MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT
By the staff of MXA
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Without question the rider with the distinction of “Racer of 2010” is Ryan Dungey. The Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki rider has won six 450 Supercross races, the Supercross title, nine 450 Nationals (and counting), and the outdoor title all in his rookie year as a 450 racer. Ryan Dungey is the real deal. Congrats, Ryan!
FIRST LOOK AT THE ALL-NEW ARAI MOTION GRAPHICS FOR THE VX-PRO 3
For more info go to www.araiamericas.com.
GRANT LANGSTON CALLS IT QUITS: AFTER A WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP, TWO AMA 125 EAST/WEST TITLES, THE 125 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP & THE 2007 450 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
Grant at the height of his powers.
“For me, moving to America was a dream come true,” said Langston. “I’ve started my family here and have made great friends. I am also fortunate enough to have enjoyed a great international career and an incredible world-wide fan base. While walking away was a very difficult decision, I do intend to remain in the United States and stay in the industry in some capacity.”
Through the past several race seasons Langston has battled several injuries, specifically a medical condition where a melanoma tumor that developed in the left eye caused loss of vision. And that, Langston says, was the clincher. “Dealing with recurring injuries takes the joy out of racing,” he said. “I can’t hang it out like I used to. And if I’m not able to compete at my best ? I do not want to race.”
Throughout his career, along with his wife, Chelsey, the constant in Langston’s life had been his father, Gerald. Good-natured and always a champion for his son’s efforts, Gerald, along with Grant, formed a father/son race team that’s a model for young up-and-coming racers and their dads. They remain true to their cause to this day with Grant being the majority share-holder in Langston Motorsports, owned and operated by Gerald. “My dad’s been a big part of my career, I love him a lot and look forward to working with him and the rest of my family at Langston Motorsports,” said Grant.
Grant Langston is entertaining opportunities to remain in the motorcycle industry. Inquires can be made to OMS Sports’ West Coast operations, (714) 538-1803 or firstname.lastname@example.org
AIRBAGS FOR MOTOCROSS RACERS
Many companies are working on air bag-style chest protectors for road racers and street riders, but there still remains the question of whether the radical movement of a motocross racer can be made to work with the lanyard system used by these protective devices. There is no doubt that air protection would increase safety and reduced injuries. A lot of the serious testing is coming from the equestrian world, where the riders fall from high heights and land on their back, necks or chests. The best example of a horse-derived chest protector is the Point Two Air Jacket. If a rider is thrown from a horse, the Point Two airbag system is effective in 0.1 seconds. That means that it will be inflated by the time you fall one foot. The jacket is completely reusable by replacing the CO2 gas cartridge. It can be worn under loose fitting clothes, but the rider has to attach a tether to his bike and remember to disconnect before getting off the bike at the end of a moto (additionally minor crashes that separated the rider from the bike would also inflate the air jacket). The downside of equestrian-based equipment is the cost. The retail price of the Point Two Air jacket is $699. It is available in kid’s sizes. For more info on the Point Two Air Jacket go to www.pointtwousa.com or call (720) 560 9143.
MXA MINI-VIEW: JEFF EMIG
By John Basher
As a teenager new to motocross back in the mid-1990s I idolized racers like Mike LaRocco, Jeremy McGrath, Mike Kiedrowski, and Jeff Emig. Of course McGrath ruled the Supercross roost, LaRocco and Kiedrowski had won outdoor titles, and Emig was in a heated battle with McGrath for the 1996 250 National title. Those were the days of two-strokes, Bell Moto 6 helmets, and a rivalry that ran deep between MC and Emig.
Heading into the 1996 Steel City finale McGrath held a very slim points lead over Emig for the title. To this day people still talk colorfully about the singular moment when Emig rose to superstardom in the 250 class. I speak for the majority of the people in my age bracket when I say that the ?96 250 National title was a battle for the ages. Some 14 years later, I felt it necessary to talk to the eventual victor about his serendipitous day.
Emig (2) and McGrath (1) were this close for the last few Nationals of the 1996 outdoors. Other riders, like Doug Henry (15), Phil Lawrence (13), Damon Bradshaw (28) and Rich Taylor (48) could only look on as the National title went down to the wire between McGrath and Emig.
