MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT: (02/08/11)

February 8, 2011
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MOTOCROSS ACTION PHOTO OF THE WEEK

Josh Hansen’s A2 practice crash broke two bones in his hand, but it also had him seeing stars.
Mark Chilson photo.

GODSPEED RUSS “FLETCH” FLETCHER?BY CHUCK SUN

Russ Fletcher (left) with Lance Smail and Chuck Sun.

After a courageous five-year battle with cancer, Russ (Fletch) Fletcher passed away early last Sunday morning. Russ was an artist craftsman when it came to building fast reliable four-stroke engines. When four-strokes came on the scene, Fletch built championship winning bikes ridden to AMA four-stroke motocross titles by Mike Young and Lance Smail. Shaun Kalos also won on a tricked-out Fletch-built Husaberg at the Glen Helen World Four-Stroke Motocross Championships.

Fletch was a big influence on my life. Always positive with a friendly smile, my brothers and I used to practice at Russ’s father in-laws track in Sherwood on our Huskies. I think Russ was 60-something, but he was always young at heart. Fletch loved to ride and it always made a trail ride much more fulfilling when he was along. Just a few years ago when first diagnosed, my brother Ron and I got to ride with Fletch at a loamy track in Goldendale, Washington. It was all smiles on that sunny day seeing Fletch enjoy the hilly track. That week Russ milled the head on my 250 two-stroke, a long standing tradition. You will be sorely missed bro.

MXA MINI VIEW: TREY CANARD


Trey has a real world view of his year so far. We want to see what happens when he starts up front.

MXA: Are you happy with how your season has gone so far?

Trey: Overall, I have been really excited with how things have gone. I’ve been on the podium once. My lap times have been good and the bike has been good. The starts have been the downside, so hopefully we can continue to turn those around and make the best of it.

MXA: Are you doing extra starts or developing any special holeshot tricks?

Trey: I have always practice starts, but it’s just little stuff that you space out on, and maybe that’s what has got me. But, I’m working on it and I’ll have it soon.

MXA: You’ve been pushing it hard and hitting the deck, how’s your body?

Trey: I’m good, thankfully. I’ve had some good crashes and thankfully I’ve been able to stay up and remain healthy. It’s definitely a blessing so hopefully I can continue that and make this whole series.

MXA: You have to be making more fans, even if yoiu have gotten them by going down hard and still qualifying through the LCQ.

Trey: I wish I was making more fans by winning, but whatever it is, I’m okay with it. I just have to keep on going and hopefully I don’t have to walk away from crashes, and I can stay on two wheels. I’m trying and I think people can see that.

MXA: Are you still doing any additional development or tweaks to the CRF450?

Trey: No, not really. We’ve pretty much been on the same bike the whole year and I have been really happy with it. We are making small changes with it, but nothing extremely big. I think the main thing is not letting it get out of hand and reach for too much. We have a great bike and it would be easier to ruin it than to make it that much better.

NATHAN WOODS BENEFIT RIDE DAY AT GLEN HELEN RACEWAY ON WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 23


The offroad community lost a great champion and friend when Nathan Woods passed away from injuries sustained in a crash while practicing for the opening round of the WORCS series. FMF/KTM’s Kurt Caselli and former mechanic Charles Jirsa, both long-time friends of Nathan, have organized a benefit ride day that will take place at Glen Helen Raceway on February 23, 2011.

Gates open at 9:00 a,m. and an open practice session will take place from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission to the ride day will be $20.00, with all of the proceeds going directly to the Woods family. In addition to the riding, there will also be a silent auction held until 4:00PM, with all proceeds going to the Woods family. Participants with items they would like to donate to the silent auction are encouraged to bring them to the track. For more information, visit Glen Helen online at www. glenhelen.com

KIMI RAIKKONEN ANNOUNCES HIS NEW GRAND PRIX MOTOCROSS TEAM

Toni Eriksson (127) and Ludde Soderberg (388).
                                         Youthstream

Former F1 World Champion Kimi Raikkonen plans to sponsor a team of Finnish riders in this year’s world Motocross Championship. Called Ice 1 Racing (from Raikkonen’s “Iceman” nickname), Kimi will field Toni Eriksson (450) and Ludde Soderberg (250) in 2011. Seven-time World Enduro Champion Kari Tiainen will be the motocross team manager. Raikkonen and Tiainen who both are the most successful motorsportmen in Finland want to contribute in this way by lifting up young Finnish talents. The team has their training center in Spain and they will start on February 13th with an international training race and the GP series begins on April 10 in Sevlievo, Bulgaria.

