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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
VIDEO: BREAKING DOWN THE 2015 SUZUKI RM-Z450
GLEN HELEN WARM UP OUT-TAKES
WHO’S GOING TO WIN THE OPENER?
I was going to get all fancy and break the probability of each racer winning down by fractions, but it would be too confusing. So instead I’ll use better judgement and explain who I thought looked exceptional in the past two weeks in Glen Helen practice sessions.
James Stewart – With Ryan Villopoto out the title chase is wide open. Who is habitually the fastest racer on the track? James Stewart. He looked smooth and confident during outdoor testing. Bubba knows that he can beat anyone else on the gate, and in the past he has finished well at Glen Helen. I choose Stewart for the win.
Ryan Dungey – Mr. Consistent probably put in the most laps these past weeks at Glen Helen. He’s a locomotive. Although Dungey’s sprint speed wasn’t dazzling, he looks capable of reeling anyone in–James Stewart included–as the motos wear on. He will need top five starts in both motos to win.
Justin Barcia – There’s something different about Barcia since the Supercross series ended. That fire is back, as is the confidence. Justin wasn’t afraid to mix it up with anyone during the testing sessions, which means that the “Bam Bam” of yore might be back. He has easily been the most exciting rider to watch in the lead up to this weekend’s opener.
Ken Roczen – Let’s hope that the two weekends off allowed Kenny enough time to recharge his batteries from a grueling Supercross schedule. Roczen seemed determined at the Pro Day, but he seemed a bit smoked by the baking SoCal sun. The weather forecast calls for sun and a high of around 90 degrees. I hope that doesn’t cook the 450 rookie, because he can win.
Trey Canard – The other Muscle Milk Honda racer, Canard was very solid while slicing his way around Glen Helen. Maybe it’s too much to ask for Canard to go 1-1 this weekend, but I’m not going to doubt the guy. Maybe it’s because he’s a heck of a nice guy. Or, maybe it’s because he’s a legitimate threat.
Christophe Pourcel – People will think I’m crazy for picking Pourcel for the win. The moody Frenchman hasn’t raced in the U.S. since 2011, when he quit the 450 Nationals and didn’t honor his contract. Now he’s back in the 250 class, racing on the Yamaha-backed Valli Motorsports team. Truth be told, when I watched him coast around Glen Helen two weeks ago I joked about being faster than Christophe. He didn’t put in a fast lap for a very long time. Then, just like that, he cracked the throttle and blew the doors off everyone. It was amazing. Having said that, if Pourcel’s mood is right on Saturday and he’s ready to roll, then the 250 class had better watch out.
Dean Wilson – Mitch Payton’s Pro Circuit team was shutout from winning a Supercross title this year. That doesn’t sit well with the winningest 250 team owner in history. Naturally Mitch expects the world of his riders, as he should. Dean Wilson looks good enough to deliver the goods in the 250 Nationals. Wilson has the swagger and he knows what it takes to win the title a second time.
Blake Baggett – Blake needs to win the Glen Helen opener for himself. The 2012 champ has dealt with injuries ever since winning the title. He’s more than capable of winning, given that Glen Helen is in his backyard.
There are others, such as Jason Anderson, Marvin Musquin, Jeremy Martin, Cooper Webb, Justin Bogle, Cole Seely, Zach Osborne and Justin Hill, that make up a tremendously stacked class. Will one of those racers step up to the challenge? How will Anderson and Bogle respond after winning titles indoors? Time will tell, and you won’t have to wait long for the answer.
MXA‘S 2014 85CC SHOOTOUT VIDEO
We pick a winner out of the group and tell you why
JGR TEAM LINEUP FOR GLEN HELEN
The 12-round 2014 Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship begins this Saturday, May 24 at Glen Helen Raceway in San Bernardino, Calif. Justin Brayton continues to recover from a knee injury sustained during practice at the Houston stop of the supercross tour, and will miss the first few rounds of the series. Yesterday was the first time Brayton has ridden since the injury.
Josh Grant and Phil Nicoletti have been testing and preparing their Yamaha YZ450Fs and they will both be on the gate at Glen Helen.
THE KURT CASELLI FOUNDATION FUNDRAISER AT DOFFO WINERY ON MAY 31ST
Temecula, CA – The Kurt Caselli Foundation is proud to announce that a fundraiser with all proceeds going toward the foundation will be held at Doffo Winery in Temecula, CA on May 31, 2014 from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Entry to the event is $10.00 per person. An auction will be held during the day on items from Kurt’s past as well as motorcycle-related items donated from sponsors of the event. Complimentary snacks will be served at noon and a special showing of the Caselli 66 – Ride the Dream movie will take place at 2:00pm. Later in the day an exclusive screening of Why We Ride will show in the barrel room and special guest, Joe Barker, will talk about his experiences at the Paris-Dakar Rally. In addition, wine will be available for purchase with a custom-made Kurt Caselli Foundation logo.
Kurt’s Dakar bike will be on display along with a small collection of personal belongings and photos of Kurt’s racing history. Guests can also tour the MotoDoffo Vintage collection of motorcycles which are on display in the outside seating area and the barrel room.
