By John Basher
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
June typically marks the beginning of new bikes coming down the pipeline from manufacturers. This year (and by this year I mean 2012) KTM beat everyone else to the punch by offering up their 250SX two-stroke (yes, KTM and Yamaha are still selling two-bangers in the U.S. of A). Here, chief MXA test rider Dennis Stapleton powers through a wall turn in search of a berm fit for destruction. Look for the 2012 KTM 250SX test in the September 2011 issue of MXA.
MINI-VIEW: CHAD REED
TwoTwo Motorsports’ Chad Reed made a last-minute decision to race the Lucas Oil AMA Nationals, and so far his venture has paid off. Reedy has won three out of four motos and two outdoor overalls in as many rounds. With a 21 point lead, the team owner/rider seems to be well in control of his destiny. I rang Chad on the phone to find out about what he thinks about his team, overcoming obstacles, racing the Nationals, and his long-term plan.
MXA: Are you happy with the direction of your team?
Chad: So far everything has been working out really well. I feel like I’m at a point in my career where I am enjoying myself. I’m a little different than most riders, because I like to have a hands-on roll with the team and a direction with the bike. The transition to a team owner/rider was probably a little easier than I thought it would be. I’ve had a lot of fun being involved with a group of people that I work well with and trust. That has been a huge benefit for me.
What has been the biggest obstacle that you’ve had to overcome?
At times it’s hard knowing what I need and taking the right course of action to get what I need for the bike. Sometimes, like when I need to build a one-off part, whether it’s going to work or not, the team has to commit to building four or five of those identical parts for my race and practice bike. Then there’s the delay of four to six weeks for a turnaround time. In the past, when I rode for a factory team, it seemed like a lot of that stuff was always done quickly. I was always testing things before the season began instead of testing in January and not getting the parts until February or even March. That has been the biggest hurdle.
Chad is having fun outdoors, and it shows.
How soon before the Nationals began did you make the final decision to race outdoors?
I pretty much made up my mind the Saturday of the Las Vegas Supercross. I really wanted to know on Friday morning, because I wanted to be able to announce it at the press conference. I thought that someone was actually going to ask me about my intentions to race the Nationals during the press conference, but no one actually did. I wanted to be able to give an honest answer, but I had to wait until the next day. My agent, Steve Astephen, was going back and forth between the Honda truck and my rig trying to get a deal figured out. On Saturday I had enough information to feel comfortable and I knew that both parties wanted things to happen for the Nationals.
“I was on four different bikes in four years, and that doesn’t look good to a manufacturer. I also had a two-year deal with Kawasaki, and I got out of the contract. In fairness to Honda, I felt that Honda was right in having me prove myself to them.”
It must have been difficult not actually knowing what was going on for the Nationals. Meanwhile, you had a shot at winning the 450 Supercross title!
I actually never made my ticket to leave Las Vegas until Sunday. I bought a one-way ticket to Vegas, and I wasn’t sure where I was going to go from there! It was either fly out to California to test for the Nationals or fly home to Florida and begin summer vacation.
Reed is three out of four in moto wins so far.
How much does Honda help you out with support?
The amount of support from Honda has changed from the beginning of the Supercross season. We started out with next to nothing, and slowly we earned their respect and trust. You have to keep in mind that I was on four different manufacturers in four consecutive years. A lot of people said a lot of things that weren’t 100 percent correct or accurate about me, which cast me in a bad light. I felt that Honda had the right to be a little bit afraid or standoffish about what they were going to get themselves in with me. Like I said, I was on four different bikes in four years, and that doesn’t look good to a manufacturer. I also had a two-year deal with Kawasaki, and I got out of the contract. In fairness to Honda, I felt that Honda was right in having me prove myself to them. In the last four years I made decisions based on what I thought was best for my life and my career. I tried to be consistent, ride the motorcycle to the best of my ability, and put results on the board.
