PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
Rider: Justin Brayton
Location: Honda Supercross test track, California
Date: December 9, 2011
Photographer: John Basher
Camera: Canon EOS-1D Mark III
Exposure: 1/1000 sec.
MXA VIDEO: OLD COUNTRY / GAVIN FAITH
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: GAVIN FAITH
“Now I’m the points leader, and having the points reset isn’t as big of advantage for me as it is for [Kyle] Regal, who struggled in the beginning half of the season. From the beginning I was just trying to knock off as many race wins and overalls as I could. I feel that carrying momentum into the final rounds is what the advantage is. I’m feeling good on the bike. I have confidence, and in some ways having the momentum and confidence is just as good as the points lead.”
Click here to read the interview.
450 SUPERCROSS TITLE: WHEN CAN RYAN DUNGEY CLINCH?
With five rounds left in the AMA Supercross series, the question is no longer if Ryan Dungey will win, rather when he will wrap up his second consecutive indoor title. After crunching numbers, it’s possible for Dungey to claim the number one plate at St. Louis. Here’s what needs to happen:
If Dungey wins the next three races (Santa Clara, Indianapolis and St. Louis) and Ken Roczen places second at two of the races and third in another, Dungey will have a 50-point advantage. He would clinch the title based on main event victories.
If Dungey finishes second at the next three rounds, Ken Roczen would need to finish off the podium in those races. Hypothetically, if Dungey places second and Roczen finishes fourth at the next three races, Ryan would have a 51-point lead with two rounds remaining and clinch the title.
Of course, there are dozens of other scenarios, but suffice it to say that Ryan Dungey has a very promising chance of wrapping up the title at St. Louis. It would be his third 450 Supercross title, and second in two years.
BACK UP TO SPEED: 250 WEST
Do you remember the 250 West? Maybe you forgot all about it, considering that the West racers haven’t lined up to the gate in over five weeks. Here’s a refresher for you:
COOPER WEBB-145 POINTS
Cooper Webb is leading the standings with two rounds remaining (Santa Clara and Las Vegas). He has an 11 point edge over Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. Cooper won four of the first seven rounds, and only finished off the podium once–Oakland, when he had a bike malfunction. If Joey Savatgy wins both remaining rounds, Webb would need to finish no worse than third at either race to collect his second title.
JOEY SAVATGY-134 POINTS
Heading into the last round before the break, Joey Savatgy had the red plate. However, Arlington was his undoing. More specifically, Christian Craig was Savatgy’s problem. Craig moved over on Joey in the whoops while they were running first and second midway through the second lap. Savatgy had this to say about the incident in an exclusive interview with MXA, “It’s one of those deals where it’s frustrating. In the same breath, it’s a little setback. I like challenges, and while this isn’t the type of challenge I would like, it’s something that I’ll live with.” Savatgy doesn’t seem too salty about the run-in, but that’s probably not entirely true. Who wouldn’t be mad about getting their front end cleaned out and losing the points lead? Joey Savatgy will be looking for redemption this weekend. He’s not too far out of the lead. Then again, he’ll need Webb to encounter bad luck.
CHRISTIAN CRAIG-129 POINTS
The Geico Honda rider is still in the title fight, although he’s on the outside looking in. Craig trails Cooper Webb by 16 points. For all intents and purposes, Christian has already surpassed expectations. Just think, last year at this time Craig was working construction in Minnesota. Now he’s anchoring Geico Honda’s 250 West Supercross campaign, and he also has a main event victory. Imagine how different Christian’s title hopes would look if he didn’t struggle at Anaheim 1, where he only scored four points. Hopefully Craig used the break to improve his conditioning–an obvious flaw in his otherwise sterling riding. It will be interesting to see how the title unfolds if Christian starts near Webb and Savatgy in the final rounds, because the wily veteran knows how to ride a wide bike.
JEFFREY HERLINGS: THE SULTAN OF SAND
No one has been able to keep pace with Jeffrey Herlings at Valkenswaard since he turned Pro in 2010. Since then, Jeffrey has won 14 straight motos in the deep sand of southern Holland. That’s seven straight years of domination. It’s hard to put Jeffrey’s speed at Valkenswaard into words, so instead let’s talk numbers. Below is a breakdown of Herlings’ fastest lap, average speed, the amount of time he won the motos by, and how far he lapped up to. Below that is a lap-by-lap comparison between Romain Febvre.
Fastest lap time…2:11.180
Fastest lap by second-fastest rider…Petar Petrov, 2:12.362
Won the moto by…50.896 seconds
Lapped up to…10th place
Fastest lap time…2:03.114
Fastest lap by second-fastest rider…Pauls Jonass, 2:05.969
Won the moto by…1:19.911
Lapped up to…11th place
LAP WARS: HERLINGS VS. FEBVRE
In years past Jeffrey Herlings was often the fastest racer at Valkenswaard, period. It didn’t matter that Herlings was on a 250, while such greats as Tony Cairoli and Max Nagl were on 350s and 450s. Herlings owned Valkenswaard. While it’s true that Jeffrey put on a riding clinic Monday in southern Holland, other riders actually had his number. Tim Gajser (first 450 moto winner) and Romain Febvre (second 450 moto winner and overall victor) were putting in laps faster than “The Bullet.” Above is a lap-by-lap analysis of Herlings’ and Febvre’s lap times from the second moto, which is when the track was at its roughest. The numbers highlighted in green are the fastest times for each lap.