Kurt’s mother, Nancy, sister Carolyn and fiancée Sarah White will all be in attendance supporting the event. Ride Like Caselli t-shirts and stickers will be available for purchase. All proceeds will go to The Kurt Caselli Foundation with a mission to help protect the lives of off-road riders before, during and after a race. To learn more about the foundation, please visit www.kurtcaselli.com.
SCOTT CHAMPION SENDS IT OFF GLEN HELEN’S “PYRAMID” JUMP
Champion drank his OJ that morning!
GLEN HELEN VIEWER’S GUIDE
The beauty of Glen Helen isn’t the fact that a SoCal track worthy of hosting a National is finally back on the schedule, or that my boss, Jody Weisel, poured his heart and soul into designing and building the track (I’ll wipe the brown off my nose now). It’s not even that Glen Helen should be considered the epicenter of motocross in America. What stands out about Glen Helen is the track itself.
I’ve gone to every track currently on the National circuit, minus the Crawfordsville round (for the obvious reason that the inaugural National at the new track in Indiana won’t be held until August). Millville has monstrous sand whoops; Unadilla has the Gravity Cavity; Budds Creek has Henry Hill; and I can’t talk about a National track without mentioning Red Bud and that crazy LaRocco’s Leap jump. However, Glen Helen is a microcosm of many of the best features on National tracks throughout the country, with the addition of many unique features. Although the Triple Step Up is gone–Jody had to take it out because MX Sports requires that the National track length should be at a 2:10 lap time–there are several new obstacles that will wow the fans on Saturday.
What are those obstacles? Of course there are the staples: the Talledega first turn, numerous hill climbs (Shoei, Yamaha, and the mother of them all, Mt. Saint Helen), the Muddy Straight, Log Cabin jump and Saddleback Ridge. New to Glen Helen is the Pyramid, which is located where the first part of the Triple Step Up used to be. The massive tiered jump isn’t for the faint of heart. Although the distance shouldn’t be a problem for the Pro’s, as they build tremendous speed rocketing down The Finger, the hard part about jumping the Pyramid is getting the timing right. After the jump was completed last week there were a handful of riders that botched the incredibly steep landing. Those who cased the landing ended up bouncing all of the way to the bottom and crashing. Those who jumped too far landed in the pocket at the bottom and crashed.
Directly after the Pyramid is one of the most incredible turns in all of motocross–the Velodrome. It’s a steeply banked turn that Jody designed to encourage racers to hold the throttle wide open all the way around the turn. A few of the guys had it dialed during the Pro Day. That short list included Trey Canard and Ivan Tedesco. Needless to say, if you’re attending the Glen Helen National this weekend I strongly encourage you to make your way over to the Velodrome. Be wowed when a racer clears the Pyramid perfectly, keeps the throttle pinned, and slingshots around the Velodrome. It’s awesome.
Following the Velodrome is a straightaway that leads to a left-hand turn and then the Wall Jump. When it was first built I watched as racers scrubbed over the obstacle to stay low. It was cutesy. Then Justin Barcia ponied up and launched his Muscle Milk Honda off the single. He landed way out on the flat. It looked cool, but I’m not so sure that will happen on Saturday. Why? Directly proceeding the Wall Jump is the infamous Muddy Straight, which is an absolute mess. After many years of experimenting with the ratio of water to dirt mix, Jody has figured out the perfect recipe. Although the Muddy Straight doesn’t look intimidating from a fan’s perspective, it’s quite a different story when trying to maintain momentum and not cross-rut while slogging through a cement-like mixture. So although Barcia was nearly kissing the sun when he shot off the Wall Jump, I’d imagine that he would land in the Muddy Straight and immediately sink. I can’t wait to see how those features play out on Saturday.
Mount Saint Helen is the most recognizable feature at Glen Helen. The highest point on the track, at 2020 feet, the steep uphill to 180-degree righthand turn to steep downhill is beastly. It’s tough enough for a Novice to make the climb on a consistent basis. Jody wanted to really challenge the world’s top racers, so he included a road jump about two-thirds of the way up the climb. He also added another jump at the very top. Let me just say that I’m thankful that I wasn’t the guinea pig for testing Jody’s Saddleback terrace jump idea this past week.
Glen Helen has a variety of surfaces. Expect hard pack, but there will also be a good amount of loam that will rut up, the Muddy Straight, and deep sand. The Glen Helen crew brought in truckloads of sand from the nearby wash. They dumped those loads by the finish line. There’s a hairpin before the finish that received the sand treatment, as well as a straightaway after the jump-laden finish line section. As for the type of sand, it’s not the typical beach stuff that is light and fluffy. The Glen Helen composite is granite-based and extremely thick. Unforgiving, it will get super whooped out and gnarly before the day is done.
Following the sand is a section that doesn’t have a name, but it should be called Showtime. Why? It’s a straightaway filled with huge jumps. Situated in an area where most of the casual fans will congregate, Showtime is impressive. Some of the jumps are so big that quite a few Pros struggled to work up the courage and jump the rhythm. It’s burly.
