MXA MID-WEEK REPORT: Rating The Top 15 Riders, A Former Champion Wins Again, Ryan Villopoto’s Recipe For Success, Why Ryan Dungey Really Might Be A Fighter, Plenty Of Interviews, And How You Can Win 25 Grand!

February 2, 2010
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By John Basher


ÿÿÿ Sometimes you just need a change of scenery. Jason Lawrence apparently felt that way. Monday, while out at the Honda Supercross test track, I watched J-Law ride from the Yamaha test track over to the Suzuki test track. Heÿthen rode around the hill behind the Honda test track before doing a big hill climb into the green hills above the Yamaha test track. Where did he go next? Who knows!


ÿÿÿ “There’s nothing better than a Monster and some Mandingo pickles. Get some!” - Ryan Villopoto atop the podium at San Francisco. Now that’s marketing! I’d like him to take it one step further and eat a pickle on the podium and then shotgun a Monster. What do you say, RV?


[Press Release]

ÿÿÿ When DeCal Works first announced a historic opportunity for fans to win “5,000 cash this Supercross season, people were a little skeptical to say the least. However, now with a quarter of the series complete, the cold hard cash is still very much up for grabs!
ÿÿÿ This means that in addition to competing for plenty of other awesome weekly prizes, there is still up to an amazing 26 chances to win “5,000 cash presented by DeCal Works!ÿ
ÿÿÿ “We threw this idea out there simply as a way to have fun and say thank you to all of our customers and fans who make our sport the greatest on earth”, commented Ron Joynt, owner of DeCal Works. “The fans are ultimately the one’s who make our sport worth being a part of, and DeCal Works wants to show them how much we appreciate their support by giving fans a way to compete, have fun and possibly take home “5,000 cash” concluded Joynt.
ÿÿÿ It’s fast and easy, here’s how it works: Go to ProMotoFan.com and register for the 2010 ProMotoFan Fantasy Supercross Series. Then, before each Round of the Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Series just Submit Your Picks of the Top 10 Riders for each Class in the position you believe the riders will officially finish overall. The first player to correctly pick all 10 riders in either class in the exact order (Perfect Card), wins “5,000 CASH!
ÿÿÿ Whether you are a hardcore ProMotoFan or just want a crack at the “5,000 cash, head over to ProMotoFan.com and Get in the Race!


ÿÿÿ The pride of Pilot Point, Texas, Geico Honda’s Blake Wharton has found himself in a peculiar position. He did very well at the first two rounds of the 250 West series, but in the last two races he has struggled. Still, Wharton sits fifth in the point standings and is looking forward to getting back on the saddle in San Diego.ÿ

MXA: Are you satisfied thus far with the season?
Blake: The first two rounds were good. I finished fourth at Anaheim 1, which I thought was pretty good, but Phoenix was a lot better. I led for most of the race and nearly had the win. I led for 12 laps and ended up getting third. Since then I’ve been dealing with crashes. At Anaheim 2 I crashed both in practice and the Heat race. I had to go to the LCQ, and then my start wasn’t very good at all in the Main. Then at San Francisco I made a silly mistake and crashed in my Heat. I couldn’t get back on the track in the right spot and finished tenth, so I had to go to the LCQ. It was pretty frustrating. I’ve been doing well in the LCQ’s, but it’s not the place to be. I need to fix a couple of things and I’ve been practicing. I promise you that San Diego is going to be better.

MXA: As strange as this might sound, do you actually benefit in some way by racing the LCQ? Of course you don’t want to be going to the Last Chance Qualifier, but you do get more track time.
Blake: In a way, if you make it through the LCQ then it’s good for track time, but the worst thing is that you get a horrible gate pick for the Main. If I could ride extra laps but also get a good gate pick for the Main then it might be worth it. This past weekend at San Francisco the first turn was practically a sweeper, so I couldn’t do anything and got run off the track in the start. I was way back but couldn’t catch up quickly.

