MXA WEEKEND NEWS ROUND-UP: THE SILLY SEASON CONUNDRUM


THE GAJSER CONUNDRUM & HERLINGS HYPOTHESIS

Tim Gajser.

As Curt Flood so aptly pointed out in his battle with the powers that be at Major League Baseball, “A well-paid slave is nonetheless a slave.” Flood was fighting against a system that kept him tied to a single team, no matter what his desires were. Flood sued and won, but by the time of his court victory, his career was over. But, future generation of free-agent baseball players have benefited from Flood’s efforts.

Motocross stars are no different. They work at the whim of the men above them at the teams, manufacturers, sanctioning bodies, international organizations and bean counting firms. Star riders are well-paid for their efforts, but can easily be harmed by the whims of corporations, power brokers and rule makers.

There isn’t a lot of sympathy for the teams or manufacturers, but they struggle also. They barter and scrape to come up with the money to build a successful team—only to see their star lured away by a deeper pockets team. They struggle to find funding to make it to the races, only to have the alphabet organizations charge them to park in the pits, increase the travel demands (and costs) and make plans for the future that could well bankrupt several teams. And this doesn’t include meeting the need to replace injured riders, stolen riders or lacksadaisical riders. Here are some of the conundrums facing the riders and teams heading into 2017 and beyond

WHAT IS GAJSER GOING TO DO?
Under the terms of his five-year Honda contract, Tim Gajser can move to America whenever he wants, providing he wins the 2016 FIM 450 World Championship. If Gajser wins the 2016 450 crown, he will be ineligible to race the 250 East/West Supercross series as a warm-up, thus he will have to go straight into the 450 Supercross class. Will he or won’t he?

Ken Roczen taking his ball and leaving.

WHAT IS HONDA GOING TO DO?
Honda has already signed Ken Roczen to a rumored five-year deal. He will most likely be paired with Cole Seely on the 2017 Honda team (Trey Canard will be leaving at the end of the 2016 season—perhaps to take a ride on Roger DeCoster’s KTM team). But, if Gajser decides to move to America in 2017, where will Honda put him? Will he be squeezed into the Honda semi with Roczen and Seely? Will Roczen demand his own semi (as former star riders have done in the past)? Will Honda give funding to a start-up team to house Gajser? And would Team Honda really give up the GP number one plate (not that anyone in Europe is required to run the number one plate anyway)? Honda may try to placate Gajser by letting him start the 2017 Supercross series—with the caveat that he has to return to the fold when the GPs start up. It is possible that Tim Gajser will find out at the October Monster Cup that he doesn’t want to be in America after all.

Cole Seely joined the injured ranks this week and will miss Red Bud.

Cole’s X-ray: His little finger had to be plated and whether he’ll be back or not is in question.

Leading up to Red Bud Cole Seely broke his little finger by dragging it in corner while practicing at Pala Raceway. Without Seely and Canard, Team Honda can take the weekend off. Although injuries are part of the racing game, Cole Seely and Trey Canard got hurt practicing. Honda could call Fredrik Noren back up to support them until Seely heals up. Noren is running 15th in points and finishing just outside the top ten.

With Dungey, Anderson, Canard, Grant and Anderson all on the sidelines, this is the best time for James to make his comeback. Jmes says he’ll be back at Southwick on July 9.

WHAT IS SUZUKI GOING TO DO?
Team Suzuki, both in America and Europe, has been a giant mess in 2016. The Grand Prix team’s top ranked 450 rider, Kevin Strijbos, is in 11th place (and missed the last four GPs). Their second best 450 GP rider, Ben Townley, is 16th in points (and failed to score points in 13 of the last 24 motos). Their only bright spot in Europe is Jeremy Seewer’s current second place in 250 Grand Prix points. They want to keep him for 2017 because of what will happen with Jeffrey Herlings next year.

Ben Townley (8) is out for the rest of the 450 GP season and will probably call a stop to his GP comeback.

