By John Basher


You might be a privateer if…you use duct tape to customize your helmet.


Ryan Dungey.

Antonio Cairoli. Photo: Ray Archer

Blake Baggett.

Jeffrey Herlings. Photo: Massimo Zanzani

Ashley Fiolek (1).


Holeshot machine Mike Alessi would have won the 450 National title, if only the motos were 15 minutes long. Alessi led Ryan Dungey both motos before “The Dunge” motored by.

It’s not a Mark Peters-designed track unless there’s at least one death-defying jump. This double was a monster!

Justin Bogle stretches out his right leg in practice.

The tallest cheerleader on the National circuit is Bones Bacon. Apparently he also works on suspension.

There was a sizable crowd at Lake Elsinore. The white fences were a nice touch.

Mark my words – the KTM duo of Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin will be challenging for the 250 National title in 2013.

These girls were nice enough to offer me a cold bottle of water while I was walking around aimlessly during the first 450 moto. I said to them, “I feel like death. Do I look like death?” They smiled and politely said, “Yes.”

The Presidential debate has reached prime time motocross. Guess which candidate Ben Lamay is voting for in November?

Props to the Lake Elsinore crew for laying down a ton of mulch to improve the track conditions. I never imagined that ruts like these would form at that track.

Here’s the huge infield tabletop that many of the riders had trouble clearing cleanly.

Marvin Musquin gives his suspension a workout.

Here’s another shot of the infield tabletop, just to show how high the riders went. That’s Malcolm Stewart getting lunar.

Lake Elsinore, 2012.


Ricky and Johnny O’Mara (umbrella) teach the kids the proper way to rail a corner and win championships.

    On Monday I had the privilege of taking part in the Ricky Carmichael University (RCU) at Lake Elsinore. I spent the day getting riding instruction and learning technique from several of the sport’s most successful racers. Of course Carmichael was one of the teachers, but so were Jeff Stanton, Jeff Emig, Jeff Ward, Kevin Foley, Johnny O’Mara and Ricky’s mom, Jeannie.

Ricky addresses his students.

    With over 100 riders signed up for the class, the instructors broke riders up based on motorcycle displacement and ability. There were five groups (65cc, two groups of 85cc, and two groups of big bike riders). Each instructor focused on one section of the Lake Elsinore National track (although, truth be told, I’m happy to say that we didn’t utilize the whole track).

Jeannie Carmichael was very charismatic and conveyed her message very clearly – don’t drag your foot!

    Jeannie Carmichael, Todd Hicks, Johnny O’Mara, Ricky Carmichael and Jeff Stanton focused on cornering technique in their teaching sessions, while Jeff Emig worked on starts and the team of Jeff Ward and Kevin Foley taught us the best way to go through rollers. Notice that I didn’t mention that we worked on jumping. Guess what? Time is made up in the corners. At one point I joked about how I simply wanted to learn how to whip and perfect my front fender slapping technique (a la Trey Canard), but RCU is a serious school for serious racers.
    I’ve spent a fair amount of time around Fro, Wardy, the GOAT, Johnny O’, and Stanton, thanks to my ties with MXA, but I was a bit star struck from time to time. Having Carmichael pull me aside to personally tell me how to exit a rutted corner better was very cool. Jeff Emig made my day when he said that my starts were very good.

That’s me with Ricky Carmichael. I’m a RCU grad!

    What I noticed most about the instructors was their excitement in seeing students improve. Believe it or not, Jeff Stanton was very vocal (motorcycle sound effects and all), and Jeannie Carmichael mimicked how we should go through a corner with our inside leg up (all while not wearing any shoes). I see where Ricky’s dedication came from!
    The school cost $444. It included meals (breakfast and lunch), beverages, riding instructions from the aforementioned teachers, a question and answer session with the teachers, a ton of ride time, a group photo, goodie bag, RCU certificate signed by all of the instructors, and a photo opportunity with Carmichael. All in all it was an awesome experience with many great people. I’d like to thank Warren Johnson from Fox for giving me this cool opportunity. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to go riding and make sure to keep my leg up through the corners.
    For more information, visit


