PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER

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PRAY FOR PARIS

FrenchFlagOur thoughts are with our French allies following the horrific atrocities on Friday, November 13th. May the families of the victims find peace, and that the terrorists behind the horrific events be brought to justice. While motocross often seems like the center of our universe, there are far more serious matters of importance in this world. We #PrayForParis and hope terrorism meets a swift ending.   

#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

Whipitwednesday_Ken Roczen_2013Rider: Ken Roczen
Location: Sam Boyd Stadium
Date: October 19, 2013
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8L USM
Focal length: 195mm
Exposure: 1/1000 sec.
F-stop: 4.0
ISO: 400

WHAT THE MXA WRECKING CREW IS UP TO

It’s never a dull moment for the MXA gang. Here’s an overview of what we’re up to.

BetterRCThe MXA gang is spread between SoCal, the Caribbean, and Ricky Carmichael’s farm in Georgia. I’ll be hanging with RC and the top amateur Suzuki riders for the next few days.

Jody Weisel: The man in charge is buried at the MXA towers putting together the February 2016 issue. That issue includes a bunch of really cool two-strokes and MXA’s 250 Four-Stroke Shootout. Jody will be by his lonesome at the office because…

Daryl Ecklund: Daryl took the week off to explore motocross in Barbados. That’s not actually true, because his new wife would probably kick him to the curb if he went riding on their honeymoon. Mr. and Mrs. Ecklund are dipping their toes in the warm Caribbean waters of Barbados.

Dennis Stapleton: Bronchitis isn’t a laughing matter. Just ask Stapleton, who was stricken with illness in the days leading up to the Dubya World Vet Championship. Add in that Dennis recently celebrated another birthday, and the 30-something single guy is down in the dumps. It’s nothing a little throttle therapy won’t fix, which is why Dennis is riding his blues away aboard a orange KTM 450SXF project bike.

John Basher: As for me? I’m flying to Tallahassee, Florida, and taking a rental car up to the Carmichael Farm in Cairo, Georgia. I’ll hang out with Ricky on Thursday and receive riding instructions from the “GOAT,” along with the top Suzuki amateur riders on the planet. That shouldn’t be intimidating! On Friday I’ll watch the top Suzuki minicycle racers learn from Carmichael. By Saturday I’ll be pinching myself, as it will be hard to believe I spent two days hanging out with the 15-time AMA Champion. Look for a lot of neat content on the Carmichael experience in the upcoming Mid-Week Report. Below is a video from the 2014 edition of Camp Carmichael.

HELP A RACER IN NEED: KYLE PARTRIDGE INJURED

Partridge_InjuredPartridge crashed on Saturday and decided to retire from professional racing. We wish Kyle well and hope he has a speedy recovery. Please click here to help Kyle with hospital bills.

A statement from Kyle on his GoFundMe page:

“On November 14th, 2015 I was riding at Pala. I came over the top of a 40ft table top and landed in some very soft dirt resulting in my bike coming to a dead stop when I landed. This threw me over the bars. When I woke up, I hadn’t realized that my neck was what was messed up. As I thought I broke my shoulder blade. After a few CAT scans and MRI’s, I found out that I had yet again broken my neck. C6 and C7 vertebrae. I have been around this sport my whole life and I know the love that comes along with this sport as a family. I have put my whole life into riding my motorcycle. As hard as it is for me to say, it is time for me to take a step away from racing and be a dad for my son, Landon. I have used up all of my good luck and I do not want to miss out on him growing into a young man. I have seen people come together and do some very cool things for people that are in my position. I am not asking for a hand out, I am simply asking for the help of the community of Moto, freestyle, and any other action sports communities to come together and help me get through this tough time that will leave me at a financial state I may never be able to get out of… Anything helps and I appreciate everything that everyone has done over the last 25 years of my career, to get me to where I was a few days before this injury.”

Partridge_GoFundMe

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WE’LL MISS KYLE “WHOOP MONSTER” PARTRIDGE

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: LARS LARSSON

_1040882“There are moments when I know that I hit a corner well. At the same time, I realize I’m going extremely slow. I still love to ride motorcycles, and the camaraderie is very special. I’m honored to be part of the MXA wrecking crew, so I get to ride different bikes. Jody Weisel and I can still have our battles on the track. This is my 56th straight season of racing. I can’t see myself in a sailboat, and I don’t like to golf. Motocross is it for me.”

Click here for the full interview.

LILLE SUPERCROSS: WHAT IT MEANS

Finale-start_4974Offseason European Supercross races are easy money for American Supercross racers. How so? Star racers are given guaranteed money just to show up. Some also get bonuses and purse money. Even the most ethnocentric U.S. rider will travel abroad to earn a big pay day. Add in a bit of pampering, as well as a paid vacation to a exotic location. It’s a double-moto sweep for any high-profile racer.

Peick_6735Weston Peick is the 2015 King of Lille.

Do offseason European Supercross races mean anything in the grand scheme of things? It depends on the rider. Don’t be so naive to think that professional racers are a impenetrable force of confidence. Most get rattled by silly little things. They’re fragile beings. Winning an overseas Supercross race, held in the tight confines of a European stadium and against a limited field, can do wonders for a guy like Weston Peick. The JGR Yamaha rider’s best Supercross finish in 2015 was a third (Santa Clara and Las Vegas). However, beating Christophe Pourcel, Cooper Webb, Malcolm Stewart, and James Stewart (by way of attrition) is a tall order to fill. Peick did just that, going 1-2 in Lille. As the 2015 King of Lille, Weston follows a long line of American Supercross Champions. It will be interesting to see if Peick carries that confidence into Anaheim 1.

