MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER (5/22/13)
PHOTOS OF THE WEEK
Outside the Olympic Stadium.
Inside the Palau Sant Jordi, where big air, speed and style, best whip and step up was held.
The Olympic Stadium, which was hammered by inclement weather.
Diehard moto fans might have overlooked the fact that the Spain X Games occurred this past weekend in Barcelona. Unseasonably cool damp weather wreaked havoc on several events, but the world’s top action sport athletes still threw down at the Olympic Center (sight of the 1992 Summer Olympics). Here are a few panoramic shots from the various the venue.
THE LATEST ON ADAM CIANCIARULO
Adam Cianciarulo was supposed to make his highly-anticipated Pro debut at Hangtown. Long labeled as “The Next Big Thing,” the Floridian made the decision about a month ago to skip the Amateur Nationals and instead hit the big time. Hangtown was his coming out party. Only it didn’t happen. Cianciarulo started feeling sick about a week ago and had massive digestive issues. Adam rode press day on Thursday, but was taken from the track directly to the hospital where he spent the night and was released on Friday evening.
What was the culprit? Salmonella poisoning. Team Adam doesn’t know where the youngster picked up the bacteria, but it kept him off the bike. What’s Cianciarulo’s status for Lakewood and beyond? He’s out for Colorado this weekend, iffy for Muddy Creek, and might make his debut at either High Point or Budds Creek. Here’s hoping that Adam feels better.
HANGTOWN BY THE NUMBERS
[Hangtown photos by John Ker unless otherwise noted]
50?The maximum number of points available at Hangtown for an individual rider to score. Ken Roczen and Ryan Villopoto left round one with perfect scores. Shall we expect perfect seasons for both riders? I don’t think so.
17?There were 17 Honda CRF250-mounted racers in the show on Sunday. To give you an idea of overwhelming popularity among the 250 Hangtown riders, the next closest manufacturer represented was Kawasaki, with ten entries. Next came a two-way tie (with five riders) between KTM and Yamaha. Suzuki had the smallest representation, with three bikes on the line.
10?What Suzuki lacked in numbers for the 250 class they made up for in the 450 class. With ten riders, Suzuki had at the most riders on the line. Kawasaki came next, with nine, followed by a three-way tie for third place between KTM, Honda and Yamaha (seven riders each).
82?The number of entries in the 250 class. Of those paid entries, 77 riders logged qualifying times. Eat your heart out, Giuseppe Luongo.
96?The number of entries paid up in the 450 class. 91 of those riders put in a qualifying lap. Perhaps the Grand Prix circuit can try to beg, borrow or steal 20 or so National racers to fill the gate in the GP series? On second thought, it’ll never happen. That would require Luongo to open up his wallet, which has dirt from such countries as Qatar, Thailand and Brazil.
2:04.906?The 36th, and final rider, to qualify through timed practice in the 450 class. Chris Plouffe edged Broc Schmelyun by .093 of a second. How important is it to qualify directly through timed practice? Look back to the 42nd fastest qualifier to make the main, which was done out of the LCQ race. Ty Keenon, Ryan Huffman, Nicholas Schmidt and Derek Anderson earned their spot in the main event the hard way. Of those four, Anderson did the best (38-23 for 28th overall). Unfortunately none of the mentioned riders scored a point.
14.527?The number of seconds between the 36th qualifier in the 250 class and the slowest qualifying time. No need to mention names, but that’s a sizable gap. However, it’s not as big of a gap as in the 450 class, where the slowest rider was 28.246 seconds slower than the slowest qualifier to make the main out of timed practice.
JAMES STEWART HANGTOWN VIDEO
ROOKIE WATCH: WHO WAS BEST AT HANGTOWN?
Cooper Webb was the top rookie in a class full of newbies.
