PHOTO OF THE WEEK
James and Malcolm Stewart finished one-two at last year’s Red Bull Straight Rhythm in the Open class. This year the Stewart brothers decide to divide and conquer. James captured the Open class victory, while younger brother Malcolm walked away with the 250 win. Photo by Kyoshi Becker.
TWO-STROKE FEVER: ICW YAMAHA YZ125
If you’re a Mid-Week Report regular then you know that I have a mighty big soft spot for the Yamaha YZ125. For the past two years I’ve built a project YZ125, meticulously choosing aftermarket components that would bolster the bike’s performance. Although, truth be told, it’s a very good right off the showroom floor. That’s why, if I could only ride one bike for the next few years, it would be an aluminum-frame Yamaha YZ125. It’s light, nimble, well suspended, and the fun factor is beyond compare.
A few weeks ago I was linked up with ICW owner, Brett Koufas. The radiator repair master also lives in North Carolina, and he, too, loves Yamaha YZ125s. Koufas has a ridiculously sweet YZ125 that he has spent thousands of dollars on in order to make it the ultimate bike. He began with Kayaba A-Kit suspension, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. After that he invested heavily in titanium bolts, carbon fiber guards and covers (take a close look at the ignition cover), and dropped the engine off at Chad Watts’ shop for a host of modifications to the powerplant. The amount of money dumped into Brett Koufas’ YZ125 will make your head spin, but one crack of the throttle made it seem like a smart investment.
Brett and I met up at South of the Border MX (SOBMX) in Hamer, South Carolina, to test his prized possession. The famed Chad Watts joined the group, offering technical support and a helping hand when needed. Chad’s assistant, Michael Bennett, was also in attendance. Mike Burkeen, track supervisor, opened the gates and gave us carte blanche to the grounds. My Dad, Mike Basher, joined along in my adventure to offer fatherly advice, fall asleep against the fence, and feed the flies. SOBMX trainer and 250 East Supercross racer, Hunter Mims, rounded out the group. He put on the MXA orange lid for photographs. It was an epic day of riding and testing.
RED BULL STRAIGHT RHYTHM: AFTER THE FACT
For all intents and purposes, the Red Bull Straight Rhythm was a success. Why?
1. It gave the Supercross crowd something to do on a Saturday in October.
2. The course layout was better than last year. A dragon’s back, Supercross whoops, rhythm section, and a string of tabletops offered better variety than a year ago. The rolling whoops at the end were the coup de grace, evidenced by Ryan Dungey’s performance in the semifinal against James Stewart.
3. James Stewart won. Straight Rhythm was tailor made to Bubba’s riding style. He looked a bit rusty on Friday, but blew off the cobwebs when it counted.
4. The roll-in start was a welcome addition, as right off the bat the racing offered thrill-seekers the adrenaline-pumping action they wanted to see.
5. Several big-name riders raced. The event attracted Ryan Dungey and Ken Roczen. Imagine how good the racing would be if all of the stars came out to support the event.
6. The online streaming was a very good production, even if the commentary was ho-hum.
What can be improved for next year?
1. Red Bull sold the event as racing without any turns, but why not throw in one massive 180-degree bowl turn halfway through the track? It would keep the distance the same, but allow the track designers to use half the floor space to provide the spectators with better viewing. That way they wouldn’t need binoculars to see the first half of the track. When I say bowl turn, I’m thinking a pitch so steep that the outside lane wouldn’t lose ground to the rider on the inside. It’s possible.
2. Put in a triple. It may seem unnecessary, given all of the challenging obstacles on the 1/2-mile-long track, but spectators love triple jumps.
3. Attract more stars. Will a Red Bull event ever be flooded with Monster athletes? Probably not.
4. Run the event at night. It was smart of Red Bull to move the course to the horse track, because last year the fans melted under the hot SoCal conditions. Shade was a welcome addition for the fans this time around, but why not run the event at night?
RACE OF THE WEEKEND: DUNGEY VS. STEWART
KYOSHI BECKER’S STRAIGHT RHYTHM PHOTO GALLERY
Freelance shooter, Kyoshi Becker, battled heat and exhaustion to snap these great photos. Take a look.
BARN PROS RACING SIGNS AUSTIN POLITELLI
Former MXA test rider lands a ride for 2016. Congrats, Austin!
