MANUFACTURER OF THE WEEK: IT’S A KTM SWEEP!
This past weekend the Austrian company had four reasons to celebrate. Their factory riders–Ryan Dungey, Marvin Musquin, Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli–swept Supercross and the GP circuit. Photo: KTM
MINI-VIEW: BLAKE WHARTON
Perhaps you noticed at the last two Supercross rounds that Rockstar Energy Racing’s Blake Wharton rode aggressively, sticking his wheel in on Marvin Musquin and Tyler Bowers on multiple occasions. Normally known for his smooth and clean riding style, Wharton flipped the switch at Houston and traded paint like a graffiti artist at the Krylon factory. I wanted to find out the reason for Blake’s new riding style.
MXA: What has gotten into you the past two rounds?
I went to Houston and I was aggressive the first few laps, and I ended up winning the race. I figured that I needed to incorporate more aggression in my racing. Shoot, I won doing that. That was my idea. I was going to Minneapolis with the idea to continue to be aggressive. In the main event this past weekend that tactic didn't work as well. I should have taken a different approach. But it's racing. You live and learn. You can't be nice all of the time. However, there's a fine line between riding aggressively or riding dirty. The goal is to win the race. You do what you have to do to win the race. The ultimate goal is to break away from the pack and ride by yourself out front. Everyone wants to get the holeshot and walk away with the win. Sometimes though a little aggression is needed. There's a fine line, and I'm going to find that line. Basically riding that way worked for me one weekend, but it didn't exactly work out the next weekend.
Was this idea to ride so aggressively premeditated? Or did you decide to rub elbows when you were trailing Marvin Musquin so closely at Houston?
I've been racing for a while, and I'm always trying to get faster. If there's someone in your way and you're trying to get around them, sometimes you have to be aggressive. Of course I don't want to hit anyone while I'm passing them. It's not like I go to the race with the intention of taking people out. Supercross racing is tight. As for the idea to ride aggressively, I've just been trying to push myself and get faster. The harder you ride the track then the tougher the competition becomes, and everything collides.
What's do professional racers think of aggressive riding? Is there an unspoken rule that if you touch them then they can hit you back?
It depends on who you ask. I've heard so many different things from so many different riders over the years. I don't know what the right thing is. There are two ways to skin a cat. What do you do? To each his own. Some guys are known for starting well. Other guys are known for coming from the back, and those guys are also probably known for bumping other riders. That's what you need to do sometimes to get through the pack. If I would have gotten the holeshot at Minneapolis then I would have done my best to check out. Instead I was in the middle of everything, and on the first laps there was a lot of bumping going on.
Do you anticipate any backlash from Marvin Musquin or Tyler Bowers because of how you raced with them?
I don't know. Marvin and I never came together. I can't see a reason why there would be any backlash from Marvin. I'm not going to say that something isn't going to happen with Bowers. We did hit, and he did crash. Usually when two people come together and one guy crashes then no one is happy about that. I've been taken out before. I know what it's like. It's never good. One time it happened to me, and I regretted taking the outside line more than being taken out. People might say that I was aggressive or dirty with Bowers, but if you look at my track record, how many people have I taken out? Most of my success has come from getting good starts and trying to go. Most of the people that are talking about my riding from Minneapolis don't know what they're talking about. They don't know how to ride. Most of the nonsense is coming from people who like nonsense. I've been bumped before, and I'm more aggressive once I get back on the track. I am not going to expect to play patty cake out there. I know how things work and what to expect.
Was there any bad blood between you and Tyler Bowers before Minneapolis?
It was nothing personal against Bowers. We didn't have any history. It wasn't this ongoing feud. We weren't out to ruin each other's day. When two bikes are going into a turn, and one guy goes inside and the other guy goes outside and holds it wide open, something bad could happen. And, of course, I don't want to hurt anyone. The bikes we ride are so fast and powerful that they can do enough damage by themselves. As racers we don't want to sacrifice someone else's career or paycheck.
How do you approach the Las Vegas finale?
My goals don't change. I want to win the race. I don't care who I'm racing against. I want to race the track hard, and I'll race the competition hard if need be. Ultimately I want to cross the finish line first. I've found that if my results aren't where I want them to be then I have to make a change. I'm looking for that great ride, and hopefully it can come at Las Vegas.
Good luck to you, Blake.
FORGET SUPERCROSS! I’M GOING TO BRAZIL!
