PHOTO OF THE WEEK
The "KIngs" retro steed for A2
MXA TESTS THE WATERS OF ICE RACING
By Daryl Ecklund
For a guy used to the warmth of the California sunshine you can say I was a bit skeptical about racing on a giant ice cube. Not that I didn’t jump at the opportunity when Yamaha's Tim Olson asked if John Basher and I wanted to do some ice racing in Wisconsin. I had no clue what I was getting into. I have a lot of questions, but over the course of the weekend they would all be answered. Here are my questions and the answers.
The MXA team. From left John Basher, Daryl Ecklund, and TIm Olson
Before: If I ride on the ice won’t I break the ice, fall in, get hypothermia and quite possibly die?
After: Was this a serious question? For me it was serious as a heart attack! As our semi-ex[erience teammate (and former MXA test rider) Tim Olson drive onto the frozen lake in an SUV my blood pressure started to rise and the negative thoughts started to kick in. Even after we drove onto the lake I was still skeptical. I inspected the cracks in the ice, jumped up and down on what I thought were weak spots and was trying to figure out how thick the ice needed to be in order for us not to break it. The locals informed me that 12 inches was the minimum, but the ice was about 20 inch thick where we were in Wisconsin. I got all worked up over nothing.
Before: How is it possible to get traction on a frozen lake?
After: After seeing how far I could slide on my feet on this giant ice cube, I wondered how in the world was I going to stay on two wheels. I knew the tires were studded, but how much could that help? With my first twist of the throttle the front end lifted. The one-off tires were remarkable with the amount of traction they produced. In a straight line I would say the amount of traction with the studded tires resembled being on asphalt. It was a challenge to break the wheels loose. When you cornered the front tire stucs like glue, but the rear tire,with a little body English, could drift around with no issues. After I got comfortable drifting ,it was one of the coolest feelings I have ever experienced!
There were 670 screws on this tire that made all the difference in the world.
Before: What should I wear to stay warm in the below freezing temperatures?
After: Layer it up! Personally I wore riding socks, thermal pants, riding pants, two sets of undies, a balaclava (covers up head and face), two thermal long sleeve shirts, riding jersey, riding jacket, cold weather gloves, heat pads in my insoles (to keep my toes warm) and snowboarding goggles with a nose shield.
Before: Will it be like riding a motocross track?
After: The course was six miles with over 100 corners and I stood up only once. I couldn’t believe it. The track developed breaking bumps and ruts in the corners comparable the a moto track. A lot of my motocross skills did transfer over as the Yamaha YZ450F we rode was just about stock. We learned to stay away from the rear brake as it would break the rear out very easily. The hard part was learning how far was too far when leaning into the corners. We all started out very hesitant, but the more we rode, the more we forgot we were on ice and the braver we got.
Daryl learning the ropes.
Before: Does it hurt when you crash?
After: Not as bad as I thought. You can say I got a little over confident. While we only had a short time to practice, we had to process a huge learning curve in a short amount of time. I wanted to test my limits, but not by skipping my body on the ice into the snow bank as I did. As the back end came around I thought I was golden, but as soon as went too far, it’s far too to late to save it. It happened so fast I was in shock. I jumped up, yelled "sorry" to the crew, then checked over my body to make sure I was in one piece. I came away with a bruised elbow from the initial hit to the ice. No biggie.
It was a white out for Daryl as he slide at mach speed.
All I can say after the race was said and done it was one of the most fun experiences I have had on a dirt bike. If I could change one thing it would be warmer weather, but then I guess my fear up breaking through the ice might just come true.
Jumping for joy!
COOL TIME LAPSE OF A2
DID YOU MISS THE RACE THIS WEEKEND?
ANAHEIM 2 450 MAIN EVENT
ANAHEIM 2 250 MAIN EVENT
MINI-VIEW: COOPER WEBB
After a couple of strong rides at the first two rounds, Webb grabbed his second main-event holeshot in a row at Anaheim 2 on his way to his first podium finish. We caught up with Webb to get his take on the weekend, his starts, his first podium, and his 2014 Yamaha YZ250F.
