MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT: (09/22/10)

MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT  
By the MXA staff
 
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 1

    After the Lakewood National concluded at the end of June, who would have thought that Trey Canard would win five of the next seven races and become the 250 National champion? Trey might have had his doubts like the rest of us, but a fire was lit under him starting at Red Bud. Canard realized that he could win. From that point forward it was a dog fight for the title with Christophe Pourcel. Although there eventually had to be a winner and a loser, it was an incredible year for both riders.

MXA INTERVIEW: MARVIN MUSQUIN

    Marvin Musquin has had a whirlwind two-year span in the GP series. After beginning the season on a privateer Honda team last year, the team ran into money issues but wouldn’t release him from his contract. Musquin fought and managed to earn a spot on the potent KTM factory team. He won the title and this year fought off the advances of teenage sensations Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings to win his second MX2 (250) title. Next year Marvin is racing in the U.S., competing in the 250 West Supercross series, as well as the AMA Nationals. This kid is the real deal and should make waves in America.

MXA: Where did the inspiration come for you to race in America?
    Marvin: It has always been my dream to ride in America. I have watched several French riders, like Christophe Pourcel, race in the U.S. through television, and it looks very exciting. Now it’s time for me to go to America and start my career there. I’m also happy to say that I’m going to stay with KTM.

Are you going to stay in the U.S. directly after the Motocross des Nations, or are you going to go back to France?
    I will go back to France to do some testing with the EFI-equipped KTM 250SXF for Supercross. Then I will go to America around the middle of October.

After winning two MX2 titles, why did you choose 2011 as the year to race in America?
    I want to win in the U.S. like Christophe Pourcel. I really like Supercross. I started riding Supercross when I was 10 years old on a 65cc bike. I also have a private Supercross track. I want to win right away in Supercross. Growing up my favorite rider to watch was James Stewart. I like Ryan Dungey now.

    “I was leading the championship, and I realized that if I wanted to win the championship then I needed to be on a KTM bike.”

Last year you started on a privateer Honda and won a GP right away, but then switched to the factory KTM team midway through the series. What was the reason for the switch?
    The whole program fell apart. It was difficult for the team to make every race, because they had money issues. Honda didn’t help the team very much. I was scared on the bike. It wasn’t a bad bike, but it didn’t stand out on the track, either. I was leading the championship, and I realized that if I wanted to win the championship then I needed to be on a KTM bike.

Did KTM approach you and offer you a ride?
    No, I went to KTM. At the time Shaun Simpson was injured, so they had a spot open. Pit Beirer helped me a lot during that time. There were many problems with the French Honda team that I was switching from. There was a lawyer involved and everything! It was a crazy time for me. I didn’t ride the Sweden GP because I wasn’t allowed to, but we cleared up everything.

Since being on the KTM team you have been very dominant. Was it more difficult winning your second title?
    It was easier this year. Last year I missed that one race, and there was a lot going on. This year I finished quite a few points in front of Ken Roczen for the title. I had a good year.

It was a difficult end to the season for your fellow countryman, Christophe Pourcel.
    Yeah, he has had some bad luck. Last year he lost the championship because he broke the bike. This year he crashed and lost 25 points in Unadilla, and then there was Pala. It wasn’t good! He’s fast though and very smart. He’s a very good rider and will rebound.

Is there any AMA National track that you are most looking forward to racing on?
    I haven’t ridden any of the tracks, but I’m looking forward to Red Bud. It seems like a really nice track. I think that every track in the U.S. is good, at least from what I have heard.

    “I hope to find a big house in America, a nice truck…oh, and then there’s the training too [laughter]!”
 
How are your Supercross skills?
    I have a lot of fun riding Supercross. In Europe we don’t have a big Supercross championship, so I’m looking forward to racing a Supercross series.

Why are French riders so talented at Supercross?
    I don’t know! With the French federation there is a French team that has young riders. A lot of young guys ride with the French team. It’s probably because we’re familiar with riding Supercross, so we have the jumping and the timing down from a fairly young age.

