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MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (7/10/13)

July 10, 2013
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    In the words of freelance photographer, Scott Mallonee, who shot Red Bud for the first time ever (and the above photo), “Man-O-man, what a party! The other Nationals pale in comparison. The crowd was boisterous and full of beans, made for lots of good venue shooting.”

MINI-VIEW: ANDREW SHORT
By Jim Kimball

    Aside from the obvious physical aspect, professional motocross is also very mental. It’s easy to let yourself get beat down, and difficult to get back to previous success.  BTO Sports KTM rider Andrew Short may be a perfect example of this. After a stress-filled Supercross series in which he raced for three different teams, Andrew has not quite lived up to his (own) outdoor expectations?but with a standout second place first moto finish at Southwick and a fourth in moto one at Red Bud, Andrew looks to be getting his mojo back.

MXA: Andrew, let’s begin by talking about your second place in that first moto at Southwick.
Andrew: Yeah, it was definitely a big improvement for me after starting off the season pretty slow. I had a great opportunity there with James (Stewart) taking the holeshot, and me starting pretty close behind him. It was nice to be able to ride his pace, and see the lines that he was taking. Fortunately that allowed me to distance myself from the rest of the pack; so when he went down it threw me into the lead. Leading a race has not been something that I have been able to do yet this year. I tightened up a bit when I was in the lead, but it was also very good for me.

What has prevented you from finishing near the front leading up to Southwick?
My speed just doesn’t seem like it’s been there, and probably from a mental standpoint I also haven’t been to where I need to be. It just seems like I have had a difficult year on-and-off the track this year, but I do feel that things are starting to come together more. The BTO team has been great, and I am adjusting more to the KTM, which is a great bike.  Hopefully now I will continue on this path to improvement and better finishes.


Short (29) has been getting much better starts as the season has progressed. Photo by Scott Mallonee.

Continuing on with the KTM, is it much different than the bike that you raced a couple years ago?
Well, remember that when I was riding for the Red Bull KTM team a few years ago that I was on the 350. I said this back then, and still feel the same way?the KTM 350SXF is an incredible bike, and if I were not racing the 450 outdoors series, I would be riding one. The 350 is a very enjoyable bike to ride, but I like the 450 because maybe I am more old school and I have a point and shoot riding style. On the 350 you use momentum more. I am used to the bigger power of the 450, but for guys like Kenny (Roczen) who are moving up from a 250, the 350 is ideal. Overall, the bike feels similar, but since there have been a few more years to develop the bike it has been improved. It’s really cool to see how KTM has progressed over just the last few years.
 
I wanted to ask you how much the fact that you had to switch bikes a few times earlier this year has negatively affected your racing.
Everyone is human, so when you have stress like I was having it is bound to affect you.  Ultimately though when you are (still) out there racing a dirt bike, it cannot be all bad. But when you are racing the world’s elite, you have to be on top of your game, and everything has to be spot on. The big thing was that I was able to continue racing. It’s something that I love. This won’t last forever, so I am trying to enjoy it as long as I can.

Let’s return to your second in Southwick’s first moto and your fourth in moto one at Red Bud. How will that help you?
I still have the same desire and determination to be up front; that has not changed, but it has given me more confidence. The mental aspect of confidence is a huge part of any racer, so I really want to keep the momentum going and keep growing the confidence. I want to get back up to where I feel that I belong.

J-SAV IS ON THE MEND:
Joey Savatgy broke his wrist at Budds Creek. The rookie was having a great rookie outdoor campaign. Heal up, Joey!

