MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (2/12/14)

February 12, 2014
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MXAS PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    Sunset photo shoots are always a good time. Last week Daryl Ecklund and I snuck out to a secret riding spot in the desert to take photos of the 2014 Husqvarna FC250 four-stroke. We waited until the sun peaked below the faraway mountains, pulled out the strobe flashes, and went to work. This is the result.

HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE: WINGS FOR LIFE WORLD RUN

For more info go to www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com

MXA VIDEO: JUSTIN BRAYTON

THE INSIDE SCOOP: TWO TWO MOTORSPORTS TEAM MANAGER DAVE OSTERMAN TALKS ABOUT CHAD REED
What are the extent of Chad’s injuries? Is he racing in Dallas? What does Osterman think about the haters? Find out here!


Dave Osterman?the man of many opinions (many of which I agree with).

MXA: Dave, what’s on your mind?
Dave: Good question. I want to talk about the haters. I’ve been reading and hearing things like, “Chad Reed always crashes when he’s going for this and that.” Yet Chad has the best record in the sport for not crashing when it’s on the line. Most of the people don’t know enough about the sport to make those judgements. Let’s get this straight?Chad Reed is not an idiot. His bank account is pretty fat from not being stupid. I’m not trying to win people over here. It’s just that the modern fan is over the top. They don’t go to a race to see a good race now. Instead they want to leave with something, whether it’s gloves, goggles or a jersey. There’s this sense of entitlement, and I don’t know where it came from. I never clamored for anything from Deep Purple or Creedence Clearwater Revival when I went to their shows. I saw a good show and had a great time. Now it’s the norm for people to hound riders.

Do you have any examples?
I had a guy over the weekend that looked at me when I had to cut the autograph line off. He said, “You’re cutting the line off? You’re going to deny my daughter an autograph?” I told him that if he came back after the main event then Chad would sign an autograph for her. He said, “That’s at 11:00 p.m. My daughter is going to be asleep.” The thing is that people fail to see that the racetrack is Chad’s office. We’re there to work. We have a half hour window to help as many people as we can. I didn’t apologize, because I didn’t feel like I had to. Then, when the guy walked off, he cursed Chad’s name in front of his daughter. I couldn’t believe it.

It seems like Chad has gained a lot of fans this year.
Yes, that’s true. Look at the rest of the guys in the class. Why would there be hate toward them? Take James Stewart. He is one of the best riders in the world, period. Whether you love him or hate him, he’s a great racer. The same goes with Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey. Why do people hate on these guys so much? I can never figure it out. Everyone has their favorite riders and those they don’t particularly care for, but anyone that can qualify into a main event is amazing. So why the hate? It’s quite the task for someone to win a local race. There’s no reason to attack someone personally. I have super fans that are almost like stalkers on the Chad Reed side, which is scary enough, but the haters are utterly disrespectful. You want to straighten them out, but it’s almost impossible. For example, if Chad’s so washed up then how did he win two races? Did everybody else pull over? The races I watched were pretty compelling. You have three generations of racers in the 450 class. There’s Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto in the middle, and the youngster, Ken Roczen. How often does that happen?

There has never been a time where fans have been given almost unlimited access to their favorite athletes, thanks to social media and the willingness for riders to share their personal lives.
It’s exciting and gives people something to check out. But when you get over the top with it in terms of people voicing their opinions directly to the rider, that can be too much.

It’s a reality that professional racers live under a microscope.
I feel like we’re part of the circus. The riders are the clowns in a sense. We set up our tents just like they do at the circus. Feld Motorsports tries to sell and market themselves. We’re a form of entertainment, and I understand that, but it’s crazy what people say and do.


Chad hopes to taste more bubbly this winter. Only his body knows whether that will happen.

Will Chad be racing in Dallas?
Being one of the most senior guys in the sport and being as accomplished as he is, I think that he and his family are calculated in what they do. Chad knows how he’s feeling. If he goes out there, rides first practice and realizes that he can’t race, then that’s what it is. He wants to try. We were second in points. Now we’re only in third. Anything can happen. Whatever they do to Chad this week might miraculously help. Can he hang on to the 450? We’ll know after the first practice. I just know that our truck left for Dallas. Chad will put his foot in the boot and see how it goes.

