By John Basher
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Eli Tomac hasn’t won a moto since taking the world by surprise at Hangtown. So what. The kid is a rookie. Why some people are dogging him for not setting the world on fire since the first National is beyond me. Tomac is a champion in the making. By the end of the series he will win again. My money is on Southwick.
MINI-VIEW: ANDREW SHORT
Short nailed two great starts at Budds Creek. He pulled away in the first moto, but ran out of steam in the second.
If the first two Nationals were wiped off the schedule, Red Bull/Honda’s Andrew Short would be sitting second place in the point standings. At High Point and Budds Creek the Colorado native finished second – a big change from the first two races where he finished 10th and 13th. After Budds Creek “Shorty” found himself with his first moto win of the season, his second straight podium of the series, and fifth place in points. I caught up to him on Saturday after the dust settled at Budds Creek.
MXA: I take it you’re happy with the outcome at Budds Creek?
Andrew: Yeah, I’m happy because I’m taking steps in the right direction. I got a moto win, and it has been a long time since I have done that. My starts were good. I took a lot of positives from Budds Creek. I just needed more energy to stay up front in the second moto. My speed wasn’t very good, and I wasn’t able to step up my game and hang it out in the final moto. I need more momentum in places and better fitness at the end of the race.
It seems like you’re taking steps in the right direction, especially since the week before at High Point when Ryan Dungey caught you at the end of the moto.
The starts definitely helped. I was able to keep a good comfortable pace and control the race and my destiny in the first moto at Budds Creek. Leading the race can feel great, or sometimes even a little weird. I say that because when you’re leading you don’t necessarily know the pace behind you, but having a clean track in front of you is a huge benefit. I thought that the track was hard to pass on. There was really only one good line to take in a lot of places, and I benefitted from that.
How would you rate your outdoor season so far?
The season started off really bad for me, but then at the last two races I finished second overall. At the first two races I wasn’t even close to the pace I should have been running. I’m happy to get momentum going so that I can build on it.
“The best place for me to win is this weekend in Colorado. I go fast there, I know the track, and the weather should be good. Hopefully I should finally get a 450 overall win there.”
Last year at Budds Creek the weather was downright ugly. Even with all of the rain that started coming in the second moto last year, were you able to take your baseline bike settings from 2009 and apply them this year?
We made several big improvements halfway through the season last year with the bike. My bike was awesome, and it still is. I have always been pretty comfortable on the new bike, whereas some of the other guys riding the CRF450 maybe had some problems. Honda figured out quite a few things over the course of the Nationals last year, and I definitely gained from that. This year’s bike is quite a bit improved, but those improvements come in settings with the suspension, as opposed to big changes.
Andrew is looking forward to his home National in Lakewood this weekend. He currently lives in Texas, but he will always call Colorado home.
How brutal was the heat and humidity at Budds Creek?
It didn’t seem that bad to me. Where I live in Texas it gets pretty hot and humid, so I was kind of used to it. You have to learn to manage things and drink a lot of fluids.
I’ve asked you this question before, and you’re probably getting sick of hearing it, but what is it going to take for you to win a National?
Local love in Colorado will help me out. The best place for me to win is this weekend in Colorado. I go fast there, I know the track, and the weather should be good. Hopefully I should finally get a 450 overall win there.
Are you happy that the race is being held during the day instead of at night?
From a rider’s standpoint it will be better, because there are bumps and ruts that form. From a fan’s perspective it’s better under the lights. Colorado is perfect weather at night, because you can wear shorts with a t-shirt and then carry a sweatshirt just in case it cools off. During the day it gets hot there. I hope that fans aren’t turned off by the day race, but it’s nice as a racer to have lines form instead of the track crew turning the track into a highway.
