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MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (5/1/13)

May 1, 2013
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LAS VEGAS SUPERCROSS SCHEDULE

2014 TROY LEE DESIGNS GP AIR VIDEO

COMPETING MINDS: WEIGHING IN ON THE LATEST FROM THE SUPERCROSS RING
By Daryl Ecklund and John Basher


Ken Roczen. Photo: Red Bull KTM

On Ken Roczen:
    “Ken is an elite athlete. However, pulling off halfway through the heat race is not going to save any energy. I’m pretty sure if he kept pushing through, he would have qualified straight from the heat, or at least passed a few guys to give him a better starting position for the short start in the LCQ. Then maybe he would have avoided the first turn carnage. It’s obvious that Ken couldn’t handle the pressure. Luckily for him, Eli Tomac, couldn’t either.”?Daryl Ecklund

    “I’m going to go ahead and agree with Daryl. Never give up in a heat race. How many times have we seen a group of guys go down in the last corner while fighting for the final transfer position, only for the rider in 11th place to make the main? I would have figured that Ken Roczen, a World Champion and established rider, wouldn’t have rolled over in the heat race and waited until the LCQ to try and put ‘er into the show. I can’t imagine the conversation that Roger DeCoster had with Roczen after all was said and done. Riders don’t win championships by giving up.”?John Basher


Eli Tomac. Photo: Geico Honda

On Eli Tomac:
    “Eli is the defending champion in the 250 West. He was handed the chance to make up valuable points on Roczen, only instead of capitalizing on it he fell apart. At the beginning of the season Eli looked unstoppable, but now it seems like he can’t handle the pressure. I bet if he stops putting so much pressure on himself he’ll have a really good shot at still defending his title.”?Daryl Ecklund

    “That was the worst ride I’ve seen from Eli in a very long time. Eli is a winner, so to see him buckle under the pressure and flounder was a shocker. I thought that Tomac would win in Salt Lake City and head into Las Vegas with a five-point lead and all the confidence in the world. Strangely, I believe that Roczen has more confidence going into the final round. Why? Kenny had a ton of speed, and had it not been for a bad decision in the heat race and a crash in the LCQ it would be a different story. Tomac showed that the pressure got to him, while Roczen showed that quitting won’t give you the title. With a five point advantage, I believe that Ken will seal his first U.S. title on Saturday night.”?John Basher


Ryan Villopoto. Photo: Kawasaki

On Ryan Villopoto:
    “RV is a stud. I gained a lot of respect for him after this past weekend. After watching Tomac and Roczen fall apart, it was inspiring to see Villopoto keep calm and composed. He took charge of the race from the very onset and pushed past Ryan Dungey right away. Even though Dungey and Davi Millsaps kept the pressure on, RV never wavered. He took the race win, and the championship, in one fell swoop. I imagine that Villopoto will continue his assertiveness outdoors. It’s going to be a great summer!”?Daryl Ecklund

    “Villopoto did in Salt Lake City what he’s been doing for the past few years. He put himself in the position to win right away, applied pressure, surged forward, put in lightning fast clean laps, and bolted away with the win. The only difference was that Millsaps and Dungey kept him honest this time. However, it was too little, too late.
    It was plain as day that after the halfway point in the season the title was Villopoto’s to lose. Although exciting that Millsaps held on to the red plate for so long, in the end RV was in the driver’s seat. And in winning his third straight 450 Supercross title Villopoto joins an elite group. It’s not hard to imagine Ryan winning again next year. He’s simply that good.”?John Basher

Thoughts on Las Vegas:
    “Villopoto is still gunning for the win even though he has the title in the bag. As for the 250 class, both the East and West title fights are going to have great racing. Marvin Musquin will be looking to capitalize on a mistake from points leader Wil Hahn; that is, if he makes one. My money is on Roczen to win the 250 West, but it’s too close to call in the 250 East.”?Daryl Ecklund

