, Jo Jo Keller, Tony LaRusso,

Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin hoped to reel in some points on teammate Ken Roczen but ended up fourth overall. (Below) Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett (1) leads rookie teammate Adam Cianciarulo in the 250 Class. Baggett was hoping for another win in the sand, but a poor second-moto start relegated him to an eighth-place finish and third overall.

109


Series points leader Ken Roczen split moto wins with Tomac, but his second-moto win gave the German superstar the overall; Troy Lee Designs/ Lucas Oil Honda rider Cole Seely had one of his best motos of the season at Southwick, finishing fifth in the first 250 race.

110 www.racerxonline.com

Pat Barton, Scott Carter, Mike Treadwell, Keith Johnson, and Robby Marshall have all gone against the world’s best here. For its final national, Southwick churned out one more: Peabody, Massachusetts’ Jimmy DeCotis, just back in the U.S. after a failed stint racing GPs in Europe, nearly holeshot both 250 motos and ran top-three for about half of each race, local fans screaming for him all the way. Decotis will go down as the last “rippah,” and in a fitting story for a track known for so many highs and lows, his bike blew on the final lap of the first moto while he was running eleventh. Many of his local forefathers had similar luck, so the heroics of their rides are recorded not in the books but in the memories of those along the fence. Again, to understand Southwick, you have to understand things that can’t be seen. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY All sand tracks rob power from a bike, but no track renders riders powerless like South-


wick. Ryan Dungey was robbed of a win here two years ago when his bike developed a freak electrical problem minutes before the second moto. Last year a Dungey victory was certain—again—until he crashed and kicked his gas cap loose in a million-to-one shot. He took a pit stop and still finished the moto second to take the overall. But Dungey can’t complain too much about his Southwick luck, because in 2009 the sand seized Christophe Pourcel’s KX250F, gifting Dungey the points lead in the 250 Class and leading him to the championship. When Dungey had to pit last year, Tyla Rattray took advantage to win his only career moto on a 450. This year, Rattray was down in turn one in both motos—sad news during a race the South African desperately needed to revive a stalled career. Also down with Rattray in that first-moto pile was 450 points leader Ryan Villopoto, who ripped through the pack to somehow claim fourth. Dungey, also caught in the carnage but not for as long, won it.

(Top) The 450 race goes off with local hero Robby Marshall on the far inside, right next to series leader Ryan Villopoto (2) and Tyla Rattray (28). Unfortunately, all three would get tangled up in the first turn, along with Ryan Dungey (1) and more. (Above) Before the race, Moto-X 338 legends John Dowd and Doug Henry took a lap of honor.

111


(Top) Southwick neighbor Robby Marshall scored points in both 450 motos—not quite the kind of breakout ride we’re used to seeing from locals at the ‘Wick; Justin Barcia (51) was also hoping for better, but his steady 3-3 for third overall wasn’t bad; MotoConcepts’ Mike Alessi gives Moto-X 338 promoter Dianne Pitello a retirement hug.

112 www.racerxonline.com

The dominant Ryans had unlikely riders to battle. Andrew Short, no better than sixth in any moto to that point, found himself leading the race—in fact, when Dungey got into second, he thought he was leading and about to lap Short! When he realized he wasn’t catching the veteran on the BTOSports.com KTM, he knew it was a real race, and he had to dig deep to get him. Also in the mix was Brett Metcalfe, running his first U.S. race in a year. Metty has had his greatest and worst days of racing at this track. He had Dungey beaten straight-up in a moto before running out of gas on the last lap in 2010, and of course he won the overall here the next year—his only national victory. On a working vacation from his current gig racing in Canada, Metcalfe took fourth and was a revelation. (By the way, Short has an overall win at the track, too. Back in 2006 in the 250 class, he beat Metcalfe on a tiebreaker. Short also ran out of gas in 2010—at the exact same moment Metcalfe did.) Last-lap breakage and drainage is one thing, but Southwick pulled one more cruel


trick in the 250 Class when GEICO Honda’s Wil Hahn, who had holeshot and led the first moto, had an engine let go on the parade lap of his second moto. A few hearty New Englanders helped him push his bike back to the pits. This track will reach up and grab whomever it wants—something James Stewart understands, as he led half of the first 450 moto before cross-rutting a jump and going down hard. A half-dozen years earlier, Stewart crashed in the same spot when his engine blew up. Teams can test and prepare, and riders can practice on sand, but there are things at Southwick that fall outside the regular realms of racing. LAST WALTZ But now it’s coming to an end. The Southwick National—which began during the summer of the Spirit of ’76—will not be a part of the series in 2014, as the race promoters,

Ryan Dungey (below left) came through a lot of traffic to earn the first-moto victory after the big first-turn pileup. (Bottom) It was just James Stewart’s luck that he would cross-rut on a jump in that first moto while all alone out front and on his way to what would have been his first moto win in more than a year.

113


N-Fab/Ti-Lube Yamaha’s Phil Nicoletti (49) enjoyed his best race of the season at Southwick, finishing seventh overall in the 450 Class. (Below right) John Dowd once again extended his streak as the oldest, fastest man in motocross, scoring points in the second moto just a month shy of his forth-eighth birthday. (Bottom) Southwick’s unique terrain and challenging track will be missed.

114 www.racerxonline.com

Moto-X 338, and the American Legion 338 (the property owners) were not able to come to an agreement for the future. Thus ends a long national run—not just for this track specifically, but for the New England Sports Commission, one of the very first to ever run motocross races in this country, dating back to 1958. The Legion plans to continue with local events, but the world’s best might not venture here again. The memories of those who stood by the fences now become more important than ever. At least they got to see their all-time hero, John Dowd, go out one last time. “I had been planning my exit strategy for a while, and when I heard it was the last Southwick National, I saw that as my cue to go,” said the 47-year-old Dowd, who hails from nearby Chicopee and who nearly won this race in 2009—at age 43! Fittingly, bike problems ended his first moto this time, but he came back to score some national points inside the top twenty in his last time out in the sand. Soon after, the race ended, the sand settled, the skies opened, and everyone headed for the exits. X


THE DOWD FAMILY RACERS AT SOUTHWICK, JOHN DOWD ONCE AGAIN extended his longevity record as the oldest rider to qualify for and oldest to score points in a national. Born August 10, 1965, he was 47 years, 9 months, 20 days old when he finished twentyfourth overall and scored nineteenth in the second moto. With this being the final Southwick, Dowd decided to rush his son Ryan, a solid A-class amateur in the New England area, into the pro ranks just so he could experience the race. Ryan was jumping into the deep end and missed the timed qualifying cut in the 250 Class; a first-turn crash ruined his chances in the consolation race. Ryan may be back for more, but his mom, Trish, will have as much say in that as dad does (or more, really). She enjoyed Southwick, though, as she explained on her Facebook page: “I am so proud of both my boys for putting in a tremendous effort yesterday at Southwick Motocross. It was very bittersweet. It will be one of my fondest memories. Big hugs go out

to the The Frigon Family, The Glaze Family, The Dugre Family, Callie, Nana and Sharon Dowd, my ‘sister’ Maggie, Andrea all our other friends that played some part in helping us make it through the last week. I haven’t had a week like this since the week of our wedding! Much thanks to Ron Bushey and Mikey Germain who provided their mechanic expertise. Which was much needed after the 1st 450 moto! Heartfelt hugs to Diane and Ralph and their team that helped make all these years of racing possible and yesterday a day to remember. A special thank you to Jeff Canfield and everyone at MXsports who were always just a phone call away to provide us with whatever was c a Lastly, as y, the e needed to make the day happen and be special. BIGGEST thank you and hug to Paul Buckley,, who I feel is never quite appreciated enough for all the pictures he has taken and nderful memories provided all these years to keep all those wonderful ell of a ride!” alive! There’s no Dowd about it, it’s been a hell Sure has.

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With his creative line choices, unique body position, and sheer speed, Monster Energy Kawasakiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ryan Villopoto is changing the game

WORDS: DAVEY COOMBS PHOTOS: SIMON CUDBY

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uccess on the U.S. circuit today requires a broad approach to the craft of racing. Both supercross and traditional motocross matter. As a result, a uniquely American riding style has emerged, its roots reaching back to the seventies and Bob Hannah. Hannah was the first rider to really combine the disciplines as SX, created in 1972, grew quickly in popularity and importance. Next in our progression of style came technicians like Donnie Hansen, Johnny O’Mara, and David Bailey, who combined pure speed with calculated consistency. Versatile workhorses like Ricky Johnson, Jeff Ward, and Jeff Stanton followed. The next real game-changer was Jeremy McGrath, who came along in the early nineties with a BMX-inspired low-jumping style; that style was seized upon by Ricky

S (Above) Ryan Villopoto, a thirdgeneration motocross rider, was a late bloomer on the amateur circuit. (Opposite) Now he’s the most feared man in the motocross world, with a unique style that lends itself well to today’s high-powered fourstroke race bikes. He and mechanic Mike Williamson have earned seven major titles so far, with an eighth in sight: the 2013 Lucas Oil 450 Motocross Championship.