Jeffrey was consistently faster in the opening six laps, but his lap times dropped off after lap six. Meanwhile, Romain Febvre logged his second-fastest lap of the moto on his very last lap (when he was chasing down and passing Tony Cairoli). It will be interesting to see how Herlings–who has never lost a Pro moto at Valkenswaard–will fare against the 450 racers next year should he finally move up to the 450 class. It looks like his win streak will be in jeopardy.
VIDEO: FEBVRE SAYS “SEE YA!” TO CAIROLI
FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: THOMAS COVINGTON
The American finished 38th in Valkenswaard after injuring himself a week prior
“I hurt my ankle last week so I wasn’t sure if I was going to race or not. It happened last Friday while we were testing with the team at a local track and I ended up injuring my Tibia as well as tearing one of the ligaments. The doctor said I could race if I could handle the pain, so we decided to go for it to get some points. In the first moto I just got a bad start. Then in the second moto I was feeling a bit better but got together with another rider and broke the radiator on my bike. The doctors said it’ll take four to six weeks for the ankle to be completely healed. Hopefully, it won’t be so painful for Argentina and I can ride like I know I can.”
MASSIMO ZANZANI’S VALKENSWAARD MXGP PHOTO GALLERY
Tony Cairoli’s (222) second moto holeshot spelled victory for the Italian…or did it? Nope. Romain Febvre (461), sneaking up the inside in this photo, tracked down the eight-time GP Champion and won the moto.
Germany’s Max Nagl went 2-4 for second overall in Valkenswaard. He’s currently sixth in points, which judging by how MXGP went last year, doesn’t mean anything. Grand Prix racing is all about consistency and attrition…two things Nagl struggled with last year.
Jeremy Van Horebeek is fighting to return to his winning ways of a few years ago. He rode well in the Netherlands, capped off by a third place in the second moto. However, his teammate–Romain Febvre–was too much for the Belgian.
Britain’s Shaun Simpson caught fire two-thirds of the way through the MXGP series last year. Simpson is usually very good in the sand, but he struggled with crashes at Valkenswaard. Shaun finished 8th.
The eight-time GP Champ, Tony Cairoli, is trying to get his groove back. It has been one calendar year since “King Tony” switched to the more powerful 450SXF from his long-loved KTM 350SXF. No amount of power helped him dispose of Romain Febvre on Monday.
Romain Febvre (center) rode like a man possessed in the second moto. He passed Tony Cairoli on the last lap and snatched the overall away from Max Nagl (left) and Tim Gajser (right). Febvre has won the last two GPs and holds a 13-point lead over 450 rookie, Tim Gajser.
The great thing about Valkenswaard is that no amount of rain can wash away the track. The field of 250 GP competitors grit their teeth as they race around a treacherous track wrought with disaster at every turn. It’s a fun track to watch the best in the world compete on, but riding it is likely another story.
Brent Van doninck was on a roll in Valkenswaard. He chased after the established front-runners, and as a result, he joined the league of extraordinary gentleman. This guy belongs near the front, evidenced by his 4th place finish.
VIDEO: LEATT’S AMATEUR TEAM AT FREESTONE
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: RACE TECH WP 4CS LOW SPEED COMPRESSION CONTROL KIT
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The 4CS Fork Compression Performance Kit blocks off two bleed holes, one at the compression base and the other in the seal head at the top. Each kit also includes an installation tool. Tuners love this kit because it provides excellent low speed control.
This kit works best with RT Adjustable Compression Bases that now include an LSV (Low Speed Valve).
When the Race Tech Fork Low Speed Control Kit for WP 4CS forks is combined with Compression and Rebound Gold Valves and a personalized valving setup, the result is a plush feeling suspension with increased bottoming resistance.
RETAIL PRICE: $79.99
PART NUMBER: FCPK 01
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
Anaheim 1…Trey Canard
San Diego 1…Ryan Dungey
Anaheim 2…Ken Roczen
San Diego 2…Eli Tomac
FASTEST QUALIFIERS: 250 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Cooper Webb
San Diego 1…Cooper Webb
Anaheim 2…Zach Osborne
San Diego 2…Zach Osborne
HOLESHOT AWARD: 450 CLASS
Anaheim 1…Cole Seely
San Diego 1…Chad Reed
Anaheim 2…Davi Millsaps
San Diego 2…Ryan Dungey
HOLESHOT AWARD: 250 CLASS
Anaheim 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)
Detroit…Aaron Plessinger (East)
Photos by John Basher, Brian Converse, Massimo Zanzani and Ray Archer