PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Kawasaki unveiled their all-new KX450F on Tuesday morning. Kawasaki’s flagship motocrosser boasts an impressive number of updates, from a lightweight chassis to body styling, engine modifications and more. The KX450F has been a perennial front runner in MXA’s “450 Four-Stroke Shootout,” though it has slipped in recent years due to a cumbersome chassis, pedestrian handling and durability issues. Will 2016 be the year of the KX450F? We’re not saying a word until we ride the bike in August. Until then you can find out all of the updates made to the bike by clicking here.
BREAKING NEWS: ELI TOMAC OUT FOR THE FORESEEABLE FUTURE
Eli Tomac was a perfect five-for-five in moto wins to begin the AMA 450 outdoors. However, a second moto slam while running away from the field at Thunder Valley left the Geico Honda rider with a dislocated shoulder and it turns out he also torn his roatator cuff and injured his other shoulder.. In the days since that horrific moment everyone has been waiting to hear whether Eli will be able to race this weekend in Muddy Creek. he won’t. In fact, it is unlikely that we will see him again during the AMA Nationals. Tomac is currently second in the 450 National standings, 3 points behind new leader Ryan Dungey.
2015 AMA 450 NATIONAL POINTS STANDING
(After 3 of 12 races)
1. Ryan Dungey…128
2. Eli Tomac…125
3. Blake Baggett…99
4. Ken Roczen…93
5. Justin Barcia…87
6. Weston Peick…79
7. Broc Tickle…75
8. Jason Anderson…72
9. Christophe Pourcel…72
10. Phil Nicoletti…62
Other notables: 11. Chad Reed (58); 13. Justin Brayton (51); 14. Cole Seely (50); 17. Wil Hahn (27); 20. Josh Grant (17).
MXA VIDEO: WE RIDE ZACH OSBORNE’S HUSQVARNA FC250
AROUND THE MOTO GLOBE: WHAT’S HAPPENING THIS WEEK
While the rest of the world is talking about Kim’s baby bump and Caitlyn Jenner, there are a lot of headlines making news in motocross:
CHAD’S NOT HAPPY
That headline isn’t really anything new. After all, Chad’s been miffed quite a few times since launching his own team. Maybe he learned of the political nature that comes with owning a race team. Perhaps he’s still angry for getting black flagged at A2, or being left out of the title talks by certain members of the media. Whatever the case, I like the new Chad Reed. Yes, the way he airs personal grievances on his Instagram page sometimes makes him look like a crybaby, but that’s okay by me. Why? Chad Reed is finally in a position to make a difference. Sure, he’s a multi-time Champion and one of the most popular riders on the circuit, but for a long time he didn’t harness his star power. He hid from the limelight and went about his business.
Starting his own team very well may be the best thing to ever happen to Chad Reed. He realized that he has a certain amount of clout within the paddock. Reedy can also cut through the bureaucracy and corporate red tape that comes with factory support. Chad does Chad. Recently he signed a deal with 360 Fly Cameras (https://360fly.com/), reportedly worth $500,000, only to be told by MX Sports at Lakewood that he couldn’t wear the camera because GoPro is the “Official Wearable Camera of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.” GoPro and 360 Fly are direct competitors. Chad doesn’t like to be told what he can and cannot do, so he threatened to skip Muddy Creek this weekend. It was a contemptuous statement made in haste. Who knows whether Reed will stand by his word. However, he does raise a valid point about the lopsided and, dare I say monopolistic, practice of GoPro having exclusive control to the extent of preventing the competition from being able to post up on a rider’s helmet. Here’s some food for thought: Lucas Oil is the series sponsor, but race teams aren’t required to run Lucas Oil in their bikes. Heck, the Star Racing team’s title sponsor is Yamalube. Why is GoPro any different?
When did the AMA Nationals become full of sissies? I’m aware that I just made a blanket statement. Surely not every rider has gone soft. The opening three rounds of the Nationals have been absolutely superb, not necessarily in terms of intensely close racing (you can thank Eli Tomac and Jeremy Martin for that), but in the track conditions. Hangtown was the roughest it has been in years and the half-pipe was an innovative design. Glen Helen was equally as impressive. Thanks to showers in the days leading up to Glen Helen, not to mention a challenging layout, the conditions were epic. Rain hampered Lakewood in the days before the National, which created deep ruts. Certainly there have been tracks more difficult than these three (Glen Helen has been much rougher, much faster and much bigger in the past and Hangtown can get nasty with its square-edges and occasional mud bogs), but isn’t that how motocross is supposed to be? There are plenty of smooth two-wheeled sports—motocross isn’t suppose to be one of those. To hear riders complain about how rough the tracks are is preposterous. The new generation of young racers have been raised on so many groomed and graded tracks and would never have made it in the 1970s or 1980s—when the motocross world was a much tougher place. This is motocross!