MXA: Jeff, you always seemed to have success at Steel City. What do you attribute that success to?
Jeff: It’s the type of track that I liked. Sometimes you can have success on race tracks that you don’t necessarily care for, but it ends up that you’re the strongest or fastest guy on that particular day. Steel City was a place that I really enjoyed, so I did well there.
MXA: Let me set the stage. In 1996 Jeremy McGrath built up a points lead, but then injured himself at Millville, which allowed you to claw your way back. At the penultimate round in Binghamton McGrath won and led by two points heading into Steel City. Were you a bundle of nerves going into the finale?
Jeff: When I look back on that event, the advantage that I had over McGrath was that in 1992 I had a very similar situation with Mike LaRocco for the 125 National title, but I handled it properly and came away with the championship. I had the proper mindset and I kept my emotions in check leading up to Steel City in 1996. I knew exactly what to expect and I used the same formula in 1996 that I did in 1992. I kept business as usual and I knew that I had everything to gain and Jeremy had everything to lose. In that racing situation I had to come from behind. I don’t know what Jeremy was thinking or feeling at the time, other than in his years as a professional he didn’t have to go down to the final race in order to win a series. He was so accustomed to winning the Supercross title with a race or two to go.
Emig considers his banzai pass on McGrath during the first lap of the first moto at Steel City to be the point when he won the 250 title. Jeff went on to sweep both motos.
MXA: You and Jeremy had a pretty incredible rivalry on the track, and off the track you guys kept your distance. Was that difficult?
Jeff: What was crazy was that McGrath’s group of friends and my group of friends all got along great. I think that my group of friends would try and encourage Jeremy to raise the bar when we raced together, and his group of friends encouraged me to do the same. However, Jeremy and I didn’t hang out at all, because we had the battles going on.
MXA: How mentally taxing was the 1996 National title?
Jeff: That title, even more so than the 1997 Supercross title, was the most intense championship that I was ever in. It was tough between Jeremy and I on and off the track. He was the guy that was winning everything in 1996. Somehow I found a way to start winning races and take the outdoor title at the end of the year. I wasn’t the best guy, but I didn’t give up.
Today, Jeff is a TV analyst for the Speed Channel. He is still frequently asked about the battle of ’96.
MXA: You were known as a rider that wasn’t afraid to protect his line. Did your racing strategy change when you raced McGrath?
Jeff: I was always prepared to do whatever it took to try and beat Jeremy. Sometimes I was criticized for my riding tactics and how I would move over on the start, but if that’s what I needed to do in order to gain an advantage then that’s what I did.
MXA: It must be pretty neat that people still talk about the 1996 outdoor title, even though it seems like the Steel City showdown was eons ago.
Jeff: I consider myself fortunate to have a moment in my racing career that is so memorable to people. That people still talk about Steel City in 1996 is flattering to me. I was just happy to race against a champion like Jeremy McGrath, and at times come out on top.
SOUTHWICK NATIONAL OUTTAKES
Southwick has been host AMA Nationals for over thirty years. Over the years the track has changed, but the local enthusiasm remains as high as ever.
Within sight of his first 450 National win and moving into second overall in the series, Brett Metcalfe’s Geico Honda sputtered to a halt out of gas. Brett can officially be voted in as hard luck rider of the National series.
With his last place start position (see below) Honda team manager Erik Kehoe had a few last words for Andrew Short. “I told him he had two choices,” said Kehoe, “Either go out, slow down and cut underneath, or just hold it wide open and go for the outside while all the guys on the other side of the start fight for the inside. I told him to go for it, he’s got a fast bike ? he’s been proving that a lot lately with his starts.”
