MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (3/6/13)

March 7, 2013
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    Geico Honda’s Wil Hahn turned Pro in 2007, and in the course of those years he bounced around to several teams. Injuries plagued the amiable Kansas native and younger brother to Tommy Hahn, but he always had the talent to run up front. It all came together for Wil in Atlanta, where he won his first ever 250 Supercross race. Hahn backed it up with another win, this time in St. Louis. For his efforts and consistency Wil leads the 250 East point standings. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Photo courtesy of Geico Honda.

MINI-VIEW: JESSICA PATTERSON

Jessica Patterson from her 2011 team poster shoot.

    A multi-time champion, Jessica Patterson has battled through injuries and stiff competition on her way to the top of women’s motocross. She was narrowly edged out from the title last year by nemesis Ashley Fiolek, but Jessica is back again for another year of racing. Only the WMX series has been drastically shortened, going from nine rounds in 2012 to three rounds this summer. Without much else to do this year, Patterson searched for other forms of racing. It wasn’t long before she decided to go GNCC racing. I wanted to find out why someone with deep roots in motocross would want to run bark busters and a hydration pack for grueling two-hour races.

MXA: The most recent news in your life is that you’re slated to race the GNCC offroad series, which kicks off next week in River Ranch, Florida. You’re a motocross racer by trade. Why make the leap into offroad racing?
Jessica: GNCC was something that I’ve always wanted to do, because I thought it would be fun to try something different. With the whole WMX series going down to three races, I wasn’t left with much to do as far as racing this year. Aside from that, I was already home in Florida when the GNCC series started, so why not try the River Ranch round? That’s how it all started. I was just going to try it out and test the waters. The next thing I know I’m committed to racing the whole series!

As you mentioned, you really didn’t have much else going on this year, since MX Sports cut the women’s racing down to three rounds.
I had to figure something else to do. I’m looking into competing at a few of the Global X Games rounds (Note: the X Games series consists of stops in Brazil, Spain, Munich and then Los Angeles). Talking to the people at Yamaha, they were supporting me to branch out. The GNCC series is 13 rounds, so I’ll do as many of those as I can. Then there are three WMX rounds, so I’ll have a full schedule. I’m going to miss a few of the GNCC rounds, since they are conflicting dates with WMX, but only nine rounds are counted for the GNCC Championship.


Patterson (2) nearly won the 2012 WMX title, but was knocked off by Ashley Fiolek (1). There will be a three-round series this summer.

You were groomed as a motocross racer, and it’s really what you’ve done your entire life. Now you’re making a 180-degree turn with your career, trading in the groomed tracks and jumps for trees and mud bogs. Are you prepared for the challenges ahead?
I don’t know if I’m prepared, but I know what’s going to happen. I’ll be more prepared as the races go on. I’ve been doing a bit of woods riding lately. I went to Randy Hawkins’ house and learned a lot from him. He has a great facility. There are obviously things that are going to be tough to adjust to. As you said, I ride wide open. I need to learn to calm down, because it’s a two hour race and not just 20 minutes long. Once I figure out how to pit stop and approach the first couple of races then I’ll be good to go. I’m a fast learner.

What are your thoughts on having just three WMX rounds?
It’s definitely not something that I’m pumped about, but I guess it’s better than nothing. I’m hoping that it’s a minor setback for hopefully better things to come in the future. Maybe in another year or two then we’ll have a bigger and better series. I try not to get too down on it. Hopefully the girls have something to look forward to in the future, and not just a three-race series. It stinks coming from amateurs and getting prepared for the Nationals, which are a big deal for us, and then we only have three races. That’s not something to look forward to. Hopefully this is just a step back so that in the future we can take two steps forward.

