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

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#WHIPITWEDNESDAY

Whipitwednesday_Justin BarciaRider: Justin Barcia
Location: JGRMX Arenacross track
Date: September 3, 2015
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Lens: 70-200mm
Exposure: 1/100 sec.
F-stop: 5.0
ISO: 400

MXA VIDEO: 2016-1/2 KTM 450SXF FACTORY EDITION

QUOTE OF THE WEEK: COOPER WEBB

Recovered_020720160176“The Super Bowl is a sore subject for me. I thought the Panthers played awful. They choked. I think they’ll get redemption next year. It was cool to see Payton [Manning] win, but it was bad to see the Panthers lose. You have to root for the home state team.”

Click here to read the interview.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: TRAIL TECH KTM DIGITAL FAN KIT

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Press release: Trail Tech Inc. is proud to announce the release of the all new KTM radiator guards for the 2016 SX/XC model bikes and the matching digital programmable fan kit. These two products, when used together, provide substantial protection from damage and overheating of the bike’s cooling system. Trail Tech’s new aluminum KTM radiator guards are lightweight and extremely strong (manufactured from a combination of forging and machining that instills maximum strength and durability into the material) and include two cross ribs and massive outer flange for combating the typical side impact crushing force when dropping the bike on its side.  These guards are also unique because they have a radiator hose protection feature to prevent trail debris from damaging the lower water spigot.

KTM Digital Fan Kit
Trail Tech’s TTV Temperature Switching Fan Kit monitors your KTM’s cooling system performance and automatically activates the fan to keep engine at optimum temperature range. It features custom adjustment of temperature trigger point, plugs into most stock KTM harnesses, no cutting of fluid lines, 30 watt draw and a retail price of $179.95. To order: http://www.trailtech.net/electrical/digital-fankit/ktm-digital-fan-kit

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: STEWART’S SCRAPES

20160312211113_TorontoRacesMXA freelance snapper, Scott Mallonee, photographed Malcolm Stewart’s road rash under his torn jersey in Toronto. Can you say ouch?

MXA PICTORIAL: JUSTIN HILL

_BAS3651It was only a matter of time before Justin Hill won a 250 East Supercross round in 2016. Now in his fourth year, Hill has had an up-and-down career, with bright spots marred by injuries. Hill began his career with Pro Circuit Kawasaki and won the San Diego Supercross in 2015. Last year he moved over to the Red Bull KTM factory program, but injuries held him back. For 2016, Hill was move to the Troy Lee Designs KTM team after factory KTM shipped their 250 factory effort to TLD.

_BAS3704Justin Hill had a rough start to the 250 East series, going down in the first turn at Atlanta. However, he was one of the fastest riders in the main. Hill moved up from 21st on the opening lap to fifth by the checkers. At Daytona he was in the mix, battling with Malcolm Stewart, Jeremy Martin and Martin Davalos en route to a runner-up finish. The writing was on the wall–Hill was a front-runner.

_BAS4162Toronto went a lot easier for Justin than even he probably expected. The Oregon native won the main by nearly 21 seconds. That’s a huge gap! Hill was aided by the absence of Martin Davalos (visa issues) and a first-turn pile-up that claimed Malcolm Stewart and Jeremy Martin. However, Justin would have probably won anyway. Why? He was the fastest rider in practice, and he seemed to ride the technical Toronto track with a sort of effortlessness the way only the very best can ride.

While at Baker’s Factory two days before the Daytona Supercross, I witnessed Justin Hill putting in motos around the Supercross track. Hill rode with a hunger and determination I had never seen out of the 20-year-old. He was thorough into his training and was very calculated through the most difficult sections of the track. There wasn’t any sense of urgency, which is a trait of a champion. He was, in essence, a younger version of Ryan Dungey. It was actually kind of strange to watch.

_BAS3621After winning Toronto, Justin Hill is two points out of the lead. There are still six rounds remaining in the 250 East, but it’s clear that Hill has the confidence and tools necessary to win the title. It would be his first in the Pro ranks, and it would also be his last 250 Supercross crown. Why? Hill would be moved up to the 450 class, thanks to an AMA rule that prevents seasoned riders from defending the title. That’s probably okay with Hill, anyway. He has his eyes set on a 450 title.

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WHAT’S CHAD WATTS UP TO?

watts2 watt1Former Pro Circuit Kawasaki and factory Honda mechanic, Chad Watts, runs Watts Perfection out of Shelby, North Carolina. Watts did the engine work on the ICW Yamaha YZ125 that MXA tested several months ago. The bike was a screamer, one of the fastest YZ125s that I had ever ridden–and that includes Brett Metcalfe’s old Yamaha of Troy race bike.