“I really want to have another guy that can contend for championships and race wins. I’d like to see that happen as early as 2012.”
It was incredibly big of you to acknowledge that Ryan Dungey had you beat in the second moto at Freestone. You truly felt bad for him.
As a competitor you can always relate. The best example for me would be the Daytona Supercross in 2008. I felt that the race was mine to lose. I had a one minute and 12 second lead with two turns to go in the race. To have it taken away because of something completely out of your control rips your heart out. Wins are big; they aren’t easy to come by. A lot of these fickle fans think that winning is easy. We’re racing at the very top level of our sport. Nothing is easy. I felt at the beginning of the second moto I was riding well and challenged Dungey for the lead, but then I crashed. Ryan rode a solid and mistake-free race. I felt that he had the race wrapped up. Had he not have ran out of gas I believe that he would have won the overall that day. I was bummed for him, because I can relate to how he was feeling.
It’s nice to see the 22 on the gate for the Nationals.
What is your long-term plan with TwoTwo Motorsports?
The long-term plan is to ride out the wave and see how my racing career is going to go. I really want to have another guy that can contend for championships and race wins. I’d like to see that happen as early as 2012. I don’t know if that’s realistic or not for next year. We need to see what kind of long-term sponsors we can pick up. I do feel that the direction of a team like ours is the future of the sport. I’d like to see my team stay around beyond my racing career. I love racing. I’ve done it my whole life, and now more than ever in my career I respect the sport for what it is. I want to be involved in the sport for a long time.
FIRST LOOK AT THE 2012 YAMAHA YZ450F & YZ250F
Available in both blue or white plastic the 2012 YZ450F gets new suspension valving, tires, rims and mapping.
The 2012 Yamaha YZ450F gets these changes:
Mapping: The 2012 Yamaha YZ450F gets new ignition mapping to mellow out the overly abrupt hit down low.
Fork: The 48mm KYB Speed Sensitive System (SSS) Front forks have been revalved to increase low-to-mid compression damping.
Shock: The KYB 50mm rear shock has revised rebound damping, a new rebound adjuster oil passage and improved valving with less low-speed rebound and more high-speed compression.
Rims/tires: The Excel rims have been anodized black (they were silver in 2011). The 2012 YZ450F will get Dunlop Geomax MX51 Tires.
Muffler: The 2012 YZ450F muffler is 42mm longer and has a 3mm smaller core diameter. It is both AMA 94 dB and FIM Two-Meter-Max legal.
Shift fork: The locating pin on the shift fork has been changed to circlip to increase shift bar rigidity for more precise shifting from second to third.
The 2012 Yamaha YZ250F gets these changes for next year:
Don’t fret the lack of fuel injection, the YZ250F is the most reliable 250cc four-stroke engine made…amd Ryan Sipes and Kyle Cunningam have proved that it can go fast.
Carb: For 2012 the YZ250F gets a 2mm large carb bore from 37mm to 39mm (for more top-end power?especially from 8000 rpm to 12,000 rpm).
Piston: Yamaha reduced the reciprocating mass of the piston and the balance of the crankshaft (which also reduces vibration at the bars, pegs and saddle). The piston is 8.7 percent lighter than it was last year (and the piston pin is not offset as it was in 2011).
Air filter: There is also a new air filter cage that flows more air to go along with the revised engine mapping (for more mid and top).
Muffler: The muffler has an 8mm smaller core diameter (the 2012 muffler will meet AMA and FIM sound standards).
Frame: The 2012 YZ250F frame and new three-box extrusion for the twin spars rails, a much larger casting at the swingarm pivot and new motor mounts.
Forks: The Kayaba Speed Sensitive System (SSS) front forks have been revalved to ride higher in their stroke (to lessen diving) and the spring rate has been increased from 0.45 kg/mm to 0.46 kg/mm. The outer fork tube has been reshaped to provide a better flex characteristic.
Fork offset: Fork offset has been changed from 25mm to 22mm and the steering stem has been increased in length.