The Southwick National was not kind to Team Honda. An electrical problem in the first qualifier left Andrew Short without a qualifying time on the smooth track. He came back in round two and was still bumped out by virtue of the time gaps caused by the rougher track. After being given a provisional start (40th gate pick), Shorty lined up and got a ninth place start in moto one, only to crash out with Ben Townley who had already crashed once while leading. Townley’s bike would soon quit, leaving Brett Metcalfe leading the way to his first 450 National win ? only to run out of gas on the last lap. Shorty would suffer the same fate a few seconds later. Team Honda’s Dan Bentley said afterward, “What can I say, but we screwed up! We went over all of our records and nothing we had indicated we wouldn’t be able to make it a full moto on a tank of gas. A lot of it depends on the settings, but more than anything it’s the guy who is riding the bike that makes the difference. Andrew ran out of gas, but Kevin still had enough in his tank to do a few more laps. We’ve got bigger tanks for the second moto, but either way, the Monday morning meeting is gonna be rough!”
Besides winning yet another championship, Suzuki team manager Roger DeCoster was celebrating his 66th birthday at Southwick. Roger was amused when someone gave him a program from the 1975 Unadilla Trans-Am to autograph.
Former KTM amateur prospect Tommy Weeck lost his ride in 2010, but finally got some late season support (engine and suspension work) from Pro Circuit as well as (who else) his dad, to get back on the circuit for another shot. Tommy went 13-13 for 12th overall.
Jeremy Medaglia was “the Canadian guy” who surprised everyone after qualifying third fastest in the 450 class. Unfortunately, Jeremy’s race day didn’t go as well and he finished 22-20 for 26th overall in the 250 class. Jeremy’s brother finished 18th in the 250 class.
Two of the oldest guys found on the start line were Kevin Windham and local favorite John Dowd. Their combined age is 77. K-Dub once again ended up the top Honda rider of the day in fifth overall, while Dowd had an off day and ended up 19th overall.
Thankfully, east coast privateer Jacob Morrison brings a little individuality to the races with his retro red engined Honda that harks back to the old days of Marty Smith and Tommy Croft. Jacob took his Cycles 128/ReForest The Tropics/Troy Lee Designs-backed Honda to 17th overall finish.
Speaking of back-in-the-day motocross stars, who else but “Jammin” Jimmy Weinert was on hand at Southwick helping out a handful of his team riders like Robby Marshall, who qualified eighth fastest and went 9-33 for 15th overall. After a few fits and starts, “The Jammer” says his race team will be in full effect next year starting with the 250 East Supercross series.
After scoring a new title sponsor with ARMA (energy snacks), apparently someone at Team J-Law figured they should make the trip to Southwick. And they did with the team rig, motor home and scantily clad girls in attendance ? everyone except J-Law himself.
Kyle Regal is still the real deal, he’s just suffering from being inconsistent. His first moto fifth was hard fought, but combined with a 38th in moto two, it didn’t help his overall.
It was another up and down day for Tommy Hahn (the only remaining healthy rider on the Rockstar/Suzuki team). Tommy rode brilliantly in the first moto for second place (after Metcalfe ran out of gas), but a 32nd place finish in the second moto robbed him of an overall podium with an eighth place overall finish. New recruit Austin Howell ended up 25th. Team manager Billy Keefe was excited at the team moving from a satellite to full-factory backed effort in 2011. “It’s a great feeling getting that kind of recognition from Suzuki and it really rewards all the guys who have worked so hard to now be aligned with a manufacturer like that.” Despite getting the factory-backed call-up, Billy said the team is hoping to renew with Canidae and that the team rig will maintain their cool black graphics (versus the factory yellow).
MXA MINI-VIEW: IAN TRETTEL TAKES THE BIG STEP UP
MXA: This was your first National ? how did it go?
Ian: It’s definitely different. I was really focused on understanding how the whole program works; from timed practice to the different riders, staging and everything. I was nervous for sure, but my goal was just to ride my best and hopefully get in the top 15. Racing these last three Nationals is really just meant to be a learning experience for me so I can be better prepared for the 2011 season. After the first moto I was a little bummed because it wasn’t the finish I wanted, but it was a start.
MXA: What’s the biggest difference between the Amateur world you just came from and the Nationals?
Ian: Definitely the feeling of starting at the bottom again. With the amateurs you know where you belong. You’re faster, ride harder and have more confidence on the start line. I would say that racing the Nationals was harder than I expected ? it’s definitely the real deal. It’s pretty gnarly!
