MOTOCROSS ACTION MID-WEEK REPORT

#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

Rider: Hunter Lawrence
Location: 2021 Millvile National
Photographer: Chad Murray

TWO-STROKE SPOTLIGHT: ERIK EBERSOLE’S 2001 KAWASAKI KX500 

Hello MXA,

This was a barn find KX500. The bike was bought new, the owner almost immediately whisky throttled it and flipped the bike. It has sat in a barn since 2001. A friend got it, and owed me a favor and I became the proud owner. It was pretty crusty to start, but was a good base to start with. I had all parts vapor blasted by Premier Vapor Blasting of Georgia. The engine, carb, master cylinders, calipers, levers, brake lever, shock and linkage, all were blasted and came out better than new. I had Warp 9 gold hubs laced to Excel A60 rims. Lots of NOS nuts/bolts and plastics were readily available. Much hardware was re-zinc’d.


Frame was powder coated.
Full FMF exhaust.
Works Connection Clutch Perch and Lever, and chain rollers.
Race Tech springs.
Guts seat cover and foam.
Twin air filter.
EBC brake pads.


Tag Metals bars and race chain.
Pro Taper sprockets.
Hand-made rear subframe from the UK.
New Graphics package.

I showed the bike with the Legends and Heroes at Atlanta Supercross.
The bike is pretty sweet….I may race it…..,may….

Thanks,
Erik Ebersole.

The KX500 engine before restoration. 

Editors Note: Please keep those submissions coming. If you would like your bike to be featured in the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” please email me at darylecklundmxa@gmail.com. All I ask is that you give a breakdown of your bike and a detailed description of the build. Please also send a few photos of your steed. By submitting your bike for the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” you agree to release all ownership rights to the images and copy to MXA.

MULTI-TIME OFFROAD CHAMP KAILUB RUSSELL STEPS AWAY FROM PRO MOTOCROSS

Press Release: Multi-time offroad champion, Kailub Russell, has announced his decision to step away from the AMA Pro Motocross Championship after four rounds of racing with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team.
Fulfilling a lifelong dream of racing motocross, the recently retired eight-time GNCC National Champion enlisted with the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team in 2021 with plans to compete in the full 250MX series aboard the KTM 250 SX-F before suffering a broken jaw in a pre-season practice crash. Delaying his debut until Round 3, Russell came out strong with a season-best moto-finish of 15th at the High Point National and from there he fought through a host of challenges that ultimately brought him to the tough decision to step away.
Kailub at Southwick. 
With his head held high, the highly decorated and very versatile offroad champion is closing the next chapter in his professional racing career with yet another impressive accomplishment of racing alongside the best in the sport of AMA Pro Motocross. KTM North America, Inc. would like to congratulate Kailub on an incredible all-around racing career and thank him for more than a decade of thrilling race moments.

Kailub Russell: This isn’t being forced upon me, it’s my ultimate decision here. I’m really thankful for this opportunity but I’ve had a tough year going – I broke my jaw at the beginning of the year and I just don’t have it anymore. Mentally, I’m not defeated but I thought I could come back and be that same racer I was a few years ago, but I’m just riding timid and scared. I’m just struggling every weekend and that’s not what the fans deserve to see of me or what the team deserves to get out of me. It’s a tough go, but the professional career has come to a close.”

 

Ian Harrison, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team Manager: The entire Red Bull KTM Team has the utmost respect for Kailub and everything that he has accomplished throughout his successful offroad racing career. It’s unfortunate that he had a bit of a rough start to the motocross season but it’s been a pleasure to be able to give Kailub this opportunity to live out his childhood dream and race at the highest level of professional motocross in the U.S.”

THE AUGUST 2021 ISSUE OF MXA IS HERE NOW? SUBSCRIBE! IT IS THE BEST DEAL IN THE SPORT

What’s in the August issue of MXA? There are close-up photos and details on the 2022 Hondas, KTMs and Husqvarnas. Plus, we ride the 2021 World Two-Stroke Championship winning Yamaha YZ300 from Twisted Development to see what’s under the hood. In an effort to get out of town and up in the mountains, we tested a 2021 Yamaha YZ250FX cross-country bike. We sat down with two distinctly different people for this issues. Craig Shoemaker filled us in on how Fly/WPS survived the Covid pandemic and what the aftereffects will be on the 2021 riding year. Then, we interviewed the “fiercest man in motocross.” Heikki Mikkola couldn’t have been nicer to MXA. He answered all of our questions and told us some amazing facts about his Grand Prix career. And, as the ultimate kicker, we had Jamie Ellis build us a full-race, no holds barred KTM 450SXF. It was so fast that even the Pros ran it on the mellow map!

