HANGTOWN NATIONAL OUTTAKES
The weather for this year’s Hangtown National couldn’t have been more perfect.
Not only do you get a lot more racing for your outdoor dollar, but how about paying $15 less to park your car than at the stadiums?
Hangtown was Magoo country.
The American’s were amazed at the pristine set-up of Team KTM’s pit – especially the white tile floors!
However, it did seem a bit odd to find (and hear) the grungy Street Drum Crew banging away next to the super sano KTM pit who hired them.
If there were two guys fighting for one job last year, it was Dean Wilson (108) and Blake Baggett (66). At Hangtown the two SoCal arch rivals were once again at it tooth-and-nail.
GRANT’S BIKE SPY SHOTS: A Drama In Three Parts
Part 1: The first thing I noticed was the number of factory Yamaha guys hanging around Grant Langston’s bike. Then, I was told that they weren’t letting anyone shoot pictures of the bike…nothing better than a factory-backed challenge eh?
Part 2: When I tried to shoot a photo of the bike, I got kicked out of the pits as I approached to get a closer look. However, I knew I could outsmart the factory and get the shot I was after when the bike was rolled to the start line.
Part 3: Alas, those pesky Yamaha guys outsmarted me and the secret data acquisition electronics package had been removed (leaving only the cylinder-mounted bracket). By the way, rumors abound that not only is the J-Law team kaput, but that the ever lovable J-Law himself could be headed back to the pokey.
There’s been a long standing joke in the industry for years – how do you make a million dollars sponsoring a race team? Start with two million. With all the factory cutbacks, the entire motocross community should be thankful that these two guys; Mike Genova and Chad Lanza (r) of MotoConcepts and Valli Motorsports respectively are such big fans of the sport as their race teams have kept more than a few dozen people employed.
MXA’s own inhouse National and GP racer, Dennis Stapleton, qualified for the show, but suffered bad starts in both motos. Dennis raced both Hangtown and the USGP…and is at Freestone this weekend.
French fans never fear…Christophe Pourcel may not have won at Hangtown, but he is still the hands-down favorite to win the title. Will he be in Honda red in 2011?
Ashley Fiolek had some bad luck on the race track at Hangtown, but she remains hugely popular with the fans.
Last year’s outdoor rookie sensation Kyle Regal is off to a hard start in 2010. After starting out the Supercross season getting a taste of the good life by riding out of a team semi with Valli Motorsports, the relationship dissolved and Kyle is now riding a private Honda out of a Dodge Sprinter. Hangtown was not nice to the young Texan, but the bets are that he will prevail.
CHECKING IN WITH LES SMITH: A Drama In Three Parts
Les checks out his new HoT ride at Hangtown.
MXA: How about a quick review of your 2010 season?
Les: I started out on the east coast paying my own way, but getting some help from JGR. When the Supercross season was over I had a deal for the outdoors with Rocks River if no other deal came up and when Honda of Troy called it was a little late, but Rock River was really cool about it.
MXA: So how is hard is it switching to the Honda, what’s the transition been like?
Les: Making the switch is not that bad, it’s the bike I wanted to get back on because I spent my whole amateur career on a Honda. I struggled a bit with the Yamaha, but the HoT bike is really good and I’ll be on it for the whole series.
MXA: What big lesson did you learn from turning Pro?
Les: It’s so different from racing amateur it’s like starting all over. If you want to be successful you have to make the experience your whole life. It’s not just having fun anymore ? you gotta be ready for the weekend when it comes
Part 1: A Kawasaki privateer at Budds Creek 2009.
Part 2: Les as a JGR support rider in the 2010 AMA 250 East Supercross series.
Part 3: Here’s Les in his new gig as a Honda of Troy team rider.
250 class mayhem…and is it just us or does Drew Gosselaar (373) seem to have the worst luck of anyone?
Four up & comers, each with dreams of glory: Tevin Tapia, Vince Friese, Jimmy Decotis and Sean Lipanovich.
Belgium’s Ken DeDyker jumped in at Hangtown for a pre-U.S.G.P warm-up. Despite not being allowed to run his trick carbon fiber gas tank, the big Yamaha rider finished ninth overall.
THE LIFE & TIMES OF ELI TOMAC: A Drama In Three Parts
Part 1: Full of promise – Eli Tomac in full-flight.
Part 2: Like so many other up-and-comers, Eli would be nowhere (yes, nowhere) without the love, support and dedication of his parents, John and Kathy. It probably doesn’t hurt that his dad knows a thing or two about training and racing himself.