MXA: San Diego looks like it might be muddy.
Blake: You know, San Diego looks like it could be muddy, but so far Anaheim 2 and San Francisco were supposed to be muddy and the track crew did an amazing job at keeping those tracks good. I expect San Diego to be in the same condition as Anaheim and San Francisco. The dirt will probably be kind of muddy and rutted, but the track should be good. All I know is that I’m going to show up there and get it on!

Blake is looking to win again. He has been testing pretty heavily with the team and is also working to improve his game.

MXA: You mentioned that you need to fix a couple of things. What have you been working on?
Blake: I’ve been working on some personal things with my riding, but we’ve also been doing quite a bit of testing. I like testing, because the more you know your bike the easier it becomes to make adjustments in race situations. I’m always working on my riding skills, and it’s great to get seat time on the bike.

MXA: What is your brother, Tyler, up to?
Blake: My brother is back in Texas. He’s been riding a lot and he’s getting ready to race East coast on a KTM.

MXA: That’s great to hear that he’ll be racing again. What team is he on?
Blake: He’s on Team Tyler Wharton. He has some friends and good sponsors helping him out. He will have a good bike and I bet that he will do very well. He does good in Supercross. I don’t think there will be any problem with him getting on a team. He just needs to do well. I’m confident that he will do that.

MXA: After racing East coast last year, what coast do you prefer? East or West?
Blake: Supercross is Supercross. The tracks on the West coast have been pretty similar so far. We haven’t had any dry tracks. When I think East coast tracks I think of them as being moist and muddy. West coast tracks usually have harder dirt, but so far this year it has been good. All the tracks have been pretty cool. I’ll just say this, the best track is the track that you do well at.


ÿÿÿ Justin Barcia goes front end high into the Honda Supercross track whoop section. Now that’s commitment!


ÿÿÿ Mike LaRocco might be new to the position of team manager, but he’s no stranger to the motocross industry. LaRocco raced professionally from 1988 through 2006, accumulated a 250 and 500 National title, Supercross World Championship, U.S. Open win, and one heck of a fan base (a fan base that includes me). Now the team manager of the highly successful Geico Honda team, he has his hands full taking care of riders Kevin Windham, Trey Canard, Blake Wharton, Justin Barcia and Brett Metcalfe. I caught up with him at the Honda test track on Monday after he and the team had a very good weekend in San Francisco thanks to Trey Canard.ÿ

MXA: Congratulations on your first win as a team manager. How have things been going at the helm of the Geico/Honda team?
Mike: Thank you. I like the job. It’s certainly busy. I have some really good guys to work with. It’s a pretty fun job.

MXA: I always see you during the track walk with your riders, and Trey Canard in particular. Are you offering them any words of advice?
Mike: I just try to be there if there’s something that I can help with or solve. They are still the guys doing the riding. I just try to be there if they need something.

MXA: What’s the status of Brett Metcalfe.
Mike: He’s not as healthy as he wants to be. I believe that he’s going to start riding this week. That’s the goal, but at this point he’s trying really hard to get himself in a position where the injury won’t be nagging. He wants to go riding and race, but there’s such limited time to make everything happen before the East series starts. It’s going to be tough.

MXA: Do you think that he will be able to race the 250 East opener at Indianapolis?
Mike: That’s everyone’s goal, but until he starts riding we won’t really know.

MXA: How is Justin Barcia progressing in Supercross?
Mike: He’s doing well. I’ve had him fly out to California a few times just so that I can check on him. This time out here he looks really good. I feel that if he had to race next weekend he would be in good shape.

LaRocco has been working closely with team rider Trey Canard. They seem to be working well together, evidenced by Trey’s win in San Francisco.

MXA: What separated Trey Canard at San Francisco from every other weekend?
Mike: Trey got two decent starts at San Francisco. He hasn’t had the best starts, and he’s been in positions with an injured foot where it was holding him back. I felt that he was capable of winning before the season even began, and I think that we just got back to where we started from.