    Perhaps you know Austin Politelli because he has been helping MXA test bikes for the past two years. Not only is he flashy on a bike and able to blow up a berm with the best of them, but he’s very smart when it comes to testing bikes and products. If you don’t know Politelli by seeing him in the pages of MXA, then maybe you’ll recognize him from the Lake Elsinore National. Racing his first National, Austin was running inside the top five for quite a while in the first moto. Unfortunately he had bike issues, which caused him to DNF the first moto. In the second he fought through the pack and finished 17th. Here’s what Austin had to say about his day in the sun.

MXA: What was it like racing your first National?
Austin: It was cool. Practice went pretty well, actually. I qualified 13th, which was better than I had initially thought. In the first moto I got a bad jump off the gate, but I found an opening in the first turn and somehow came through in seventh. I passed a couple of guys in the first few laps. I was riding by myself and had a nice space opened up, but then at the 15-minute mark my gasoline started boiling. The gas started shooting out and spraying me in the face! It was pretty crazy! The bike started running really poorly, and I thought that I would run out of gas because so much fuel was coming out. In the second moto I finished 17th. It was a good experience.

Why did you choose to race in the 450 class instead of the 250 class?
We didn’t have enough time to get a 250 built, and I also knew that I’d have to have a really fast bike in order to run up front. I already had my 450 from the beginning of the year, so it was really just easier to ride the 450.

What did you think of the conditions?
The track wasn’t too bad at all. I was really impressed with what they did. It got rough and rutted. They really watered a lot before the start of the first moto, but I understand why they did it. The dirt was going to get really dry if they didn’t water it a bunch.

I was standing by the first turn and watching riders as they finished their sighting lap before the first moto. A lot of them were shaking their heads, because the track was super wet.
Yeah, they watered a lot. When I did my sight lap and rode up the big double I thought about how sketchy it was going to be with a whole bunch of riders approaching the jump. I had a lot of mud on my bike just from the sight lap. However, as the moto progressed the dirt got pretty good.

Were you star struck at all by being in the mix with the top 450 guys?
I was a little bit, but I expect to be in the top ten. I train really hard, and when you train hard your expectations go up. When you work so hard and you don’t get the results then it’s really disappointing. I wanted to be top ten in both motos, but I tensed up a bit and wasn’t focusing on my breathing as much as I should have. I also had that gas problem, which I really didn’t anticipate. The race gas that I was using started boiling. I pulled in during the moto, and I was already so far back that I went back to the pits. It was disappointing.

The heat was brutal.
I didn’t think it was going to be that hot! I was sitting on the line before the first moto and I was sweating. I also haven’t raced in a while, which didn’t help. Fortunately the wind picked up for the second moto, which helped.

Do you think that the promise you showed at Lake Elsinore will open up any doors for you to race next year on a team?
I hope so. Maybe some people saw that I can run up front. I know that I didn’t finish up front, but I have the speed and I’m ready to show what I’m capable of. To have the support structure and be on a good team would be great. I believe that I can be successful. If I don’t get any help for Supercross then I’ll take the privateer route again and show what I can do on a dirt bike.

Do you prefer to race a 250 or 450?
I’d like to be on a 250. I just turned pro, so I’d like to spend some time in the 250 class before jumping up to the 450. I feel like I can hang it out more on the 250.

How can potential sponsors get in touch with you about possible opportunities?
I can be reached by email at or I can be contacted on my cell phone at (909) 708-7479. I’d love to talk to those interested in supporting my racing goals.

Thanks for your time, Austin.
Thanks, John.


Didn’t think the Lake Elsinore National was that hot? You must have been watching it on TV. And this wasn’t even the warmest part of the day. MX Sports will need to move the race to the beginning of the National schedule; the first round would be the most logical.



