MOTOCROSS ACTION’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
The rain is SoCal is gone, leaving tracks lush with soft soil. Daryl Ecklund takes a bite out of a Competitive Edge berm while testing a Cylinder Works 2013 KTM 365SXF. The MXA wrecking crew has a bunch of testing to do this week, now that Mother Nature is once again cooperating. See you out at the track!
NEW PRODUCTS ON THE HORIZON
The new Sidi Crossfire 2 SR.
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the release of the all-new Sidi Crossfire 2 boot and the Vemar VRX9 helmet. The press function was held at Vogt Ranch, a place I had never heard of before and certainly never rode. Located by the Mexico border (in a town called Dulzura), the picturesque track was laid out on the side of a hill. In attendance was offroad ace Kurt Caselli, Kyle Redmond, Broc Shoemaker, Kyle Lewis, Danny LaPorte, Don Emler, and several other big industry stars. It was a very cool experience getting to ride with everyone and getting a taste of the new offerings from Sidi and Vemar. Look for products tests of both items in an upcoming issue!
Behold, the Vemar VRX9.
Dean Wilson needs your votes in order to be featured in the next issue of ESPN should he win. Dean is up against a bunch of action sports athletes that you’ve probably never heard of, which means that you should definitely vote for him. I bet if you do vote him in then he might give you a shout out on Twitter while wearing a kilt or tweet some other crazy photo of himself. He’s quite fond of doing that. Click here to vote for Deano, or click on the image above.
MINI-VIEW: BROC HEPLER
Broc Hepler left the sport of motocross at too early an age. At a time when most pro racers are entering the prime of their career, the likable Pennsylvanian was faced with the realization that one more hit to the head could be detrimental. So Hepler made the wise decision to step away from what he has known all of his life, turn down a paycheck, and quit racing. He returned home and entered college, where he’s aiming at becoming a health and physical education teacher. Hepler’s career is a cautionary tale that every racer, professional or otherwise, should take heed.
This past week Broc Hepler flew out to southern California to speak in front of the media at the unveiling of the all-new 6D helmet. Broc appears perfectly healthy and happy to have moved on with his life. Hear what he has to say about life post-motocross.
MXA: Broc, what have you been up to since retiring from racing?
Broc: I used to be at a community college, but now I am going to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and I’m studying to be a health and physical education teacher. I’m a little bit over halfway done with my credits. I skipped out on class this past Thursday to come out to California to speak about my history of concussions with the media on behalf of 6D Helmets.
Does your teacher know that you are a retired professional racer?
I usually never tell anyone. Recently I got a new adviser because I went into the teaching program, and another student saw my name on the advising sheet. He recognized my name, so that opened up a big can of worms [laughter]. Everyone has been pretty supportive, and my teachers cut me some slack when I told them that I had to travel to California for the weekend.
Hepler’s last podium came at New Orleans in 2009.
Please talk more about your reason for being in California.
I didn’t know too much about the 6D helmet until a few weeks ago. Bob Weber called me and said that he had a new product coming out. Bob didn’t bring me out here just so that I could say that the 6D is the helmet to wear. He wanted me to come and talk about my concussions and how they have effected my career.
Do you have residual effects from the concussions?
Yes, I still have fogginess. That’s the main symptom that I have. I get foggy whenever I get nervous, such as when I’m getting ready to take a test. It’s like my mind isn’t quite as clear or crisp as it should be. Even working out, I don’t do anything that would cause me to have a high heart rate or things where I’d have a lot of head movement.
Hepler and James Stewart on the podium.
Do you still ride?
Yeah, I still ride, but I do it just for fun. I take it easy. I have two 2009 Yamaha YZ250’s. I use one as a trail bike, and the other for motocross. A half hour from my parent’s house, where I still live, someone just built an indoor track. Now I can ride all winter long if I want to. Before I would just ride trails in the winter, but now there’s a cool indoor track available to ride.
