TEN THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PHOENIX… PERHAPS NEED IS TOO STRONG A WORD

January 26, 2014
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These were the players in Phoenix: Justin Brayton (lower right), Matt Moss (102), Ken Roczen (94), Justin Barcia (51), Ryan Dungey (5), Ryan Villopoto (1), James Stewart (7) and Andrew Short (29).
Photo: KTM

By Jody Weisel

(1) Eli Tomac, who crashed last week into Jake Weimer, confirmed that he’s not coming back until his rotator cuff injury is 100 percent. That won’t be any time soon.

(2) AMA Pro Racing had better start looking for riders. They haven’t made it through two races yet and there were only 57 riders trying for one of the 40 spots in the 450 night program. Worse yet, there were only 47 riders in the 250 class. Numbers like these point to trouble ahead for the events that traditionally have difficulty getting riders to sign up.


On s slick track that was hard to pass on, Ryan Villopoto made it looked like a tacky four-lane freeway.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE 22 TO THE MAIN EVENTS, THEN THE AMA NEEDS TO ADVANCE 44 TO THE NIGHT PROGRAM (NOT 40).

(3) The 22-man main events are neither a success nor a failure, but if you are going to take 22 to the main events, then the AMA needs to advance 44 to the night program (not 40). That way there will be 22 riders in the heat races as well as the mains, and enough riders at night’s end to fill the Semi’s starting lines. As it is right now, more riders make the main event than miss out on it.

(4) The red flag rule isn’t all that complicated, but with the short 4-lap 250 West Last Chance race the crowd couldn’t possibly have made sense of rule that asks, “What is 90% of four laps?” Or, what constitutes a lap if you get back to the finish line on lap two as the red flag falls? Is that two laps? Or were you on your third lap? It makes a difference because if its two, you re-rack behind and the gate and if it’s three you go to the staggered start. The AMA translated the restart rules correctly at Phoenix, but it made a difference in some riders nights and maybe their careers.


Reed, Barcia, Tedesco and Roczen launch. Photo: KTM

AS MUCH AS THE FANS LIKE TO SAY THAT EVERY RIDER THAT SIGNS UP FOR A SUPERCROSS IS A HERO? THEY DON’T MEAN IT. IF YOU DON’T QUALIFY, YOU ARE LABELED A DONK BY GUYS WHO OWN TTR-125s AND LIVE IN THEIR MOTHER’S BASEMENTS

(5) As important as it is to qualify for the main events, it is even more important not to be one of the guys who doesn’t qualify. As much as the fans like to say that every rider that signs up for a Supercross is a hero ? they don’t mean it. If you don’t qualify, you are labeled a donk by guys who own TTR-125s and live in their mother’s basements (whether you crashed while leading the LCQ, rode injured or just got in a scrap that came out in someone else’s favor). So, who didn’t qualify in Phoenix? Josh Hill missed the 450 main by one spot, Canadian Cole Thompson missed it by two, Aussie Lawson Bopping missed it by 7, Les Smith missed it by 15 spots and Jimmy Albertson got last in the Last Chance via a Flying W.


Ken Roczen (94) most likely would have kept his red plate if he and Barcia hadn’t had an incident in the sweeper. Even so, Roczen got sixth and is only 3 points back from being in red again.

IF THERE WAS A CRASH IN THE 250 WEST, VALENTIN WAS IN IT, CAUSED IT OR WAS A VICTIM OF IT. HE KEPT GETTING UP, BUT HE KEPT GETTING KNOCKED DOWN AGAIN.

(6) French rider Valentin Teillet deserves credit for pulling out of the Grand Prix series and moving to the USA. It is said that his Bud Racing team could afford to move to the USA and race for less money than it would have cost to race the GPs (what with the GP’s international travel, ridiculous Youthstream entry fees and other costs). Plus, Bud Racing gets an American presence and more publicity than they would be getting in Europe at this time of year. Last week Teillet made the 250 main in his first Supercross effort. This week he made the crash reels. If there was a crash in the 250 West, Valentin was in it, caused it or was a victim of it. He kept getting up, but he kept getting knocked down again. That is part of the Supercross learning curve.


Ryan Dungey is a man with a plan. You may not like his plan, but you aren’t second in the 450 Supercross standings. Photo: KTM

HIS PLAN IS TO MAKE THE PODIUM EVERY WEEK AND WAIT FOR DISASTER TO BEFALL HIS COMPETITORS. AND, HIS TORTOISE AND THE HARE APPROACH HAS WORKED FOR HIM BEFORE.