My dear pal, Giuseppe Luongo, grand poobah at Youthstream, noted how the U.S. National tracks are manicured too much. He stated that part of the reason why the Europeans have begun keeping pace with Team USA at the Motocross des Nations in recent years is due to the fact that the AMA Nationals were simply too easy. As much as I hate to admit that Luongo is right, he raises a valid point (even though a large number of his tracks are dried-up pieces of junk). I commend MX Sports and each track’s crews for their newfound dedication in allowing the tracks to develop throughout the day. Isn’t that how motocross should be? It’s laughable that some of the fastest riders in the world would complain about difficult track conditions. It is from the difficulty that greatness rises to the top. It’s not like there’s a gator pit on the infield and a pack of lions roaming the course.
News broke that Davi Millsaps will contest the last six rounds of the 450 Nationals. The #18 will line up at Red Bud on July 4th on a Suzuki with backing from Mountain Motorsports, a powersports dealership group in the Southeast. This news comes several months after Millsaps’ contract was terminated by Monster Energy Kawasaki and gear company Thor Racing also released him for what was rumored to be an illegal substance found inside the Kawasaki semi.
How will Davi Millsaps rebound from a a whirlwind of bad publicity, lack of race time outdoors, the ho-hum interest of the fans and jumping into a series that will be halfway over? It’s hard to tell. Millsaps hasn’t set the world on fire this year, but at least he will be back on a bike he’s achieved success with in the past. Davi has said many times that he’s not a fan of the AMA outdoors, yet he should be motivated given that he has something to prove (correct that, he has everything to prove). Even if he had stayed at Team Kawasaki, it would have been hard to believe that he could have stuck with Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen and a healthy Ei Tomac. Then again, no one would have figured a few years ago that he was going to have Ryan Villopoto covered in Supercross through the early rounds. I wish Davi the best of luck in his new venture.
TWO-STROKE FEVER: ROCK RIVER YAMAHA YZ250
Be on the lookout for our test of Timmy Badour’s CycleTrader.comRock River Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke that he raced to fourth place in the FMF Two-Stroke Challenge at Glen Helen. Here’s a quick look at the bike, built by Jason McCune from Inside Line Connect.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT…
MXA has a vested interest in the MXGP series. We hold the honored position as the only outspoken critics of how Youthstream runs the series, but we have never downplayed the GP riders (most of whom end up in America eventually). I write a MXGP race report for every round. Sponsored by the cool crew at Moto-Master (www.moto-masterusa.com), every race report is full of photos, videos, and useful information on what happened throughout the course of the weekend. Be sure to check it out if you don’t already. You can either spend a bit of time reading the MXGP race reports or cruise the web reading about Kim and Kanye. Your choice.
FLY RACING COMMERCIAL: RIDE LIFE
MINI-VIEW: ADAM CIANCIARULO
In spite of his 11 Loretta Lynn’s Championships, Adam Cianciarulo’s career as a professional has been much more difficult. Of course it hasn’t been the 18-year-old’s speed and desire that has been in question, but instead the numerous shoulder injuries that have stunted his Pro career thus far. Don’t tell Adam that. Three races into his 2015 outdoor campaign, Cianciarulo put some of the doubters to rest by scoring third overall at Lakewood. Is this a sign of things to come?
By Jim Kimball
Adam, congratulations you just earned your first podium in 2015.
Thank you. Yeah, it was a good day. It’s funny, because these past two weekends I have been pretty frustrated with myself. My riding hasn’t been too bad, and my speed has been pretty good, but a combination of fitness, and making dumb mistakes has really frustrated me. But here at Lakewood I was able to keep it on two wheels all day, so I am pretty stoked about that. I went 5-4 in the motos, so I did get kind of lucky with taking a podium, but I’m still happy. With being off the bike for basically a year, and not being on the bike that long since returning, I am very happy to get on the podium. It means a lot to me.
You have had a pretty rough time this past year.
For a while I was even debating if I should be racing again. This was only a third place, but this has been my whole life. Taking home this third place trophy means a lot!
You mentioned fitness. It appears that you’ve been progressing quickly.
This is no excuse for it, but I have grown a lot and am a bigger guy now, and I have had trouble adjusting to that. I always used to be “the little guy”, and always got great starts. Now at 160 pounds I’m probably one of the bigger guys. It’s something that I have to be very precise at and work harder at than I have in the past. Most of the guys out there are probably 130 to 140 pounds, but still there are some guys that are bigger than me. Lakewood was really good for me. I’ve always been one of the guys that gets a good start but may drop a few spots, so coming from behind in both motos this weekend was very good for me.