“I have always wanted to drive motocross more than anything else. When I was a kid it was my dream. The idea of my own team has been born during the years,” said Kimi. Ice1 Racing will also sponsor Kimi’s continued effort in the World Rally Championship (although his name still comes up in Formula 1 as a possible replacement driver).

CHRISTIAN CRAIG UPDATE


The show suffers when front runners like Craig have to watch from the stands in a knee brace.

Troy Lee Designs Race Team’s West Coast 250F Supercross contender Christian Craig has had a rollercoster of a season, and the coaster is now at the down part. When we saw him watching from the stands, we asked him for the full story.

“My season didn’t have the best start, but in the first main event I came out of the first turn in the lead. I led for a few corners and then Josh Hansen and I tangled bars and I went down. I was happy to lead for a little while. I came into the second round with a lot of confidence knowing that I could run up front. I got a decent start in the main at Phoenix and got tangled up with Nick Paluzzi. It tore up my whole front brake system and I ended up having to pull off. That was a bummer, I thought it was the end of the bad luck, but it wasn’t. I came to LA and I was still confident, I just needed to get out of the carnage that I was in all the time. I holeshot the heat race at LA and was leading it for about a corner. Tyla Rattray came over on me when I was in the air and I landed on the side of him. I put my leg out when I landed and broke my tibia pretty bad. I had to get four screws put in it. It’s a bummer, but I showed everybody that I can be up there, I just need some luck on my side. It’s definitely fun to get a couple Supercrosses under my belt. I wanted to make the whole season, but I’m going to be back for outdoors on a 450. The team thinks it will be a better fit for me. I think it will be better for me too, In Supercross I can ride the 250 better, but outdoors I think I ride a 450 pretty well.”

INSIGHTS INTO MOTORCYCLE BUSINESS 101

Suzuki: Suzuki sold more motorcycles in the last 9 months of 2010 than it did in same time period in 2009. That sounds like good news, but during the same nine-month period Suzuki made less money. How so? The increase in sales came from the Southeast Asian market (India, Indonesia and Pakistan) where small-displacement and low-profit models accounted for the sale increase. In North America, the company sold 88,000 units in the third-quarter, that is a 34 percent reduction from last year’s numbers.


Yamaha: Yamaha will close its factory in northeastern Spain (moving its production to the Saint Quintin, France, plant). The Spanish plant was capable of producing 130,000 units per year, but only managed 96,000 in 2010. The plant’s closure will affect 420 jobs. By concentrating production for the Euro market to a single factory Yamaha will be able to to better deal with the reduced demand for motorcycles.

Meanwhile, Yamaha Motors will invest $150 million in a new motorcycle manufacturing plant located in Karachi, Pakistan, to better serve Yamaha’s growth in Pakistan, India, and other emerging Asian and African markets. The plant is expect to produce 22,000 machines by 2012.


Highland: U.S. Highland, who wanted to make high-end four-stroke dirt bikes, idled its Tulsa, Oklahoma, plant and 30 employees while it continues to look for funding. “Negotiations are in final stages for the funding,” said Managing Director Ron Brewer. “Upon completing funding, U.S. Highland will commence full operations in Tulsa  again for the manufacturing and sale of their new product lines launching in 2011.”


Honda: Honda is also reported to be preparing to cut back production at its its Spanish plant in Santa Perpetua, Spain. The Spanish Honda workforce will be cut from 340 employees to 180. The plant will now make injected plastics and other auxiliary parts, while its motorcycle production line will be closed because of diminishing demand. Honda’s Italian factory will fill in for any extra motorcycle production capacity.

