MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (7/31/13)

July 31, 2013
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    Inclement weather couldn’t destroy the aura of Millville, which just so happens to be one of my favorite tracks on the planet. The undulations, fun jumps, prime soil and grueling sand whoops are awesome! Photo by Scott Mallonee.

INTRODUCING YAMAHA BLU CRU: NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH “BLUE’S CLUES”


    Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA is proud to announce the launch of the bLU cRU amateur rider support program. bLU cRU is for YZ/WR contingency-registered racers, who take pride in being part of the Yamaha family, and are supported by Yamaha with exclusive benefits during their purchase and ownership experience. Using the famed Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championships as the perfect back drop for the launch, bLU cRU is all about enhancing the Yamaha experience.
    Starting with the YZ/WR Contingency program, Yamaha expanded the professional payout to include every Yamaha rider who makes the main in Supercross and the forty rider field in an outdoor National. For 2014, Yamaha is going even further, adding additional payouts to amateur riders by expanding coverage to the top ten finishers at 9 premier Amateur races around the country. Additionally, all payouts to bLU cRU members will be made via the new Yamaha bLU cRU debit card.
    Every member of the bLU cRU will receive a swag bag filled with Yamaha goodies upon joining the cRU. Another benefit bLU cRU members can look forward to is 5% rebates on purchases, up to $1,000 on GYTR performance parts and accessories between June 11, 2013 and November 30, 2014.  As part of bLU cRU, Trackside Support is growing, with expanded Yamaha trackside dealer presence at more local and regional events. Please visit Trackside Support for more information. bLU cRU members will have priority access to Rider and Technical Tips that are sure to enhance your performance, when you’re working on your YZ in the garage and when you’re out on the track racing it.
    “Yamaha is committed to helping everyone who chooses to race a YZ or WR, and that couldn’t be more evident than with the bLU cRU program. With additional contingency, trackside support, technical support, riding tips and rebates on GYTR performance parts and accessories, now’s a really great time to ride a YZ and be a part of the Yamaha family”, said Motorcycle Marketing Manager, David Docktor.  For more information and updates on the bLU cRU program make sure you visit www.yamahabLUcRU.com.

MINI-VIEW: ELI TOMAC

    Throughout this summer’s 2013 AMA 250 Motocross Championship, momentum has shifted several times. First, it was on the side of Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen, and then with teammate Marvin Musquin. However at Millville it was Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac who has now emerged as the rider with the momentum. Not only did he overtake Roczen for the points lead and red plate, he did it in a big way. We caught up with Eli as he was packing up his gear bag getting ready to leave Millville.

By Jim Kimball
Photos by Scott Mallonee


Tomac (17) hunts down Ken Roczen (94) in the second moto.

MXA: Eli, congratulations on picking up the red plate this weekend.
Eli: Thanks! I do think that recently the momentum was slightly swinging my way, so I was really hoping on coming out of here with the red plate, and a two or three point lead. Instead it’s a 27-point lead. But there are still a few rounds left, so I got to hang on to it! I need to stay on the podium, and be up front. As far as Millville, everything was awesome except for my starts. The track was pretty comfortable for me as it’s a lot like my home track in Colorado?a little bit sandy with a lot of rollers. I was able to make my passes here and just had the flow going.

Millville was exciting  to watch as there were some new riders to the top three mixing it up.
Yeah, in the first moto Jeremy Martin was up there, and he was going very fast. I thought that I was going to have to settle for second but then decided I needed to keep pushing, and made the pass.  This track is just different; so I knew that there could be some different guys running up front.

With a 27-point lead now, will you change your strategy for the remaining rounds?
You know, having the points lead is in the back of my mind. There’s no way to completely block it out.  But you just need to go out there and ride your normal pace. If you’re riding with the intention of protecting your points lead then mistakes can happen. Like I said, I don’t care who you are, it’s always hard to not think about it (maintaining a points lead), but it’s just one of those things that you need to deal with.


Eli mixed it up with hometown hero, Jeremy Martin (77), in the first moto.

With no race this upcoming weekend, do you take some time off or keep doing your regular routine?
We’ll probably work on the bike and do a little bit of testing. Maybe I’ll take a couple days off and just go out and do something fun.

Do you feel pretty good about the final three tracks?
Yeah, I do. Of course the track in Utah is all-new, but I really like the Salt Lake City area. It’s close to my home and only a six hour drive for us. I really like the elevation there, as it is very close to what my home track has, so I’m especially looking forward to that race. Elsinore is Elsinore. It doesn’t have the absolute best dirt, but it’s decent.