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO MXA SO THAT YOU NEVER MISS ANOTHER ISSUE, PLUS GET A $25 ROCKY MOUNTAIN GIFT CREDIT TO COVER YOUR COSTS

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MOTO | TRIVIA


What is this rider’s name? Hint: ********. Answer at bottom of the page.

ROUND 5 MILLVILLE NATIONAL RECAP | By Ben Bridges

450 RECAP
  • Bam Bam slams foreign invasion.
  • It took six rounds, but the USA finally got a win when Justin Barcia went 1-2 for the overall win.
  • It was Barcia’s first win since Ironman 2018.
  • In the same season when Barcia gave GasGas their first-ever Supercross win back at Round 1, he gives GasGas their first ever 450 motocross win.
  • Barcia is only the 3rd different racer to get an overall win this season.
  • With a successful weekend, Barcia goes from 5th to 3rd in the points standings.
  • Tomac goes 3-4 for 2nd overall.  However, after winning the 2nd moto in the last 3 rounds that streak was broken.
  • Ferrandis goes 2-5 for 3rd overall.  He is the only racer to be on the podium all 6 rounds.
  • With Roczen’s DNF-1 moto finishes Ferrandis now has a 32 point lead over Roczen.
  • Since 2000 the leader of the points standings at the halfway point has gone on to win the 450MX title 19 times out of 21 seasons.
  • Average finish – Dylan Ferrandis 2.2, Ken Roczen 5.8 and Justin Barcia 5.0.
250 RECAP

  • #6 at Round 6 is the 6th different winner.
  • Jeremy Martin goes 1-1 for his 1st win of the season.
  • This is the 1st time ever in the series there have been 6 different winners in the first 6 rounds.
  • Jeremy Martin now has 38 moto wins and 19 MX wins in the 250 class.  With Jeremy Martin’s overall win, he went from 8th to 4th in the points standings.
  • Michael Mosiman gets 1st podium of the season by going 3-2.
  • Historic day for the GasGas guys.  Barcia gives GasGas their 1st win in 450MX class and Mosiman gets 2nd overall in the 250 class and is 10th in the points.
  • Justin Cooper goes 2-3 for 3rd overall.  It was his 6th podium of the season.
  • Cooper goes from 3 pts down to 6 pts up in the points standings.
  • Jett Lawrence goes 4-6 for 4th overall.
  • It was the 1st race this season that a Lawrence brother wasn’t on the podium.
  • Since 1974 when the series started, 6 times there have been 6 different winners throughout the whole season, already there have been 6 winners in 6 rounds this season and there have never been 7 different winners.  Will this happen?
  • Average finish – Justin Cooper 3.0, Jett Lawrence 3.5 and Hunter Lawrence 4.8

MXA INTERVIEW | AUSTIN FORKNER TALKS ABOUT HIS STRUGGLES 

By all accounts, Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Austin Forkner has had a difficult summer. Certainly, Austin understands this and has been doing everything possible to change his results. Unfortunately, it’s mostly been by trial and error. Forkner has definitely been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent years, topped off by a severe 2020 Supercross crash that left him with internal bruising and partial removal of pancreas, spleen and severe kidney damage. Ultimately this would sideline the now 22-year-old until 2021 Supercross. And while his recent Supercross season started with a podium, a crash-induced broken collarbone would then leave him sidelined until this summer’s outdoor motocross series. While he has struggled to find the perfect balance of going fast and winning, with staying crash-free, Forkner has simply not yet found the perfect combination yet. Still, his sixth overall at High Point, and his recent eighth overall at Spring Creek (with a strong fourth in moto two) proved he is on the right track. Austin Forkner has been beaten down, but I like others, feel he can get back on track. We caught up with a very candid Austin after Millville.

BY JIM KIMBALL

AUSTIN, TALK ABOUT YOUR DAY, IN PARTICULAR, THE SECOND MOTO WHEN YOU GOT A DECENT START AND WERE UPFRONT. Well, in the first moto, I got a good jump, but then my line was messed up, and I just got off balance. I was mid-pack at best, and just like the past couple of races when I have not gotten good starts, I panicked a little bit and tried overriding. I made a mistake and went down hard, not too bad, but it took me a while to get up. Then my bike was backward on the track, and it was a bad situation. I came back to maybe seventeenth or something in that moto, so not great. The second moto got a better start, good. I was third and then got passed early but I was thinking, “I am just going to not override and if I get passed, I get passed. I am going to kind of try to ease into it and find my flow instead of just trying to just go.”

