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

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#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

Villopoto_2012_Anaheim 1Rider: Ryan Villopoto
Location: Angels Stadium of Anaheim
Date: January 8, 2012
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: 70mm-200mm f/2.8L
Focal length: 200mm
Exposure: 1/1000 sec.
F-stop: 3.5
ISO: 3200

MXA VIDEO: 2016 YAMAHA YZ250

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: RICKY CARMICHAEL

Carmichael_Interview_11.15“Everyone thinks I was the reason that Ken [Roczen] and Aldon [Baker]’s relationship broke up. That’s not true. I will say that I wasn’t a huge advocate of Ken riding and training with [Ryan] Dungey. At the same time, I didn’t want to disrupt things. Everything was flowing along pretty well, and Ken had a good offseason camp. Then again, Aldon’s training program doesn’t work for everybody. It worked great for me and [Ryan] Villopoto, but it didn’t gel with Ken. There’s nothing wrong with that. They parted ways, and that’s how it worked out.”

Click here to read the interview.

A CASE FOR COOPER WEBB

_MZ21002aCooper Webb has had a busy offseason. His decision to race around the world will pay big dividends come 2017. Photo by Massimo Zanzani.

No professional American motocross racer has logged more frequent flier miles this offseason than Cooper Webb. In a two-month span, Webb has raced the Motocross des Nations, the final Japanese National, the Genoa Supercross, Lille Supercross, and the AUS-X Supercross. He has competed on a Yamaha YZ450F at every event, a foreshadowing of what’s to come in 2017 when Cooper will move up to the 450 class. Webb’s progress on the 450 hasn’t been as incredible as his innate ability to gel with the bigger bike right off the bat. He has been nothing short of superb in motocross–third at the USGP, second in the Open class at the MXDN and second at the Japanese National. However, it’s a bit shocking how good Cooper is in Supercross. Naysayers will point to the limited competition and Arenacross-style foreign tracks, but give credit where credit is due. Cooper won the SX1 overall in Genoa, finished third in Lille, and won the AUS-X Open over Chad Reed.

Cooper Webb is the real deal. Along with Ken Roczen and Trey Canard, Cooper will be one of the biggest names to hit the open market for 2017.

THE STRANGE & UNIQUE: EICMA 2015

See some of the wild motorcycles that appeared at the annual Milan motorcycle show from Justyn Norek’s lens

MILANemotionelectricTRIALSbikeElectric Motion, a French company, offers four models: the EM Lite for trials beginners, EM Sport for serious trials competitors, the EM Escape enduro model and the EM Trek road bike. This is the EM Lite.

MILANhondaAFRICAtwinHow cool is this? Honda’s African Twin has a 998cc parallel-twin engine that produces 94 horsepower. The range is 400 miles before refills.

MILANscorpa300TWENTYfrenchScorpa has been in business 20 years—the the model name “Twenty.” The Scorpa Twenty is available as a 125cc, 250cc or 300cc versions.

MILANmontesa4ride2Take a look at the 260cc Montesa 4Ride trail bike.

MILANmontesa4rideThe engine on the Montesa 4Ride is from the Cota four-stroke trials bike and has a five-speed transmission.

MILANvertigoGAStankCan you guess what this is? It’s a under-the-rear-fender gas tank on a Vertigo Combat trials bike.

MILANvertigo300COMBATHere’s a pulled back view of the Vertigo Combat. Doug Lampkin won the 2015 Scottish Six-day Trail on a Vertigo Combat this year. Hodaka had two Combat models — the Combat Wombat and the Super Combat back in 1974.

MILANswmMC250italySWM had their MC250 on display. There is a 248cc version (shown) and a 322cc version.

JEFFREY HERLINGS TO REMAIN IN 250 CLASS

114267_KTM_Herlings_Action_2015_15Unlike Tim Gajser and Jordi Tixier–the current and past 250 World Champions–Jeffrey Herlings will not be moving up to the 450 class in 2017. Photo: KTM

The big news on the Grand Prix scene this week was the announcement that Jeffrey Herlings will return to the 250 (MX2) class for his seventh year. Herlings’ first GP was at Bulgaria in 2010. The Dutch rider has two World Titles to his credit, although it’s fair to say he should have won the past two years. In 2014, Jeffrey broke his femur while riding pit bikes. This year, he suffered from several big get-offs before finally succumbing to a dislocated hip that knocked him out of the points chase for good.

There’s a lot of backlash over KTM’s decision to keep Herlings in the 250 class. Despite what Jeffrey said about wanting to move up to the 450 class (whether true or not), it was ultimately KTM’s choice. They have Tony Cairoli in the 450s and don’t need Herlings to move up until Cairoli gives up. The rabid internet consensus is that Herlings is ducking the competition yet again and taking the easy path to a title.It is true that Jeffrey has proven time and again over the past four years that he is head and shoulders above anyone else in the 250 class. Heck, he missed three races in 2014 and only lost the title by four points to Jordi Tixier. However, given his severe injuries over the last few years, perhaps he doesn’t feel healthy enough to ride the big bike yet.

