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MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (3/13/13)

March 13, 2013
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    Chris “Brown Dog Wilson” Ganz does an excellent job of capturing the sport through his photography. Here, he gets down where the Daytona sand rests to get a shot of the grainy stuff sitting on the start gate. Very cool. Photo: Brown Dog Wilson

MXA MINI-VIEW: DAVE OSTERMAN

Dave Osterman.

MXA: Despite the numerous crashes, Chad had a good race at Daytona.
Dave: Chad isn’t dead yet. He’s a fighter, and he’s a bad dude. Even though Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac were good, we should have been on the podium. I’m in awe of the guy. He crashed twice and still rode like a hero. To me that was almost as good as a win. Daytona is an outdoor track and it showed that we’re in the window of winning.

When is the win going to come?
I don’t know. It’s not something that anyone can predict. You must have respect for guys like RV, Dungey, James [Stewart] and Justin Barcia. Barcia is obviously very young, but he hauls the mail. Every weekend we don’t hope to win. Instead we expect to win. The pleasure of working with Chad is that we are constantly trying to make things better. We’re very close to winning. I’m very pleased from where we started this year to where we are now. I rode mountain bikes with him down in Florida this past week, and he’s a tough guy.

Did you get the opportunity to drive shifter karts with him? We just had an interview with Chad in the April issue of MXA regarding his karting interest.
Man, those things are crazy! I drove one, and it’s insane. Driving a shifter kart isn’t like going on a date with your girl and driving rental karts. Chad’s karts are unreal. I drove one that had a Pro Circuit pipe on it, and the kart was incredibly torquey, fast and responsive. I was worked after ten laps! I was burning calories driving the kart. I gained a lot of respect for race car drivers after doing that. It’s hot in the one-piece suit and it’s very intense.


Photo: Brown Dog Wilson

It sounds like you had a good time hanging out with Chad at his place in Florida.
It was cool. My wife went, and it was cool that Debbie could see what gets done during the week. We saw Chad’s house and had a lot of fun. Someone might hate Chad’s guts, but if you saw where he lives, how he lives and what he built for his family, it’s very impressive. He came from almost nothing, but he has succeeded.

There has been a ton of talk about the air fork design versus the conventional fork. It’s no secret that Reed has been going back and forth between the two. Lately he seems more comfortable with the conventional, spring-style fork. Is that true?
There really aren’t any winners and losers. I got asked that question a bunch at Daytona. We stuck with the air fork a lot in the beginning of the season. It has a lot of great qualities with it, as opposed to not, and he still feels that way. However, it’s an animal. There are guys that love it, guys that aren’t bothered by it, and still others that are very particular and are looking for something. The air fork is foreign to a lot of people. I think a rider will take right to it or struggle a little bit. At Chad’s level I think that we are on the bubble of him using it full time. For me, it’s like a pair of work boots. Why get blisters on your feet? Break your boots in when you have more time and kick butt in something that you’re comfortable with.

Eli Tomac hasn’t come to terms yet with the air fork, so Chad’s not alone.
You have a young kid and an old dog, and they’re both very fast. Yet they’re both sensing things and they aren’t quite comfortable yet with the air fork. It’s one of those things that we will keep working on, but at the end of the day sometimes you have to go back to what’s tried and true and figure out the other when you have more time.


Photo: Brown Dog Wilson

Chad’s climbing up the points ladder. Currently he’s tied for fourth with Trey Canard. He has a legitimate shot at pulling a rabbit out of the hat and winning the title. That has to be encouraging.
I’m not blaming our season on the air fork or any of that stuff. It’s nothing like that. I do think that both manufacturers, Showa and KYB, came out with the air fork. All of the factory guys are using them, and you’re kind of like an odd ball if you don’t. I have an old story from my factory days when all of the Japanese bikes came out a day late and a dollar short. We rolled out what we had just finished on, and we killed everybody for the first four rounds. The reason that we did that was because we went back to what was tried and true. We figured out all of the nuts and bolts with the new stuff during the week and raced with the old bike on the weekend. At the time the Japanese weren’t happy with our decision. However, it wasn’t a reflection on the new stuff being bad, but instead a reflection on our lack of time. To bring this full circle, for me it was smart of Chad Reed to bolt back on the old suspension, because it was what he grew comfortable with. Some guys just need a little more time with the air fork. I do think that it’s the future.