I’m sure that winning this National Championship would be a great way to cap off your 250 career.
It would definitely be nice to get this 250 championship before moving up to the premier class for next year. That’s what we are shooting for.  

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: JBI PRO PERCH

    Press release: Ride JBI is proud to introduce the JBI Pro Perch, a high performance replacement fork spring perch for KYB, Showa, & WP twin chamber forks.  The JBI Pro Perch features pressure sensitive damping allowing the perch to control the flow of oil based on pressure.  This style of damping at the spring perch allows for a fork that is plush on small bumps yet firm enough for you to go big!  The WP version is now available while the KYB/Showa version is finishing up testing and will be available soon. For more information visit www.RideJBI.com.

RIDING TIP OF THE WEEK: HOW RIDING SLOWER CAN MAKE YOU FASTER
By Daryl Ecklund


Daryl Ecklund tells you to slow down in order to speed up.

    For years I have had an issue with being able to swallow my pride, slow down and let either my buddies, competition, or anyone for that matter catch and pass me. I know practicing going slower and focusing on certain aspects of my riding will make me a smoother, faster, more efficient rider. Still to this day I have trouble with stepping down from a challenge and just focusing on myself rather than others around me.
    Practice makes perfect, right? The more you ride the better rider you will become. But focusing solely on twisting your right hand even farther will only get you so far. Learning to flow and carry momentum starts at a slow pace. A lot of riders (especially Americans) can come into a corner mighty fast, but they lack the foresight to think about the exit. This leaves them riding the rear brake into the corner, killing momentum and having to abuse the clutch, which in turn breaks traction on the exit in efforts to get back up to speed. This is highly inefficient.
    When learning to carry speed, have the mindset of starting out at a much slower pace. Start out by riding a gear higher than normal around the track. This will be hard at first, but it will teach you to enter into the corners slower and become light on the brakes (or else you will stall). You will feel how much smoother you become at the apex through the exit of the corners. Once you get the hang of that, your next challenge is to not use the clutch. This will teach you throttle control through the corners and makes you carry your speed even more because you won’t have the clutch to rescue you from stalling.
    These techniques will be a challenge. However, practicing without the clutch and in a higher gear will soon transfer into your regular riding days making you a much more efficient, faster and smoother rider.
    
COOL ‘SHOUGAL SHOTS FROM BIG WILL
    Freelance photographer, Will Petterson, sent over some sweet pics from Washougal. There’s no way that I could let these gems get sent to pixel purgatory. Check ‘em out.


James Stewart grabs a handful of throttle.


Josh Grant (33), Ryan Dungey (1) and Ryan Villopoto (2) fly in formation as they fight for the holeshot.


RV digs deep at his home track of Washougal.

FLY SPONSORSHIP  ENROLLMENT PERIOD BEGINS AUGUST 1

    Press release: Open enrollment for FLY Racing 2014 sponsorship begins Thursday, August 1st and runs through November 15th. During this period, FLY will accept rider sponsorship applications for U.S. based riders for the following sports:  Professional Motocross, Amateur Motocross, Pro and Amateur Offroad, ATV Motocross and Offroad. The acceptance period is  August 1st through November 15th.  To be considered for FLY Racing sponsorship, please send a resume, with a cover letter and photo(s), to one of the following:
 
Via Mail:
Fly Racing
Attention: 2014 Sponsorship
601 East Gowen Rd.
Boise, Idaho 83716
 
Via Email:
Send to raceadmin@flyracing.com  Subject Line: 2014 Sponsorship
    
To view the entire 2014 FLY Racing Collection, visit www.flyracing.com.