Chad Watts does engine service for a wide range of clients, from weekend warriors to serious Amateur National racers. His latest project is in replating cylinder heads off old Honda CR250s. Take a look at the picture below. Could you imagine a 1993 CR250 cylinder and head look that good? It’s my hope that MXA tests a Watts Perfection-modified two-stroke in the next few months. Stay tuned…

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: WORKS CONNECTION TITAN SKID PLATE

WORKSTIATN4

Press release: Works Connection has a new protection weapon in its arsenal in the form of the Titan Skid Plate. Injection molded in exclusive Bronzed Titanium plastic, the Titan’s design includes frame rail, engine case and full-length center case coverage to ward off the punishing elements of the MX and Off-Road worlds.  Simple, yet reliable CNC billet mounting system allows for quick and easy install/removal.

Available for Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM and Yamaha. Find them ($89.95-$109.95) at retail outlets or www.worksconnection.com

MXGP: THE GOOD & BAD

Townley_MXGP_2_THAI_2016Ben Townley has become the voice of the riders in MXGP. Even if uongo muzzles him from here on out, we say “Bravo Ben!”

Lo and behold, a MXGP rider finally addressed the elephant in the room. Leave it to Ben Townley, 2004 250 World Champion and 2007 AMA 250 East Supercross Champion, to speak up. Following the Saturday afternoon qualifying race at the Thai Grand Prix–which Townley won–he answered questions from the media. That’s when Ben let this juicy quote fly:

“Coming to some of these tracks, they’re not good enough. You’re going to hear honest and open from me. Qatar and here, these tracks aren’t the pinnacle of our sport. We’re the MXGP, the best riders in the world. You guys can’t honestly sit here and say that it’s an amazing place to ride a motorcycle. We’re in a flat paddock in the middle of nowhere for a GP. I tried to get a GP in New Zealand, and we would have been here this weekend or the following weekend for that GP. You guys would have had the best event on the entire calendar if you came to New Zealand. I struggle. That’s where the culture shock is for me, to be here and the conditions like this. In my opinion, this isn’t good enough for the sport. I’m glad I got the opportunity to say that here today, because we get told not to put the sport in disrepute and that. This is the best championship in the world, and I think it deserves better.”

Naturally Youthstream’s Giuseppe Luongo was none too pleased with Ben Townley or his comments. He held a press conference denouncing Townley’s comments, and ended by saying that Ben could be responsible for building the MXGP tracks if he wanted to change jobs. It was a cutting reply by Luongo, laced with unprofessional profanity, but it fell on deaf ears. Why? Because Ben Townley is right. How can anyone dispute that the Qatar and Thailand track conditions were nothing short of abysmal?

MX2start_MXGP_2_THAI_2016Does that dirt look good to you? How about the flat field terrain. See any spectators?

I try to keep an open mind about Giuseppe Luongo’s MXGP plans (and I’ve actually had one-on-one meetings with Giuseppe. There are things I like–the EMX classes are great and there’s usually excellent pit infrastructure. And things I don’t care for–Saturday qualifying races, the a lack of purse money for the racers and racing at places just because they will pay the sanction fee. Quite honestly I think it’s great how Luongo is trying to expand the reach of motocross on a global level by traveling to places outside of Europe. The problem comes in choosing tracks that are, as Ben Townley points out, aren’t up to MXGP standards. So rather than Giuseppe losing his cool and calling out Townley, maybe he should listen to one of his own (after all Townley was a World Champion). Certainly a current MXGP racer’s opinion would carry more weight than an American journalist like me, for that reason, I hope Luongo listens. I’ve met the guy, and he seems to be understanding. Hopefully he can do better because, after all, if no one challenges him then it shows that they’ve simply stopped caring about MXGP.

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TORONTO’S 250 EAST SUPERCROSS: BEST. RACE. EVER. QUESTION MARK.

It was a rough night for Malcolm Stewart, RJ Hampshire, Tyler Bowers, Aaron Plessinger, Shane McElrath and Jeremy Martin (although the results don’t show how bad things were for Martin) in Toronto. On the flip side, a number of riders made hay while the sun was shining in the Great White North (it is true hat the sun that made hay grow was a first turn crash that sprung a group of riders to a big lead). Take a look at the riders whom capitalized on Saturday evening in Canada.

Justin Hill–1st…Previous best–1st (San Diego 2014)

Justin HillHill matched his best finish by winning the Toronto Supercross this past weekend. In doing so he moved up to second place in the points standings. With six rounds remaining, can Justin out-duel Malcolm Stewart, Martin Davalos and Jeremy Martin for the 250 East title?

