PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY DARYL ECKLUND
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE
With growing up as a racer and eventually moving on to racing the Pro ranks, I would have never thought I would end up on the other side of the fence. It would be downgrading. Heck, it would be down right degrading. I wouldn’t be caught dead taking photos of other riders. At least that’s what I thought when I was a young punk racer.
Well, never say never. Tthe day finally came as I traveled with my mentor John Basher to Millville, Minnesota, to shoot an AMA National. I got to wear my first blue photo vest. Which I will admit I was a little embarrassed to put on. I didn’t think it would be easy to shoot a National, but I didn’t think it would be as taxing of the body as it was.
John Basher never really complained after he would shoot a race, but he would always tell me the bottom of his feet would be bruised afterward. Me, having a fitness background I just thought he had poor walking skills or flat feet. He just walked around taking photos, right?
First practice at Millville was at 8:30 a.m. So, we had to get there at least an hour early to get set up in the media tent and shoot bikes along with whatever else we could find in the pits. Then when practice starts you’re wide open until around 5:30 p.m. There is a break after practice but that’s your chance to upload photos and if the WiFi is good enough, upload photos to the website. Then it’s back out to the pits to shoot whatever you missed earlier, that’s if the WiFi uploaded the photos quick enough. If not, it’s straight out to the field of battle.
To make a long story short I was unprepared. I needed to bring more batteries (as I missed half the second 250 moto as my battery went dead), I needed to bring more memory cards (I didn’t realize I would be shooting for ten hours straight), I needed to carry more water (ten hours on a humid day and one bottle of water did not cut it) and I needed to bring good shoes (I walked more than 11 miles that day). I walked back from the track to the media tent more than a few times for the reasons I just mentioned and it was always a ghost town in there. Nobody was taking water breaks throughout the day from the field of battle. Although everyone is friendly, it still kinda feels like I was racing. You’re fighting to get better photos than the next guy, right? It was fun as I liked the competitive side to it, but much harder than I ever expected.
On the drive back to the hotel after the race John mentioned his feet were bruised again, well bud, so were mine.
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE PHOTOS
MINI VIEW: COOPER WEBB
By Jim Kimball
Cooper Webb may have lost a ton of points with his ankle injury induced layoff, but he sure hasn’t lost any speed. Just three rounds into his return, Webb took the overall win at the home track of teammate, and archrival Jeremy Martin at Millville. The remaining four nationals will see Webb going for wins, regardless of how it affects teammate Martin, and Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin.
MXA: Cooper, congratulations on your first outdoor win of 2015. Cooper: Thank you; it’s awesome. It’s been my third race back since injury, even the last race at Red Bud I thought that I had it, but it just slipped away. But that’s the beauty of racing I guess. It feels good to do it the way I did; beating Jeremy (Martin) in his backyard is always nice! So, taking this win got that monkey off my back, and gives me the confidence that I need to keep it going, and getting right on track.
Since Budds Creek was so muddy you could almost consider that a throwaway race, meaning at your first true outdoor was at Red Bud, where you showed that you were already capable of winning. Yeah, you are right. Budds Creek was one of those races where we had issues all day. I crashed every time I was on the track. In moto 1 I crashed in the first turn, and came back to sixth, actually passing and beating Marvin, which was cool for me. In the second moto I was on my charge and passing into third and ate it big time, which really messed the bike up. If I had stayed where I was at I probably would have gotten third overall, which would have been fine. Then at Red Bud I ran first in both motos for a long time. But then to get passed both motos near the end really sucked. But it definitely made me motivated. Still I think that I showed people that I could win, and third overall was ok. It’s always nice to be on the box.
You mentioned this briefly, but beating Jeremy Martin at Millville was huge for you right? Yes, I think that it’s a statement for sure. You know he has been here the past two weeks – whether he was riding the track or not, I’m not sure. So its kind of one of those things where I knew that he would be his strongest here. To pass him, and beat him in the first moto was what we work for. I let him know that I am not messing around. Unfortunately in that second moto I didn’t have quite the same speed as him, but to get the overall was a big picture type deal. The rest of the season he will not have this home track around, so I’m going to keep after it to be in front of him!
Is it good that you are also taking points away from Marvin Musquin, which is helping Jeremy? I definitely don’t look at it that way! Its funny because when that happens Jeremy always thanks me. When I came back to racing a few weeks ago, my whole goal was to do the best that I can to win races, if I mess their points up so be it. Obviously there are no team tactics in our pit; I like to mix it up, and battle for wins.