Shock: The 46mm Kayaba SSS rear shocks has revised damping and a 16mm shock shaft (it was 18mm in 2011).
Swingarm: The axle blocks at the back of the swingarm have been beefed up to increase the rigidity of the rear axle.
Gearing: The 2012 Yamaha YZ250F gets a 50-tooth rear sprocket?instead of last year’s 49.
THE “BOMBER” WEIGHS IN ON HIS 125 NATIONAL WIN RECORD
Even the greats, like Mark Barnett, started out as three-digits guys. This is mark in 1977.
Mark Barnett held the record for most 125 Nationals wins at 25 races. That was, of course, until Ricky Carmichael dropped down to the 125 class at Steel City in 2001 and captured magical win number 26 (Ricky was helped by his friend, Mike Brown). RC’s record stood until James Stewart amassed 28 wins. I thought it would be interesting to hear what Mark Barnett thought about his long-standing record, and what it meant to him.
MXA: Was your 125 National win record of any importance to you?
Mark: It didn’t mean as much as everyone made it out to be. I won a lot of races, but it wasn’t important to me until someone [Ricky Carmichael] was trying to break it. He [Ricky] had to jump down a class in order to break the record, but I didn’t really mind that. I was more disappointed with not completing the perfect season in 1981. I broke my collarbone practicing before the final race at Carlsbad. I couldn’t finish out the last two motos, which was as letdown. Up to that point I won 14 straight motos that year, and dating back to the previous year I strung together a total of 20 straight moto wins. I still won the 1981 outdoor title, but I never did complete the perfect season.
RANDOM THOUGHTS, BY TOMMY HAHN
“I’ve missed a permanent number the last two years by just a few points. I wanted to be number 10, but Justin Brayton already earned it. I’d have to say number 20, because I like the way it looks on a bike.”
“I always go to the line confident in knowing that I’ve done everything that I possibly could have during the week to prepare for the race. After the sighting lap I’ll say a prayer on the starting gate and leave it up to the man above to watch over me.”
“My brother, Wil, and I get along really well. I think it’s because we’ve been together our whole life, and we’re relatively close in age. Some people would probably think that we would get sick of each other, but we work off one another. We go to each other with any problems that we have, and we’re the first ones to congratulate one another when we do well. Having a family member in the same sport is special.”
TRAVIS TAKES THE LEAP IN VEGAS
Travis’ bride-to-be on the cover of British skate magazine Cooler.
Travis Pastrana does everything big…and that goes for his engagement as well. In the middle of Travis’ Nitro Circus show in Las Vegas he proposed to girlfriend Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins. Travis interrupted the announcer and called Hawkins the “the love of my life” before proposing to her on top of a jump ramp as Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” was played over the loud speaker system. The couple reportedly celebrated at Studio 54 with a 100-person champagne toast. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins is a professional skateboarder and the first woman to land a Mctwist.
SNEAK PEAK AT THE X GAMES ENDUROCROSS COURSE
INSIDE THE 2012 KAWASAKI KX450F
I’ve spent the last few days at Red Bud putting the 2012 Kawasaki KX450F through the paces. To view my first day report, click here. Make sure to check back later for a video from the festivities.
HIGH POINT NATIONAL INFORMATION
TV Schedule – http://www.mxsportsproracing.com/pages/schedule/tv-schedule.
Weather – Scattered thunderstorms possible. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 60s. 60 percent chance of rain. Bring a raincoat.
Tickets – Click here (https://tix.extremetix.com/Online/?siteID=2279&cartID=efd6074c-50b6-43df-9fa3-a06665cb85b4)
Directions – Mt. Morris skirts the Pennsylvania/West Virginia border (it’s actually in PA).