If we’re going strictly by single moto scores, Cooper Webb notched a fifth place finish in the first moto. However, a second moto 18th foiled Webb’s shot at a top 10. The best rookie, based on moto average, was Cooper’s teammate, Jeremy Martin. The MyPlash/Metal Mulisha/Yamaha rider went 7-13 for 8th. Immediately following Martin in overall ranking was Joey Savatgy (10-11), Justin Hill (13-9) and the aforementioned Webb. By now you’ve heard that Adam Cianciarulo signed up to race but fell ill before race day and couldn’t log a lap. The arrival of “The Great One,” as I like to call him?not only for his speed but also his amiable personality, much like a young Travis Pastrana?will have to wait.
What does the rash of immediate success mean for the 250 class? Years of great racing lie ahead. The mixture of those wet behind the ears with seasoned vets makes a cornucopia of talent. With Eli Tomac, Cole Seely, potentially Ken Roczen and a few wild cards moving up to the 450 class in 2014, this summer could mark a passing of the torch.
OTHER HANGTOWN MENTIONS
Ryan Sipes showed that he has the stuff to run with the big boys this summer. Sipes has been long overdue for a full-time 450 ride. I have my fingers crossed that Sipes races every National while maintaining stellar health. Injuries have plagued “America’s Favorite Redneck,” as his Rockstar Energy Racing team calls him.
The fact that Weston Peick‘s phone isn’t ringing off the hook for a potential ride signifies the sad state of professional racing. Peick is coming into his own and his results are proving so. Remember that Weston is a top ten rider in a stacked field. I hope that Weston gets a bump up in support.
Travis Preston didn’t decide to race Hangtown because he wanted to rekindle an old racing flame or try to get a ride, but instead to show that he can still put it in the show. Preston raced long motos at REM in the weeks leading up to Hangtown to knock the rust off. Riding a JGR Yamaha, Travis went 15-18 for 17th. Oh, by the way, he beat full-time JGR riders Justin Brayton and Josh Grant.
Dean Wilson had a weekend he’d rather forget. At this point he’s had a year he would rather forget. It’s been rough for the Scotsman. Dean underwent shoulder surgeries, signed and was then dropped by JWR Kawasaki when the team folded, signed with Pro Circuit Kawasaki, went out with injury in the 250 East, and decided to race the 450 Nationals. Dean went 17-14 for 14th overall. Expect Dean to race himself into shape, but it could be an arduous task, especially as the U.S. begins to sizzle and other riders start to figure things out.
MINI-VIEW: RICKY CARMICHAEL (Co-owner, RCH Racing)
Carmichael’s rider, Broc Tickle, finished 12th overall. The GOAT wasn’t happy.
WHAT WERE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF ROUND 1 IN SACRAMENTO?
Ricky: Well, I expected a lot more. I know Broc (Tickle) is capable of running better than 12th, despite the fact that the class is stacked this year. I know how good that bike is as I did some of the testing alongside of him. I think we lost our way a little bit with the suspension. We made some poor decisions and by the time we changed our minds on the decisions that we made and wanted to go a different direction, we didn’t have time to dial those in. At the end of the day, you learn from those and it makes you better. A poor finish to start the season. Broc’s fitness is great and I’m confident that he’ll score better.
TALK ABOUT THE FINE LINE BETWEEN BIKE SETUP AND WHAT A RIDER WANTS. WHO HAS THE ULTIMATE SAY? RIDER? YOU? MECHANIC?
It’s real simple. The more comfortable the rider, the faster he’s going to go and the more confidence he’ll have in twisting the throttle. When he doesn’t feel comfortable on the bike, the throttle doesn’t want to twist all the way. The younger kids that are coming up now aren’t as polished as the guys 10-15 years ago in telling the engineers what they need. It’s not their fault. They grew up in a different area. With the data we have now, it’s easy for the engineers to set the bike up the way it should be.
SO CONFIDENCE ON THE BIKE SETUP ALLOWS THE RIDER THE COURAGE TO PIN THE THROTTLE MORE.