CP377_4384Christophe Pourcel went 3-1 in Lille. 

Lille should have meant a lot to the maestro from Marseille, Christophe Pourcel. Christophe made his 450 Supercross debut in France and looked fantastic aboard a Rockstar Husqvarna. Pourcel went 3-1 for second overall. He was out-gunned by Weston Peick, but the Frenchman improved throughout the weekend. It’s hard to imagine Christophe Pourcel winning Anaheim 1, but he’s easily a top-five 450 Supercross finisher.

FINALE_6362Cooper Webb (17) has a future in the 450 class. Will Yamaha sign him up to race 450 Supercross on the opposite coast?

Attention Yamaha, please pick up the red phone. It’s 2016 calling, and it wants Cooper Webb to race the 450 class. It must be hard for the Yamaha brass to ignore the idea, especially since Webb could add a 1-2 punch with Justin Barcia. In the past few months Webb has proven himself time and again. He nearly won the USGP and followed it up with a great ride at the MXDN. Add in stellar showings in European Supercross, and Cooper has the makings of the next Damon Bradshaw…only better.     

LILLE SUPERCROSS: WHAT’S FRENCH FOR ENDO?

MXA TRIVIA: NAME THE RIDER

2008_Wyvern_ColeHere’s a tough trivia question. Can you name the rider in the photo above? Here are a few hints:

1. The photo was taken in 2008 at Wyvern Ranch in Piru, California.
2. The rider was a successful amateur racer, but took a break before turning Pro.
3. The rider is now on a factory team.
* You’ll find the answer at the bottom of the page.

GRAND PRIX NEWS: STUPID IS AS STUPID DOES

Have you heard about how Luongo retracted a rule change that was supposed to take effect for 2016 regarding points accumulation for the Saturday qualifying races? If not, click here.

The article was summed up beautifully by saying, “However, it isn’t really a victory, because they still have to race on Saturday–so they fought to maintain the status quo.” While reversing a poor decision was the right move, Luongo needs to drop Saturday qualifying races entirely. This past year alone a star-studded field of Grand Prix racers was rattled by a rash of injuries that were sustained during the meaningless Saturday qualifying races. To put the FIM race weekend schedule in terms that are easy to digest for American race fans, it would be like MX Sports adding 20-minute morning qualifying races – for the 40 fastest qualifiers – following timed qualifying (for gate pick for the qualifying race), with the qualifying races counting for gate pick in the first moto. Qualifying races are stupid and unnecessary, unless there is no qualifying practice. It’s one or the other, Luongo, but not qualifying practice AND qualifying races.    

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MORE GP NEWS: GAJSER MOVING UP

HRC_Honda 2016 teamTim Gajser (far right) will be part of HRC Honda’s 450 effort in 2016. Photo courtesy of HRC Honda.

Tim Gajser, the 2015 FIM 250 World Champion, is moving up to the 450 class in 2016. At only 19 years old, Gajser is seizing the opportunity of a long-term Honda contract to get experience racing against Tony Cairoli, Gautier Paulin, Romain Febvre, Max Nagl, and a slew of other world-class racers. Gajser will remain with the Gariboldi Honda team while receiving HRC Honda support. The addition of Tim Gajser to the 450 class is beneficial for all, as Gajser rides a wave of confidence following his unlikely 250 title, and the 450 field welcomes a future 450 title threat. Just imagine if Jeffrey Herlings stepped up to the 450 class…

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: POWERSPORT GRAFX

Powersport_GrafxClick on the image above to view Powersport Grafx’s new GP designs.

SNEAK PEEK: RIDE ENGINEERING KAWASAKI KX450F

_1049967_LRRide Engineering owner, Adrian Ciomo, built MXA a 2016 Kawasaki KX450F. Ciomo focused on decreasing weight while improving power and overall performance. I’m not kidding when I tell you that Adrian weighed every aftermarket product and compared it to the stocker. His attention to detail wasn’t a waste of time, as he was able to shave around four pounds off the KX450F. Best of all, he did it without investing in titanium fasteners or anything that would have cost an arm and a leg.

_1040103_LRFactory Connection handled suspension duties, and a smattering of aftermarket companies chipped in to make a really good KX450F. Naturally Adrian installed a variety of Ride Engineering products – most noticeable was the 20mm offset triple clamp. While I don’t want to give away too much regarding the Ride Engineering KX450F, it was a welcome change riding a Kawasaki that cornered well and produced the type of power our test riders desire. Look for the full review in an upcoming issue of MXA.

NON-MOTO: STILL WORTH A VIEW

BE THERE: CHRISTMAS AT THE RANCH

Christmas_RanchCheck out www.wwmotox.com for more information on the Pro-Am race.

MXA TRIVIA ANSWER

Would you believe the rider is Cole Seely? The resident from Newbury Park, California, wasn’t racing in 2008. In fact, Seely was just getting the itch to go racing around the time of this photo shoot. Cole turned Pro in 2009 and finished 11th at Phoenix. Then he moved to Troy Lee Designs Honda, where he nearly won the 250 West Supercross title in 2014. His favorable results earned him a factory Honda deal, where he finished third overall in his rookie 450 Supercross season. However, no one–not even Cole–would have predicted that Seely would be a 450 star. On that late afternoon in 2008 he was just happy to be riding a dirt bike with his buddy, Lance Coury. Below is a bonus photo from that shoot.

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Photos: Pascal Haudiquert, Gariboldi Honda, John Basher, Kyle Partridge and MXA

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