What’s your plan in the U.S.?
    I signed up for two years with KTM. I don’t know the life in America, but I think it will be good. I like the big pickup trucks and the weather. There seem to be a lot of good tracks. It should be easier with travel as well, because I won’t have to fly all around the world to race. As far as racing Supercross in the 250 class, all of my races will be on the west coast, so the plane flights won’t be very far. KTM is located in Murrietta, California, and maybe I’ll find a house near the shop. I hope to find a big house in America, a nice truck…oh, and then there’s the training too [laughter]! I will be able to run in the morning, and then do riding in the afternoon. The weather is so nice there all year!

JOSH HANSEN’S NEW RIDE

  
Do you remember when Josh Hansen used to tool around in a $250,000 luxury car? Guess what? Josh isn’t car crazy any longer. His regular bike hauling rig is a well-used Toyota Tacoma. To spiff it up a little, Josh had it painted. No, not with five coats of pearl red, but instead with a couple cans of spray paint. Josh will race the 250 Supercross season for the Pro Circuit team again in 2011.

TECHNOLOGY TOUR: A LOOK INSIDE ALPINESTARS

    The Alpinestars facility in Asolo, Italy, has an incredible selection of machines and instruments used by their testing staff in developing every Alpinestars product. Throughout the downstairs laboratory, which is typically off limits, there are upwards of 20 devices that serve many purposes. The testing machine names easily differentiate their usage, such as the Buckle Testing Machine. From managing the force of a dropped anvil to testing the waterproofing capabilities of a boot, tearing fiber apart to discovering its threshold, setting materials on fire and studying the internal properties of a specific material, Alpinestars has it all. They even have a boot machine that can cycle a motocross boot through 50,000 steps to study the effects. It’s all quite incredible to see. After seeing all of the tests, it’s easy to understand why the laboratory technicians wore lab coats; they’re mad scientists! A tour through their facility will bring out the kid in you, as you can burn, freeze, break, tear, bend, squeeze, and destroy a product. It’s like science class on steroids!

    Below are a plethora of tests that the Alpinestars technicians use every day in developing new products. And to answer the question that’s looming on your mind, we did not see any brand new boots in the works. They keep that stuff locked safely behind closed doors.

DYNAMOMETER

    Performs compression and tensile strength tests on materials, stitching, bonding and seams.  Data is collected on load and elongation limits and fed into a computer which tracks the mechanical characteristics of the material to ensure that defined minimum performance standards are met and exceeded.  
    
STEREOMICROSCOPE

   Analyzes material characteristics, in order to evaluate performance and consistency. Magnifies up to 540X to verify the quality of materials, displaying real time data via a computer of the surface properties.

WALKMETER

    Tests boots and shoes for structural integrity and durability. Products are subjected to 100,000 cycles or more, (equivalent to 200+ kms) with varying body weight, stride patterns and surface conditions.
   
CLIMATIC CHAMBER

    Tests material resistance to accelerated aging and extreme climatic conditions.  Products are placed in the chamber, which is capable of simulating 5 years of exposure in just 1 week, with temperatures ranging from ?208 c to 1208 c and humidity levels of 0-99%. Having been subjected to a range of extreme conditions, the products are then put through additional tests for resistance and tensile performance.

CENTRIFUGAL IMPERMEABILITY TEST MACHINE

    Tests the impermeability of Gore-Tex/Drystar boots and shoes. Products are placed in a sealed chamber with a measured volume of water, and then rotated at 250 cycles per minute (equivalent to 37g) for 30 minutes. Once completed, the products are examined for any signs of material permeability.

FIREPROOF TEST

    Tests the aramidic fibers used in the construction of F1 and World Rally shoes, gloves and suits for resistance to fire and transmission of heat. Materials must meet FIA Homologation rules, which specify strict limits for both heat transfer and flame retardation over a standard set of time parameters.

SEAM TEST

    Performs impermeability test on the seams of Gore-Tex booties and gloves. Seams are subjected to 1 bar of water pressure and checked for signs of water escape. This test ensures that the seams on all Alpinestars wet weather apparel are as waterproof as the materials themselves.
 