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Carmichael and the next wave of talent. James Stewart took it all to the next level with his creativity, and his scrub-it approach is now in every fast kid’s arsenal. Where are we now in this evolution? Who is at the vanguard of contemporary American motocross style? The answer must be in the results: Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto has taken over for Stewart as the fastest man on the planet. That’s why he’s the three-timesrunning SX champion and now closing

in on what would be a fifth Lucas Oil Pro Motocross crown. Villopoto’s style is Stewart-like in its creativity, Carmichael-like in its intensity, and McGrath-like in its efficiency. He’s as strong and fit as any of those men of yesteryear, even if he’s not much bigger than Carmichael himself. He’s got a wild streak just like “Hurricane” Hannah, sometimes out of control yet always moving forward with a manic urgency. It’s a fluid style that lends itself to the ever-evolving equipment of the real game-changer for this generation, the four-stroke power plant. Indoors or outdoors, RV is wired to win right now. FREE RIDER Villopoto isn’t in this for style points. His focus is on the scoreboard, and as a result, he often looks slightly more askew on his motorcycle than some of his primary competitors—sort of like Carmichael did in his early races against McGrath. “There are guys out there who can do a lot of things better than me, be it technique or scrubbing or whatever, but a lot of those things don’t get the job done,” shrugs Villopoto, about to turn 26 in August. “For me it comes down to being ready for whatever happens out there. If I miss my lines or hit something I didn’t really want to hit, it doesn’t upset me—I just keep going. With other guys, some of them miss their mark and they start to get a little flustered, and then there’s a snowball effect.” In that regard, Villopoto has a Carmichael-esque resilience. He overcomes his mistakes quickly, rarely succumbs to pressure, and is as strong as anyone out there. Ricky’s old boss sums it up differently: “Commitment. Full commitment,” says Red Bull KTM’s Roger DeCoster, who has had a front-row seat to all of RV’s success, albeit from the opponent’s side. “There is no holding back. Our Ryan [Dungey] tries to be perfect everywhere, but Villo just commits and figures out a way to stay on it. He’s a tough competitor. He doesn’t stay in any mistakes, either. He is immediately focused ahead, not letting anything that happened to stay with him. He is always moving forward, always moving fast, always on the edge—very strong points of Ricky’s. There’s just so much commitment there.” There are obvious physical similarities between RC and RV in terms of hair color and physical stature, though the latter is


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slightly taller at 5’8” and weighs in at 152 pounds. Still, Carmichael himself says it’s the intensity that looks most familiar. “I’ve never been big on style—I don’t rate people on style, but I do judge them on intensity and how fast they can go,” says Carmichael, whose last race, coincidentally, was RV’s breakout event, the 2007 Motocross of Nations at Budds Creek. “He just flat-out twists the throttle, and that’s pretty much what I did. He worries less about how he looks than how fast he gets from point A to point B. He does it by carrying so much speed through the center of turns that it works. And while his exits aren’t always that great, he makes up for it in how fast he gets there, which is very similar to car racing. He carries that momentum and keeps that 450 rolling.”

Villopoto’s style (center) is noticeably different from rivals like Ryan Dungey (left) and James Stewart (at right), employing a lower body position and using his legs to steer the bike more with the back end. He also tends to ride more of the racetrack, looking for wider, smoother lines in the corners while carrying more speed.

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THE OUTSIDER John Ayers is the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series coordinator as well as a former professional racer. As the man in charge of track maintenance at every national, he watches the races closely. “Ryan rides outside lines faster than anyone else I have ever seen in forty years of this sport,” Ayers says. “He’s passed more people going around the outside than anyone. He’s not afraid of speed, either—the man would go 100 mph if he could.” Ayers also sees him as a fearless

aggressor. “He’s willing to take you both out to make a pass, which is a trait Ricky rode with, and Ryan shares that.” Villopoto also has Carmichael’s trainer, champion builder Aldon Baker, who has helped him to develop his always-onthe-attack approach to racing a modern works four-stroke. RV has taken the 450 to the outside lines, which was often where 250 four-strokes went in a bid to keep momentum going. “He’s riding the bike like a 250, carrying all this momentum around every corner, finding traction in places where other guys just don’t think to even go,” Ayers says. “He makes the track bigger by going outside so much, yet he’s also going faster, and it’s a combination that suits him well.” Jeff Emig, a four-time champion and now the color commentator for American SX/MX, points out that RV is the first dominant rider of this generation who has probably never raced a 125cc or 250cc twostroke at even an expert level. As a Team Green amateur prospect, Villopoto went from 85s and Super-Minis to 250Fs in 2005, then turned pro at the end of that season. One year later, he won the first of three straight 250 Motocross Championships for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. “He’s never ridden a two-stroke, so he didn’t have a preconceived notion of what he was supposed to do or where


he was supposed to go,” Emig says. “He didn’t have to change anything, while everyone else—older guys like Stewart and Reed—was making the transition.” When asked about how early influences might have shaped his style, Villopoto says it’s pretty much organic. “I used to go to the Seattle Supercross when it was at the Kingdome and watch Jeremy McGrath,” he recalls. “I really looked up to him, but did I go home and try to ride like him? No, not at all. I didn’t even really follow racing that much, as far as looking for influences. We were just a motorcycle family, and my grandpa rides [and] my dad rides, so I didn’t really follow any pro that heavily. At least not like Adam [Cianciarulo], who’s carried around the Bar to Bar Supercross DVD since 2007 or something!” VELOCITY VS. DISTANCE The old rule for efficient speed was that the shortest distance between two turns is the inside. That still works … as long as the guy on the outside isn’t going 10 mph

With its consistent dirt and short bursts of speed, supercross requires different body positioning than Villopoto uses outdoors, yet he’s been just as successful there, winning three straight Monster Energy Supercross #1 plates. He will enter 2014 as the heavy favorite to match Jeremy McGrath’s record of four consecutive championships.

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faster. Villopoto is effectively making the track slightly bigger and longer, but his velocity makes the math work in his favor. “You really have to work hard to make those outside lines work,” Emig offers. “My technique was the opposite, going the shortest route possible, like a pointand-go approach. He’s fit enough to use that extra energy needed to go that extra level and make a longer track work. He will work so hard to gain an extra halfsecond before a passing point, then he

gets right past the guy.” “By sweeping the corners and straightup keeping the gas on, he’s letting the bike take him to the outside,” Carmichael explains. “It may be longer, but he’s going faster, and it’s very effective.” “You can probably see that I’m carrying a lot of speed in going outside, but then you also see that it can be a lot of ground to cover,” Villopoto says. “There’s guys like Ryan [Dungey] who are really good at riding the inside, but then he gets stuck doing that all the time, and it becomes his downfall when the track starts to break down.” Villopoto watches tape of himself racing, looking for how the track develops and how the bike is working. Surprisingly, he doesn’t spend a lot of time watching the epic GoPro motos online that come from his own point of view, explaining, “You can see more on the GoPro as far as where you’re going, but not what it is that you’re actually doing on the bike with your body.” RISK MANAGEMENT “He’s also good at recovering from his mistakes,” Carmichael says. “He has one goal in mind, and that’s to win, so he will do whatever he has to do to get there. He doesn’t follow people at all. He’s inside, outside, darting here and there, dodging people, always moving forward. Every time he gets on the bike, he’s on the clock, pushing and pushing. He’s just programmed to ride the wheels off his machine.” Carmichael was notorious for having a low-seat-low-bar setting. That evolved over the course of his decade of professional racing, as do Villopoto’s preferences. “You can tell by the bike setup that he likes the front end high, the back end low,” Emig points out. “He is the master at getting drive. He’s not afraid to slide the bike around a turn, and he’s really loose and fluid, but then he knows how to have that weight transfer exiting the turn where the rear wheel bites and the bike drives forward.” Emig helps out as a guest instructor for Ricky Carmichael University, and he admits he’s often at a loss when students ask about Villopoto’s style. “We’ll show them how to do things properly, but then a kid will raise his hand and say, ‘Well, why does Villopoto do it this other way?’ He’s just doing really advanced things that no one else is really pulling off just yet. It has a lot to do with bike setup, as well as his comfort level.”


RYNO BREAKS IT DOWN BY RYAN HUGHES Ryan Hughes has long studied Villopoto’s style and preaches its attributes to riders he trains (www.rynoinstitute.com). We asked the former Kawasaki, Honda, and KTM factory rider to give us a detailed breakdown of RV’s unique body positioning and style. ith Villopoto, it comes down to technique, and that technique allows him to carry so much speed, intensity, and flow that he can pass other riders any time he wants, change lines at a drop of a dime, save crashes, and just keep flowing. He has his upper body and lower body going the correct directions. That way, the bike isn’t riding him. From the hip to the toes, he’s on the back of the bike, and from there to his head he’s on the front of the bike. He also rides on his toes, not his feet, and that balance makes all of the difference.