Jeremy McGrath was famous for running a 1993 model CR250 all of the way through 1996, and history shows what a smart move it was for Jeremy to do that. Why don’t teams stick with last year’s package? I do understand that Honda came out with an all-new CRF450 for 2013, but parts can be shared with the old model.
When Honda came out with the 2013, between the exhaust system and the swingarm, the bike gained a few pounds. The weight isn’t necessarily bad. The swingarm is super rigid and cool looking. A lot of those qualities, even though the geometry was the same, it’s a whole new dog. For Chad, the bike wasn’t willing to lay in his lap and be his friend. It’s a new model and it takes time to figure it out. However, even with how anal Chad is, he has still been able to throw down insanely fast lap times. You don’t do that at Daytona if there’s no fight left in the dog. The win is coming.

ON-BOARD WITH VILLOPOTO AT DAYTONA

BREAKING NEWS FROM AROUND THE INDUSTRY

    ESPN has decided to discontinue Moto X and Snowmobile Best Trick. This comes two months after Caleb Moore, a snowmobile participant in Best Trick at Aspen, crashed and died of heart and head injuries. Apparently ESPN was seriously considering dropping “Best Trick” from both Summer and Winter X Games before Moore lost his life. ESPN released this statement, “This change reflects our decision to focus on motor sports disciplines which feature athletes who also compete in multiple, world-class competitions [e.g., professional events and tours] reflecting the highest degree of athlete participation, competitive development and the global nature of our X Games franchise. Over the past 18 years we have made more than 60 changes to our competition lineups at X Games events to capture the evolution of the sport and these continue that growth.”


Photo courtesy of Jessica Patterson

    Two motocross racers, Zach Osborne and Jessica Patterson, raced the opening round of the GNCC Series at River Ranch, Florida, yesterday. Patterson raced the Women’s Pro class and won the first GNCC race she ever raced. Osborne raced the XC2 Pro Lites (the equivalent of the 250 class in motocross). He led for a while before being passed by Andrew Delong and Jason Thomas. Zach finished third, a mere 1-1/2 minutes behind winner Delong. Keep in mind that the race lasted nearly three hours.

    In other news, the AMA was in the cross hairs again when they overruled that Weston Peick got beat out for second in the LCQ at Daytona. Bobby Kiniry and Weston Peick battled for the final transfer spot. Live scoring showed that Kiniry crossed the line first, but the AMA gave the position to Peick after the fact. A fuming Peick expressed anger in the pits when he kicked his bike, which subsequently fell off the stand. This was shown on the TV broadcast, which for some reason infuriated a fair number of people on the Internet. I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost my cool a number of times after not meeting my expectations. I’ve thrown my helmet, my goggles, and yes, I’ve even kicked my bike. I’m no saint. Then again, neither is anyone else. Give it a rest, guys. Peick shouldn’t have to apologize for a brief fit of overwhelming emotion that resulted in his bike falling down. He didn’t mean to knock his bike off the stand. As you can see, it spun a bit before sliding off the stand. Oh my!!!!

RIDE ENGINEERING VIDEO: ARE YOU REPRESENTING THE EAST OR WEST COAST?

INSTAGRAM PHOTO OF THE WEEK, COURTESY OF ADAM CIANCIARULO

MUSQUIN LIVES UP TO HIS POTENTIAL
By Daryl Ecklund


Photo courtesy of KTM

    Marvin Musquin is a two-time MX2 World Champion, but has struggled to blossom here in the States. Coming into the 2013 Supercross season there was a lot riding on Marvin’s shoulders to be a championship contender from Roger DeCoster and the KTM crew with his past success in Europe. It has been frustrating for me to watch him in this series knowing what he is capable of. Every race he has looked great in practice and has put in solid laps in the heat races and mains, but has struggled in getting the stars aligned for the main events.
    Past European riders such as Stefan Everts have been known to have a mythological style that is very efficient and smooth. Musquin is in the same boat. In the 250 class over the last few years, riders such as Justin Barcia and Blake Baggett have been pushing the limits, not afraid to take chances. Meanwhile the two European KTM teammates Ken Roczen and Musquin seem to be content with riding in their comfort zone in hopes that consistency will pay off. Looking a few years down the road this looks like the safe bet, but it could also cost the team a few number one plates.
    And then Musquin wins Daytona! How did this happen? First off, it seemed as if he had some telepathic power knowing when the gate was going to drop. He actually took off before the gate dropped, which gave him a full bike length lead after the first ten feet.He started off with his normal safe pace, and I thought that Dean Wilson and Wil Hahn were going to reel him in after a few laps. The Daytona track was very rough and physically demanding, which showed the riders’ true colors of how well conditioned they were. Wilson showed great speed, but he fell off the pace fast as he looked to be gasping for air. Musquin held his pace throughout the race, while others fell off leaving him with a very comfortable lead when he crossed the finish line. Musquin showed he has great conditioning and his efficient riding style definitely paid off in Daytona. I’m hoping that this race will give him the confidence he needs to live up to his potential and take a step on the top box a few more times. With only a difference of 14 points between the points leader Hahn and Musquin, Marvin still is in the hunt for the 250 East. Things just got a bit more interesting.

