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MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT: (10/05/11)

October 5, 2011
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK             

Ryan Dungey at the KTM test track. Photo: Hoppenworld

KAWASAKI FIRES TEAM MANAGER MIKE FISHER; FISHER’S OFFICIAL STATEMENT    


Mike Fisher.

“I’d like to respond to yesterday’s rumors, and confirm that my 18-year relationship with Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. did indeed reach its end Monday morning. Although it may seem a surprise to some, for myself and those that have worked closely with me throughout the year, this unfortunate news was anticipated and expected. This past year has been the most challenging of my career, as well as the most rewarding. The 2011 SX and MX seasons ultimately produced what our team had set out to accomplish since the beginning of my term as the racing team manager at Kawasaki. The achievements of our racing team were second to none this year, and I feel honored to have been an integral part of making history in the motorcycle industry.

I am proud and thankful to have been given the opportunity to manage a team of passionate, dedicated people, that stood by each other, myself, and what mattered to us all in the end.I wish the Kawasaki racing team, it’s colleagues, sponsors, and notably, Ryan Villopoto and Jake Weimer, all the greatest of achievements in 2012 and beyond.”

YAMAHA TAKES OVER YAMAHA (CANADA) IN A BLOODLESS COUP    

Official MXA translation: “Today’s meeting of the Board of Directors of Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (the Company) voted to transfer all shares in the Canadian subsidiary, Yamaha Motor Canada Limited, to the U.S. subsidiary, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. Profits from the sale of shares in the subsidiary will be recorded as extraordinary profits in the Company’s financial statement for the period ending December 2011 (January 1, 2011 – December 31, 2011). The share transfer will have no impact on consolidated business performance.”

What does this mean? In an effort to restructure itself more efficiently, Yamaha Motor Canada will become a subsidiary of Yamaha Motor USA. This makes Yamaha Canada one of Yamaha USA’s ten subsidiaries, and should not have any impact on what consumers in either the US or Canadian market experience.

MONSTER ENERGY CUP TO BE SHOWN LIVE (THAT WAY DUNGEY AND REED CAN WATCH IT FROM HOME)     

The Monster Energy Cup will be broadcast on Speed-TV on October 15 at 7:00 p.m. (Pacific Time). It will be shown live. The lead-in to the Monster Energy Cup coverage will be a one-hour season recap of 2011 Supercross season?beginning at 6:00 p.m. (Pacific Time).

TRAVIS PASTRANA ON HIS FUTURE MOTORCYCLE PLANS    

Travis will do at least seven NASCAR Nationwide races in 2012, but his X Games and AMA National days are done. Photo: Brian Nevins/Red Bull Photofiles

As Travis prepares to race the NASCAR Nationwide series next year for Michael Waltrip Racing, he has put his motorcycle career on hold. “I will not be on motorcycles next year and do not plan on being on them at the X Games ever. But, at the same time, motorcycles are something that I always do for training. I will always be riding in the woods. Whether I’ll be riding at a competitive level, I sincerely doubt it, but with Red Bull and a lot of the stunts they have, in years to come I’m not going to say that I’m I’ll never do motorcycle stuff again. It’s who I am, but at the same time NASCAR is my number one priority for this next year, next two years without a doubt, and we can reassess then what life is going to bring.”

THE AMA RULE BOOK THROWN OUT FOR THE MONSTER CUP; WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE FROM A REGULAR RACE?   

This 500cc, X-pattern, four-cylinder, two-stroke engine is legal for the Monster Cup. Previously it was only legal if a factory team wanted to use it.

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has issued an open supplemental rules package for the Monster Energy Cup. The Oct. 15 race at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nev., which features a potential $1 million payout, will allow a wide range of unrestricted motorcycle configurations. The elimination of nearly all technical restrictions, with the exception of sound and fuel regulations, will allow riders and teams the opportunity to develop and test new technology during race conditions without being restricted by the current AMA Supercross rulebook. Teams will have the opportunity to employ components such as in-helmet communication, traction control, GPS and more. All of the rules that pertain to safety and operations will remain in place. However, studded tires and paddle tires are illegal and the rider must wear a helmet. Worst of all, music device, MP3 players and Walkman are prohibited.

AMA Director of Supercross Kevin Crowther said that the open rules approach is possible due to the nature of a distinct stand-alone event versus a National championship. “As a singular competition event, the Monster Energy Cup gives us more freedom to think outside the box and try some innovative concepts that might not always be practical for a national championship,” Crowther said. “Considering this freedom of the rules package and the amount of money on the line, the Monster Energy Cup will be one of racing’s must-attend events this year.” Crowther added that, while the actual supplemental rules package is available online at www.AMASupercross.com, the basics are simple.
 