2011 KAWASAKI KX250F: THE ANTICIPATION BUILDS
On Wednesday I’ll get a shot at riding the 2011 Kawasaki KX250F. Oh baby! If you don’t already know, the ?11 KX250F is fuel injected, has oodles of improvements, and has a very unique fork system. MXA tester Dennis Stapleton and I will be stretching the throttle cable on the KX250F around the Budds Creek National track. Expect a full report on Thursday, right here at MXA. Until then, drool at a few photos of the 2011 KX250F.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK, PART 2
Rockstar/Suzuki/Canidae rider Tommy Hahn enters warp speed as he flies over the huge step-up at Budds Creek.
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MINI-VIEW: COLE SEELY
Cole continues to progress in speed and endurance. He should be a consistent top ten finisher by the end of the series.
Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/Honda rider Cole Seely will be the first to admit that he’s more of a Supercross racer than an outdoor guy. Although he started up front during the first few Nationals of the year and collapsed from heat exhaustion at Freestone, Seely is improving every week. I caught up with Cole after he finished just outside the top ten at Budds Creek.
MXA: Cole, you finished 13-11 for 11th overall at Budds Creek. Are you satisfied with how the day went?
Cole: I’m pretty happy with my ride this weekend. I would like to come back next weekend at Lakewood and finish stronger. Every weekend has been getting better for me. I need to improve my endurance. I would say that I made some big gains over the past three weeks. Now when I pull of the track after a moto I don’t feel like I want to die. That’s a pretty good sign.
You seemed to struggle in the heat at Freestone, but as the temperature and humidity climbed at Budds Creek you seemed to get better. What have you been doing to improve your endurance?
Freestone wasn’t very fun for me. I got a really good start, but the heat ruined me after only a few laps. Since then I’ve been working a lot on cardio. I have also been running with a vest and a hooded sweatshirt on in the summer heat. I have also been doing rowing and spinning exercises. My trainer has me doing a lot of effective cardio conditioning. It works, but it really stinks!
Do you ride a lot during the week?
Yeah, I try to. It’s weird for me, because I have really bad ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) when I get on a bike. It’s hard for me to keep the focus and intensity that I need to have over the course of a 40 minute practice. It gets boring for me, but usually I find ways around it to make practice fun.
“I get random television commercials stuck in my head. Lately I have been getting the Marmaduke commercial and also the Dr. Pepper one with Gene Simmons lapsing through my mind.”
What do you think about when you’re practicing?
[Laughter] Do you really want to know that?
Well, this is a family-friendly website…
Oh no, it’s nothing like that! I get random television commercials stuck in my head. Lately I have been getting the Marmaduke commercial and also the Dr. Pepper one with Gene Simmons lapsing through my mind. I get random stuff going through my head. It’s funny in a way, but I also need to find a way around it. I should be thinking about my intensity and not about commercials on TV.
What are the chances that Seely is thinking about the latest American Express commercial while he flies over this Budds Creek double?
Did you ever think that you would be on a top-tier 250 team, especially after you quit the sport for a few years while you were a top amateur racer?
No. When I was 16 or 17 I didn’t think that I would be a pro racer. I didn’t want to be a pro at that point. Then the fun came back, and I’m having such a great time riding and racing now. This year has been awesome, and I was really happy with how my Supercross season went. I’ve never been a great outdoor rider. That’s the one thing I want to improve on. It’s going to take a while, but I’ll get there.
How fast is the pace at the front of the 250 class?
In Texas it was weird being up front. I didn’t think that it would be that calm. It was really nice, because there wasn’t all of the commotion that I would find around the middle of the pack. Being at the front off the start is definitely the place to be.
Have you signed with the Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs team for another year?
Yes. We started talking about being together another year right before I got injured at Anaheim 3. Nothing was on paper yet, but then right before Seattle my agent and I sat down with Troy and had lunch. We talked a few things over and I signed on the line. I’m very happy to be on the team for another year. Everyone here is awesome to work with. I can’t thank them enough for the opportunities that they have given me. It’s going to be a really fun season next year.