Absolutely. Some guys are gonna twist the throttle despite not feeling good on the bike. They don’t care. They’re out there doing whatever they can to win the race. For others, if the bike is not setup to their liking, the natural reaction is to be a little bit tentative. Someone like Broc and the younger kids that are coming up, you have to guide them a little bit more. Even if they don’t feel 100 percent comfortable and they can’t make their mind up, someone like myself, who rode with every possible setup on a bike, has to guide a good rider like Broc in the right direction.
ADD THE FACT THAT THE FIELDS ARE SO STACKED, NOT HAVING 100 PERCENT CONFIDENCE ON THE BIKE WILL LOSE YOU A FEW TENTHS OF A SECOND AND COST YOU A HALF-DOZEN POSITIONS.
For sure. Yep. Absolutely. One hundred percent. A lot like Supercross, the fields are stacked and tenths of a second are separating the top riders. It’s just so competitive out there in the 450MX Class. In saying that, we’re going to get after it this week before we head to Thunder Valley. We only have one area that we need to work on, the shock area. Everything else is really solid. I will say this about last weekend ? there were guys last weekend that I didn’t expect to be running top-10 and there were guys who weren’t in the top-10 that I expected to be there. It’s always like that at Hangtown. By the middle of the outdoor season, you’ll see the regulars up there banging handlebars for race wins. It was disappointing for us but we have something to build on and I know we’ll be heading in the right direction from here on out.
BROC (TICKLE) GOT CAUGHT MID-PACK IN BOTH OF HIS RACE STARTS AND FOUGHT BACK FOR A TOP-12 OVERALL FINISH.
It was a solid comeback. It starts back in qualifying where you need to put in a good lap time to get that preferred gate pick. The field is too good to give up 10 spots to the leaders when the gate drops for the motos. He’s working on his race starts. You get over the first race jitters on a new bike and I expect it to be a lot better this weekend in Colorado.
(RYAN) VILLOPOTO WAS UP TO HIS OLD SELF IN ROUND 1 WINNING BOTH MOTOS. WHAT DOES THE FIELD HAVE TO DO TO CLOSE THE GAP ON HIM?
It’s going to be tough. I think the only guy that is going to be able to answer the bell is Ryan Dungey and he’s got his work cut out for him. If he didn’t work so hard and have the determination I’d say (Ryan) Villopoto) has a good shot at getting that 24-0 record that (James) Stewart and myself have. He’s got everything. He’s got the program, his bike works great, he’s in great shape. He has that confidence ? no matter what business you’re in, sport that you play ? confidence goes a long way. He’s the guy to beat for sure.
By Daryl Ecklund
Photo: Will Patterson
Round one of the outdoors is now in the books. I thought that the opening round was going to be a repeat of the high nerves and turmoil of Anaheim 1, but I was wrong. All the top riders seemed calm and collective with the results of the top 5 being consistent in both motos.
Blake Baggett started off the season opener with a bang, grabbing the first moto holeshot. It looked as if he was eager to get back to his winning ways, but just after a few laps BB’s throttle arm started to drop just about every time he twisted the throttle (due to his previously injured wrist) and he started to drop off the pace. For a second I had thought that the Baggett we saw last year might have faded away, but again he did not let us down and put in his late race charge for third behind Ken Roczen and Eli Tomac. After moto one I think he realized that his fitness was up to par with everyone else and kept on the pace all the way through moto two, but he couldn’t track down the fierce Roczen. BB is going to get better with each round. He is just warming up, but I cant say that he will be able to knock down Roczen’s confidence right away after his dominate weekend.
Ken Roczen, as I suspected, came to the race with confidence and maturity. He charged to the front early on in both motos. Once in the lead he set his pace and never looked back to take the win, going 1-1 in both motos. This is a different Roczen than we have seen in the past. He has learned to get out of his comfort zone and start pushing the envelope to beat out the relentless attacks of Tomac and Baggett. He is a force to be reckoned with.
