PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: TROY ADAMS
“Everybody in the industry gets caught up in looking out for himself. It’s sad to say, but I’m sure it’s like that in every other industry. At times I feel that’s not the way to run a business. You get more out of people when you’re honest, rather than working around the situation. However, egos are involved. Sometimes it consumed me to the point where it aggravated me to no end. That’s where I failed as a racer, because I would let things get to me, rather than shrugging it off. I always let little things bother me. That, alone, will mess with your mental state going into a race. Once I quit, there were a few years I didn’t do much. I took that time to reflect and thought about what I could have done to better myself. I was my own downfall. I let things get to me, and I could have done several things differently that would have bettered my career.”
Click here to read the interview.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: REMEMBER WHEN?
Remember when Travis Pastrana was still dabbling in motocross, racing the occasional Supercross and National when he was healthy? I took this photo in the fall of 2004 in Annapolis, Maryland. That’s Travis Pastrana standing in front of his house–the same house he has today–although life was much different for the former 125 National Champion over a decade ago. At that time he hadn’t made all those Nitro Circus movies, done the double backflip, raced Rally cars or started his own family.
MX NATION SEASON 2 TRAILER
FLAT FORK: AIR TAKEN OUT OF ROCZEN’S GLEN HELEN BID
Something was noticeably wrong toward the end of the first 450 moto at Glen Helen. Ken Roczen, who had rocketed out to double-digit lead, suffered an air leak in his Kayaba air forks with three laps to go. The RCH Suzuki rider had set a blistering pace for most of the moto–his fastest lap of 2:26.867 was nearly two seconds faster than Ryan Dungey’s quickest lap. However, once his forks gave up the ghost he was, on average, over 20 seconds slower in those final laps. It was enough to allow Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac to overtake Roczen.
This is what RCH Director of Competition, Mark Johnson, had to say about the fork incident:
“It’s always frustrating when a mechanical issue derails a good run but the biggest disappointment was seeing Ken have to back off and ultimately surrender the lead in the first moto. He had a fantastic ride and was leading by over 15 seconds when the problem occurred. We have a great relationship with KYB and their product is second to none. The part failure was in no way related to the forks themselves. The system that failed is made up of multiple components, purchased from a variety of vendors by RCH. Unfortunately, one of these components suffered a failure, which affected the front forks.”
As a result, Ken Roczen forfeited seven points in the title chase. He’s still leading the standings–two points ahead of Ryan Dungey and 17 in front of Eli Tomac. Will that make a dramatic difference in the title picture? It’s too early to tell, but the opening four motos of the series foretell the future. Ryan Dungey has finished no worse than second. Roczen, had it not been for the fork issue, would be four-for-four in moto wins right now. Obviously Dungey is going to employ his strategy of maintaining consistency and taking wins when they’re available. Roczen will continue to wow fans with his raw speed and talent, likely gapping the field while riding a new wave of confidence. Will that be enough to overthrow the defending 450 National Champion in Ryan Dungey? That’s what makes the Nationals–and the air fork issue–so intriguing.
MEANWHILE, IN SPAIN…
Jeffrey Herlings has only lost one moto this season. Through nine rounds, the Dutch sensation has built a 122-point lead. More mind boggling is the fact that Herlings has over twice as many points as sixth place rider Petar Petrov. At this rate it is likely that Jeffrey will clinch his third 250 World Title well before the Grand Prix series heads to the United States. That’s unfortunate for American fans, although quite frankly U.S. spectators will have little invested in any particular GP rider. Rather, they’ll come to see some of America’s best 250 racers battle against perhaps the fastest 250 racer in the world. With Monster Energy as the title sponsor of the MXGP series and also the presenting sponsor at Charlotte and Glen Helen in September, you can surmise that many–if not all–of Monster’s top athletes will contest the USGP rounds. That should include the likes of Eli Tomac, Josh Grant, Adam Cianciarulo, Austin Forkner, Joey Savatgy, Arnaud Tonus, Chad Reed, Justin Barcia, Phil Nicoletti and Weston Peick. Cooper Webb should also be committed to Charlotte, given his outspoken support for the event (he’s a North Carolina native). And while it’s far too early to name Team USA for the annual Motocross des Nations, surely the trio of chosen riders will welcome the opportunity to familiarize themselves with their chief competition when the MXDN takes place in Maggiora, Italy, on September 25th.
The big hoopla this past weekend in Talavera de la Reina, Spain, was the run-in between 2015 MXGP World Champion, Romain Febvre, and eight-time Champion, Tony Cairoli. Febvre fell during Saturday’s qualifying race. There was a steep bank to the left on the approach to the uphill left-hand corner. Signage also blocked the immediate view of Febvre being down. An argument can be made that a flagger displayed the yellow flag before the entrance to the corner, although the person was positioned to the outside of the turn. Cairoli came in with a full head of steam, tried cutting up the bank in order to avoid a falling Febvre, but ran over Romain’s left arm in the process. Febvre failed to finish the race due to an injured shoulder, while Cairoli came away with sixth.
Leave it to social media to be the battleground for a spat between the two Champions. Febvre fired first, posting race footage of the crash, along with a not so nice message. You can see it by clicking the image above.
Tony Carioli retorted with the above GoPro footage the following day. He also included a message, “Let’s put things straight and see if it’s a question of visibility?! As you can see on my gopro [sic] images I assumed that it was clear that I didn’t want to touch him. I’m also sorry that someone could have EVER thought differently…” Click on the image above to view the video.
Who’s at fault? No one, really. It’s a racing incident. Romain Febvre wasn’t happy that he was run over. Tony Cairoli wasn’t happy that his character was put in question. If I were judge of moral affairs, I’d sentence Febvre to apologize to Cairoli. That’s just my take on the situation.