(7) Ryan Dungey is only one point behind Ryan Villopoto in the 450 points standings. He achieved that by following riders around at both A-One and Phoenix and we mean following riders that he never had trouble passing before. At Anaheim he followed Josh Grant for an eternity, then at Phoenix he couldn’t make a move on Justin Brayton. It’s true that Grant and Brayton are tough to pass at times, but Stewie had no trouble blowing by both Dungey and Grant at A1 and Villopoto blew through Dungey and Brayton at Phoenix. It’s not worth harping on, because Dungey’s cautious approach is working. His plan is to make the podium every week and wait for disaster to befall his competitors. And, his tortoise and the hare approach has worked for him before.

BRETT HOTTEL IS THE NEWEST MEMBER OF THE “MILESTONE KILLED MY YEAR CLUB” WHEN HE BROKE HIS FEMUR PRACTICING THIS WEEK (THE ONLY CLUB BIGGER THAN THAT IS THE “SOMEONE STOLE MY STUFF AT MILESTONE CLUB”).

(8) The injury lists keeps on growing. Brett Hottel is the newest member of the “Milestone Killed My Year Club” when he broke his femur practicing this week (the only club bigger than that is the “Someone Stole My Stuff At Milestone Club”). Zach Bell broke his collarbone (a lot of people lost money in the Zach Bell crash pool because he made it through Anaheim 1), while Josh Grant rung his bell and hurt his shoulder in practice at Phoenix.

Here is the list
 Trey Canard……………Broken arm
 Davi Millsaps…………..Knee injury
 Joey Savatgy…………..Broken wrist,collapsed lung
 Justin Bogle…………….Broken vertebra
 Austin Howell………….Broken thumb, collapsed lung
 Marvin Musquin……….Knee injury (ACL)
 Casey Hinson………….Broken hand, facial fractures
 Blake Baggett………….Broken foot
 Broc Schmelyun………Broken legs
 Ben Lamay……………..Dislocated wrist, broken jaw
 Austin Politelli………….Broken femur
 Eli Tomac………………..Rotator cuff
 Brett Hottel………………Broken femur
 Josh Grant………………Possible concussion, shoulder injury
 Zach Bell…………………Broken collarbone


Dean Ferris (111) not only made the top ten in Phoenix, but he moved into the top ten in 250 West points.
Photo: KTM

(9) The Aussies are here in force. The old Aussies, Reed, Metcalfe and Byrne are falling by the wayside, but there is new Oz talent in the blocks. 31-year-old Chad Reed has been joined by Matt Moss, Lawson Bopping and Dean Ferris. Bopping was the only rider not to make a main with Reed 9th and Moss 11th in the 450 class and Ferris 7th in the 250 West. For Ferris it was his first-ever Supercross top ten…in only his second attempt. Lawson Bopping had his moments in the 450 Semi, but was relegated to the LCQ, where he ended up 11th.


Stewies mechanics used chain lube, contact cleaner and Lysol on his bike this weekend.

(10) Stewie had issues. First, he had a big practice get-off that looked like a replay of one of his Daytona endos. Second, he had the flu. He may not have had his legendary speed in Phoenix, but the speed he had was good enough for fourth overall. Sadly, when you add his A-One and Phoenix results together, he’s ninth in points and 21 points behind Ryan Villopoto already. Not insurmountable by any means

PHOENIX RESULTS: 450 CLASS
1. Ryan Villopoto (Kaw)
2. Justin Brayton (Yam)
3. Ryan Dungey (KTM)
4. James Stewart (Suz)
5. Justin Barcia (Hon)
6. Ken Roczen (KTM)
7. Andrew Short (KTM)
8. Broc Tickle (Suz)
9. Chad Reed (Kaw)
10. Wil Hahn (Hon)

PHOENIX RESULTS: 250 WEST CLASS
1. Jason Anderson (KTM)
2. Cole Seely (Hon)
3. Zach Osborne (Hon)
4. Dean Wilson (Kaw)
5. Malcolm Stewart (Hon)
6. Cooper Webb (Yam)
7. Dean Ferris (KTM)
8. Justin Hill (Kaw)
9. Jessy Nelson (Hon)
10. Cole Martinez (Kaw)

CURRENT AMA 450 POINTS
(After 2 of 17 rounds)
1. Ryan Villopoto……43
2. Ryan Dungey……..42
3. Ken Roczen……….40
4. Justin Barcia……….37
5. Chad Reed…………32
6. Justin Brayton……..32
7. Andrew Short……..26
8. Broc Tickle………….26
9. James Stewart…….22
10. Wil Hahn……………21

CURRENT 250 WEST POINTS
(After 2 of 8 rounds)
1. Jason Anderson…..50
2. Cole Seely…………..44
3. Zach Osborne………40
4. Dean Wilson………..36
5. Cooper Webb………31
6. Malcolm Stewart…..29
7. Justin Hill……………..28
8. Jessy Nelson……….24
9. Darryn Durham……..21
10. Dean Ferris………..21

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