It’s great to hear that you’re still throwing a leg over a motorcycle. Do you miss being around the motocross industry?
People might think that I’m mean if I say that I don’t miss it! I do miss the family aspect of it. I miss hanging out with the team and having a purpose. When I raced I wanted to win, but now I don’t really have goals set for myself. Now I have more fun when I go ride. If I don’t ride for a month and then I get an opportunity to go ride then I have a blast. There’s no pressure to perform. If I want to ride three laps and take a break then it’s not a big deal. I’m not compelled to do a 30-minute moto.
What drew you to the teaching profession?
My sister is a health and physical education teacher, and she likes it. I wanted a career where I could have the summer off. The hours are also very good. I can still have fun in the evening without spending it at work. There are a lot of cool perks.
Do you still follow the racing?
Definitely. I still follow all of the races. I watch the races on television, and I’m not just talking motocross and Supercross. I enjoy following the GNCC races and also a little series that we have in western Pennsylvania called the A-Works. I even go course marshal it sometimes.
You were very smart with your money while you were racing. Having made some quality investments, such as a residence in California, it seems like you’re doing pretty well.
Yeah, I’ve made some good choices. I have been watching that “Inside the Outdoors” TV show on Fuel, and I’ve seen how things have ended badly between racers and their parents. I’ve watched the show with my parents. It makes me more thankful for how well my parents treated me. They are still letting me live at home, and they never asked for any money while I was racing. My Mom quit her job so that she could live with me in the winter out in California while I was racing. That show really made me thankful for my parents.
I remember talking to your Mom a few years ago and she was telling me how she was pulling weeds outside your house here in California. She seemed pretty happy to help you out.
I wouldn’t have done as well without them and their support. Whether it was my Mom helping with the yard work or my Dad working on my bike, they did everything that they possibly could to help me achieve success.
PERFORMANCE VIDEO: KYB PSF AIR FORK ADJUSTMENT
Learn how to adjust the KYB PSF Air Forks, plus learn a few secret tips, from Pro Circuit’s in-house master of suspension, Jim “Bones” Bacon. Also, check out Pro Circuit’s brand new Gauge Kit, which will be available for purchase soon. For more information on all Pro Circuit products, please visit www.procircuit.com.
COMPETITIVE EDGE TOY DRIVE: HELP SUPPORT THE TYKES!
Competitive Edge motocross park in SoCal is having a toy drive on December 8th. Bring an unwrapped $10 toy and practice is just $10. Each donation will be given an entry form to win a 2013 annual CEMX (Competitive Edge Motocross) ride pass. The winner will be drawn from the entries on December 11th as an early Christmas present! This event is sponsored by the California Highway Patrol. For more information, please visit www.ridecemx.com or call (760) 947-9054.
INSIDE THE RADICAL 6D HELMET
DAY IN THE DIRT VIDEO: WHERE INDUSTRIES COLLIDE
MINI-VIEW: ZACH OSBORNE
Osborne (far left) is looking to repeat more of these moments from 2012 in 2013. He’ll be up on the box plenty.
Zach Osborne is finally back where he belongs?at home and racing in the United States. After spending the last five years racing on the Grand Prix circuit in Europe, Osborne is glad to be back. Zach originally left America because he didn’t have any offers on the table, but time away has had a positive effect on Osborne. Older, wiser and recently married, Zach is ready to get down to business and show U.S. fans what he’s capable of when he doesn’t have to worry about flying to other countries, eating strange cuisine, and trying to communicate in another language.
MXA: Did you think a year ago that you would be back in the U.S., getting ready to race a full season of Supercross and the Nationals with Geico Honda?
Zach: It was a goal of mine to come home. This was my last year of eligibility to race the MX2 (250) class overseas. Last year at this time it was my hope that I would land on a solid team in the U.S. and get my program going here.
“Hi, my name is Zach Osborne, and I can whip the heck out of a dirt bike.”
There were a number of ups and downs for you this season. Please talk about that.
