MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (2/20/13)
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Freestyle rider Mat Rebeaud gets stretched out over a hip jump at a top secret location in SoCal. The Freestyle competitive season is right around the corner, with the Red Bull X-Fighters and Global X Games making stops all over the world. Photo: John Basher
MEET RV ON FRIDAY IN THE ATL!
MINI-VIEW: ELI TOMAC
Eli Tomac controlled his own destiny after the opening rounds of the 250 West series. He had won the first three races and held a nine-point advantage. Then, in a matter of moments, his win streak and points lead vanished. Tomac hit the deck hard at Oakland, causing him to DNF the race and give up the points lead to Ken Roczen. Eli fought back, but he’s still 17 points down on the German rider.
There are still three rounds to go before a champion is crowned in the 250 West. Instead of stewing and waiting for racing to resume, Tomac is going to where the racing is. Forced to move up to the 450 class in 2014, Eli is taking advantage of Geico Honda’s offer of racing select 450 Supercross rounds. He will make his official AMA Supercross debut this weekend in Atlanta, and then race St. Louis, Daytona and Indianapolis. I wanted to find out how the deal came together and what his expectations are.
MXA: This weekend in Atlanta marks your first AMA 450 Supercross race. Are you ready to go?
Eli: Yeah, I’m really excited. I got to race the 450 at the Monster Cup, as well as in Bercy and Italy this past year. I think it will be a lot of fun racing all of the guys in the 450 Supercross class. It should be good.
Before the season started your team manager, Mike LaRocco mentioned that you wanted to race a few 450 Supercross rounds once you got a break from the 250 West. When was the decision officially made that you were going to race Atlanta?
My understanding is that I was going to race Atlanta no matter what, even if I did have the red number plate going into the break. Most of the time we were planning on it, but I didn’t want to confirm it, because I said that I was going to race the 450 last year and then went out and wadded it up at San Diego. I wanted to make sure that I got through San Diego this year before I spoke up.
Knowing that you like to practice on the 450 quite a bit, how much time have you had to prepare on the bike going into this weekend?
I rode a 450 last year for outdoor training and then in the offseason for the few races that I did. I’ve practiced on the bike last week and then I’ll have some more time this week before Atlanta. I have two solid weeks of Supercross testing on the bike.
Tomac has 17 points that he’ll need to make up when the 250 West series starts up again in order to keep the number one plate.
Why didn’t you race Dallas on the 450?
I wanted at least a week on the bike. I also thought it would be good to take a few days off. I did that so I could recharge myself. Aside from that, the Dallas track is not the most awesome track to start on. The dirt is nasty hardpack.
How many 450 rounds are you thinking about racing?
I’m planning on doing the next four races, which are Atlanta, St. Louis, Daytona and Indianapolis.
You must be looking forward to Daytona.
Oh yeah! They are all good tracks though, so it should be a lot of fun.
Now that you’ve had time to reflect on the opening six rounds of the 250 West, what have you learned or taken away from those races?
The only bad thing about the series has been that DNF at Oakland. That really hurts when it’s only a nine-round series. Ken [Roczen] has been super consistent, too. He has four second place finishes and two wins. Even though I have four wins, the DNF did some damage. I feel like I’m the guy to win, but it’s going to be tough making that ground up. It’s not over until it’s over.
What positives do you take from the beginning rounds?
I’m the guy that has won the most races. I know that I can through everyone and win. I’m not so much worried about my speed. I just have to put things together so I can try to win that second 250 West title.
History has proven that many 250 racers have one bad race. Kenny hasn’t had his yet.
I think that Roczen will have a bad race. It probably won’t be a DNF. I just need to stay on the box. I can’t make any more mistakes unless Ken makes a big mistake.
Eli is getting a full factory Honda ride at the next four rounds. He’s looking to show his stuff.
What kind of Honda CRF450 will you be racing on?
I’m racing a full factory Honda with Geico graphics. I’m definitely stoked on that!
Next year you are forced to move up to the 450 class. Do you look at these upcoming four races as an interview for a 450 job opening in 2014?
In a way it is. My goal is to get on the podium. The 250 guys are going really fast right now, and we can run with the 450 class. It’s all about getting my head in the right spot and getting off the line with a holeshot or top five. That will set me up well for the rest of the race.
I can probably speak for a lot of people when I say that I wouldn’t be surprised if you won a round.
Like I said, our 250 class is just as fast as anyone. If I can get a good start then the win isn’t out of the question. I think that I can make it happen.
What are your thoughts about teammate Zach Bell’s insane crash at Dallas?
