PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
Rider: Phil Nicoletti
Location: Yamaha Supercross test track
Date: January 18, 2013
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: 16mm-35mm f/2.8L
Focal length: 16mm
Exposure: 1/1000 sec.
MXA VIDEO: 2016 YAMAHA YZ125
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: PEKKA VEHKONEN
“I used to train at home on small tracks with jumps. At that time I believe I was one of the best European Supercross riders. It was very easy for me to ride those events. In 1982 Roger DeCoster brought some American Honda guys over to the Genoa Supercross, and I beat them. Roger offered me a contract to race in America, but I had already made a deal with Yamaha. When I got to Cagiva I discovered that the bike was not very good for Supercross.”
Click here to read an interview with the 1985 FIM 125 World Champion.
SUPERCROSS COUNTDOWN: 31 DAYS
SIDI X-TREME BOOT INTRODUCTION
By Daryl Ecklund
There I was, 13,000 feet above the Earth, with an ex-Navy Seal harnessed to me. I felt like a baby kangaroo wrapped up in tie-downs, helpless about what was to come. Granted, I had volunteered to put myself in the precarious position of snuggling up against a stranger and jumping out of a perfectly good airplane. It’s not quite fair to say that I jumped, because the sky diving master threw me out of the plane. Only later was I told that one out every 10,000 people refuse to jump out of the plane. Apparently the crew wanted to make sure that I wasn’t that one person, because I felt a strong push followed by weightlessness. The man responsible for my life in those moments was deaf, or he ignored the high-pitched squeal coming from my mouth as we careened out of the plane. I envisioned my name in that evening’s news telecast, with the nerdy male anchor muttering, “Well, folks, a dare devil by the name of Daryl Ecklund ended up a pancake on top of an unassuming Volkswagen bus this afternoon. In other news, here are the top ten tips to avoiding clown road rage…” Clowns are the worst.
I had no idea what I was getting myself as I drove down towards Oceanside in sunny SoCal. The Moto Nation folks, the U.S. importers of Sidi boots, gave me the address for a humane society. I couldn’t connect the dots between a humane society and motocross boots…until I pulled up and saw the “Go Jump Oceanside” sky diving facility next door. A display of Sidi’s new X-Treme motocross boots were conveniently placed by the very plane I would get pushed out of an hour later. I met with Moto Nation’s Bill Berroth, a chummy guy who lives for riding motorcycles. Bill had a whole presentation planned for the X-Treme boot, but honestly I blanked on the details. Maybe that was because my palms were too sweaty from nerves to put pen to paper. Fortunately Bill knew that my mind was elsewhere, so he supplied me with bullet points about the $375 Sidi X-Treme boot. See below:
• Laminated Technomicro is used as the base material.
• TA sole is made of anti-skid rubber and can be replaced by a cobbler.
• TA sole features excellent rear brake feel.
• Nylon insole no dangerous steel shank!
• Removable arch support.
• Inner heat shield.
• Internal Malleolus plastic guard with ergonomic closed cell foam padding internally to enhance protection of those tender small foot bones.
• Toe area covered in protective plastic.
• Rigid, shock resistant, anatomically shaped heel for maximum protection.
• Replaceable micro adjustable cam lock buckle system with memory straps.
• Lower buckle protected against opening because of an impact by a guard.
• Cambrelle lining.
• All bolt-on parts are replaceable.
• Slim, cool non-bootie design.
• Single Flex System upper.
In hindsight, I’m glad I took the plunge. Not to name any names, but two of the ten editors invited to the boot introduction declined to sky dive. I figured that after jumping triples, skimming whoops and doing a bunch of stupid riding shenanigans out in the desert that I owed it to myself to try sky diving. I had nothing to lose other than, well, everything. I’m glad I did it and even happier that I get to tell you about the experience. Best of all, I was able to do a bit of product testing, because I strapped on the new Sidi X-Treme boots before jumping out of the plane. They were very light and breathable. Then again, most everything is in that situation. I can’t wait to spin laps around a track with them on.
