MOTOCROSS ACTION MIDWEEK REPORT BY DARYL ECKLUND (3/19/14)

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March 18, 2014
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MXA FACEBOOK HIT OF THE WEEK

Lance Coury taking an extreme selfie.

DID YOU MISS SUPERCROSS IN DETROIT THIS WEEKEND? CHECK IT OUT!

 

DETROIT 450 MAIN EVENT

 

DETROIT EAST 250 MAIN EVENT

 

UP NEXT, SUPERCROSS IS HEADED TO CANADA, EH

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Watch Supercross live this weekend from Toronto 4:30pm Pacific time on Fox Sports 1.

 

MINI-VIEW: BLAKE BAGGETT

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Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett is a man of few words; he’d rather let his racing do the talking. He’s a tough kid who often competes without letting his injuries affect him. Taking the 2012 AMA Motocross 250 Championship, Blake would love to add a Supercross Championship to his mantle. Now third in points in the East Coast Supercross Championship, Blake is on the move. With three rounds left, time will tell if Baggett can displace teammates Martin Davalos, and Adam Cianciarulo, to capture his first Supercross Championship.

 

By Jim Kimball

 

MXA: Blake, you were injured earlier this year, and some thought you might not be ready for Supercross.

Blake: I think the first time I got on the bike was about seven days before Dallas, so I was a little rusty at first. But now I’ve had a lot of time on the bike, and its time to go to work!

Things have been going well for you in 2014 Supercross, especially at Daytona where you just crushed everyone!

 

Yeah, all in all my Daytona trip was awesome. So I’ve been trying to use that momentum to my advantage, and focus on the rest of the rounds. I had a pretty good start in Daytona, and am especially focusing on my starts. I want to get up front early, and then just ride loose and comfortable to the end.

 

Is it difficult that your main competitors appear to be your teammates at Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki?

 

It’s really the same thing as it was back in 2011 with Tyla Rattray, Dean Wilson, and me. So I am kind of used to that. When I get out there I try to focus on racing the track; it doesn’t matter who the other riders are.

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Being halfway through the East Coast 250 Supercross and being third in points do you try to strategize about the championship, or simply take it race by race?

 

Race by race for sure, and trying to get race wins. The more wins that you have, the better the chance you have to take a Championship at the end of the year. It’s all about taking race wins.

 

I’m sure that you would like to get a Supercross Championship to go along with your Motocross Championship.

 

Oh definitely, getting a Supercross title to go with my Motocross Championship is the goal. 

 

NO-TOIL AIR BOX COVERS

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Press release: No-Toil Industries, the leader in advanced air-filtration technology, announces a recent update in all Air Box Wash Covers. All No-Toil air box covers will be receiving an updated rubber “Bulb Seal” trim around the base of the covers. The updated trim significantly increases the effectiveness of the seal to the air box, helping to resist water from entering the intake. Glue will also be added in the building process to eliminate the rubber trim from coming of the cover itself. 

#MXATALKSINSTAGRAM

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New Zealand’s favorite Levi Sherwood throwing down big for his X-Fighters win in Mexico city.

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Zach Osborne has been known to get out of his comfort zone and try just about any form of racing on a dirt bike. Here Zach races the GNCC mudder in Georgia.

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Weston Peick doing some freestyle? No, he just got ejected this past weekend in Detroit.

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Chad Reed conveys bravery into his new teammate Dean Wilson by having him hang out with his bull. 

 

THE MXA WRECKING CREWS HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK

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John Basher transformed a YZ125 two-stroke into a black ninja. This thing is a stealthly warrior. The wrecking crew always has a blast screaming the two-strokes to the moon and back.

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Daryl Ecklund putting the black Ninja into warp speed.

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After seeing new turn old at the retro race at Anaheim 2, we wanted a chance to make our own look-a-like blast from the past. We took a brand new 2014 YZ250F and brought it back to 1975. It might have looked old but we got this thing ripping!