What are the extent of Chad’s injuries?
I’m not even 100 percent sure. I do know that nothing was broke, per se. He has told me that his scapula hurts more than his neck. There’s a bunch of stuff that is messed up. When I went out to dinner with him on Sunday night he was visibly stiff. He’s still very determined, and fitness-wise he’s great outside of his injuries. We will probably try to limit his activity this weekend. He might not ride all of the practices. I’m staying positive, because I’ve seen him finish ninth in timed qualifying and then go win the main event.

What was Reed’s attitude when he went to the hospital after his crash?
Chad just wanted to get out of the hospital. He wasn’t laying around and crying about things. He never said that the team should regroup for the outdoors. He really wants to finish the Supercross series and do well.


Chad’s wife, Ellie, has been quite vocal in her support for her husband.
Ellie can say stuff to Chad that we can’t. She can say things to Chad that we’d like to but we can’t. She has been with Chad since they were both very young. Now they have a beautiful home in Florida, kids, and an infrastructure. They’re doing well. That doesn’t mean that people should hate on Chad because he has been successful. I don’t hate on him because he has a garage full of Specialized S-Works mountain bikes!

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO THIS PAST WEEK

We got our hands on a Hot Cams Kawasaki KX450F. It had engine work, suspension mods from MB1, a Hinson clutch, and a whole lot more.


Dennis Stapleton gets down and dirty on the Hot Cams KX450F.


We also tested a Pro Circuit-tuned 2014 Yamaha YZ250F. Pro Circuit focused most of their attention on the engine and suspension.


Daryl Ecklund goes big on the Pro Circuit YZ250F.


Jody spent Wednesday running bikes and products on the dyno?including this beautiful Scalvini YZ250 pipe for an upcoming test.


Already mentioned, Daryl Ecklund and I went out to the desert for a sunset shoot. We caught the golden hour before the sun dipped down. Here Daryl displaces some earth on the 2014 Husqvarna FC250 four-stroke.

K-DUB GOES BIG IN SAN DIEGO
FOX Sports 1 should be showing footage of Kevin Windham’s transfer jumps and other areas of interest rather than trying to persuade viewers into sending Tweets

FOR MECHANICS ONLY: ENGINE STAND

    MxEngineStand.com is proud to introduce a new tool for both the professional and home mechanic. Obviously, as the name implies, this tool is an engine stand. This is a stand that will firmly secure your engine and can be mounted on your bench for optimum stability. Not so obvious is the fact that this tool is one that needs to be bought only once as it is fully adjustable.  It can be configured to mount any motocross engine (bike and quad) from the small 50cc to the larger 250, 450 & 500cc monsters.  Further information can be found at mxenginestand.com.

250 EAST ROLL-CALL: WHO’S GOING TO WIN?

    While the 450 class continues onward toward the 17-race holy grail, the 250 West boys get a reprieve from racing. For the past six weekends Jason Anderson and company have battled tooth and nail for supremacy. The class has been filled with drama. Last lap passes, bar-banging, and ups and downs have been the name of the game out west. But wait! There’s more action ahead!
    This weekend kicks off the 250 East series. It’s a whole new set of racers, ready to prove themselves in what looks to be a deeper field than the 250 West (though arguments can be made for either coast). I figure that there will be a deep field of talent, with quite a few close races. Need names? There’s Martin Davalos, Blake Wharton, Blake Baggett, Kyle Cunningham, Jeremy Martin, Adam Cianciarulo, Darryn Durham, and a whole lot more. Here’s the breakdown of the big names.  


Mark my words! Jeremy Martin will be a revelation in the 250 East.

Jeremy Martin – He’s one of my picks for the 250 East title. The kid is blazing fast. I see him going places. The Star Racing rider says that he’s very comfortable on the YZ250F, and the weight of Yamaha is on his shoulders. He should be able to bear the load. 

Martin Davalos – In his second year on the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, Martin is the elder statesman in the 250 class. He has been racing a 250 since 2006. To give you perspective, a number of the guys he raced against moved up to the 450 class and have since retired. Still, Martin is a front runner for the 250 East title. If he doesn’t win this year then his career will probably be kaput. No pressure.