At the same time Honda has announced that it intends to build a second production plant in India in order to meet the rising demand in the world’s second largest motorcycle market. Located in western Rajasthan, the production facility will cost Honda over $100 million and produce up to 600,000 units per year starting in 2012. Honda’s total production in India will be up to 2 million units a year.


Mototown USA: Heavy snowfall caused the roof to collapse on Springfield, Massachusett’s indoor motocross track on February 7. The 200,000 square-foot building was opened in 2006. No one was injured, but the indoor track will have to rebuilt.


KTM: The Austrian motorcycle manufacturer open a new flagship store on Dubai’s Shaikh Zayed Road. KTM’s partner company in the United Arab Republic is the Al Shafar Group. KTM already has importers and sales partners in Qatar, Kuwait and Iran, is currently starting sales in Lebanon and plans to expand to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman. In the last three years, KTM has outperformed the local market, increasing its UAE share in the offroad segment from eight to 30 per cent, against an overall market that fell 45 per cent.


Yamaha of Troy: According to Dealer News?Dayton, Ohio’s motorcycle dealers have been hard hit by the drop in motorcycle sales. Yamaha of Troy has shut down, as has Southside Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha in Moraine, Ohio. Both shops were owned by P&A Motorcycle, Inc.

PRESS RELEASE: TRAVIS PASTRANA’S NASCAR CHALLENGE

Action sports athlete Travis Pastrana knows a thing or two about going full throttle ? and his entrance into the world of NASCAR is no exception. New Pastrana-Waltrip Racing sponsor Boost Mobile, an industry leader in no-contract wireless service, will serve as the primary sponsor of the No. 99 Toyota driven by Pastrana for seven NASCAR Nationwide races in 2011. Boost has create a behind-the-scenes video to showcase Travis’ personality, successes and transition throughout the 2011 season. The first installment is an overview of the Boost Mobile announcement that took place on Friday, Jan. 21at L.A. Live ? the sports and entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles where X Games gold medalists Ryan Sheckler and Nate Adams along with UFC fighter/”A-Team” actor and Boost Mobile athlete Quinton “Rampage” Jackson were in attendance. Check out the Video Here!

“I think the transition into NASCAR is going to be one of the tougher things I have done in my career,” said Pastrana. “NASCAR has some of the closest competition in racing, everyone is so close and I think as a competitor there is no greater thrill then to put yourself against the best.” Pastrana made his NASCAR debut Saturday, Jan. 29 in the Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale (Calif.) Speedway. The No. 99 Boost Mobile team came into the race with a modest goal of finishing the race and gaining seat time and experience for Pastrana. Pastrana stuck to the plan ? and raced his way to a sixth-place finish.

NEW ALUMINUM EXHAUST SYSTEM: DG PERFORMANCE SLIP-ON

DG Performance has been manufacturing high quality motorcycle exhaust systems since 1973. They have just introduced their new Aluminum Slip-On’s for four-stroke off-road bikes. DG Performance offers 2 styles of Slip-Ons: (1) The “R-Series” features a four inch diameter extruded aluminum muffler body. (2) The “O-Series” features an oval shaped aluminum muffler body. Both the R-Series and O-Series feature:

  • Light weight (Approximately 5.5 pounds.)
  • Aluminum End caps
  • Stainless Steel Inlet tube
  • Increase Power & Torque
  • Standard sound level is 98 db.
  • Quiet Inserts available, (94 db. or 96 db.)
  • USFS approved Screen Spark Arrestor (easily removable)
  • Ball Burnished finish
  • Retail price is $209.95

For more information visit www.dgperf.com or call (866) 630-5424.

THE LATEST AND GREATEST IN RACING FROM THE COUCH


MXA has spent lots of time with the family of “MX Vs ATV” games and have been getting deep into the just released “MX Vs ATV: Alive.”