 

STAR SPANGLED BANNER: THOMAS COVINGTON MAKES A RUN AT THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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Californian – by way of Vernon, Alabama – Thomas Covington is now – at least for the time being – a Grand Prix motocross racer. A minicycle-turned-amateur sensation with a Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki contract to ride the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in his gearbag, Covington is currently competing in the first four rounds of the 2014 Motocross World Championship before lining up at Glen Helen on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

 

 

Covington, decided to forego his swan song amateur tour this spring to “get some gate drops” at a world class level. And thus far, the results, while not spectacular (well, one moto was) have been encouraging. After going DNF-3 at Grand Prix of Qatar and following that up with a more modest 16-13 at the GP of Thailand, Covington now sits 11th in the global points race. Determined to make his run at GPMX an impressive one, Covington decided the day after racing at Si Racha circuit to fly back to France. Now there to train and ride with MX1 World Championship challenger Gautier Paulin, the 18-year-old who is riding for the Monster Energy KRT team while on the GP circuit, plans to give it all he’s got and pull of podium finishes at the fast approaching Grand Prix of Brazil as well as the first European GP of the season set for Italy’s Arco di Trento circuit on April 13. So just who is Thomas Covington and what’s he all about? Recently, we tracked him down in the south of France where he took a break after running a practice moto with Paulin. Happy “to be talking to an American,” Thomas got us up to speed on his immediate and short term plans.

 

By Eric Johnson

 

MXA: Thomas, where exactly are you?

 

Thomas: I’m in the south of France. I’m at Thierry Chizat Suzzoni’s house. He’s the owner of the team.

 

Did you go there after the Grand Prix of Thailand?

 

Well, actually I came to Thierry’s house the week before Qatar. I stayed with Gautier Paulin for three or four days and then we went to Qatar. After Thailand, I came straight back here.

 

How’s all this jet-setting around the world going for you? You’ve been in France, Qatar and Thailand and now you’re back in Europe.

 

Actually, it’s been pretty awesome. I mean I enjoy traveling and seeing all the new places and different cultures and trying all the different kinds of food and stuff. I’m really enjoying it. I feel really luck to be able to go to all these places and ride my dirt bike. I’ve really just been trying to take it all in and to enjoy the experience.

 

How are all the time changes and living in and out of different houses and hotels?

 

When I first flew over here to France it was pretty tough, but afire that it’s just been smaller time changes. It was only a two or three hour change to Qatar and another and another two to three hours to Thailand. We usually get to each race two or three days beforehand. For Qatar we got there on Tuesday and the race wasn’t until Sunday. We went straight to Thailand that Sunday so I was in Thailand for pretty much a whole week before the race. And Thailand, that place is crazy.

 

Any friends or riders you are close with or hang out with?

 

Mostly I just hang out with Jamie Coppins (of Monster Energy) and Tommy Searle. Other than that, not really. I’ve seen Romain Febvre at the test track and I talked with Max Anstie at the airport the other day, but other than that, not really.

 

The Brazilian Grand Prix will not run until March 30. As far as riding and training – or just being in Europe – what will you be up to until then?

 

These few weeks that I’m in France I’ll just be training my butt off, really. I’ll be going to the track and training with Gautier and I’ve got a mountain bike here so it’s just like being back home in California. I plan to put a lot of work in before Brazil and hopefully get another good finish there. I think it’ll be really good for me to stay in France. I don’t really have much else to do except train and ride and stay focused.

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Did you want to come back to California after the GP in Thailand? There was some talk of you competing at the James Stewart Spring Championship at Freestone before heading to Brazil.

 

I was actually supposed to come back and do Freestone with Team Green but they were cool enough to let me stay over here and get some riding and training in. It would also a lot easier on my body to stay in France instead of going all the way back to California and then to Texas and then California and then Brazil. It’s going to be a lot easier this way because of the time changes and travel. And it’ll also be better to get some testing in with the race bike because we had some problems with the fuel in Thailand as well as few technical and mechanical issues at the first two rounds. This will give me a chance to work all the bugs out and be my best when we show up to Brazil.