    Press release: FMF/Orange Brigade/KTM rider Joey Savatgy is on his way to recovery after sustaining a broken wrist at the sixth round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series held at Budds Creek two weeks ago.
    Since the injury suffered in the second practice session of the event, Savatgy has had a screw placed in his wrist to help the injury heal. He will return to his doctor in two weeks to evaluate the injury and get a more accurate estimate of his return to the series.
    “Joey has had an amazing rookie season so far,” commented FMF/Orange Brigade/KTM Team Coordinator James Coy. “He won AMA Supercross Rookie of the Year, and most recently was battling inside the top five at the outdoor nationals before his injury. It is unfortunate that this injury occurred in the halfway mark of the season, but we will be here to support him upon his return. He has shown great potential and we will help him get back to racing as soon as he is cleared by his doctor to return to the track.”

FLY RACING 2014: BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO

LIFE OF AN MXA TEST RIDER THIS WEEK
BY Daryl Ecklund

    As an MXA test rider, you always have to be open-minded when you’re testing a new bike, no matter what make or model comes our way. We never judge a book by its cover until the book is read cover-to-cover, including the acknowledgments, introduction, and the bio of the author. Simply put, we don’t leave any stone unturned.
    There are times when you have to make adjustments to the way you ride in order for the bike to work with you. For some this is hard, as they are stuck in their ways, but I’m usually ready for anything that comes my way. As for the last few days, MXA went a bit off the beaten path. We tested Kurt Caselli’s Dakar Rally KTM 450 bike and also a 500cc Speedway bike. Luckily for me, I had two champions in my corner. Kurt Caselli and Billy Hamill coached me on how to ride these two oddball machines.
    Caselli and I go back to when we were in diapers. We pushed each other every single day for years with training and riding, as he grew up racing offroad and I took the motocross path. I’m glad we grew up racing different disciplines, as we would have probably ended up as arch-enemies since we are both so competitive!

HOPPING ON A RALLY BIKE…

Daryl Ecklund drags fairing out in the desert.

    At the end of last year Kurt got the call to race a 380-pound machine over 5000 miles for Factory KTM in the Dakar Rally. I was happy for him, because he had a great time and won a few stages. The Dakar Rally is a really big deal, especially overseas. Kurt signed a contract to race Rally for the next few years, which is good for him and also good for me. Why? I got the chance to ride his Rally bike this week.
    Caselli’s KTM holds nine gallons of gas, has a tool bag on board, and a gallon of water can be stored in the skid plate for safety purposes. Just as I was about to rip it up on Kurt’s bike, he reminded me that it wasn’t going to be easy. “Just remember I race this thing,” was Caselli’s advice to me as I hit the electric starter. At first I was in shock at how the bike handled. It felt like a Cadillac going over bumps and on the road. You could say that I was getting a little overconfident when I tried jumping the beast?well at least I tried to jump it. Kurt laughed as a went for a ten foot double that scared me to death. There is nothing you can do to control the Rally bike in the air! I would be scared straight racing this thing, and I don’t know how Kurt Caselli does it. I have newfound appreciation for Kurt.
    
?AND ONWARD TO SPEEDWAY?

Ecklund pitches it sideways at Perris.

    I went from the 380-pound Rally bike to riding a 180-pound, 75-horsepower Speedway bike the next day. What a difficult transition that was! I thought that this was going to be a walk in the park, but the bike is so radically different from a moto bike that I was lost. The first time out on the track I just kept on staring at the outside wall. I felt I was going to hit it as I failed to get the rear end out and start flat-tracking. I was a fish out of water.
    Fortunately I was very lucky to have World Champion Billy Hamill as my coach. He talked me through the importance of proper technique of how to ride these bikes that have no brakes, don’t need to be shifted, have a dry clutch, and the only way to start the bike was to push start it. Billy told me to keep an open mind as it’s just the opposite of riding a motocross bike. So I did.
    The hardest part was getting in the habit of standing up on my outside peg with the other leg out in front and pinning it in order to get the rear end out. It was intense! After I started to get it down I got really tired. It’s amazing how fatigued I became after only three laps. My legs and shoulders are still sore. Regardless of the pain, it’s an adrenaline rush that I would recommend for any moto guy to try.
    What bike will I be testing next? Will it be a 125 two-stroke? Ryan Dungey’s KTM? Who knows, but I can’t wait for the challenge!

