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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO THIS PAST WEEK
Tuesday, May 27th
I made the drive out to Lake Elsinore to test Alex Martin’s CycleTrader.com Rock River Yamaha YZ250F race bike. This wasn’t just Alex’s practice bike, but instead the real deal. Thanks to Austin and Christina at the team for making it happen. It was an eye-watering experience. That bike is no joke! See the video from our test day below.
Thursday, May 29th
We were thrilled to test an oldie but a goodie at Glen Helen on Thursday. Although the plastic motif might fool you, an eagle eye should be able to point out that actual manufacturer, model and year from the photo below. The answer? A 2008 Honda CRF450. One of the best bikes ever (and I’m completely serious when I make that statement), I think it’s still more than capable of running with and beating the current crop of 450 four-strokes. How do I know? I rode the beast! Look for a test on that relic in the September issue. Take a look at the video below:
Oh, and we also shot video of a Honda CR112 big-bore mini. Check it out:
Friday, May 30th
Travis Fant, the videographer for MXA, and I drove up to Rancho Cordova in the morning so that we could check out the Hangtown track and get pit footage before the festivities began on Saturday. It was worth the trouble of holding my bladder so that we could jet up north in quick fashion, because we got up close and personal with the million dollar machines of moto. Jason Anderson’s Rockstar Energy Racing KTM 250SXF was one such prize.
Saturday, May 31st
Tuesday, June 3rd
On Tuesday the gang made the trip to Milestone to work out the kinks on a Husqvarna TC250 two-stroke, KX450 and KX250 that we are testing products on and to shoot the photos of Jody’s KTM 350SXF project bike.
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STYLE CHECK: WHO LOOKS BEST?
This rutted uphill turn at Hangtown was tricky. Who rode it best?
GOLDEN & DR.D LOOKING FOR GOLD THIS WEEKEND
Press release: Dubach Racing Development (DR.D) support rider, Vicki Golden, will be competing in the Summer X Games Best Whip contest this weekend. Three-time X Games gold medalist Vicki Golden has previously won gold in Women’s Super X, taking the win three years in a row. Last year Vicki earned a bronze medal after making history in X Games by being the first female to compete in the male-dominated Best Whip event. Golden will again compete in the Best Whip event, which will be held in Austin, Texas, on Friday evening. Golden looks set to surpass her 2013 bronze medal glory and bring home the gold. Vicki will be competing aboard a 2014 Suzuki RM-Z450 featuring the DR.D NS-4 Stainless Steel exhaust system.
HANGTOWN MUSINGS: THOUGHTS FROM BEHIND THE LENS
The Hangtown National, set on the outskirts of Sacramento, is historically significant. Saturday marked the 46th running of the race, and although the track has been relocated from where it once was, that doesn’t lessen the prestige of Hangtown. In my ten years at MXA I’ve made the annual pilgrimage to Rancho Cordova, California, every time that a previous engagement hasn’t interrupted the seven-hour drive northbound. Suffice it to say that I’m a fan of Hangtown.
Promoted by the Dirt Diggers Motorcycle Club, Hangtown had been site of the opening round of the National series from 2010 through last year. It’s always nice to be first on the schedule, because just like the Anaheim 1 Supercross, there’s a whole lot of anticipation going into round one. Glen Helen received that buzz this time around, but it didn’t diminish the excitement at Hangtown. Folks from all over the western seaboard trekked out to Prairie City for a great day of racing. Those vested in spending hard-earned cash on tickets and battling a hot day weren’t disappointed. Of the eight motos complete in the series, Hangtown had the luxury of hosting perhaps the most entertaining moto of the young season. Fans hooted and hollered as Brett Metcalfe, Justin Barcia, Trey Canard, James Stewart, Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen waged an all-out war in the second 450 moto this past weekend. It was awesome!
What else happened from Hangtown? Anyone can deduce from the results that Jeremy Martin (another perfect 1-1 day) and Ken Roczen (also 1-1) were the class of their respective fields. The television cameras captured Justin Bogle’s bone-jarring crash. And naturally the message boards lit up with observations, accusations and opinions about every detail from over the weekend.
What about me? I saw most of the racing from behind my camera lenses. I can’t deny that I was blinded by the bigger picture, but I was still able to witness some interesting things. Here’s what I saw on Saturday.
* Jeremy Martin is Houdini. The Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha rider has been ho-hum in morning qualifying at Glen Helen and Hangtown. He qualified third fastest at the opener and ninth at Hangtown. Not bad, but also not impressive compared to what he has done to the competition when the gate drops. In four motos he has won by a total of 1:15 over the field, averaging a gap of nearly 19 seconds per moto. That’s insane! Jeremy Martin is a racer. This brings me to my next thought…
* Timed qualifying is boring. Who wants to watch the world’s fastest motocross racers lollygag around the track all morning and only put in a few fast laps? Morning qualifying isn’t worthy of what motocross should be. If fans want to watch racers cruise around a track then they can save a lot of time and money by hitting up their local track and watching the Beginner class. Heat races could be done int he same amount of time and, I wasn’t completely opposed to the old way of doing things, where the top ten in points were automatically seeded into the afternoon motos. However, I’d tweak the rule by only allowing the top three in points to skip morning qualifying races. They could take part in the morning practice and then rest up for the motos while everyone else fought it out for the remaining spots. The fans came to watch racing, not practice. Motocross isn’t NASCAR.