 

Jumping into the racing, explain how your day went at the GP of Qatar.

 

Going into Qatar I knew I had the speed. I knew if I rode like the way I do back at home when I train that I’d be up around the top five. I really just wasn’t sure, though, because I’d never raced against any of these guys. I barely knew who any of them were. I was really just planning on going out there and riding as hard as I could and see where I came out. I was way off in the timed practice and that really hit me pretty hard. I was like three or four seconds off of the fastest time. In the qualifying race I got a mid-pack start and just started picking the guys off really quick. It was amazing, really because guys who qualified faster than me, I was just passing all of them pretty quickly. I went down at one point and got back up and finished in 12th. It wasn’t the best qualifying race, but after that I knew I had the speed to be up there at least in the top 10. That made me feel a little better. So in the first moto I was sitting on the gate and my clutch goes out. It went completely out. It was just resting on my fingers. The card turned sideways and I ended up panicking and just kicking it up into second gear when the gate dropped and taking off. By the second lap the clutch was completely fried and the bike wouldn’t go anywhere. I wasn’t able to finish the moto

 

But the second moto went dramatically better for you, didn’t it?

 

Yes. I pulled a pretty good start – I was probably like in fifth place coming out of the first corner. I worked my way up to third by the end of the first lap. About five or six laps in I was able to make a move on [Jose] Butron. After that I was in second and just kind of trailing behind [Max] Anstie for about 11 laps. I was kind of all by myself and trying to stay focused on keeping Anstie right there in front of me. Towards the end, with five or six seconds left, I started making mistakes. I was thinking about, “Man, I might actually have a podium finish here.” That’s when it kind of went bad for me right there because I just started riding a little bit tight and didn’t want to make any mistakes. That’s when [Jeffrey] Herlings and [Arnaud] Tonus went by me at the end. I ended up with a podium spot. It was definetley an awesome first GP for me. It was really cool.

 

As far as the top guys you mentioned, did their pace impress you?

 

These guys are definately no joke over here. I have so much respect for these guys. They’re gnarly. I mean they go into a different country every single weekend with the culture change and the time change and all that. It was really cool to be able to run up there with those guys because it made me believe a little bit more in myself. I now know how fast I have to go and how hard those guys come on. Most of the race happens in the last 10 minutes there. You really have to be on your game there at the end.

 

You trainer Johnny O’Mara made it real clear to me that your result was no fluke. How do you feel about that?

 

I don’t feel that it was a fluke. I feel like I should be up there in the top five like that every weekend. Or at least that’s the goal. I think that’s where I should be. I know if I ride like I know how to ride and if I do the work that I’ve been doing than I’ll be able to do that. I just need to stay focused and keep my head strong. Hopefully I can get another finish like that before I head over to The States and do the outdoors.

 

Thailand didn’t go as well for you. From talking with your dad Mitch, through bike issues and a few other things, it sounded like you were back on your heels all weekend there. How was the race?

 

I could never get a good lap in during qualifying. Someone would get in my way or I would make a mistake. It was almost like I was just trying too hard. I ended up getting a bad gate pick there. I was coming from far behind in the qualifying race on Saturday and was starting to get up around the top 10 and had a pretty big crash in the rollers and tweaked my bike all up and wasn’t able to finish the moto. I think I finished 27th or something like that. So yeah, right from the start there it was really tough.