VOTE RV FOR THE ESPN ESPY!

    Voting for ESPN’s 2013 ESPY Awards has begun and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto has been nominated for Best Male Action Sport Athlete for the second-consecutive year. After achieving his third Monster Energy Supercross Championship and currently leading the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, Villopoto is easily one of the most dominant action sports athletes today. Villopoto became only the fourth rider in history to achieve three-consecutive Monster Energy Supercross Championships and sits fifth on the all-time supercross win list with a total of 34. The Washington native won the 2011 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship and is on his way to achieving another as he currently has a 42-point lead in the championship standings with five rounds remaining.
    The 2013 ESPY Awards are voted by you, the fans, allowing the industry to help motocross be recognized as the top action sport. Submit your vote and help Villopoto be named as Best Male Action Sport Athlete. Voting ends July 19th at 9:00 p.m. ET leading into the live event on ESPN.
    Follow the link and click to view all the categories: http://espn.go.com/espys/2013/

FMF RACING 2014 YAMAHA YZ450F EXHAUST INSTALL

PLUS, LISTEN TO AN FMF 2014 YZ450F SPEAK!

CHECK OUT AC222’S SIDI BOOTS
These are the bright boots that Antonio Cairoli wore at the Latvian GP (which, of course, he won)

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 2

    Gutted and in complete despair, Ryan Dungey had to watch 25 points go up in smoke during the first moto at Red Bud when his bike expired. Can the Dunge rebound and climb back up the points ladder against Ryan Villopoto? It’s going to be a tough order to fill. Photo by Scott Mallonee.

MINI-VIEW: NICK WEY
By Jim Kimball


Photo: Scott Mallonee

    The 2013 AMA motocross championship may not be Michigan native Nick Wey’s most successful, but certainly to his fans, friends, family, and sponsors it’s great to just have him back racing! Many may retire after suffering the severe back and hip injuries that Wey did at Millville last summer, but the recently turned 33-year-old has a deep passion for racing. As we came into the halfway point of the series at Red Bud, we thought it very fitting to catch up with one of the last members of the Michigan Mafia.

MXA: Nick, let’s start out with Red Bud. You are back home!
Nick: Yeah, it’s always great to come to Red Bud, and ride in front of friends and family. It gives you that extra motivation to do well. In truth, though, I think that everyone is excited to come race Red Bud. It’s really become the premier stop on the AMA motocross series. So I am excited to get out here and battle for sure; the atmosphere is great, and the Michigan fans are always loud. Since I am from nearby, I hope that the extra fans cheering and crowd support will help motivate me to be closer to the top ten, which is my goal for the weekend.   (Nick may have not made top ten, but his 17-16 moto finishes were some of his best this summer).

Actually, you have a pretty good fan base all over the country it seems.
Yeah, ever since my return to racing from my crash at Millville last summer the welcoming that I have received at the tracks has surprised me. I’ve now been around racing for a long time, and people know me, so it’s been pretty cool to hear the cheering. It’s nice to have fans out there supporting me, and now with especially being at Red Bud it should even help me more. I’ve been consistently getting better with my qualifying times, and my speed has been improving. So far I’ve had a few minor things prevent me from having a “breakout race”, but I think that we have those behind us now. The main goal is to keep improving, and work on getting back into that top ten.  


Photo: Scott Mallonee

We all know that you had that devastating crash at Millville last year; how do you feel right now?
Coming into the season I was not feeling that great, but as each race goes by my back feels better. The doctors said that it would probably be a year before all my strength was back, and we are approaching that time now. I’ve been working hard, and my mechanic Big Nasty has been working just as hard on getting me feeling good on the bike. Actually, the whole Mafia Moto Crew has been really pulling together.