LOOKING FOR CONVENTIONAL WISDOM FROM A 13-YEAR-OLD?
DC Launches “Dear Adam” Series With Motocross Rider Adam Cianciarulo
What could a 13-year-old possibly have to say on dating, particle physics (we’re not even sure what that is), and saving the environment? Apparently a lot. DC Moto team rider Adam Cianciarulo is dishing out advice, far beyond his youth, on all of these things and more in a new three part video series called, “Dear Adam.” The first of three videos is now live at http://moto.dcshoes.com/features/dear-adam/ and two more segments are expected to launch on July 1st and July 15th. And because Adam is so dedicated to spreading his expert knowledge and helping people out, he is offering up advice for free. Submit your questions and/or problems to Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org . Adam will select his favorite questions to answer later this summer and if he picks your question you’ll get hooked up with a sweet DC prize pack, so stay tuned!
WHAT I LEARNED AT BUDDS CREEK
When I shoot photos at the Nationals (which is every National that I attend) I don’t get to see what the general public does. Case in point, I never saw Ryan Dungey lose his front end in the first moto at Budds Creek. I couldn’t tell you where Blake Wharton passed Martin Davalos for ninth place in the second moto. I can only tell you what I saw through my camera’s viewfinder or by the naked eye as I walked the track and the pits. Here are a few things that caught my attention.
Reedy showed off his dome at Budds Creek. The haircut is cheap; the diamond earrings are not.
1. Shaved heads are the “cool” ?doo. Davi Millsaps insists that he started the trend. Chad Reed did one better and cut his hair really short. Of course the huge diamond earrings add to his look. Speaking of looks, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Red Bull/Honda rider Cole Seely sported racing stripes on each side of his head, directly above his ears. Vanilla Ice would be proud.
2. I learned something new, and slightly unusual, about Christophe Pourcel. Apparently after every single time he rides a qualifying session at a National he undresses and takes a shower in the Pro Circuit/Kawasaki semi. That might not be strange, but what strikes me as odd is that after showering he wears the same gear (right down to the socks) that he wore in the previous session. So Pourcel wants to be clean, but then he doesn’t. To me that’s like showering and then rolling around on the dirt.
When I took this picture I swear a saw a bright light surrounding Ryan Dungey. Oh wait, it was just the sun.
3. Ryan Dungey has this aura about him. Not in a bright light “Look at me, I’m from Heaven” sort of deal. It seems that he can do no wrong, and hasn’t made any major blunders in the better part of two years. Although the Nationals are only one-third of the way complete, Dungey is in the driver’s seat for his fourth title in as many tries. The kid is on a tear!
4. The media center at the Nationals is unbelievably hospitable. The MX Sports folks know how to wine and dine the media at every National. They give journalists a shaded place to plug in their computers, sit down, access wireless Internet, and eat. I can’t forget to mention the catered lunches, endless drinks, high powered cooling fans, race result sheets at our fingertips, and even a pleasant hostess. If that wasn’t enough, MX Sports hand delivers the top three overall finishers directly to the media tent for post-race interviews. People like Brandon Short make my job so much easier. Thanks!
5. The double before the finish line wasn’t kind to several riders. I have firsthand experience with that jump, as it spooked me for quite some time last September when Yamaha flew MXA out to Budds Creek for their 2010 YZ450F introduction. I hated the jump. It’s rather high speed and you have to time it right. Otherwise you will case and land to flat, or overjump the thing and land to flat. Blake Baggett and Davi Millsaps know what I’m talking about. Both riders ate it big time on that double. Baggett broke his arm, and Millsaps broke his thumb and suffered internal injuries. On Wednesday I’ll be testing the 2011 Kawasaki KX250F at Budds Creek, and I’ll be faced with that double every lap. It’s a good thing I don’t get paid to jump sketchy doubles!