JOHN’S GARAGE: 2005 YAMAHA YZ125
This past Thursday I finally got my 2005 Yamaha YZ125 dirty. Actually, ClubMX Practice Facility boss, Ben Graves, put tire to dirt first. The pristine ClubMX Practice Facility track, located in Chesterfield, South Carolina, was the perfect spot for testing the YZ125. A variety of soil types, from loam to sand, resulted in myriad ruts, bumps and technically challenging terrain. Add in a big tabletop, long double straight out of a corner, and varying jumps all around, which asked for the most out of every rider. Of course, Ben Graves knows the track like the back of his hand. He’s responsible for its layout and upkeep, after all. Graves kicked the tires and lit the fire in my YZ125. He was also the first rider to break ground on the 2007 Suzuki RM125 I built last month. It was interesting to watch Ben wring out both bikes, as I had a good understanding of how each bike performed based on his level of comfort. Believe it or not, Ben wasn’t as stoked on the YZ125 initially as he was on the RM125. I chalked it up to the fact that Graves, who normally rides a Honda CRF450, enjoyed the thrill of riding a 125 two-stroke last month. This time around he was having fun, but the thrill of holding the throttle wide open on a 125 felt somewhat ordinary. However, I was wrong in my assessment.
It turns out the Mikuni carburetor was running rich, which caused the bottom end to load up. There was also the matter of brand new KYB PSF-1 A-Kit forks and shock that needed to be broken in. We made several adjustments. We changed the clip position and raised the forks. The engine ran much cleaner, while the front end handled better. Still, there was room for improvement. Next came the X-Trig handlebar mount location. We moved the mounts to the back position, with the mounts rotated forward. The 23mm offset was preferred over 25mm, although we would have liked to go a bit more extreme.
During the test day I also had Jessica Patterson–the most successful Women’s Motocross Championship racer ever–and Armored Graphix’ Paul Sachak try out the bike. I quickly learned that Patterson hasn’t lost any speed, despite retiring at the end of 2015. She did, however, lose stamina. At one point Jessica circled the track and yelled to me, “I need a beer!” Then she promptly boosted a long double that most racers–man or woman–would think about jumping. Patterson liked the 2005 YZ125, even though the engine wasn’t decked out and oversized. Her husband, Eddie Ray, reminded me that I used $15,000 in modifications, yet barely did anything to the engine. That’s because the YZ125 engine is such a good overall package that throwing in a big-bore or stroking the thing to death doesn’t seem logical. I also didn’t want to replace the top end every few rides. Durability is favored over slightly more power at the expense of time and money. We’re talking about a 125cc two-stroke, after all.
Is this the best YZ125 I’ve ever ridden? Yes. The engine is forgiving, yet powerful; suspension works great across the board (especially at bottoming resistance); handling is quite good, although will be improved with a slight offset change; and I can’t deny the creature comforts that make the YZ125 feel tailor-made for me. Things like the Renthal 997 TwinWall handlebars, Ultra Tacky grips, wide Pro Pegs titanium footpegs, Torc1 Racing shifter (with extension knob for my size-12 boot), and Works Connection clutch perch are winners.
Where to go from here? The YZ125 build is not over. In the coming weeks I’m going to try a different offset triple clamp, Torc1 Racing rear brake pedal, stiffer shock spring on the KYB Kit shock, lowering link, and a ton of suspension settings. I’ve learned through testing that it’s not advisable to settle on one setting without first trying everything across the board.
Jessica Patterson takes a second to look back and acknowledge her fans. Armored Graphix’ Paul Sachak dropped the transmission in his 1993 Honda CR125, so he hopped on a 21st century bike. He was probably daydreaming of riding the old CR when this photo was taken. Cycra Racing’s Glen Laivins readies for battle. Jessica Patterson obliged to my request for her race jersey. Naturally she wrote something funny. What does the message say? “To Basher – Thanks for being such a cool guy. And also for letting me ride the 6 foot tall bared [sic] bike. :)” Jessica wasn’t a fan of the handlebar location on my YZ125. Allan Brown (left), former Moto XXX owner and master mechanic, flew out a day earlier than scheduled so he could ride the ClubMX Practice Facility. Here, he chats with his buddy, Mr. Jessica Patterson (AKA Eddie Ray). Brown has a motorcycle mod shop in SoCal. A dreamy view of the 2005 YZ125 as the sun was setting.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: PRO CIRCUIT KAWASAKI BAG COLLECTION
Our popular bag collection is now in stock and the five new uniquely designed bags are ready to roll out. Manufactured by OGIO, the Pro Circuit/Monster Energy Bag Collection features a gear bag, helmet case, hydration pack, carry on and backpack that will certainly fit any rider’s school, travel or moto needs!
Pro Circuit. We Race.
Click here to order: www.procircuit.com
HAVE YOU SEEN THIS? STEALTH MOTORCYCLE
Yahoo! Tech recently reported that the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) held a competition where companies were asked to develop a stealth motorcycle. The objective was to build ground transportation that allowed troops to navigate terrain without being detected. Click on the link below to read the story. The article includes an image of one such stealth bike. Very cool.
BLAST FROM THE PAST: ICONIC IMAGE
This is one of the greatest motocross photos ever taken. It personifies motocross. That’s Torsten Hallman (left) and Joel Robert (right) battling tooth-and-nail in Europe during the 1960s. Together the two amassed 10 World Championships. Robert won the 250 title in five consecutive seasons. What should be most impressive to younger generations is how these two racers pushed their antiquated equipment to the absolute maximum, well before long-travel suspension and the comforts of modern-day technology.
FASTEST OF THE FAST: AMA NATIONALS
An ongoing list of the top qualifiers and holeshot winners from each round of the 2016 Lucas Oil AMA 250/450 Nationals.
Photos by Brian Converse