Expand on that a bit, Nick. You have a pretty cool team behind you.
I do for sure. I had wanted to continue to race on my own terms and give myself a chance to succeed, and this team has allowed me to do it.  Mafia Moto Crew has been there with me, and is definitely a big supporter.  MSR and Tucker Rocky have been with me for years now, and have been a huge help along with Motosport.com, who has been with me for a while, too. Gaerne, Arnette goggles, Vaughn Smith, who owns MMCR, and Big Nasty at Mandingo Pickles, have also put a lot of time in to help me.  

RONNIE RENNER IS RAISING THE BAR IN ATLANTA
X Games Gold Medalist Brings Step Up Motocross to Midtown
[Press Release]

    Pro motocross rider Ronnie Renner will set the ultimate up close and personal practice stage in Atlanta in front of thousands of onlookers July 26-27 before heading to X Games in Los Angeles.  Renner’s area of expertise, Step Up, is similar to track and field’s pole vaulting, but with a motocross bike.  Renner will launch himself and his motorcycle nearly five stories high and over a pole before attempting a clean landing.
    In Step Up competition, riders speed off a ramp and over a bar which is continuously raised higher until only one rider can clear the bar without touching it.  Renner’s Atlanta exhibition is his practice leading into X Games 2013 and will be free and open to the public.  Spectators can take in the performance starting at 6 p.m. at 14th and Spring Street.  Renner recently earned the gold medal in X Games Barcelona for Step Up and will defend his title in Los Angeles the week following Red Bull Raising the Bar. Fellow professional athletes Brody Wilson and Tom Parsons will join Renner, performing freestyle motocross demonstrations for the crowd in Midtown.
    Last year, Renner landed in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest X Games motocross Step Up with an apex of 47 feet and this year he hopes to push himself to new heights. With Atlanta in the process of bidding to bring a future X Games to the area, this event is sure to draw attention to its growing action sports scene.

July 26 ? 27, 2013
Demo begins at 6:00 pm
Free Admission, Open to the Public

14th St NW & Spring St NW
Nearest MARTA: Arts Center Station

NEW ALPINESTARS TECH 10 BOOT
New colors, fresh features and much more
[Press Release]

    The benchmark boot in motocross; the 2014 Tech 10 further advances the innovations that make it the most technical motocross boot ever conceived. From the anatomical shape, with front and rear sliding blades, to the all-new closure system featuring a light and durable buckle closure system, every component of the new Tech 10 boot has been continuously developed and tested in racing for uncompromised performance and durability.
    The one-piece co-injected foot chassis incorporates five different advanced polymer compounds in a single streamlined and lightweight piece to offer strength and flexibility throughout the structure, while maintaining its robust structural integrity with no joints or weak points.
    Innovative, lightweight upper combines full-grain leather with advanced lightweight microfiber and an impact and abrasion resistant TPU shell.
    Frontal protection features a dual closure system with an internal microfiber flap, plus Velcro? for a precise fit closure attached securely with a micro-adjustable, easy to operate, lightweight buckle. Shin incorporates a unique TPU blade system engineered to prevent frontal hyperextension and offer greater flex control.


    Innovative, ergonomic design for lateral and medial flex zones to provide superb front and rear flexion support which helps prevent damaging
torsional forces around the ankle area.
    Medial-facing panel is constructed from a one-piece, specifically formulated polymer for improved structural stability and integrity, and incorporates a rubber insert panel for maximum grip contact with bike and improved abrasion resistance.
    Contoured TPU calf protector plate offers impact resistance and incorporates Alpinestars innovative rear blade system, formed with hard shock resistant polymer to protect the heel and features a rear hyperextension guard.
    Multi-density foot shell incorporating heel and toe protection is highly resistant to abrasion and impact, and adds to the boot’s overall durability.
    Exclusive dual compound sole is seamlessly integrated to the multi-density foot base structure with built-in support. The sole offers superior durability, grip and feel while riding.
    The central sole insert is easily replaceable and Alpinestars offers a full sole replacement and boot repair service.
    New buckle closure system includes high-impact aluminum bridge closures, with memory and a quick release/locking system with self-aligning design for easy, precise closure and improved riding performance and security. All buckles are easily replaceable.
    Soft microfiber gaiter helps seal out excessive water and dirt entry.
    Poly-fabric lining with 3D open cell foam incorporates anti-slip suede on heel area to keep foot located inside the boot.
    The Tech 10 boot is CE certified.