“No homologation is necessary, and the engine displacement must be at least 125cc. Beyond that, nearly anything goes?two-stroke, four-stroke, singles, twins. Weight restrictions are gone. Large-displacement two-strokes are welcome,” he said. “We are also implementing new sound-testing procedures. We will be using the new Two-Meter Max sound-testing method that will be implemented for the 2012 Monster Energy AMA Supercross.”
 
MONSTER CUP RACE PROGRAM
7:00pm….Opening Ceremonies
7:20pm…Heat 1 (1-4 Advance to the Main Event)
7:30pm…Heat 2 (1-4 Advance to the Main Event)
7:40pm…Super Mini Race 1  (Two Moto Format)
7:45pm…Semi 1 (1-5 Advance to the Main Event)
7:55pm…Semi 2 (1-5 Advance to the Main Event)
8:05pm… Amateur All-Stars Race 1 (Two Moto Format)
8:10pm…LCQ (1-4 Advance to the Main Event)
8:15pm…Best Trick Competition
8:45pm…Main Event 1 (22 to 1 Points Awarded)
9:00pm…Super Mini Race 2 (Two Moto Format)
9:15pm…Main Event 2  (22 to 1 Points Awarded)
9:30pm…Amateur All-Stars Race 2 (Two Moto Format)
9:45pm…Main Event 3 (22 to 1 Points Awarded)

NEW PRODUCT PREVIEW: PIRELLI TIRES   
Pirelli has been hard at work redesigning their line-up of tires. The tires won’t be introduced in the US until January. Luckily, MXA went to the European tire introduction. The technical updates to the tires have not yet been applied to all the different sizes. Nevertheless, the changes are coming, and Pirelli has examined an tinkered with every aspect of construction, in effort to improve performance. Volumes could be written about the tire updates, but here is the quick and dirty.

MID HARD 554
Rear features:
-Knobs layout optimized to increase the number of knobs on contact area for maximum grip and traction.
-Links (bridges) layout to guarantee tread stiffness and footprint shape stability at maximum lateral forces.
-Knobs wall inclination optimized for tear resistance on hard soil and strong impacts.

Front features:
-Stiff and spaced central block for heavy braking on dry soils.
-Middle and side block reinforced with bridges to support lateral forces in turns and follow the required trajectory.
Knobs top with depression to increase working edges and grip hard dusty soil.


HARD 486
Front features:
-Different dimples give adaptability to terrain to improve grip in braking and during cornering.
– Increased knobs edge for maximum traction and braking stability.
-Blocks of different shapes permit a better adaptability to hard ground.

Rear features:
-Lower knobs and flat profile for better stability.
-Increased knob surface for maximum grip.
-Enhanced quantity of edges on shoulder knobs to increase traction and side hold.
-Knobs top with depression to increase working edges and grip on hard soil.


MID SOFT 32

Front features:
-the knobs optimal distribution and geometry have been developed to grant top performances.
-Layout and shape of central knobs for stability in braking.
-Middle shoulder knobs size and shape to grant a precise carving trajectory.
-V shaped knobs distribution to improve braking stability and cornering side hold.
 
Rear features:
Very simple bar line to offer high traction and braking on intermediate terrain.
-Wide spacing between pitches for self cleaning properties.
-Side and middle lateral knobs are V shaped to enhance support in turns.


SOFT 410
Front features:
-Arrow layout of knobs and aligned corona side knobs give directionality when accelerating and straight stability.
-V shaped knobs improve breaking stability and cornering side hold.

Rear features:
-Paddle knobs layout with bridged tread provides the maximum traction and power transmission on deep mud and sand even at start phase.
-Backwards wings of the central knobs to improve stability on breaking.


EXTRA X

-Knobs layout to guarantee the maximum traction on every terrain application.
-Links design to enhance the resistance in the intense use.

MXA INTERVIEW: PIRELLI’S PAOLO BRIVIO    

After the Pirelli tire intro, we took the opportunity to chat with product development/R&D man Paolo Brivio to get a feel for his work and how he does it.

How do you make certain a tire is what you want before making the investment?
We use all the tools available, like CAD imaging to simulate it. We try to develop it, as much as possible, before making the molds with all the tools and all of the software available to make a  simulation of how the tire will perform.

Can you make prototypes and do testing before the final production version?

Yes, we do that. We decide what is a worthwhile prototype. From a worthwhile prototype, with our experience mixed together, we define the tools and the construction. We don’t go forth tentatively. We have a quality approach in terms of engineering and product development.

How many different prototypes and preproduction tires will you make before you decide on the final product?

