MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT: (01/04/12)

By John Basher

PHOTO OF THE WEEK

MXA test rider Dennis Stapleton finally made his way back home to the U.S. after traveling for nearly two months. Where did he go? Dennis raced in Kuwait, Dubai, the Philippines, and also stopped in China and the Netherlands. During his time he raced on a plethora of different motorcycles, and, as you can see, also rode some unusual transport vehicles. However, you won’t see us testing a camel in the pages of MXA.

WEST VS. EAST: WHO WILL BE ON THE GATE SATURDAY NIGHT?

Every year there’s an online debate as to which coast has bigger firepower – East vs. West. And so it goes with 2012. Initially Ken Roczen and PJ Larsen were slated to race at Anaheim 1, but injuries harpooned their plans, so now both will race East. Darryn Durham, the newest Pro Circuit/Kawasaki recruit, will also race East after suffering an injury (although who really knows if Mitch Payton had Durham riding East anyway?). So, which coast has bigger fire power? I’m leaning towards the East, but it’s still too early to tell. Take your pick.

WEST:
Marvin Musquin
Dean Wilson
Tyla Rattray
Eli Tomac
Wil Hahn
Cole Seely
Christian Craig
Travis Baker
Jason Anderson
Martin Davalos
Nico Izzi
Ryan Sipes
Gareth Swanepoel
Chris Plouffe
Dakota Tedder
Myles Tedder
Scott Champion
Ryan Marmont
Matt Moss
Nick Paluzzi
Vince Friese
Killy Rusk
Bryce Vallee
Max Anstie
Michael Leib

EAST:
Ken Roczen
Justin Barcia
Justin Bogle
Darryn Durham
Blake Baggett
Blake Wharton
Hunter Hewitt
Kyle Cunningham
Kyle Peters
Malcolm Stewart
Jimmy DeCotis
P.J. Larsen
Les Smith
A.J. Catanzaro
Taylor Futrell

MALCOLM STEWART JERSEY GIVEAWAY

JDR Motorsports is excited to announce an opportunity for one lucky facebook fan to win the official jersey JDR/J-Star/KTM Team rider Malcolm Stewart wore during the making of the latest Dream Ride video.

Dream Ride is the latest video organized by JDR Motorsports that was released this morning. The film takes Stewart and Australian JDR/KTM rider Josh Cachia to the rainforest of Cairns in Australia to film some of the most epic riding to date.

In order to be eligible to win the jersey, participants must become a fan of the JDR/J-Star/KTM Facebook fan page and share the Dream Ride video link which is currently posted on the page. Each person that shares the link will be automatically entered for a chance to win Stewart’s jersey. The winner will be announced on the JDR Motorsports Facebook site on January 17, 2012.

MINI-VIEW: JIMMY WEINERT

“The Jammer” in front of his new facility in North Carolina.

    Jimmy Weinert has recently moved from his ?South of the Border’ location in South Carolina to Crystal Coast in Maysville, North Carolina. This past week while visiting my parents in Beaufort, North Carolina, my Dad and I made an hour drive to Jimmy’s track to check out the facility for ourselves. It was bliss! Here’s what “The Jammer” had to say about his new digs, as well as many other interesting things.

MXA: Talk a little bit about your new training facility at Crystal Coast, here in Maysville, North Carolina.
Jimmy: Crystal Coast is Heaven on Earth! The skies are blue, the beach is only 20 minutes down the road. There’s Camp Lejeune, the big Marine base, close by. On one side we have warriors, and on the other side are beach people. I’m right in the middle! I really like it here. When you pull in the gate you need to realize that this is a training camp. It’s the epitome of what a training camp should be. You need to isolate yourself, and you can do that here.

How much land do you own here at Crystal Coast?
I have 112 acres. About 60 acres are cleared, and the rest is woods. There are trails through the woods, and you can also go hunting. The main thing when you come here is that there are 26 hookups for the motor homes. We have five cabins, and I’m going to put more in. I have the tracks dialed in. We’re cleaning things up around here.


Here’s one view of the Crystal Coast motocross track. Currently there are three tracks, including miles of woods riding.


Here’s another angle of the sand/loam main track.

What kind of training will you offer?
I have two Marines that have studied sports fitness, and we’ve put together a nice program. For the kids that are really serious, like my one rider, Chris Cannon, and my son, James, it’s perfect. This is going to get them in National-caliber shape. I do believe that you can get in shape naturally.

Why are you putting so much time and effort into building a training facility?
If it wasn’t for my son, James, then I wouldn’t be doing this. We have our own facility, and James wants to race.

