MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (2/6/13)


PHOTO OF THE WEEK

    It can be the smallest joy that makes everything ever so sweet. Take Jimmy Albertson, for example. While jumping the finish line at the conclusion of the first timed practice session at Anaheim 3 Jimmy flashed the number one sign for a brief second. Was Albertson first in that session? Heck no! He was 15th fastest, approximately two seconds slower than Ryan Villopoto. It didn’t matter. Jimmy Albertson was number one in his heart. That’s the spirit of a warrior.

BAR DRAG CONTEST: Y’ALL HAVE SKILLS


    Two weeks ago I presented a challenge to the fine readers of the Mid-Week Report. Send us a photo of yourself (or a buddy) grabbing dirt while roosting through a corner. It was inspired by Daryl Ecklund’s heroic efforts aboard a 2013 TM 450MX. You responded to the challenge by submitting some very cool photos.
    A new week brought a new challenge. Last week I urged you to send in a photo of yourself dragging bar through a corner. Knowing that this is the more along the lines of what most berm-shredding-moto-maniacs aspire to do, I figured that there would be a huge response. You didn’t disappoint. Photos came pouring in throughout the week and, because you are devoted fans of the Mid-Week Report, I feel it’s my fiduciary responsibility to show all of the photos submitted. Good work, folks!


Abe Styburski getting down, old school style and without a helmet. Don’t try this at home, kids.


Adam McClintock manages to create handlebar roost.


Andrea Higdon on a 1975 CR125 at Big Spring, Texas in 1975.


For the second week in a row Justin Jones throws his hat in the ring. This kid can get down.


Jim Gibson on the cover in 1981. Check out the JT boot gaiters!


John Wackerbarth goes mining for treasure.


Josh Brigham is feeling it in this Scott Van Vuren photo.


REM regular Kordel Caro makes a wave of roost at Glen Helen.


Marshall Smith kicks up some roost with his boot to aid in touching the soil. It doesn’t matter; Smith is putting it down.


Nate Ferderer moves tectonic plates on a Husqvarna in this Gulbranson photo.


No matter where you come from or the language you speak, all moto heads can appreciate a nice handlebar drag. Here’s Tommy Unger from Sweden. Well done!


Recognize this old cat? It’s none other than Roger DeCoster. Here he’s putting ‘er down at Carlsbad.


Rob Andrews must be the most well-known bar dragger in history. The pride of Great Britain could drag bar like no other.

    DC and Robbie Maddison are proud to introduce the official trailer for AIR.CRAFT, a new video project that willdebut globally on Monday, February 11th 2013 via the DC Shoes YouTube channel. Filmed over three days at a military airplane graveyard inTuscon, Arizona, AIR.CRAFT showcases Robbie Maddison’s legendary freestyle moto skills in a new direction of filming and riding, unique to freestyle motocross.
     The airplane graveyard was the perfect location to create a one of a kind moto film. More than fifty planes of various sizes and conditions were positioned and maneuvered together to create the ultimate freestyle motocross course for Maddo. Utilizing different parts of the planes for landings and jumps made already risky tricks become exponentially more dangerous. Step-ups to airborne shipping containers to backflips over planes, AIR.CRAFT features never before seen stunts worthy of a high quality film production.
     “I really wanted to create something different so moto fans can see something new and interesting, really making this as special as possible. Thanks to all the guys at DC and also Red Bull for believing in me and supporting me with wanting to create this project. It was the perfect timing with the direction I wanted to take this sport and I’m so thankful that DC was able to help me bring this to fruition,” said Robbie Maddison, DC Motocross athlete and star of AIR.CRAFT.
     A modern day Evil Knievel, Maddo approached the filming of AIR.CRAFT ready to surprise his fans and create something truly spectacular. Always looking to do things different his motto has been to ?keep changing the game.’ His most recent credits include acting as stuntman for James Bond in Skyfall during all moto action sequences. Additional accolades include X-Fighters champion, X Games medalist, and breaking the distance world record by jumping his motorcycle 322 feet, 7.5 inches at the Rio All- Suite Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas. He ended 2008 back in Vegas, jumping his bike onto the top of the 96-foot-high Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas and then freefalling off it at Red Bull: New Year. No Limits.  In 2011, Maddo smashed his personal best long distance jump and went over 378 feet at the Red Bull: New Year. No Limits.
     “Robbie’s dedication is evident in everything he does. He is not only an amazing athlete but always looking to see what’s next and push himself and the sport of motocross as far as he can. He was the perfect partner to create this video with and also launch the series. Maddo is innovative, talented and incredibly inspiring. We are lucky to have him as part of the DC Moto Team,” said DC’s SVP of Global Marketing, Jeff Taylor.
     In addition to launching a new genre of videos for DC, AIR.CRAFT also debuts the Robbie Maddison Teamworks Collection of footwear and apparel as well as his signature DC Motocross gear. Featured in the video are the RM Madstar Tee, RM Emblem Tee, RM Logo Tee,
RM Mixer Tee, RM Stars Hat, Bridge Maddo Shoe, and the Pro Spec 3.0 VLC RM Shoe. For more information and to check out theentire Robbie Maddison Teamworks Collection, please visit: http://store.dcshoes.com/family/index.jsp?categoryId=19236606&cp=3448754.