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Villopoto also grips with his feet, which allows him to control the bike at the lowest point. Most of the weight of a bike is down low, so the lower the rider can get his weight, the better the bike handles. He’s always getting his knees back toward the rear end of the bike—never toward the front end—and that helps him squeeze and control. He’s also sitting or squatting in a functional way, which means at his hips, not at his knees. When you squat at the knees, that forces the lower body to go forward; when you squat at the hips, your lower body moves toward the back wheel. That makes a huge difference. The better posture you have, the better strength, stability, coordination, and balance you’ll have. Ryan’s upper body is always fixed, straight or balanced; the bike is doing all the movement from the hips to the feet, so the upper body stays still. That position allows his arms to be loose so the bike can do what it needs to do: come to him and away from him in braking bumps, whoops, corners, and jumps. The front end is always moving around, so allow it. Motocross is sometimes like dancing: Sometimes you have to follow and sometimes you have lead! 126 www.racerxonline.com

ASK THE PROFESSOR “Doesn’t matter what you’re racing—two wheels, four wheels, whatever—you have to have good corner arcs and good momentum,” the Professor of Motocross himself, Gary Bailey, says. “Villopoto is going out-out-in on his corners, but until now the style has always been in-in-out. He’s flipped the whole concept of cornering. He is doing new things, with new ideas, and he executes everything. “That’s what makes him tough to beat now—he’s doing everything right. He can ride on the edge, he’s very loose, and he makes his mistakes work.” A case in point happened at the Muddy Creek Tennessee National. Villopoto holeshot the first moto and then cross-rutted on the first jump on the track, careening sideways and off the side of the track in front of the entire pack. He simply pinned it, held on, and straightened out. But when Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard experienced the exact same thing, he crashed heavily. “He’s so loose, so defensive in his stance, so ready, that when those mistakes happen, it’s not a surprise,” Bailey explains. “He pulls it out because he rides with such anticipation and he doesn’t plan on everything going right. “He does a lot with his legs and his ankles, no doubt,” Bailey adds. “He’s forward, over the front, arms back. He’s thinking traction all the time. He’s looking for that hookup everywhere. He’s not spinning the tires like other guys; he’s going forward quicker than the other guys.” “Traction-wise, it all comes down to where and how you lay it down,” Villopoto offers. “Some of that comes with how we set up the bike, and our bike really lays down the power compared to others—it’s perfect for the way I ride. But coming out of a turn, if I have to get on the back of the bike or off to the side or correct and get forward, I tend to do that pretty easily, whereas if someone else starts to slide out or something, they might have to really check up and let off the gas. I just keep it going in that slide.” ACHILLES’ HEEL? “Mud is a problem I need to work on, and maybe shortening up the track at times,” Villopoto admits. “You’ll see some guys out there that don’t look like they’re going very fast, doing nothing special, and then their time goes right to the top. It’s because they’re smooth, calm, and collected when they’re out there, and they’ve probably ridden a shorter track to make it easy on themselves. It takes me a while to get around to that—usually not until the second practice, after I’ve had a chance to settle in.” “He’s adapted a style and a bike that works well for what motocross tracks are like now in America,” Ayers adds. “A few years back we were challenged by James Stewart and others to evolve the tracks just as the bikes were evolving [from twostrokes to four-strokes], and Villopoto was in the perfect spot of his career to take full advantage of that change.” “He just attacks the track,” Emig says. “He takes a lot of chances, and he’s really aggressive. When it all works out, he’s the best in the world.” And right now, it’s really working out. The question is, how many kids coming up will be able to apply Villopoto’s style to the tried-and-true foundations of what makes a successful motocross rider? That will be as much a testament to Ryan Villopoto’s legacy as his race wins and titles. X


Because racing is a job right now for Villopoto, he doesn’t do much play-riding anymore—laughs RV, “The last thing my ass wants to do is sit on the seat of a motorcycle for any reason!” But once he’s finished his professional career, he plans to get back to his favorite form of motorcycling, which means hitting trails for some woods riding.

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There are many routes to the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross starting gates, some longer than others WORDS: CHASE STALLO PHOTOS: ANDREW FREDRICKSON IN AN ERA WHERE AMATEUR RIDERS ARE groomed from a young age for professional stardom, it would seem nearly impossible for riders outside of that system to break through. This season alone, seven different rookies are racing with factory support in their first full pro seasons. Others, however, still take the old-fashioned route, making it happen on their own as independent privateers. And what they lack in support and finances, they try to make up for with dedication and hard work.

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CAVALARI

New York native Phil Nicoletti has found a great fit with N-Fab/ Ti-Lube Yamaha, working his way into the mix with the factory heroes in the 450 Class this season. He credits challenges he faced early in his professional career with helping him become a more complete racer, as well as hardening his resolve to keep moving forward.

49 PHIL NICOLETTI

THE LONG ROAD “IT’S BEEN A LONG ROAD,” Phil Nicoletti says. “There has been so much that has gone on during my five years as a professional that I can’t even remember a lot of it.” Nicoletti, now an N-Fab/TiLube Yamaha rider, grew up in Cohocton, New York, a small town where “everybody knows everybody.” The oldest of five children, he polished his talents on a small, dusty track that spanned his parents’ and his grandmother’s adjacent backyard. “That track made me what I am today,” he says. “It was dusty and nasty, but I had it to myself and was able to practice every day after school.” School was important in the Nicoletti household— so important that he turned down a professional ride in 2006 because he had another year of high school and didn’t feel he was prepared. “It was hard when I was little because the only thing on my mind was dirt bikes,” he explains. “Now, I thank my parents every day for making me go to school.” Nicoletti’s rise to the professional ranks wasn’t a complete surprise. He had decent factory support as an amateur, first from Honda of Houston and then from American Honda. He won a few amateur titles and had a factory-supported ride in his rookie season with Motos-

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port Xtreme Kawasaki. But something was missing. “I don’t think I was ready, and I kind of fell on my face my first two years” he admits. “I just wasn’t prepared, and that plays a mental role. I had a lot of people pulling me in fifteen different directions when I really should have done one thing and stuck with it. But it made me what I am now.” His rough transition included a torn ACL, teams going out of business, and losing a decent ride in Australia when visa issues resulted in a three-year ban from the country. Yes, Phil Nicoletti is banned from an entire continent. Having bounced between more than five teams, the mild-mannered but tough-on-the-track rider hasn’t had the best of breaks. “Basically, you could say I’ve been down the hard road,” he says. “And it sucks.” Nicoletti could have hung it up long ago—he has a life outside racing, which he attributes to staying in public school—but he still had the fire to keep racing. Upon returning from Australia, he found a spot with Eleven10 Mods, then later set up his own deal, showing enough promise to land his current ride, where he’s become a steady top-ten presence in the 450 ranks. “I’ve been through the rough patches of the sport, and I know not to go back to that,” he says.


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CUDBY


63 DEREK ANDERSON

THE SELF-STARTER “I DIDN’T GET SERIOUS ABOUT [RACING] UNTIL I WAS ABOUT 18,” privateer Derek Anderson says. “I got a KTM 50 when I was little and broke my collarbone a few rides in. I never touched it again!” Growing up just outside Denver, Anderson’s early passion was BMX racing, which he pursued for the next few years. One he got bored with pedal power, he wanted the real thing again, and by age 12 he was on dirt bikes. Anderson wasn’t an amateur phenom by any means, only making the occasional trip to Loretta Lynn’s or Lake Whitney. He attended public high school, and since traveling was difficult and expensive, he rode at home. But motocross wasn’t a particularly popular sport in his neighborhood. “I didn’t have a bunch of friends that rode,” he explains. “They all wanted to play football or go hang out. So it’s really been a solo journey, motivating myself to go racing.” In 2008, Anderson turned pro and raced under the lights at the national at his home track, Thunder Valley MX Park. “After I did my first national and saw my results,” he recalls, “I was like, ‘You know what? I think I can make a run at this.’” Two years passed before Anderson raced a full season of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross. While his rookie season had a few bright spots, the media wasn’t exactly flock-

Derek Anderson has expanded his fan base by documenting the highs and lows of life on the motocross circuit online. With help from his girlfriend, Shilah, he produces and stars in MSR’s Man vs. Moto series, giving fans worldwide the opportunity to follow his exploits as a privateer on the U.S. circuit. 134

ing to the rookie privateer. “In 2010, when I did the nationals and didn’t get much attention, my bell started ringing that I needed to do something else to get more attention for myself,” Anderson explains. So after missing all of 2011 with a herniated disk, he offered himself up as the subject of an online video series called Driven to Ride. With the help of Vurbmoto’s Andrew Campo (who brought in sponsor MotoSport.com), Anderson and his friend and fellow racer Tucker Saye hit the road. The premise of the series was simple: Show the struggle of the privateer. The shows quickly started getting thousands of views on YouTube, taking Anderson by surprise. Says the racer, “I never thought it would become what it did.” For 2013, Anderson and MSR debuted a new series, Man vs. Moto, which is centered on Anderson and is being shot entirely by his girlfriend, Shilah, and himself. While he still hopes to land a factory-supported deal, Anderson says he would be content with what he’s already accomplished. “I may never earn millions of dollars or win championships,” he says, “but to have someone come to me and say ‘Derek, you’re my hero,’ or ‘Derek, I look up to you so much,’ that makes me feel like I’ve really made it.”


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Kentucky’s Jacob Baumert is not nearly as well known as some of the other rookies in the Class of 2013, but he’s proven to be a formidable competitor. With help from Brandon Parrish of RiderSurance, Baumert has been able to focus on his fitness and speed while gaining valuable experience this summer.