It was a little bit of a disaster. I had a bike failure at the beginning of the year, which caused me to break my collarbone and tear all of the ligaments off it. I had to have a plate put in, as well as rope that would attach my coracoid process back to my biceps tendon. That was a pretty major deal. Then I came back and had three podiums at the end of the season. It was solid to be able to come back from that injury, score some podiums, and go the distance. Had the injury not happened then I believe that I would have done very well. It was a good opportunity to do well this year, and it was taken away, but that’s how it goes sometimes.
You had been in negotiations with the Geico Honda team for quite a while. When did you officially ink the deal?
We got everything done in the middle of March. I rode the bike for the first time in the end of February, and a month later we had everything signed.
You showed a ton of promise in 250 West Supercross in 2012. Did you feel like you really had to knock it out of the ballpark in order to show U.S. teams that you were a legitimate threat indoors and should be given a ride?
I knew that it was a perfect opportunity to get myself out there and in the minds of those making the big decisions. I have to say thanks to my old team for supporting me through the deal. They didn’t have to help me, but they stepped up to the plate and allowed me to race select Supercross races. It was a fun time, actually. We did everything out of the back of a van. With the help of Rock River and some other people, we were able to go into a semi, but really we were racing out of the back of my van. It was a privateer deal, but it was also a really cool experience.
Surely Osborne won’t be missing the conditions that he faced in Europe. Photo: Massimo Zanzani
Did you have any thoughts about racing the 450 MX1 class in Europe if something didn’t materialize in the U.S.?
Of course I’d like to race MX1 someday. However, I had been racing in Europe for five seasons. I got married in October, so it was time to settle down and do something a little more at home. I felt like it was time to make a move back towards America.
Living and racing in Europe must have been quite the life experience. Did that force you to mature much earlier and grow up faster?
Yes, definitely. When I went to Europe it was my last opportunity to race professionally. I didn’t have anything going on in the U.S., I had to make it work. There were struggles in the beginning, but I overcame those. I had to mature quickly, and it made me appreciate things at home. There are a lot of conveniences here in America that I didn’t have access to in Europe. Now I’m a much more patient person, and I’m thankful for that.
Having raced Jeffrey Herlings, what are your thoughts on him?
He’s a great racer. In the sand I think that only Tony Cairoli can match his pace from anyone in the world. I have no problem saying that, especially after the Motocross des Nations. There isn’t anyone that can ride with those two in deep sand. I think that Jeffrey could eventually come race in the U.S., but realistically if I were him then there wouldn’t be much motivation to come here. He can stay in Europe, make a lot of money and be a celebrity. I thought the same thing for Ken Roczen, but he wanted to come to America. I don’t think Jeffrey likes it here so much, so that might be the difference. Jeffrey could do well in the U.S., but to each his own.
So you’re glad to be back home?
Definitely. It has been a big adjustment. I have a brand new team, a new wife, and a house in California. Everything is changed, but everything with the team is going very well so far. I’m glad to be back in the States and living with the simplicity of everything.
MUST-HAVE CHRISTMAS PRESENT: GAERNE BOOT STOCKING!
Press release: Stockings are pretty important at Christmas time (how else are you going to get all those cool stocking stuffer presents?) and what better way to grab Santa’s attention than these cool Gaerne boot stockings featuring the exact replica artwork of the SG12 motocross boots worn by Kevin Windham, Justin Brayton and other top MX racers. Made of super soft felt, these boot stockings are just the right size to hold most stocking stuffer presents and feature printed graphics and embroidered logos. They’ll look great hanging on your mantle this Holiday Season.
Price: $24.95. Order Information: www.smoothindustries.com
NEW YEAR TEASER VIDEO FEATURING JUSTIN BARCIA
PRODUCT: RIDE ENGINEERING BLUE KXF TRIPLE CLAMPS
Press release: If you want to look like RV while improving the cornering of your bike, consider a set of our new Limited Edition Blue KX Triple Clamps available in 21.5mm offset for 2006-2013 KX450F and 2013 KX250F. This clamp set is 5 ounces lighter than stock and comes with the option of adding a Showa steering dampener to your ride.