We have a plan according to the specific product for the timing we decide. It could be a development for original equipment, so we have to work together with the motorbike company. We stay with them, they decide the timing and we are following. If it’s a racing environment, our time window is very small and we react immediately. We are prototyping often. Not at every race, but we can react very quickly to the requirements. Different requirements [for tire performance] comes out through the racing experience. We use racing to compress the development time.


In the GPs, Pirelli is a huge presence. They need a lot of tires at every race.

What’s the most rewarding part of the job for you?
The racing results are really exciting because you have a competition to compete against. While [we have] a product on the market, it taked more than that to understand that we have done a really good job. A lot of other things effect the result, so racing is really rewarding. For instance,  the 85 series motocross tire was a specific request from our factory team, and became production tires. This is what Pirelli wants to do when we race. This is the most severe proving ground, the World Championship.

What goals does Pirelli have for the future? Are there any markets Pirelli will focus on?

Pirelli wants to stay a brand of very high image and leadership in every product that we do. If we do something, Pirelli wants to be the reference. From my point of view, in racing, we are at the top level everywhere we are. So, we can’t say ‘Okay, I’m happy, let’s take a step back.’ We want go on in this direction.

BIG NEWS FROM ACROSS THE POND: YOU’VE HEARD THE NAME, WE TELL YOU THE PLACE    

Tanel Leok will leave TM to be Clement Desalle’s new teammate at Suzuki.

When it comes to silly season, people aren’t just looking for new teams and new chances in the good old USA, but also across the pond?while the big players, like Cairoli, Desalle, Herlings, Philippaerts, Searle and Bobryshev are staying where they are?there is movement in the GP scene.


Tanel Leok and his son at the MXDN.                       Photo: Youthstream

TANEL LEOK: The Estonian rider Tanel Leok has signed an agreement with the Rockstar Energy Suzuki Team. Leok finished 12th in this years 450 World Championships and will be the team mate of Clement Desalle in 2012. “I’m changing teams again,” said Tanel, “but I’m really happy because I am joining one of the very best in the paddock. It was a great feeling to get the offer from Suzuki and it is also special for me because it is with the company and group that I made my breakthrough. I had some good results in 2004 at a young age and I can remember how nice that Suzuki was to race. I have a good chance for next season and it is very motivating. I cannot wait.”


Kevin Strijbos (22) filled in for injured Steve Ramon at Team Suzuki in 2011.

KEVIN STRIJBOS: The HM Plant Red Bull KTM team has signed Kevin Strijbos to compete in the 2012 MX1 World Motocross Championships on board a KTM 350SXF machine.


Jonathan Barragan will move to the Belgian LS Honda team with Ken de Dycker.

JONATHAN BARRAGAN: The Spaniard has signed an agreement with the Belgian based LS Motorsport Honda Team. Barragan will be the team mate of Ken de Dijcker in the team. Both riders will race the 450 World Championship series.

STEPHEN SWORD: Stephen Sword, THe 2009 British 450 Champion, has signed withTAS Suzuki to contest the 2012 British MX1 championship and the Red Bull Pro Nationals series. Sword will make his debut for the TAS Suzuki team at the first round of the British Supercross Championship, held at Sheffield Arena on October 22.


Zach Osborne has renewed at Cosworth for 2012.

SHAUN SIMPSON: Shaun Simpson will join Steve Dixon’s Bike It/Cosworth Yamaha Team for 2012. Zach Osborne and Arnaud Tonus are also contract with Bike It for 2012.


Max Anstie.

JOEL ROELANTS: 22-year-old Belgian Joel Roelants will be Tommy Searle’s 250 teammate at the CLS Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki team for 2012 (which will also get additional support from the now folded Van Beers team). Max Anstie is out, but the Pourcel brothers, Sebastien and Christophe, will be racing the 450 class for CLS.

STEVEN FROSSARD: Steven Frossard will team with David Philippaerts and Christophe Charlier on the factory-backed Monster Energy Yamaha team for the 2012 campaign. All in all, Yamaha will have Steven Frossard, David Philippaerts and Christophe Charlier on the Rinaldi effort and Zach Osborne, Arnaud Tonus and Shaun Simpson with the Yamaha-Dixon relationship.


Valentin Teillet was with Suzuki in 2011.

VALENTIN TEILLET: Frenchman Valentin Teillet has signed an agreement with the Lovemytime Rockstar BUD Racing Kawasaki Team for 2012. Teillet will be the teammate of Dylan Ferrandis who will race the 250 World championship series as well next year.