MXA: How will your team changes outdoors? Is Metcalfe going to move up to the 450?
Mike: That’s the plan right now. Obviously we have to hope that he can race East. If everything goes as it should, then he will be on a 450 outdoors. Then we have Eli Tomac coming in to race the 250 Nationals and take Metcalfe’s spot.

MXA: Last, but certainly not least, you are going to have a new addition to your family in the next few weeks.
Mike: It will be another boy – actually our fourth boy. My wife isn’t due until the end of February, but I predict that we will be seeing him pretty soon. As for a name, we’re working with the whole “er” thing. There’s Ryder, Parker, Jager, and now Miller, but we have to make sure that the name looks right [laughter].


ÿÿÿ If you have picked up the March 2010 issue of MXA, then you’ve probably seen that we rated the top 25 riders before the season started. This rating system was based on past racing experience, success, injuries, and other factors. Although the AMA doesn’t rank riders each week like college football and basketball do with teams, I thought it would be interesting to rank the top 15 riders throughout the entire pro circuit (including 250 East and West riders) at this point in the season.
ÿÿÿ A side note, James Stewart and Chad Reed aren’t included on this list, as they are out with injuries. If they were healthy, it would be a whole different ball of wax.

Josh Hill is number three in this week’s ranking. His teammate, James Stewart (trailing Hill above) isn’t ranked, since he is sitting on the couch healing up.

1. Ryan Dungey – 11 point lead, two race wins.
2. Ryan Villopoto – Two podiums, he beat Josh Hill in three of four races.
3. Josh Hill – Three straight podiums.
4. Jake Weimer – Ultra consistent, he has three race wins and four podiums in four races.
5. Andrew Short – Short shows flashes of speed, but he has finished just off the box.
6. Christophe Pourcel – Despite a freshly healed collarbone, he is the odds-on favorite to win the 250 East.
7. Kevin Windham – This old dog still learns new tricks, but he needs to consistently be on the podium.
8. Davi Millsaps – If he can stay mentally focused, watch out!
9. Trey Canard – One win and three podiums. He needs a major slip-up from Weimer to really get into the thick of the championship chase.
10. Wil Hahn – Wilbur is getting the bugs worked out in Supercross. His stock is rising.
11. Broc Tickle – Despite a poor result on paper, he was flying at Anaheim 2 and then finished on the box at San Francisco.
12. Ivan Tedesco – He looks more and more comfortable on the YZ450F.
13. Austin Stroupe – Austin missed San Francisco due to illness, but he should race San Diego. He is a front runner for the 250 East title.
14. Justin Brayton – Everyone expects more out of him, especially after he did so well in the off-season. Still, he has tons of untapped potential.
15. Tommy Hahn – Tommy is on the mend and should be ready to race at the top level in a few more races.

ÿÿÿ And everyone thinks that it’s always sunny in Southern California. Wrong. It looks like Dirt Wurx will have to work their magic again to keep the San Diego track from turning into a swamp.


ÿÿÿ Star Racing Yamaha’s Broc Tickle has been having an up and down 250 West outing thus far. He has finishes of 6, 5, 10, and 3 through the first four rounds and sits fourth place in the point standings (35 points behind Jake Weimer). Tickle really came to life at Anaheim 2, and while is result on paper doesn’t show his great ride (10th), he came from very far back to make the top ten.

MXA: You’re probably ecstatic about finishing third at San Francisco, but I was really impressed with you the week before at Anaheim 2. You came from way back to finish 10th in the Main.
Broc: Thanks. At Anaheim 2 I felt like I was riding really well. I had a good Heat race. I finished second behind Jake Weimer, and it was good to get some riding time behind him so that I could see some of his lines. In the Main I was running probably sixth on the opening lap, but I washed out in a corner and ran off the track. I was facing backwards and had to get turned around, and at that point I was 30 seconds behind the leader. I rode as hard as I could and finished 10th. It was good to charge through the pack, but I wasn’t happy about the overall finish. Weimer finished 36 seconds ahead of me, so if I would have stayed up then I probably would have done really well, but those things happen. I will chalk it up to being my bad race for the series. I want to keep doing what I did in San Francisco by finishing on the podium.

