PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 1
The racing world shed a collective tear this past weekend when Kevin Windham said goodbye to a fruitful and illustrious career. We’ll miss you, K-Dub. Photo: Scott Mallonee
2014 KTM TWO-STROKE MODEL LINE-UP
The smokers are back for ’14! Click on the image of each bike for more information
MINI-VIEW: CARSON BROWN
Carson Brown, 14 years young and coming to an Amateur National near you.
I’ve known Duane Brown for nine years. Duane is one-third of the Brown brothers contingent, better known as BBR Motorsports. I’ve been fortunate to travel up to Duane’s home, outside of Seattle, to ride his wild pit bike creations. Still to this day his CRF250 engine shoehorned into a CRF230 frame is one of the most fun bikes I’ve ever ridden. While shredding on Duane’s private track in his front yard I would ride with his son, Carson. Then quite young, Carson would ride for hours on end. He was so passionate that he asked his father to outfit his pit bike with a headlamp so that he could ride in the dark.
Now, so many years later, we’re all a little older. Duane is still partially in charge of BBR Motorsports, sharing the duties with his other brothers, Brent and Chris. Carson is 14 years old, and he’s becoming quite serious about his racing. The young gun just won his fourth MiniMoto pit bike title in Las Vegas, and he also won a moto at the World Mini Amateur Championship.
A number of factors set Duane, Carson and I on a crash course for meeting up once again. The Brown’s were in Vegas racing MiniMoto and looking to ride any new 85cc bike, while I had a pristine 2013 KTM 85SXS in my garage and looking for another test rider to spin laps on it. Duane offered his son’s services, so they drove from Las Vegas to SoCal on Monday morning. We met at the track, along with the fine folks from KTM. A few hours later Carson was so happy with the 85SXS that Duane bought the bike!
I thought it would be interesting to hear what young Carson Brown had to say, so I sat him down for MXA‘s first, of what will probably be many, interviews with Carson.
MXA: Your father informed me that you started riding when you were two years old, on a Yamaha PW50, and you refused to ride unless he took the training wheels off. You’ve been riding a long time!
Carson: [Laughter] Yeah, I started pretty young. I always loved dirt bikes, because I was always around them for as long as I can remember. It’s what I know.
Living outside of Seattle, I imagine that you’re comfortable riding in conditions that aren’t necessarily optimal.
I’m always used to riding in mud, rocks, ruts and rain. I’m familiar with riding in hard conditions, but since I ride in them every day it’s not so bad. We have a track on our property that started out as more of a trail ride. Then as I got older we would change it. Right now it’s pretty close to what a Supercross track is. There are big jumps and we have every kind of obstacle.
Carson puts MXA’s 2013 KTM 85SXS through its paces.
When you were young was it your goal to get fast on a dirt bike and see where the racing would take you?
I started out riding for fun. I’ve always liked to ride every day, and after a while I got better. I really love to ride, I like to learn, and I try to get better all of the time. It’s a fun challenge.
It’s very impressive how you know the inner workings of a motorcycle. You’re able to work on your own bikes and make changes. Do you like the mechanical aspects of the sport?
I love how dirt bikes work, and how you can make little tweaks to a bike in order to make it better. I’m always trying to find advantages by tinkering on my bikes. I really enjoy testing, and I’ll gladly try a bunch of different things in order to make my bike better. If you ride every day then you’ll find things out. For example, if I’m riding and find that my arms are getting tired, then I’ll move the bars to a different spot to see if that helps.
Give everyone an idea of your mechanical breadth.
I can rebuild a two-stroke top end, frame a bike, change my tires, and also adjust suspension oil and other things. I learned how to work on my bike by watching my Dad do it for years. He is always willing to teach me and he shows me along the way.
Carson isn’t afraid to click gears and pin it.
You’re going really fast on a dirt bike. When did your speed blossom?
When I was about 11 years old I started riding 85s. It took me a year or two to get comfortable on them. Then last summer I broke my arm, and surprisingly I think that was the turning point for me. When I came back from that accident I rode a lot smoother and considerably faster. It’s weird how it worked out. It kind of makes sense though. I wanted to ride so bad while I was hurt. I would stare at my bike and drool. Every night I dreamed of riding!
You’ve made quite a name for yourself at the annual MiniMoto race.
I love the pit bikes. You can ride with your buddies, slam into them, and have a great time. You have to have good momentum through the corners in order to go fast, and you can’t make a mistake.
How many times have you won MiniMoto?
I won twice this year, once last year, and once the year before.
With your Dad being part owner of BBR Motorsports, are you instrumental in testing products that go into production?
Yeah, I test a lot of the bikes for them. I love to get the suspension correct on them. It’s really hard to get the suspension dialed on a pit bike. You can really tweak a pit bike.
How did you do at World Mini’s?
To be honest, I went into that race without even knowing how I was going to do. I was hoping for a top ten. My moto scores went 4-3-2-1. I got better every moto.
Did anyone approach you after doing so well?
