PROTAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Austin Howell flies over Corona airspace aboard Jason Anderson’s Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna FC450. Photo by @johnbashermxa (yes, that’s a shameless plug. Follow me on Instagram to see more photos like this one).
MXA VIDEO: HANGIN’ WITH JESSY NELSON
MINI-VIEW: ALEX MARTIN
Alex Martin comes from a fast family. His dad, John, owns and operates one of the very best motocross circuits in the world–Millville. However, those in the under-30 crowd (or, as Jody would say, “The ears-in crowd”) might not know that John was a factory off-road racer and the 1985 AMA National Hare Scrambles Champion. His son, Alex, turned Pro in 2009 and made a name for himself as a hard working racer. Alex’s brother, Jeremy, quickly rose to prominence when he won last year’s 250 National title.
Saturday night belonged to Alex Martin when the CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha rider scored his first podium ever in Supercross. I phoned up Alex to hear more about his memorable evening and to hear his thoughts on racing the 250 West series.
MXA: Did that third place at Oakland seem like a long time coming?
Alex: It sure did! This is my seventh season as a professional. My first season was 2009 and I did the West coast series. I only made three main events that year. I spent most of my time in recent years crafting my Supercross skills on the East coast. The best results I ever had on that side of the country was a couple of sixth place finishes. To score a podium last weekend in Oakland was great. Honestly, I’m more relieved than anything.
Was the fact that you had never finished on the podium in Supercross something that weighed heavily on your mind?
Yeah, for sure. I really haven’t had the Supercross results to back up the caliber of rider that I feel like I am. I’ve been on the podium outdoors in a moto, and I’ve had top five overall finishes in the Nationals several times. Usually I’m a top ten guy in motocross, but Supercross was always different. That’s why I say that it felt like a relief when I finished on the box.
Did you make changes to your riding, training, mental approach to racing, or was it a combination of all these key elements that equated to a third place finish in Oakland?
I’ve realized that I need to keep improving every year, because every year the sport elevates itself. Everyone trains a little bit harder, and they’re more prepared than the season before. I would say that I had a breakout year in 2011. Fast forward to 2015, and as good as I thought I was back in 2011, it’s nothing compared to what my focus is now. I’m really paying close attention to my diet, the fitness program, and my riding. I spent a lot of time in the offseason training with my brother [Jeremy Martin]. Doing that has added intensity to my program. It all added up to me moving forward with my career.
Describe the Oakland Supercross track and how the conditions changed throughout the day.
I was fortunate with the whoops, because they turned into doubles more than whoops. I was actually surprised with how soft the Oakland dirt got throughout the night. Being that it was an open air stadium, the sun dried out the dirt during daytime qualifying. However, at night the dirt rutted up and it became treacherous. The 450 main looked even worse than what the 250 West guys were dealing with.
It seems like the CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha team is a close knit group of people.
Christina Denney and Chris Denney do a really good job at making a really relaxed environment within the team. With CycleTrader.comcoming on board in 2014, it really upped the level of the program. This year they put even more money into the engines and suspension. The engines are solid with Yamaha, and Enzo does the suspension. It’s a great package.
Were there many changes made to your 2015 Yamaha YZ250F race bike compared to what you raced on last year?
Not really. Aside from the suspension and engine–last year we used JGR–there are a few minor things. It’s pretty much the same motorcycle otherwise.
What’s the reasoning behind racing the 250 West? The last time you raced the series was back in 2009.
The last three years I spent the majority of my time in South Carolina, training at Club MX. This year with racing the 250 West coast I wanted to make sure that I got some training in on hard pack dirt, so I moved out to California in the middle of November. I’ll stay out here until March. I feel like it has helped me to mix things up a little bit.
Would you say that there’s more focus on the 250 West series compared to the 250 East in terms of general interest and media coverage?
Yes. It seems like the teams want their best riders to do the West coast. For the majority of the media and the sport in general, it’s located in Southern California. A lot of people can drive to Anaheim and watch the rounds. I’d say that there’s more focus on the 250 West than the East.
It seems like the 250 West has been particularly aggressive this year in comparison to seasons in recent memory. What’s it like racing in that type of pack?