6. No matter who you are, you have to root for Andrew Short. I personally don’t have a favorite rider. I think it’s not fair to be partial to one rider in my line of work (and Mike LaRocco doesn’t count, because he’s retired). However, everyone should have a soft spot in their heart for “Shorty.” He’s been so close to winning a 450 National overall several times, only to come up short (sorry Andrew, that pun wasn’t intended). He won the first moto at Budds Creek, but ran out of energy during the second moto. Maybe Lakewood will be his muse?
Christophe gets loosy goosy off the starting line in the second moto, right next to his pal Justin Barcia. To think that Pourcel is out of control and Barcia is in control is just plain weird.
7. Back to Christophe Pourcel. Did you see him get whiskey throttle off the line during the second moto? It looks like Justin Barcia got the jump next to him, and Pourcel judiciously used the throttle to make up for lost ground. As a result, Christophe pulled off a wobbly wheelie. He still came out of the first turn inside the top ten. Now that’s skill.
8. Heat rash isn’t fun. I thought I was going to keel over and need to be buried in the track about the time the second 250 moto came around. It was hot, hot, hot outside! The problem was that the humidity didn’t allow my body to cool off. I overheated like a Maico with a paper bag over the engine. After all was said and done I thought I escaped the day only down a few pounds of water weight. Guess again! Taking my shirt off revealed a nice case of heat rash on my chest. It looked like I got shot with a dozen rounds of buckshot.
THE TOP 25: IN NUMBERS WE TRUST?
Did you know that there is no sixth fastest motocross racer, or that the supposed 11th fastest motocross racer is most-likely retired? How does this happen? Chalk it up to goofy permanent numbering. I try not to complain very much, but the permanent numbering system and calling the 250 class the “Lites” makes my blood boil.
Why is the permanent numbering system lame? It’s not a good indication as to the pecking order of motocross racers. I prefer the old numbering system. Call me old school. Or call me realistic. Below is a list of the top 25, in order.
1. Chad Reed – Finished third at Budds Creek. Defending champion. Deserves number one plate.
2. Ryan Villopoto – Out with a broken leg. Unfortunate.
3. Mike Brown – Racing the WORCS series.
4. Ricky Carmichael – Retired and racing trucks.
5. Ryan Dungey – Won three out of the last four Nationals. He’s killing it.
6. NOT ASSIGNED
7. James Stewart – Remember him?
8. Grant Langston – Privateer power! Went 40-28 for 36th at Budds.
9. Ivan Tedesco – Out with broken ribs and clavicle.
10. Thomas Hahn – Bad first moto at Budds. Second moto 11th.
11. Travis Preston – Not racing. Retired? Not quite sure.
12. Jake Weimer – Still trying to find his outdoor groove. 12th at Budds. Hey, I guess 12th works in this case.
13. Heath Voss – Out with broken kneecap.
14. Kevin Windham – Driving a boat on the lake and hanging with family. Taking the summer off.
15. Timmy Ferry – Not racing. Retired?
16. John Dowd – Not racing. Revving up for Southwick? I hope so!
17. Justin Barcia – Finding his National form. Second at Budds Creek.
18. David Millsaps – Say it ain’t so! Crashed at Budds and is out for the rest of the season.
19. Tommy Searle – Shoulder problems still. 12-38 for 18th.
20. Broc Tickle – 6-5 for 6th at Budds Creek.
21. Blake Wharton – Got a bad start, crashed, and went off the track at Budds. Finished 9th.
22. Chad Reed – Wait a second…he’s #1!
23. Justin Brayton – On the mend. Still impressive, as he finished 10-10 for, you guessed it, 10th.
24. Brett Metcalfe – Glad to be on a 450. 6-6 for 6th at Budds.
25. Nathan Ramsey – Retired.
RANDOM QUOTE FROM BUDDS CREEK:
“I was happy with the track. It got really rough and I liked the flow of the sections. Of course I’m going to like the track if I win, but even if I hadn’t won at Budds Creek I still would have liked the track.” – Dean Wilson