How has the sport changed since you raced?
Let me tell you a little story. In 1978 Bob Hannah and I had a great race going. At the end of the day there was green on his bike and yellow on my bike, because we rubbed so much! I beat him the first moto, and he beat me the second moto. Afterward Bob came over to me and said, “Jimmy, that’s the best race that I ever had!” We rode each other hard, but we raced cleanly. I hate to say it, but we were a different type of men back then. The racers these days are men, but they are also [expletive] crazy! I rode around a Supercross track recently. It’s serious! These guys that race now are incredible. I was talking to Brad Lackey the other day, and I said that I thought Bob Hannah should get on a bike and ride one of those Supercross tracks.

Bob has always been known as a talker.
I love Bob dearly, because he has a lot to say, but I’d like to see what Bob thinks of the sport now. It’s seriously filled with a bunch of acrobats and gymnasts on motorcycles. It’s not the big jumps that wow me, but the step-on and step-off sections and timing of it all. If you don’t ride a Supercross track right then you’re done.

Are racers better now than when you raced?
I look at everything and think it’s all relevant. I was good in my time, and now these guys are good in their time. The same goes with any sport. Back then we were men and we didn’t have chest protectors. Speaking of, do you remember Adolf Weil? He looked like Paul Newman. Adolph never wore any sort of protection. I’m talking about a mouth guard and chest protector. Well, I went up to him one day and said, “Adolf, I can’t understand how you don’t wear protection. How do you do it?” Without saying a word, he imitated moving his head side to side in order to get out of the way of roost [laughter].

There’s something to be said about how guys like Hannah, Lackey, Jones and yourself helped form the sport.
We turned the sport young. When I started racing you had to be 16. My dad made me do 100 push-ups before I could race, and the reason he had me do that was because I was going to be racing against men. I was 16, and I had to race against 25-year-olds. There weren’t all of the classes that they have now.

Is the sport safer now?
Guys are going fast! When I see a lot of people fall, even through a sweeper, they lay there for a while. Guys are hitting hard on the ground. I don’t know if the helmets should be even better. They’re getting a good hit to the head. It’s so different. We went fast back when I raced, but we got up pretty quickly. Now they’re going faster, and they’re hitting harder.

I bet you have a pretty funny Bob Hannah story.
When I was doing my “Motocross Files” episode, Bob Hannah called me up. He said, “Alright, Jimmy, now’s the time for you to say what you want to say about anybody!” I replied, “Bob, I said enough when I was racing. It’s over. You do what you need to do, but I don’t have to say anything.”

Do you think that there’s cheating in professional racing?
I know that things are happening. It’s up to the AMA and the governing board to start testing people for substances. There are talented riders out there, but you know what? People think that if you can put better gas in your bike, then why not put something better in your body? I don’t believe that. When I trained I did things naturally, and I was in great shape most of the time. Doing that [performance-enhancing drugs] isn’t good for you. I’m not going to mention any names. The governing body needs to crack down. There’s too much stuff going on out there. I’ve heard that there are a lot of pill users out there, as well. Pills aren’t good, because that’s a drug, and so now guys are racing one another while they’re not all there. I guess you might as well drink alcohol then, right? Wrong. Of course people will say, “Well, Jim, what did you do when you were young?” What I did when I was young I didn’t do on the race track. Now I’m 20 years sober.

Some people are quick to judge racers once they leave the sport.
Exactly. I don’t get why people get on Ricky Carmichael’s case. They say that he’s drinking beer and he’s getting fat. I laugh at them. I’ll go buy Ricky a case of beer right now! Think about the dedication and the number of championships that he won! Give the guy a break. People always have something to say. Ricky worked so hard during his career. I bet the first thing he did when he retired was get a beer and a Big Mac.

What was life like growing up?
I grew up in a junk yard. I didn’t have a bunch of friends in school. I had a group of friends, and they would go and watch me race. Well, when I raced the Nationals and won championships, suddenly there were a lot of people that wanted to be my friend. But I told them that they weren’t my friend before I raced and won, so they certainly weren’t going to be my friends after. Racing was my focus, and I used my environment the best way that I could. So when I was hauling junk around the yard I was training. I had a turn track through the trees. It was all I had, and I made it work.

What do you think about Ryan Villopoto’s accomplishments last year?
When I see how well Kawasaki is doing as far as their bike production, I am kind of happy with myself. When I see so many Kawasaki’s on the track I think about how my hard work paid off. Guys like Jeff Ward, Brad Lackey, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart and Ryan Villopoto pushed to get Kawasaki on top. We all worked for that.

