By John Minert
It was good while it lasted. First Dungey leaves and now the rest of the team. Brett Metcalfe is lonely.
YES, IT IS TRUE?SUZUKI SHUTS DOWN ITS RACE TEAM
Although most people in the industry knew the news five days ago, Suzuki has kept mum about what happened last Friday. So, what happened? Suzuki had another round of layoffs (not their first)…and they let the Suzuki race team go (Aki Goto, Ray Tetherton and Mike Webb). Reportedly Pat Alexander and Chris Wheeler didn’t get the ax, but who knows what’s around the corner.
Obviously this throws Suzuki’s 2012 racing plans up in the air, especially given that every team and rider who was unhappy with Honda (Chad Reed) or Yamaha (Joe Gibbs) or life (James Stewart) were all making happy talk with Suzuki.
Rockstar will find a new team to sponsor (we would assumed Chad Reed’s team or the new Larry Brooks team…Team Honda is reportedly going to Muscle Milk) and word on the street was the Makita was leaving Suzuki anyway.
Brett Metcalfe has a contract and Suzuki will find a way to support him?most likely through Yoshimura (or maybe JGR). And, for all of you doom and gloomers out there, this is not the end of Suzuki, Suzukis being raced or Suzuki-backed teams (any more than Yamaha dropping out was the end of Yamahas on the circuit…although Bultaco never made a comeback when they quit). All of this will shake out, and Tetherton, Webb and Goto will find new positions very fast (and Suzuki could be back in time). Our sympathies go out to the lesser knowns at Suzuki, who were laid off and are now looking for jobs.
MXA INTERVIEW: TYLA RATTRAY
Tyla lead his South African team to a sixth place overall finish at the MXdN.
As a former GP champ, Tyla Rattray is no stranger to competing in Europe against some of the top GP stars. Even though the hard-packed track was opposite terrain of Tyla’s preference, it’s no surprise that he finished well at the Motocross des Nations, with a fifth in race one, and third in race three, helping his team earn sixth place overall for the event. It was a benchmark race for the South African as it was his first major competition on a 450cc bike. As a rider with AMA, FIM and MXdN experience on a team right in the thick of the des Nations competition, we figured Tyla would be the perfect guy to talk to about the race. We called him to get a rider’s perspective on the 2011 Motocross des Nations.
MXA: When did you arrive in France for the event?
Tyla: We left Monday after Pala. Myself, my wife, Ryan, his wife and his practice bike mechanic. We flew out of LAX to Chicago and from Chicago to Paris. In Paris we had about a three-hour layover, and then we took a train to a little town pretty close to the track. We got our rental cars, drove to the hotel and chilled out for a little while. With the nine hour time difference it’s pretty crazy. You wake up at 2:00 a.m. in the morning and think you have had a good nights sleep. We tried to get rid of the jet lag. Then, we managed to do some riding on Thursday at some little local track there. Saturday and Sunday was the Motocross des Nations. On Friday we had the press conferences and took pictures and everything.
How was the track?
On Saturday and Sunday there were quite a few people there. They hadn’t done that much work on the track. They hadn’t ripped it or anything because I think they were expecting a lot rain, which came in on Sunday. The track on Sunday was a little bit better than it was on Saturday, but it was still pretty hard and rocky. I had two good rides, but I had trouble in the first moto. It started raining and I got water under my tearoffs. I had to take my goggles off. In the second race I got third. Overall it was a pretty good weekend.
Tyla did well on Fance’s hard pack, but he excels in soft dirt. He looks forward to Belgian sand, for the MXdN next year.
Would you have preferred some softer dirt or sand?
Definitely. Next year we’re going to Lommel, which is deep sand and completely opposite it to what we were racing on this weekend. I think that will be good. I like racing on soft tracks, and it I think it’s going to be fun. Tell us about you team.