INNER ANKLE BRACE
    Innovative biomechanical inner ankle brace features medial and lateral “C” torsion bars to control ankle and leg rotation, while allowing freedom of movement. Wide fit torsion bar replacements are included. These dual connection torsion bars offer the rider natural ankle movement with progressive damping of torsional forces during an accident.
    TPU protection and shock absorbing padding on the heel and ankles and an ultra thin and flexible forefoot area for increased sensitivity and control.
    New, dual compound, removable anatomic footbed includes EVA for comfort and support and aids even weight distribution.

Sizes: 7-14
Price: $579.95
Contact: www.alpinestars.com

AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT?

COSTA MESA FIREWORKS
This is the most entertaining Speedway race I’ve ever seen (granted, I haven’t seen many of them, but this video rocks!). That’s Max Ruml in the orange TLD gear and Gino Manzares looping out.

MINI-VIEW: SPEEDWAY STAR GINO MANZARES

    Gino “G-Man” Manzares is a 19-year-old Speedway racer from Corona, California. He’s the Under-21 U.S. Speedway Champion and also one heck of a nice kid. Talented beyond belief, I watched Manzares hold the throttle wide open going into a flat dirt corner on a 500cc four-stroke and pitch it sideways without an ounce of fear in his soul. Incredible! Meet Gino Manzares.

MXA: How’d you get into Speedway?
Gino: In 2003 my parents took me to this little ranch called Maely’s, which is right next to the Kawasaki test track in Corona. A family friend let me ride his daughter’s junior bike. The very next weekend was the Gumball Rally at the Billy Hamill Academy. I rode my first race and actually got my first win right away.

What makes you so interested in Speedway?
I haven’t found a sport that gives me so much adrenaline. It’s not only a mental feeling, but also a physical feeling. When I’m at the track I get this feeling that Speedway is something that I want to do for the rest of my life. I enjoy it so much!

What’s the feeling of pitching it sideways?
To be honest, everything feels slow. The bigger the tracks I race on the slower the corners feel. The feeling alone of going wide open and turning it as hard as you can while you’re elbow to elbow with other guys is like no other feeling in the world.

There are some close races.
Oh yeah, absolutely. We’re always jockeying for position throughout the race. As long as we’re all safe then it’s the best racing. Right now there are a lot of younger kids coming up, and we’re giving it everything that we’ve got.

Why do you think that so many young kids are getting involved in Speedway racing?
I think it’s because they see all of the great older generations, but they also realize that it’s a sport that’s incredibly fun. It’s not just an old man’s sport. Kids can get into it, and the junior program that Billy has together is unbelievable. There are eight year old kids that are going wide open! It’s crazy.

You have an awfully busy schedule.
My schedule this year has been hectic. I was in Europe for three months. I had the World Under 21 team cup, which I captained in Germany. Then I did seven meetings in seven days in England. Then I went to the Under 21 individual world championship semifinal. I missed out on the final by one or two points for making the final. A week after that I went to Hungary with the senior world team cup team. I contributed, and we pulled together some good points and won it. Then I flew back from Europe, got a night’s sleep, and then went right back into the U.S. series.

How long have you been traveling overseas?
I started traveling to Europe by myself when I was 16. I went over to England for six months by myself. I wanted to get the feel of everything to see if I could race Speedway over there. I wasn’t quite ready, but each year I’ve been progressing. Now in 2014 I’ll be racing full-time in Europe.