Blake Baggett – Baggett was on cloud nine after winning the 2012 AMA 250 National title. He picked permanent number four and was in peak physical and mental shape. Then it all came crashing down when Blake broke his wrist at the 2012 Monster Cup. He crashed at the opening round of the 2013 Supercross season and struggled through the opening rounds of the Nationals. Baggett then broke his foot in the middle of December. The facts are these: Blake’s best series finish in Supercross has been fourth (2011). Known more for his outdoor skills, Baggett could still win the title. He just needs to remain healthy.
 
Blake Wharton – “Prince” is back on Geico Honda, the team where he had his greatest success. Wharton struggled through illness last year, but I spoke with him at Anaheim and he said that he’s ready to roll. Wharton could be considered the fastest rider in the 250 East, though the gate has yet to drop. If he can remain consistent and keep his nose clean (remember those take-outs on Tyler Bowers and Marvin Musquin last year?), Wharton is a front runner to win this weekend, and more importantly, the title.
 
Kyle Cunningham – Kyle is an enigma. He’s incredibly fast, but he has never been able to string together consistent top finishes. He has also been around the block, turning pro in 2007 before moving up to the 450 class in 2010 and then dropping back down. He’s on the MotoConcepts team this year.

Adam Cianciarulo – Lofty expectations have always been placed on the prodigy, but Cianciarulo has often rose to occasion. His goal is to win in Dallas and fight for the title. Early reports were that Adam struggled finding speed around the Supercross track, but he’s firing on all cylinders now. 

The Other Guys – Matt Bisceglia is a rookie. Time will tell how he adapts to the big circus. The same goes with Anthony Rodrigues. Marvin Musquin is out due to a blown ACL. Joey Savatgy is also out, as is Justin Bogle (but we did see him riding at Milestone last week). I’ll be interested to see how Vince “Wrecking Ball” Friese, AJ Catanzaro, Cole Thompson, Alex Martin and Matt Lemoine do.

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! TWO-STROKE REVIVAL SERIES STARTS THIS WEEKEND AT GLEN HELEN!

DUNLOP MX32 & MX52 PRESS INTRO
By Daryl Ecklund

    Dunlop invited Jody and I out to the Milestone track to test their new MX32 and MX52 front and rear tires. Broc Glover stated that these two tires, and the technology that has been implemented in them, gave the tires a broad use between different terrains. This allowed Dunlop to cut down from previously having a hard-packed (MX71), intermediate (MX51) and  soft terrain (MX31) offerings. They have refocused on covering a variety of terrain with two tires?the MX32 and MX52.


Daryl testing the tread.

    Dunlop had the main track ripped extremely deep and left the Vet track hard packed and dry in order to test the tires in different conditions. This made life easy for our testers. The MX32 pair performed best in intermediate terrain. The front tire grabbed very well in ruts; it pulled the bike into corners. The rear was very consistent and predictable in almost all conditions. The MX52 rubber excelled in a hard packed environment. The front tire had a more consistent feel over the MX32 except in wet conditions, where it pushed out very easily. Look for a complete review of the Dunlop MX32 and MX52 tires in an upcoming issue.

BETCHA CAN’T RIDE LIKE JONNY WALKER! RED BULL ROMANIACS PROLOGUE VIDEO

WHAT THE 2014 HUSQVARNA MODELS COST


2014 Husky TC250…$7249

Motocross Bikes:
TC85…..$5399
TC125…$6549
TC250…$7249
FC250…$8049
FC450…$9049

2014 Husky FE350…$9549

Enduro Bikes:
TE250…$8349
TE300…$8549
FE250…$8649
FE350…$9549
FE501…$9899

MINI-VIEW: JEREMY MARTIN

    If there was one rookie that impressed us last year, it was 20 year old Jeremy Martin. The younger brother of racer Alex, and son of John Martin (who runs Millville motocross track), adapted quickly to life as a professional when he took second at the Daytona Supercross last year. In the National series he finished on box at Red Bud and Unadilla. It seems that the more adverse conditions were, the better he did. Recently we ran into Jeremy, as he was watching his teammate, Cooper Webb, pound out Supercross laps.

By Jim Kimball

MXA: Jeremy, what have you been up to?
Jeremy: I’ve been out here in California for a little while now testing with the team and getting the new Yamaha YZ250F dialed in a little bit better. I’m living in Tallahassee, Florida, about 30 minutes away from where the Carmichael Farm is at. I go out there every day to train and prepare for the upcoming 250 East Supercross series.