You had mentioned the Global X Games. You’ve competed in Women’s Supercross in prior years, but never the Women’s Endurocross race. Might your thoughts change on doing Endurocross now that you’re getting into offroad racing?
I might end up doing a couple of the Global X Games Endurocross races, and at X Games L.A. I plan on doing Endurocross and Supercross. I’d like to dabble in it a bit. I’m racing offroad, so I might as well try a little bit of everything [laughter].


Jessica knows how to throw down. I doubt she’s going to be blasting any berms whilst navigating through the woods of GNCC racing.

Yamaha has been a big supporter of you in the past, and with GNCC racing it appears that they have really ramped up their efforts by backing you.
I signed with Yamaha again this year, even though no one was sure what was going on with the WMX series. However, they were up for taking a gamble. We found out about WMX and then we had a meeting with Yamaha. At the meeting we brainstormed different ideas about what I could do as far as racing, and that’s when I mentioned GNCC racing. They were immediately interested in that proposal. When I told them that I wanted to race the entire series they were really pumped. Yamaha called up Randy Hawkins, and they asked him to help me. Yamaha is hooking me up with the right people and pushing me in the right direction. They have made it possible for me to continue racing and try out a new venture. I’m really glad that Yamaha is behind me, and hopefully I can repay them with a championship.

You recently got engaged to Eddie Ray. With so much going on with the 2013 race season, how will you find time to tie the knot?
We talk about it a bit, but I think that we are going to wait to get married until next year. A lot of good things go on in 14, so I believe that we will wait.

Good luck with your season and don’t be afraid to knock down a few trees.
[Laughter] Thanks, John. It’ll be an experience, that’s for sure!

    To find out more about GNCC Racing, visit www.gnccracing.com.

STATEMENT OF THE WEEK
    So it took the red flag/red cross flag debacle at St. Louis for people to realize that the AMA rulebook is a joke. Haven’t we been saying that for years? The AMA rulebook needs to be rewritten and clarified, plain and simple.

VIDEO ALERT: PRO CIRCUIT KAWASAKI YEARBOOK

AND THE AWARD GOES TO…

    I didn’t watch the Oscars last Sunday. I didn’t care that they were on, even though the event took place not 30 minutes from my doorstep. Why? It’s monotonous watching millionaire actors gush about the people they would like to thank. I don’t have any interest in the Oscars just as I don’t have any interest in listening to the weekly Supercross podium speeches. “I’d like to thank blah, blah, blah, and blah.” Yawn.
    I do find it interesting that people win awards at the Oscars. There’s something about the surprise that excites me. Maybe I’m just a sucker like everyone else. Now that the Supercross series is more than halfway over, I thought it would be fun to award riders, teams and, in one case, a gear company with distinctions. Here goes nothing.

BEST TRACK

Photo courtesy of Kawasaki.

    St. Louis wins this category hands down. The West coast tracks had unique layouts, thanks to the expansive baseball fields, but the 90-degree corners didn’t promote passing. There was also an issue of the dirt being too hard packed. Once the series swung east the surfaces were supposed to get better. Only they didn’t. Dallas was an ice rink. Atlanta had an awesome layout, but the red Georgia clay was too dry. St. Louis was the first track with good dirt. And good dirt means that Ryan Villopoto owned the race. Give that guy traction and he’ll make the most out of it. Did you see how early he was getting on the throttle in the corners?

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

    Davi Millsaps has held the red number plate since Anaheim 1. He has not relinquished the points lead at any time in 2013. Most people figured that he would stall out or crack under the pressure. It really hasn’t happened. Millsaps had a hiccup in St. Louis when he got a rare bad starts, but that’s to be expected. Davi is up against tough opposition, but he’s holding his own. The Rockstar Energy Racing rider has only finished off the box twice. With eight rounds remaining he will have to stymie the advances of Ryan Villopoto, because that’s his only other worthy opponent for the title.