157 JACOB BAUMERT

THE UNKNOWN In a 2013 rookie class featuring names like Cianciarulo, Webb, Martin, Hill, Savatgy, and Bell, few seem to know the name Jacob Baumert. An admittedly shy kid from just outside Louisville, Kentucky, the soft-spoken Baumert simply didn’t garner much attention as an amateur. “I wasn’t really that great of a rider as an amateur,” he says. “I didn’t win a lot of titles or anything; I was always that guy right behind the top guys.” Slow to develop his talent and speed, Baumert struggled with fitness at Loretta Lynn’s and wasn’t on anyone’s radar until 2012, when he began training with Shannon Niday. His best amateur season followed, but factory teams still showed little interest—there were just too many other fast kids to choose from. Baumert’s father co-owned a local track just over the Kentucky border in Indiana, and that’s where a young Jacob met Brandon Parrish, at the time a professional Superbike racer. Now owner of RiderSurance, Parrish would become the backbone of Baumert’s pro career. “Brandon saw an opportunity to help me out and for me to help him out by promoting his business,” Baumert

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explains. “He had the idea to put together the team. He’s the owner, my manager—he basically does it all.” Parrish brought on Louisville-based Crosley Radio, which sells modern but vintage-inspired electronics, as the title sponsor. With their support, Baumert made his professional debut at the Red Bull Hangtown National in 2013. Wearing black riding gear on a hot day, he definitely stood out—and it was by design. Explains Baumert, “Brandon and the owner of Crosley like the plain look, to where their logos stand out and there’s not the other noise going on.” At 20 years of age, Baumert is older than his rookie counterparts, but he doesn’t see that as an impediment. “A lot of the top amateur guys go to California in the winters, which I wasn’t able to do, so I wasn’t able to concentrate on it as much as those guys,” he says. “But I think it helps me now because I still have the motivation to get better.” The team will move forward with Baumert into next season and beyond, but the ultimate goal is to get him noticed. Says Baumert, “Hopefully within the year I can get some good results and a team will give me a chance.”


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194 JACKSON RICHARDSON

A WORLD AWAY FAR AWAY FROM THE FACTORY AWNINGS, sandwiched between dozens of vans, motor homes, and trucks in the privateer pits, Jackson Richardson sits on a white folding chair, rehydrating following the second practice session at the Red Bull RedBud National. The native of Cairns, Queensland— on the far east coast of Australia, hundreds of miles from the metropolitan cities of Melbourne and Sydney—speaks with a thick accent. Richardson honed his skills on a sugarcane farm his father, Peter, bought so his son could ride. “We bought the property when I was 10, and it was a really nice place to ride,” Richardson recalls. “When I was younger, I did a lot of racing down south in Brisbane, but as I got older I was just doing the state championships and the Australian championship, so I didn’t really race that much back home, so you probably didn’t really hear that much about me.” Australia has a rich history in American racing. Names like Leisk, Byrne, Reed, Metcalfe, Anderson, and the Moss brothers laid the foundation, but the decision to come to the U.S. was just as much financial as competitive for Richardson. “Put it this way: The closest Australian National is about eighteen hours away,” he explains. “We’re over here because

For Jackson Richardson, every race is a new adventure. The 18-year-old Australian first raced in America five years ago on minicycles, and now he’s trying to make a go of it as a professional, following in the footsteps of Chad Reed, Michael Byrne, Brett Metcalfe, and more who came from Down Under and raced to the top.

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it would cost us the same amount to get there as it does to get here, and the competition and tracks are better.” At just 13, Richardson and his father, who runs a construction company and a hauling business, made the nearly 10,000-mile journey to compete at Loretta Lynn’s. Richardson says it was an overwhelming experience. “It was crazy,” he says. “Even during my regionals, it was just nuts. The competition was so intense.” The Richardsons continued making the journey to America, twice a year for a week or two at a time, trying to gauge what the future might hold. “I came over for the first time when I was 13, and it was a totally different experience—I was shell-shocked,” Richardson says. “But I really learned a lot and it made me faster back home.” Now 18, Richardson is in his first full season Stateside. It’s a lifelong dream, but one that will end prematurely in 2013, as he must return home to work on his visa and fill-in for Josh Cachia at Carlton Dry Honda for the remainder of the Australian National series. Richardson plans to return stateside in October to begin preparations for 2014 at Georgia’s Millsaps Training Facility.


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Fredrik Noren grew up in Sweden riding motorcycles for fun, never imagining he’d be battling for top-ten finishes on the American motocross circuit. But with help from his personal sponsors, and his girlfriend, Amy Schaaf, he’s living the dream of being a professional motocross racer.

867 FREDRIK NOREN

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY GROWING UP ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF LIDKOPING, a small town in southern Sweden, riding hand-me-down bikes for fun in a field, big-time American racing was little more than a distant dream for Fredrik Noren. “We didn’t have much money growing up, so most of my bikes were passed down from my older brothers,” Noren says. “I never thought in my whole life I would race professionally.” Fredrik was a late bloomer; his early years on the bike revolved around family-oriented rides rather than competitive races. Sweden, once a hotbed for global motocross stars and brands like Husqvarna and Monark, no longer has much of a national scene, but the Norens rode together as much as they could. “We were really a close family,” Fredrik says. “We couldn’t go to the track without my mom or she would have been mad! I really just rode for fun growing up.” As his passion and skill grew, Noren left home at 16 to attend a motocross-friendly high school. That’s where he developed his technique, but real school—not extracurricular riding—was always the priority. “School came first,” he explains, “and we went from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and only trained before and after. But it really changed me as a rider.” The promising young rider won the Swedish Junior Championship in 2009 and the Swedish Motocross Championship a year later. In the fall of 2010, Noren sat down with his riding coach to discuss whether or not Noren would stay

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in Europe or leave his family and friends behind for America. “If he would have mentioned doing GPs, I probably would have done what most Swedish riders do and race in Europe,” Noren recalls. “But he knew Stefan Elvin, the owner of MX Heaven [in Southern California], and he asked if I wanted to go to America. I got really excited by the whole idea. So we came to America in the spring of 2011.” For a shy kid from the Swedish countryside, adjusting to the American lifestyle was challenging. “It was hard to meet new people because I was secure with MX Heaven,” Noren says of the camp, which hosts many Swedish riders. “I was pretty shy and a little intimated, but I had the comfort of MX Heaven. I paid them money to have a car and a house and stuff. I didn’t have to talk with new people.” “When I went on my own program for this year, I had to get sponsors and stuff, so I was forced to talk with new people,” he adds. “And at first the language was a problem, because even though I spoke English, I had a hard time understanding what people were saying.” During his three professional seasons, Noren has garnered multiple moto top-tens, an achievement he admits he never really imagined growing up. “I never thought I would be here,” Noren says. “I don’t think my mom or dad did either. Growing up in a small town in Sweden, I never thought I would end up as a professional motocross racer in America. Now it’s like, ‘How did I get even here?’” X


ENGWALL

Weston Peick at Chaos at Castle Rock.

46

WESTON PEICK

PERSEVERANCE WESTON PEICK BURST ONTO THE professional scene as an unheralded privateer at the 2009 Glen Helen Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season opener, where the former high-school linebacker opened plenty of eyes with a ninth overall in the 450 Class. Through his five professional seasons, the California native has bounced around to a few teams but has spent the majority of his career toiling in obscurity as a privateer. After spending the early part of his career driving from race to race with limited parts and support, Peick made the tough decision to do something different for 2013: He would only race the five West Coast rounds, at Hangtown, Thunder Valley, Washougal, Utah, and Lake Elsinore. Aside from those, he’d stick to big-money local races. “I don’t want to put myself in a position to fail,” Peick explains. “I’ve been down that alley before, where I’ve showed up with one bike and no spare parts and if something breaks, you’re screwed.

Then people question why your results suck—well, it’s because I didn’t have anything to replace the parts that broke.” Peick has found other ways to garner attention. He visited Western Australia for a one-off race earlier this year, and in the weeks leading up to the Peterson CAT Washougal National he swept bigmoney local races at nearby Castle Rock and Portland International Raceway. As of press time, he is expected to compete in the men’s Moto X event at X Games Los Angeles. Peick’s results have validated his decision (eighteenth in the 450 Class standings with two top-tens in six motos, as of press time), although time away from the spotlight has ramifications. “It does suck to do good and get hyped for one or two weeks and then everyone forgets about you,” he says. “But my job is to go out and train and do as good as I can. I don’t have the money to do the whole thing the right way. I’m playing it as smart as I can right now.”

141


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144

CUDBY


WO W ORD DS: S: STEVE TE EVE EM MAT A TH AT HE ES S

To get back in the hunt in America, journeyman pro Brett Metcalfe first has to conquer Canada

THE TENTS WERE TAKEN DOWN, most of the teams were packing up, and riders were mostly long gone. The Southwick Moto-X 338 National had just ended, the track having taken its usual toll on the riders; ice packs were the order of the day for most. But one rider was still hanging around the pits, and he couldn’t wipe the smile off his face. The veteran Brett Metcalfe was holding court by his motor home as his team for the day—Aussie Dave Racing—was just beginning its own tear-down. Accepting congratulations and well-wishes from old friends and competitors, Metty seemed like he could have gone out for another moto. 145


LISSIMORE

146 www.racerxonline.com


LISSIMORE

Suzuki—was a free agent. With Brett’s injuries and a new baby to look after, he and Sheena decided to skip supercross in 2013 and try to get a ride for the 450 nationals this summer. At the same time, he was realistic about his chances. “I knew it was going to be difficult to get an outdoor-only ride,” he says. “Whatever it costs to run the outdoors is a lot, so I knew it was going to be tough. I had a couple things going. At one point it looked like the Langston Racing KTM team wanted me, but then obviously they packed it up. Then we went to Valli Yamaha, and that was doing pretty good and looked almost like a done deal, but then that kind of fell though. Everything, in my opinion, worked out for the better, because those teams weren’t ready to go. And maybe I wasn’t going to be ready to go.”