British Champ Brad Anderson will move to Australia for the 2012 season. Photo: Adam Duckworth

BRAD ANDERSON: Two-time British motocross champion Brad Anderson, who dropped out of the GPs to race in England (for what he said was better money), is now reportedly making the move to Australia. “Winning the British Championship and the Red Bull Pro Nationals was amazing and I have enjoyed my time with the team thoroughly, but I was looking for a new challenge,” said Anderson. Brad Anderson will race full-time in Oz on the Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing team in the 2012 Australian Motocross and Supercross Championships?were guessing that there is more money to be made in Australia than in England.

MARC DE REUVER: Dutchman Marc de Reuver has signed an agreement with the Lanes Kawasaki Team for 2012. De Reuver will race the complete British Championship Series and the British Red Bull Pro Nationals. He will also do six or seven 450 Grand Prix’s.


Gautier Paulin.

GAUTIER PAULIN: The Kawasaki Racing Team (KRT) has signed Gautier Paulin for the 2012 FIM 450 World Championships (he raced for Yamaha in 2011). Gautier led the 2009 250 World Championship for Kawasaki before injuries dropped him to third in the series, but he won a moto at the 2009 Motocross of Nations on a 450.

GODSPEED! DARWIN HUCKABEE    

Darwin Huckabee (center in red) surrounded by his fellow Texas racers.                    
Photo by a friend.

Long-time Texas motocross fixture Darwin Huckabee crashed at a race at the 3Palms track in Conroe, Texas (reportedly over the parking lot double) this past weekend and succumbed to injuries. Darwin was a top ten finisher in the World Vet Championship in his age group (including a fourth overall in 2000 in the Over-50 Expert class) and, most importantly, a husband, father and grandfather. He will be missed by his family, friends, and fellow racers. Services will be held Saturday, October 8, 2011, at Cypress Bible Church. The address is 11711 Cypress North Houston Road, Cypress, Texas 77429

ROAD RACERS, YOU GOTTA LOVE ?EM     

Jorge Lorenzo prefers Evian to Aquafina because it suds up better.

2010 Moto GP Road Race Champion Jorge Lorenzo said that he showered in bottled water while he was at the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi out of fear of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear plant. He opened the bottles and poured them on himself. Not to be outdone, Japanese Grand Prix winner Dani Pedrosa said that he was going to leave all his clothes and gear in Japan because of contamination concerns. Several teams brought Geiger counters to Japan. Perhaps they should also wash the money that the long suffering Japanese people pay them.

MATT GOERKE WINS MONTREAL SUPERMOTOCROSS     

Matt Goerke has had a tough year, so Montreal was the highlight.

At the 34th running of the Montreal Supercross, Matt Goerke showed that he was the man to beat as he won his heat race and carried it into a top-five start in the main event. Matt quickly worked his way through the pack until he was in second place and then went to work chipping away on the lead of early leader, Dusty Klatt. Soon, he caught Klatt as well, made the pass and pulled away to take his first-ever Montreal win. Said Goerke after his win, “I’ve had a bit of a trying year this season as I came back from my Supercross injuries so this win means a lot to me.” In the Canadian-only 250 race, Jeremy Medaglia took the win in front of Kaven Benoit and Tim Tremblay.

450 Class:
1. Matt Goerke
2. Cole Thompson
3. Robbie Marshall
4. Teddy Maier
5. Dusty Klatt
6. Jeff Gibson
7. Fabien Izoird
8 . Chad Johnson
9. Ryan Clark
10. Tim Tremblay

250 Class:
1. Jeremy Medaglia
2. Kaven Benoit
3. Tim Tremblay
4. Shawn Maffenbeier
5. Dylan Kaelin
6. Davey Fraser
7. Jason Benny
8. Kyle Beaton
9. Stanly Clair  
10. Nicky Beatty

DO I HEAR WEDDING BELLS?     

John and Hope Basher.

This was the “week of the wedding” as four new motocross couples started new lives together…although most had been together from many yaars. For the MXA wrecking crew it was a happy gathering of family and friends at the Los Angles Equestrian Center in Burbank for MXA editor John Basher and his new bride Hope Morrice (now Basher). But, that wasn’t the only wedding this week.


Mike and Danielle Alessi.

The newlyweds include Ryan Villopoto and Kristen Young (now Villopoto), Mike and Danielle Morrison (now Alessi) and Kyle Chisholm and Britney Duchaine (now Chisholm).

LOOKING FOR WHEELS? DUBYA’S OCTOBER SPECIAL     


Dubya USA has announced their latest monthly special for the month of October: a free set of Talon billet rim locks and sprocket bolts with any wheelset order. This special offer is only good during the month of October, so take advantage of this opportunity while it lasts! Talon billet rim locks are made from high-quality billet aluminum, and feature a stainless steel bolt for extra strength. These strong and light rim locks are available in 4 different sizes to fit almost any motocross tire. Talon sprocket bolts are significantly stronger than stock, and are specially coated toimprove corrosion resistance. Each set of bolts comes blister packed from the factory, and are available for most off-road applications. For more information about Dubya USA, head to their website at www.dubyausa.com.