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

    Ryan Villopoto is in Beast Mode. In the last three races he has gone 1-2-1 and gained 15 points on Davi Millsaps. It’s unusual to think of Villopoto in the supporting role, since he is a two-time defending champion, but inconsistency has so far done him in. Regardless, he’s a champion, and he could make life miserable for Millsaps and the rest of the field if he strings together a bunch of wins. He already has a season-high four wins (that’s probably around $400,000 in win bonuses alone, along with $67,540 in purse money). Now he just needs to eat up a 12-point deficit to change his Best Supporting Actor role for Best Actor.

COSTUME DESIGN

    There have been a number of bright and colorful gear ensembles on display in Supercross. The Answer green/yellow combo that the JDR J-Star team ran on the West stood out. I also like Chad Reed’s Shift kits that he has been sporting, and James Stewart’s Seven gear is looking better and better. However, there hasn’t been anything more eye popping than the Troy Lee Designs neon yellow and orange SE Pro Corse gear. When Cole Seely, Christian Craig and Jessy Nelson wore that TLD gear at Anaheim 1 my eyes were bugging out. You could probably see that stuff from the Moon. The yellow/orange combo photographed well, and more importantly, drew attention to the team. Isn’t that what any race team wants?

DIRECTING

    There are too many good team managers to choose from. Dave Gowland at Rockstar Energy Racing has been instrumental in the team’s 450 debut with Davi Millsaps (originally the team wasn’t planning on fielding a 450 rider until 2014). Roger DeCoster has done such a good job at Red Bull KTM that the Austrians signed him for another three years. Dave Osterman at TwoTwo Motorsports has helped Chad Reed find comfort in his race bike and also happens to be the biggest Reed cheerleader out there. Mike LaRocco is steering the Geico Honda ship, and Wil Hahn is the surprise points leader in the 250 East chase.
    Having said all of this, there has to be a winner. Dave Gowland is that person. Gowland, along with Bobby Hewitt, Jamie Ellis and the rest of the team, have controlled the 450 class. They have done this without any factory Suzuki support. It has been an incredible effort from the Rockstar Energy Racing team. Bravo!

DOCUMENTARY SHORT

    GoPro isn’t exactly new to the racing scene, and we should all be thankful for their involvement in the sport. They offer the best first-person point of view video cameras on the market. That, coupled with sponsorships with riders like James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto and Davi Millsaps, equate to some awesome footage every weekend. How else could you experience the thrill of battling with the fastest riders in the world, cheered by thousands of people, and crash without getting hurt? GoPro provides that entertainment.

MY FIVE: COLE SEELY

OH, THAT DEAN WILSON. HE’S A FUNNY GUY

2013 MXGP QATAR HIGHLIGHTS: WHERE ARE THE SPECTATORS?

MINI-VIEW: JUSTIN HILL
By Jim Kimball

    In spite of being on one of the greatest 250 Supercross teams ever (Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki), Justin Hill was a little under the radar coming into the 2013 East Coast Supercross series.  But with finishing fifth in the series opener in Dallas, and then backing it up with a sixth in Atlanta, Josh’s younger brother proved he was ready for the “Big Show”. Although he had an uncharacteristic finish of 16th (due to late race crash), in St. Louis, the 17-year-old is seventh in the point standings. Just before going into the evening races I caught up with Justin.

MXA: Justin, it has only been three races into the 2013 250 East series, and you’re already making your mark.
Justin: Yeah, it’s been pretty good so far. I have a couple of good finishes, but today is a new day and I’d like to turn it up a few notches.  I’m feeling more comfortable here, and I’m looking to improve.

If this were the outdoors, and you were already doing well, then it would not have been a shock to me. I am sure that you’ve grown up on a motocross track.  How can you do so well in Supercross so quickly?
Well, it has just come somewhat naturally for me. All through my career I have trained hard, and I have mentally prepared myself for racing.  Like you said, I have spent much more time racing motocross over Supercross. It just don’t seem that different to me. Unfortunately I was injured late last year, so I didn’t ride Supercross as much over the winter as I would have liked to. Some of the other guys in my class got a jump on me. But, as I said, Supercross has just been kind of natural for me. That might be due to watching my brother ride Supercross so much in the past.