Meanwhile in America, Suzuki’s two big-name teams (RCH and Yoshimura) are in disarray. The official Suzuki team has James Stewart and Blake Baggett on it, but neither of them can stay healthy long enough to run a tank of gas through their bikes. The second team, led by Ken Roczen, is a winning machine, but Roczen will take his winning ways and eventual number one plate to Honda in 2017—where it will look good on a red bike. None of the Suzuki teams have yet to announce a direction for 2017, but banking all they have on old riders or fragile riders (like Strijbos, Baggett, Townley, Stewart and Tickle) has not been a successful formula in 2016. They need young riders, sturdy bodies and better overall management for the future. And they need dollars to achieve this.

Jeffrey Herlings got blind-sided by a whiplash rule change. The same one that helped him a few years ago.

WHAT IS HERLINGS GOING TO DO?
Jeffrey Herling’s pre-ordained third 250 World Championship can be considered a gift from Giuseppe Luongo (assuming he stays healthy for a couple more rounds). How so? Under then-FIM rules, after Herlings won his second 250 World title in 2013 he was required to move to the 450 class for 2014. But, Giuseppe Luongo had that rule changed so that his 250 star could stay in the 250s and win at will. There is no doubt that the 2014 rule change was the “Jeffrey Herlings Gift Rule”— it couldn’t be seen in any other light. Unfortunately for Herlings, he crashed out of the 2014 and 2015 FIM 250 World Championships and couldn’t take full advantage of Uncle Giuseppe’s gift. But, he is using it to the fullest in 2016—but now the gift will be taken away. Herlings will have to move to the 450 class in 2017 because the “Jeffrey Herlings Gift Rule” has been rescinded. Starting in 2017, any rider who wins or won the 250 World Championship twice will have to move to the 450 class…just as it was back before blatant favoritism entered into the rule making process in 2014.

Supercross needs leadership, not gimmicks.

WHAT ARE THE SUPERCROSS PROMOTERS GOING TO DO?
You don’t need a tinfoil hat to realize that the men at the top of Supercross are not caretakers of the legacy of the sport of motocross. They don’t care about the grand old sport—and they know that a large percentage of their paying customers are witless about the sport also (although they do seem to be experts on beer). So, you have the directionally challenged leading the visually impaired in the direction of the $100 ticket. Supercross doesn’t need a playoff system or a race in Tasmania. It needs people who care about the sport—both its history and its future. More immediately they need to fix their track designs, which are stale, repetitive and ill-conceived. You need to look no further than the insistence of putting right-hand starts into starting lines that are wrongly placed in the center of the stadium (where the riders have less room to maneuver and no where to go when mistakes happen). They need to ask themselves, before they go looking for a foreign venue or some points gimmick, what happened to the dirt? Today, even the fabled East Coast dirt of yore looks no different than West Coast dirt. The sport isn’t broken, the tired old men of Supercross promoting are broken. Fix what you are doing wrong. Lower the ticket prices so that families can afford to fill the stadiums—instead of half-full stadiums with gold-plated seats. Prep the dirt better leading up to the race and then quit prepping every corner after every heat race, let the track build its own character (that’s were alternate lines come from).

What year is this? Would you believe that this is a seven-year-old RM-Z?

WHAT WILL THE MANUFACTURERS DO?
Winning motorcycle races doesn’t sell bikes. It doesn’t hurt, but product is king. Build a great bike and they will come. Ken Roczen can win races until the cows come home, but Suzuki can’t sell a 240-pound bike that looks eight-years-old and has weak brakes, a questionable clutch and rigid air forks on Kenny’s merit alone. KTM has masterfully played the product game—they win races and have built a 224-pound bike with a hydraulic clutch, powerful brakes, electric starting and the most horsepower. That bike will sell without Dungey’s or DeCoster’s help—but they have helped speed up the process (although not as much are good product planners and great engineers).

Maggiora is the site of the 2016 MXDN.

WHAT WILL THE GPS LOOK LIKE IN THE FUTURE?
This year’s Motocross des Nations (MXDN) will be held in Maggiora, Italy. In 2017 the MXDN will come to Glen Helen. Although the 2018 and 2019 venues haven’t been confirmed, it is assumed that Assen, Holland, and Mattterly Basin, England, will battle over the 2018-19 dates. France could get it back in 2020 and Maggiora again in 2021. But, as always, these dates are up for grabs by a higher bidder.