THE HARLEM SHAKE REACHES QATAR…LET’S HOPE IT ENDS THERE

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 2

    Under moody lighting and ready for moto, our KTM 350SXF test bike has a punched-up motor thanks to KTM’s Factory Services engine program. Look for a test in an upcoming issue of MXA. Photo by John Basher.

ATLAS ATHLETE RYAN VILLOPOTO RECLAIMS RED PLATE

    After battling back through a rough start to the season, multi time Champion and Atlas Athlete Ryan Villopoto claimed his 5th win of the season this weekend in Daytona. With this win, RV reclaimed the red plate for the first time since the season opener in Anaheim, and is now the points leader by 2 points with 7 rounds left in the series.
    Atlas would like to congratulate RV on this hard fought victory, which is his 3rd career win in Daytona.

PAGES WINS RED BULL X-FIGHTERS OPENER

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

    MEXICO CITY ? Tom Pages of France won the opening round of the 2013 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour on Friday with a thrilling FMX performance in the high altitude of Mexico City, beating Dany Torres of Spain in an action-packed final to the delight of 38,000 enthusiastic spectators. Defending tour champion Levi Sherwood of New Zealand took third place in the Monumental Plaza de Toros bullring in the first of six stops on four continents. Local hero Erick Ruiz of Mexico had a spectacular Red Bull X-Fighters debut with a superb run with polished tricks but was eliminated in the opening round.
    Returning to the FMX hotbed of Mexico City for the first time since 2010, 11 of the world’s best riders completed breathtaking jumps of up to 15 meters high and 30 meters in distance over a mound of dirt piled 13 meters high in the center of the cavernous bullring. At an altitude of 2,240 meters/7,350 feet, Mexico City’s thin air robbed the engines of horsepower and forced the riders in the world’s most prestigious FMX tour to make adjustments. Mexico’s colorful bullfighting traditions were kept alive throughout the evening. Pages also won the Swatch Best Move award with his Special Flip.
    It was the second career victory for Pages and an emotional triumph for the effervescent Frenchman, who was wearing a jersey with the Eigo Sato’s name on it as a tribute to the Japanese FMX athlete who sustained fatal injuries in a training accident last month in Japan.
    Pages nailed three difficult tricks ? Special Flip off the seat of his bike, the Volt that left him spinning in mid-air and the Flair — turning 540 degrees in mid-air “I don’t know if this will be my year or not. I’ll keep practicing and try to learn new tricks.”
 

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

The next Red Bull X-Fighters stop is in Dubai (UAE) on April 12.
 
Results:
1. Thomas Pages (FRA)
2. Dany Torres (ESP)
3. Levi Sherwood (NZL)
4. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
5. Josh Sheehan (AUS)
6. Maikel Melero (ESP)
7. Todd Potter (USA)
8. Truman Caroll (AUS)
9. Erick Ruiz (MEX)
10. Martin Koren (CZE)

MORE X-FIGHTERS NEWS: RED BULL X-FIGHTERS GLEN HELEN TICKETS ON SALE

Photo: Jorg Mitter

    Tickets are now on sale for fans to witness the world’s top freestyle motocross riders compete at Red Bull X-Fighters Glen Helen in Southern California. This will mark the second year in a row the series has descended on Glen Helen Raceway, which will again feature the largest, most progressive FMX course ever built. The event, which features the world’s top riders pushing the laws of physics with their motorcycles, will take place on Saturday, May 11 at 1 p.m. PT.
    Red Bull X-Fighters has returned for its 13th year as the world’s premier FMX series, and has expanded to include new stops in Osaka, Japan and Pretoria, South Africa. The series kicked off its six-city world tour this weekend in Mexico City, where 38,000 spectators packed into the Plaza de Toros, the world’s largest bullfighting arena, to watch Tomas Pages of France take first place.  Close on his heels, Dany Torres of Spain took second and Levi Sherwood of New Zealand rounded out the podium with third place.  The series now continues on to Dubai on April 12, and following the return to Glen Helen on May 11, the riders will travel to Osaka (June 1), Madrid (July 19) and finish the season in Pretoria (August 31).
    Known for its amazing motorcycle aerobatics and rider athleticism, the series also features exceptional locations that add to the visual spectacle, with events held on the sandy beaches of Dubai, in Madrid’s Las Ventas bullfighting arena, beside the Pyramids of Giza and at Moscow’s Red Square.  Glen Helen was added to this list in 2012, with a truly massive course that dwarfed the footprint at previous Red Bull X-Fighters events. This course, carved out of the hills of San Bernardino, will return bigger and better than ever in 2013.
    To purchase tickets, visit the series website at www.redbullxfighters.com and go to the Glen Helen event page, where the ticket link is located. There are two ticket options available:

General Admission $15 ? includes access to: standing room only, vendor row and the pit area. Please note this may require walking on steep, uneven terrain.