SOMEWHAT OF A RIDE SMOOTH, AND GO FASTER APPROACH? Over-riding from a bad start has not been working out for me, so I did not do that. The first three guys inched away, and I was getting caught a little bit by a few guys behind me. But then I found my flow 10 to 12 minutes in. Colt Nichols would get close and then I would gap him. Then he would reel me back in a little bit, but nobody ever got close enough to pass.  I ended up fourth and a step in the right direction.  Best finish of the year by a little bit and especially the past couple of races have been bad, so it was good to get a start and a good finish.

I ACTUALLY THOUGHT YOU WERE CATCHING UP TO JUSTIN COOPER IN THIRD PLACE. I was catching him a little bit, probably around the 25-minute mark or right before we got the “two to go” sign. I was catching him quite a bit late in the moto, but then he matched me. So, I thought, “Alright, it has been a good moto, just bring it home.” He was still five to six seconds in front of me, so it was probably not going to happen with two to go.

TALKING ABOUT THE PAST COUPLE OF RACES WOULD YOU SIMPLY SAY THAT YOU WERE IN A SLUMP? I don’t really know. I have just been continuing to work hard. I have a sports psychologist that I see every now and then just to help me. I know how to ride a dirt bike — that has never really changed. I have had injuries that I have had to deal with and that has maybe caught up to me a little bit. I am over being injured, but it is part of the sport, obviously. I have caught the injury bug over the past couple of years and had a couple of season-ending injuries, when I was so close to winning a championship, or having a good year up to that point. It has just been shot after shot after shot. It is not like I lost the championship, but I left healthy. It was a double negative when I would lose the championship and be out the rest of the season.

IT MUST WEAR YOU DOWN. Yes, exactly. You know, if I would have a decent season, but leave healthy and not get the championship, I could settle with that. Or if I won the championship and got hurt you know, I could be okay with that, but these past seasons have been double hits. I have not gotten the results I want, and I had season-ending injuries two years before this year. Then this year, it is just a simple broken collarbone, but it took me out of Supercross for a chance at the championship. It’s been three years of this. That just got to me mentally. It is finding that balance of not getting hurt basically but still going fast—and that is a hard thing to find. Some guys never find it, but I am working on that, and it is hard to do.  You don’t want to ride thinking about not getting hurt because that is never going to get you anywhere. You are probably more likely to get hurt in that situation. I felt like I needed to change something, and I have been trying some things. Unfortunately, they have not really been working out. It’s been an experimental time for me.

SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE HUGE EXPECTATIONS OF YOU. YOU CAME INTO THE PROS BLAZING AND YOU HAVE BEEN UPFRONT SO OFTEN. DO OTHER’S EXPECTATIONS INTERFERE WITH WHAT YOU WANT TO DO? Everybody on my team, everybody that I work with wants me to win and wants me to do good. I want that too, but it is hard unless they have done that or been through that. It is hard to explain the side of getting hurt, and that side of it as far as mentally how you handle that unless you have been through that before. I had to overcome a lot of things and had to deal with the ups and the downs. It is hard to really explain that to somebody, so that is like where my trainer, Robby Reynard, is so helpful. He is probably one of the best that has been through it. He was a fast guy when he was racing and got hurt quite a bit. He is good at understanding the things you deal with when you get hurt or you don’t get the results, because he has been there and done that. So, he can truly relateto  what I am feeling. He has been there and done that, so he can help me out with that. That is why I like training with him. He is a great riding coach but just the fact of how knowledgeable and how almost he is a good mental coach as well.

YOU ARE A RIDER THAT THE FANS EITHER LOVE OR HATE. I THOUGHT IT WAS INTERESTING TO SEE ALL THE COMMENTS THAT PEOPLE SAID AFTER YOU ATTEMPTED LAROCCOS LEAP AT RED BUD DURING THE FIRST LAP OF THE FIRST MOTO . As far as that goes, a couple of 250 guys tried it. You must try it every year. It is just how it goes. We always must try it and find out if we can make it or not.  We were before the 450’s and I figured that was the smoothest and the best the track was going to be for trying it. The more laps that I did, not jumping it, was just going to psych me out, or I would just start thinking about it more, so I thought, “I guess I will just do it.”  It did not work out and left me with a little nagging thumb injury. I did not break anything.  Obviously, I have still been riding, but it has been bothering me.  Looking back, it was not the smartest thing, but it happens sometimes.

