POLITELLI GOES FROM ZWARTE CROSS TO SOUTHWICK
Photos by Dennis Stapleton and Anthony Knutson
Left to right: Dennis Stapleton, Austin Politelli and Jason Thomas at timed qualifying.
Zwarte Cross is a huge rock festival in Holland featuring lots of music, motocross, stunts, theater, wild vehicles and costumed people. 160,000 people showed up for the three-day festival last weekend. There were only two serious motocross races at the event, full-sized bikes and 80s. The other classes feature themed bikes and automobiles, converted street bikes and costumed riders/drivers. The cars ran on the motocross backwards, because the random assortment of vehicle could make it up jump landings but jump faces were too steep. MXA test riders Austin Politelli and Dennis Stapleton made the journey, raced and witnessed the spectacle. We talked to Austin about his experience.
MXA: How was Zwartecross different than normal races?
Austin: It was a crazy race? with the festival and everything going. It had the most spectators I’ve ever seen at a race. There were three motos, one on Saturday and two on Sunday. It was really fun. The other Americans there were Jason Thomas, Dennis Stapleton, Josh Hansen and Kyle Partridge.
This stage was also a monstrous jump that launched the only two brave guys to jump it into orbit… and one into the ambulance.
Besides the race, what are the other attractions of the festival?
It’s like a fair, basically, but way bigger. They have rides, freestyle shows, bicycle stuff, concerts and just about everything you can think of. We went out one night, walked around and checked everything out. We watched some live music and ate some good food.
One of the wacky classes.
What were the people like?
The people were crazy. It looked like Halloween, people just wore whatever they came up with. Their bikes were really loud and smoked a lot A lot of people were really drunk, and I don’t think they ever slept, they just drank the whole time.
The fans lined up to watch the doubles race.
What was the track like?
There were 40 guys on the start and the start straight was really short, so you had to be on the inside. The races were 25 minutes plus two laps. The track was really sandy and fun to ride, but hard to pass on. It was a pretty fast track and nothing too technical. It didn’t get very rough because there was only the Pro class and an 80 race. There was one ramp that went through a beer tent. The lip was concrete, so it was rutted at the bottom and then the second half all the way to the top was concrete, so it was different.
One of many wacky vehicles, this Scorpion themed truck was a crowd favorite.
How did your races go?
My first moto I battled with a two-stroke guy and use all my tearoffs. I couldn’t see so I took my goggles off, which is bad. In the second moto I wasn’t even looking at the gate when it dropped because I thought they were going to turn the 5-second board sideways before dropping the gate. I got a horrible start and worked my way up to 6th. In the last moto I was running in second place with about three laps to go and my bike blew up when I was on the face of a jump. I went down pretty hard.
Austin airing it over the Dutch crowd.
How did you get a deal for the Southwick National?
We had been talking to Grant Langston for a while, trying to get a deal worked out. Finally it all came together and I was fortunate to get a fill-in ride with Langston Racing. I’m leaving Thursday to go to Oklahoma to test with them. Hopefully it goes well and I’ll get to do the rest of the Nationals after Southwick. I’m going to train my butt off to try and do good there.
You liked the sand at Zwarte Cross. Are you a sand guy?
Yeah, I raced Gopher Dunes last year in Canada and went 1-1 there. I like sand. It gets rough, and I’m a pretty tall rider so I can stand up and use my legs a lot.
What are your plans after the AMA Nationals?
I’m going to do the German Supercross series over the winter, and hopefully I can get a ride for the 2013 Supercross season. I’ve done the German Supercross series the last two years, it’s pretty cool and it’s a good warm up for AMA Supercross because they are pretty aggressive over there. The tracks are tighter, but they’re good. I’ve done well there in the past. My first year, I won the last two rounds. Last year I only did two rounds. At Munich I got fourth and at Dortman I won five out of six motos.
BROWN AND DOWD FIGHT TO KEEP THEIR NUMBERS
Mike Brown needs to earn three more points this season to keep his National number 3.
In the old days, riders had to earn at least one point to keep their permanent racing number for the next year. For the 2011 season, the AMA changed the rule and a rider must now earn 25 points in a season to keep his career number.
Mike Brown is grizzled 40-year-old veteran who has beensuccessful at motocross for decades, but as of late he has become an offroad racer…and only races motocross a couple times a year. As a former champion, Brown is fighting to keep his single-digit, National number three. Mike Brown earned 12 points at Millville and 10 points at Washougal. This means he only needs to earn three more points to keep his number. To get those three points, he would need to finish 18th or better in one moto, or finish 19-20 on the day. It seems like a lock for Mike Brown.
48 year-old John Dowd needs to finish 14-13 at Southwick to keep his racing number.
On August 10th, John Dowd will turn 48 years old. To put that in perspective, he turned pro six years before Blake Baggett was born. John Dowd goes like the wind at his hometown race in Southwick, so finishing inside the top twenty to earn one point was always easy for him. He would only worry about showing up at that one race. With the new rule and his age creeping up to the half-century mark, the “Junkyard Dog” stepped it up and decided to attend more races to keep his number 16.
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AIRWAY MX PARK: PRIVATEER SUPERCROSS
Airway Motocross Park invites Pro riders, amateurs and racing fans to the Privateer Supercross, with a recently increased $10,000 Pro Purse, on Saturday, July 28th. For local riders and those who raced this past weekend at PIR and/or Washougal, the Privateer Supercross in Spokane, Washington, is a short drive and a first-class event. Featuring a unique three (3) moto format with payouts to 11th place for each moto, a nice payday is within reach along with a possible winner’s payout of $3,250! Riders will be banging bars from start to finish each moto in search of holeshot money ($200), cash for the fastest laps ($100), moto finishes, and the overall title.
Alessi Holeshot Challenge
As an added bonus for both racers and fans, during intermission, Mike Alessi is putting up a cool $500 challenge for the first racer that can out holeshot him down the start straight. The Alessi $500 will be an intermission event unlike any others. For more info visit www.extmotorsports.com