MECHANIC OF THE YEAR – MIKE WILLIAMSON

Mike and the bike.

If you’ve already checked out the February 2012 issue of MXA, then you know what I’m talking about. If not, here’s the news. Ryan Villopoto won everything that there was to win in 2011. Supercross. The Nationals. Motocross des Nations. Monster Energy Cup. You name it, he stamped his name on it.
Behind every great rider is an equally exceptional mechanic. And, sometimes, behind a great mechanic is a magazine willing to recognize the accomplishments of a certain wrench turner. Which is why, beginning from 2011 and continuing every year, MXA will stand and deliver the distinction of “Mechanic of the Year” to one individual. For 2011, that winner was Mike Williamson.
Not only did Mike keep Villopoto’s bike always primed and ready for racing destruction, but he did so with poise and certainty. MXA has rewarded Mike with a brand spanking new Scott Sports CR1 Team road bike. It’s a great example of a company kicking in and helping to reward an individual for exceptional work done well. Thanks to Scott Sports, and congratulations to Mike Williamson!

 

IRONCLAD PERFORMANCE WEAR SPONSORS BROOKS/McGRATH AND JEFF WARD RACING

Ironclad Performance Wear (ICPW), a leader in high-performance task-specific work gloves, is proud to be the official mechanic glove of the Larry Brooks/Jeremy McGrath owned-Supercross.com/Honda team and the Jeff Ward Racing/DNA Energy team.

“2012 is a great year for the sport as two former champions are now team owners and Ironclad is a proud sponsor for both of their racing efforts. The excitement and demographics of Supercross make this opportunity a big one for Ironclad. ” said Shawn Norfolk, Director of Marketing for Ironclad.

Supercross.com/Honda team owner Larry Brooks said, “Jeremy and I have been friends with Shawn Norfolk for about 20 years. When he called us to talk about gloves for the mechanics, we were pumped. Ironclad is huge in the Industrial safety market, and to see them looking at our sport and our team to help build their brand is pretty cool. They want to win in their world just as much as we want to win in our world.”

Jeff Ward had this to say, “We are very pleased to align ourselves with Ironclad Performance Wear and bring them on board at Jeff Ward Racing as our official mechanic glove. Ironclad is known as the worldwide leader in Performance work gloves and our mechanics are digging the gloves.”
For more information on Ironclad, please visit www.ironclad.com.

2011 – A YEAR OF QUOTES
It’s a blast interviewing different personalities in motocross. In any given year I’ll probably interview over a hundred people, which equates to a lot of questions and even more transcribing. As much as I wished that the interviews I’ve conducted could go directly to my computer, it’s actually pretty cool to relive those interviews when I’m typing everything down word for word later.
At the end of 2010 I compiled a list of my favorite quotes from interviews that I had conducted over the year. People were interested in the idea, so for 2011 I did the exact same thing. Behold, some of my favorite answers from guys like Chad Reed, Justin Barcia, Travis Pastrana, and Roger DeCoster.

Andrew Short on signing with the L&Mc Honda team

MXA: Being on McGrath’s team, you’re really going to need to learn how to do a nac-nac.
Andrew: [Laughter] Well Ken Roczen says that I ride like an old man and I don’t even know how to scrub a bike! I’ll have to learn something new.

Justin Barcia after racing his first 450 National, where he went 3-3 for third overall

MXA: Did you have to change your riding style in order to adapt to the 450?
Justin: I love the 450! I don’t have to think about changing my riding style when I get on the 450, because my style changes automatically. I realized quickly that if I try to get crazy on it then it’s going to get crazy on me. Instead of riding tapped out I found that I had to be smooth and smart while riding the 450.

Justin Bogle after racing his first Pro event at Unadilla

MXA: You were having some fun the Skyshot tabletop. You didn’t seem very nervous for your first pro race!
Justin: [Laughter] I did a heelclicker in practice, and then on the parade lap in both motos I did a nac-nac. I like to keep things light and fun. If I’m not having fun then what’s the point?

JGR owner Coy Gibbs on landing James Stewart for 2012 and beyond

MXA: How did the James Stewart deal come together?
Coy: I’m not going to lie to you. We goofed around with the idea of getting James, but then we went really hard after Ryan Dungey. After that fell through I got a text from James that said that he was still available. I replied to him by saying, What do you mean? I didn’t even understand! From there we started talking, and I saw the opportunity, so we went after it as hard as we could.