BOOTIE TEST

    Tests the impermeability of Gore-Tex booties and gloves. Products are filled with 1 bar of compressed air (equivalent to a depth of 100 meters) and then lowered into a tank of water and examined for any signs of escaping air. Air molecules are much smaller than water molecules, therefore this test provides a superior method with which to test material impermeability. 

ABRASION TEST

    Performs test on material abrasion resistance.  Materials are placed under a load of 1000 gms and then run over an abrasive compound for a distance of 40 meters. The materials are then checked for weight and density loss, which allows Alpinestars technicians to specify the best materials for specific applications, whether it’s the protective plastic shell on a motocross boot or the vibration reducing sole on a touring boot.

DUROMETER

    Measures the quality and hardness of plastic and rubber materials. By concentrating a 1000 grm load on rubber products and a 5000 grm of load on plastic products through a needle point, the properties of the materials can be tested for specific applications across the full range of Alpinestars product line.
    
SOLE ABRASION TEST

    Tests the abrasion resistance of motorcycle boots. A defined load is placed on the sole and regulated to simulate the rider’s body weight as it reacts to the footpeg under varying conditions. In a typical test, the surface of the sole will complete 8,000 cycles, (equivalent to 40 hours of usage) which allows Alpinestars to determine the wear rate of soles under extreme conditions and accurately fine tune the best compounds for each specific boot.

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MXA INTERVIEW: JIMMY ALBERTSON

    Jimmy Albertson has been flying the U.S. flag in the MX1 (450) class this year over in Europe. It’s never easy to live in a foreign country, much less race in it. However, Albertson has been doing just that. It has been a huge undertaking for the likable kid from Oklahoma, and he has struggled with the European lifestyle. While cruising the Fermo pits, we caught up with Jimmy to talk about his year in Europe.

MXA: How has the season been going?
    Jimmy: Oh man, it’s been rough! I just jumped into this whole thing and I didn’t realize what I was up against. It’s not just the racing over here; it’s getting used to living. It’s a whole different world. It has taken me time to get adapted to it. I’ve had injuries this year and that hasn’t helped. The bottom line is that it’s mentally tough. Going into the first GP I had already been in Europe for four months, and I was really homesick. I didn’t look at Europe at all like it was my new home. I was counting down the days until I went back to America. That’s never the way you want to start off a season. Throughout the season I’ve had some injuries, and it’s been a bummer. Now it’s time to go home, but I’ve met so many nice people. I have a girlfriend over here now, and I don’t feel like I’m away from home anymore. I feel like I can call Europe my second home. The season didn’t go the way I liked, but I’ve learned so much this year even as far as being a person. I wouldn’t take this experience back for anything.

    “When you travel in Europe all of the countries are pretty much just as small as some states, but they have completely different cultures. That would be like crossing from California to Arizona and finding out that the people don’t even speak the same language as you.”

Where have you been living in Europe?
    I lived in Spain for one month, Italy for two months, and then in Belgium for the rest of the time. It’s hard to explain what it’s like living in these different countries. Just talking with U.S. riders that have been racing over here before me, they said the biggest thing was adapting to the lifestyle. I didn’t think much of it, because I have lived away from my parents since I was 15 years old. It wasn’t a big deal to me, but what I didn’t realize was that anywhere in America feels like home to me. You go from one state to another and nothing really changes. When you travel in Europe all of the countries are pretty much just as small as some states, but they have completely different cultures. That would be like crossing from California to Arizona and finding out that the people don’t even speak the same language as you. It just takes a little while to get used to, and I’m finally happy to be over here. Hopefully I can continue next year over in Europe.

Do you have any potential offers for 2011?
    I’d love to be back with Honda, but I’m not sure what’s going on. For me, I find Europe to be my second home now. I don’t mind being over here. Really it comes down to finding the best opportunity for me. We’ll see what happens.