Yeah, a couple of people approached me. They liked my riding style and wanted to sign me to a contract, but I decided to take things slowly. I’m going to try and qualify for Loretta Lynn’s. I’m also going to do Top Gun up at Washougal and have a bunch of fun. My plan is to ride every day.
Before your Dad bought the KTM 85SXS that MXA was testing, you were racing bikes that you bought off Craigslist. Talk about that.
I bought some bikes with my own money. I’m always blowing up bikes, so I thought, ‘Why spent a lot of money on a new bike when almost all of the 85cc two-strokes have been the same since 2002.’ You can buy a bike off Craigslist and make them new by greasing the bearings and putting new plastics on it. Now the new KTM is so much more modern than the other bikes. They have updated it so often that it’s not even close.
So now you’re going to be racing on a KTM?
I hope so. I feel a lot better on it. We’ll have to see the results at the races.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank?
Of course! I couldn’t do it without my Dad, who works on my bikes every day, and my Mom and sister for supporting me. Also BBR Motorsports, Works Connection, Devol, Fusion Graphics, Motul, Dunlop and everyone that has helped me along the way by getting to the races.
COMPETING MINDS: THOUGHTS ON SIN CITY & BEYOND
By Daryl Ecklund and John Basher
ON ELI TOMAC:
Photo: Scott Mallonee
“Eli, what a comeback from last week. Through reputation Eli is known as one of the hardest working and most talented riders on the circuit. But it doesn’t matter how hard you train or how fast you are, if your mindset is not in the right place you will find how quickly things can fall apart. The mental and physical stress these riders put on themselves is very high. I give Tomac a round-of-applause for putting last week’s heartbreaking race in Salt Lake City behind him, regrouping and doing exactly what he need to do. He won and ended the season with some momentum for the outdoors. He rode just like he did at the beginning of the season?flawless. He needs to bring this gained momentum into the outdoors, keep the stress down and the morale high for the long 12-round series. Consistency is going to be key for Eli.”?Daryl Ecklund
“It’s obvious that Eli Tomac blew a prime opportunity at Salt Lake City when Ken Roczen failed to qualify for the main event. Tomac was expected to win, but instead he floundered around and finished sixth. He trailed Roczen by five points going into the finale in Vegas, and while that small deficit could have been easily squashed, it didn’t work out for Eli this time. Remember two years ago when Tomac, as a rookie, lost the title to Broc Tickle by six points? He has been in the position before, but unlike in 2011, Tomac flourished. He put the hammer down and walked away with the win. It wasn’t enough for the title, but I’m impressed that he blocked out his poor ride in SLC and won the final 250 West race of his career.”
“Will the Las Vegas win give him momentum going into the Nationals? It’s hard to tell. Tomac was toying with the idea of racing a 450 outdoors, but decided to stick with the 250. It will turn out to be a smart decision. He should be considered one of the favorites. It’s a question of whether the despair of losing the 250 West title after storming out of the gate early in the series will wreak havoc on his psyche. What do I think? Eli Tomac will be just fine. He’s a champion, and I expect him to make it a point to spank Ken Roczen and everyone else outdoors.”?John Basher
ON MARVIN MUSQUIN:
Photo: Scott Mallonee
“So close, Marvin! The what ifs must be running through Marvin’s head after being so close to taking the number one plate. What if he got a better start? What if he didn’t make that mistake? What if he started riding to his full potential earlier in the season?
“No doubt about it, Marvin rode great in Vegas. He didn’t get the start he wanted, but he left no stone unturned and left everything out on the track. After Musquin got into second there was a big gap to Tyler Bowers. I didn’t think that Marvin was going to catch Bowers. Then all of a sudden Bowers fell off the pace. Coming down to the last corner Musquin tried to go down low on Bowers in an effort to make the pass, but it was too late. Musquin is going to have some built-up aggression going into the first round of the outdoors at Hangtown. It’s going to be awesome to see him let it all out.”?Daryl Ecklund
“All I can say about Marvin Musquin’s ending to a potential 250 East title is, “Ouch.” It has been a long time since a championship came down to the last corner. As Daryl mentioned above, there have to a lot of “What if?” scenarios running through the Frenchman’s mind. Hangtown will be a great test of Marvin’s psyche. If he stomps them in Northern California then obviously he has switched gears and isn’t dwelling on losing a title by mere feet. However, if he’s off the pace then it could spell trouble for Marvin and his team. Roger DeCoster might have to break out the pom-poms.”?John Basher
ON RYAN VILLOPOTO:
Photo: Scott Mallonee
“I just can’t stop talking about this guy. He is a force to be reckoned with, and he has all the confidence in the world going into the outdoors. With Ryan having the championship wrapped up in Salt Lake City, you would think he might take the week off or ride some outdoors. Instead he was turning laps at the Kawi Supercross test track just days before Vegas. Ryan wants to win every race. This mental mindset and hard work is paying off, leaving the other riders having to go back to the drawing board and come up with a game plan better then Ryan’s. Is it possible for someone to dethrone Ryan? Anything is possible, but Ryan will need to run into some bad luck along the way to lose that red number one plate.”?Daryl Ecklund
“Will James Stewart be healthy enough to complete the Nationals? How will Ryan Dungey do as the defending 450 outdoor champion? Was it a good idea for Mike Alessi to forego the last few Supercross races to gear up for the outdoors? How will the Honda tandem of Justin Barcia and Trey Canard do? Will someone fly in under the radar and shock the 450 class like Davi Millsaps did in Supercross? There are so many questions, but one thing is certain. Ryan Villopoto is the guy to beat this summer. I don’t care that Ryan Dungey has the number one plate. Stewart might log the fastest laps, but recent history has proven that Bubba can’t go the distance and last for 12 Nationals.