Trey Canard in a post-race interview after the Phoenix Supercross

MXA: You mentioned that the track was a bit hazardous. At times it looked like riders were using their dirt track skills to broad slide around the corners.
Trey: Yeah, it’s kind of the same Phoenix track that I’ve become accustomed to dealing with. It was very slick and the track broke down quickly. Up until this weekend I hadn’t made it out of Phoenix alive! In the last two years I had big trouble. In 2009 I had a horrendous crash, and then last year I had a big get-off in the whoops. I’m just happy to come out of this race without any crashes and stay healthy.

Roger DeCoster talks about the importance of racing Supercross

MXA: Does Mike Alessi even want to ride Supercross?
Roger: It’s hard to say with him. He says that he does when I ask him. His best season of his career was in 2009 when he rode Supercross and we were working together at Suzuki. He rode the whole Supercross season. In the U.S. it’s very difficult to be at your best outdoors without riding Supercross. Supercross brings you technique and speed. Even if you’re not the best Supercross rider it still helps you outdoors. For the manufacturers Supercross is more important than the outdoors because of the people and the number of races. That series is more important to the manufacturers.

Mike Gosselaar discusses Ryan Dungey’s bike malfunction before the second moto at Southwick

MXA: You thought that everything was good to go with the bike at that point?
Mike: Yeah, but as I was getting my stuff on to go down to the line I yelled to another mechanic to get the bike started, but it wouldn’t fire. I started screaming! We popped the fuel tank off again, and no fuel was coming out. We switched the fuel pump out, and the tank was full of fuel, and the bike still wouldn’t start. Then we switched out all of the electrical components. The bike finally fired up. I jumped on the bike and pulled out of the pits. I almost hit Steve Giberson [Vital MX Reporter]. He wasn’t watching, and I was pinned in third or fourth gear on wet pavement going downhill. I was screaming and whiskey throttling the bike, but he still didn’t hear me. I ended up stopping with about half of an inch to spare of hitting him without crashing the bike. Ryan was down on the line without his goggles on, so he took them out of my fanny pack. I had the bike in gear with the clutch pulled in. He jumped on the bike and stalled it. At that point I thought that we were done, because twice in the pits the bike ran but then wouldn’t start once it was shut off. However, Ryan started the bike on the first kick.

Mike LaRocco on working with the cerebral Kevin Windham

MXA: How is it working with Kevin Windham? He’s the veteran rider on the team, whereas all of the other riders are still pretty new to the game.
Mike: Kevin is the rider that I end up dealing with the most, because I can totally relate to where he’s at in his career. I’m trying to help him with what I remember needing help with as a racer. As for the kids, it’s a bit far back in my memory to help them. Plus they don’t think as much as Kevin does. I seem to relate with Kevin the most. I try to help him forget all of the things that are going through his mind and just focus on doing the best that he can.

Travis Pastrana before the X Games, in which he attempted to land the Toilet Paper Roll. He didn’t.

MXA: In 2009 you seemed to have the trick dialed leading into the X Games, but then you lost it right before Best Trick. Do you feel better about your odds this year?
Travis: I understand the trick a lot more. It’s hard, because when you’re upside down and backwards everything is opposite. Whatever you feel is incorrect for the second half of the trick. Heck, Kyle Loza has been working on his Electric Death backflip for three years. The combinations are getting extremely tough to do, but that’s what makes it fun.

TwoTwo Motorsports’ team manager, Dave Osterman, on Chad Reed’s near ascent to Heaven at Millville

MXA: Reedy was so lucky to land on a slope off the side of the jump.
Dave: Absolutely. Chad could have landed on John Ayers’ utility vehicle just as easily as he could have landed on flat ground. Ayers’ vehicle was parked too close to the track, but who would have thought that anyone would land where Chad did? It wasn’t your normal crash. Chad did the running man in the air, and he did a great job of keeping his feet under him. For a guy like him to coin that as the worst crash of his career says a lot about the severity of the situation.

Christophe Pourcel on signing with the MotoConcepts team for the Nationals. The pairing lasted all of two races. Of course this interview came during the honeymoon stage of the relationship.

MXA: What were the reasons as to why you chose to sign with MotoConcepts?
Christophe: I was talking to DV [David Vuillemin], and the team seemed really good. I spoke with the boss from MotoConcepts, Mike Genova, and he was very nice to me. They made me a offer that was a good deal. They told me that I could choose my own gear and kind of have my own deal going. That was nice. I also wanted to ride for a smaller team.