BOB RUTTEN BREAKS LEG (DOESN’T CRASH)    

Bob Rutten won the 1975 and 1976 Baja 1000 with teammate Bruce Ogilvie (on a Harley 250MX) and the 1977 Vegas 400 (on a Husky with Larry Roeseler). This is Bob from last weekend.

Famous Baja 500/1110 racer, Barstow-to-Vegas star and factory offroad racer from the 1970s is still racing today. Bob, who works for Ame grips, came to Glen Helen’s REM races last weekend to race the jam-packed Over-50 Expert class to get ready for the World Vet Championship and managed to leave with a broken leg. How did he did it? Bob said, “I didn’t crash, I just went wide out of a turn and hit my boot against a bank on the side of the track. I managed to break my fibula and slightly dislocate my ankle. Had surgery to put a plate on the bone break and reposition the ankle. All that without hitting the ground. Looks like I won’t be riding for eight weeks or so.”

DODGE AMATEUR NATIONAL   

With $15000 dollars of pro purse money up for grabs, Hangtown was packed for the Dodge Amateur National.
Photo: Jessica Rankin

Fifty-four 450cc class pros showed up to compete for $15000 of pro purse money at Hangtown for the 9th Amateur National last week. MXA’s Dennis Stapleton competed in the 250 Pro, 450 Pro and won the Over-30 Pro class. With a three-moto format, that’s a lot of riding. Preston Mull (565) won the 450 Pro class, with Daniel Blair (125) and Nick Schmidt (415) rounding out the podium.


Daniel Blair’s holeshot in the 450 pro class helped him earn second overall. that is MXA’s Dennis Stapleton dead center with the orange helmet.
Photo: Jessica Rankin

For more results and info about the race, visit www.ampgfimotocross.com

THE VOLKSWAGEN 450 MX BIKE IS DEAD…FOR NOW      

Artists rendition of a Volkswagen sport bike.    Drawing: Nils Poschwatta

You probably didn’t know that Volkswagen owns 20 percent of Suzuki. You might also not know that since buying into Suzuki, there has not been a single project to come from their cooperation agreement. You might also like to know that the two companies are now feuding, threatening to sell or even holding the idea of a hostile take-over as a potential outcome. Last week the whole situation got messy when Suzuki demanded that VW retract an allegation that Suzuki infringed on the partnership agreement by buying diesel engines from Fiat. Suzuki said it never breached the VW agreement, which it is now trying to end. At one time the VW/Suzuki alliance was thought to be a great deal for both, as it would help Volkswagen in the Asian market and provide Suzuki with capital and a strong partner. That deal looks to be in shambles. Does this mean that there will not be a VW motorcycle? Yes, it does.

VP PUSHES THE ENVELOPE WITH IT NEW MR-PRO6 FUEL     

VP has announced a new fuel option for 2012. “New MR-Pro6 is unleaded and oxygenated, engineered to generate maximum horsepower in conformance with AMA Pro Racing rules,” said Bruce Hendel, Western Regional Manager for VP. “Tests have proven MR-Pro6 to be the best performing of VP’s unleaded MR fuels, delivering up to 2% more power than its predecessor (MR-Pro5). MR-Pro6 makes more power than any other AMA-legal fuel on the marketand  jetting/mapping changes are minimal.”

VP’s motorcycle fuels have enjoyed unparalleled success throughout North America and Europe, dominating the Supercross, Motocross, Superbike and Supermoto classes in AMA, as well as fueling multiple winners in the Isle of Man TT and powering Team USA to five consecutive championships in Motocross des Nations. MR-Pro6 has a motor octane of 87, R+M/2 of 95 and a specific gravity of 0.724 at 60-degrees. For more info go to www.vpracingfuels.com

CYCLE WORLD MAGAZINE SOLD FOR THE FIFTH TIME      

Once owned by Joe Parkhurst, Cycle World was sold to CBS Publishing, then sold to Dimamandis Communications, then sold to Hachette-Fillipacchi, then, a few months ago to Hearst Magazines and now to the Bonnier Corporation. A very popular street bike magazine that was founded in 1962 and based in Newport Beach, California, Cycle World was the brainchild of the late Joe Parkhurst, who passed away in 2000.

THE FONZ’S TRIUMPH TR5 TO BE AUCTIONED OFF      

Henry Winkler, the TR5 and a girl.