MXA: What advice would you give to the Amateur riders that you left behind who want to graduate like you did?
Ian: To take your time. A lot of kids are in such a hurry to move-up, but you have to have your program figured out. When you get to the Pro level you have to know what works best for you. I think my fitness is where it needs to be, but it’s something that I’m sure I’ll be adapting as I progress.
After qualifying 14th fastest Mike Alessi had a choice of either the absolute inside start positions or more towards the middle. Mike took the inside line and despite getting pinched by Nick Wey off the gate (below) he still came out with a top five start and proceeded to finish third in the moto and second overall.
Tyla Rattray skipped out on press day so he could be with his soon-to-be wife who was giving birth to their first child. Unfortunately, the kid had other ideas and Tyla was forced to make the trip ? his daughter was born at 4:00 am race day. To help mark the occasion, Tyla went 2-2 for first overall.
MXA MINI-VIEW: SEAN BORKENHAGEN?LOST AND FOUND
Sean and his driver.
MXA: For the last two years we have caught up with you near the end of the Nationals and you always have a different story to tell?what happened to the KTM Canada ride?
Sean: I don’t know really, it just sort of disappeared. After Texas they told me I had to give the bikes back and nothing ever came together with the deal we had for me to race the 350 in Canada ? it all just fizzled out.
MXA: What’s your program now?
Sean: After I gave my bikes back I borrowed a friend’s KX250F for awhile and started racing at REM until things got figured out with KTM. We weren’t hearing anything back from them so my dad and I decided to go back to Mid-Cities Honda/Kawasaki and get a new KX450F. Mid-Cities has been helping me for the last five years so it was really cool of them to help me out this late into the season. The 450 is less expensive to race, but it’s also a lot bigger ? it swaps heavy and once it starts moving it keeps moving! Southwick can definitely make a bike handle worse.
MXA: So now what?
Sean: My dad just bought a new van that we fixed up pretty cool with a partition and bed ? it’s like a hotel on wheels ? I have my blanket and three pillows and I just watch movies (while dad drives). We’re going to stay out here with Darryn Durham through the week, race Steel City then I’ll fly home (while dad drives) and get ready for the final race at Pala. After that we’ll wait and see ? I want to race.
How did Ryan Dungey do?
Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce to you your new 450cc AMA National Motocross Champion, Rookie of the Year, all-around history maker and nice guy, Ryan Dungey.
STEEL CITY, BY WAY OF CHICAGO
By John Basher
Now, this is how you fly to the Nationals!
This weekend I’m flying in a private jet from Chicago to the front door of Steel City’s National track to watch the big race. Yes, I know. I’m spoiled, pampered, and even babied. Sure, you’re jealous. Perhaps even mad. Call me any name in the book, but I don’t care. It pays to have friends in high places, and DeCal Works’ Ron Joynt is one such person.
For the past three years I have been invited by Ron to fly in a chartered private jet from an airstrip near his shop in Kingston, Illinois, to a Supercross race. So far I’ve been to Atlanta, Dallas and New Orleans. It has been a grand ol’ time jet setting with Ron and the DeCal Works crew. I consider myself fortunate to cruise in the same air space as Richard Branson for what turns out to be a very short time on my way to a racing event. Typically we fly out early on Saturday morning, hang out in a jet that holds about a dozen people, spend a few hours in the air, take a limo to the track, watch the races, limo it back to the airfield right after the race, fly towards Chicago, and arrive a few hours later. It’s all in a day’s work!
This year Ron decided that the Nationals were more up his alley (apparently he overcame his phobia of walking around in dirty shoes). I was excited when Ron invited me on the private jet again, and even more elated to hear that we were going to a National. Why? I love motocross. It’s real. It’s what I do.
Look out for a bunch of guys in DeCal Works pit shirts mobbing around the pits this weekend. If you see the boys, feel free to heckle them about their prima donna ways of traveling to the Nationals. Heck, yell at me as well. That reminds me, maybe I should pack ear plugs.