As for new GP venues in 2017, Indonesia will replace Thailand. There will not be a Glen Helen USGP in 2017 because a track cannot hold the MXDN and a GP in the same year. Charlotte will stay on the 2017 schedule and San Marino has received government money to hold a Grand Prix there is 2017 (and Giuseppe Luongo is all over tax dollar largesse). Slovenian will be added to the GP schedule for 2018—thanks to the country’s enthusiasm over homeboy Tim Gajser.

LAST TUESDAY AT ZACA STATION: MXA RIDES THE 2017 KX250F

 

AT A GLANCE: 2016 AMA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

It’s hard to believe that two-time 250 champ Jeremy Martin hasn’t won a race yet.

Date             Venue                                        450                                      250
May 21…Hangtown, CA………..Ken Roczen……………Joey Savatgy
May 28…Glen Helen, CA………Ryan Dungey………….Alex Martin
June 4…Thunder Valley, CO….Ken Roczen……………Joey Savatgy
June 18..…Mt Morris, PA………Ken Roczen……………Joey Savatgy
June 25..…Muddy Creek, TN….Ken Roczen……………Cooper Webb
July 2.…….Red Bud, MI………….
July 9..…….Southwick, MA​……..
July 16….…Millville, MN​………..
July 23.…..Washougal, WA…….
July 30…….No race
Aug. 6……..No race
Aug. 13..….Unadilla, NY…………​
Aug. 20..…Budds Creek, MD….​
Aug. 27.….Crawfordsville, IN…
450 Points Leader…Ken Roczen (Suz)
250 Points Leaders…Joey Savatgy (Kaw)

CURRENT AMA NATIONAL POINTS STANDINGS BEFORE RED BUD

Josh Grant dropped out two weeks ago to have his ankle operated on.

AMA 450 NATIONAL POINTS STANDINGS
(After 5 of 12 rounds)
1. Ken Roczen…243
2. Eli Tomac…196
3. Cole Seely…151
4. Marvin Musquin…136
5. Ryan Dungey…131
6. Jason Anderson…113
7. Broc Tickle…109
8. Justin Barcia…108
9. Christophe Pourcel…107
10. Trey Canard…97

Shane McElrath is on the verge of a breakthrough after last week’s almost moto win at Muddy Creek.

AMA 250 NATIONAL POINTS STANDINGS
(After 5 of 12 rounds)
1. Joey Savatgy…205
3. Cooper Webb…193
4. Jeremy Martin…173
5. Alex Martin…158
6. Zach Osborne…152
7. Austin Forkner…138
8. R.J. Hampshire…103
9. Jordon Smith…100
10. Shane McElrath…96

THIS WEEKEND AT RED BUD: FOR THOSE STILL HEALTHY

THE WAY WE WERE: THE WAY WE WORE

Back in the 1970s riders would often wear coveralls over their gear to keep it clean in practice and the first moto. Here, a Kawasaki test rider wear plain white coveralls on the prototype SR250. Since gear sponsorship was minimal back in the day, no one complained if you covered up the gear brand.

This is Jody Weisel at Texas’ Mosier Valley track in 1974. His gray coveralls had a patch on the chest and bike logo silk-screened across the back.

By the late 1970s JT Racing built special Nylon coveralls. They featured mesh panels on the back, two-tone colors so they didn’t look monochromatic and leather straps to tighten the legs around your boots. JT-sponsored riders could wear these without raising the ire of their gear sponsor. Coveralls disappeared in the early 1980 and never made a comeback.

2016 GRAND PRIX WINNERS AT A GLANCE

The Grand Prix circuit takes a month off before their next race.