WHO’S WHO IN THE MOTOCROSS ZOO
By John Basher
Photos by Scott Mallonee

    The 2013 National series is nearly over, folks. The stars of motocross have traveled from Hangtown to High Point, Muddy Creek to Millville. With only three rounds remaining, we’re 3/4 of the way through the Nationals. Six motos are all that are left to determine who will be the 250 and 450 champions.
    Quite honestly, I’m baffled by this realization. It only seemed like last month that the candles were blown out in Supercross. Now here I am thinking about the offseason, which is less than a month away. A wave of sadness comes over me every time I think about how the gates will stay down and tires won’t be churning up terra firma from sea to shining sea.
    And then I remind myself that this time of the year might very well be the most exciting few weeks of racing. We’re deep in the heart of the Nationals with two titles up for grabs. The Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championship is going down in Tennessee, where future stars of the sport are proving their worth on what has become a world stage. And then there’s the X Games, which will include some fan favorites (freestyle, step up, Endurocross), as well as the return of X Games version of Supercross (although ESPN has to call it Moto-X due to possible naming infringements).
    Though I’m tickled pink to watch Loretta’s as it streams live online (www.racertv.com) and enjoy the spectacle that is X Games, the AMA Nationals really float my boat. I’ve covered lots of Nationals so far this summer, and the ones that I couldn’t go to because of my testing schedule, I’ve watched on television. I was there for Lasergate, was on hand for the inaugural Muddy Creek round, and have been reminded exactly 36 times that a 15-minute call to Geico can save me 15 percent or more on car insurance. I’ve seen the boys of summer in action and have come away impressed?mostly, anyway. Who’s who in the motocross zoo? As the 2013 National Championship reaches its culmination, that’s the million dollar question.

    Ryan Villopoto had a rare off-weekend. How rare? Out of 18 motos this series, RV failed to score less than 20 points in consecutive motos for the first time. Yes, the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider has had a few hiccups (by the way, it’s strange to consider fourth place a hiccup, yet Villopoto is just that good), but he has also scored maximum points in the other moto at those Nationals. That wasn’t the case at Millville. In the process Ryan lost 8 points to Ryan Dungey. No big deal. Villopoto still has a 34-point lead over the Dunge. It’s down to a two-horse race, but really unless RV fails to score points in a moto it’s looking like the new “Fastest Man on the Planet” will wrap up the title.

    Give Ryan Dungey credit. He doesn’t waver, give up or back down from a challenge. Now if only his bike could go the distance. Here’s a hypothetical situation. If Dungey didn’t have an electrical problem in the first moto at Red Bud while running second, and his chain didn’t come off in the first moto at Millville, then it’s fair to say that the pride of Belle Plaine, Minnesota, would be leading the chase (putting him around 421 to 426 points to Villopoto’s 413). It would be quite a different story. Instead Dungey will have to hope that Villopoto has a few mechanical bugaboos of his own. I don’t see it happening. The Monster Energy Kawasaki team, including master wrench Mike Williamson, have been rock solid. However, stranger things have happened.

    There are 150 points still up for grabs. Why is that so important? Aside from the obvious mano-a-mano battle between the Ryan’s, it means that only four riders are even still in the fight for the 450 crown. Trey Canard, in fifth place, is out. Crazy, huh? So are Mike Alessi, Andrew Short, Jake Weimer, Broc Tickle, Josh Grant, Malcolm Stewart, Chad Reed, Phil Nicoletti, Tyla Rattray, Justin Sipes. They and the rest of the 450 class are racing for pride. Only Villopoto, Dungey, Justin Barcia and James Stewart are eligible.
    Of the 450 class, who has shown signs of life and who has been less than desirable? That’s easy.

THE GOOD:
James Stewart

    He won! It’s weird that James Stewart winning a National would be newsworthy. It’s no secret that Stewart can win on any given day, but after being passed by the Ryan’s several times throughout the course of the series it seemed that James wasn’t capable of running up at the very front. Guess again. True, he had some good fortune at Millville when Villopoto went down and Dungey had his chain come off, but he still had to weather the storm. It was nice to see James back on the top step of the podium.

Justin Barcia

    I honestly thought that Justin would have won a 450 National by now. He was close at Muddy Creek, but has since stumbled a bit in terms of consistency. His riding style has changed a bit in that he doesn’t seem like he’s always riding on the ragged edge anymore. I kind of miss it. Even so, Barcia should have third place sewn up in his first full-time 450 outdoor campaign. That’s admirable for a rookie. By the way, Justin is the featured rider on the September cover of MXA. Very cool.

Trey Canard

    It’s awesome to see Trey Canard back in action, and his racing heroics in Millville were inspiring.

Andrew Short
    It has been a tough year for Shorty, but he’s made the best of it. I would expect the BTO Sports KTM rider to finish sixth in the point standings (he’s currently seventh) and chalk his outdoor campaign as a victory over adversity (remember he switch teams three times this year). He’s also a stand-up guy. My Dad can’t stop gushing about his friendly demeanor, either. Here’s a gold star for you, Andrew.

Josh Grant
    Yes, he’s only tenth in points, and he should be higher up, but at least Josh is trying now. He’s realizing his potential once again and letting it all hang out. Once his confidence is fully restored I expect him to be a consistent top five guy. The only problem is that he’s running out of races before the winter snow comes. It can be difficult to carry momentum through the offseason.