Press release: Barn Pros Racing / Home Depot / Yamaha is proud to announce the signing of Austin Politelli to the BPRMX Team for the 2016 season. Austin will be riding the YZF250 Yamaha a bike he finished 21th overall in the 2015 season on. “We had a chance to work with Austin during the Washougal National, he flew up and with only 4 days on a nearly stock 450 he raced theThursday Night MX event that was heavily stacked running out front for most of his qualifier, then battled from a near dead last start to inside the top 10. At Washougal he ran strong in moto 1 running as high as 18th and in moto 2 as well, he really impressed us with his ability to ride the bike regardless of how stock it was. We couldn’t be more excited for Austin and the Barn Pros Team,” said Scot Steffy, Team Manager
The 2016 BPRMX team will consist of 3 riders, Cole Martinez, Austin Politelli and one rider still to be named. We have some great sponsors coming back on board for next year like Ride Motorsports, AXO Racing, Steamline Levers, MoTool, Fusion Graphics, Enzo, MadCity Media, Rekluse Clutches, Bills Pipes, Motion Pro, Motul Oil, Guts Racing, TM Design, Devol Racing, Sunstar Sprockets & Chains, All Ball Racing, Anderson Group along with our new goggle sponsorship Viral Brand Goggles.. More to come on the goggles in the near future.
We are also excited as we get closer and closer to our 30 acre team facility getting finished so we can move in early November. Once our training facility is up and running it will streamline our team efforts for the rest of this year and going into 2017.
We are currently working with new team partners, if you are interested in joining our team for the 2016 season please feel free to reach out to email@example.com to discuss our different levels of support.
For more information on Barn Pros Racing / Home Depot / Yamaha head to www.barnprosracing.com or follow us on Facebook @barnprosracing – Instagram @bprmx or Twitter @barnprosracing don’t forget to use the hashtag #BPRMX this season for a chance to win great swag.
MXA VIDEO: 2016 KAWASAKI KX250F
NEXT UP: MONSTER ENERGY CUP
The fifth running of the Monster Cup is shaping up to be the best yet. On Saturday night, the stars of Supercross will line up for the chance to win a cool $1 million. Ryan Villopoto took the loot in 2011, but since then no one has been able to sweep the three main events.
Below is a look at the 2015 edition of the Monster Energy Cup at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday.
For 2015, the Ricky Carmichael-designed track looks considerably different than any other Monster Cup layout. For one, the start has been moved inside the stadium. It makes much more sense, because fans will immediately be able to see what happens rather than wait for the riders to come through “Monster Alley.” The finish line jump is a triple (cool) and there’s also going to be sand (very cool). The back section–out of view from those in the stands–seems rather boring, though it encourages trailing riders to out-brake and accelerate past those in front. Overall, the design looks really good. Hopefully it’s not too much for the 85cc and 250 amateurs to handle.
* The top 18 qualifying times transfer directly to the Main. There will be a five-lap LCQ, with the top four riders going to the main. That will complete the 22-rider gate.
WHO WILL WIN?
This one is too close to call. James Stewart will be anxious to win against a stacked class. Chad Reed is back on Yamaha. Can he win? What about Trey Canard, who was oh-so-close to winning the overall last year. Davi Millsaps will sport the number one plate this time around after winning the Cup a year ago while on Monster Energy Kawasaki. Ken Roczen will probably win at least one of the main events. However, if I was betting on one rider, my money would be on Ryan Dungey. The Monster Cup favors the fast and consistent. Dungey has both of those attributes in spades. He has never won the Monster Cup. That’ll change on Saturday night. Here are my top three selections.
1. Ryan Dungey
2. James Stewart
3. Justin Barcia
Click here for the Race Day Live online feed.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: CHAD WATTS
“He [Ricky Carmichael] looked at it this way–there are so many turns in a Supercross race, and only a small section of whoops. He would sacrifice in the whoops so that he could jump into a corner, land, and make one turn instead of the bike reacting. No, the bike didn’t handle in the whoops. He had those low handlebars and a head stem height that was quirky, but he was used to riding a Kawasaki, so he rolled the bars back. Most people didn’t agree with his setup, but they weren’t riding the bike.”
Click here to read the full interview.
TRAVIS PASTRANA PAYS TRIBUTE TO ERIK RONER
PANICREV FALL CAMP COMING TO OKLAHOMA
Press release: PanicREV is excited to announce their CampREV Fall Camp at Reynard Raceway in Oklahoma on October 31st through November 2nd! CampREV is designed to help give riders a solid spiritual, physical, and technical foundation through our world class program. CampREV is set up for riders of all ages and skill levels that are looking to take their skills on the racetrack to a new level! This is achieved by breaking everyone up into groups based on their ages and skill levels. CampREV features daily chapel services and prayer, in addition to refining skills such as conditioning, corners, jumping, starts, riding position, technique and a whole lot of fun! Register today at: www.camprev.com/fall-camp