Chad Reed on getting a deal done to race the 450 Nationals

MXA: How soon before the Nationals began did you make the final decision to race outdoors?
Chad: I pretty much made up my mind the Saturday of the Las Vegas Supercross. I really wanted to know on Friday morning, because I wanted to be able to announce it at the press conference. I thought that someone was actually going to ask me about my intentions to race the Nationals during the press conference, but no one actually did. I wanted to be able to give an honest answer, but I had to wait until the next day. My agent, Steve Astephen, was going back and forth between the Honda truck and my rig trying to get a deal figured out. On Saturday I had enough information to feel comfortable and I knew that both parties wanted things to happen for the Nationals.

Dean Wilson on being a spectator for the 450 Supercross main at Atlanta

MXA: Did you get a chance to watch the 450 race?
Dean: Oh yeah! I was a super fan. I was jumping up and down as the guys were battling. When Stewart and Reed went down the crowd was electric. It was so crazy to be in the stadium when that race was going on.

HOW YOU CAN BECOME TEAMMATES WITH BUBBA AND DAVI
JGRMX and Pirelli Accepting Rider Resumes

Pirelli is a global leader in performance tires laying claim to 54 FIM Grand Prix World Motocross titles, and is the official tire of the JGRMX/Toyota/Yamaha professional racing team.  In conjunction with the JGRMX engine and suspension modification services now being provided, Pirelli and JGRMX have developed a rider support program and are now accepting resumes.
Any rider accepted into the program will receive preferred pricing on select Pirelli motocross tires, as well as free shipping on orders of ten or more tires.
All resumes must be received by Jan. 31, be neatly typed and include name, address, phone and if applicable facsimile number, email address (riders accepted into the program will be notified by email), date of birth, series raced, classes raced, current standings in each series and class raced, the year and model of all motorcycles raced, and the top-three racing achievements for the applicant.  Please do not submit CDs, DVDs, or multimedia of any kind at this time.  Please submit your resume to Tim Gearhart, at [email protected] or by mail to JGRMX, attention Tim Gearhart, 11515 Vanstory Drive, Suite 145 Huntersville, NC 28078.  We look forward to receiving your resume.

SMITH OPTICS – 2012 SUPERCROSS SEASON
Smith Optics will once again have a large display in the pits where we will be displaying our new line of Moto goggles, sunglasses, casual wear along with some limited winter products.  In addition to the Smith products; we’ll also be doing several promotions giving away product each weekend under our tent- so be sure to stop by.  We also recommend that you follow Smith Optics on Facebook to be sure you are not missing out on the promotional product that will be given away and all the Smith Optics happenings of this Supercross season.
Smith Optics has added a few more Supercross riders to the team for 2012.  The Star/Valli Yamaha racing team(Ryan Morais, Nico Izzi, Austin Stroupe) will be in the new Fuel v.2 Sweat X line as well as the BBMX squad(Jimmy Albertson, Michael Byrne, Jason Thomas) so be sure to keep an eye out for these guys in 2012.

TWO -STROKES ARE BACK & PRO CIRCUIT KNOWS IT

Two-stroke performance is what Pro Circuit built its reputation on over 30 years ago, and we’re still committed to giving you a selection of two-stroke pipes and silencers that will fit all your needs. We have recently updated part of our current collection to fit the 2011-12 KTM 125SX and 150SX models. There are two exhaust pipe choice for bike and three silencers:
WORKS PIPE: The Works Pipe is hand assembled and welded and improves power from bottom to top. It has an unplated, oiled metal finish for that factory “works bike” look, and the ultra-strong brackets increase durability. Retail price: $241.95
PLATINUM PIPE: The Platinum Pipe experiences the same performance gains as our Works Pipe, but features a rust-free platinum coating, requiring less maintenance. Like all our pipes, the Platinum features Pro Circuit’s legendary handcrafted quality, and is ideal for those who ride in extreme weather conditions. Retail price: $241.95
  R-304 SHORTY SILENCER: The R-304 Shorty is our most popular “full-race” silencer. It features an aluminum/stainless construction and offers lightweight and increased durability. Its compact design offers optimum performance gains. Easy to re-pack when needed, the R-304 is for closed course racing. Retail price: $119.95
R-304 SILENCER: The 304 Silencer features a long body design for reduced noise and an aluminum/stainless design for lightweight. The 304 is easy to re-pack when needed and is for closed course racing. Retail price: $119.95
TYPE 296 SPARK ARRESTOR SILENCER: The Type 296 is a U.S. Forest Service “forestry approved” spark arrestor, and reduces noise output to about 96dB. The silencer is easy to re-pack when needed. Retail price: $159.95. For additional information visit www.procircuit.com.

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