There’s not a whole lot of love right now, especially between [Tyler] Bowers and [Cooper] Webb. You have to be on your guard all of the time. People aren’t just out there racing for places, but also for money and for their careers. I’m really careful and I try not to let a door open, especially when there are guys like that [Bowers and Webb] behind you. At the same time, I always try to focus on myself, hit my marks, and ride as best as I can.
What does a third place finish do for your confidence in Supercross? Will we see you up on the box this weekend at Anaheim 3?
It was a huge milestone in my career. However, I don’t want to get too caught up in it. Yes, I was happy and I celebrated for a bit, but I was back to the grind on Monday morning. I’ll try to keep the momentum going into A3 and beyond. I want to take advantage of how well I’ve been riding, and I want to keep the results rolling in.
BONUS! FUN FACT ABOUT ALEX MARTIN
Alex Martin scored his career best Supercross finish on Saturday night when he placed third. Martin’s previous best finish was sixth place in 250 Supercross, which he accomplished twice in 2012. It took Alex 31 races to reach the podium. Coincidentally, Martin’s race number is 31.
MUST-SEE EVENT: CHAPARRAL HOSTS THROWBACK THURSDAY A3 SUPERCROSS PRE-PARTY
Press release: Chaparral Motorsports will be turning back the clock on January 29th in anticipation of the A3 Supercross race by hosting a Throwback Thursday pre-party and Bike Night with legendary riders such as seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath, 1980 Supercross Champion and AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Inductee Mike “Too Tall” Bell, six time Motocross Champion Broc Glover and two-time World MX champion Sebastien Tortelli. In addition to meeting racing luminaries of yesterday, fans will also have a chance to get autographs from the rising stars of today with Yoshimura/Suzuki’s Blake Baggett, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/KTM’s Jessy Nelson, Shane McElrath, and Darryn Durham, Monster Energy/Kawasaki’s Davi Millsaps, and sponsored Thor riders Jason Anderson, Tyler Bowers, and Arnaud Tonus scheduled to be in attendance as well. Open to the public, the free event will run from 5-8pm and is guaranteed to be a thrilling night.
Hosted in conjunction with Thor, Parts Unlimited, and Moose Racing, companies will pack the Chaparral parking lot with their big rigs and displays with product demonstrations from Icon, Cobra, Michelin, Yuasa, Starbrite, Saddlemen, Alpinestars, MagnaFlow, Renthal, and Biltwell. Inside and outside the store Chaparral Motorsports will be buzzing with excitement. Everyone is encouraged to ride their motorcycles to the event for the first ever ChapMoto Winter Bike Night. Chaparral will give away free Alpinestars T-shirts as holeshot prizes to the first 250 people that ride their motorcycle to the event. There will be plenty of entertainment for the entire family, with a Throwback Gear Contest, stunt show, giveaways, a Q&A session with the riders and special guests, and huge savings for shoppers with throwback pricing on select brands.
To help fill out the throwback vibe of the night Chaparral encourages all those planning on attending to show up in their old riding gear as there will be a Best Dressed in Throwback Gear contest with the winner receiving a $250 ChapMoto.com gift card. Stunt rider Tony Carbajal will be heating up the parking lot with smoky burnouts and wheelies, while inside the Q&A session will give the audience the chance to chat with the riders and hear their stories and favorite moments from past and present. And for those that love a good deal, for one night only Chaparral will have very special throwback pricing on select brands.
The blast-from-the-past themed pre-party and Bike Night will be an exciting evening for Supercross fans as it will reunite the winning combination of Chaparral Motorsports, Jeremy McGrath, and top ten AMA National rider and world class team manager Larry Brooks. As many Supercross fans will recall the combination of Chaparral Motorsports, Jeremy McGrath, and Larry Brooks proved to be a highly successful one as the group was the first privateer team in history win a National AMA Supercross Championship, winning three total together (1998, 1999, and 2000).
The event will be held at Chaparral Motorsports at 555 South H Street, San Bernardino CA 92410. For more information on Chaparral Motorsports, visit www.chaparral-racing.com
PHOTO BLAST FROM THE PAST: 2010
Red Bull has always been great at rolling out the red carpet for media events. And so it went in 2010. A few days before the Anaheim 1 Supercross the energy drink behemoth invited the media out to Catalina Island, off the coast of sunny SoCal, to shoot photos and interview their team riders. Red Bull went so far as to rent a helicopter service that transported the riders and media to the small island and back.