Speaking of your brother, I am sure that you have done a lot of riding and training with him in the past. Are you able to do much of that now with being on different teams?
Actually, we get to ride together often. Our teams our kind of intertwined in different ways. I get to go to the Suzuki track on different days, and he can ride our tracks at different times. I get to watch Josh ride a lot, and I always learn a lot from him. I love watching my brother ride.

What have been some of the biggest differences between the amateur ranks and now as a professional?
Well, this is definitely the big time! Everything is better. The tracks are better, there is more professionalism, and everyone comes to see you race. You’re the center of attention when you are on the track. I loved my entire amateur racing career, but I always looked at it as a means to an end, which was to get into the big show. It has been a pretty cool environment being a Pro, and I am very happy to be a part of it.

Have your expectations changes since before the season to now?
They have stayed about stayed the same. Coming into this season I just really wanted to come to the first race, make it into the main easily, and have a good showing. Since that has happened I now want to focus on always being in the top five. Of course I want to get on the podium and win a race before the series ends. That’s the goal.

POD NEWS: HAHN STRIKES AGAIN!

    Hahn strikes again in St. Louis! Wil captures his 2nd consecutive win and takes the red plate & his POD K700’s into Daytona this upcoming weekend.
    For more information visit: www.podmx.com

RACE TECH GOLD VALVE KITS FOR KYB AIR FORKS AVAILABLE

    Race Tech has just released Compression and Rebound Gold Valves for 2013 Honda CRF450 and Kawasaki KX450F KYB Airforks to the public. The Race Tech R&D team has been hard at work testing and developing all new Gold Valves with riders like Derek Anderson, Vince Friese and Kyle Wolack to maximize the performance out of airfork technology.
    The Compression Gold Valves are designed to maintain proper firmness and provide a great feel in the rider’s hands. The Compression Gold Valves are also constructed to provide drastically increased bottoming resistance.
    The Rebound Gold Valves are extremely important to eliminate restrictions from the stock piston designs on both the CRF450 and KX450F. Rebound Gold Valves create a plush initial feel and rapidly improve traction.
    Like all of Race Tech’s Gold Valve Kits, these kits all come with personalized valving settings to create Factory level Works Suspension available to you. Each Gold Valve Kit is 100% Guaranteed to exceed even your highest expectations, or your money back!
    Compression Gold Valves Part Number: FMGV 3230. Retail Price: $169.99. For more information about Race Tech’s products, seminars and rider support program, please visit racetech.com or call our friendly sales staff at: (951)279-6655. Race Tech has a history of over 28 years producing the highest quality suspension components and tools; including Gold Valves, for most types of motorcycles and ATVs, to distribute worldwide.
    Check out our website at: www.racetech.com.

WIL HAHN VS. DEAN WILSON: WHO WINS?
Contrasting Wil Hahn and Dean Wilson in the battle for the East Coast 250 Championship
By Daryl Ecklund

    I like Wil Hahn. Who doesn’t? The fact is that Wil has become a veteran in the 250 class, and with zero race wins coming into the season there was very little buzz about his chances of being a championship contender in the 250 East. Sorry, Wil, but I envisioned guys like Dean Wilson and Marvin Musquin as the front runners. It turns out I was wrong.
    Coming into the first race in Dallas everyone knew that Dean Wilson was going to be the man to beat. After he pulled away with the win, leading from start to finish, most thought that Dean would have this championship in his back pocket. Wrong. After three rounds Wil Hahn is the points leader. I’ll admit that I was as confused as everyone else, but I shouldn’t have been. Wil’s experience and his desire appears to be the recipe needed to beat Wilson and the rest of the class.
    Wilson is the fastest guy on the track bar none. He pushes the envelope and hangs it out. But pushing the limits can lead to mistakes, and mistakes lead to lost time and lost energy. This is where Wil has capitalized. Hahn has gotten great starts the last two races and is consistently fast lap after lap. He has a very smooth and fluid riding style. Wilson, on the other hand, is consistently making mistakes and losing time. It seems that Hahn is now in Wilson’s head. Dean needs to get his starts down and be patient in order to minimize his mistakes to take the red plate away from Hahn.
    This weekend’s round is held at the highly regarded Daytona Motor Speedway, where the track conditions favor outdoor skills. Wilson, the 2011 AMA 250 National champ, excels outdoors. I do think that Wilson will be logging the fast lap times, but Hahn’s consistency might just overtake Dean’s speed once again.