RYAN VILLOPOTO INTERVIEW…FROM 7-1/2 YEARS AGO

    In 2005 I covered the Ponca City NMA Amateur National in Oklahoma. It was a very cool experience getting to see America’s youth do battle smack dab in the center of the U.S. during a picturesque few days in the summer. The biggest amateur sensation that year was Ryan Villopoto. He was a young kid back then, with long reddish hair and pale skin. My brother, Mike, then a photographer at MXA, encouraged Ryan to stand in a field. Mike shot photos of Ryan, who wasn’t all that pleased to be posing. Villopoto opened up once I started asking him questions about racing, turning Pro, and girls.
    Now, a mere 7-1/2 years later, Ryan Villopoto is at the top of the racing world. He’s a two-time 450 Supercross defending champ, multi-time title holder, and established star. I thought it would be interesting to reflect on that interview conducted all those years ago to see how close Ryan’s assumptions about turning Pro actually were.   

MXA: For next year you have signed on with the Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team. How excited are you to be associated with Mitch Payton?
Ryan: It’s really good as long as I can put my time in. I need to concentrate on getting good starts and running up front when I’m out on the track. I’m hoping to finish inside the top five or top eight at the last three Nationals this year. Up until Loretta Lynn’s I hadn’t even ridden the Pro Circuit bike, so there has been some intense testing going on. I know that I can run the pace of the guys running in the top eight. If I can enter the Nationals the way Jason Lawrence did, then I should be in good shape. Riding out in California I can judge my speed off of guys like Ivan Tedesco in practice. Of course the top guys aren’t going to be killing themselves in practice trying to go as fast as possible, but I can hang pretty close to them. I also know laps times are a big thing and you want to throw down at least five good lap times in practice. I will also look for lines and find different places to pass. Since I haven’t ridden some of these tracks before it’s going to be a game of getting the tracks down. [Note: Villopoto turned Pro at the penultimate round of the 2005 AMA 125 Nationals, held at Steel City on September 4th. He went 7-6 for fifth overall. Broc Hepler won that day. Then, in the infamous Mike Alessi/Ivan Tedesco run-in at Glen Helen, Villopoto finished 2-2 for second overall.]

How excited are you to ride and work with seasoned veterans Grant Langston and Ben Townley?
I’ve never met Townley before, but I have talked to Grant a little bit. The guy seems cool and it’ll be good to ride with him and hopefully he can teach me a few things. [Note: Ryan ended up battling teammate Ben Townley in an epic duel that lasted all of the 2007 Nationals. Villopoto ended up winning the title?his second of three?by 19 points].

Do you have any sort of experience in Supercross?
Well, I used to do a lot of Arenacross races when I lived up in Washington. All winter that’s all that we did because the weather was so bad. I’m pretty familiar with the tight stuff, and I can only see the whoops being a problem. Other than that, all of the obstacles won’t be a problem. Supercross won’t be a big jump for me because I’ve raced on those types of tracks before.

What are your expectations for Supercross next year?
I’m going to say right now top ten. Maybe if you talk to me after I start riding on the test track for a little while then I’ll have a better indication [laughter]. [Note: Ryan was correct in his assumptions about Supercross. He didn’t have any trouble adapting to indoor racing. RV finished second overall in the 125 West point standings in 2006, 20 points behind teammate Grant Langston.]


Ryan Villopoto decimates a Glen Helen berm in 2005 after the Nationals were over. This was my favorite photo that I took from that year. Yes, I’m patting myself on the back, but doesn’t it look sweet?!

What is the strongest part of your riding?
That’s a tough one. I like to think that my starts are usually pretty decent. Actually, if I crash then I can come from behind very quickly in amateur racing, but I know that it won’t compare to racing in the Nationals. It will be a lot more difficult to come back after crashing. [Note: Sorry, Ryan, guess again. Villopoto has often been exceptional at coming up to the front of the field after crashing.]

It’s only fair to ask what the weakest part of your riding is.
I need to work on everything! There isn’t anything I’m great at.