I’m glad that the kid is alive, really. I don’t know all of the details whether he was knocked out or he just had the wind knocked out of him. To me it looked like he was taking a dirt nap, but I wasn’t there so I can’t say anything. Our 6D helmets are awesome, and I put it to the test in Oakland. In any crashing situation that helmet is going to help out a lot. I’m definitely glad that I’m wearing the 6D helmet.
Is the 250 West stronger than the 250 East field?
It seems like every year people say that the 250 West is stronger, and then the 250 East guys will say that their coast is more challenging. I actually really do think that the 250 West is stronger this year, and not because of where guys finished last week. There are a couple more teams on the West, such as Troy Lee Designs and JDR J-Star. I think that we have the East covered this year, but we’ll have to wait and see in the shootout at Las Vegas.
YAMAHA TO DISPLAY 2014 MODELS AT AIMExpo
The American International Motorcycle Expo (AIMExpo), in conjunction with Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, announced today that the iconic brand will use the groundbreaking showcase as a platform to display its 2014 products in the marketplace and interact with dealers and consumers. Yamaha is the first official OEM partner of AIMExpo, a landmark step in the continued growth of the event. Additional OEM participation will be announced in the coming days.
Yamaha’s range of powersports products is one of the most diverse in the industry and comprises machines under both the Yamaha and Star brands, all of which will be featured at AIMExpo. The Yamaha line-up of off-road motorcycles, sport ATVs, and street motorcycles from its sport segment will be joined by UTVs and utility ATVs from the outdoor segment.
The Star brand features one of the most diverse lineups of cruisers that includes many different models with various iterations of each.
In addition to their displays in the Main Hall at the Orange County Convention Center, both brands will be taking advantage of AIMExpo’s remarkable outdoor space to conduct live product demonstrations with demo rides on both the street and dirt.
“On behalf of all of us at Yamaha and Star Motorcycles, we are both proud and excited to announce our official participation at the inaugural AIMExpo in Orlando this fall,” said Kim Knupp, Assistant Division Manager, National Events, Yamaha Motor Corp, USA. “We feel certain that a renewed energy has indeed returned to the motorsports industry and the management team at AIMExpo is poised to capitalize on that fact at a time and venue that’s a perfect match for us at Yamaha and for our dealers.”
Echoing Yamaha’s sentiments, Larry Little, Vice President & General Manager, Motorcycle Group, commented, “Yamaha has captured the vision of AIMExpo as the new grand stage for the powersports business in North America. Like so many of the leading-edge products they’ve brought to enthusiasts over the years, they’re the first to embrace the innovative concept of bringing all corners of motorcycling and powersports in North America to one place at one time ? at the right place at the right time!”
AIMExpo will be held on October 16-20, 2013 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. For more information, visit the AIMExpoUSA.com web site, and keep up to date on the continued progress by visiting AIMExpo’s social media pages.
Photo: Simon Cudby
“I loved to race in Atlanta. The whole week leading up to Atlanta was just a great practice week. My confidence was high. You walk into the place and it smells great. It just has a good vibe and the dirt is fantastic. The crowd is electric. It’s awesome. It’s one of the biggest crowds that we have all year. They’re really enthused after being cooped up all winter watching Supercross out on the west coast. It’s just a cool place to race. The fans come alive in the Georgia Dome. I feel like our RCH team will race well on Saturday.”?Ricky Carmichael
FLY INTRODUCES NEW KINETIC SHOCK MESH RACEWEAR
Fully vented jersey and mesh paneling on the pants where ventilation is needed the most, yet still as durable as the standard Kinetic gear. Kinetic Mesh racewear will help you make the most out of the long summer heat in the great outdoors.
Available March 2013
Price: Pant $99.95, Jersey $29.95.
Click here to find out more information.
IN THE BEGINNING: THE TREY CANARD STORY – TEASER
PanicREV is excited to release its first official glimpse into a new film coming 2013 about the life of Trey Canard. Visit http://www.thetreycanardfilm.com. for more information.
MINI-VIEW: L.A. SLEEVE’S MARK KALPAKOFF
MXA: Why is L.A. Sleeve spending marketing budget on a pro purse for the Two-Stroke World Championship Series?
Mark: [Smiling] This industry is one of the richest, well doing industries in the world. My paycheck pays for my jet, the blow dryer for my poodles at home, and we thought that to make even more money we could get back into the two-stroke extravaganza [laughter].
Okay, in all seriousness, what’s the reasoning?
With L.A. Sleeve’s history through the 1980s and 1990s, especially in sponsoring Jeremy McGrath, was all about two-strokes. We talked about getting with a promoter to have a two-stroke series. Glen Helen had talked about doing a two-stroke race, and this was back in 2007. We had a nice discussion with Glen Helen, and we thought that we should support the idea. L.A. Sleeve’s biggest business has been two-strokes, and I believe that the future will be two-strokes.