The 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler ridden by The Fonz in “Happy Days” will be auctioned off by Bonhams on November 12, 2011, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The bike, owned by the late Bud Ekins’ estate, was the iconic symbol of actor Henry Winkler’s character in the popular TV show. Ekins built the bike for the TV show by taking an old Triumph, a can of spray paint and a set of high-rise handlebars. For updated information on the Classic California Sale go to www.bonhams.com/petersen

MXA NEW PRODUCT: PRO CIRCUIT QUICK ADJUST FORK CAP & PRE-LOAD TOOL     

Quick Adjust Fork Cap.

Recognizing the need of an easier solution to fork preload adjustment, the engineers at Pro Circuit have developed the Quick Adjust Fork Cap. One of Pro Circuit’s newest products, the cap allows users to adjust the preload of the fork much easier than the normal stock setup. Throughout Pro Circuit’s history, the redundancy of normal preload adjustments have been noticed, typically in 2.5mm increments. In other words, in order for riders to make a 2.5mm preload adjustment on the stock setup, they would have to turn the adjuster 15 clicks. The Pro Circuit Quick Adjust Fork Cap will allow consumers to do the same adjustment in just two clicks, or one full turn. This virtually eliminates the possibility of losing count and makes every adjustment an effective one.


Rapid Adjust Pre-Load Tool.

Pro Circuit installs the $119.95 Quick Adjust Fork Cap with every re-valve and setup done to a 2011-2012 KX250F, so if riders need to make adjustments at a later time, they can purchase the Pro Circuit Rapid Adjust Pre-Load Tool separately. Trying to make things as easy for the consumer as possible, Pro Circuit’s $19.95 Rapid Adjust Pre-Load Tool allows users to adjust the preload without having to move the bar mounts or number plate. In addition, it can also be used with a stock fork cap. For additional information on these and other Pro Circuit products, please visit www.ProCircuit.com.
 
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ATK MOTORCYCLES?       

The ATK 405 had featured a backwards facing brake pedal (that couldn’t be bent in a berm), a counter shaft rear disc (to lessen unsprung weight on the rear wheel), air-cooled engine, anti-chain torque suspension and nickel-plated chromoly frame.

There was a time in American motocross and offroad riding when ATK was the sixth largest dirt bike supplier?and the largest four-stroke motocross bike builder. They won Barstow-to-Vegas, the World Four-Stroke Championship, the World Veteran Championship and fielded a team in the AMA Nationals (with Greg Zitterkopf, Scott Brown, Ed Arnet and Willy Musgrave).


It took a transplanted Austrian to build an American-made motocross bike. Horst Leitner (left) has changed a lot since his Grand Prix days (right), but his contributions to American motocross are undeniable.

My how the times have changed. Founded by Austrian Grand Prix and ISDT rider Horst Leitner in the 1980s. ATK’s were originally built it a little cottage in Laguna Beach, California. Leitner moved his family to Southern California, the center of the motorcycle industry and lived in a motor home in Tustin, California while he built his own company, ATK Motorcycles. ATK machines had a huge impact on the design of off-road motorcycles of the time with their unique combination of four-stroke power, smooth chain-torque-free suspension and electric starting. ATK dominated four-stroke motocross through the ’90s and ATK machine won the legendary Barstow-to-Vegas off-road desert race, competing against giants that included Honda, Yamaha, and Husqvarna. The success of ATK was based on Horst Leitner’s vision of building a simple and innovative motocross bike.


Before moving to the USA, Horst was a 500 Grand Prix racer and holder of four ISDT Gold Medals.

And Horst’s machines were unique. ATK originally used air-cooled Rotax-engines. And the simplicity of air-cooling built them a following in the offroad world (thanks to the sales efforts of team rider John Martin). Additionally, the light weight of Horst’s chromoly frame and no-link rear suspension system was appealing to many offroad riders. ATK’s historic place in the motorcycle world was based on innovation?evidenced by his airbox in the gas tank design, countershaft rear brake, backwards facing brake pedal, snorkel intake design and creative swingarm setup. Horst even built a kit frame so that Honda riders could bolt their XR400 engines into ATK chassis.


The ATK/Honda was a ready-made kit for Honda four-stroke engines.

But, Horst sold ATK and moved on to design prototype motorcycles for KTM, Harley, Avenger and Scott. He would also become a major design force in mountain biking with his creative suspension ideas and the Specialized FSR and Mercedes Benz mountain bike. Today, Horst Leitner makes a handful of motorcycle and ATV parts at his AMP Research facility, but mostly works in the auto and truck business with design contracts with Ford, Toyota, Nissin and Chevy.


Today, ATK sells Korean-made Hyosung street bikes. Horst would turn over in his grave at the thought of this…except for the fact that he is still alive.