Photo courtesy of ESPN.
I’ve been judging freestyle motocross at the X Games since 2006. For those not in the know, it was the year that Travis Pastrana landed the first-ever double backflip. I’m still not sure how the roof of Staples Center wasn’t blown off after TP safely rolled out of the landing. Since that time I’ve witnessed a lot of tricks attempted and many landed. Judging is a really cool job, and being a part of the ESPN X Games is something I have wanted to do since I was a tween glued to the TV while on family vacation. The ocean was a stone’s throw away, but I was enamored by seeing crazy guys racing down hills on skateboards and jumping out of airplanes with snowboards on. It was awesome!
This weekend I’ll be in Foz do Iguaca, Brazil, for the first “summer” round of the four-stop schedule (next week I’m off to Barcelona, followed by Munich and then back home to Los Angeles). My travels have already taken me to Brazil twice before, and both stops as the result of freestyle motocross coverage. It has been a blessing, and I’m looking forward to checking out another part of the world.
It’s fitting that I give a shameless plug to the X Games. This Thursday through Sunday ESPN will be showing footage of all their events from Brazil, including freestyle motocross, best whip, step up and Endurocross. It should be a good time. For more information, visit http://xgames.espn.go.com/.
JUST DO IT–YOU WILL THANK YOURSELF LATER
By Daryl Ecklund
Have you had a long day? Are you tired? Stressed? Running on empty? In that case, go exercise! I know you’re thinking that it’s the last thing you want to do after a long stressful day. Your body and mind wants to shut down, relax and veg out in front of the television. As you get ready for bed, you’ll probably tell yourself, “Tomorrow I will go exercise, moto, eat better, blah blah blah (fill in your daydream to the improved you).” This is the vicious cycle. You’re hard on yourself each and every day, but you lack in taking the initiative to see what’s on the other side of the rainbow.
Mind over matter. This is what comes between you and your improved self. Most of you already know the benefits of getting off the couch, along with the health risks if you don't. Even worse, most of you might not know that when you get to gym after a long day, you will start to wake up, feel better and be more confident about yourself. So what’s it going to take? The longer you wait the harder it’s going to get, so start now!
I could get into some complicated workout plan by breaking down each movement, action, and rest period, but that will just complicate things if you’re still sitting in front of that television every night. Take that first step by getting off the couch, because the rest of the steps will follow. There are no shortcuts in life, and results take time. So don't get discouraged. You will thank yourself later.
LANCE COURY PRACTICES FOR THE X GAMES
THERE’S BLOOD IN THE WATER: EXPECT FIREWORKS AT THE VEGAS FINALE
Tyler Bowers on his run-ins with Blake Wharton this past weekend:
“I’m definitely not happy with how things went down, but I’m happy I was able to avoid injury and still grab a top five finish. I know Wharton was trying to get me back for the pass I made on him earlier, but I think he took it a little too far and he could have easily ended both our nights. We’ll move on from this, but I know what to expect from him now.”
JAMES STEWART THEN & NOW
JGRMX/PIRELLI SPRING TIRE PROMOTION
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RYAN DUNGEY: NO MORE MR. NICE GUY
By Daryl Ecklund
Ryan Dungey. Photo:KTM
This past weekend in Minneapolis Ryan Dungey was a man on a mission. "Mr. Nice Guy" finally went out the window. It's about time! Most races when I watch Ryan, I feel as if I can read his thoughts as he is racing. I always imagine that he's thinking, "Sorry, excuse me, go ahead." Don’t get me wrong, everybody likes a nice guy, but guys like Ryan Villopoto and Justin Barcia will take advantage and pounce like he’s a wounded fawn.
It seems like Dungey was reprogramed over the past weekend. He was no longer "Mr. Nice Guy." It was a breath of fresh air. Maybe it was the hometown crowd getting behind him, or perhaps it's because the series is getting down to crunch time.
You could say that Villopoto was riding conservatively since he is in line for a three-peat. Then again no one has ever said, "Villopoto will just settle for second.” ! I think Dungey just threw Villopoto for a loop, because RV hadn't been challenged much by Dungey this year. Personally I think it's too late for Dungey to make a run at the championship, but with Villopoto's gloomy first few rounds, maybe Dungey can push him into a few big mistakes to gain some ground. I can tell you one thing, Dungey's newfound aggression has sure got me excited for the Nationals. Let's hope he keeps it up!