For more information on the new Sidi X-Treme boot you can click here.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: ASTERISK AC SYSTEM
Press release: You’ve seen it on the pros for the past year, those nose stickers with little metal dots in the center and red clips in the nose pieces of rider’s goggles…The Asterisk AC System is a two part magnetic nasal dilation device for use in off-road motorcycling, snow-sports, and MTB goggles. The purpose of this device is to enhance your nasal breathing ability. Studies show that nose breathing is the only way to properly condition the air you breathe for optimum performance. The AC System functions magnetically. The steel nasal attachments and magnetic goggle clips cause the nostrils to dilate, enhancing your ability to nose breathe beyond normal capacity.
Mouth breathing leads to over-breathing, hyperventilation, depleted carbon dioxide levels, vasoconstriction (constriction of the blood vessels), and reduced blood circulation during exercise. With nose breathing, the nostrils and sinuses filter and warm the air going into the lungs. When you exhale through your nose, expelled carbon dioxide (CO2) is trapped in the nasal passageway. The sinuses naturally produce nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxides along with carbon dioxide (CO2) are vasodilators. Vasodilation is the expansion of blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate the flow of blood increases. With each breath you take through your nose, the CO2 and NO reach the lungs first. This dilates the blood vessels and allows the oxygen (O) that follows to be better absorbed, delivering it to the brain and muscles faster… Mouth breathing bypasses this.
With wins in both 250 and 450 Monster Energy Supercross classes, 250 and 450 Lucas Oils Outdoor National Championship classes, AMA Pro Flattrack, MXGP (MX1 and MX2) and Motocross of Nations, we have already seen much success with the AC System. We plan to continue that success with our consumers and hope to see them achieve more wins and championships on local and regional levels with our new product.
The kit comes with everything you need. For just $59.99 the kit includes one (1) AC System goggle clip, Twenty (20) adhesive steel nasal attachment stickers (10 sets), ten (10) alcohol wipe pads and one (1) magnetic sticker applicator. A refill kit is also available for $24.99. The kit includes one (1) foam clip housing, one (1) magnetic sticker applicator, ten (10) alcohol wipe pads and twenty (20) adhesive steel nasal attachment stickers. To learn more about the Asterisk AC System and for ordering visit www.Asterisk.com.
MINI-VIEW: BENNY BLOSS
By Jim Kimball Photos courtesy of CycleTrader.com
The Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins Yamaha team has been a part of the professional racing scene, but they have never made waves quite like what’s coming in 2016. Increased efforts have resulted in the signing of team manager Larry Brooks, as well as two promising racers in Benny Bloss and Broc Schmelyun. We caught up with Benny, who recently relocated to SoCal after growing up in Missouri, to find out how his transition to the Pro ranks has been.
Congratulations on inking a deal with the Blue Buffalo/Slater Skins Yamaha team. Thanks! We have Larry Brooks as the team manager, and he is great. I have only been out in California for a short time, but Larry and the team have been awesome. Everyone that I have talked to said Larry is about the best at setting up a Supercross bike, and I believe it. I did talk to the Cycle Trader Rock River Yamaha team about a deal previously, because they helped me out this past year. They didn’t have budgets set and weren’t sure what they could do. They came to me later in the off-season and told me they did not have the budget to support as many riders as in the past. We then started talking to other people, and John Slater (owner of Slater Skins) talked to my dad. John said that Larry Brooks would be a part of the team. This played a big part in my signing with them, as I know Larry really brings a lot to the table.
You had quite a successful summer racing the amateur events, capped off by Loretta Lynn’s. What were you most proud of achieving? I had been doing lots of the bigger amateur events with the help of the Cycle Trader Rock River team. I wore their graphics, but I wasn’t really a part of their team. We went to Loretta Lynn’s and the track was just amazing. The racing there was just so much fun. It really fit my style. I had won a couple of titles before at the Spring Nationals, but nothing as big as the Loretta Lynn’s Horizon award. I won a Championship at Loretta’s, but by far I was most proud of winning the Horizon award. More people look at that award than an individual championship. You always hear people talking about the Horizon award more than anything else from Loretta Lynn’s.