LISSIMORE

REVIVAL A winner at Southwick just two years ago, Metcalfe showed up this time as a privateer, his career route having taken him off the U.S. circuit and leaving him in exile racing the Canadian Nationals. Yet he acquitted himself well, running as high as second in the first moto and ending the day with a surprising fourth overall in the highly competitive 450 Class. It was redemption for Metcalfe, who put in a massive effort just to get to the race and admitted that he’d thought about Southwick “probably every single day since the New Year.” And why wouldn’t he? One year to the day after his great Southwick ride, Metcalfe, a member of factory Suzuki, was putting the finishing touches on a practice moto when his RM-Z450 bogged on a triple out of a rhythm section and tossed him off. Metcalfe’s injuries were substantial: a broken tibia and dislocated wrist that stayed dislocated for fifteen hours, resulting in minor nerve damage. At the time of the accident, Metcalfe was fifth in the 450 points and was getting ready to do his customary heating-up as the summer wore on. Instead, his season was over. It was soon discovered that a stock tank had been outfitted on Metcalfe’s bike instead of the larger one capable of doing thirty minutes plus two laps. It was a simple mistake but one that certainly complicated Metcalfe’s life. With a contract up at the end of 2012 and a new baby on the way with wife Sheena (son Nash was born August 16 of last year), it was a tumultuous time for the family. It got worse before it got better. Still in a cast, Metcalfe found out that Suzuki had decided not to renew his contract— something he feels wasn’t handled in the best manner. “I did feel a little bitter, for sure,” Metcalfe says. “I didn’t appreciate the way it happened. Obviously, Suzuki was going in one direction and I wasn’t a part of it anymore. And just the way I got dropped, I felt really crappy about. Everything was reasonably going pretty well. They know what I had to offer and give, but obviously they were going in a different direction I wasn’t a part of. So that was the end of it. There wasn’t even a discussion about it.” Suddenly, Metcalfe—who has raced for KTM, Yamaha of Troy, Pro Circuit Kawasaki, GEICO Honda, and then

Having arrived in America a decade ago from his native Australia, Brett Metcalfe is accustomed to flying off to new places, so traveling to Canada on race weekends has been easy on the veteran. After two rounds in the Monster Energy CMRC Championships, he was wearing the leader’s red plates. Consulting here with suspension tech Graeme Brough, he’s enjoying being on top with Leading Edge Kawasaki.

147


With that, a man who was a top-five rider outdoors and top-ten indoors was officially out of a job.

CUDBY

CALL OF THE WILD With agent David Evans working the phones, Metcalfe’s best options seemed to be a Rockstar Suzuki ride in his native Australia or a Monster Leading Edge Kawasaki ride in Canada, of all places. “I really was open-minded from the start, maybe because I’m Australian,” he reasons. “There was no ‘I can’t go there.’ I checked it over, studied it a little bit, and looked at guys that have been there and done it. I thought, You know what? It’s a really good option. It’s a good series. I’m on a great team. Why not? This is a perfect situation. And it’s outdoor only, so it’s what I want to do for this year. So away we went.” With Canada’s defending 450 MX Champion, Matt Goerke, leaving the team to head south for a ride at BTOSports KTM, Leading Edge had a spot open, and they certainly were open to helping Metcalfe do exactly what Goerke had done—

148 www.racerxonline.com

get back to the USA. So Metcalfe headed north to ride for one of the best teams in Canada, backed by Monster Energy with the potential to make six figures if he won races and the title. Not bad work for nine weekends, eh? At the opening round of the series, Metcalfe could only muster a 2-2 behind Colton Facciotti, learning right away not to underestimate the local talent. He was leading the third moto of the year when Facciotti went down with an injury that would cost him the rest of the series. With his toughest competitor gone, Metcalfe is now doing exactly what most of us thought he would: winning every race. As of press time, he had only lost one moto since that opening-round defeat. Metcalfe has been enjoying the racing, and he also likes the low pressure and laid-back feel of the series. “The tracks are a lot different, but it’s cool in that there’s not a lot of stuff to do other than go up there and race, which is awesome,” he says. “That’s really what I needed.

With a weekend off in June, Metcalfe decided to go to Southwick, the site of his one and only national win in America. He rode exceptionally well at the venue’s national finale, challenging Andrew Short for the lead during much of the first moto. His fourth overall should be a reminder to teams here in the States that he still has world-class speed.


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“I’m used to the fans and the bigness of America, but at the same time, I’ve been pounding away at it for nearly over ten years, so it was absolutely refreshing for me just to say, Okay, this year is all about rebuilding and getting strong again. And to go up there and not have any major obligations other than go and race—and obviously they’re expecting me to win so to just go up there, race, and work on everything about my racing—is absolutely what I needed.”

HEADING HOME I

LISSIMORE

t’s been a long time since Canadians had a rider to cheer for in the States. Ross Pederson and Jean Sebastian Roy are long retired, and Dusty Klatt never really found his comfort zone. Darcy Lange was great in the arenas and stadiums, but he was sidetracked by a bout with cancer. Dean Wilson is really THE MAN IN CANADA from Scotland. Another positive for Metcalfe is the fact that he’s Ontario’s Cole Thompson has raced “down south” for most pretty much the man up there. All eyes are on him, of his career and often placed inside the top ten in 250 East SX which is a good for your value to a team but always and 450 MX as a privateer. Thompson’s dream is—unlike most brings some pressure. Canadian racers’ nowadays—to get a ride in the USA. “It’s kind of cool just to have that feeling and see That all changed recently, though, as Cole headed home to what it’s like to lead motos, win races,” he explains. fill in for the injured Colton Facciotti with KTM Canada for the “I have the mindset of ‘Okay, I’m going to be the last five Canadian fastest guy.’ I know I can come Nationals. through.” I now understand Cole Thompson headed “Cole loves what it feels like for the Ryans home to Canada with a KTM deal. supercross, but or Ricky Carmichael and all outdoors was getthose guys. You go into the ting expensive with moto feeling a little bit differno ride,” explains ent. I’ve never felt some of the Cole’s brother and experiences in the States like mechanic, Kyle. “We I’m having now.” switched to 450s The Leading Edge team at the last minute couldn’t be happier to have someand Cole had some one like Metcalfe on the team. crashes and meCrew chief Pat O’Connor has been chanicals. It wasn’t with the team since its inception going that well. and says Brett has brought the Then KTM Canada team up to a new level. called really wanting “It’s been awesome,” he says. us to go back up “He brings a new level of profesthere bad.” sionalism, and he’s still there as Making some far as his skills go. He’s a super quick money on a nice, down-to-earth person. It’s top team in Canada not what I expected it to be like, instead of privateerto be honest; I thought that he ing it in the U.S. would come in and be a rock star, appealed more to the but he’s a super great guy. Thompsons, but they “He’s the biggest name we’ve aren’t giving up the ever had, and he’s caused us American dream. to step up our game for him,” “KTM Canada O’Connor adds. has said they may Although racing in Canada help us out for has his attention most of the supercross, and time, one eye is always kept on they’ll help us out for this year’s Motocross of Nations [Cole will the U.S. Metcalfe is determined to make it back, so race alongside Jeremy and Tyler Medaglia for Team Canada], so with Leading Edge’s blessing, he made plans to use this was the best move for now,” Cole says. “We’ll be back for his off-weekends to race Hangtown, Southwick, and 2014 supercross, no doubt about it, whether it’s with help from Lake Elsinore. Having scrapped Hangtown in May beKTM or we privateer it again.” cause he wasn’t done with testing, he made his return Thompson may be taking a circuitous route back north right at Southwick. now, but his eye is still on the prize. And that’s a good thing, “Leading Edge helped with the bike, but I put together because he’s too fast to wither away up in Canada. pretty much everything else, which was something I’d 150 www.racerxonline.com


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LISSIMORE

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LISSIMORE

In Canada, where he wears his old #123, Metcalfe is the biggest star of the series. In the U.S. he’s one of many extremely competitive men battling for a 450 ride with a solid team. Having spent a summer north of the border to get his speed and fitness back, he feels ready to return and get back to business.