Part 3: Back in the day John Tomac was the greatest all-around mountain bike racer on the planet. Here’s a shot of “Johnny T” at the 1990 UCI World Championships in Durango, Colorado, aboard his very rare carbon Yeti C-26 with dropped bars. Over the years “The Tomes” would win a slew of both National and World Mountain Bike titles (cross country, downhill, dual slalom), plus a road racing title as well.
Many people slag on Chad Reed. Why, because he’s good at what he’s paid to do?
MXA MINI-VIEW: Mitch Payton – To Move Up Or Not To Move Up?
MXA: I know you’ve been asked this about a thousand times, but why, with all your domination do you not field a team in the premier class?
Mitch: The goal of my team was always to be there to help bring kids up and graduate them. A lot of things have changed in the sport since I first started the team in 1991. Back then an important goal was to maintain a sense of neutrality so I could work with all the manufacturers on an open basis and supply them pipes and equipment. But, it’s pretty obvious that the ground rules have changed since then…one of the big ones is that there are companies that are paying the factories to use their stuff and we never did that. I would say that I would definitely throw my name into the hat if Kawasaki went the Yamaha route, but there are other opportunities out there as well.
MXA: Do You ever feel bad about not being in the premier class?
Mitch: Not really. I feel bad sometimes when I look at the 450 class and see how shallow the field is. To me, it’s not as much what you can do with a bike and rider, but what you can do with the whole package. By hiring James or RC you pretty much have guaranteed success, if you look back at some of the kids I tried to bring up you know that wasn’t the case. I get a great sense of gratification from being the stepping stone in a kid’s career. To help them get the success that changes their life.
MXA: What about the difference between the two venues; Supercross and motocross?
Mitch: Supercross has been a complete success. They have a system that, even in a down economy, gets people into the stadiums. Last year I think the outdoor numbers were down a little bit, but as far as the riders are concerned there’s more opportunity to be successful racing outdoors.
GLEN HELEN USGP OUTTAKES
Monster Energy will kick Red Bull to the curb for the title sponsorship of the USGP next year. This is not the Red Bull arch that fell over (and John Ayers had nothing to do with this arch fiasco). The finish line arch is the one that fell over. Why? It was braced against Saturday’s strong West wind, but on Sunday the wind blew, albeit a lot gentler, from the East. The West side cables were over-tensioned in fear of more westerly winds. The result? The foam arch fell on Finn Harri Kullas (who was sponsored by Monster).
World Champ Antonio Cairoli doesn’t mess around with freshly broken-in boots when he races?he runs with brand new boots (with gold buckles).
Now this guy knows what it’s all about!
Lots of color to be found at the USGP.
I wasn’t sure who this woman was, but she had a escort and everybody was shooting her photo. Rumor has it that she was on the TV show “Lost”, but then, if she can’t be recognized, who cares?
Michael Leib showed good speed all day, the only problem was that his Rockstar/Bud Racing Kawasaki wouldn’t last either moto. Following the race, the young SoCal rider was nonetheless rewarded with a contract for the rest of the 2010 GP series. Au revoir Michael!
Two of the greatest motocross riders of all-time: Johnny O’Mara (left) and Broc Glover. Both still love the sport and remain fiercely competitive. Besides their multiple National titles, they each won a USGP (O’Show – 1980 125cc, Glover – 1984 500cc).
Jimmy DeCotis – a real privateer.
Teen sensation Ken Roczen races with a Polar heart rate monitor and a full suit of Ortema upper body armor.
A trio of WORCS riders: Bobby Garrison (928), Justin Soule (762) and Ricky Dietrich (not shown) all raced, but unfortunately, none of them had a good day.
Meet the Tedder family: the boys (left to right) Myles, Dakota, and dad Matt. The 2010 season is a big one for the boys as they’ll be competing on the entire National circuit. At the Glen Helen USGP all three competed (with dad jumping into the Vet Cup race). Typical kids, both complained about being photographed next to their dad’s bike with the yellow Vet Cup number plate….until reminded that it’s dad who is paying the bills for their race effort.
Tonus Arnaud was wearing this German-made ONB Ortema neck brace which didn’t look anywhere as sophisticated as the Leatt, Omega or Alpinestars versions.
Doug Dubach played the role of Marty Moates to celebrate both the history-making USGP win by the Yamaha privateer at Carlsbad in 1980 and in awarding the Marty Moates Cup, which was given to the top American of the day. Zach Osborne got the trophy for finishing second in the MX2 (250) Grand Prix. He also got a $5000 prize for being first American. Ricky Johnson donated the silver cup.