You won your first Supercross Championship earlier this year, and were a certain contender for the outdoor title; how badly did that Hangtown crash and injury slow your momentum? For sure it tore me up pretty well. Dominating the West Coast Supercross series and taking the championship was huge. Then initially hurting my ankle at the Las Vegas finale I was just going to try to race with it, and keep it safe, but we know what happened. It was a big bummer, but you live and learn and we tried to make the best out of it. I had worked really hard to win the Supercross title, and to prepare to go after the outdoor title, so to have that chance taken away was disappointing.
Obviously you lost a lot of points while being sidelined, are you even thinking about the Championship standings right now? No, not alt all; I’m not even close to being near the front. For me its just about doing the best that I can pressure free as I am not in he championship battle. I want to focus on winning races, and if the points come they come.
“It was a good day. I came out strong in the first practice and set the second-fastest lap; it was pretty muddy, which are the conditions I like. In the second practice I struggled and got 13th, but still got a decent gate spot in the first moto. I’ve been working a lot on my starts this week and that helped for sure because I got two good starts, putting myself in a good position in each race. We made some minor adjustments to the bike between motos that made me even more comfortable, and I think it showed in my riding. I’m happy and can’t wait to do better at Washougal.”
DREAM JOBS: JONATHAN ROBERTS
PROMOTO BILLET & FASTWAY R&D MANAGER
STARTING POINT: “I started working in the powersports industry four years ago when I heard a local aftermarket motorcycle accessory company was looking for someone to program their CNC machines. I called to see what the job was all about, being a machinist and rider it sounded like a perfect fit. I got the job and have been hooked into the industry ever since.”
THE JOB: “My role as R&D manager is to expand our existing product lines. Fitting new motorcycle models as they are released and develop new product lines. We are always improving upon our products and manufacturing processes in R&D. We develop, make, market, assemble, and ship our products all over the world–all from our plant in Nampa, Idaho. We are very proud of are all American made products.The best part of my job is being able to create and learn. Working with an extremely talented team to take an idea and make something that people love is an amazing opportunity!”
MOTORCYCLE DIRT DRAG RACING: WOULD YOU SWING A LEG OVER?
AMERICAN MOTOCROSS: LAST CHANCE OF A LIFETIME
Rider Derek Stephens’ chance of a lifetime.
Press Release: “American Motocross, Last Chance of a Lifetime”, a 13 episode documentary series on professional motocross, announces it will sponsor privateer rider, Derek Stephens, for the Washougal round of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship Series. Set to air on MAVTV, the show will provide viewers with an insider’s look at Professional Motocross from a privateer’s point of view.
“Even though we have postponed the television series until 2016, we still wanted to be able to help someone this year,” explained AMX team owner, Angela Taylor. “So, we decided to help a privateer, who couldn’t do it on his own, get to and race the Washougal national next month. After talking to Derek Stephens [#177], we knew we had chosen the right guy.”
“Derek epitomizes what just about every privateer goes through,” co-owner, Dean Taylor, agreed. “He’s a determined, hard-working rider who doesn’t have the funds or backing to make it to all of the national races. Plus, he’s had his fair share of obstacles: Everything from working ten hour shifts, six days a week to dealing with injuries and bike problems to having to live in a van at the races in order to save money.”
As for Derek Stephens, he couldn’t be happier. “It’s an honor to be chosen to ride for American Motocross, because it doesn’t happen to everyone. Just to have a chance to be able to race at Washougal is a blessing,” said Stephens, who has never been to the track. “Before, I always had to worry about how I was going to get to the races physically and financially. This time I can focus on racing and making the show. It gives me the chance to grow and do things better than before. Thank you, Angela and Dean Taylor for this incredible opportunity!”
“Dean and I couldn’t have afforded to do this all on our own, so we can’t thank our amazing AMX sponsors enough. Just 1 Helmets, Fly Racing, Rekluse Motor Sports, Scott USA, Moto-Skiveez, Raspberrygold, JSM Transport and the Idaho Old Timers Motocross Association all stepped in, donating cash or products or both,” Angela stated. “We never could have helped Derek as much as we wanted to without their generous support!”
“I don’t believe people understand the challenges and struggles of a MX dream when you’re not on a factory team,” Stephens said, summing up the entire purpose of AMX without even realizing it. “I am excited to represent privateers and to be a part of ‘American Motocross, Last Chance of a Lifetime’. Thank you for everything. I can’t thank you enough!”Be sure to watch for Derek Stephens #177 at the Washougal National!