MXA: You grabbed a podium finish tonight, which isn’t bad considering it’s your third professional Supercross race.
No, it was unreal! I got another holeshot and rode behind Cole Seely for, I think, nine laps, then Jason Anderson got me. I was just trying to stay with those guys. But I kind of got nervous with about five laps to go and I was like, “Man, I just want to stay up and get this podium.” So, I just kind of settled and ended up getting it. And it’s awesome. My third-ever race, to be on the podium, I think, is pretty incredible.
Well, at the last race in Phoenix, you were in a podium spot and you got knocked off the track by Anderson, into the sand, and then you got a little impatient trying to get by Shane McElrath and you both went down. Is that part of what was going through your mind? Were you trying keep it calm?
Yeah, for sure. I think last weekend I was just very impatient, so this weekend I wanted to improve on that. I got another good start and just was trying to pace Seely and stay right there; tried not to get too excited. But, that was definitely running through my head, “Don’t make any mistakes. Don’t make any mistakes.” I think now that I got the podium I can really look forward and just worry about riding and doing my own laps; try to be in the category with the front runners.
And in qualifying today you were right in there with them most of the day.
The second qualifier, I qualified fourth, and my last lap I got sketchy and jumped off the track. I just about crashed, actually. I just tried to save it, but I got docked my fastest lap because they [the AMA] said I rushed back onto the track too fast. I went from fourth-fastest to, I think, seventh. That’s still not too bad, but I haven’t been on the board all year in qualifying, so it was kind of like, “All right, sweet!” And then they took it away!
Talk about the starts you’ve been getting, too. It’s obvious you’re bike’s not short on horsepower.
For sure! We worked a lot with Yamaha and the GET system. And this year’s bike, I can’t say it enough; it’s really unbelievable. And for us at Star Racing to start from scratch, with a stock YZ250F, and pretty much have me develop it to be the best it can for me, that’s cool. I went from never pulling a holeshot to now pulling two in a row, and even a heat race last week. So, I don’t know if it’s me or the bike, but I’m loving it.
Well, they say that the biggest key to getting starts is believing you belong up front.
Yeah, once I got the one in the heat, I knew I could do it. But you’ve got to have the bike, too.
We’re three races into your professional Supercross career, and you just got your first podium finish. There are three races left before the Western Regional SX Series goes on hiatus. What are your goals for these races coming up?
Just try to build from here. Obviously, if I can stay on the podium, that would be unreal, but I think for me, I feel like I’ve gotten better every weekend. I just want to keep progressing from there. I just can’t settle. Like I said, I’ve got a podium now, so I can knock that off and really focus on maybe by the end of the series, trying to get a win. I’m not sure where the points are now, but I’m in there. I just want to try to build, stay consistent, and be there in the end of each race.
MXA CATCHES UP WITH JESSEY NELSON SPINNING SOME LAPS
MINI-VIEW: KEN ROCZEN
Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen made a big statement by winning the opening round of Supercross in Anaheim. Now, two weeks later, he finished on the podium again (a run-in with Justin Barcia in Phoenix ended his chance of getting on the box). Kenny's third place finish on Saturday night at Anaheim 2 earned him the points lead and coveted red plate. We caught up with the 19-year-old German after the race.
By Jim Kimball
MXA: Kenny, let's hear about your podium at Anaheim 2.
I had a decent start, not the best, but not too bad. I’m actually not too happy about my riding. I thought that it could have been a little bit better. But it was good to be up in the mix and on the podium again. Like I said, I didn’t feel that I wasn’t entirely riding at my best, but it was still awesome to be up in the mix. I shouldn’t complain too much.
You had a great battle with Ryan Villopoto.
Yeah, that was a good battle, and it got a little close at times. I was just trying to do my best. It was exciting and all good. There was no dirty riding. There were a lot of battles going on in the main, and I was just glad to be a part of it.
You bounced back pretty well from last weekend.
