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

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#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

_18J5744Rider: Sean Kranyak
Location: Zaca Station
Date: July 29, 2014
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8
Focal length: 200mm
Exposure: 1/1250 sec.
F-stop: 4.5
ISO: 320

MXA VIDEO: SERVICE HONDA CR500AF

NEW YEAR’S VIDEO TEASER

Hint: it involves a two-stroke, a helicopter and the number 21
Photos by Travis Fant

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250 WEST: THE PLAYERS

The class entries are starting to trickle in for the 250 Western Regional Supercross Championship. Below is a list of the players, with one obvious standout.
_AN22181It doesn’t look like Malcolm Stewart (34) and Josh Hansen (100) will be racing the 250 West in 2016, but instead the focus will be on Cooper Webb (17).

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Cooper Webb (Star Yamaha): Last year’s 250 West winner, Cooper Webb, will defend his red number one plate out west. That’s a bit of a surprise, given that Cooper requested to race the 250 East in order to be exposed to East coast Supercross. What’s the big difference? It’s all about the dirt, which used to be considerably softer and rutted up in the past—although last year a lot of the east track were very West Coast. Webb wanted to use his last year of 250 Supercross eligibility to finally race the 250 East. Instead he’ll be out west again because Jeremy Martin is injured. Cooper Webb is the obvious favorite for the crown.
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Jessy Nelson (Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM):
It makes sense that TLD KTM would put Nelson on the gate for Anaheim 1, given his success during last year’s campaign. This will be Jessy’s fourth year racing Supercross. He finished eighth overall in 2015, but that final standing isn’t an accurate indicator of how good Jessy was indoors. He won Anaheim 1 and finished on the podium in three of the opening five races. Unfortunately a practice crash at Glen Helen while preparing for the Nationals kept Nelson from returning to Supercross after the series break. Jessy is on a very short list of riders to win a 250 Supercross among the names supposedly racing the 250 West. He knows what it takes to win. The question is whether he can finish an entire Supercross series–something he has only done once.

Christian Craig (Geico Honda): The son of Mike “Sting Ray” Craig, Christian Craig’s career trajectory is one of the most interesting in the sport. A hot shot Amateur, Christian made his debut in the 450 class back in 2009 with Troy Lee Designs Honda. A massive crash in November of that year resulted in an 11-hour surgery to repair his badly broken back. He went through a year of rehab and then returned to racing in 2011, splitting time between a 250 in Supercross and a 450 outdoors. However, injuries kept him from reaching his true potential. Sick of being in the hospital, Craig hung up his leathers before the 2014 season, only to come back midway through the 450 Nationals. He quit again, moved to Minnesota in order to support a wife and new baby, only to come out of retirement during the 2015 AMA 250 Nationals. A rash of inspiring finishes resulted in a deal to race for Geico Honda (the team he was filling in on). Craig is supposed to contest the 250 West according to team manager, Mike LaRocco. How will he do? Time will tell, but reports are saying that Christian is flying at the test track.

Joey Savatgy (Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki): Savatgy enters his third year of 250 Supercross, despite it being his fourth year as a Pro. Joey suffered the garden variety of injuries resulting from crashing on a Supercross track–wrist, AC separation, ribs and partially collapsed lungs–leading into the 2014 series. Joey rebounded with good finishes during the 2014 AMA 250 Nationals and caught Mitch Payton’s attention. Pro Circuit Kawasaki signed Savatgy to a multi-year deal, and he finished fourth overall in the 250 East. Joey has been training at Ricky Carmichael’s farm during the offseason and looks better than ever. He will be a title threat regardless of which coast he’ll line up on, although it appears that he’ll be in the 250 West. Oddly enough, Savatgy will be forced to move up should he win the 250 Supercross crown in 2016 thanks to an unusual AMA rule. It would be the same scenario as what happened to Broc Tickle after he won the 250 West in 2011. Isn’t that a kick in the pants? Read the rule below:

A rider that wins a 250SX Championship will be eligible to participate in the 250SX class for a maximum of three years total regardless of what year he/she won the title. (i.e. if a rider wins the Championship in their third year of 250SX competition, they will be ineligible for the 250SX class regardless of points and therefore not eligible to defend their 250SX Championship title).”