Former 500cc National Champion and 1981 Motocross des Nations winner Chuck Sun finished 15th in the Vet Cup race, but it was his kind remembrances of former teammate Danny Chandler and his old pal Marty Moates that really got the crowds attention. Nicely done Chuck.
Monster Energy’s sponsorship of three Yamaha teams plus the CAS Honda team, all with similar graphics, meant you had to look closely at the bike to know what it was.
As odd as it was to see so many KTM’s competing, and winning – even in the parking lot the Austrian brand was well represented. These are the bikes that Dick Burleson and John-Erik Burleson rode to Glen Helen.
Quite a few riders were sporting hydration systems to deal with the heat.
Probably the second most popular rider at the USGP (after Mike Alessi) was Ryan Hughes. Ryan had a rough day on Sunday after qualifying seventh on Saturday. Ryno had a big crash in the second moto.
The L&S Hondas took the place of American Honda’s Red Bull regulars.
After finishing the previous days qualifier with less than cup of gas left in his tank, MXA’s Dennis Stapleton didn’t want to take any chances with the long 40-minute motos on Sunday, so he came back with the IMS tank he uses for his WORCS races.
These are the crates the GP teams use to transport their bikes and spare parts from Europe.
Kevin Strijbos was running a larger capacity carbon fiber gas tank.
HANGING WITH TEAM TLD: A Drama In Three Parts
Part 1: Here’s a close-up of Ben Townley’s sweet custom painted lid that features USGP graphics plus memorials to Danny Chandler and Andrew McFarlane.
Part 2: Anyone need a spare sub-frame?
Part 3: Okay, how about a spare muffler?
Judging by his rental car racing skills at Hangtown? that took us to the edge (“Hey, I can’t believe we didn’t get arrested!”) and his second moto win at the USGP, it’s fair to say that Ben Townley definitely has his game back.
PROFILES OF KEN ROCZEN’S RM250Z
MXA MINI-VIEW: Roger DeCoster – Them Versus Us Or Vice Versa
Famed French Rally ace Ludo Boinnard had Roger autograph the MX des Nations trophy that David Bailey won in 1986. Roger was the team captain of the U.S. Squad that included Johnny O’Mara and Ricky Johnson.
MXA: How would you compare the U.S. riders with the Europeans?
Roger: They run totally different programs when it comes to racing. The Euro mindset is only focused on racing outdoors while the U.S. riders have to divide their season into two parts; Supercross and motocross. The European riders plan their fitness around peaking in the Spring, but American riders have already been racing for three months
MXA: So what was up with the Teka stickers being run on the U.S. team bikes?
Roger: Hey, I need sponsors man! Teka has been very supportive of the European team and it looks like they will be helping us out here in America next year.
MXA: What do we need to know about Dungey’s ride at Hangtown?
Roger: We just weren’t as ready as we could have been. It goes back to what I said about the intensity of the Supercross series. We didn’t get the outdoor testing done that we should have because he was so focused on winning the Supercross title. We also lost some days to a big Nike commercial that Ryan had to do…and let me tell you, it’s pretty impressive to see what Nike is doing with motocross.
American heroes live forever. To get your hands on a variety of cool Magoo memorabilia, head to Danny Magoo.
When somebody realized that the LOP Yamaha that Doug Dubach was going to ride in memory of Marty Moates at the USGP hadn’t been ridden in decades, they decided to call in the one man who would know something about the bike. Ed Schiedler was Yamaha’s top racing R&D guy back in the day. The “Field Marshall” he was happy to look over the bike to ensure that the memorial lap that Doug Dubach rode on the bike at the USGP would go smoothly.
This is John Tomac’s Yeti race bike from the 1990 World Championships with his original MXA sticker on the top tube. The Manitou fork (later sold by Answer Products) used elastomer springs to provide a whopping 1.5 inches of travel.
And this is what the current Yeti prototype downhill bike looks like. Now with front and rear disc brakes, and eight inches of travel via Fox suspension, DH mountain bikes have come far since the Tomac era. For more, Yeti Cycles.
One of my all-time favorite pieces of mountain bike history – my autographed poster of John Tomac racing his factory backed Mongoose at the Edgemont Ranch NORBA National in 1988. And yes, that’s JT Racing “Bad to the Bones” cycling gear he’s wearing.