Our team wasn’t really strong, we had Garreth Swanepoel who is pretty good, and another rider, Shannon Terreblanche who is good, but he doesn’t really do Grand Prixs, he does European Championships. We didn’t really expect too much from him. Garreth and I were trying to get the best results we could and place as high up as possible. I managed to finish in the top five which was capable, and we finished up sixth overall. Garreth rode pretty awesome, especially in the first moto. I don’t know what happened in the second moto, I think he had some bike problems and fished around eighteenth. But it’s just great getting to go to the Motocross of Nations, getting to represent your country and seeing all the different bikes and stickers and different riding gear and helmets that riders have. It’s a great experience.
Tell us about riding a 450.
Mitch Payton brought me a pretty good 450. It’s definitely a lot of fun. It was my first time racing a 450 at a big event like that. I have raced a 450 at international races at the end of the season, but never at a big event like the Motocross of Nations. I had a lot of fun racing the 450. Obviously it has a lot more power than a 250. Overall, I enjoyed it.
How did this Motocross des Nations compared to the ones you have done in the past?
The motocross of Nations is always a big event, no matter where you go, whether it’s in Budds Creek or in Europe. In France it was pretty big, and the French are pretty crazy about racing and motocross, so it was a great experience going there. I have raced in France before at a Motocross of Nations and it was exactly the same as it was this weekend. It’s definitely the biggest motocross event that there is. There were thousands people there watching and cheering.
Last year Tyla was a question mark for Supercross. Now we know he has the potential to win.
What will you be doing between now and Supercross?
I am going to do a little bit of riding these next two weeks. I’m back in California right now for the next two weeks. Then I will head back to South Africa for three weeks and take a little bit of a holiday. Then I’ll come back here and start getting ready for Supercross. I’ll be out of the test tracks quite a bit getting ready for Supercross. I’m not exactly sure which coast we will be riding yet, that’s for Mitch to decide. It will be all about getting ready for Anaheim one, and then we’ll see which coast he puts me on. It all depends on who gets hurt during the off-season, which riders go where, etc. I don’t know where I will be going now but hopefully it will be West.
It’s going to be fun. I got some races under my belt last year and I’m definitely looking forward to going into Supercross this year. I’m going to go out and try to win some main events, that’s going to be my goal, and will just see how it goes. We’ve got the best bikes out there, so I just need to rip some hole shots and that will make life a lot easier.
TONY CAIROLI NEWS: A FEW MONTHS OFF
With his bars broken off and his wrist broken, Tony Cairoli walks dejectedly back to the pits. Photo: Adam Duckworth
After the MXDN was over, Tony Cairoli tweeted, “Yesterday big show..2-day big disaster! Try to start moto 3 but pain! Broke Scaphoid & Ulna in that 2nd crash. Bad luck 4 Team Italy!”
If ever a rider was star-crossed at an event, it is Antonio Cairoli and the Motocross des Nations. The five-time FIM World Champion is always the big hope of the European fans to upset the American apple cart, but instead it is Tony who always gets snake bit. This year, in France, Tony crashed during the first moto of the des Nations. The crash was so violent that it snapped the bar mounts on his works KTM and hurt his wrist. To his credit, Tony showed up on the starting line for his next moto, but pulled off after one lap.
Cairoli’s teammate Max Nagl reportedly missed the MXDN with a broken scaphoid, but now the doctors say that his wrist if fine, but that he has a pinched nerve that will require surgery. Additionally, Jeremy van Horebeeck is waiting for his shoulder to heal. That leaves only Jeffrey Herlings capable of doing pre-season testing…as Ken Roczen will be in the USA.
MXA INTERVIEW DAVE OSTERMAN
Dave O is the Twotwo Motorsports/Chad Reed team manager.
Dave Osterman is the manager for team Twotwo Motorsports, but last weekend he put his efforts towards team Australia at the Motocross des Nations. Dave was a part of the pioneering group of Americans to go overseas and have success at the event, wrenching for Mike Bell in 1981. As an American working for the Australians this year, Dave has a very interesting perspective on the 2011 MXdN. We like talking to Dave O because he uses a lot of colorful metaphors and isn’t afraid to speak his mind. We called him up to chat about his experience in France, and to find out about Twotwo Motorsports’ plans for bikes, riders and sponsorship for 2012.
MXA: What’s your previous experience with the Motocross des Nations?