AMSOIL ARENACROSS KANSAS CITY RECAP

    The penultimate round of the 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, also signified the third round of the inaugural Race to the Championship from Kansas City, Mo., and the Sprint Center. After claiming his first overall victory in the Race to the Championship and reclaiming the points lead, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis rider Tyler Bowers backed up his triumphant effort with another dominant victory.


Tyler Bowers.

    Bowers swept each of the Main Events last Saturday night, leading all but three laps across both 12-lap races. It signified his 10th overall victory of the 2013 season, making it the third consecutive year in which Bowers has won at least 10 races in a championship. It also helped Bowers extend his lead in the championship standings with the final round looming from Denver in two weeks.
    Bowers followed Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Kelly Smith out of the first corner in the opening Main Event in Kansas City, but passed him early and pulled away for the win. His closest championship rivals, Team Faith/FLY Racing KTM’s Jeff Gibson and Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Zach Ames, followed in second and third.
    After drawing no inversion heading into the second Main Event, Bowers grabbed the holeshot with Gibson in tow. A slight bobble after crossing the finish allowed Gibson to slip by into the lead and control the tempo for a couple laps, but Bowers made an aggressive move to retake the spot and check out. Gibson ultimately gave way to Ames on the final lap, with the duo finishing second and third, respectively.
    Bowers’ Main Event sweep ensured the overall win, while Ames’ late move in the second Main Event helped him steal second overall. Gibson settled for third.
    Bowers, who also claimed the bonus point in the Head-to-Head Bracket Racing, moved to six points ahead of Gibson in the Race to the Championship and seven points ahead of Ames, in third. Collectively, the lead trio extended its advantage to 13 points over Mosites Motorsports Kawasaki’s Michael McDade in fourth.

    Following the win, Bowers revealed on the podium that he suffered a broken collarbone in a practice crash with Ames at the Kawasaki test track in Corona the week leading into the opening round of the Race to the Championship from Little Rock two weeks ago. Bowers went into surgery almost immediately and had the break plated, still allowing him to compete. His fifth-place effort in Little Rock was the worst outing of the season for Bowers and caused him to lose the lead in the Race to the Championship. However, he bounced back in Wichita to take the win and reclaim the points lead and has now backed that up with another victory.
    Bowers insists that following this season’s lone break in action this coming weekend, he’ll be close to 100% for the final round in Denver, which will feature two nights of action on March 15th and 16th. Only four Main Events and 48 laps of racing remain to crown the 2013 AMSOIL Arenacross Champion.
    In the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class, Letko KTM’s Tanner Moore won in front of his hometown crowd with a dominant wire-to-wire performance. He became the fifth different winner in six races this season and was joined by BWRengines.com Honda’s Kyle White and TZR Woodstock KTM’s Scott Zont on the podium.
    Following tough nights by championship leader Michael Lang, who finished 14th aboard his Ticketwow.com Honda, and BWRengines.com Honda’s Maxx Malatia, who finished seventh, the battle for the Western Regional title became even closer.
    Malatia moved into the top spot and will lead the field into the final round of action with a one-point lead over Lang. White’s runner-up effort helped him move to within three points of the lead.

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