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Zach Osborne (Rockstar Energy Husqvarna): It seems as though Osborne has been racing forever. How has he not pointed out yet? For starters, Zach spent a good amount of his time racing on the Grand Prix circuit. When he did come back to America, he endured a series of injuries that kept him from eclipsing the magical number of points needed to reduce 250 eligibility. In fact, Osborne has yet to amass enough points in a single Supercross series. It is possible for Zach to race the 250 regional Supercross series through 2018 unless he wins the title. That’s crazy, especially given that he turned Pro in 2006. Osborne finished third overall in the 250 West series last year (falling three points below the threshold of 120 points in an eight-round series). Zach is back with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna for 2016, and he’ll be on the all-new FC250. I’m rooting for him, because he’s one of the nicest racers in the sport.   

YAMAHA RAISES OVER $30K FOR CHARITY EFFORT

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Press release: Thanks to the hard work and generosity of its employees, Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., presented world-renowned charity Feed the Children with a check for $31,373 as part of its Ninth Annual Feed the Children Charity Day at the company’s Cypress, CA headquarters. Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., raises money for Feed the Children through employee donations, special dealer fundraising activities, and direct corporate donations from Yamaha’s customer satisfaction team. The company’s unique Customer Satisfaction Survey program makes a donation for each survey returned by a Yamaha Motorsports customer. “Feed the Children is proud to partner with Yamaha Motor Corporation,” said Travis Arnold, Feed the Children Interim CEO/President and COO. “We know that, when we combine our efforts, we will have a greater impact on the lives of families who need us most–right here in America.”

ChampionsDay-Yamaha-Cox-2015-683“Yamaha is very proud to make this donation to Feed the Children on behalf of our employees, dealers, and customers,” commented Bob Starr, General Manager of Communications for Yamaha’s U.S. Motorsports Group. “Also, thank you to all of the great Yamaha racers, and to Star Touring And Riding, for their support and participation in today’s Feed The Children Charity Day.” Star Touring And Riding (S.T.A.R.) volunteers were on hand at the event to help deliver donated food and supplies to the local Feed the Children office at the end of the day. Over the past 20 years, Yamaha U.S. has helped raise more than $5 million in cash and supplies for Feed the Children, which is an international and nonprofit relief organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities to individuals, children, and families who lack those essentials.

Twelve Champions Inducted To Yamaha Racing Wall of Champions

ChampionsDay-Yamaha-Cox-2015-649The 2015 Yamaha Racing Wall of Champions inductees are reflective of the watershed year that Yamaha’s riders had, in winning multiple races and Championships aboard Yamaha motorcycles and ATVs. The road racing inductees included 2015 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Cameron Beaubier, 2015 MotoAmerica Supersport Champion JD Beach, 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 1000 Champion Jake Gagne, and 2015 MotoAmerica Superstock 600 Champion Joe Roberts. The motocross/supercross Champions inducted into the Wall of Champions were two-time and defending AMA 250cc Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin and 2015 AMA 250cc Supercross West Champion Cooper Webb. And the ATV racing inductees were four-time and defending AMA Pro ATV Motocross Champion Chad Wienen, and 2015 GNCC XC1 ATV Champion Walker Fowler.

Four Yamaha racing legends were also inducted, including 1978 AMA Formula One Road Racing Champion and AMA Hall of Fame Member Mike Baldwin; 1979 and 1980 AMA Formula One Road Racing Champion Rich Schlachter; 1984 AMA 250cc Motocross Champion and AMA Hall of Fame Member Rick Johnson; as well as 2007 AMA 450cc Motocross Champion Grant Langston.

“The Yamaha Racing Wall of Champions represents a commitment to excellence and a dedication to being the best, on race day and every day,” commented Keith McCarty, Motorsports Racing Division Manager for Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. “Yamaha congratulates all of our 2015 Wall of Champions inductees, and we thank them for representing our company, our employees, our dealers, and the Yamaha brand like true professionals. It’s been an amazing year for Yamaha racing in the U.S., and we’re very proud of our riders and teams.”

DUNGEY & CIANCIARULO GALLERY

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Florida freelance photographer, Collin Speckner, is in a prime area to shoot some of the best racers in the sport. He frequent Ricky Carmichael’s farm and has developed relationships with guys like Ryan Dungey and Adam Cianciarulo. See some of the action from Speckner’s camera.