    “Anyone that thinks Villopoto is going to cruise around doesn’t understand Ryan’s chemical makeup. The guy loves to win (and the monetary reward that goes with winning Vegas). As for the battle for second between Millsaps and Dungey, it could be a mathematician’s dream. Dungey trails Millsaps by three points. If Ryan wins and Davi finishes second then Ryan finishes second overall in the point standings (even though they tie, the nod goes to RD, who would have three main event wins to Davi’s two). If, for some weird reason, Dungey finishes fourth (18 points) and Millsaps finishes sixth (15 points), the two would tie on points. However, the nod would go to Davi, since he has more second place finishes (five) than Ryan (three). In the AMA rulebook, under section 4.24, article e., “In the event of a tie for the championship, the winner will be determined based on the number of Main Event wins.” In article f., “Should a tie still remain, finishes of second, third, etc, will be tallied until a tie is broken.” So there you have it.
    As for the 250 East and West, I’m not going to comment on who I think will come out on top. It’s too close to call. That’s the magic of this weekend. No one knows what will happen. I will say that either a Honda or a KTM rider will win the title, since every other manufacturer is out of the running.”?John Basher

MINI-VIEW: LESIE CORUM
We talk with the promotor of I-40 MX in Lenoir City, Tennessee


MXA: Leslie, please tell us a little bit about the track.
Leslie: The track has been built and operating since 1981. It is approximately one mile in length with many interesting elements with step-on-step-offs and rhythm sections. It was operated from 1989 through 2012 by Jill Varnell and was purchased in late 2012 by motorsports mogul Doug Sopha. Sopha hired Chris Corum and myself?we have managed several auto racing facilities for him throughout the years?to promote and manage I-40 Motocross.

What are some of the future goals of the I-40 track?
The immediate goal is to return the track to it’s heyday of the late 1990’s through focused attention and promotions. We want to make it a safe and challenging facility for Pros and amateurs alike.

Where is the track located?
The track is located in Lenoir City, Tennessee, off Interstate 40. It’s just minutes away from Knoxville in the valley of the Great Smoky Mountains. The track is off Highway 321, which is the best route to the tourist towns of Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge. We are also just minutes from “The Dragon”, the world famous bike route on Highway 129.
 
Dirt Wurx rebuilt the track. What kind of changes did they make?
Kory Christensen from Dirt Wurx really enhanced the track layout with a wall jump, a rhythm section on the grandstand straightaway, along with a couple of Supercross-style corners. The changes made the track really fun and exciting. It forms nice deep ruts under the lights for our Saturday nights races.
 

How do you feel about the impact of an AMA outdoor National coming to Tennessee?
I know Sam Gammon from Victory Sports has tried to get a National event in the area for years. It’s great to see one finally on the schedule! I believe it will give credibility to the area, which is great because there are a lot of talented riders here that have a lot of enthusiasm for the sport.

How can people find out more about your track?
Please visit www.i40motocross.com. Thanks for giving us a place to talk about our great track!

X GAMES TO MOVE DESTINATIONS IN 2014 AND BEYOND
ESPN reveals final cities in consideration as X Games site?Los Angeles isn’t one of them

 
    ESPN, the leading action sports content provider and creator of the X Games, has chosen four North American cities ? Austin, Texas; Chicago; Detroit; and Charlotte, N.C. ? as final candidates to host a summer version of the X Games for a period of three years beginning in 2014.
    In October, 2012, ESPN announced that an RFP (Request for Proposal) process had begun to identify interested cities from North America as the existing agreement between Los Angeles partner AEG concludes in 2013.  In January, ESPN announced the nine qualified bid cities.  From January until April, ESPN engaged in discussions with the various cities as they assembled their proposals.  All official proposals from cities interested in hosting an X Games were due on April 2.
    “The X Games have grown significantly and has been enjoyed by millions of fans over the past 10 years in Los Angeles,” said Scott Guglielmino, senior vice president, programming and X Games.  “Our partners AEG and the city of Los Angeles have been instrumental in our success.   As we embark on a year of significant global expansion and transformation for X Games in 2013, we are excited about the potential each of these cities bring, and look forward to identifying our next host city for the X Games.”
    ESPN will announce the new host city later this summer.  Proposals from qualified cities in North America to host the winter version of the X Games are due in June.
    In May of 2012, ESPN announced it would be expanding the X Games to Foz do Igua‡u, Brazil; Munich, Germany and Barcelona, Spain ? joining X Games Los Angeles and Aspen to form a six-event schedule in 2013.