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You got very bad starts in both motos. Moreover, word was that your bike wasn’t running very well…

 

Yeah, one thing we struggled with right from the beginning there as the fuel. The fuel was off and we didn’t have the capability to completely re-map my ignition. Right from the start the bike was feeling really sluggish because of the fuel. In the first moto on Sunday I was trying to do my regular second place start and when I did, the bike just wouldn’t pull it all. The bike just bogged big right out of the gate. In the second moto I had to start in first gear, which I’ve never done. It was a little better but still not really what I’d like. And I was way on the outside for the start. No matter how good of a jump I got, there was no shot for me to get a good start. I got bad starts and trying to come through the pack with my bike not running so great wasn’t the easiest thing. Then towards the end of the moto the fuel started boiling and my bike was just popping and bogging the whole time. I really had no shot at it. It was just a rough weekend. But I learned a lot. Probably the most important thing I learned was how important the qualifying is here. You need to get a good, clean lap in and get a gate good gate in for that qualifying race so I can eventually get a good gate pick for Sunday. These guys over here have the qualifying dialed in so good. They just throw down a lap that’s unbelievable and that’s something I’m not used to.

 

Next stop Brazil, huh?

 

The track look really cool and the dirt looks good. I’m really excited about Brazil, so hopefully I could get a good result there. I’d really just like to be in the top five again. I won’t be happy unless I’m up there in the top five. That’s where I need to be.

 

Big question: if things keep going well, would you ever entertain the idea of staying over there for the entire season?

 

Uhm, I don’t know. I don’t really want to think about that yet. I’ll probably make that decision if I have to. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I think coming over here and doing these GPs was such a good idea for me. Especially looking back on it now. I’m so glad I decided to do this because otherwise I’d just be going back to all of the amateur races. This is such a better experience for me. I think I’ll be a lot more prepared whenever I come back to the Nationals again. I mean you can’t find experience like this anywhere else.

 

SKF MUD SCRAPPER

 

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Press release: The SKF mud scraper is a plug and play dried mud scraper made of X-ECOPUR an SKF proprietary material for low friction and low wear. Product can be easily installed and removed by end customer. Fork removal from the triple clamps is not required. It is designed to work over OEM forks, wear rings and compatible with virtually all OEM dust seals. However SKF recommends to use SKF fork seals kit for an overall best performance.

 

CASELLI 66-RIDE THE DREAM (OFFICIAL TRAILER)

Wiley Watson from Red Tide films captures Kurt Caselli’s closest family and friends. The moments they shared together and telling about the person he was. This fIlm will allow Kurt to be with us forever.

 

MINI-VIEW ANDREW SHORT

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Now one of the veterans on the Pro Supercross/Motocross scene, Andrew Short has been one of the most consistent riders in the sport. But along with that consistency, Short still enters every race looking for a win. Now with a little more seat time on his BTOSports.com KTM, Shorty is focusing on intensity, and getting closer to the podium. 

By Jim Kimball

 

MXA: Andrew, you’ve had a pretty good Supercross series so far.

 

Andrew: Yeah, I think that my season has been very consistent. I’ve been in the top ten at every race, took fifth in Daytona, and a fourth now in Detroit. Consistency has been my strength, but I have been lacking a bit in my intensity. Recently I think that I have made some improvements though, and am heading in the right direction. 

Some of the more recent tracks have been made with softer dirt; has that type of track been to your advantage?

 

No, not really. The soft dirt, and ruts that we had at Daytona have never been my strengths. Growing up in Colorado I’m much more used to hard pack and dry tracks. I’ve been somewhat surprised that a couple of my better finishes came at softer tracks like Indy, and Daytona, but I think this just points to the work that I have been doing on the mental side, with improving my intensity. At this point in the series I just feel that things are starting to come together much more.

 

I’m assuming that more time on the bike has also helped you this year.

 

That’s very true; last year I joined the team mid way through Supercross, so to come in to this year with a solid off-season of testing it has been much better. Getting acclimated and comfortable on the bike has been huge! I’m running the new air shock that KTM has been working on. I thought that we may have lots of changes with it, but its been really good right from the get go. I know what the bike will do week in and week out, so it’s just been great to feel this comfortable on your bike. 

 

You raced a Red Bull KTM 350 a few years ago, has there been any real significant changes (other than engine size) from that bike to your 2014 bike?