Best place to spectate – High Point is a spectator friendly track. It’s best to move around the exterior of the track between motos in order to capture all of the obstacles. My favorite area is the last section of the track. There are hardly any spectators there, and I don’t know why. There’s a huge uphill jump, followed by a whoop section (remember Josh Grant nearly crashing into a Tundra parked on the side of the track two years ago?), and beautiful scenery.
Burning couches – Years ago the High Point crowd was rowdy, to say the least. On more than a few occasions drunken spectators burned couches and spent the night before the race howling at the moon. Aside from the Unadilla hill people, High Point probably has the wildest crowd. It’s a unique atmosphere.
History – 2011 will mark the 35th year of the High Point National. There’s rich history at this track. Remember when Damon Bradshaw came back and won the 250 race in 1997? Remember when Branden Jesseman came out swinging in his first Pro race? Do you remember all of the mud races throughout the years? I could go on and on. History has proven that High Point and excitement go hand in hand.
DUBYA USA’S JUNE SPECIAL: D.I.D. CHAIN WITH WHEELSET PURCHASE
Dubya USA, is running a special June offer for dealers and consumers ? a D.I.D chain will be included at no charge with each Talon wheelset purchased through June 30, 2011.
Dubya USA is the exclusive importer and distributor of Talon hubs and sprockets in America. Dubya USA uses the top names in wheel components for pre-made sets that are ready to race right off the shelf, as well as custom designed sets. Dubya USA matches Talon hubs in billet or carbon with Bulldog spokes and custom colored spoke nipples plus a choice of Excel or D.I.D rims to create wheelsets for riders of every level ? from pro racer to casual enthusiast. The Dubya USA website will soon feature an interactive wheelset-building function that will allow both dealers and customers to visualize various color choices for their customized wheelsets.
Please contact John Anderson or Kristin White Anderson at (714) 279-0200 now to find your nearest Talon dealer to purchase your Dubya wheelset and receive a free D.I.D chain. Hurry, this offer is only good during the month of June.
For the latest information on Dubya USA products and services, visit www.dubyausa.com. Also find Dubya USA on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dubya-USA/220953361254438 and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/DubyaUSA.
NEW PRO CIRCUIT PRODUCT: PIT RUG
Pro Circuit is pleased to introduce a new addition to their line of motorcycle accessories. The Pro Circuit Pit Rug is designed to give your pit setup the “Factory” look while protecting the ground and the environment at the same time. Adorned with Pro Circuit’s legendary logos, this custom-crafted pit rug features a high-tech combination of materials that quickly and easily absorb excess liquids. The tuft carpet provides additional cushioning and comfort not found in the plastic mat versions, making this mat “Mechanic Friendly”. The plush top also helps reduce the chance of nuts and bolts bouncing away or getting lost in the dirt.
Additional product specifications are listed below. The new Pro Circuit Pit Rug is now available online or at a dealer near you. For more information about the pit rug and other additional products by Pro Circuit, visit the online shop at www.procircuit.com.
Pro Circuit Pit Rug
*Tuft: 1/8″ or 1/10″ cut-pile
*Size: 110 x 240 cm
*Weight: 14 lbs
*Pile Composition: 100% PA bcf or PA mono
*Backing: Black standard vinyl
*Highly absorbent (water, oils, etc.)
*Crush and slip resistant
*Easy to maintain
*Retail Cost: $189.95
*Part Number: 55111
KTM/HUSABERG HANDLEBAR CLAMP RECALL: NOT THE MOTOCROSS MODELS
KTM North America is recalling ,228 KTM and Husaberg dirt bikes for improper heat treatment, which could lead to the handlebar clamps developing cracks, and allowing the bars to move from their set position. The affected models are as follows:
- 2011 Husaberg FE 570S
- 2011 Husaberg FS 570
- 2011 KTM 450 EXC
- 2011 KTM 530 EXC
- 2010-2011 KTM 690 Enduro R
Authorized KTM dealers will replace the defective clamps free of charge, with the recall schedule to start this month. Concerned owners may contact KTM customer service at (888) 985-6090.