Malcolm Stewart
    How anyone could think that Malcolm Stewart wouldn’t flourish on a 450 is beyond me. The kid is built like a linebacker. Relegating him to a 250 doesn’t seem right. I’m glad that Malcolm was given the opportunity to show his stuff in the 450 class. It seems like every weekend he’s learning and figuring out what’s needed to excel. It’s cool to see young blood in the aging 450 ranks.

THE BAD:
Mike Alessi

    Mike Alessi has suffered from poor starts?and might I add poor decisions from his family?all of which has cost him dearly. Where is the fast starting Mike Alessi of yore?

Jake Weimer
    Several big name riders have been in a funk this summer. Jake Weimer is one of them. Certainly it’s tough having the pressure on as a factory rider and teammate to Ryan Villopoto, but in the past Weimer took it all in stride. Something has changed. Jake was battling with guys he normally jets past. It wasn’t until the second moto at Washougal that he showed signs of life. I find it hard to speak negatively about Jake, because he’s such a nice guy. I will point out that he has finished inside the top five in only one moto this series. Maybe he can turn back the clock and think of those good vibes he had while leading a moto at Unadilla last year (before he augured into the ground).

Broc Tickle
    Finished on the podium in the 450 class in the past can sometimes be considered the kiss of death. Broc Tickle showed what he was capable of last year, but he has tanked it so far in this year’s Nationals. I don’t want to be too hard on the guy, because team owner Ricky Carmichael is vocal enough for the both of us on how upset he has been with Broc’s results. Tickle seems like another one of those guys who has struggled with confidence. I’m sure this analysis of him won’t help. Let me just say that Tickle has the speed to finish inside the top three, but he has to convince himself that he can do it.

Chad Reed

    I’m impressed that Reedy is still going after it in the Nationals, despite having a rash of poor finishes. He’s not giving up. Chad Reed is better than what his results show, and it will be interesting to find out what’s going really on with him. Illness? Injury? Dissatisfaction with his bike? So even though he’s only 12th in points (bad), it’s very cool that he’s still trucking along and being a quality ambassador for the sport (good). Reedy is getting long in the tooth, but he’s still more than capable of winning races. It’s safe to say that everyone is pulling for Chad Reed to be up on the box.

CHECK OUT THE NEW GOPRO APP

    Press release: Conveniently View and Share Your GoPro Photos and Videos with iOS and Android devices using the new GoPro AppGoPro, makers of the world’s most versatile camera that captures today’s most engaging user-generated content, have officially released a new version of its app for iOS and Android devices. The new GoPro App allows people to use their mobile device to view and share photos and videos stored on their HERO3 and HERO2 cameras via email, text, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and more.

    GoPro App in Action:  Watch the new GoPro App in action as GoPro surf athletes Lakey Peterson and Alana Blanchard conduct product testing during a recent surf trip to the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia.

    Control your camera remotely. Use your smartphone or tablet as a remote control for your GoPro. With the ability to change any camera setting, start/stop recording, monitor battery and storage levels, and more, the new GoPro App gives your mobile device complete control. Live image preview lets you see what your GoPro sees even when the camera is out of reach, making framing shots easy.

    View photos and videos. The GoPro App makes it easy to view your GoPro photos and videos while you are on the go. Check out your last run on the ride back up the chairlift. Watch your best wave once you’re back on the beach. With the GoPro App you can wirelessly watch footage stored on your GoPro camera using your mobile device. Additionally, you can browse and delete content on your camera’s memory card, freeing up space for more great footage.   

    Share content instantly. Want to share an awesome GoPro experience you just captured with your friends back home? Now you can copy photos and select videos from your GoPro to your smartphone or tablet and then share them via email, text, Instagram, Facebook and more. It’s a great way to quickly share your favorite experiences right after they happen.   
    A software update is required for HERO3 and HD HERO2 cameras to use the new version of the GoPro App. All editions of the HERO3 camera (White, Silver, and Black editions) and HD HERO2 cameras support the Control, View, and Share features of the GoPro App.  To learn more about the GoPro App and to check device compatibility please visit: http://gopro.com/software-app/gopro-app

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 2

    It’s nice to see James Stewart smiling and winning again. Millville was a long time coming. Is Bubba back? I hope so. A happy Stewart is a fast Stewart. Photo by Scott Mallonee.

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