 

You know, I think that overall the entire KTM brand has changed a lot the past few years. When I raced the 350 back in 2011, KTM was really starting to make big pushes to get a solid team together to win races. In basic terms of the chassis, the bike is similar, it’s just that everything has improved and gotten better. All the work that KTM has been doing has given me much more confidence in the bike, and made it that much more familiar.

 

And you have factory bikes that are basically the same as what Ryan Dungey, and Ken Roczen are racing.

 

Yes, they are very similar. We have access to all the different parts that KTM Factory Services have to offer. It’s a pretty unique feature that we can take advantage of. No other manufacturer has this type of program, and that’s why KTM is progressing so much. Our team, and the Rockstar KTM team have access to everything; there is really nothing off limits to us. Even like with the air shock that WP developed, we can utilize them to their fullest extent.

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BTO Sports.com KTM is one of the few teams sponsored by Pirelli. While I bet that 90% of the factory teams in the World Motocross GP’s use Pirelli, here its Dunlop that sponsors the majority of the Factory Teams.

 

In general, Pirelli is huge in motor sports, and now they are making a big push into off-road racing. They have always had a lot of success in Europe, but Supercross is a whole other animal. Pirelli’s road to Supercross is actually similar to KTM’s. It takes a lot of resources, and hard work to get the right people on board. The Pirelli product has come a long way in Supercross. They have always been really good for motocross, but supercross has been a big step – and they have done a great job!

 

You’ve been now racing Supercross for many years, and I’m sure that often it may seem the same year after year, but what stands out in 2014?

 

I think that what is most exciting about this year is the depth of the field. In the mid 2000 years it seemed that the same three guys were always winning, but now there are numerous guys racing that can win. The racing is very solid all through the top ten, or even the top fifteen. Like I said, there are so many guys this year that are all so close in talent and speed, that it makes the racing very exciting.

 

Did you come up with any goals as far as how you wanted to do in 2014?

 

Well, I think that as a racer, you always want to set goals for yourself. But if you start putting a number on it, that it can be dangerous. When you race to your full capability, with your heart, and give it your all you, now that is a successful night. But as I said, I think that if you tie a number to it and fall short of it, that you can really set yourself up for disaster. Even if I had a good finish, but left something on the table it wasn’t necessarily a successful weekend for me. I just try to focus on being the best that I can week in and week out. 

 

Any final thoughts on 2014 Supercross?

 

I appreciate all this, and feel so blessed to live my dream. Not everyone gets to do something that you’ve dreamed of since you were a little kid. It’s been pretty cool to grow up riding a mini-bike on Colorado trails, and to now be racing Supercross with the best riders in the world. I’ve had a long career. Obviously each weekend you want to do better, and it’s those challenges that make racing so fun. I don’t know when my last race will be, but I do know that it’s been a fun ride. I’m 31 years old now, and appreciate all the support from the fans. Its not always that an opportunity like this can come, so I am doing the best that I can with it!

 

MXA FITNESS TIP: CHALLENGE YOURSELF

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TIP: Becoming monotonous when going to the gym is the number one reason why peoples results plateau. Doing the same thing over and over again will produce results, but only for so long. Getting over the initial hump of pain and suffering from going to the gym is satisfying. But without the continuation of a challenge your body will adapt and progress will diminish. This will lead to a lack of motivation. Change up your workout routine with something challenging every 4 to 6 weeks. If you refuse to change, just make sure to pump up the intensity and weight to something challenging.  

 

DID DEAN WISON TAKE OUT MIKE ALESSI?

 

Mike Alessi is on the radar to the AMA officials and his competition. Did Mike Alessi get what’s was coming to him with Dean Wilson coming in hot underneath him in Detroit? Or did Mike gas it at the last second to cause the crash? Should the AMA become more consistent with penalizing the take-out moves regardless of who the rider is?

 

DRIFT GHOST “S” ACTION SPORTS CAMERA

 

Ghost-S_FMX

Benefits and Features:

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