L.A. SLEEVE TWO-STROKE REBUILD KITS

MOST CREATIVE PRESS RELEASE TITLE OF THE WEEK:
    “Roczen Takes Title Chase to Las Vegas”?From the Red Bull KTM race team

MINI-VIEW: JOSH HILL

You had an solid day of racing in Salt Lake City, which started out with a good heat race.
Josh: The heat race was good. I came into the first turn in first and just pushed out wide a bit and got bumped by (Davi) Millsaps and (Ryan) Villopoto. I really tried to stay focused and stay on their back tire. It was fun. I was right up there on Villopoto and within striking range for a while. I made a slight mistake in the rhythm section that cost me a bit and just held on to third for a solid heat race.

Please talk about the main event.
It was pretty good. I got a decent start in the main and made a few quick passes to gain some spots. I got up into the top 10 early and that helped. The race start was so hard if you were starting outside of the first few gates because it was such a short straightaway and tight left-hand turn. Guys would just bang each other and everyone with the first eight gate picks chose the inside. It was a battle. I got a great jump, just didn’t get all the way around the first turn.

What happened after the start?
After lap 8, I got up to seventh and really tried to put a charge on (Justin) Brayton. I made two mistakes when my hands blew off the bars but recovered. I was able to settle into a really solid pace to score seventh.

You looked really comfortable on the Suzuki. Do you wish that the Supercross series was longer?
Yeah. I keep getting better and better every race. I wish the series would go on another seven weeks because I’m riding as well as I have been all season. I really think that if we had a few more weeks in the season that I’d be where I think I should be ? chasing podiums and race wins. Unfortunately, there’s only one more race left in the SX season. We’ll head to Las Vegas next weekend and race as hard as we can to try and score the best result that we can.

WPS/PIRELLI DEALER RIDE DAY VIDEO

LET THE CONGRATULATING BEGIN!

FROM THOR:
 
    Thor’s Ryan Villopoto elevated himself to Monster Energy Supercross greatness on Saturday night following one of the most intense races of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fans at the Rice-Eccles Stadium witnessed Villopoto hold off his biggest competition to clinch the 2013 Monster Energy Supercross, an FIM Championship one round early, placing him in supercross history books. In clinching his third-consecutive championship, Villopoto became only one of four riders to accomplish the feat, including the likes of Ricky Carmichael, Jeremy McGrath, and Bob Hannah.
    Entering the race, Villopoto’s main goal was to get out of Round 16 safe and with the points lead heading into the finale in Las Vegas. He did more than that as he quickly took over the lead at the second turn of the main event and held off attacks from rivals Davi Millsaps and Ryan Dungey to capture his ninth win of the season, a total that is a season and career best, and clinch his third championship.
    “Every lap of that race was intense. I knew for those guys (Dungey and Millsaps) it was all or nothing when I was out front and I had to be smart. At the beginning of the season, we had a bit of a deficit to make up, and we had to chip away as the season went on. I have a great support system behind me, with Thor being a big part of my program, and we never wanted to seem defeated but go at it one race at a time, hoping things would turn around and it did. I am so grateful to have Thor on my side as a great sponsor and happy I was able to bring them another championship.” – Ryan Villopoto, Three-Time Supercross Champion