Please compare the tracks between the Nationals and the GP series.
    The Italian GP in Fermo is much like an American track. It is smooth and has some good jumps on it. Most of the GP tracks are rough and gnarly. It’s like everything is slowed down, almost like the racing is halfway between enduro and motocross. Some of the tracks are so rutted out and nasty. They will go two days without prepping the track. I remember my first GP that was really nasty. When I did the parade lap before the second moto I thought to myself, ?This is insane! How can they expect us to race around this track?’ [laughter]. It just takes a while to get used to, and you can’t override these tracks. In America you can ride wide open and be aggressive, but in Europe you must take your time and use your head while you’re riding. Antonio Cairoli is so good racing these tracks because he plans out his track. He uses different lines. I think that’s why a lot of these European riders are successful in America, but they aren’t as successful as they are in Europe simply because in the U.S. the racing is so fast. It might seem easier, but often the easier the track is the harder it is to do well. American racing is wide open. You go for broke. In Europe you must plan out the track.

Which racing series has the best competition?
    Between the series, as far as competition goes, it’s very tough. I think everyone will see at the Motocross des Nations that the racing is very close.

    “The fans in Europe simply love the sport of motocross and wish that they could do it. They look at the professional racers as superstars.”

The biggest difference between an AMA National and an FIM Grand Prix is the spectator participation. In Fermo the crowd was going nuts! Why doesn’t that happen in the U.S.?
    I don’t think it happens in the U.S. because everyone has the opportunity to ride. Fans in America are also racers. These guys in Europe don’t have the money to buy bikes and ride, because it’s just so expensive. In the U.S. you can buy a bike for a couple thousand dollars, go to your local track, and ride. In Europe you have to buy a membership and jump through hoops in order to race. The fans in Europe simply love the sport of motocross and wish that they could do it. They look at the professional racers as superstars. In America I think that people look at the pro’s as athletes that share a common passion. They are the same guys that tell their buddies, ?Oh, I can do that jump.’ Many people would rather ride at their local track or in the desert than attend a National. That’s just the way that it is.

I know that you’re close friends with Trey Canard. Have you spoken with him yet about winning the 250 outdoor title?
    Oh yeah! I spoke with him last Sunday morning from Italy. He was stoked on the championship! It’s a shame that Christophe Pourcel got hurt like that, but that’s racing. Trey was hurt last year early in the season, but I bet he would have been a championship contender at the end of the season. That’s how it goes. Trey fell down in the first moto, but he never gave up. That’s what happens when you don’t give up. I’m so proud of him, especially after what he’s been through the past couple of years. He won the Supercross title in his rookie year, and he set the bar real high. Me and his other close friends knew that he had it in him, but it took a little while for things to click for him. I couldn’t be happier for him right now.

PRESS RELEASE: THE CATALINA GRAND PRIX IS BACK

Once the biggest motorcycle races on the West Coast, the legendary Catalina Grand Prix is set to make history again. California  motorcycle enthusiast Vinnie Mandzak is totally committed to promoting the 2010 Catalina Island GP, as he has been since receiving authorization to produce  “the most unique motorcycle race in 50 years.”

“Despite what a few naysayers may have said, there is no question in my mind that this race is happening this December,” insists Mandzak. “Our plans are moving forward and I can’t wait to watch the first wave of racers roll off the starting line on December 4th!”
 
By all indications, Mandzak has the cooperation from state and local government agencies, no small feat in itself. He also has the full support of the Catalina Island business community who recognize the event as a prime opportunity to share their little slice of heaven to a global audience of racers and fans. A total of 800 racers are expected to participate over two days of racing. “We’ve done our homework and we are managing our event the correct way,” says Mandzak. “I am 100% totally committed to 2010 Catalina Island Grand Prix.” Race classifications and registration will be made available by mid-September at http://www.thecatalinagrandprix.com/.


MXA INTERVIEW: BOB BARNETT TELLS HIS STORY

MXA: How did you get started on motorcycles?

    Bob: My next door neighbor was a hill climber on Triumphs, and ever since I was a little kid, all I saw was motorcycles, and all I wanted to do was ride. I started on lawnmower engine minibikes, and when Honda came out with the Z50 three speed, that was a godsend. I used to fix lawn mowers and bicycles and whatever else to make enough money to buy a bike. My first real motorcycle was a Honda 55 step through with big wheels and all. I look back now and think, ?what a piece of junk, I wouldn’t ride it,’ but back then it was so cool because I had a bike, and it was my bike.