I was one of the lucky few that received an invite. It was an incredible day, marked by James Stewart, Cole Seely, Davi Millsaps, Ivan Tedesco and others throwing down on a makeshift Supercross track (complete with a few metal freestyle ramps). In this photo, Bubba is getting cranked on his Yamaha YZ450F while repping the #1, thanks to his 450 Supercross title the year before. Little did anyone know that 2010 was the beginning of the end. In 2010 Ryan Villopto won his first of four straight Supercross titles. Stewart was knocked out of contention early on after breaking his wrist. With Villopoto deciding to race the Grand Prix series this year, one would believe that 2015 would be Stewart’s year to regain the title. That, however, can’t work if the guy isn’t allowed to race because of a failed drug test. There’s always next year.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: FLY RACING SECTOR BOOT
Press release: The Sector represents FLY Racing’s entry into the premium offroad boot segment and is packed with the features and technology you’ve come to expect from every FLY Racing product. Key premium features include the Sector’s Torsion Control Protection System, easy-to-use positive latch buckles, and super-comfortable slip-on inner bootie system. The Sector provides an exceptional level of protection and comfort that’s designed for motocross and offroad competition at the highest levels.
Torsion Control System – a unique structure, which reduces the risk of ankle injury by restricting excessive backwards and forwards and sideways foot torsion while allowing necessary freedom of movement. Slip-on Inner Bootie – constructed from breathable materials for increased comfort and includes gel inserts for extra protection of the malleolus (ankle) bones. Positive Latch Aluminum Buckles – ensure your buckles stay cinched; yet remain easy to close and easy to open. Adjustable Strap System – allows for micro-adjustments by shortening or lengthening straps to accommodate rider calf/leg sizes. Breathable 3D Mesh Comfort Lining – throughout the boot interior provides an extra level of comfort. Microfiber Upper Construction – provides a high level of abrasion and water resistance. Reinforced Shin Plate with Polyurethane Ankle, Rear Heal, and Toe Box – provides added protection from impacts and debris. Preformed Removable Foot Bed – cradles and supports the heel while enhancing stability and support. Single Compound Replaceable Rubber Sole. Inner Rubber Heat Guard. All Buckles And Straps Are Replaceable. CE Certification. Colors: White, Black. Size Range: US 7-13. Retail Price: $439.95. Contact: www.flyracing.com
MXA VIDEO: INSIDE COOPER WEBB’S STAR RACING YZ250F
WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO
Sure, there’s a Supercross every weekend, and we’re enjoying the tight racing as much as the next guy. Having said that, I’d rather be at the track riding around than playing super fan at Supercross. Maybe that’s selfish, but the coolest riding I get to experience is behind my Fox goggles. It might be slow and not as fluid as what Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb are doing, but it’s all my doing. That’s fine with me. Any racer would say the same thing. And so it goes with this week’s activities.
This past Monday we got our hands on Jason Anderson’s factory Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna FC450, which came straight off the track at Anaheim 2. Privateer Austin Howell came out to Husqvarna’s secret Supercross track south of Corona, California, and rode for the photos. This test came days before Howell powdered his knee while practicing for the Oakland round. Heal up, buddy. At least Austin had a chance to ride alongside Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson and Justin Hill before his knee went pop-pop-pop.
This past Thursday the orange lids were out at Glen Helen in full force, testing Yamaha’s all-new YZ250FX offroad bike. Why are we testing an offroad bike, you ask? There’s potential in everything, even if it’s designed for ripping across the desert or weaving through trees. The YZ250FX uses the YZ250F platform, but comes with an 18-inch rear tire, toned down mapping and an exhaust pipe that was designed for European regulations. So we’ve decided to convert the YZ250FXt into something better–a do-it-all dirt machine, capable of being raced around the motocross track while still maintaining its offroad integrity. I won’t spill all of the beans, because you’ll need to read an upcoming issue to get the full skinny, but trust me when I say that the project turned out great. If you’ve ever wanted an electric-start YZ250F then this very well might be the bike for you. We also began testing the 2015 Yamaha YZ85 and the Cobra CX65 mini cycles. That’s Eric Burdell twisting the throttle for our photo shoots. He did double duty.
Saturday sent us to Oakland, where Travis Fant and Dennis Stapleton shot photos, video and harassed more than a few security guards. Look below to see Fant’s photo gallery from Oaktown.