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: WIL HAHN

54_S_16_4_2754 copy“The first time that I got on the new bike I could immediately tell how skinny it felt, along with how much lighter it was. That was riding a completely stock bike, before I got my SR (Special Racer, or factory) bike. Where your knees touch the bike is where you can quickly feel a big difference. The turning is also much improved. For me to jump on the stock bike and notice how much better it felt right away was a huge deal for me.”

Click here to read the interview.

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BEAUTY & THE BIKES

It’s a rule that we shoot every production bike in the studio. That way we can isolate the bike from any distractions while controlling the lighting environment. It’s rather sterile given the white background and manufactured light. However, I do make it a point to shoot new bikes where they were intended to be used–at the track. Take a look at some of the bikes below that I shot over the past year or so. Some of the photos never appeared in print (the studio shots won out), so take a look at never before seen shots of our beautiful bikes.

BARCIA JGR YZ450FJustin Barcia’s 2015 JGR Yamaha YZ450F at JGR’s outdoor track in North Carolina.

2016 HONDA CRF4502016 Honda CRF450 at Milestone.
2015-1:2 KTM 450SXF FE2015-1/2 KTM 450SXF Factory Edition outside KTM’s parking lot in SoCal.

2016 YAMAHA YZ450F2016 Yamaha YZ450F on the roof of Yamaha’s semi hauler at Competitive Edge.

2015 SUZUKI RM-Z4502015 Suzuki RM-Z450 at Zaca Station.
2015 KTM 250SXF2015 KTM 250SXF at Joe Davies Heritage Park in Palmdale, California.

2015 HUSKY FC2502015 Husqvarna FC250 at Joe Davies Heritage Park in Palmdale, California.

2015 HONDA CRF2502015 Honda CRF250 at Competitive Edge.

BADOUR YZ250Timmy Badour’s 2015 Yamaha YZ250 at LACR.

2015 Yamaha YZ450F2015 Yamaha YZ450F at Cahuilla Creek.

COOPER WEBB YZ250FCooper Webb’s Star Racing Yamaha YZ250F at Glen Helen.

OSBORNE FC250Zach Osborne’s Rockstar Energy Husqvarna FC250 at Hangtown.

2015 Yamaha YZ250FX2015 Yamaha YZ250FX at Cahuilla Creek.

REKLUSE TEAMS UP WITH STAR RACING YAMAHA

2016 Star Racing Team

Press release: Rekluse is excited to announce they have partnered with the Star Yamaha Racing Team as their official clutch supplier for the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Rekluse is looking forward to helping this factory level team contend for their next Supercross championship. The Star Yamaha Team selected Rekluse’s proprietary TorqDrive technology as their high-performance advantage. In addition to precision machined billet componentry, this performance manual clutch system offers unprecedented benefits to the rider.

“After testing with Rekluse earlier this fall, we found the TorqDrive clutch provided obvious advantages,” said Brad Hoffman, Star Racing’s Team Manager. “We noticed improved performance all over the track, especially on the start gate and in the whoop sections. It is clear Rekluse and their engineering team is dedicated to crafting clutch technology that pushes the boundaries of what people think a clutch can do. We look forward to partnering with them.”

TorqDrive systems allow for improved oil flow, greater torque capacity, faster power transfer, and dramatically reduced clutch fade. In the demanding world of professional supercross, these unique features will allow the team’s riders to get off the line faster and enjoy an incredibly responsive ride throughout the entire race.

REMINDER: SUPERCROSS ONLY 17 DAYS AWAY

_AN22236Cooper Webb was #17 in 2015, but he’s dropping down to #1 for the 250 West (should all go to plan). He’s the obvious favorite to defend the title, but it looks as if he’ll go up against Joey Savatgy, Zach Osborne, Jessy Nelson, Chris Alldredge, Christian Craig, Jordan Smith and a host of hungry 250 racers.

MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE MXA GANG!

Yes, occasionally we make fun of  riders, bikes and products (sorry to Suzuki, James Stewart and anyone else we’ve wronged), but we can also laugh at ourselves. They say that laughter is the best medicine. Merry Christmas!

Jody Weisel, Editor
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Daryl Ecklund, Managing Editor
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John Basher, East Coast Editor
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Dennis Stapleton, Test Editor
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Photos by John Basher, Daryl Ecklund, Travis Fant, Collin Speckner, Monster Energy Kawasaki, Star Racing Yamaha, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna and Steve Cox.

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