The big new feature in “MX Vs ATV: Alive” is bar-to-bar racing. In previous editions, light physical contact resulted in big crashes and penalties. In “Alive,” you’re supposed to be able to bump and slam through the pack. The game developers have worked a lot with James Stewart, who has given input on the game’s physics feedback, track design. Also new will be the extra gear, tracks, modes and other add-ons will be available for download after the game is launched. Overall, there have been many tweaks in effort to improve realism. Many cool features from “MX Vs ATV: Reflex” have been carried over, including terrain deformation, where the tracks get bumpy and rutty as you go. You can choose the latest gear and licensed products and the rider and bike are stil controlled separately. Of course, there is wreck avoidance, which gives you a chance to save a crash. For more info and a trailer video, visit www.mxvsatv.com

PRESS RELEASE: SUNSTAR’S PRO RIDER BONUS PROGRAM

Sunstar & Action Sports’ Drew Wolfe has announced a ?Sunstar Pro Rider Bonus Program’ for the Action Sports Indoor MX events that will be held in Columbus, Ohio, on February 4-5 (as well as the Huntington, WV rounds the following weekend on February 11-12. This added feature to the Action Sports’ program will provide the top three Open Pro class riders a payout bonus of: 1st? $600, 2nd? $250, 3rd?$150 (to be eligible for the bonus, rider must ride all four events ? both nights in Columbus & Huntington). This is on top of the $10,000 guaranteed purse already announced! Sunstar is excited to be a part of this year’s Action Sports events as they’ve been one of the premier indoor motocross series’ since 1984. For more information on the series and/or a pre-registration form, please visit www.actionsportsracing.com. For more information on Sunstar visit www.sunstar-mc.com

MXA MINI VIEW: TLD TEAM MANAGER TYLER KEEFE


MXA: The team has had a lot of ups and downs already this year.

Tyler: The season is going pretty good I think. We have Cole Seely, Travis Baker and Christian Craig. At round three Christian got hurt. It was a bummer because he was doing awesome before that. He broke the top of his tibia off, and his patella tendon. He’ll be out until April. That night went from bad to great when Cole won his first Supercross and the first win for the team, I think I was only a matter of time. Then we went to Oakland and had a horrible night. At Anaheim 2, Travis Baker crashed in practice. He broke his middle knuckle, opened up a pretty big gash on his index finger and was out for the night. We have a week off before San Diego and I like to get Travis back for that round, but I’m not going to push it. It’s too early to say, but hopefully he can rebound and we can get some outdoor testing in, along with Christian in April who will be on the 450. Hopefully we can make the same impact we have in Supercross.

MXA: On the personal side, how has the team manager job been going for you?

Tyler: I worked with my dad at the Rockstar Suzuki Team and I learned a ton from him. Ben Townley helped open the door here for me and helped Troy believe I could actually do the job. The last five outdoor Nationals of 2010 went well. Getting ready for Supercross it was a whole new learning curve, but I have a great group of guys behind me and they pulled me through. We all worked together. There is lot of babysitting and checking up on everything until you actually get it into your hands. Everyday there are new challenges and experiences, but I love it. I’ll just keep working and trying my best. I hope that we can continue to do very well with the team. I don’t think there is any team out there that is quite like this team. It’s a massive family. We go to lunch together and we’re all here because we love it. Like every team we work long hours, but it’s awesome to work with your buddies.

THIS WEEK’S BIRTHDAY BOYS & THREE GIRLS

Tony D won the AMA 250 National Championship in 1975, 1976 and 1977.