MXA: Were you satisfied with your third place finish at San Francisco?
Broc: Yeah, it’s always good to get on the box, but in the Main I wasn’t riding up to my full potential. I just wasn’t riding completely perfect. I can do better. I’ll just take what I learned and improve on it. I want to climb up the podium and win a race.

MXA: What’s it going to take for you to win?
Broc: A holeshot, plain and simple. I need to get a great start and then ride my own race. I don’t need to worry about anyone else behind me, I just need to race the track and move forward.

MXA: This weekend the forecast calls for rain in San Diego. How do you like your chances in the mud, if it does turn into a mudder?
Broc: I really like riding in the mud. It’s a time to go out on the track and just have fun. When it’s a mud race the pressure seems to come off my shoulders. I just focus on staying off the ground. Of course the biggest concern is getting a good start, but after that it’s all about having fun and staying up.

MXA: After the 2009 season ended you were in limbo as far as finding a ride. Then Star Racing came through and re-signed you. Is it good to be back on the same team for 2010?
Broc: Oh yeah, I was stoked to get the ride again. For a while I didn’t know if anything was going to come through. I kept hoping and I continued on with my riding and training like nothing changed. Star offered me the deal in the middle of October and it was such a huge relief to be with the team again. This year they have really stepped up their program, and I can’t say enough good things about the 2010 Yamaha YZ250F.

MXA: This might seem too far off to think about, but when are you planning on moving up to the 450 class?
Broc: This is really only my second full year of Supercross, even though this is my fourth year as a pro. I haven’t scored enough points yet in consecutive seasons to be forced to move up. I probably have another two years in 250 Supercross, but I’m not going to stay. I’d like to move up and run with the big boys. I really like riding 450s. As an amateur I always rode a 450 better than a 250, and it would be cool to race one on a Supercross track.


[Taken from various Press Releases]

Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey:

ÿÿÿ “After practice, I felt good,” Dungey said. “I think we made some good changes to the bike. I felt confident in the heat race, but I had a little tip over, so I tried to regroup. I came out and got a great holeshot in the main, and then I caught my foot and threw it away. I salvaged it for fourth, which is not too bad. I’m thankful that I’m alright and healthy.”

Rockstar Makita Suzuki team manager Roger DeCoster on rider Ryan Dungey:

ÿÿÿ “It could’ve been a lot worse,” DeCoster said. “We’re leaving here still with the points lead; we gave up a few points, but considering after his crash he had no front brake and no clutch and he still came out in fourth place, that’s still pretty good. I’m sure he’s going to be sore, but there’s no serious injury. The bike was working well, so this week we probably have more to do with a chiropractor than a mechanic.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Jake Weimer:

ÿÿÿ “Getting a perfect season wasn’t one of my personal goals,” said Weimer. “We had some conversations, but nothing serious.ÿ It would have been cool if it would have happened, but that’s not why I’m bummed. The only reason I’m bummed is I hate losing and I didn’t win tonight.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki rider Josh Hansen:

ÿÿÿ “San Francisco has been getting some rain and the dew was coming up through the dirt making it really slick,” said Hansen. “I went into the first corner a little hot and went right off the track. That kind of ruined my race. I couldn’t get back on the track for a while so I was last when I did. I have a really good opportunity here, said Hansen. I want to take full advantage of it. Even if I’m back, I want to ride as best as I can in every race and do the best I can do.”

Rockstar Energy Suzuki rider Hunter Hewitt:

ÿÿÿ “After I took the holeshot in the heat race, I was feeling really great,” commented Hunter, who went on to finish fourth in his heat with his RM-Z250. The main event proved to be a difficult one for Hunter, however, due in part to an entanglement with another rider during the start. “I was feeling really good going into the main because of my heat race, but my foot got caught in the bike next to me when the gate dropped for the main. I managed to pull it loose and keep going, but racing in the pack is a lot different than racing up front. I was racing tight, not like I was in the qualifier, and it was really tough to get through the pack.”