* Christophe Pourcel is a cool cat. Or is that chat? I’m not so sure the other riders in the pits hold the same opinion, but Pourcel could care less about what anyone thinks of him. He’s the lone wolf in the 250 class–the odd man out. He’s French, fast, funny (although his humor often gets lost in translation), and as Frank Sinatra chirped, Pourcel does things his way. He idles around the track in qualifying until he find the mood to go fast, at which point he uses strange line choices to nail down the fastest lap in the 250 class (two weekends in a row). Then he chills out–literally–by bringing a small fan to the starting line and resting it on his handlebars while everyone else gets worked up about what gate they’re going to choose. The only downfall to Pourcel’s strategy is that he has yet to win a moto. That time will come, at which point you’ll see a lot of other racers cooling off on the line courtesy of their own electrically-operated fan.
* I’ve managed to make it through two Nationals without getting run over by John Ayers and his Kawasaki Teryx. There was a close call at Glen Helen when Ayers was bombing down a hill mid-moto and nearly collected myself, along with a spotter, team manager and another photographer, up in his grille. I have no problem with someone driving a UTV around the edge of the track, but that person should be a medic rushing to the aid of a downed rider. But ripping around as if on a joyride? That’s just scary. I thought that it was going to be an isolated occurrence, but Hangtown proved me wrong. There were a handful of Teryx’s ripping around the infield as if they were having their own race. Where were these guys driving to? Who knows.
* I have to give it up to the MX Sports staff. Davey Coombs and his crew, especially Jen Kenyon, know how to cater to the media. Although most people probably don’t care about the working environment for the media at a National, you should. Why? Without the media tent, replete with power outlets, Wi-Fi and tables, I wouldn’t be able to post race updates and photos. The staff also provides bottled water (courtesy of Thor) and Red Bull (courtesy of guess where?), along with a catered lunch (big thanks to Thor Racing for that one). And Jen Kenyon, who is way more nice than she should be, goes out of her way to make sure that we have everything we need to do our jobs. Not only that, but she is solid at announcing. She’s one of the few announcers at the Nationals that doesn’t make my ears bleed.
* I’m two-for-two on shooting photos of people rocking Fox tattoos on their legs. I photographed a double Fox head last weekend at Glen Helen, and hit a single at Hangtown. It goes to show how committed people are to a certain brand.
* The best news of the weekend? It was the announcement that the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit received enough funding from MX Sports to travel to the rest of the Nationals this year. It’s a bit ludicrous that the medical unit was in danger of shutting down their program this summer due to a lack of funding. It took MX Sports to contribute more than $110,000 to secure a deal with the Asterisk crew. MX Sports already contributes part of the rider’s fee to the program, but other sources of income need to be found. Perhaps, signage could be sold on the rig If someone doesn’t want to sponsor the medical crew they lose the right to complain that their name isn’t on the semi.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: NIHILO CONCEPTS FRAME GRIP TAPE
Press release: You’ve seen it on the factory bikes, now it’s your turn. Nihilo Concepts has been making the pre-cut Factory Frame Grip Tape for the KTM’s for years, and it was only a matter of time before we made it for all makes and models. Nihilo Concepts uses nothing but the best material in the industry to allow the best grip possible, while also holding up well. With it being .26 mil thick, it’s strong enough to last through long motos, while also being flexible enough so the Pre-Cut Factory Frame Grip Tape is able to wrap around the edges of the frame. This keeps you from catching your boot on the edges. We offer the Pre-Cut Factory Frame Grip Tape in multiple colors for each bike. Black, gray, and white will be available for all models, along with the matching color of the bike brand. Make sure you look for Nihilo Concepts Pre-Cut Factory Frame Grip Tape on your favorite pro’s bike and get yourself a set to match!
•Super sticky glue
•Flexible enough to roll around corners without kinking
•Super tough grip insures secure natural feeling to the rider
•Custom cut to fit perfectly
•Easily trim able for customization
•Available in Black Grey and matching colors for your brand
For more information, please visit www.nihiloconcepts.com.
THE KING ON THE IMPORTANCE OF MAMMOTH
Click here for discount lodging at Mammoth Mountain. Rates start at just $76!
PARIS LILLE SUPERCROSS LINE-UP
Here’s the sign-up sheet for the Lille (Paris) Supercross on November 15-16
(More riders will be announced in the coming weeks)