Feb. 6…Tony DiStefano
Feb. 6…Travis Preston
Feb. 8…Daryl Hurley
Feb. 8…Rich Taylor
Feb. 8…Dusty Klatt
Feb. 9…Jaime Lilly
Feb. 10…Dave Feeney
Feb. 10… Evan Laughridge
Feb. 10…Jeremy Chaussee
Feb. 10…Rodney Smith
Feb. 11…Geoff Fox
Feb. 11…Livia Lancelot
Feb. 11…Sebastien Pourcel
Feb. 12…Mike LaRocco
Feb. 12…Lisa Akin Wagner
Feb. 13…Gavin Gracyk
Feb. 13…Jeromy Buehl
Feb. 13…Mickael Pichon
Feb. 13…Chris Wheeler

PRESS RELEASE: THE MAG GROUP EXPANDS TO JAPAN


Yoshi Kitaura will head to MAG Japan Offices

Motorsport Aftermarket Group (MAG), a family of leading brands and businesses in the motorsport industry, is expanding its sales and marketing efforts in Japan and setting its sights on Asia’s recovering American motorcycle market.

“This move reflects our belief that Japan’s market is on the rebound,” said MAG President & CEO Brian Etter. “MAG’s family of brands plans to be there when it does. Right now we’re laying groundwork for new products and brands, as well as supporting the increasing demand for our existing brands of accessories and aftermarket products. In terms of products and service, MAG continues to support current Japanese owners of American motorcycles in ways they absolutely require. No other company goes to the lengths we do to support Japanese motorcyclists who desire premium American-engineered aftermarket motorcycle parts and accessories.”

Etter announced that Yoshi Kitaura would be Managing Director of the new MAG Japan offices, reporting to Thomas Breed, MAG’s Managing Director of International Sales. Areas of growth in Japan for the MAG portfolio of brands include distribution and sales of Vance & Hines, Kuryakyn, Renthal, Progressive Suspension, Performance Machine, RSD, and Mustang Seats. “Focusing on the v-twin, sport, and dirt markets in Japan will allow MAG to understand, develop, and supply the evolving Asian marketplace,” Breed said. “We are aware that markets around the globe vary dramatically, requiring local knowledge and cooperative partners to fuel MAG’s future growth and success.”

“MAG has been building its accessory businesses in Europe, South America, and the Middle East ,” Etter said. “Opening up offices in Japan will begin our focus on the Pacific Rim . Our premium brands are global leaders in innovation, and we want customers around the world to be able to enjoy them. With Yoshi on board, expanding our reach in Asia is the obvious next step.”

POTPOURRI OF PINK AT A2
The coolest thing about factory riders is customization. These guys have custom performance parts, gear, graphics and all sorts of one-off things the average Joe can’t lay his hands on. Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Anaheim 2 is a perfect excuse for companies to exercise their creativity and break out the pink. It’s fun to look closely at the custom pink details. A lot of work goes into stuff for one race.


James (Bubbles) Stewart was once known for wearing pink.


Even Davi’s boot buckles and radiator louvers were pink.


Not everyone was happy in pink.


Pink just makes you want to whisper sweet nothings to Andrew Short.


Only a blazing fast guy can get away with wearing what looks like girl’s gear.


The H&H bikes were very shiny pink. Chris Blose demonstrates.

ANOTHER NEW ELECTRIC BIKE…BUT THIS ONE IS A BICYCLE


The M55 Beast is an electric mountain bike…not a motorcycle (but then most electric motorcycles are really just oversize mountain bikes). The Beast doesn’t try to be what it’s not. The builders of the M55 call it “Hybrid Drive,” because the electric motor is not a substitute to your human power, but an addition. You can still pedal and shift to add torque. Although it may look like a downhill mountain bike it is designed as a cross-country bike (although the burly Fox suspension should be able to handle most descents). The brakes are from Brembo.

One of the most important parts of anything electric is the motor. The Beast uses a 1.3 kW motor which peaks at 2400 rpm. The electric motor is placed low in the frame in a horizontal position. Energy to the motor is provided by 22 Tenergy battery cells. These cells can provide up to 120 Ah, while the electric motor of the M55 bike only uses 50 Ah at maximum. The manufacturer guarantees 1000 charge and discharge cycles with no more than 9% loss in performance. Another great advantage of this battery cell, that it can be charged to 80% of its capacity in just 15 minutes. For more info go to www.m55-bike.com.

JULY 1979 COVER ART: A BLAST FROM MOTOCROSS ACTION’S PAST

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