Dave: The first time I went to Europe I was with Mike Bell. Strangely enough in ’78 we were picked, but for whatever reason and politics, the powers that be at the eleventh hour said no. So Mike and I sat on the sidelines. Right around ’81, it was the first year that the USA won at Lommel, where we are going next year. Today, everyone is so worried about the Americans getting killed in the sand, but everybody thought the same thing back then. Mike and I were there for the first-ever professionally run Supercross in Europe, in Amsterdam at the velodrome. After some initial practice, they came over and pleaded with Mike to do some of the obstacles because the guys there, who were some of the best riders in the world, needed a lesson. They didn’t ride much Supercross. The next year, Mike and I had the opportunity to go to Lommel. There were guys we had never heard of who were just flying. No one though the Americans could win. There were no sand tracks on the AMA professional circuit that could compare to Lommel, but we won that day.
MXA: What happened this year?
I’m an American, but I didn’t have on and a red, white and blue shirt. I had a green and yellow shirt. The only time I really noticed anything was looking in the mirror getting dressed. Outside of that, my crew and I, which is American-based, were working for Chad, Metcalfe and Moss. We all kind of became one. Matt Moss rode a KTM, Chad, of course, rode a Honda, and Metty a Factory Suzuki. We were all under one tent. Suzuki kind of blew a gasket and the upper management made Metty move. Our truck was a KTM truck, but all of the logos were removed. The skirting color was orange and of the main body color was black. They went out of their way to remove logos and cover things up. You would have to be a Colombo to figure things out, outside of the orange.
“…you didn’t know if they were standing on grass or snow because he couldn’t see anything. It’s just a sea of flags and a sea of people.”
MXA: How was the Pageantry?
Pageantry there is second to none. U.S. motocross can definitely take a lesson on that. You and I and read about all of the in-fighting and how the teams pay through the nose to be there. I don’t know about all that, and I don’t want to know about all that. But at the end of the day, when you pull in to the track it’s amazing. Just the support of the race would rival, a Michael Jackson, Rolling Stones and Madonna concert all on the same afternoon. It’s just incredible. Even at our best National you can still see grass between the people. I don’t know if every GP is that way, but when you go to the Motocross des Nations you didn’t know if they were standing on grass or snow because he couldn’t see anything. It’s just a sea of flags and a sea of people. Everybody was giving me a hard time because I brought a huge stack of Chad Reed posters, but it was neat that we had them. Chad signed and gave them all away. We might have been the only people there to do that.
MXA: How did your team do?
For us, it was a good period to the year. I’ll take all the accolades like a firehose, those who don’t like being flattered. But I don’t really think about it too much. I shook Chad’s hand and took this job at the beginning of the season, and before you knew it we were at the awards banquet for Supercross. We didn’t really have a place or an office, we were like the gypsy team. I don’t think this has ever been done at this level. There have always been privateer teams, but we have been up and down and all around. Even though we were testing out of a pickup truck, and we were up in the air about racing outdoors and without a whole lot of time to test the factory Honda outdoors, we regrouped, and wanted to carry the flag for Honda and our team to Millville. Through no fault of the bike or Chad… It’s like a rock in your shoe, only this rock is like a boulder, and it really took him out. He was lucky to get up and walk away from that crash unscathed. It takes a few weeks for the bruising and soreness to go away but it’s in your head. Like a jockey that gets thrown from a horse, he gets back on the horse, but at what cost? There were no broken bones or excuses, but realistically, it takes some time. The mental part is the hardest part of any sport. Then we go to Europe to our Olympics and here comes that same guy. He goes out and does well in practice and kills it in the first moto. So it was a good period to the year. The MX1 and MX3 race at the end with Metcalfe and Chad, he put on the mother of all charges. Metcalfe was on the gas as well, and we were looking good to take second overall in the race even though Moss’s bike kind of faltered. Australia had never been on the podium there. Even though they have had good teams, they fell short. This year they didn’t. If Chad and Metty didn’t tip over in the second one, they had it in the bag. But the podium spot was great, and I’m proud.