As for ATK, they moved from SoCal to Idaho and tried to reinvent the wheel. Without Horst Leitner’s common sense approach, ATK faltered, tried to take over the Cannondale parts supply and are currently importing Korean-made Hyosung street bikes (as a second line at some Harley-Davidson dealerships). They have stopped producing dirt bikes, although they still offer a parts supply for old bikes.

2012 AMA NATIONAL NUMBERS:    

Numbers 4, 6 and 8 are still available to former National Champions, but the remaining eligible Champions opted out of the top ten; Dean Wilson took 15, Villopoto stuck with 2 and Chad Reed has invested in 22.

1. Ryan Villopoto (450 MX/SX)
1. Dean Wilson (250 MX)
1. Broc Tickle (250 West)
1. Justin Barcia (250 East)
2. Ryan Villopoto (will not be used in 2012)
3. Mike Brown
5. Ryan Dungey
7. James Stewart
9. Ivan Tedesco
10. Justin Brayton
11. Kyle Chisholm
12. Blake Baggett
14. Kevin Windham
15. Dean Wilson
16. John Dowd
17. Eli Tomac
18. Davi Millsaps
19. Kyle Cunningham
20. Justin Barcia
21. Jake Weimer
22. Chad Reed
23. Gareth Swanepoel
24. Brett Mecalfe
25. Broc Tickle
26. Michael Byrne
27. Nick Wey
28. Tyla Rattray
29. Andrew Short
30. Alex Martin
31. Martin Davalos
32. Tommy Hahn
33. Josh Grant
34. Cole Seely
35. Darryn Durham
36. Kyle Regal
37. Malcom Stewart
38. Marvin Musquin
39. Tye Simmonds
40. Gannon Audette
41. Trey Canard
42. Ricky Dietrich
43. Christian Craig
44. Jason Anderson
45. Nick Paluzzi
46. Les Smith
47. Chris Blose
48. Jimmy Albertson
49. Justin Bogle
50. Nico Izzi
51. Travis Baker
52. Ben Lamay
53. Ryan Sipes
54. Weston Peick
55. Lance Vincent
56. Austin Stroupe
57. Jake Canada
58. Will Hahn
59. Vince Friese
60. Matt Lemoine
61. Austin Howell
62. Travis Sewell
63. Colton Facciotti
64. Matt Boni
65. Ryan Morais
66. Jason Thomas
67. Scott Champion
68. Shane Sewell
69. Jimmy DeCotis
70. Ken Roczen
71. Kevin Rookstool
72. Jarred Browne
73. Joshua Clark
74. Tyler Bowers
75. Josh Hill
76. Calle Aspergren
77. Lowell Spangler
78. Tommy Weeck
79. Tyler Medaglia
80. Kyle Keylon
81. Robert Kiniry
82. Justin Sipes
83. Kyle Partridge
84. Killy Rusk
85. Robert Marshall
86. Taylor Futrell
87. Matt Goerke
88. Ben Evans
89. Tyler Bright
90. Bryce Vallee
91. Dalton Carlson
92. Hunter Clements
93. A.J. Catanzaro
94. Cole Siebler
95. Chris Plouffe
96. Kyle Peters
97. Jeremy Medaglia
98. Tye Hames
99. Sean Hackley
377. Christophe Pourcel
800. Mike Alessi
Note: (1) The following riders had enough AMA points to get a top 99 number, but were bumped out by tie breakers: Dean Porter, Ricky Renner, Dan Reardon,  Tevin Tapia, Johnny Moore and P. J. Larsen. (2) Eli Tomac earned number 13, but requested a different number and was given 17, and since 13 was not used this bumped Dean Porter out of the two-digit numbers. (3) Fredrik Noren would have been National number 64, but he raced under his Swedish FIM license and was not counted.

DECAL WORKS OFFERS FREE GRAPHICS MOUNTING   

Give your bike the gift it’s truly earned. It’s carried you around the track for hours, been abused with everything from the back of your boots to power washers and likely thrown to the ground on multiple occasions. This holiday season give your bike a fresh new look with DeCal Works plastic and custom decals. The Plastic/Decals/Mounting option is the quickest and easiest way to update your bike. DeCal Works builds your custom decals, professionally mounts to brand-new plastic and ships directly to your door. Simply remove your current side/number plates (set them aside if you ever need back up) and replace with the new Plastic/Decals free of any bubbles, creases and headaches. Check out the latest designs and start building your new graphics on-line at www.decalmx.com. At only $139.99 the DeCal Works combination of new OEM-quality plastic, customized backgrounds (styles, numbers, sponsors) and free mounting installation is the perfect gift for you, sponsors, and your bike.