Rockstar Energy Suzuki team manager Bill Keefe on rider Tommy Hahn:

ÿÿÿ “Tommy is improving as we expected,” Keefe said after Hahn’s 9th-place finish in San Francisco. “We knew it would take about four rounds before he would be up to speed after his injuries in December. Going forward, we expect Tommy’s lap times and finishes to improve each week.”


ÿÿÿ While racing REM at Glen Helen this past Saturday, a girl approached the Wrecking Crew asking if we knew any information about a stolen 2008 Yamaha YZ250F. Apparently her bike was taken a few weeks ago out of the back of her boyfriend’s truck. Please read the message from her below and contact Jennifer if you have any information that could help her. Thank you.

ÿÿÿ My bike was stolen out of the bed of my boyfriend’s truck Saturday (1/16/10) night at Perris Raceway in Perris, California, before the California Gold Cup Series. It was chained and locked to the truck bed and his own bike.

ÿÿÿ Be on the lookout for a 2008 YZ250F VIN: JYACG27C18A027004. White plastics with no graphics, backgrounds with the number 110 and last name Vanderschaegen on the front, black ASV levers, a black Renthal rear sprocket, and Race Workz fork decals.

ÿÿÿ There really isn’t much else to look for. There will be a REWARD if any of the information provided leads to the return of my bike. If you have any information please call me directly at (760) 877-1205.

ÿÿÿ Thank you,
ÿÿÿ Jennifer Vanderschaegen


[Press Release]

ÿÿÿ DC has released a brand new Moto team video with exclusive interviews and footage on its website. Check it out now at ? http://moto.dcshoes.com/features/dc-moto-tf-launch/.ÿ The video, shot at the launch event for the new DC Moto Training Facility at Pala Raceway on December 9, 2009, documents the whole team, with the exception of Travis Pastrana, riding together for the first time. Check out the video to catch interviews with DC’s motocross legends, see exclusive video, and watch the friendly competition that ensued on the track.
ÿÿÿ DC’s elite motocross team roster reads like the who’s who of motocross – Jeremy McGrath, Ricky Carmichael, Nate Adams, Robbie Maddison, Travis Pastrana, Jolene Van Vugt, Josh Hill, Davi Millsaps, Adam Cianciarulo, Zach Bell, Chase Bell, Ian Trettel, Tommy Searle and the DNA Stix/ Star Racing/ Yamaha Team Nico Izzi, Broc Tickle, Martin Davalos, and Max Anstie.
ÿÿÿ Stay tuned to the DC Moto team page at http://www.dcshoes.com/moto for new videos, interviews and photos in the coming months.ÿÿÿ


[Press Release]

ÿÿÿ For several years now Xtreme MX gear has relied on the opinions of hardened MX veterans as well as sponsored pro and amateur racers to constantly improve the line.ÿ Finally the line is near perfect.ÿ The Excel line of gear is the higher end and boasts fade proof graphics, 1680D ballistic cordura pre-bent knees and double and triple stitched seams.ÿ Shown here is the newest color scheme for the Excel line, which retails at “8.99 for the jersey, www.nhjpowersports.com or your local powersports dealer.


Don’t mess with Dungey, or he might break you.

ÿÿÿ Do you think Ryan Dungey wakes up every morning, looks in the mirror, and says to himself, “I cannot be defeated!”? Maybe. How about the idea that he yells at his competition as the gate is about to drop, “I must break you!”? Perhaps. Or, he might have said this to his friends before the season began, “My name is Drago…I mean, Ryan. I’m a fighter from Belle Plain, Minnesota. I fight all my life and I never lose. soon I fight James Stewart, and the world will see his defeat. Soon, the whole world will know my name.”
Regardless, there is one certainty. At the right angle, Ryan Dungey and Rocky 4 Russian powerhouse Ivan Drago look eerily similar. “I win for me! FOR ME!”



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