In somewhat of an anti-American statement, when the Americans get on stage they need a bigger stage. You don’t realize the scope of it until you see it I think they bought way too many plane tickets. I can’t believe they need all that to do the event. But hey, I’m happy for the two Ryans and Baggett, it was awesome. But they had quite an entourage. The USA came really close to losing it this year, and the French had a really good team, so that makes it exciting for the future.
…I think they bought way too many plane tickets. I can’t believe they need all that to do the event. But hey, I’m happy for the two Ryans and Baggett, it was awesome.
What can you say about bikes, sponsorship, and riders for Twotwo Motorsports for 2012?
I can certainly add to the rumors if that helps. Realistically, the flavor of the month is red. Obviously Chad is going to be on the team. As far as a second guy, and that’s being kicked around like a couple of old people playing shuffleboard at the park. Until the dust clears with sponsorship and things like that it’s hard to say anything. As much as I would like to add to the vollume of Internet rumors, as team manager it’s not my place. We’re under construction. If we were in an office you see a big green fence with a little yellow sign that says ‘under construction’. No disrespect to any riders, but Chad has clearly stated that he wants a third place or better guy. He doesn’t want a fifth place or better guy. He wants a guy who can run with him or is better than him. He doesn’t want a guy that is good for signing posters, he wants a guy that can win. That guy doesn’t exist right now. The Ryans are signed, Stewart’s got his own deal. I respect Chad for that. He isn’t really demanding, he doesn’t carry a whip. But, he hand picked everyone here and I know he is going to do the same with the rider.
A lot of teams are looking beyond 2012 to the Barcias and the Wilsons who are moving up. It will be like the first day of fishing season where everyone throws their fish hooks out with the best bait and hope to catch a big one because guys out there now are just riding around and their careers are just going through the motions. But, I am not going to name any names. I respect everyone out there. I have a lot of respect for anyone who put in the work just to earn a pro license.
Is there anyone you would like to thank?
I would like to thank everyone that made the Motocross des Nations possible. We were very pleased and had some fantastic people behind the scenes. I want to give a special shout out to Gary Benn, the Australian team manager. He is really a seasoned vet at this and he kept everything glued together. It wasn’t a Twotwo Motorsports thing, it was everyone who helped Chad Reed, Matt Moss and Brett Metcalfe, from Factory Honda, to Factory Suzuki and KTM and the transportation, the Martin Honda guys who helped us and anybody who helped the team. Anyone who works their way to Supercross or something, I am definitely going to hook them up. When you go to Europe it’s a big ordeal and a lot of people had a hand in it.
GODSPEED! SWIAN ZANONI
Brazilian Grand Prix rider Swian Zanoni died after losing control of his motorcycle during the last lap of a weekend race in Orizania, Brazil. He was 23 and apparently struck a tree.
Zanoni had competed in 250 World Motocross Championships, but broke his arm this year and was just getting back to racing. He was runner-up in the Brazilian Supercross Championship in 2007-2008. He raced on the 2009 Brazilian team at the Motocross des Nations with Antonio Balbi and Wellington Garcia. Brazilian federation vice-president Roberto Boettcher said, “This is a huge loss. He was representing Brazil in the world’s most important motocross championship. He was carrying the Brazilian flag.”
FIRE THREATENS CANADIAN MOTOCROSS TRACK
According to the Nanaimo Daily News?Firefighters are working to control a fire in mounds of wood stored on a wood processing operation in the Doumont Road area [Nanaimo, British Colombia]. The fire was reported [Monday] night on private property next to the Wastelands motocross track. A crew of five worked on the stubborn fire in chipped wood until exhaustion forced them to quit, at approximately 2 a.m. A second crew was brought in this morning.
The fire is believed to have started in lumber being chipped on site to make hog fuel [coarse chips of bark and wood fiber]. That ignited several large mounds of stockpiled hog fuel. Chipped wood burns slowly but can be extremely difficult to extinguish. The fire is sending columns of smoke billowing into the sky. “Unfortunately, you basically need a river to put it out at this point,” said Alan Berry, B.C. Forest Service forest protection technician.
