MXA Mid-Week Report: What About Saturday Practice?

To Ride Saturday or Not

By passing up on the Saturday practice sessions at the last two AMA Nationals, James Stewart has once again managed to bring another hot button issue (previously it was his call for smoother tracks) to the forefront.

As Kawasaki team manager Mike Fisher was preparing to enjoy the fourth of July holiday and do some fishing, we had a quick chat with him about all things Team Green, especially the decision by James Stewart to no longer contest the Saturday practice sessions at the AMA Nationals.

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MXA: So Mike, lets start with James and his new Sunday only routine?

Mike: Yeah, it’s no big deal really. Don’t forget that if you’re a top ten rider you don’t have to be there on Saturday. It’s just an option, but it does add to a long stay when you have to fly in on Friday. So you ride for up to 40 minutes, and then they doze the track and it all changes for Sunday. Although James is the only one on our team doing it, the option is open to Tim as well. It did start as a Father’s Day thing when he skipped his first Saturday practice at Budd’s Creek and he liked it. We won’t necessarily do it every time though. If we have to test or if there’s a dealer visit, James will be there on Saturday.

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MXA: Do you think it sets a bad precedent in terms of spectators not being able to see him ride?

Mike: I don’t think there are man y people coming on only on Saturday to see James and if there are I’m sorry that they end up missing him. The bottom line is that if you’re a top ten rider there’s no reason to ride on Saturday if it isn’t working for you or adding to the race day effort. When I raced the nationals it was just a one day program and we had one hour of practice on Sunday morning. Look, we do a lot of races now. In fact, we start our 2008 Supercross testing next week because there’s so little time in the schedule. If the outdoor schedule affects our ability to test and be prepared for the indoor races that would be bad. That would definitely make the industry look at the outdoor races a little harder and think about how much they commit to them.

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MXA: What’s in store for Kawasaki for 2008? Although it wasn’t a Kawasaki decision, how has losing the Motosport team affected your 250 program? And, what about Supermoto?

Mike: More of the same. We’ll have both James and Tim under the tent. Of course with our affiliation with the Monster/Pro Circuit team our 250 program is pretty strong. As far as the Motosport team is concerned, we liked the team and were sad to hear about it going away. They did a great job for Kawasaki, maybe they could’ve gotten some better results, but they were professional and we liked working with everybody there. I don’t know about Supermoto, that would fall under Mike Preston and the road racing division.

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MXA: What are your feelings on where the sport stands right now?

Mike: As far as the AMA is concerned, I have a lot of frustration. The race at Budd’s Creek was atrocious. From the track to the pits it was horrible and it shows what they put into it which is disappointing because it shows me that they don’t care. And then at Red Bud I get filled with hope because I can see how good the sport is and how exciting it is for everyone.

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MXA: Where do you stand on how the tracks are prepared?

Mike: Next year we won’t have Ricky and if James was looking for a way to run away from the pack, he’d be asking for rougher courses. I think smoother tracks will make it easier for the other riders to be more competitive with James. Last year we saw some big crashes that I think could’ve been avoided. When you add the human element to the tracks like jumps, those types of things should be maintained. I don’t want to see smooth courses; I want to see safe courses. Fast can be dangerous too. I like rough, natural courses and I think there should be a limit on the amount of manmade obstacles.

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MXA: Would the sport be served by going away from 450’s?

Mike: Going to a smaller displacement doesn’t solve any problem that I know of, but I do think a 350cc motor would be a more optimum displacement. The 450 is overkill. For us the biggest effort and expense goes into making the bike lighter, which seems wrong to me. It seems natural that we should be chasing motor development, but the motor development is really already there. I know that’s the biggest difference between a factory bike and a privateer bike is not the motor, but the chassis development. What we have with the chassis and I mean the frame, suspension and wheels, then privateer will never have now matter the production rule.

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Other Opinions on Saturday: Jim Perry, Team Yamaha

“Is it a good idea to pass on Saturday practice? I’m not sure. Somehow we do get by with one day Supercross races. There’s no doubt that it makes for a long weekend. I will say that Saturday allows the team to get things figured out which helps a lot. Carmichael didn’t finish a practice yesterday because something happened to his bike, it that had happened in a qualifier it wouldn’t be good. As for James, I’m just curious what doesn’t he want to do? Does he not want to ride? If you’re winning – which he isn’t don’t you think it would help to ride on Saturday?”