Why didn’t you turn Pro and race at Unadilla? The day after I got home from Loretta’s I was practicing for Unadilla and crashed. I suffered a concussion. We decided that it might be best to take a little time off and then plan for the final round in Indiana. I took two weeks off. I was pretty disappointed, but sometimes you need to really focus on the big picture.
It was a smart choice to wait and get healthy, because you finished 15th overall at the series finale at the Ironman National in the 450 class. Thank you. I went 17-15 for 15th overall. I was definitely proud and excited. As a kid I watched all the top guys so that I could learn from them. To line up against a guy like Ryan Dungey and be remotely near him in a race was very cool. I had never experienced anything like that. The motos seemed very long and the pace was so fast the entire race. It was super gnarly! I think that one of the biggest differences from racing as an amateur to racing as a professional was that everything happened so fast. As soon as I got finished with practice I had to get ready for the race. There was really no time to relax or even eat. I got back into the pits, and then had to get back to the starting line! In the amateur ranks there are so many classes racing that you have a lot of time to relax in between. At Ironman it seemed like the motos were twice as long, and the break time between them was twice as short! That was the hardest part.
What was going through your mind during the day? I was 14th fastest in the first practice session. I qualified in between two very fast guys, so I was excited! I started to feel that I could do pretty well in my first outdoor National. At the end of the day I realized that I could be successful as a professional racer. It wasn’t like I won the race, but I had raced against so many guys that I had been looking up to all my life and I finished 15th. I felt good! It was amazing and very surreal with everyone coming up to me after the race and congratulating me.
You’re a tall guy, and at the Ironman National you were on a Yamaha YZ450F sporting a very familiar number–934. Did anyone think David Vuillemin had returned to racing and confused you for “Le Cobra?” [Laughter] People sure did! I had the AMA assign me a random number, and as soon as I saw 934 I knew that it was Vuillemin’s. All my friends were talking about it, and even asked me to reach out to David. I never tried to contact him, but all my friends were talking about it. Getting his number was pretty cool.
You just moved to California and have spent a lot of time on a Supercross track. How are things going? I’ve been riding the 250 four-stroke a lot to get ready. First though I need to do a couple of the first Arenacross rounds in order to qualify for Supercross. The plan will be to get ready for the east coast Supercross series. Racing Arenacross is something that needs to be done, and I am looking forward to it. One of my best friends is Colt Nichols, who has done Arenacross in the past. He has really given me a lot of good pointers. You may not know this, but I have been training with Robbie Reynard. He has an Arenacross track in Oklahoma. Back when I was riding 65’s and 85’s I would try to race Arenacross every winter, so I am really looking forward to doing it again. I love the whoops, and Arenacross is all whoops and straightaways. I actually lived at Robbie Reynard’s training compound the past two or three years. It’s awesome, and he is such a great guy. He has so much knowledge and can still go very fast on a dirt bike. Robbie occasionally rides with us and beats us. I will likely stay in California until March or so when the east coast Supercross series starts. Sometime soon Robbie is going to come out to California and get a house where all the kids who train with him can stay.
Where are you currently living? I’m staying at a Residence Inn, at least until Robbie arrives and gets a house. He should be here soon, and it will be nice to not live out of a hotel. There are parts of California that I hate, like the driving. Some of the drivers aren’t very nice, but besides that it’s okay. I am not sure I will ever live here full-time though. I’ve been about halfway on my own for a couple years now. As I mentioned, I had been living in Oklahoma at Reynard’s place. Usually every race weekend my parents come and meet up with me. I have already been on my own for a while. It has been good for me and helped me grow up.
You’re a big kid. Is your size a disadvantage on a 250 four-stroke? I’m 6’5” and about 190 pounds, so I am a bigger guy. I don’t think that my size is much of a disadvantage. Maybe off the start or down a straightway I have a little disadvantage. I do feel that my height definitely offers some advantages, especially in the whoops.