I would like to congratulate James Stewart for finishing Hangtown without hitting the ground. James made the right choices. He got off to good starts and was able to land a respectable third place finish. If James can learn to lose, I believe he will be able to learn to win again. Once upon a time he did go 24-0, but with Ryan Villopoto on the track it’s a whole new ball. I feel that James is the only one that hasn’t figured out what he need to do to finish races. James needs to calm down and take second place. There will always be someone better, faster and stronger coming up that will challenge Stewart. If he can understand this, then I think James can learn and gain momentum forward to finally get off this roller coaster he has been riding for so long.
MXA KTM 85SXS TEST: CARSON BROWN’S TAKE
MATRIX CONCEPTS A-7 ALUMINUM RAMP
After a full year of development in conjunction working alongside the top riders, mechanics and team managers in the off road racing world, Matrix Concepts is proud to have finally released the all new aluminum A-7 folding loading ramp.
The A-7 Ramp is constructed of aircraft grade 6063 aluminum and is 6.7ft long. All joints are Tig welded producing one of the strongest ramps in the marketplace today.
Features of the new ramp include a slow hinge with replaceable rubber bushing inserts, a built in tail gate stop including a rubber tongue pad and replaceable rubber feet. The A-7 ramp is powder coated and is available in blue, red or black.
MX Legend Bob “Hurricane” Hannah says; “this is a great looking ramp and is really durable”.
AXO 2013 TRANS-AM MOTOCROSS GEAR
AXO introduces the new 3013 Trans-Am gear, now available in black and white color ways. The Trans-Am gear is part of a larger line that includes the Norstar boots and Trans-Am gloves, all of which are inspired from AXO’s look in the late 1970’s. Although the gear looks like it’s from the 70’s, the materials, construction and technology are top of the line for today.
From far off the black and white sets of gear appear to be the same, however with a closer look you will see many differences. The white set of Trans-Am gear is fully vented. The entire jersey is a mesh material to provide optimal ventilation for hot riding days. The pants also feature additional ventilation in the front and back of the upper leg and at the shin by having perforated panels.
The jersey is designed to fit either over or under a roost guard all while providing unrestricted freedom of movement. The 100% Poly construction of the jersey makes it both stain and odor resistant as well as completely machine washable. The jersey also features a longer tail panel which helps to keep it tucked in.
The Trans-Am pants have the features and construction that was once reserved for only the most expensive pants. The materials have been improved to allow for a better fit, longer wear and to reduce the weight. By combining 600 denier Nylon thigh panels with punched Nylon blended thigh and crotch panels the shell of the Trans-Am are comfortable and supportive. Unique stretch panels wrap the upper thigh and waist as well as the inner thigh allowing a fully flexible upper and lower panel design. AXO’s own Slip Fitting knee and thigh pattern suspends the thigh from the knee allowing the knee panel to operate independently from the leg of the pant. The Slip Fit design feature helps keep the pants securely on the waist. The pants also have side waist adjustment tabs to help keep the pants from sliding off the waist. A vented thigh TPR panel allows air to circulate up the Slip Fit and exit through the venting to help keep riders cool on hot days. The inner knee panels of the pants have leather to reduce heat and protect the pants from additional wear and abrasion. An endless cuff is featured on the bottom of the pants which is slimmer and thinner so a snug boot will not cause discomfort. Up top the closure duties are taken care by using a molded TPR zipper cover and super strength Poly zipper cut a bit longer to help with putting on the pants. A large knee to calf stretch panel adds comfort and stretch to the calf reducing chafing. A smooth tricot liner stops at the knee so as not to interfere with braces and cups. The Trans-Am pants are completely machine washable.
The Trans-Am jersey is currently available in S-XXL and the pants in sizes 28-40 in white and 28-44 in black. Suggested retail price for the jersey is $48 and $138 for the pants.