152 www.racerxonline.com

me. With everything I’ve done to get here, it doesn’t matter what I did today. “Just to be here was my only goal,” he continues, well-wishers including John Dowd stopping by to say hello. “It didn’t matter what I did on the track. I just went out there rode my ass off every lap, and I loved it. I was so pumped to be back.” There was also a full-circle effect from last year’s career-changing injury. “Just the weird thing of being one year later from the crash—exactly on the day—was kind of strange,” he says. “Deep down I knew I could finish top-five. I could see that from watching video, and I knew where my level was. I felt like on this track, Southwick, I knew I can go top-five.” BACK ON THE MARKET He did exactly that, faring better than many top riders have this season—including his longtime friends Chad Reed and Michael Byrne, Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jake Weimer, and visiting Grand Prix stars Clement Desalle and Kevin Strijbos. And that raises the question: In a pit that can be filled with cliques and riders of questionable caliber, does Brett Metcalfe—who’s as low-drama and as professional as it gets— feel vindicated by his Southwick finish or bitter because an injury that wasn’t his fault has kept him on the sidelines? “I didn’t get too bitter,” he answers. “I was disappointed the way it ended last year, but I tried to stay positive. I always try to look at moving forward. Obviously, I’d like to be racing in the States doing the nationals. I feel like I can be in that mix. But that didn’t come around. The best thing for me was to go out there and establish myself and use this year to get stronger again.” There’s also the fact that Metcalfe has collected an impressive twenty-eight podiums (spread across 250 and 450 SX and MX) in his nine years of racing in America. It wasn’t that long ago that Brett Metcalfe stood atop a 450 MX podium, the best rider in the world on that particular Saturday. So to see him just over a year later racing in another country because he couldn’t land a ride in America is a bit shocking. He hopes this will be a short detour in his career path, a single summer in exile from American motocross. “My goal is to get back to America,” he repeats. “That’s my ambition. And I’m going to see it through.” X


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CUDBY


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A-1 Power Sports Prince Fredrick 443-968-2229 Atlantic Cycle and Power White Plains 301-392-1770 Cycle Gear Laurel 301-490-3490

INDIANA Cyclesport Yamaha Hobart 866-6YAMAHA Evansville Superbike Shop Evansville 812-477-1740 Sly Fox Powersports Indianapolis 317-890-9000

Ellicott City Motorsports Ellicott City 410-203-2119 Heyser Cycle Laurel 301-776-6932 RNB Racing Bryans Road 301-653-8218

MASSACHUSETTS Thunder Powersports Washington 309-444-8109

IOWA Nishna Valley Cycle Atlantic 712-243-6343 Struthers Brothers Des Moines 515-282-3634

DC’s Cycle Westfield 413-562-7122 Pilgrim Powersports Plymouth 508-747-6181 Podium Powersports Middleboro 508-947-4747

MICHIGAN KANSAS Action Motorsports Garden City 620-272-0300

Central Motor Sports Mt. Pleasant 989-773-6025

Mr. X Waterford 248-332-2400

NEVADA Reno KTM-Motorcycle Specialties Sparks 775-358-4388 Reno Motorsports Reno 775-322-1499 Ride or Race Moto Source Reno 775-856-3855

NEW HAMPSHIRE Powers Motorsports Fremont 231-924-1924 Recker Motorsports Mt. Pleasant 989-772-9286 Tech Care Waterford 248-666-4651

MINNESOTA

Motorbikes Plus Portsmouth 603-334-6686

Northeast Cycle Service, LLC Springville 716-794-0705 Parker MX Greenwich 518-692-7025

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Cycle Gear Las Vegas 702-435-0635

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NORTH CAROLINA

MX Motorsports Zanesville 740-450-8989

Robbins Cycles Mexico 573-581-2015

Montana Fastoys Kalispell 406-257-8697 Superior Sled and Cycle Kalispell 406-755-7433

Pit Power Sports Manalapan 732-851-7404 PKM Kustoms Toms River 855-722-3756

NEW YORK 3 Seas Recreation Mayville 716-753-2628 7-S Cycle Supply Leroy 585-768-2330 Hunter Motorcycle Thornwood 914-769-4722

NEBRASKA Staman’s Suzuki Scottsbluff 308-635-8007

Atomic-Moto.com Bend 541-728-0690 Cycle Gear Portland 503-257-7047

Located in La Mesa, California, Skeeter’s Motorsports is family-owned and operated by three generations of motorcycle enthusiasts and has been open since November of 2011. Our goal is to provide friendly customer service, exceptional mechanic work, and quality parts and accessories to the San Diego area. We are a Certified Ohlins Suspension service center providing installation, re-valving, and setup. Stop by today and become a part of the Skeeter’s Motorsports Family! Get 10% off any one item by mentioning that you saw us in Racer X!

Cycle Gear Dirt Bikes Unlimited Edison 732-248-7737 Springfield 417-832-1331 Mt. Holly KawasakiSuzuki-KTM Donnell’s Vincentown Motorcycles 609-859-0333 Independence

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TJ Cycle Sales and Service Austin 512-453-6255

UTAH Cycle Gear Draper 801-553-2150 Motocross Incorporated Sandy 801-649-4200

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GARAGE

INSTOCK BIKE BUILD BY RACER X TESTED www.racerxonline.com/category/racer-x-tested TEXT BY DAVID PINGREE PHOTOS BY SIMON CUDBY

2013 YAMAHA YZ125 We return to our roots this month with a classic bike that has remained largely unchanged for the past eight years: the Yamaha YZ125. What it lacks in change it makes up for in dependable performance, and itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also the perfect platform to build a screaming two-cycle rocket.

>> MOTO SEAT Seat cover www.shop.motoseat.com

>> RAD MANUFACTURING Wheelsets, rotors, mounting hardware www.radmfg.com

>> MOTO TASSINARI V-Force reed block www.mototassinari.com

158


>> PRO CIRCUIT Works pipe and Shorty silencer, valved and sprung suspension, billet clutch cover www.procircuit.com

>> RENTHAL Bars, grips, chain, sprockets, grip donuts, and covers www.renthal.com

>> WORKS

CONNECTION Chain adjuster blocks, brake reservoir cap, oil fill plug, clutch lever assembly www.worksconnection.com

>> DUNLOP

>> DECAL WORKS

MX51 front and rear tires www.dunloptires.com

Graphics kit www.decalmx.com

>> CV4 Radiator hoses and cap www.cvproducts.com

>> LEOVINCE Carbon fiber disk guards and chain guide www.leovinceusa.com

TO SEE HOW THE 2013 YZ125 PERFORMS WITH THESE MODS, HEAD OVER TO www.racerxonline.com/category/racer-x-tested 159


GARAGE

INSTOCK

W

e deliberated about whether to modify this engine to the hilt. Since I was too cheap to buy race gas, which would be a necessity with a race engine, we opted to leave the cylinder and head completely stock. We did, however, mount up a Pro Circuit Works pipe and Shorty silencerâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;one of the most lethal combos in Two-Stroke Land. We also plugged in a Moto Tassinari V-Force reed block to improve throttle response. Those simple additions would give the YZ enough power to have a blast with while remaining absolutely bulletproof â&#x20AC;Ś and all on pump fuel. Bones and the crew at Pro Circuit valved and sprung the Yamaha for me and provided the sweet-looking billet clutch cover. Rad Manufacturing provided the wheelset, and they let you pick any color of rims, hubs, spokes, and nipples you want. We went with the bronze hub and spoke nipple with the silver rim and spoke. The wheelsets come with rotors and everything you need to mount them up. Renthal supplied the bars, grips, chain, sprockets, grip donuts, and covers; CV4 set us up with some blue radiator hoses and a cap. LeoVince made the carbon fiber disk guards and chain guide, while Dunlop provided the traction via MX51 front and rear tires. All the blue anodized components are Works Connection products, including the chain adjuster blocks, brake reservoir cap, oil fill plug, and clutch lever assembly. Decal Works did the graphics, and Moto Seat built a seat cover to match the graphics perfectly. When you combine all those parts you have, in our opinion, one of the best-looking YZ125s since the days of Yamaha of Troy. How does this 125cc missile perform on the track? Head over to www.racerx online.com/category/racer-x-tested to watch the Racer X Tested team wring this thing out at a private Southern California motocross facility. X

160

2013 YAMAHA YZ125


MIXED MEDIA CRUSTY DEMONS: THE SOUNDTRACK SURFDOG RECORDS

music

If you still own a CD player and use it on a regular basis, chances are you’re old enough to remember when the Crusty Demons of Dirt movie franchise was just beginning to get big. It didn’t matter if you rode trails or motocross or just liked to goof off in the dunes—everybody who rode a dirt bike watched at least a couple of these videos. Who can forget Seth Enslow’s epic dune launch in Crusty 1, or the infamous ragdoll from hell that followed? Or when he landed on a group of spectators in Glamis in Crusty 2? For better or worse, those were iconic moments in moto life during the ’90s.