A lot of amateurs who turn Pro usually say that the tracks are rough and that the competition is very tough. How are you preparing yourself for overcoming those obstacles?
I know the tracks are going to be a lot rougher and the lines are going to be very different because there won’t be any slow riders at the Nationals. I know at the outdoor tracks the lines will be more sweeping and the tracks are just a lot faster in general.

Some riders say that they have to go through rookie initiation, or a certain rite of passage before actually turning Pro. Are you worried about that?
I’m just going to show up, ride practice, and get to know the track. I want to get through the qualifiers and get good starts. If I do that then the Nationals should go pretty decent, I guess [laughter].

Why did you decide to sign with Pro Circuit/Kawasaki?
My agent Bobby Nichols was talking to Mitch about a deal, and that team is probably the best 125 team unless you’re on a factory team, but even then I’d still say Pro Circuit is the best 125 team. I rode for Mitch all through amateur racing, and I wanted to stick with him. [Note: Smart decision. In the seasons that Ryan rode for Mitch he earned three 125 National titles, won 19 Nationals (fifth on the win list for that class) and also captured the 125 West Supercross title].

Who is your hero?
There are quite a few people, actually. I liked to watch Jeremy McGrath when he was on top of his game. I still like to watch him ride. I also like to watch Chad Reed, plus he’s really nice to talk to. I also like Grant Langston and Ivan Tedesco. [Note: Of those names mentioned, Chad Reed is the only rider still lining up to the gate against Villopoto.]

Has anyone compared you to Ricky Carmichael? After all, you’re following in his footsteps in certain aspects. On top of that, you both even have the same red hair!
No, not really. I can see the red hair, but there’s not much of a comparison in our riding styles. I’d like to say that I try to ride like Ricky, and although he doesn’t have the greatest style, he’s no doubt the fastest and strongest. He trains the hardest. On the track though, I try to ride like Reed somewhat. He has a really good style, and Langston is great at going around flat turns. I would have to say that my style is a combination of a few riders. [Note: I would say that Villopoto has a style all his own. In his 125 days and the start of his 450 career Ryan would hunch a lot and hang off the back of the bike, but his style has changed. I don’t believe that Ryan looks like anyone else on the track, or that anyone else on the track looks like him.]

In your mind, what do you have set out to accomplish as a pro racer?
By next year I want to be into the Pro game, so to speak. I want to know exactly what’s going on and be up front in the Nationals. Supercross is going to be a big learning curve, but I want to do well there. In five years I want to have a couple 125 titles in Supercross and outdoors, and depending, maybe a 250 title also. [Note: Check, check, and few more check marks off the list of goals.]

What do you like to do outside of motocross?
I like to shoot bow and arrow. I’m into archery and I have a compound bow. I bought a few targets and I’ve been shooting at those a lot. I also have done a few archery shoots where you go around shooting at targets. It’s kind of like miniature golf, only with bows and arrows. I also like to fish, but that’s really about it. I’m not into mountain biking or anything like that. [Note: I believe that Villopoto is still big into shooting and hunting?although he seems to keep those activities under wraps more so in recent years?and he’s also a very good road cyclist.]

Growing up in Washington, how is the scene there for motocross?
Right now Josh Hill is the only one who’s going to turn pro soon, but there really aren’t very many places to ride around up there. In the winter it rains so much you have to resort to riding Arenacross, and that isn’t going to help you any for racing motocross.

Label who you think is going to be the next big thing.
Nico Izzi or Kyle Cunningham will be the next riders to step up to the pro ranks and do well. Looking further down the line, Adam Cianciarulo is going to do very well. That kid is so gnarly on a 50! As for Josh Hill, speed-wise he’s only going to get faster, but I don’t know how he’s going to handle his training. [Note: Nico is nursing yet another injury and Cunningham is racing the 250 West, where he sits seventh in the standings. He had his best race this past weekend, at Anaheim 3, when he finished fourth place. Cianciarulo has yet to arrive on the Pro scene, but he’s itching to race Hangtown. As for Josh Hill, he’s returning to action this weekend in San Diego.]

What about your training?
I’m working with Randy Lawrence right now and I’ve been doing a lot of road biking and I’ve been going to the gym. The biggest thing is getting through the 40-minute motos without falling or dropping off the pace a whole lot. Dropping off the pace the last two laps isn’t good, but it’s not going to kill me either. If I die halfway through the moto then it’s just not going to work out. I need to be there at the end.