MSRP is $499.95. For more information, or to order, please visit www.ride-engineering.com.
MARK YOUR CALENDAR: RCU RETURNING TO DAYTONA
Press release: MX Sports is pleased to announce the return of the 4th Annual Monster Energy Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross Championship (RCSX) to the legendary Daytona International Speedway. This prestigious amateur race will take place Sunday, March 10 and Monday, March 11, following Saturday’s Daytona Supercross by Honda. This year will once again feature two full-days of racing, offering amateur racers even more track time and class options throughout the weekend. Highlighted changes for 2013 include the addition of the Masters (50+) class and the splitting of the 450 C and 250 C classes into two age-appropriate categories: (14-21) and (22+).
“MX Sports put great consideration into revising the classes for 2013 in order to provide greater opportunities for our participants,” said Event Director Tim Cotter. “Based off the high participation numbers in the past, our team made the decision to split the 450 C and 250 C classes into two categories in order to give racers more time on the track and an even greater opportunity to make the main event.” Amateur racers once again have the unprecedented opportunity to compete on one of the most prestigious motorsports grounds in the world only one day after the pros. Perhaps the most enticing factor of this event is that 15-Time Champion Ricky Carmichael will be on site all weekend long to converse with amateur racers and their families while offering up tips and advice.
“I’m excited to be back at my racing home-Daytona International Speedway-for another year of RCSX,” said 15-Time Champion, Ricky Carmichael. “This event has really grown into something special and it’s cool to be a part of such a great opportunity for amateur racers. I’m looking forward to watching some great amateur racing at Daytona.”
The class structure includes classes for youth riders on 50cc bikes all the way up to vet and senior classes. The race will follow a supercross format, using heat races and last chance qualifiers to seed the field of riders into a main event in each class, over the course of two days. Unlike the Loretta Lynn Ranch format, riders do not need to qualify at other races in order to participate in the Daytona event. Because of the supercross format, please note that class entries are limited in order to give participants the utmost time on the race track. Amateur riders and their families are encouraged to come down early and camp on the Daytona infield, where hookups are available. Move in, sign up and camping begin on Friday, March 8, so amateur families can watch the pros compete on Saturday night in the Daytona Supercross. Amateur racing takes place on Sunday, March 10 and Monday, March 11. For more information on the event, please visit www.racedaytona.com. To register for the 2013 RCSX, click HERE.
SALES OF VP’S PINK MOTORSPORT CONTAINERS NET $2695 AND COUNTING FOR CHARITY
VP Racing Fuels, Inc. today reported that donations to the Prevent Cancer Foundation in conjunction with sales of pink VP Motorsport ContainersTM have reached $2,695. This amount is in addition to an auction bid of $2,000 given to the foundation last month for a pink container autographed by three top NHRA drivers. VP also announced the pink containers will be made available as a regular stock item and donations to the foundation will continue with each sale.
“Our original intent was to offer the pink containers as a “Special Edition” only during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but due to their popularity we decided to extend production to generate additional contributions,” said Alan Cerwick, President of VP Racing Fuels. “Going forward, we’ll donate $2.50 to the Prevent Cancer Foundation with each sale of a pink container, while during each Breast Cancer Awareness Month we’ll double that to $5 per container as we did this year. In the spirit of the upcoming holidays, we hope the pink containers will be viewed as the ideal gift ? meeting a need among the race fans in your family while also providing a gift to a great cause,” Cerwick concluded.
To order a pink VP Motorsport Container, visit VP Racing Fuels online at vpracingfuels.com. For more information, contact the nearest regional VP distribution center listed online at http://www.vpracingfuels.com/contactus.html. For more information regarding the Prevent Cancer Foundation, visit preventcancer.org.