How strange it is that Herlings schooled a young French rider by the name of Romain Febvre in the 250 class, yet Febvre moved up and promptly won the 2015 MXGP 450 title. Now Jordi Tixier, the 250 GP Champion in 2014, is moving up to the 450 class next year. Even Tim Gajser, the 2015 250 World Champion, is graduating to the 450 class in 2016 (on his own accord, no less). Remember that Gajser, at only 19 years old, has a few more years of eligibility in the 250 class. Instead he’s moving up. Yet Jeffrey Herlings is staying in the 250 class (a class that he would have had to leave after winning the title twice if Youthstream hadn’t changed the rules just to allow Herlings to stay). All of this must be a bit embarrassing for Herlings.

114340_KTM_Herlings_Statics_2015_05Herlings is in a holding pattern, awaiting his shot at racing a 450 against the titans of MXGP. It remains to be seen whether the decision for Jeffrey to stay in the 250 class for another year was KTM’s or Herlings’. Photo courtesy of KTM.

Many riders have made a career out of racing in the 250 class. Mike Brown spent most of his time in the smaller bore class. Steve Lamson did his best work on a CR125. And, quite a few 125/250F racers have taken dives so they wouldn’t point out of the smaller Supercross regional championships over the year. From a manufacturer or team standpoint, there’s no shame in holding Jeffrey Herlings back and keeping him in the 250 class. He’s had a rough two seasons and could stand to get his confidence level up before jumping into the 450 class. Winning a third title and breaking records is the payoff, but at what cost? As a fan of Grand Prix racing, it’s a shame that Herlings isn’t moving up. It’s not like he is incapable of handling the power of a 450 (if that were the case then he’s in luck, because KTM makes a nice 350). Just imagine if Herlings, Tony Cairoli, Clement Desalle, Max Nagl, Romain Febvre, Glenn Coldenhoff, Shaun Simpson, Jordi Tixier, Ben Townley, Kevin Strijbos and Tim Gajser were on the same gate. Instead, one world class name will be missing from that list – Jeffrey Herlings. That’s too bad.

My feelings are split on Jeffrey Herlings staying in the 250 class. On one hand, he has been beat up for the better part of two seasons. Another year in the 250 class might be exactly what the doctor ordered. On the other hand, Herlings seems to have gone stale. Is the competition closing in? Or is Jeffrey losing his edge? Hopefully KTM isn’t icing the kicker by holding Herlings back from his potential, which won’t be fully realized until he faces a star-studded field of 450 competitors. We’ll be left wondering where Herlings would have finished in the 450 class. Hey, there’s always 2017, but under the rules he doesn’t have to move up then either.

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2015 AUS-X OPEN HIGHLIGHT VIDEO

REMINDER: CASELLI RIDE DAY

Make your way to Glen Helen on Friday to support a great cause

2015caselliridedayRiding will start at 9:00 a.m. and end at 3:00 p.m. This year, The Kurt Caselli Foundation will have the main track available for open riding as well as the kids track and an off-road loop. A raffle ticket will be handed to each participant at the gate and the raffle will take place at 11:30 a.m. A silent auction will be held at 1:30 p.m. with all proceeds going to The Kurt Caselli Foundation.

New for this year is the Caselli Team Challenge where two riders will pair up and participant in an 8-lap race. The riders will need to use only one bike and switch off each lap. There can only be one Pro rider on each team. The start will be Lemans-style with one boot from each of the starting riders in a pile in front of the start line. Riders will run to their boot first and then back to their bike before taking off on the first lap. An entry fee of $20.00 will go toward The Kurt Caselli Foundation. The race is limited to 30 teams with a grand prize and custom-made trophy awarded to the winning pair. For more info go to www.kurtcaselli.com

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MIND & MOTOR: ELI TOMAC

A DAY IN THE DIRT: FROZEN IN TIME

Photos by Kyoshi Becker

DITD-22652Josh Grant.

DITD-30220Willy Simons, Jr.

DITD-22603Sean Cantrell.

DITD-21400Louie Franco.

DITD-21938Taylor Robert.

DITD-21869-1Mike Sleeter.

DITD-21481-1Derek Kelley.

DITD-22867Lil’ John Hateley.

DITD-31080Zach Osborne and team.

DITD-31035Arik Swan, Darryn Durham and Tyler Bereman teamed up to win the Bossa Nova team race.

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HOW TO SUBSCRIBE TO MXA AND MAKE MONEY

MX JAN2016webIf you had subscribed to MXA, the January 2016 issue would be sitting in the throne room right now. It’s chock full of good stuff — including the only 2016 450 shootout worth reading.  Plus, subscribers get a $25 Rocky Mountain gift card that pays for their $15.99 subscription and then some.

Do you subscribe to MXA? You should. We know that you think that print magazines are dead and that the internet will fill the void, but most of the stuff in the current issue of MXA won’t appear on the web for several months, if at all. Luckily, you can get all of MXA on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle or Android by going to the Apple Store, Amazon or Google play, but better yet get the Digital desktop version at https://hi-torque.com/product/motocross-action-digital-edition/ for $9.99 a year. The MXA test riders prefer the print version and not just because it is delivered by a uniformed employee of the U.S. Government, but for only $15.99 for 12 issues and a free $25 Gift Card from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC. That means that there is a profit to be made in this deal for you. For the Print magazine go to: http://hi-torque.com/product/subscribe-to-motocross-action-magazine/

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