I WOULD LIKE TO HEAR ABOUT YOUR DEAL WITH KAWASAKI FOR 2022. WILL YOU REMAIN ON A 250 OR MOVE TO A 450. The plan was to go to 450 next year, but then I ruined my Supercross chances this year and did not point out, so we talked it over with the team and we came to a decision that I will do 250’s one more year. So,  250 Supercross r for sure next year, and we will see what happens after that if there is an opportunity. I don’t really know because we are going to have to take it as it comes and see how I do in Supercross. There are opportunities, and we are talking to them about when to move up and when to stay down. That has been changing, depending on how I do or if I get injured or whatever, so we have not really set anything in stone.

YOU HAVE HAD A COUPLE OF BAD RACES, BUT I’M IMPRESSED THAT YOU SEEM LIKE IT HASN’T AFFECTED YOU TOO NEGATIVELY.  I am glad it comes off like that because it has gotten to me. It is hard not to let it bother me whenever I am getting fifteenth or whatever place.  I don’t belong there. That is not the result that I get. I am used to consistently battling for wins, podiums or top 5’s. That is where I belong.  I don’t put in all this work, and I don’t do all this that I have done to my body and everything that I have been through for fifteenth place.  That does not work for me.  It has gotten to me a little bit, just as far as what I need to do. Like I said, it’s been trial and error and trying things out with me or with my riding or whatever and some did not work and so I had to rethink, and certain other things did not work, so I had to figure it out a different way. It has stressed me a little bit of my mental side, but that is just part of it.  This is a very mental sport as well as a physical sport, so whenever both of those are being tested as it has been for me, it is going to affect you a little bit. Being injured as much and as severe has affected me mentally and physically. Not getting the results has affected me. But with the fourth that I got in the second moto today, I think we are moving in the right direction.

YOUR BIKE LOOKS THE SAME AS LAST YEAR, BUT ACTUALLY, IT CHANGED A LOT, RIGHT? There were a lot of changes. The hydraulic clutch, which was not there before, affects everything. I have only ridden cable clutches my whole life. Some guys rode 85’s or 65’s or whatever that had hydraulic clutches. I never rode any of those bikes.  Every single bike I have ever ridden has been a cable clutch, so I feel like one of the biggest things for me and why my starts have been uncharacteristically not as good has been me trying to figure out the hydraulic clutch.  You know, there are certain things that are hard to figure out. As far as engine, suspension, chassis; so many things have changed. You don’t realize unless you do it. Like literally, we change bolts and then go back and test bolts. There are so many things and they can make a difference.  There are so many things that you just do not realize. It could be something literally as simple as some bolts that can make the difference that you are looking for or not.  There are a lot of things like that, that you must go through. That is the part that sucks about a new bike, but it is also the part that is good about a new bike because there is always more potential. That is always the goal with the new bike that there is more potential.  With the new bike, there always comes the new bike challenges, but the new bike has a lot of potential, so we are figuring that out.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS OR MINDSET GOING FORWARD? The first moto was bad, obviously. I had a crash and was happy to be okay from that. I learned why I was going down as much as I was. I was trying to rush it to get as many guys as I could while we were all bunched up, and it has not been working. I have been falling early in the moto and putting myself in even worse positions. The second moto start helped for sure.  I have proven to myself that I still can run up there with those guys. The first three checked out a little bit, especially Jeremy Martin], but I still got top five, which was good. I did not let last week’s winner, Hunter Lawrence], catch me, so it is a step in the right direction and good for my confidence. Not exactly where I want to be but a step in the right direction.

FORGOTTEN BIKES: 2004 HUSQVARNA CR125

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2022 SUPERCROSS SCHEDULE IS HERE!

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TRIUMPH MOTORCYCLES TO INTRODUCE ALL-NEW MOTOCROSS & OFF-RAOD DIRT BIKES

Ricky Carmichael announced on August 26th, 2020, that he was parting ways with Suzuki Motorcycles. In his farewell letter, the verbiage he used, along with his recent street bike adventures, made us believe that he might be joining a brand like Triumph as a brand ambassador, but we had no idea this meant that Triumph was working on a dirt bike. In his letter Ricky said: “As times change, I have been looking at other opportunities within the motorcycle industry and exploring options where I feel my experiences can best be applied to help grow our great sport… As I continue to build upon my years of experience as a racer, I am now transitioning to enjoy other aspects of the motorcycle community.” Carmichael continued: “My love of bikes has grown beyond just off-road riding and I am looking forward to exploring those opportunities more in the future.”

Now it has been announced that the British company, Triumph Motorcycles, who currently makes street bikes, adventures bikes, modern classics and scramblers, is in the development phase of creating a range of motocross and off-road dirt bikes and they intend to take them racing at the highest levels as well. Read the full press release here.

CLASSIC PHOTO

Mike LaRocco from back in 2005. 


Moto Trivia answer: Mike Beier who now owns Asterisk knee braces.

mid-week