How has it been acclimating to the all-new Yamaha YZ250F?
I love the bike. I think it turns better, and overall just handles better [than the previous generation]. The engine is also very strong. I’m just really excited about it. I’ve had a good off-season so far, but I’m very excited to get out there and race it and show what it can do.

You did well in your Supercross debut last year. Where do you want to be this year?
I know for sure where I want to be for 2014 in both Supercross and the outdoors. I’d really like to win races and be a championship threat. I know that there are a lot of fast guys, but if I go out there, race the track, and ride like I do at the practice track, I think that I’ll be in the hunt. I want to be battling with the top guys.

What surprised you about your first season of Supercross?
I’d say what opened up my eyes the most in 2013 Supercross, and that I want to carry over into the upcoming season, is that I had just never raced in a stadium before. That was an experience. It took time getting used to how the program runs and getting comfortable. Getting the tracks down right away is really big. It was weird being inside a stadium with all those people watching. I was used to racing motocross, but Supercross was so different. Walking the track and really looking it over to determine what the fastest line was key, and then hitting those lines for 15 laps.


Two weeks after the 2013 Nationals concluded Jeremy Martin was out putting in laps on the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F. This kid is committed to winning.

Who do you think will be your primary competition?
I think that there will be a lot of fast people on the east coast. You’ll have some veterans there, like Blake Baggett, Blake Wharton, and maybe Marvin Musquin. There will be a lot of other fast guys, as well. I always try to expect the unexpected. Even some of the riders that may have struggled a little bit last year could be there this year. I know that everyone on the gate will be hungry!

With how well you did the past year, I feel that you definitely will be a championship contender in 2014.
Yeah, that’s what I am here for. It’s what I want to do, and what I’ve dreamed about. I want to get some wins, as it’s now been a while since I’ve won a race. Now it’s time to get it done. I’m just going to go out there and race the best that I can. I’m really looking forward to having a good season. I have a lot of people supporting me from my riding coach to my practice mechanic, Dylon Turner, the entire Carmichael Family, my parents, and the whole YamahaLube Star Racing team. I am very excited to race the new bike and get some good results.

NEXT ON MXA‘S TO-DO LIST: TIMBERSLED (NOT THE SNOWMOBILES)

NEW PRODUCT: RACE TECH PROGRESSIVE RATE SHOCK SPRINGS FOR KTM & HUSQVARNA 85/105cc MODELS

    Race Tech has recently released Progressive Rate Shock Springs for KTM and Husqvarna 85/105cc models.  These springs add progression to the stroke to compensate for the linkless design from the factory.  Test riders have commented that the Race Tech Progressive Rate Shock Springs do an excellent job preventing the stroke from blowing through on large bumps and rollers compared to the stock straight rate springs.
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    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. To apply for Race Tech Rider Support, click here.

ROBBY BELL’S WORCS ROUND #2 REPORT
February 9th, 2014
Primm, NV

By Robby Bell

    The second round of the WORCS series headed to Primm, NV where a fast, flowing course that wound through the surrounding desert awaited the racers. With the ability to make the track a bit longer than the traditional WORCS grand prix courses, and widen the track in some spots, the WORCS crew decided to combine the motorcycles and quads for the two-hour pro race, making it a true main event. Since there was a healthy amount of entries in each class, it meant the track would be changing lap by lap, and it also meant that the terrain would get rough?very rough.
    Primm is always a dead engine start and I worked with my mechanic Phil on Friday and Saturday on my start technique, putting a lot of time into it and feeling very confident in my chances of firing the bike up first kick and grabbing a holeshot; unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan.

    As the bikes fell silent, I went through my starting technique and we all awaited the slightest flicker of movement from the green flag to bring our machines to life and unleash them upon the terrain. I was extremely concentrated on the flag, which may have been my undoing, because it took my focus away from getting a good kick through the kick-starter and when the flag flew into the air, my first kick failed to start the bike. It took two more swings of my leg to finally fire up my engine and I headed onto the course around the edge of the top ten.
    In the first lap carnage I was able to make a couple quick moves, working up to eighth. I found myself on the rear wheel of Justin Morgan, and after applying a bit of pressure I was able to make my way by. Just after that I found myself behind Travis Coy and down a high-speed straight I had a little smoother line, allowing for more speed and I made my way into sixth position. As the first lap wound down I had caught up to the back end of Justin Seeds and as he ducked inside in a corner I held it on around the outside to make the pass and secure fifth position.