MXA: When did you start working on bikes?

    Bob: My first real job was in a lamp store and I made and repaired lamps. But, the wholetime I was growing up I rebuilt motorcycles. For my twelfth birthday I wanted a die grinder and a degree wheel. My folks wondered ?What are those things and what’s a 12 year old by going to do with them?’ I wanted to port the cylinder on my Suzuki 80, and I needed a degree wheel to scribe on the cylinder wall where you needed to grind to. I was into high performance stuff when I was 12 years old.

“For my twelfth birthday I wanted a die grinder and a degree wheel. My folks wondered ?What are those things and what’s a 12 year old by going to do with them?’ I wanted to port the cylinder on my Suzuki 80…”

When did you start in the motorcycle industry?

    Bob: After the lamp store I worked at Champion Motorcycle as a parts guy for six months, because I had broken my ankle and couldn’t stand up all day at the lamp store. Those jobs were alright but I really needed a career. My neighbor, who got me into motorcycles in the first place, worked on big diesel engine cabin cruisers. He made pretty good money and had his own schedule, so I started working on boats down in Newport beach. I started just doing oil changes and if something was broken I’d fix it. After a year and a half I was spinning the wrenches on every high performance boat it the bay- all the 38 Scarabs, 30 Scarabs, cigarettes, Fountains. I gained a reputation in a short period of time. Betty Cook, who, at the time had one world championship and one national championship, was looking for good people to work on their boats and they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. I was 21 years old, and they hired me as an assistant mechanic on a class one offshore boat. After two weeks they threw me the keys and said ?you know more than we do dude and you’ve only been doing this for two weeks.’ It was cool, being 21 years old and getting to do a job that people twice my age couldn’t do. We ended up winning two world championships and three national championships in five years. We were like the Pro Circuit of offshore racing. It wasn’t like a factory team, we were team Mercury, but still worked on our own stuff.

   That kind of dried up, because it was really just rich people playing. Instead of a motorcycle that costs six grand, you have a boat the costs six hundred grand.  It cost us $40,000 dollars just to show up at a race, and prize money for first was $12,500. So that dried up, I got laid off and just wheeled my tool box down their driveway next door to Drino Miller’s class two offroad car and Indy Car race shop. They were one of the first guys using the March chassis and it was really cool. So again, I was working on development stuff. That lasted about a year. I knew I wanted to get into computers and I was going to school to learn CAD/CAM. I actually wanted to sell CAD/CAM software. You needed either a four years degree or shop experience. But, once I had been working in a shop for a while and dealt more with sales I liked the shop side better than having to wear a suit and tie and having to meet sales quotas and having some guy beating on his desk grilling me.


MXA: How did the machine work lead into ARC Levers?

    Bob:The machine stuff came to me naturally. After six months at a machine shop I bought my own machine and had it in a garage making parts on my own. After a year of working for someone I just decided to run my own business making parts. I did that for five years or so, until I ran into Horst out the races at Glen Helen and I started making parts for his motorcycles. He got into bicycles, and I made a few parts there, and got interested in bicycles too. So for the next ten years I made a lot of things in the bicycle world. I made the first production chain guide for cross country and downhill and I made the first dual crown fork in mountain biking. They laughed at made and said ?four inches is too much travel.’ But when Dave Turner (who built the frame) rode the bike he agreed we needed more travel. Now four-inch-travel cross-country bikes are common today.

   The whole time in the background I had been riding motorcycles. For my own personal tastes, I like it when the clutch is fully disengaged when the lever isn’t quite touching my outside fingers, so the bike won’t creep on the gate. It seemed like more often than not I had to bend the stock levers out to make enough room and half the time I’d break them since they are die cast. So, since I’m a machinist, I wanted to make something that was adjustable. About the same time, I made some for a downhill racer I sponsored who had little fingers. It was all about the adjustability, and I hadn’t even thought about the not breaking concept. But, the way I made them, they flipped around. I said ?Hey I think I’ve got something here.’ It was may 1999 when I showed the MXA guys for the first time. Now the levers are on Chad Reed’s bike. You can go over to some of top guys bikes and they have ARC Levers on there. It’s been a long road, but I just listen. When people say something is wrong I go back to the shop and make it. I don’t have to explain anything to an engineer and have something lost in translation, or draw it up and have it made in some other country. I’m the designer, engineer, machinist, inspector and test rider, and it short cuts a lot of things.