Date           Venue                                450                                250
Feb. 27…. Qatar…………………..Tim Gajser………….Jeffrey Herlings
Mar. 6…..Thailand……………….Romain Febvre…….Jeffrey Herlings
Mar. 28…Holland………………..Romain Febvre…….Jeffrey Herlings
April 10….Argentina…………….Tim Gajser…………..Jeffrey Herlings
April 17….Mexico………………..Tim Gajser……………Jeffrey Herlings
May 1…… Latvia………………….Tim Gajser……………Jeffrey Herlings
May 8……Germany………………Tony Cairoli………….Jeffrey Herlings
May 15….Italy……………………..Tony Cairoli………….Jeffrey Herlings
May 29….Spain……………………Tim Gajser……………Jeffrey Herlings
June 5……France…………………Romain Febvre………Jeffrey Herlings
June 19….Great Britain…………Tim Gajser……………Jeffrey Herlings
June 26….Italy…………………….Tim Gajser……………Jeffrey Herlings
July 3……….No race
July 10……..No race
July 17……..No race
July 24…….Czech Republic………………
July 31…….Belgium………………
Aug. 7……..Switzerland………………
Aug. 14……No race
Aug. 21……No race
Aug. 28…..Holland………………
Sept. 3…..Charlotte, USA………………
Sept. 11….Glen Helen, USA………………
450 Points leader…Tim Gajser (Hon)
250 West points leader…Jeffrey Herlings (KTM)

CURRENT FIM GRAND PRIX POINTS BEFORE THE SUMMER BREAK

Jeremy Van Horebeek being chased by Evgeny Bobryshev. They are 5th and 6th in the 450 points chase after 12 rounds.

450 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
(After 12 of 18 events)
1. Tim Gajser…532
2. Antonio Cairoli …440
3. Romain Febvre…408
4. Maximilian Nagl…401
5. Evgeny Bobryshev…396
6. Jeremy Van Horebeek…351
7. Valentin Guillod…267
8. Glenn Coldenhoff…230
9. Shaun Simpson…212
10. Clement Desalle…210

Aleksandr Tonkov is fifth in 250 points, but in a Paturel/Ferrandis sandwich.

250 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
(After 12 of 18 events)
1. Jeffrey Herlings…597
2. Jeremy Seewer…428
3. Pauls Jonass…403
4. Benoit Paturel…325
5. Aleksandr Tonkov…320
6: Dylan Ferrandis…308
7: Max Anstie…274
8. Petar Petrov…253
9. Samuele Bernardini…253
10. Vsevolod Brylyakov…219

LAST SUNDAY IN MANTOVA: YOUNG VERSUS OLD

 

 

THIS WEEK’S BIRTHDAY BOYS: SHORT STACK & RJ

June 30…Doug Dubach 1963
June 30…Roy Janson
June 30…Kurt Caselli 1983
July 3…Steve Stackable
July 3…Paul Carpenter 1981

July 4…Dean Ferris 1990
July 4…Mark Phares
July 4…Billy Mackenzie 1984

July 5…Lars Larsson 1941
July 5…Kyle Cunningham 1989

July 6…Rick Johnson 1964
July 6…Heikki Mikkola 1945

MOTOCROSS ACTION’S TOP EIGHT VIDEOS OF THIS YEAR

With these eight videos MXA racked up 3,360,000 views. To see more click here.

LAST WEEK IN CANADA: DAVI KEEPS WINNING UP NORTH

 

MOTORCYCLE AD OF THE WEEK: THE MALHERBE BOOT

In 1984 the AXO Malherbe boot sold for $169.95. It feature top grain leather, two buckles and a Velcro upper enclosure. The red and blue models sold like hot cakes.

REM ON THE USGP TRACK THIS SATURDAY, JULY 2

For more info go to www.remsatmx.com.

THE CURRENT 2016 RACE CALENDAR

2016 AMA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
July 2.…………………….Red Bud, MI
July 9..……………………Southwick, MA​
July 16.…………………..Millville, MN​
July 23.…………………..Washougal, WA

2016 FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
July 24………………………Loket, Czech Republic
July 31………………………Lommel, Belgium

2016 REM MOTOCROSS
July 2………………………Glen Helen, CA (USGP track)
July 9………………………Glen Helen, CA

2016 AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
July 3……………………….Nowra, NSW
July 17………………………Conondale QLD
July 31………………………Shepparton, VIC

2016 CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
July 10…………………..Courtland, ON
July 17…………………..Ulverton, NS
July 24……………….….Pleasant Valley, NS
July 31…………………..Moncton, NB