    For the next few laps I found myself in no-man’s land with a bit of a gap up to the leading group of Bobby Bonds, Gary Sutherlin, Justin Jones and Eric Yorba. I was feeling pretty good on the bike, but I didn’t seem to have the sprint speed that was required for me to close the distance. Finally Eric started to fall back from the lead group and I began applying a bit of pressure, looking for a way by. Around a fast, sweeping left handed corner Eric made a slight mistake and went wide, allowing me to come up the inside in the following corner, out brake him and take fourth place away.
    It took me a couple more laps to come into contact with Justin Jones and Gary Sutherlin, who were in a heated battle over second place, but just before the halfway point of the race I had finally closed the gap. My pit crew made a quick decision to pit me early in the hopes of passing them on the next lap when they both pitted. My crew got me in and out in a hurry and I rushed out of the pits to close the gap once again, but just after the asphalt pit row I made a huge mistake that would set me back. The pit exit had a cement curb that I would wheelie, followed by a six-foot high dirt bank and in my haste I smacked the curb very hard, sending my feet into the air. I momentarily lost control of my bike and “whiskey-throttled” up the bank, sending me into the air and when I flat-landed on the backside, I ran straight into a dirt mound which sent me to the ground. It wasn’t the most spectacular of crashes, but it did put a halt to the momentum I had been building.
    Having lost time in the crash, it took me a couple more laps to catch back up to Justin who was now in third. Justin’s a fighter and wasn’t going to give up third place easily, but as the course headed down a fast “S” section, I set him up by going outside and then back inside to make the pass.
    At this point in the race Bobby Bonds was still out front, but his lead over me had come down from almost a minute at its largest, to just under thirty seconds, and with Gary just around fifteen seconds ahead of me, winning the race was still within my grasp. A lap later tragedy struck for Bonds as he went down hard and injured himself, forcing him out of the race; now it was just Gary ahead of me.
    I was riding hard, trying to close the gap on Gary Sutherlin, but to his credit he had picked up his pace and was starting to inch away from me. I didn’t want to accept it and tried to push harder, but I started to make mistakes and blew off the course a couple times, losing valuable seconds in the process. With just a couple laps to go I completely lost my chance at the win when I low-sided in a sandy corner and fell. To compound the crash, my motor died and it took me a few kicks to get it fired back up. I tried to keep my pace on the final lap, but another crash set me back yet again and from there I backed it down a little to ride smooth and come across the line in second position.

    Looking back on the race, I’m happy with the effort I put into it; I definitely had a few mistakes and can improve on some things, but my body felt good and I feel I’m still building a bit of race intensity. I’d like to thank all of my personal sponsors who are making this year possible: Kawasaki, Precision Concepts, THR Motorsports, MSR, Shoei, SIDI, Spy, EVS, USWE, Focus apparel, FMF, BRP, Ryan Abbatoye Designs, Northland Motorsports, Alamo Alarm, ATP Mechanix, Jan’s Towing. Thanks to my mechanic “Factory” Phil, my wife and family for supporting me so much.
    Coming up next for me is the Best In The Desert Laughlin Hare Scrambles, which is always a fun event. I’ll be teaming up with Ricky Brabec and we’re both going to be looking to get our first win of the season. We’re also going to be doing our best to steer clear of any Cholla cactus; those things suck!

~Robby Bell

www.RobbyBellRacing.com
    Thank you to each of the team sponsors: Dunlop, FMF, Renthal, GPR stabilizer, Hinson, VP Race Fuels IMS, BRP, Kalgard lubricants, LA Piston Co., A’ME grips, AP brakes, RK/Excel, ARC levers, DT1 filters, Acerbis, Zip-Ty, Ryan Abbatoye Designs, Seal Savers, Baja Designs, Northland Motorsports

VIDEO FOOTAGE OF ROBBY’S RACE


WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN THE MAIL OR AT THE NEWS STAND


This is the cover of the March 2014 MXA. It’s on sale now (and has stuff in it that you won’t see on the web for two months). You could subscribe by going back to the home page and clicking on the “Subscribe” link.

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