Grandstand Seating $25 ? includes access to vendor row and the pit area and a reserved spot to sit in the Grandstands. Each Grandstand section is open seating. You will be able to choose your Grandstand section based on ticket availability.

    New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood will be looking to defend his 2012 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour championship title after prevailing against Thomas Pages of France in the most riveting battle in the 12-year history of the event series. Sherwood, 21, was the youngest champion in the history of Red Bull X-Fighters in 2012, winning three of the five stops but needing a victory in the season finale in Sydney, Australia against his hard-charging rival Pages. The Frenchman turned the world of FMX on its head in the second half of the season with a breathtaking array of new tricks that pushed the sport to the next level. Pages finished a close second, just 20 points behind Sherwood’s 335 points, while the 2011 champion, Dany Torres of Spain, was third.

MINI-VIEW: JOSH HILL

MORE TESTING UP AT RICKY’S (CARMICHAEL) COMPOUND THIS WEEK. WHAT’S THE FOCUS FOR YOU AT THE TEST?
The focus is to just keep improving. My qualifying times are getting better, I just got a bad start in the Heat Race that put me on the outside in the Main (Event) and it didn’t work out too well. I had to throw my goggles off on Lap 6 in the Main and that made it tough. We made some improvements last week. We’re just going to continue to work and build on the positive.

TALK ABOUT WORKING WITH JEANNIE CARMICHAEL.
She’s great. She’s been awesome. She pushes you to the limit that she knows you can do. She’ll push you hard. Jeannie doesn’t ask for anything ridiculous, just pushes you to your limits and makes you ride your best.

A PAIR OF TOP-10’S IN THE 450SX CLASS AT INDIANAPOLIS FOR YOU, INCLUDING A RUNNER-UP IN 2008. IS THERE SOMETHING ABOUT INDY THAT YOU SPECIFICALLY LIKE?
Not really. I haven’t raced there in a couple of years. The dirt seems to be pretty sticky and gets rutted up. It’s a darker soil that seems to hold up well versus a sandy soil that we raced on at Daytona last Saturday. I think it will be good.

A PHYSICAL RIDE FOR YOU LAST WEEKEND IN DAYTONA. DOES THAT GIVE YOU CONFIDENCE KNOWING YOU HAD THE RIGHT-HAND INJURY EARLY IN THE SEASON?
Not really. I was expecting more out of myself at Daytona; I just didn’t put everything together like I needed to. After I threw my goggles on Lap 6? it wasn’t a bad ride?it just sucks when you start that far back in the field and have to throw your goggles.

TALK ABOUT YOUR APPROACH THE NEXT FEW RACES. IS IT A GO FOR BROKE MINDSET OR ARE YOU STILL BUILDING UPON THE LAST RACE.
I’m just building on the last race. There’s no reason to go for broke. I guess that’s something guys in the championship hunt will do, go for broke. For me, it’s just about getting better and better. I don’t need to ride over my head or do something stupid. I think the results are going to come if I keep on the same path that I’m on now.

MINI-VIEW: BROC TICKLE

YOU HAD A HOLESHOT IN YOUR HEAT RACE LAST WEEK IN DAYTONA. ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PUZZLE THAT YOU AND TONY (BERLUTI) HAVE BEEN WORKING ON.
Yeah, another piece of the puzzle that we’ve been working on all year. I was pretty pumped on the holeshot because we worked on it at RC’s track all week. My Heat Race went pretty good. I finished fifth but I think that my ride was better than a fifth-place finish. I rode pretty well.

YOU RACE RESULTS THE LAST TWO WEEKS HAVEN’T REFLECTED HOW AGGRESSIVE AND WELL YOU HAVE BEEN RIDING.
I don’t think they have. I feel that I’ve been riding really well and have been making some aggressive passes. In the Main Event (at Daytona last weekend), it took me a couple of laps to get into a rhythm and then I settled into a good pace.

MORE TESTING UP AT RICKY’S (CARMICHAEL) COMPOUND THIS WEEK. WHAT’S THE FOCUS DURING THE RIDING?
Finding more speed. I’ve got the race starts figured out somewhat. Now, it’s just speed.

WHERE SPECIFICALLY ARE YOU LOOKING FOR SPEED?
Ricky’s mom (Jeannie Carmichael) has been working on sections. We’ve been focusing on corner speed and jumps. It’s a combination of things.

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