What would you change about amateur racing?
The tracks need to be a lot better. Also, they need to change the moto format. I mean, five laps? That isn’t going to cut it. Loretta’s is the best race because you have 20-minute motos, and if you get a bad start then you have time to come back and still do well. Lake Whitney, Las Vegas, and Ponca City need to bump up the number of laps and do 20-minute motos.

Since you are home schooled, what are the benefits and negatives of home schooling?
If you go to public school then you won’t be able to ride all of the time because you’re going to be in class. Plus you can learn when you want. I don’t think it’s a big deal. I don’t like school though. It’s the least fun thing that I have to do [laughter].

You’ve raced several times against Jason Lawrence. What do you think of his chances at being successful in the sport?
I know he’s pretty crazy, but that’s about it. We’ll have to wait and see who throws it down more at the last couple of Nationals. It should be good. [Note: Ding ding, Villopoto was right once again. Jason Lawrence is, to put it delicately, a bit wild.]

Are girls trouble for professional motocross racers?
It kind of depends on who the racer is. It depends on how much you’re into the girl and what kind of person she is too. If she’s a primadonna and she comes to the track all done up in makeup, then that doesn’t sound very good to me. It also depends on the girl, because either she’s going to want you at home all of the time and not wanting to leave, or she’ll be cool in understanding that you have a job to do. [Note: Ryan tied the knot last year in October right before winning the Monster Million].

With that said, who is the hottest girl in the world?
Jessica Simpson. I wouldn’t call her the hottest girl in the world, but she’s probably the best I’ve seen in a while [laughter]. [Note: I’d love to ask Ryan this exact same question today. Perhaps the answer would be just a bit different.]

You don’t have any amount of cockiness to yourself, even though you’ve been the most sought after amateur racer this year. Why not be a little cocky?
I’m not going to bring out the red shirts with the target on my back [laughter]! Seriously though, I’m not going to go into the Pro ranks thinking that I’m the hottest thing to ever hit the track. I don’t even know what’s going to happen when I race Pro. I just know that it’s going to be way different than anything I’ve experienced as an amateur. The riders are a lot faster, way more aggressive, and you have to ride two motos at forty minutes each. [Note: the red shirts comment was a reference to Mike Alessi, who turned Pro at Millville on August 15, 2004. Shirts were made that had #800 with a bullseye in the middle, and on the back it said “Believe the hype.” It didn’t sit well with the series regulars. Alessi went 27-25 for 30th overall. He ran inside the top three for a portion of the second moto. It’s no secret that Alessi and Villopoto didn’t get along during their amateur days. Alessi was more accomplished and won a great deal of the battles. That would soon change once Villopoto moved up.]

PIT BOARD SIGNS REVEALED: RIDER CHEERLEADERS

That’s the spirit.


Gooooo!!!!


Woops or whoops?


One is all you really need when it comes to timed practice.


Apparently riders struggled the most with the whoop section at Anaheim 3.


That’ll help.


Faster. Very, very enthusiastic.


Did this guy write the script to “Rocky”?


The pit board is saying “YES!” However, the mechanic’s face is saying “I‘m not so sure.”


Make it count.


A smiley face is always nice.


Good plan.


A fist pump for assurance.

RIDE DAY FUNDRAISER FOR SKYLER LEMBO
Come out and support a good cause at Piru on Sunday

At Piru Motocross Park
4375 Center St  
Piru, CA 93040
(805) 521-0515

Sunday, February 10, 2013: All proceeds from the day will go to the family to help with their ever-climbing mountain of medical bills. That includes the entrance fees, snack bar $ donation, raffles and auctions of gear and other motocross items and all proceeds from the photos purchased from the hired photographer.   To read Skyler’s story, please go to www.CaringBridge.org/visit/skylerlembo, refer to the hash tag #hopeforskyler on either Instagram and Twitter, or follow “Hope For Skyler” on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hope-for-Skyler-Ride-Day

This ride day is being organized by an ambitious 17-year-old friend of Skyler’s, who also rides, and wants to see the Lembo family receive as much financial support as possible. His goal is to raise $10,000.00 for the family and I believe if we all come together, he will accomplish that! The Racer’s Edge, O’Neal and a few other locals have already jumped on board! They are in need of items to raffle/auction off and any pro riders that would like to come sign and ride for a an hour or two. Vendors are welcome to come set up and support! If you have access to ANY of these things, please contact Jen Adams (805) 791-1548 or Austin Adams (805) 760-1957. Donations of bottled water, Cases of soda & etc etc are greatly appreciated for the day!

For more info you can contact: Jen Adams at Skylersride2recovery@live.com (805) 791-1548

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JAMES STEWARTjimmy albertsonJOHN BASHERMID-WEEK REPORTphoto of the weekrobbie maddison