MXA: What’s the best part of the job?

    Bob: Getting to work with pro racers is great. That’s the epitome, or the pinnacle of the sport. It’s easy to make stuff for tricycles, or your kids bikes, or beginner bikes, but when those guys are running something it’s making a statement. That means you have the best stuff on the planet. That’s what I’ve always striven for.



PRESS RELEASE: AFX FX-19 OFF-ROAD HELMET

    AFX is dedicated to manufacturing top-quality motorcycle helmets at an affordable price. Never forgetting that helmets are first and foremost a safety product, AFX helmets are not only designed to exacting specifications, but come in a variety of modern styles with performance features you’d only expect on helmets costing much more.

    The FX-19 off-road helmet is a case in point. It’s a DOT-approved helmet that features a lightweight (less than 3 lb.) composite poly-alloy shell and computer-designed interior and exterior for optimal fit and comfort. The shell and visor have been aerodynamically designed to enhance off-road airflow, while the thirteen-point ventilation systems provides exception cooling.

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THE 2032 NATIONAL CHAMPION IS BORN

    Yes, you read that headline right. Conor James Williams, the pride and joy of parents Scott and Leslie Williams, is slated to become the 2032 AMA 450 National Champion. Although still in his infancy, Conor is already seven pounds, one ounce of pure motocross fiber. At 20 inches long he is considered tall for his age, and 22 years from now his long legs will be able to carry him swiftly through the Millville sand whoops. Rumor has it that “Conor the Crusher,” as his adoring fans refer to him as, is already making motorcycle noises and roosting through his diapers in quick fashion.

    Boy Williams is excited to hit the amateur racing scene, cooing at every question during our interview, but his entrance into this world was slow. Why? For once in his life Conor wanted to take things slowly. After 30 hours of labor he finally decided to shift himself into gear. The reason? His agent informed us that he was in contract negotiations. Rumor has it that several high-profile teams have already contacted the Williams’ about Conor’s services. We think Yamaha has the inside line, considering that they make the venerable PW50 (with training wheels, if necessary). As for the Crusher’s racing number, we predict that he will opt for 920. Why? Young Williams was born on September 20th. After a year or two on the National circuit he will need to trade in his lucky number for a new number: #1.

VIDEO PRESS RELEASE: BEHIND THE SCENES AT WORKS CONNECTION

http://www.youtube.com/v/0ZILoLaWNl8?fs=1&hl=en_US

AND FINALLY…CONGRATS TO ALL THE 2010 CHAMPS!

Ryan Dungey450 Supercross Champion

Jake Weimer250 West Supercross Champion

Christophe PourcelAMA 250 East Supercross Champion

Ryan DungeyAMA 450 AMA National Champion

Trey CanardAMA 250 AMA National Champion

Ryan DungeyMXA Grand National Champion

Antonio Cairoli FIM MX1 (450) World Champion

Marvin MusquinFIM MX2 (250) World Champion

Daniel Willemson/Gertie Eggink FIM World Sidecar Champions

Jessica PattersonWMA Women’s National Champion

Steffi LaierFIM Women’s Motocross Champion

Dusty Klatt450 Canadian National Champion

Tyler Medaglia250 Canadian National Champion

PJ. Larsen – 250 Australian National Champion

Jay Marmont – 450 Australian National Champion

Bobby GarrisonMTA World Two-Stroke Champion

Weston PeickMTA World Four-Stroke Champion

Mitch Payton – 2010 AMA Hall of Fame inductee

Eyvind Boyesen – 2010 AMA Hall of Fame inductee

Bruce Ogilvie – 2010 AMA Hall of Fame inductee

John & Rita Gregory – 2010 AMA Hall of Fame inductees

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