NEW PRODUCT ALERT: ATHENA YZ85/105/112 BIG-BORE KITS    

Athena has just released two new big-bore kits for the Yamaha YZ85 (2002-2011) and offers a choice of either 105cc or 112cc displacement. The YZ85 is Yamaha’s smallest motocross model and is an ideal choice for young motocross enthusiasts. The Supermini YZ85/105 kit (P400485100038) is a complete cylinder kit featuring simple bolt on installation. The Supermini YZ85/112 kit (P400485100039) is a complete cylinder and stroker kit and requires bottom case to be opened for new crankshaft installation. Athena also developed an exhaust pipe (S410485120010), and a silencer (S410485303021), both of which are optimized specifically to maximize horsepower for these kits.

The completely re-designed cylinder has been developed for increase horsepower while maintaining long term reliability. Cylinder features include: 25 percent increase in piston surface, expanded intake port, unique two-stage booster exhaust port (eliminating the bridged port), and a larger water jacket for superior cooling. The specially designed hi-compression forged racing piston features a unique dome head that provides increase compression up to 13.8:1 versus the stock 8.2:1. You can change the compression ratios based on one of the three base gaskets all provided in the kits. The YZ85/112 Stroker kit includes a new balanced forged crankshaft. This optimized crankshaft is fully CNC machined for maximum precision. The longer, reinforced, connecting rod and silver plated needle bearings provide extended reliability. With all these features, these cylinder kits require NO case modification! All Athena Stock and big-bore cylinder kits come complete with cylinder head, pistons, all required gaskets, and other necessary items and instructions for easy installation. When you are ready to get out there?bigger is better. MSRP: $699.99 For more info visit www.athenaparts.com

LEO VINCE LIMITED TIME OFFER: $500 FULL SYSTEMS   


LeoVince is setting the bar for power and value in off-road full systems with the X3 Ti-Tech being offered at $499.00 for a limited time. The Ti-Tech is a race developed full system that boasts great looks, quality lightweight construction and maximum performance. Construction is TIG welded stainless steel header and body for reduced weight, improved balance and high durability even under the toughest motocross racing conditions. This is finished with a Titanium sleeve and carbon fiber end-cap for great looks and reduced weight. The entire system weighs just 1.5 pounds more than LeoVince’s full titanium race exhaust and is designed with the same world championship winning power.

Ti-Tech X3 Full System features:
Substantial weight savings over stock
Horsepower boosts across the entire RPM range
CAD/CAM design for a precise fit
DuraPaq packing material designed to last 50 hours before repacking, even under severe racing conditions
Machine-specific tuning to work with stock fuel settings
Meets the AMA 94dB and new FIM two-meter max sound limit.
Spark arrestor, wash plug & spring tool included
Only $499.00 for a limited time

To learn more about X3 Ti-Tech Full System and all of LeoVince’s fine products go to www.leovinceusa.com or visit your local LeoVince FORZA dealer.

L.A. SLEEVE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE      


L.A. Sleeve Co. is pleased to launch a fresh and newly re-designed website and homepage. The new website will feature information and news for the whole spectrum of products and industries served by L.A. Sleeve. You will be able to navigate seamlessly throughout the website, while focusing on your product requirements. Look for downloads of current catalogs, forms and helpful tech tips. Visit the News and Media pages for current news, announcements and products videos. L.A. Sleeve is confident you will find the website helpful, informative and worthy of repeat visits. Check it out at www.lasleeve.com

TENTATIVE 2012 WORCS MOTORCYCLE RACE SCHEDULE RELEASED    

Here’s where they plan to be:
Round 1: Jan. 13-15, 2012 at Glen Helen MX in Devore, CA
Round 2: Feb. 10-12, 2012 at Mesquite MX Park in Mesquite, NV
Round 3: Feb. 25-26, 2012 at Buffalo Bills in Primm, NV
Round 4: March 23-25, 2012 at Crazy Horse in Lake Havasu City, AZ
Round 5: April 20-22, 2012 at Speed World MX in Phoenix, AZ
Round 6: May 18-20, 2012 at Race Town 395 in Adelanto, CA
Round 7: June 22-24, 2012 at Hungry Valley SVRA in Gorman, CA
Round 8: July 14-15, 2012 at Brian Head in Brian Head, UT
Round 9: Aug. 10-12, 2012 at Cahuilla Creek in Anza, CA
Round 10: Sept. 7-9, 2012 at Honolulu Hills in Taft, CA

In other WORCS news, The 2011 WORCS  awards ceremony will be held on Sunday after the races in Phoenix. The ceremony will be held at the Embassy Suites North in Phoenix. The price will be $10.00 per ticket. There will be lots of prizes, cookies and a good time for the whole family. We will have a cash bar for your convenience.

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