Unfortunately, you probably don’t have a VHS player anymore, and even if you do, you’re far too old to ditch class to sit slack-jawed as you watch Mike Metzger pull off death-defying heel-clickers. Fortunately, you can still relive the chaotic good old days with Crusty Demons: The Soundtrack. Although the CD doesn’t contain treasures like “Devil Man” by Rob Zombie, “Whiskey” by Guttermouth, or Soak’s “RagDoll,” it does feature the sweet, abrasive noise of Static X’s “Push it,” “Digital Soldiers” by Ill Figures, and thirteen other classic Crusty tunes. The collection doesn’t have what I consider to be the franchise’s best, most defining tracks, but it’ll still get you amped to ride, and that’s what matters. Aaron Hansel

BIKE BARON MOUNTAIN SHEEP

iOS app

If you’re like me, you’re always in the market for something new to keep you sidetracked and away from doing anything productive. Developer Mountain Sheep’s Bike Baron is an incredibly popular trialsstyle motorcycle game for iOS devices with great physics, gameplay, and graphics. The game’s premise is quite normal: You complete levels under a predetermined time limit, all while collecting coins and other power-ups along the way to help you out. Just like Mad Skills Motocross, this game can become quite addicting, and quickly. It uses Apple’s Game Center to track your

progress and sync up your scores with your friends. And with the added bonus of a fully featured custom track builder, you can design and share tracks of your own. The track builder’s features are immense, and all the tracks that come with the game were created using the same editor you get access to. As you upgrade your bike and rider, achieve goals, and secure the “Golden Gebettos” littered around the levels, Bike Baron will be sure to keep you entertained between the motos, at lunch, in the backseat, or on the airplane. If you have a spare $0.99, do yourself a favor and download Bike Baron, start building your own tracks, and challenge your friends today. Andrew Fredrickson

MOUNT KIMBIE: COLD SPRING FAULT LESS YOUTH WARP MUSIC

MUSIC

Mount Kimbie’s debut album, Crooks & Lovers, was genuinely almost perfect, a fuzzy, pitch-shifted collection of samples, subtle beats, and field recordings with a clear debt to classic R&B and soul music. Three years later, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth sees the British duo stretching out their sound to include more “real” vocals and instruments, but the sound is still unmistakably theirs. Consisting of producers/musicians Dominic Maker and Kai Campos, Mount Kimbie makes dance music that’s probably a little too laid-back for the dance floor. It’s headphone music, carefully crafted but not overworked. Live instruments play a large part as well,

162 www.racerxonline.com

particularly on “So Many Times, So Many Ways,” where electric bass and guitar take turns as lead instruments over a blend of drums and electronic beats. Of particular note are two tracks featuring vocalist King Krule, whose menacing tone seems at odds with the music at first. If “You Took Your Time” and “Meter, Pale, Tone” don’t immediately seem to fit, though, they start to make more sense on repeated listens. Campos and Maker also contribute slightly more subdued vocals to “Home Recording” and “Made to Stray,” two of the album’s slow-burning standout tracks. Cold Spring is highly recommended listening for anyone in need of a new chillout soundtrack, particularly if you’re open to some less-than-ordinary sounds from our friends across the pond. Jeff Kocan


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TTRIBES R

CUDBY

RONNIE STEWART

Both riders featured in this month’s 2 Tribes share the same last name, both compete in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, and the older one rides a Suzuki. We are, of course, talking about RSR’s Ronnie Stewart and Rock River Yamaha’s Bryce Stewart. Who else? The two race in different classes, but they’ll be battling each other right now. Let’s see how they stack up.

BROWNDOG WILSON

BRYCE STEWART 164 www.racerxonline.com

WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE? RONNIE STEWART: Tom Cruise. BRYCE STEWART: Probably Johnny Depp ’cause he’s tan like me. GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT? RS: The second moto at Spring Creek last year, in which I finished eleventh. Also, third place in the Las Vegas and Toronto Supercross LCQs this year. BS: Just being alive is a nice accomplishment. TALENT YOU WISH YOU HAD? RS: I wish I could sing. BS: I wish I could ride my BMX bike a little better. LAST MOVIE YOU LIKED SO MUCH YOU WATCHED IT TWICE? RS: I know I’ve watched the Rocky movies about twice ... times ten. BS: Crusty Demons Of Dirt. BEST PART ABOUT PRIVATEER LIFE? RS: You can make your own decisions, and you’re racing for yourself, your family, close friends, and sponsors on a more personal level. BS: Succeeding, even though it’s a struggle. WORST PART OF PRIVATEER LIFE? RS: Trying to keep up with the people who have a lot more resources and having to put in more hours than the guys on the teams just to possibly have a chance to be competitive. BS: Figuring out how you’re going to pay to get to the race the next weekend. HIDDEN TALENT? RS: Cooking. BS: I pick things up quickly. FAVORITE SPORTS TEAM? RS: I don’t watch sports. BS: All the SoCal teams—Angels, Chargers, Clippers, and Lakers. MOST DREADED DRIVE OF THE YEAR? RS: The drive to Millville, which is twenty hours from my house. It starts out with Pennsylvania, which seems to go forever, then it’s followed up by Ohio, which is boring. And the tolls in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois make me mad! BS: Cali to Pennsylvania. FAVORITE DRIVE OF THE YEAR? RS: It will be next April to the MetLife Supercross, which is an hour drive! BS: Driving back to Cali after a month of being gone is exciting. ONE PLACE YOU WOULD LIKE TO TRAVEL TO? RS: Alaska. BS: Europe or Australia or any other country to race. FUNNIEST TRAVEL STORY? RS: My first road trip was when I was 15 years old. My friends Damien Plotts and Joey were traveling the BooKoo Arenacross series in a 1985 RV. The throttle kept sticking, so it wasn’t actually funny at first, but then they had to pull the throttle cable with their hands. I’ll never forget them stepping on the cable and pulling up. It was especially funny because I couldn’t drive, so I was off the hook! BS: After RedBud I was chillin’ with Brady Kiesel and he accidentally sat in someone else’s car. BEST RACING MEMORY? RS: My best racing memory was finishing eleventh in moto two at the Spring Creek National and hearing my dad tell me how proud my grandfather would be of me. BS: Winning my first national as an amateur, because it gave me confidence. YOUR GUILTY PLEASURE? RS: Rocky road ice cream! BS: Ice cream and candy!


CUDBY

RONNIE

BRYCE

CUDBY

SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT YOUR HOMETOWN? RS: Easton, Pennsylvania, is home of the great Larry Holmes. BS: Huntington Beach is known for oil and called Surf City. MOST COMMON FOOD STOP WHILE ON THE ROAD? RS: Chipotle. BS: Wawa when I’m out East. LAST BOOK YOU READ? RS: Mind Gym by Gary Mack. BS: Mind Gym by Gary Mack. FAVORITE SONG? RS: “Don’t Blink” by Kenny Chesney. BS: “Disconnected” by Face to Face. FAVORITE HOTEL? RS: Suburban Extended Stay, because they have kitchens and comfortable beds. BS: The Microtel, because it was really clean. WORST HOTEL? RS: Any hotel where the hallways smell like smoke. Or Motel 6. I would rather sleep in my van. BS: It was a Days Inn. The sheets were wet, so I just left. FAVORITE SUBJECT IN SCHOOL? RS: Math. BS: History. I always dug it for some reason. FAVORITE FOOD? RS: Avocado. BS: Spicy kinds. WORST FOOD? RS: Wendy’s chili. BS: Seafood. FAVORITE TELEVISION SHOW? RS: Dancing with the Stars. BS: Ridiculousness. GNARLIEST CRASH? RS: It was in 2005 at Blue Diamond MX park when I did not take a slow lap around the track and just started going as fast as I could right from the start. I didn’t complete a lap, and that lead to a helicopter ride out of there when I knocked myself out, breaking my C7 vertebra and collarbone. BS: At Racetown back in 2008. It was windy and the wind just owned me. FAVORITE NON-ENERGY DRINK? RS: Green tea. BS: Cytomax. FAVORITE VIDEO GAME? RS: Reflex. BS: Reflex and Halo. DIRTIEST MOVE OF THE SUMMER? RS: The dirtiest move this summer so far was by accident. At

RedBud I made a mistake and got out of control, flew off the track, and nailed an official that was flagging. He literally looked like he was in shock. I apologize and hope he’s okay! BS: I kind of got into it with this kook at RedBud. We settled our differences, though. CHILDHOOD HERO? RS: Rocky Balboa. BS: MC and all the dudes on the Crusty, Terrafirma, and Steel Roots films. FAVORITE NATIONAL TRACK? RS: Spring Creek. BS: Southwick and RedBud, even though I had a rough day at RedBud this year. FAVORITE SUPERCROSS VENUE? RS: Daytona. BS: I like Anaheim just because I’m the local boy. HOW MANY TATTOOS DO YOU HAVE? RS: Two. BS: None. I’m trying to get some, though. FAVORITE NON-MOTOCROSS WEBSITE? RS: Facebook. BS: Amazon. FAVORITE NON-SWEAR WORD? RS: Awesome. BS: Dope. IF YOU FOUND $1,000 ON THE STREET, WHAT WOULD YOU DO WITH IT? RS: I honestly would have to say it would be very hard for me to take it. I ride dirt bikes way too much to have bad karma coming my way! I might take it and help someone else that needs the money in a good way and justify it by thinking some crackhead could’ve picked it up and used it for drugs or something. BS: Pay people off. WHAT INSTRUMENT DO YOU WISH YOU COULD PLAY? RS: Guitar. BS: Keyboard. WHO HAS INSPIRED YOU THE MOST? RS: I have been inspired by many people in my life on many different levels and in many different ways. I need my own column to answer some of these questions! BS: I get inspired by all kinds of people and motivating stories. WHO’S IN YOUR REGULAR CREW? RS: Nikki, Kate, Dad, Mom, Super Dave, Chris, Vaughn, and Evan. BS: RL, Steven Bauer, Nate, BMW, T Villy, Devin, BK, and my girlfriend, Kaitlyn. WORDS TO LIVE BY? RS: The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. BS: Stay balanced. 165


FFIVE I MINUTES WITH KERRY GRAEBER: NEW SHOW IN TOWN BY DAVID PINGREE

COURTESY GRAEBER

With the new American International Motorcycle Expo making its debut in October, we catch up with one of the men behind the scenes to find out what sets the AIMExpo apart from other industry shows we’ve known.