The fire creates two concerns: Heavy smoke creates air quality issues in Nanaimo, and secondly, loss of forests, should it spread onto nearby forests, including recreational cycling and hiking trails through a mixture of woodlot lands operated by Vancouver Island University and private wood lands. The fire hazard is at high in Nanaimo. Firefighters hope rain forecast for later this week will help bring the smouldering under control. “You you get a pile like that it’s a couple storeys high, it will need a lot of rain to saturate,” Berry said. The forest service considers the fire suspicious and is investigating.
IS IT APRIL 1? THAILAND GETS A GRAND PRIX FOR 2013
From left to right: Viegas, Luongo, Wongsawan, Postema and Srb.
Before the start of the Motocross des Nation, Giuseppe Luongo announced that the FIM World Motocross Championship will hold a Grand Prix in Thailand in 2013. Luongo signed a contract with the president of the Thai Motorcycle Federation, Thongchai Wongsawan, for a three-year deal (from 2013-2015). It is rumored to be the first GP of the 2013 season. Former GP rider Jan Postema has been working with Mr. Wongsawan for several years and he explained: “Thailand is a very big country and this is a very good possibility for us all to make motocross even more international. People in Asia and especially in Thailand are very pleasant people and very motivated, so I am sure that we will have a great event there.”
FIM Director Wolfgang Srb said: “This is part of our long term strategy in the FIM to go with the Grand Prix more outside of Europe, especially to those regions which are growing really fast like Asia, so congratulations to all of those who have made this deal possible.”
FIM Deputy President Mr. Jorge Viegas added: “We must go overseas, as Youthstream has done in the recent past going to South America, Asia and Africa. We know which countries are growing and this countries will have a demand for motocross because it is a very attractive product.”
DANNY TORRES TAKES RED BULL X-FIGHTERS CROWN
Danny Torres was crowned the overall champion of the 2011 Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour in Sydney, Australia. Local hero Josh Sheehan won the event on his home soil on Cockatoo Island in front of a sell-out crowd of 11,000.
Sydney will go down in the 11-year history of the Red Bull X-Fighters as the most spectacular event ever. The winner, Josh Sheehan, as well as his compatriot Cameron Sinclair, aced a total of three double backflips on ordinary motocross bikes.
“I was confident I could do it and just went out and did it,” said Sheehan, who defeated New Zealand’s Levi Sherwood in the final. “It was what won it for me.” For Dany Torres, getting third place was enough to clinch the overall title at the final stop of the year in front of Sydney’s impressive skyline, wrestling the title away from Nate Adams (USA) who had taken top honors in 2009 and 2010. Adams took part despite a broken shoulder, but ended up in 11th place. The 24-year-old Spaniard, the newly crowned champion, won the season-opener in Dubai and in the bullfighting ring of Madrid. Adams had the best tricks to win the events in Brazil, Rome and Poznan.
The Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour enthralled more than 230,000 fans at six events on four continents in 2011, and proved to be quite literally a knock-out contest. Both Torres and Adams were sidelined at events because of injuries – Torres in Brazil and Adams in Madrid. Top favorite Andre Villa, who ended up in third place overall, suffered a broken femur in Poznan and was forced to put his FMX bike in the garage before the end of the season.
Red Bull X-Fighters Sydney, Australia 2011 Final Results:
1. John Sheehan (AUS)
2. Levi Sherwoof (NZL)
3. Dany Torres (ESP)
4. Mike Mason (USA)
5. Rob Adelberg (AUS)
6. Adam Jones (USA)
7. Maikel Malero (ESP)
8. Todd Potter (USA)
9. Matt Schubring (AUS)
10. Cam Sinclair (AUS)
11. Eigo Sato (JAP)
12. Nate Adams (USA)
Red Bull X-Fighters World Tour 2011 Final Results:
1. Dany Torres – 390
2. Nate Adams – 370
3. Andre Villa – 270
4. John Sheehan – 230
5. Blake Williams – 215
6. Eigo Sato – 190
7. Levi Sherwood – 180
8. Adam Jones – 160
9. Robbie Maddison – 160
10. Maikel Melero – 145
MATRIX MXdN LIMITED EDITION STARS AND STRIPES GRAPHICS
Ryan Villopoto and Ryan Dungey lead team USA with Blake Bagget to the overall win ahead of France and Australia. In honor of team USA’s win, for a limited time we are offering a Team USA M2 Stand $109.95, M6 Folding Ramp $139.95, M1.5 Tie downs $39.95, M24 Mud Scraper $9.95, full graphic M3 Utility Can $79.95, and red M10 Mat $129.95. You can buy products individually or a complete package for $450.00. A portion of the proceeds will go to support the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (email@example.com). These limited USA products can be ordered at www.matrixracingproducts.com or call 661-253-1592.