All your time off the bike must have set you behind a lot.
People don’t realize how badly it affects you to be off the bike for a year. You really lose your base as far as yourself, and as far as the bike. You pretty much have to start all over. Look at a guy like Ryan Dungey. He is never hurt. As I said though, I am building my base back up. Rather than getting tired at 15 minutes in the first few races I am now able to get to 25 minutes before getting tired. Late in the second moto I was fourth, but then I let Jordan Smith get around me. My mechanic gave me the pit board sign saying that I needed to get Smith back in order to get on the podium. So, I decided that I was either going to pass him back or hit the deck trying! I was able to set him up for a pass and sneak around on the last lap. To hold him off on that last lap was probably the most physical thing that I have ever done. I don’t think that I had ever suffered that much.
Every time I noticed you on the track it seemed like you were involved in battles, so it seems like you have not lost your race composure.
Yes, absolutely. I have been working on that a lot. I train down in Florida with Aldon Baker along with Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson and Marvin Musquin. It’s tough not being the slowest guy there, so trying to keep up with or beat them is very motivating. I have the ability to do it and was given the talent from God to succeed.
Are you feeling good about the rest of the series?
Yes, for sure. While the time off has been very difficult and trying, it has allowed myself to get re-energized and to appreciate all the little things that I may have taken for granted. Because I have been doing it so long. In my personal life and in my racing life I have matured a lot and have a better perspective on things. If I had to do it all over again I would, just because of the person it has made me. I’m grateful for a lot of things, even taking a third overall with 5-4 moto scores! Coming back from being sidelined so long, it’s kind of naive to think that every weekend will be great; there will be some ups and downs. But this was a moral victory for the team and all those that have stuck behind me. I’ve been with Kawasaki and Pro Circuit for a long time. They have invested a lot in me, and I take that to bed with me every night. I’m stoked to give them a good result this early in the season and hopefully get them a few wins before the season ends.
MXA VIDEO: 2015 YAMAHA YZ125 TWO-STROKE BUILD
A few answers to your burning questions regarding my 2015 Yamaha YZ125 bike build:
1. How did I spend $6000 on the project build and not touch the suspension? That’s easy! The Kayaba SSS suspension is the best in the business. The YZ125 is one of a rare few bikes that doesn’t need any help in the suspension department. I figured that I’d rather leave the forks and shock alone, because why mess with success?
2. Why did I spend $6000 on my project bike build? I’m fancy. I know that I went overboard, but I don’t care. There’s little reason why you should drop that much coin on a bike that’s so good out of the crate, but this project was a dream build for me. If somehow possible I would have spent even more money on my YZ125, but I couldn’t find a carbon fiber gas tank in time for the world Two-Stroke Championship. Maybe next time.
3. No, that’s not me riding the bike in the video, but instead a fast kid from the Antelope Valley by the name of Jeremy Lasater. He’s not scared to twist the throttle.
4. I like black plastic. It’s kind of my calling card. So what?!
5. Not so much a question, but instead a statement. I’ve traveled far and wide in the search for the ultimate Yamaha YZ125. I have yet to find one as cool as mine, though it’s a matter of personal opinion. Do you think yours is better? Maybe you just want to show it off? Cool! Email me a picture of your Yamaha YZ125, along with a brief description of the bike and your name, and I’ll post the most interesting bikes in the Mid-Week Report on June 17th. Please email me at [email protected] with the subject heading “THE BEST YZ125 EVER.” Let’s have some fun with this!
PHOTO BLAST: BRENDAN LUTES’ GLEN HELEN BEST
‘C’ CLASS MOVE: PATUREL’S A VICTIM OF SEEWER’S STUPIDITY
A LOOK INTO MXA’S FUTURE… OR THE FUTURE MXA
Sean Collier did double-duty at Glen Helen when he qualified for the 450 National motos and also competed in the FMF Two-Stroke Challenge. The privateer from Santa Clarita, California, holds down a 9-to-5 job as a water treatment specialist, but he still hauls the mail on a motorcycle. That much was evident when he walked away from the competition in the Two-Stroke race on his father’s 1997 Kawasaki KX500 two-stroke. He proceeded to finish 21-23 for 25th overall in the AMA 50 National.
We like Sean Collier, but we really like his bikes, which is why we sought out Luc “Frenchie” Caouette, from C4MX, to test Sean’s steeds. Frenchie kindly obliged, and a few days later we met at LACR to test Collier’s KX500 two-stroke against his KX450F four-stroke. You’ll have to wait a few days before the video is released, and a little longer before the test appears in the magazine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t release a sneak peak of the action. Enjoy!