This year there will be a three-round series, which is something that’s completely new. Please talk about that.
This year Glen Helen decided to make the series bigger, offering three rounds at different tracks, instead of just one race. Husqvarna has jumped in and will offer a few bikes to media and pro riders willing to race. They will send a bike to someone so that they can have it a month before the race. Then they can race the bike in the 125 Pro class. L.A. Sleeve decided to pump up the Pro purse. You can win good money at the first two rounds, but we’ll give a big purse at the last round.
Are there any other incentives for people to come out and race the series?
This is a great opportunity for people to come to this race and also get L.A. Sleeve two-stroke top-end kits. We’re also going to do podium prizes where people will get free top-ends from us. If you’re going to go buy a two-stroke and get into the sport on a budget then we’re going to support it. To me it just doesn’t make sense to buy a $9,000 four-stroke and try to stay in the sport.
You bought a two-stroke off Craigslist. That’s a very popular method for people to buy used bikes, and in particular two-strokes.
I went on Craigslist, eBay, the local paper and looked for 125 two-strokes. There was a plethora of bikes that were 125’s for under $2000. I found that aluminum frame bikes are a bit more expensive, but if you really scour these different avenues then you can probably get a good bike for $1000. I think it’s cool that people are reusing what was already built. It keeps them in the sport and doing what they love to do, which is to ride motocross.
DAVI MILLSAPS JOINS VIRUS ACTION SPORT PERFORMANCE
Virus Action Sport Performance announced that they have signed Davi Millsaps to the VIRUS team for the 2013 AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross season.
Millsaps, a highly regarded professional supercross and motocross racer, will help facilitate the development and design of VIRUS performance apparel, used specifically for his sport. The primary goal for this partnership is to create top-notch apparel for all of his training and competition needs — ultimately leading to the success of all athletes in this sport.
“Davi has a long and varied reputation within the industry and we felt his expertise would be a great benefit as we hone our products for supercross and motocross athletes,” said Sten Rasmussen, Brand Manager for VIRUS. “We have already begun collaborating with Davi on many pieces and are excited to keep the momentum going and develop even more new products.”
Throughout the past year, VIRUS has had the great opportunity to work one-on-one with Millsaps to design select products for his personal training needs. “He has been instrumental with the creation of some of our top products, especially the StayCool Tech Pant that he currently wears under his riding gear,” stated Rasmussen.
Rasmussen also says he is looking forward to working alongside Millsaps since he brings a great amount of experience and truly understands the advantages of using technical first layers. With his partnership, VIRUS will continue to create products that cater to the motocross athlete’s needs to be a complete rider, including select signature pieces that will help him with all of his training, racing, and recovery needs.
Millsaps credits his recent success to being healthy during the off-season, a great new team and bike, as well as a fine tuned training program.
“Over the course of last year I was able to work with the team at VIRUS to develop products that helped me with my training and racing program,” explained Millsaps. “I am really excited to continue working with VIRUS to develop a signature line of products that can be used for bicycle training and racing. My hope is that we can help every day riders become the best they can be in their sport.”
For more information about VIRUS | Action Sport Performance and the newest products, visit www.VirusIntl.com
RIDE ENGINEERING’S LIST OF SPONSORED ATHLETES
Look around the pits at your local Supercross and you will find lots of teams sponsored by Ride Engineering and running some or all of the following products: Triple Clamps, Bar Mounts, Lowering Links, Brake Lines, Brake Calipers, Engine Plugs, Brake Clevis and Axle Blocks.
On Yamaha YZ450Fs: Velocity 3 (Riders: Kyle Chisholm & Bobby Kiniry)
On Yamaha YZ450Fs: N-Fab Ti Lube (Riders: Chris Blose & Phil Nicoletti)
On Kawasaki KX450Fs: JAB Motorsports (Rider: Matt Lemoine)
On Kawasaki KX250Fs: JAB Motorsports (Riders: Gannon Audette & Van Martin)
On Kawasaki KX450Fs: Privateer Cody Gilmore
On Kawasaki KX450Fs: Privateer Kevin Rookstool
On Kawasaki KX250Fs: EMT Racing (Rider: Dillon Epstein)
On Kawasaki KX250Fs: ADR Motorsports (Riders: Gareth Swanepoel & Ricky Dietrich)
On Honda CRF250s: Moto Concepts (Rider: Jake Canada)
In Arenacross, support riders include:
On Kawasaki KX250Fs: Mike McDade
On Honda CRF250s: Kyle White
Visit: http://www.ride-engineering.com/sponsor.php for images and details of which Ride Engineering components each rider prefers.