That’s true, but last weekend I was pretty sick from Thursday before the race through the weekend. So I wasn’t really at 100 percent, but I’m doing better now. It’s just all about putting the work in, minimizing problems and being consistent.
Did you like the retro track at Anaheim 2?
The track was actually pretty tricky. It was pretty hard packed and slippery at times. You could definitely tell by the layout that they tried to make it retro styled. It definitely made for some exciting racing. I liked the way that they changed it, because I felt that some of the tracks have been too similar, like they have the same layout. But yeah, this was a cool track. Since this is the second time that we were here, I feel like this track dried out quicker than normal. You could see rocks coming out and that it became harder packed.
There were a lot of guys up front going down around you. Did that make you race any differently?
That’s where you want to be if you want to win championships. It was great to be up there so quickly in the season. Who knows, maybe by the end I can be right in the championship hunt. You have to be very smart in these conditions. As you said, there were a lot of guys going down. I’m in a great position right now and hope to be able to take advantage of it every weekend.
MXA FITNESS TIP OF THE WEEK
H2O is the way to go
An easy and affective way to shed unnecessary pounds is water consumption. If you are above ground you must consume some amount of water. The question is how much. The majority does not drink enough for the human body to shed the excess water that is stored. You have to realize that your body is very efficient. If you only drink a small amount of water per day your body will store every drop it consumes. While on the other hand, if you drink a gallon a day your body knows that it will be properly hydrated so there is no need to store an excess. Excess water equal extra weight. Drink more water loss some weight. Simple as that.
MINI-VIEW: JASON ANDERSON
Talking with Jason Anderson late last year, we knew that he would be a championship contender in Supercross. Now with KTM supporting the Rockstar team, Anderson has another weapon to help him reach his goal of the 250 West title. We were able to catch up with the 20-year-old in the pits at Anaheim 2.
By Jim Kimball
MXA: Jason, what a great start to 2014.
Jason: Yeah, this has been exactly how I wanted to start the season–to be a contender. I’ve been feeling good so far. I’ve been working towards this the past few years, and now in 2014 I am here doing it.
Obviously there has been a significant change as you went from Suzuki, with no factory support, to KTM, with factory support. How has this transition been?
It’s been great. Just being able to have all the resources at arm’s reach has been good. It’s definitely been helpful having KTM come aboard, not just for the bikes themselves, but because the overall support has been tremendous.
And you raced KTM’s in your amateur days, right?
Yes, so the bike feels a little similar. It’s just taken a little bit to get used to the steel frame. Other than that it is super similar. I’m very happy to be back on a KTM!
This year you are working with Jeff Ward. How is he helping you?
Jeff is really an extra set of eyes. He also helps motivate me with training and everything. He’s a legend who has been there and done that. He’s won championships, so he knows what it takes to win. He’s been relaying all his experiences about how he won so many races and championships. There have been so many little things that he has said that have really helped me out.
Have you made any other significant changes from last year to this year?
No, not really. My training is basically the same as it was last year. It’s just that now it's all coming together. It’s a process that takes time, and definitely something that we have been working on. I am very happy with where I am at and how I have been doing.
Talk for a minute about the first two rounds, where you passed Cole Seely on the last lap.
Yeah, I don’t really plan that! It’s just happened that way. I would really like to get the holeshot, pull away, and lead the entire race. That’s my goal. Seely is an excellent racer, and every time that you race with him it’s going to be tough. It’s hard to pull away from him.
Speaking of Cole Seely, it appears that you two are a bit faster than the rest of the field.
Well, I think that Cole and I have gotten pretty good starts so far, and that has helped us a lot. But the rest of the guys are going to be up there. Dean Wilson, Zach Osborne, and Cooper Webb are going to be up there. All those guys are riding well. But I believe that Seely and myself both really want this championship, and we’ve been working for it for a while.
After a few rounds in do you take each race as its own battle or strategize more?
Going into the races I don’t want to feel like I have to win. I go in with an open mind, focus on getting a good start, and getting maximum points. I take each race as its own and don’t dwell on winning. Whether its' getting one win or six wins, I just want to be the one that gets the number one plate at the end of the season.