Racer X: Kerry, can you give us some of your background? Kerry Graeber: I’m a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast and rider, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked in the motorcycle industry for over twenty years, first with American Suzuki, then with AMA Pro Racing. Now I serve as the marketing director for the Marketplace Events Motorcycle Group, and we are responsible for the creation and production of the American International Motorcycle Expo, or AIMExpo. What makes the AIMExpo different? First and foremost, it’s the first motorcycle event created specifically for industry, media, and consumers. It’s an allnew platform that instantly separates us from everything else. Additionally, we’re producing the event in October, which is the ideal time for new products to be revealed. Most shows don’t occur until the calendar year has already begun, which means the products being showcased have been on the market for some time. By hosting AIMExpo in October, we can provide the opportunity for companies to conduct world debuts in the United States. Did you feel like there was a void here in the States for something like this? The powersports industry definitely needed some energy and excitement injected back into it, and that’s what 166 www.racerxonline.com

we believe we have with AIMExpo. It’s no secret that when the economy took a hit, the industry was severely affected. However, we’ve seen recent signs of life and it looks like consumers are once again buying motorcycles and other powersports vehicles and products. The AIMExpo template has been something that [Trade Show Division president] Mike Webster and [Motorcycle Group vice president and general manager] Larry Little have been talking about for many years. It is inspired by the European “Supershows” like EICMA, where it has become a national event to showcase all the new products from the motorcycle industry. Mike and Larry knew there were some missing pieces to the puzzle in terms of the current slate of industry shows in North America, but they realized that the timing needed to be right to introduce AIMExpo. Now that the industry appears to be getting back to its feet, we believe now is the time to introduce a show in the spirit of what is done in Europe—a single event that includes all facets of the marketplace at the right time for the industry to debut the latest products. Dealers know what to expect coming to these things. What can fans and enthusiasts look forward to? The consumer is arguably the most important part of AIMExpo. Without enthusiasts buying vehicles and other powersports products, the marketplace has no chance to survive. Unfortunately, consumers in North America haven’t really had the chance to see what’s new in the powersports marketplace like they would at an auto show. The whole concept of a sneak peek or a preview hasn’t been made available to the enthusiast, so we’re excited to give them an experience unlike anything they’ve ever had before. We are expecting to present nearly 400 exhibitors inside Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center that will ultimately cover the interests of any enthusiast, whether it’s off-road or street, two wheels or four. We will host special product showcases that will allow exhibitors to highlight the very best of what the marketplace has to offer, and those products will come from all over the world, not just the U.S., which is an added bonus. We are also hosting the Powersports Business Institute at AIMExpo that will feature an expansive, in-depth curriculum designed for not only trade attendees but also consumers. The sessions will be led by respected industry presenters and will offer great insight and helpful tips on how to successfully navigate the powersports industry. Also, beyond hundreds of indoor exhibits, AIMExpo Outdoors will also be a major focal point because it will signify the first time a potential buyer can demo a new model before it even becomes available at the dealership. We know that this will be one of the most exciting elements of the show, and that was the intention.


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FFIVE I MINUTES WITH MIKE MASON: STYLISH SPEED BY JASON THOMAS

COURTESY ROCKSTAR

As changes to the X Games format have resulted in lots of added events, arenacross vet and freestyler Mike Mason has been racking up the gold medals this year. The new schedule provides a chance for athletes to pad their trophy cases and their

wallets and get their sponsors more all-important television time. We checked in with Mike after his latest gold medal, in Munich. Racer X: Mike, how has the format change been this year with so many more X Games events? How did that affect you with sponsors? I know the bonuses from X Games are a huge incentive. 168 www.racerxonline.com

Mike Mason: The change has been okay. I mean, X Games to me has always kind of been our Olympics, so I always liked that pressure of working real hard and only having one chance to make it happen. But in the same aspect, with doing good in Barcelona and Munich, I’ve liked checking my bank account again, so I guess it goes both ways. Bonus-wise, I’m fortunate enough to have some great companies behind me that realize the value of X Games, so they stepped in and offered bonuses for the overseas X Games even though it wasn’t a part of my original contract. So that’s been awesome. Now I catch myself at Guitar Center a lot, buying stupid stuff I don’t need. How do you set your bike up for freestyle setup versus an arenacross setup? What are some of the drawbacks of setting it up for each? My bikes are pretty similar suspension-wise for supercross and FMX. The main differences would be the cut seat, for one. I still like doing grab tricks in my Speed and Style runs, so I keep the chopped seat, which sucks for turning. I also have cut bars and a steering stabilizer, so the whole thing feels a little awkward, but you get used to it quick. Do you fully pre-plan your tricks each lap? I always wonder if your race and trick runs are all completely rehearsed before you take off or if you change the run based on how the race is going. I like to have my tricks memorized before my race. There’s already so much to think about when you’re out there—I don’t really want to make any added stress by trying to change something in the middle of the race. I usually like to start with my hard tricks first, in case I get massive arm pump in the race. I don’t want to be yanking for a flip and have a hand blow off, that’s for sure! Is trick difficulty or winning the race more important? Is the margin of victory really important for winning gold? My tricks are from 2005, so these days I’m strictly just out there to kick everyone’s ass on the track. A lot of these dudes haven’t raced much, so I kind of take pride and confidence in my racing skills and don’t want these dudes getting the best of me. I feel like I’d be letting Denny Stephenson or Buddy Antunez down if I got beat by a kid with his flip levers up who’s sitting down around the whole track. I know those dudes raised me better than that! As far as winning the event, all I can do is go as fast as I can and get those seconds on everyone. The rest is up to the judges. But I’m to the point now [where] even if someone beats me overall but I won the race, that’s good enough for me. I’d rather have the respect of people for being decent on the track than people respecting me for doing a flip trick that 776 other kids in FMX are doing.


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CHAOS AT CASTLE ROCK WORDS AND PHOTOS BY KIT ENGWALL

There’s a New Race in Town ot many people are familiar with the town of Castle Rock, Washington, though that may soon change. When Steve Corrie proposed the idea of building a track in Castle Rock last December, it gave Bruce Barnes another idea. The two contemplated putting on a big race during an off-weekend for the national circuit, and a team of Northwest motocross promoters including Justin Wharton, Corrie, and Barnes joined forces, decided on a date, and made Chaos at Castle Rock a reality. Barnes, a former racer, sustained a broken neck in September of 2012 and feels blessed to still be walking. No longer able to ride, he wanted to give back to the sport that had given him so much. His goal was to promote Northwest motocross, put on a show for the fans, and give the riders a chance to earn some big money. The motocross community worked together to make Chaos at Castle Rock possible, and it turned out to be a huge success, paying out $20,000 to riders for holeshots and race wins. Prizes and gifts were thrown out to the crowd that flocked in to check it out, and the consensus was that it was a rad event that riders and

N

Chris Howell (222) rockets out of the gate. 174

fans would love to see back next year. There has been talk of creating similar races to further support local riders and companies. When I showed up Saturday afternoon and caught my first glimpse of the track, I was immediately filled with excitement. Practice was underway and the action was about to be real. The heats were full of bar-banging excitement, and everyone was pinning it trying to make the main event for a chance at the cash. A few guys even said the layout reminded them of a mini Daytona, with fun jumps, a rough track, and tight corners. The races included a women’s pro moto, a minibike race, superminis, 50cc, and pros. BBR also brought out their trick 190cc race bike. Weston Peick came away with the big prize, while local favorite Tevin Tapia crossed the line second and Tyler Bereman rounded out the podium. The atmosphere of local races is always great, especially when there’s a dedicated beer garden, good food, cool trophies, vendors, the sweet smell of race gas, and sunny weather. I encourage motocross fans not to miss this race next year. It will be in mid-July, during what has been named Motoweek here in the Northwest.

Bruce, Steve, and Brian entertain the crowd.


Nate Teel lets her buck.

Bar banging in the beer garden.

And theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re off!

Justin Wharton and his custom T-shirt cannon.

Jared Steinke gives the fans what they want.

BBRâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Duane Brown wrenching on the 190cc race mini.

Mike Horban secured the main-event holeshot.

XR80 piloted by Duane Brown. Stylish!

Weston Peick took home the $3,500 and a sweet trophy. 175


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THE TEAMMATE When GEICO Hondaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Wil Hahn found himself with an expired engine during the sighting lap of the second moto at Southwick, he and several members of his team rushed back to the pits to try to get the bike running. Unfortunately, the starting gate dropped on the other thirty-nine riders and Hahn was listed as a DNS (did not start). But rather than stay back in the paddock, Wil went back out to the track and spent the rest of the moto cheering on his teammates, including eventual overall winner Eli Tomac.

176


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