Where’s the best spot to watch the Glen Helen National? Every section offers a cool vantage point. You can press up against the fence and get close to the action or billy goat it up to an elevated area and view most of the track. Do yourself a favor and explore the varied track features. Glen Helen has something for everyone. Just be thankful that you’re on the right side of the fence, because Glen Helen isn’t for the timid.
There are two types of pit passes–Early Entry and All Day. Early Entry grants access to the Pro pits from 9am until noon. The cost is $20 (per ticket), and the pass can be purchased at the announcer’s tower. The All Day pit pass is $50 and can be found on site (or also purchased online in advance).
Although covered in-depth at the MX Sports website, here’s a brief overview of what you can and cannot do this weekend at Glen Helen:
* There are no pit vehicles allowed. Leave the E-Z-Go at home.
* Weapons are prohibited. Keep the Howitzer at home.
* Open campfires aren’t allowed. Someone had better not play “Free Bird” or else the pits will catch fire from all the lighters being waved in the air.
* Stay off the track. There’s a catch. You can go on the track if you’re a racer.
* Do not take banners. Seriously, what would you do if you stole a banner from the track? Hang it up in your garage next to the street sign you ripped off that one late last August on a dare? Try not to be a delinquent.
* Quiet time is 11pm nightly. Keep the Animal House festivities to a dull roar. Do it for the children.
FORECAST: PACK THE SUNSCREEN
REMINDER: THE X GAMES ARE COMING UP
The ESPN X Games are taking place in 2-1/2 weeks in Austin, Texas. Maybe you’ll see Thomas Pages do this crazy cool bike flip
AIMEXPO TURNS 300, SO THEY’RE GOING FOR A SWIM
The AIMExpo, the biggest U.S. motorcycle expo, has just signed Gibbs–maker of the really cool Quadski–as their 300th exhibitor
The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo) has signed its 300th exhibitor for its 2014 event with Gibbs Sports Amphibians. As a result, AIMExpo is setting a fast pace to exceed the mark of nearly 400 exhibitors from the event’s launch last October. The second year event will be held October 16-19 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC).
Gibbs was a marquee exhibitor at AIMExpo last year, showcasing its one-of-a-kind Quadski – the first commercially available amphibian vehicle that reaches 45 mph on both land and water, transitioning between both surfaces in a matter of seconds at the push of a button. With its unique product, the AIMExpo platform aligned with Gibbs’ vision and led to significant media exposure as well as positive responses from both trade and consumers. Returning to AIMExpo in 2014 allows Gibbs to continue its focus on growing their network of quality dealers and positioning the Quadski as an innovative, high-end product for the powersports marketplace.
“The AIMExpo environment enabled us to really connect with dealers, customers and members of the media on an unprecedented level,” said Todd Pagel, Gibbs’ Vice President of Sales. “As we showcase the Quadski and expand our dealer base, participation at AIMExpo is key to communicating the uniqueness of our product and the value we bring to both domestic and international dealers. We’re looking forward to year two in Orlando and all of the exciting plans we have in store.”
Gibbs is one of several exhibitors increasing its presence both indoors and outdoors while introducing new models at AIMExpo. A larger space inside OCCC allows for greater interaction with dealers, members of the media, and consumers. Gibbs’ presence at AIMExpo Outdoors! is a must-see as the company offers prospective dealers pre-arranged Quadski demos for the first time at the aptly named “Quadski Lake.”
“That Gibbs was able to achieve exactly what they wanted to do at the inaugural AIMExpo and surpass their expectations is rewarding,” said Larry Little, Vice President & General Manager, Motorcycle Group. “Gibbs was a great asset to the show last year, and they serve as one of the essential pieces in our goal to make AIMExpo bigger and better for 2014. The 300 benchmark for exhibitors is one we’re extremely proud of, and we’re well on our way to reaching new ground and breaking the 400 plateau very soon.
KTM ORANGE BRIGADE RIDERS AT FREESTONE
VP EXTENDS CONTINGENCY PROGRAM FOR THE NATIONALS
VP Racing Fuels announced it will continue its contingency program with the AMA Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship for the 2014 season. With cash payments to the top 20 overall finishers in each class for the AMA Nationals, the program has been popular among the many riders in the series who rely on VP for throttle response and maximum horsepower, according to Bruce Hendel, VP’s Director-Consumer Product Sales.
“Riders have been winning motocross championships with VP since the late ‘70s and we’ve long supported motorsports of all kinds with contingency and other sponsorship programs,” said Hendel. “AMA Motocross always produces competitive racing and challenging environments for riders and mechanics. The consistency of VP fuel gives the riders some peace of mind and the power they need to reach the podium. The contingency program is just one more thing to prove our commitment to the series.”
VP will provide trackside fuel service at each event with its MR-PRO6HT and HP100 race fuel blends available for purchase. VP fuels are also conveniently available through its extensive dealer network. In addition, VP has a full-time Technical Support staff just a phone call or email away to answer questions about fuel selection and tuning.