What are your goals?
My long-term goal is to be World Champion and be the top point scorer from all of the leagues in England, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and maybe even a little Italian league racing here and there. Right now I want to stay safe, consistent, and learn every time that I get on the bike.

Describe Speedway to a motocross rider.
We race single-cylinder four-strokes. You don’t shift gears. There’s a drag clutch. Yet just as in motocross, it’s all about the start. Most of the pressure is off after you make the first corner in the lead. In racing Speedway you must be technical and smooth, because if you mess up you’ll find that the bike has a mind of it’s own. For how lightweight it is and how much horsepower it has, I think it’s the fastest thing on two wheels in the dirt.

Explain the format of Speedway racing.
There are four lap heats, which go fast, and the racing is intense. If it’s a Championship meeting then you have five races to see how many points you can accumulate. If you make the top eight in points then you go to a semi qualifier. The top two from each semi go straight to the final. You can get up to seven rides. For example, last weekend in Ventura I raced seven times, made the final and got on the podium. It gets tiring. Four laps on Speedway bike wide open feels like doing a 30-minute moto.

Where can people in the U.S. see you race?
I race at Costa Mesa, Victorville, Perris, Ventura, Auburn, Industry Hills, and people can also follow me on Twitter at gino_manzares or on Facebook. If you go to www.speedwaybikes.com you can get the info of every track, as well as rider profiles and how you can get involved in Speedway. There are even for sale ads.

Talk about that Costa Mesa race.
Max is like my little brother. We always want to win. We definitely put on a great race. To be honest, I think it was one of the best races that Costa Mesa and American Speedway have seen in a long, long time.

MINI-VIEW: MAX RUML?THE JUSTIN BARCIA OF SPEEDWAY

    Like Manzares, Max Ruml races the First Division (Pro class). He’s 16 years old with long blond hair and a riding style that is wild and fun to watch (a la Justin Barcia). Hagon Shocks teammates with Gino Manzares, Max is quickly progressing up the Speedway ranks. Hear what Ruml had to say about his beloved sport.

MXA: Are you racing primarily in the U.S., or in Europe as well?
Max: Right now I’m racing in the U.S. I’m trying to get used to everything and keeping it all on two wheels.

How long have you been racing Speedway, and what spiked your interest?
I have been racing for four years. We had a friend through motocross that we came out and met at Perris Raceway in California. I liked it, so we kept doing it.

What do you like about Speedway?
Everything is great about the sport. The experiences racing, and also the people involved, are great. I look at these people like my family. My teammate, Gino Manzares, get along well.

How long did it take before everything clicked for you in Speedway?
I figured things out at the end of my first day doing it. I got the bike sideways pretty quickly. Things started really clicking about halfway through my first season. Once I got onto the bigger bike I figured things out even more. Thanks to the help of Billy Hamill Speedway Academy and everyone around me, I got a really big push.

Describe the feeling of pitching it into a corner and letting the rear end slide all of the way around a corner.
It’s fun! It’s all about working the throttle and feeling it. At the same time I know that the back end could slide out at any time and I could go into a wall. It’s a sketchy feeling, but it’s all a great experience.

Talk about the video of you and Gino battling it out at Costa Mesa.
Oh man, that was a bunch of fun. We were racing and doing what we do best. Things got a little fishy at the end of the race. He ended up fracturing his foot because of it, but he knows that it was just team racing.

Do you follow motocross very much?
I do a little bit. I don’t really ride motocross any more. I watch Supercross and the Nationals, but other than that my focus is Speedway.

Describe Speedway.
Well, you go zero to 60 miles an hour in three seconds with no brakes and pitch it sideways all the way around the corner.

How big are the tracks?
In Europe the tracks are close to 300 meters, but in the U.S. you don’t get anything close to that big.

What are your goals?
I’d love to race in Europe. It’d be great to get on a club and have fun. I want to make it over in Europe. It’s a big jump.

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