What’s your plan for the 2016 AMA National series? I am not sure of the schedule right now, but I will be racing the first two or three Arenacross rounds before the 250 East Supercross series starts. When the outdoor series starts I will be racing a 450. I am pretty excited about the program, as I love racing a 450 outdoors. I haven’t ever really ridden one indoors in Supercross. I’m not sure that I would feel ready for a 450 in Supercross, but I do feel great on the 250.
Do you feel the pressure to succeed right off the bat in 2016? No, I don’t feel any more pressure at all. Doing well in my first Pro race just gives me more confidence. It’s a big boost to know that I can be there, and I can race with those guys. When I am in Oklahoma I do ride with a lot of fast guys, including Trey Canard, so I have ridden with some very fast guys. Riding with Trey and watching him on the track has been a huge help. I look forward to the challenges ahead.
CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN: GIFT IDEAS FOR THE MOTO FAMILY
Because a family that rides together stays together
FOR YOUR BETTER HALF
Fox Racing Vicious Backpack
Let’s face it, women love bags. I don’t know what it is about zippers, double seams, handles and chic artwork that get a lady’s motor revving. Fortunately Fox Racing knows what women want. They made a bag that’s perfect for the track, gym, or for storing all of the unnecessary stuff they say they can’t leave the house without. If you really want to earn brownie points then stuff the bag with new Fox Racing clothes before throwing it under the Christmas tree. Lovely Louella will be beside herself with happiness.
Buy it HERE
Blade Scout CX Troy Lee Designs Helicopter
Your kid is no dummy. If he bleeds moto then he’ll expect something motocross-related. Throw him a curve ball with the Blade Scout CX radio-controlled helicopter. It has a 2GHz radio so Junior and his buddies can have sky battles without being on the same frequency. There are replacement parts for when your kid gets too rambunctious with the stunts, and it’s relatively easy to fly. Best of all, the Blade Scout CX (with limited edition Troy Lee Designs graphics) will keep your boy where he belongs–outside. Be gone, video games!
Buy it HERE
FOR LITTLE SALLY
Smooth Industries MX Superstars Youth Rain Boots
Little Sally will want to keep her feet dry while walking through the muck in the pits. Heaven forbid if it rains! Smooth Industries has you covered–literally. Their MX Superstars youth rain boots look cool, are much better than expensive Uggs, and can be pressure washed at the end of the day (bonus!). Your daughter will thank you for keeping her feet dry and comfortable after waking her up too early and forcing her to stand in a field all day instead of hanging with her friends at the mall. Okay, maybe she won’t thank you, but at least you tried!
Buy it HERE
FOR YOUR DEAR SWEET MOTHER
Fly Racing Waxed Jacket
Mom is always tough to shop for. Thankfully the motocross industry has caught on to the latest fashion trends. Take the Fly Racing Waxed jacket. Mom could wear it while strolling down Fifth Avenue or to her seat at a Supercross race. The jacket has a bunch of pockets for a cell phone, chapstick, lotion, facial tissue, loose change, brush, gum, hair ties, snacks, and lint (that’s what I found in my wife’s jacket while doing research for this story). Have you noticed that women are always cold in the winter? The Fly Racing Waxed jacket should help solve that problem.
Buy it HERE
Matrix Concepts M80 Race Series Tool Box – 8 Drawer
After your dad had to put up with you mishandling his prized tool box and shoving the drawers full of candy wrappers when you were a kid, don’t you think it’s time to make up for past transgressions? Matrix Concepts makes an awesome eight-drawer tool box that’s good enough for professional mechanics. Best of all, it has a locking lid so that your father can keep the grandkids from following in their father’s footsteps. Choose from a variety of graphic choices, ranging from mild to semi-wild.
Buy it HERE
HECK, FOR THE DOG!
KTM PowerWear Dog Bowl
Fido shouldn’t be left out of the gift giving. After all, he’s the only one in the family that won’t laugh when you get stuck in the gate. Reward man’s best friend with a sweet dog bowl that screams Moto Dog! So this gift might not appeal to the non-KTM fan, but put your differences aside for Fido.
Buy it at your local dog-friendly KTM dealer