Matt Bisceglia–3rd…Previous best–3rd (Las Vegas 2014/Las Vegas 2015)

Matt BiscegliaBisceglia turned Pro in 2013 and raced the last three Nationals. He was on the Geico Honda team from 2013 through 2015. In that time his best series finish was an eighth overall in the 2015 AMA 250 Nationals. For 2016, Matt moved over to the upstart DirtCandy Suzuki team, but several injuries (including a countershaft sprocket disintegrating on him out at Milestone leading up to the 250 East) held him back from showing his true potential at Atlanta and Daytona. However, things came together for Bisceglia in Toronto as he matched his best finish.

Benny Bloss–7th…Previous best–11th (Daytona 2016)

Benny BlossThe privateer from Oak Grove, Missouri, had inked a ride with the Blue Buffalo Slater Skins Yamaha team before the 250 East began, but the deal went south. Bloss, the 2015 AMA Amateur Horizon Award winner, is making moves despite going it alone (with the help of a fill-in ride at the Cycle Trader team). He has been improving each round and should be toward the top of the list for a solid ride in 2017 or perhaps even sooner. The kid has skills.

Alexander Frye–4th…Previous best–9th (Atlanta 2016)

Alexander FryeFrye is a rookie, but as part of the Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM team he’s expected to perform right away. It doesn’t help that his 250 East teammates are Justin Hill and Shane McElrath–two veterans that know how to put in good results. Naturally Frye doesn’t want to be low man on the totem pole, and he is rising to the challenge. Working with ex-Pro Billy Laninovich, Alexander is performing well in his rookie Supercross season.

Jesse Wentland–5th…Previous best–8th (Daytona 2016)

Jesse WentlandEven though his result from Atlanta don’t show it, Minnesota’s Jesse Wentland caught my attention at the 250 East opener in Atlanta. Wentland qualified 12th fastest in ATL, but misfortune wiped away any shot of a top ten. However, he came back to finish eighth at Daytona–his best finish ever…at least for a week, anyway. In Toronto Jesse crossed the line in 13th after the first lap and worked up to fifth. How about that for a privateer? Mr. Wentland, please pick up your phone.

Paul Coates–9th…Previous best–18th (Atlanta 2016)

Paul CoatesBrit Coates had only qualified for one Supercross prior to this year. He finished 21st at Indianapolis in 2014. The TiLube Storm Lake Honda rider from Great Britain is contesting the 250 East. He scored an 18th at the opener in Atlanta. Paul should be thrilled to notch his first top-ten in Supercross after only three rounds. There’s nowhere to go but up from here.

Josh Cartwright–15th…Previous best–18th (Daytona 2016/Atlanta 2 2015)

Josh CartwrightFlorida’s Josh Cartwright finished 18th last year at Atlanta and tied that career best at Daytona two weekends ago. Improvement is being made, as Cartwright scored a 15th in Toronto. Interestingly, Josh doesn’t list any sponsors on the AMA’s scoring sheet.

THE FASTEST OF THE FAST

An ongoing list of the top qualifiers and holeshot winners from each round of the 2016 AMA Supercross Championship

FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 450 CLASS

Fastest Qualifier_Christophe PourcelAnaheim 1…Trey Canard
San Diego 1…Ryan Dungey
Anaheim 2…Ken Roczen
Oakland…Ryan Dungey
Glendale…Ryan Dungey
San Diego 2…Eli Tomac
Arlington…Ryan Dungey
Atlanta…Christophe Pourcel
Daytona…Eli Tomac
Toronto…Trey Canard

FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 250 CLASS

Fastest Qualifier_Malcolm StewartAnaheim 1…Cooper Webb
San Diego 1…Cooper Webb
Anaheim 2…Zach Osborne
Oakland…Cooper Webb
Glendale…Cooper Webb
San Diego 2…Zach Osborne
Arlington…Joey Savatgy
Atlanta…Malcolm Stewart
Daytona…Justin Hill
Toronto…Justin Hill

HOLESHOT AWARD: 450 CLASS

_BAS8056Anaheim 1…Cole Seely
San Diego 1…Chad Reed
Anaheim 2…Davi Millsaps
Oakland…Ryan Dungey
Glendale…Davi Millsaps
San Diego 2…Ryan Dungey
Arlington…Ken Roczen
Atlanta…Justin Brayton
Daytona…Ryan Dungey
Toronto…Ryan Dungey

HOLESHOT AWARD: 250 CLASS

_BAS7737Anaheim 1…Jessy Nelson (West)
San Diego 1…Jordan Smith (West)
Anaheim 2…Jimmy Decotis (West)
Oakland…Christian Craig (West)
Glendale…Jimmy Decotis (West)
San Diego 2…Jordan Smith (West)
Arlington…Christian Craig (West)
Atlanta…Shane McElrath (East)
Daytona…Malcolm Stewart (East)
Toronto…Matt Bisceglia (East)

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