“Ryan Villopoto is the obvious choice for the 450 crown. He’s fearless, ferocious, tenacious and ready to fight every second of every moto. It’s hard to bet against him. It could be a long summer for everyone not named Ryan Villopoto.”?John Basher
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 2
Another Supercross series is in the books, and with it two new champions. Wil Hahn and Ken Roczen etched their name in the record book, while Ryan Villopoto has joined an elite group by winning three consecutive 450 Supercross titles. Photo: Scott Mallonee
COOLEST CONGRESSMAN EVER! ARKANSAS REP. TIM GRIFFIN IS HAVING A RIDE DAY
I don’t know Congressman Tim Griffin’s platform or political stance, but I’d vote for the guy on the basis that he holds ride days! And he rides a two-stroke! Although I’m not too sure of that cut-down seat.
6D HELMETS CONGRATULATES WIL HAHN
Press release: 6D Helmets congratulates Wil Hahn on his tremendous effort Saturday night in Las Vegas and throughout the entire championship season. Hahn persevered through many ups and downs working towards this championship win and 6D is proud to be a part of this victory and his Championship. “2008 when I started my career, it took me a lot to get here now,” said Hahn. “First and foremost, my family got me here. They have been there since day one, I will never forget that. The last couple of years with GEICO Honda, I made a lot of mistakes but these guys all made it happen and believed in me. Every single person on my team deserves recognition right now. I wanted to accomplish this a long time ago, but it was worth the wait.”
Kudos are in order for team rider Eli Tomac as well. Eli put in a valiant performance winning the final West Coast event in commanding fashion, but ended up 2 points shy of the Championship after the 9 race series. 6D Helmets is the exclusive helmet sponsor to the GEICO Honda 250cc program. The team’s riders have really put the helmet to the test this year and in each instance the 6D ATR-1 has performed beyond their expectations. A revolutionary design development coined ?ODS’ (Omni-Directional Suspension) within the helmet’s interior protective liner, dramatically improves the helmet’s performance in the event of an accident.
CHAMP FACTORY TO HOLD SPECIAL TRAINING CAP AT “THE RANCH” ON MAY 20-21
San Diego, California: Two-time MX World Champion Sebastien Tortelli from Champ Factory MX School is pleased to announce a full 2-day training camp May 20th & 21st, 2013 at “The Ranch” in Anza, California.
The track will be fully prepped same as race days and available exclusively to the students of the ChampFactory MX camp.
Seb and his professional staff with have the students from 9:00am to 4:00pm with an hour break for lunch for 2 full days. The camp will focus on technique in cornering, line selection, starts, sprint laps, passing and more.
The 2-day training camp is $500 for both days and you can reserve a spot by signing up at www.champfactory.com. Space is limited so sign up in next week and get a special limited Matrix Concepts gift bag and discount on ChampFactory partners.
If you have additional questions please call (858) 866-6107.
JOEY SAVATGY FINDS A NEW HOME
Press release: KTM Motorsports is proud to announce the launch of a new KTM-backed support team for the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series, the FMF/Orange Brigade/KTM Racing Team, which will feature 250 Motocross rider Joey Savatgy and will be overseen by Team Coordinator James Coy.
After the announcement of the collapse of the JDR/J-Star/KTM Team, KTM Motorsports and FMF Racing combined efforts to create a team for Savatgy, recently named the AMA Rookie of the Year.
“We see great potential with Joey in his rookie year and want to continue to help him achieve his goals and improve his results with our brand,” stated KTM North America, Inc. President Jon-Erik Burleson. “Unfortunately, his former team encountered struggles that have left Joey without an outdoor ride. Our long-standing relationship with FMF and their current involvement with our company and vested interest in Joey and his future have made this collaboration possible. We are excited to say that Joey will remain on a KTM for the outdoors series where we look forward to seeing continued progress in his results.”
Donny Emler, Marketing Director of FMF Racing, commented, “We have supported Joey since he was riding KTM 65’s as an amateur and it is great to support his effort in his first year pro. We have a great relationship with KTM and we are excited to come on as the title sponsor to this first year team.”
Savatgy, who is fresh off his first Supercross season, is excited for the launch of the new team at the start of the outdoor series. “This is my first year competing in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Series and it feels like a new beginning. I have already been riding KTM for six months now, but to have a team of sponsors that I strongly support and that feel the same about me makes this an exciting opportunity. I am looking forward to the first gate drop at the Hangtown event. I am very excited about my future with the FMF/Orange Brigade/KTM Team.”