    We are officially accepting resumes for the 2013 racing season- in order to apply, please visit our website and go to the Race Support page to view the instructions (here is the direct link:  Spots are limited and awarded based on complete resume review- but the sooner you apply the better your chances are of earning a spot on our team for next year. Thanks & see you at the races in 2013! Product info, online catalog, news, photos and more


    AXO America is now accepting rider resumes for their 2013 rider support program. You can send your resume via email to Resumes will be accepted on an ongoing basis through the end of the 2013 season. We look forward to supporting riders of all skill levels from beginners to pro level champions.
    AXO releases on average 12 different motocross gear kits (jersey, pant, gloves, socks) per year, leathers, gloves, protection and footwear, keeping our team riders and insiders looking fresh with new product options and colors throughout the year. With AXO’s rider support program you will receive discounts, weekly newsletters and specials for sponsored riders only.
    AXO has been the choice of many young champions in their early days: Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, Jeremy McGrath, Tony Cairoli, Loris Capirossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Neil Hodgson, Damon Bradshaw, Jeff Stanton, just to name a few. Make sure you share history with these legends and apply for your sponsorship today.
    Please include: Rider Bio, head shot, action shot, 2012 results, 2013 plans, and why you would like to be a part of the AXO team.
    You can also apply through

    Maxxis’ 2013 sponsorship application period is now open. Through November 1, riders, teams and event organizers in ATV, bicycle and off-road motorcycle racing can apply for sponsorship in 2013.
    Maxxis welcomes applications from participants at all levels, from amateur to pro. To apply, simply visit the appropriate link below and click the “Get Sponsored” tab. Download, print and complete the form, attach a race resume or event proposal, and mail both documents to the specified address, postmarked no later than November 1. All applicants will be notified of sponsorship status via email by December 1, 2012.

Off-Road Motorcycle:

    Maxxis looks forward to another great year of competition, with racing’s best riders paired with the finest tires on the market. Be sure to visit and submit your application ASAP. Good luck!


    Motonation, the exclusive importer of Sidi boots, is now accepting resumes for rider support for the 2013 season. A limited amount of support is available. Interested riders should send their resumes to:
    If sending via mail:
    C/O Sidi rider support
    10225 Prospect Ave.
    Santee CA 92071
    If sending via fax: 1-619-401-4108
    If sending via Email:


    Stuart, FL – Nihilo Concepts is now reviewing applications for 2013 rider support.  Nihilo Concepts rider support program is open to motocross and off-road. Nihilo Concepts is the leader of innovative billet parts and accessories for all KTM dirt bikes. Our products are featured on the new KTM 50, 65 and 85 lines of SXS bikes as well as Rory Mead’s GNCC race winning machine. Visit for more information.
    To apply, riders can submit their resume now through October 31st via:
    Email Only:
    With the subject: SPONSORSHIP REQUEST.
    Rob Fox
    Product Development/ Rider Support Coordinator


[Press Release]

    Atlas Brace Technologies is very proud to congratulate former lites SX Champion Jake Weimer on finishing 3rd in the 2012 Lucas Oil AMA Outdoor National Series. In Jake’s first full healthy season on his Factory Kawasaki he was able to survive both the SX and MX seasons without injury, while putting in great performances including multiple podium finishes indoors and out! We extend our gratitude to Jake, and thank him for not only a great year, but for making the Atlas Brace the top finishing brace in the premier 450 class.

    The last round was held in Lake Elsinore, California, where Jake debuted our all new feather weight crown jewel, the 2013 Atlas Carbon brace. The 2013 Carbon brace is just ONE of FIVE new 2013 products coming out in the coming weeks. All products will be unveiled simultaneously in North America, and in Cologne, Germany for the trade show during the first week of October. All details will follow.

    To find out more 2013 product information, please visit our website after October 1st, and visit to catch up on the latest race news.

On Tuesday, when Jeffrey Herlings returned to his hometown of Gemert, Holland, thousands of people were there to celebrate his World Championship. See the victory celebration here:


As he prepares for the World Vet Championship at Glen Helen on November 3-4, Spanish racer Kim Sunol went snorkeling off the coast of Spain to take his mind off racing.

austin politellifmf racingjeffrey herlingsJOHN BASHERricky carmichael university