FROM MATRIX CONCEPTS:

    Matrix Concepts rider Ryan Villopoto from Monster Energy Kawasaki takes his third consecutive 450 SX Championship with the win this past Saturday night in SLC. Villopoto took the lead on lap one and rode flawlessly, yet challenged all the way to the checkered flag by Matrix Concepts rider Rockstar Suzuki’s Davi Millsaps. Matrix riders took 18 out of the top 20 spots!
    The Kawasaki team, celebrates RV’s third championship after the race. This Championship puts RV – 3 in some pretty exclusive company, with only 3 other Matrix Concepts legends Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael that have accomplished 3 peats.
    Matrix Concepts riders take top 2 podium spots with Rockstar Suzuki’s Jason Anderson taking his first career 250 SX win and Cole Seely from TLD Honda taking 2nd.
    Visit Matrix Concepts at www.MatrixRacingProducts.com and see why 30 of the top teams in Super-cross use and depend on Matrix Concepts garage and Track necessities. Matrix Concepts is still accepting 2013 rider resumes at www.hookit.com/matrix.

FROM GOPRO:

    GoPro, maker of the world’s most versatile cameras and producer of some of today’s most engaging content, would like to congratulate Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto on winning the 2013 AMA Supercross Championship, his third in as many years.
    After a slow start at Anaheim I where he salvaged a dismal 16th place finish, Villopoto soon rediscovered the synergy with his KX450F and found his stride. After chipping away at GoPro athlete Davi Millsaps’ lead in the series, RV eventually claimed the red number plate and the overall points lead. Clinching win after win, Villopoto sealed the championship one round early in Salt Lake City with his ninth win of the series.
    Villopoto adds his name to an elite list of racers to win three championships, including Bob Hannah, Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Stanton, and Jeremy McGrath. He also joins an even shorter list of racers to win three straight.
    With the GoPro HERO3 camera mounted to his helmet all season, Villopoto captured every moment of his storied season with the most unique perspective possible. Relive each race from RV2’s point-of-view on the GoPro Network, viewable at GoPro.com, the GoPro YouTube Channel and the GoPro Facebook page.
    From everyone here at GoPro, congratulations, Ryan, on a historical Supercross season!

FROM ATLAS:

    Atlas Brace Technologies LLC would like to congratulate Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto for clinching his third consecutive 450 SX Championship. With the win this past Saturday night in SLC, Ryan carved his name into the record books as only the 4th person in history to win 3 consecutive SX Championships!
    After a very rough start at the season opener in Anaheim, Ryan battled his way through the season fighting to make up a very large points deficit. By round 6, Ryan had slipped to 27 points down from the points leader, but like a true champion he never gave up. From round 6 on, Ryan racked up win after win and finally managed to climb into the points lead. Last weekend in SLC, Ryan crossed the finish line securing his 9th victory of season and his 3rd consecutive Championship.
    The entire team at Atlas would like to congratulate Ryan, his team, and fellow sponsors on this great achievement. We are very proud to be part of Ryan’s program and could not be more proud to call him an Atlas Athlete!

FROM DUNLOP:

Dunlop congratulates Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto for wrapping up his third consecutive Monster Energy AMA Supercross title in Salt Lake City. By winning the premier Supercross class for a third consecutive time, Villopoto added his name to the record book as one of the most successful riders in the sport’s 40 year history. Only three other riders including Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael ever achieved three back-to-back Supercross championships.
 
Dunlop-sponsored Villopoto had to fight his way to the top this season. After a few tough races in the beginning of the series where he failed to perform as expected, Villopoto bounced back and won four rounds before taking over the points lead with another victory in Daytona. From there he went on a tear, winning the next three consecutive weekends in Indianapolis, Toronto and Houston. Heading into Salt Lake City, Villopoto had a 25-point lead over second. After a hard fought battle in the main event, he won for the ninth time this season, wrapping up the 2013 title.

 


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