2016 BRITISH MAXXIS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
July 3………………………..Leucher, Scotland
July 17………………………Blaxhall

2016 AMA VINTAGE MOTORCYCLE DAYS
July 8-10…………………..Lexington, OH

2016 AMA NATIONAL AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP
Aug. 1-6……………………..Loretta Lynn, TN

UNITED STATES GRANDS PRIX
Sept. 3……………………..…Charlotte, USA (Saturday)
Sept. 11……………….…..….Glen Helen, USA

2016 MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS
Sept. 25…………………….Maggiora, Italy

2016 DUBYA WORLD VET CHAMPIONSHIP
Nov. 5-6…………………….Glen Helen, CA

LAST TUESDAY AT ZACA STATION: MXA RIDES THE 2017 KX250F

WESTERN CANADIAN AMATEUR NATIONAL AT TEMPLE HILL ON JULY 1-3

For more info go to www.wcan-mx.com.

 

MXA MOTO-CHALLENGE: CAN YOU NAME THIS GRAND PRIX RIDER?

This rider was most famous for racing a Maico, but caused an international stir when he switched to Team Yamaha. Name him. Answer at the bottom of the page.

MXA GEAR GUIDE: YAMAHA YZ250

MXA’s “Gear Guide” is designed to show you what 2016 gear the MXA wrecking crew wears for our bike tests. This is what we wore on the Yamaha YZ250 test. If you like what you see, be sure to click on the contact links for more information. Click on images to enlarge.

PANT: AXO Racing Motion white/green
JERSEY: AXO Racing Motion white/green
GLOVES: AXO Racing Rookie white
HELMET: Arai VX-PRO4 (custom painted)
GOGGLES: Eks Flatout Liquid flo green
BOOTS: Alpinestars Tech 8 RS

SUPPLIER CONTACTS
AXO Racing: www.axo.com or (877) AXO-RACE
Arai Helmets: www.araiamericas.com or (610) 366-7220
EKS Brand: www.eksbrand.com or (818) 706-1700
Alpinestars: www.alpinestars.com or (800) 409-0903

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX ON SEPTEMBER 11 AT GLEN HELEN

For more info go to www.glenhelen.com

THERE IS AN AMERICAN IN EUROPE’S EMX 250 SERIES: DARIAN SANAYEI

 

HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO MXA AND MAKE MONEY

 The August 2016 issue of MXA is on the news stands now, but if you subscribed you would get a $25 gift certificate from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.

Do you subscribe to MXA? You should. We know that you think that print magazines are dead and that the internet will fill the void, but most of the stuff in the current issue of MXA won’t appear on the web for several months, if at all. Luckily, you can get all of MXA on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle or Android by going to the Apple Store, Amazon or Google Play. Better yet get the Digital desktop version at https://hi-torque.com/product/motocross-action-digital-edition/ for $9.99 a year. The MXA test riders prefer the print version and not just because it is delivered by a uniformed employee of the U.S. Government, but because for only $19.99 you get 12 issues and a free $25 Gift Card from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC. That means that there is a profit to be made in this deal for you. For the Print magazine go to: http://hi-torque.com/product/subscribe-to-motocross-action-magazine/

MXA MOTO-CHALLENGE ANSWER


Ake Jonsson on his Maico.

When Ake Jonsson switched from Team Maico to Team Yamaha, he made Yamaha put Maico forks on his works Yamaha.

 

Photos: Daryl Ecklund, Massimo Zanzani, Scott Mallonee, Brian Converse, Kyoshi Becker, Jody Weisel, Debbi Tamietti, Dan Alamangos, John Basher, Yamaha, Suzuki, MXGP, MXA

ama nationalsAntonio Cairoliblake baggettcooper webbdoug dubachELI TOMACgiuseppe luongoglen helenJAMES STEWARTjeffrey herlingsjody weiselKAWASAKIken roczenktmmotocrossmotocross actionmxaMXGPrem motocrossricky johnsonryan dungeyshane mcelrathSUPERCROSSSUZUKItim gajseryamaha