MXA NEW PRODUCT: ALPINESTARS B2 CARBON KNEE BRACE
Retailing for $349.95 the new Alpinestars B2 knee brace features a rigid carbon composite frames, articulated “Patella System” (that moves with the knee), natural hinge motion, adjustable extension stops, non-elastic straps and condyle support for medial-lateral stability, quick-disconnect lateral buckles, four off-the-shelf sizes and knee sleeves as part of the package. For more info go to www.alpinestars.com.
2011 AMA ARENACROSS SERIES SCHEDULE
The 2011 AMA Arenacross Series schedule includes a new stop at the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas, and welcomes back four cities, each of which have previously hosted AMA Arenacross Series races in the past, including Toledo, Ohio, Wichita, Kansas, Greenville, South Carolina and Rockford, Illinois. Central Arkansas Verizon Arena (formerly Alltel Arena) will make its AMA Arenacross Series debut on March 26 for the 12th race of the 14 race season.
Date Venue City
January 8-9………BOK Center….Tulsa, OkK
January 15-16…..Kemper Center…Kansas City, MO
January 22-23…..Nutter Center…Dayton, OH
January 28-30…..Denver Coliseum….Denver, CO
February 4-6…….Huntington Center….Toledo, OH
February 18-20…Livestock Event Center…Reno, NV
February 26-27…Arco Arena….Sacramento, CA
March 4-6………..Intrust Bank Arena…Wichita, KS
March 12-13…….Bi-Lo Center….Greenville, SC
March 18-20…….Mid-America Center….Council Bluffs, IA
March 26-27…….Verizon Wireless Arena Little Rock, AR
April 1-3………….Metro Center….Rockford, IL
April 9-10………..Wells Fargo Arena…Des Moines, IA
GENUINE MIKUNI REBUILD KITS FOR CARBURETORS & FUEL PUMPS
When it comes time to rebuild a Mikuni Carburetor or Fuel Pump used in a motorcycle, ATV, Jet Ski or personal watercraft, look to Mikuni American to supply the Genuine Component Rebuild Kit for your application. Each Kit contains all the necessary gaskets, seals, and O-rings, as well as any specialty parts that may wear out over time like pop-off springs, diaphragms, needle valves with seats, and float pivots.
Genuine Mikuni Component Rebuild Kits, as well as Replacement and Aftermarket Performance Carburetors, Fuels Pumps and all their Parts and Accessories are available from Mikuni American Distributors or through your favorite dealer. You can look up all the available Kits, Carburetors and Parts, along with Mikuni Distributors on the www.MikuniPower.com website.
PRESS RELEASE: LEATT LOOKING FOR SHIPPING/WAREHOUSE MANAGER
Leatt USA is currently looking for a Shipping/warehouse Manager. Previous experience is REQUIRED. Duties would include, but not be limited to, packaging, shipping, receiving, warehouse organization, and generation of invoices. Leatt is looking for a leader in this position. Strong organizational skills and computer knowledge of Windows, UPS and FedEx required. Experience export shipments and SAP is a bonus. Salary based on experience. Contact ? email@example.com
PRESS RELEASE: AXO INTRODUCES NEW SOCK PATTERNS
If you think motorcycle socks aren’t fashionable maybe you should think again. AXO has changed the way MX socks are designed.
For 2011 AXO America has introduced 9 new patterns to its already successful line up of motorcycle socks, bringing a total of 21 different (18 adults and 3 kids) themed socks to the market. From the throw back Anaheim sock which is sure to be a favorite or the Ride-Tide sock which is sure to catch your attention, to the very popular Love U Mom knee brace sock, AXO is certain to have you covered and looking good. AXO motorcycle socks are built for performance as well with moisture-wicking materials, tapered fit and built in arch support making them work as good as they look. So be sure to view the 2011 catalog.
The suggested retail price in the U.S. is $12.99 for the MX and Street socks, $19.99 for knee brace socks, $7.99 for crew socks and $16.99 for a 3-pack no-show socks. All motorcycle socks are available in one-size-fits-all. All lifestyle socks are available in sizes S/M (7-10) and L/XL (11-14).