OSSA MOTORCYCLES ARE BACK
After a 29 year hiatus, OSSA is back! Many riders remember all of the Ossa championships from long ago, now a company with a long history is at the front of innovation and technology. The first model available is the TR280i which presents the new standard in trials bike engineering. It is a fuel-injected 280cc two-stroke!
To get more details and information you can contact Ossa USA at (515) 402-8000 or www.ossaworld.com
MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS TALK
Ryan Dungey?USA (Photos by Ray Archer and Adam Duckworth)
“I think each and every win is amazing and it was cool to pull it off. There was a little bit of rain and the track was tough but I’m really excited to get this one. The first race was tough. I felt good at the beginning and was closing in on the lead, but when the rain came down it was really slippery. Chad Reed was riding well and got away. I made a mistake but kept it up. When it starts getting muddy and slippery then the bike gets heavy and it was tough-going.”
“We were a good team. I tried to salvage every place I could and put my head down to finish both races. In the first moto I lost the front wheel and crashed. I had to take of my goggles off. In the second one I got a good start behind Ryan. I took the same lines as him but tried to get around a lapper and made a mistake. I ended up in the fence.”
“It was a good weekend for me. In the first moto I got a good start in about seventh place and from there I worked my way up to second. I even got close to Chad Reed. In the second race I twisted my knee and broke my goggles, but I did have a good battle with Villopoto.”
“We came here Friday for the press conference and it almost felt like we were the laughing stock, like ‘here comes Team Australia again, a great team but they’ll probably take seventh again like every year’. To finally get that out of the way and get on the podium is awesome for Australian motocross.”
I led my first 45o moto for a long time and finished second. That was great. I got a bad start in the second moto and had to come from 20th place. I felt good and I’m looking forward to next year already!”
“The first race was pretty good. I had a good start and was riding well. Sometimes I felt I was a little bit faster in places but passing was so hard but overall it was okay. For the second moto I went to the inside but it just didn’t happen. I blew it there. I was 15th or 16th and it was difficult to overtake the others. The crowd was going insane and it was fun to race here. I think Belgium cannot be disappointed with fifth; it is pretty much what we expected even if we did have a chance of the podium before the final race – if I made a good start! The bike really suits me and I’ve enjoyed these last few meetings. I want to thank the team for all their help and I hope I can find something good for next year soon. I know I can make top five in the World with the Suzuki.”
In the first race I hit some soft mud in the first corner and went down. I got and worked my way up to midpack. I was really pushing, maybe a bit too much. I crashed and damaged my bike and hurt my hand.”
“We went into the last race with a three-point lead, but the USA team was too strong. It was a good feeling to race at Saint Jean d’Angely again.”
“My first heat was really good. I had a good start and managed 13th. In the beginning I pushed a little bit too hard because the Americans came through and I wanted to go with them. I had a bit of arm pump but the result was okay. I’m not happy with the second moto because I killed the bike going up one hill and was completely last. I couldn’t find the rhythm and for the first time this season I had muscle cramps that were so painful; it was difficult to ride! Overall I’m happy because it was tough for our team with the bad luck with Max being injured and Daniel Siegl crashing out of the last race.”
“It was okay today and I really enjoyed it. I had quite good starts in both motos, but those guys are very quick! I struggled a little bit because there were so many ruts and it was a high-speed track. My riding is getting better, but I need a bit more time. Now we go back to four more races in Japan and my goal is to get the All-Japan Championship again. I am 19 point points behind Akira Narita and I will push hard to try to pass him.”