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Press Release: Bel-Ray sponsored riders dominate Detroit Supermoto

Reigning AMA PPG Supermoto Unlimited champion Ben Carlson kept his perfect title defense intact today at Waterford Hills Road Course, claiming his fourth class win in as many tries this season. The Bel-Ray sponsored factory Aprilia/Rip-It Energy rider faced perhaps his stiffest challenge yet this season, and it came from teammate Darryl Atkins. Atkins, the Aprilia team boss from New Zealand pushed the Carlson throughout the 12-lap affair before Carlson slipped away to a 1.412-second margin of victory in the end. “I have been very fortunate getting great starts all season,” said Carlson. “My teammate hung with me and when we were in lapped traffic, I felt him right there looking to make a pass. “I have a good points lead now, but anything can always happen. I just want to keep the luck up and thank my team for all the support.”

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RED BUD REMNANTS

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(Away From) Home Cookin’

As usual the Scott USA/Acerbis motorhome was the place to be for all the wayward & hungry souls at Red Bud. With Bevo Forti up in the tower spotting riders for Speed Channel, the cooking duties were left to his wife Helen (l) and Jeff Stanton’s wife, Sarah.

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Passing the Torch

Following the first 450 moto, up & coming privateer Gavin Gracyk got the lowdown from longtime privateer Kyle Lewis who is riding out the series for the last time in his two decade plus racing career.

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Filling a Need

Toyota continues to cater to the needs of the privateer riders by not only providing them with a hot lunch and place to hang out with some shade and wi-fi service, butÿ probably the most important of all, a bike wash.

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The Family Man Again

Another James Povolny sighting and once again he was carrying along the same hitchhiker that was seen riding on his bike the previous day.

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Two Ways to Keep the Water Out

Watching mechanics wash a bike with the seat removed and air box exposed would normally seem like mistake. That is until you look inside and spot one of these trick TwinAir hard plastic filter covers that seal the intake and let you wash the bike without fear of sucking in any water.

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Of course, the easiest way to keep errant water out of your engine is to simply plug the exhaust pipe(s) during the wash cycle. Like the filter cover, Twin Air also makes the plugs which cost $8.00. For more info, Click Here.

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Something to Check


Josh Hill’s Yamaha was packed down with about five pounds of mud that was collected between the skid plate the motor.ÿYamaha saidÿJosh’s bike collects more mud than usual becasue he doesn’t run a water pump guard.ÿ


The Vintage Bike Show

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When It Worked Well?.

Long before Honda made waves with the CRF150, they created a tsunami with the XR75 which debuted in 1973. The four stroke minicycle was the first production Honda in the long line of XR off-road bikes. This was the bike that set 1000’s of top riders in the 70’s onto their professional careers. A nice touch includes the Jeff Ward Racing Products aluminumÿswingarm.

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?And When It Didn’t

Ricky Carmichael was amazed (aghast really) when the concept of the 23 inch front wheel found on the 1979 Honda CR125R Elsinore was explained to him. This pristine version of one of the bigger engineering miscues that Honda ever sold delighted the fans.

A Modern Incarnation

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Giving a nod to the history made by Johnny O’Mara in the early 80’s, the boys from Throttle Jockey put their sweet Mugen Honda CRF250 on display.ÿ If you like the look, the same graphics kit is available for $230, Click Here.

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And The Winner Is

Long, long before Honda drew up their CRF250 with twin exhausts, this twin-pipe CZ was making the rounds at race tracks around the world. The bike also took top honors at the Red Bud show. Sitting next to the CZ is a Wheelsmith Maico.

Gone, But Not Forgotten

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Jim Pomeroy was the first American to ever win a Grand Prix in Europe (the 1973 Spanish GP) on a factory Bultaco. Although he never took an overall title, the rider from Yakima, WA. would later return to America for a factory Honda ride. Pomeroy died last year in an auto accident.

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Just In Case

Just as an extra precaution, the countershaft sprocket clipsÿon all theÿMonster/Pro Circuit bikes areÿencased with Threebond 1211ÿsilicone to prevent any dirt from getting under the clip. For more info, Click Here.

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