While Anaheim 3 is this weekend, Daryl Ecklund and I are journeying up to McCall, Idaho, to hang out with Timbersled’s Brett Blaser and owner, Allen Mangum. We are going to do some free-riding on beastly bikes–how does a 520cc KTM with nitrous sound to you?–and blaze new trails through the Idaho powder. Then we’re going to try our hand at the McCall snow bike race. This event has been contested by John Dowd, Ronnie Renner, Mike Metzger, Destry Abbott and others in the past. We’re happy to try out the unique race while keeping the power monger bikes from getting away from us.
Meanwhile, the rest of the MXA gang will be at the weekly races (probably drawing straws to see who gets to race the 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX). They will be at REM on Saturday. Believe it or not, REM promoter Frank Thomason is hinting at adding a new hill to the track. You can see some of the existing hills in this Harry Leitner video from REM’s last race.
PHOTO BLAST FROM THE PAST: 2005
Take a look at this start photo from the 125 East Supercross round back in 2005. Can you name all of these riders in the picture? You’ll earn a bonus point for identifying #452. The answers are below.
From left: (452) James Marshall, (8) Grant Langston, (39) Danny Smith, (188) Davi Millsaps, (141) Steve Boniface, (122) Matt Walker and (18) Brock Sellards
FUN FACT: “KEY TO THE RACE”
Jeff Emig is famous for always saying that getting a good start is “A key to the race.” While that fact is obvious, it’s not always a telling sign of the eventual outcome. Take Trey Canard, for example. He rounded the first lap at Oakland in 10th place. The Muscle Milk Honda rider clawed his way to the front despite a lackluster start. Andrew Short, on the other hand, grabbed the holeshot but moved back to ninth by race end. I’m blaming that result on being sore from the nasty tumble he took the week before.
How do Canard’s start (place after first lap) versus finishing position stack up? Take a look:
Rider…Average start…Average finish
Trey Canard…12th place…5th place
Andrew Short…2nd place…10th place
MXA VIDEO: HANGING OUT WITH TYLER BOWERS
TRAVIS FANT’S OAKLAND PRACTICE GALLERY
OAKLAND SUPERCROSS IN LITERATURE
Ken Roczen’s lunar orbit:
“I shot an arrow into the air, It fell to earth, I knew not where…” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Cooper Webb vs. Tyler Bowers:
“An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Trey Canard’s win:
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” – Moliere
Ryan Dungey taking the points lead:
“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” – Watty Piper’s “The Little Engine That Could”
FUN FACT: THE RACE TO FOUR ROUNDS
If the past six years prove anything, it’s that the 250 West points leader after four rounds almost always goes on to win the title. Since 2009, only Josh Hansen hasn’t gone on to win the 250 West crown after leading the standings through round four. In 2011, Broc Tickle came through to edge Eli Tomac in Las Vegas.
After Saturday night’s fireworks were over, Cooper Webb extended his lead over Tyler Bowers. Webb now has an 8-point lead over Bowers. Will Tyler “Torpedo” Bowers rise up and play the part of Broc Tickle in 2011? Or will he become another statistic like Cole Seely, Dean Wilson and Wil Hahn?
Year…Leader after four races…eventual 250 West Champion
2014…Jason Anderson…Jason Anderson
2013…Ken Roczen…Ken Roczen
2012…Eli Tomac…Eli Tomac
2011…Josh Hansen…Broc Tickle
2010…Jake Weimer…Jake Weimer
2009…Ryan Dungey…Ryan Dungey
VIDEO: FOLLOW BLAKE BAGGETT AROUND OAKLAND
NEW PRODUCT: VP RACING INTRODUCES C50 FOR 50CC TWO-STROKES
Press release: VP Racing Fuels introduced C50™, a truly revolutionary racing fuel designed exclusively for 50cc 2-stroke motorcycles. “C50 is the result of extensive testing with Cobra Moto, the premier manufacturer of 50cc bikes,” said Steve Burns, VP’s Founder and Director of R&D. “With this fuel, the same winning technology that powers the top factory Supercross riders is now available to young amateur riders who represent the next generation of champions.”
“In a stock 50, C50 race fuel exceeded expectations,” said Phil McDowell, Chief Engineer for Cobra Moto. “In more than 10 years of testing 50cc motorcycles at Cobra, I’ve tried over 40 different race fuels and this is the first one that works.”
“C50 showed measurable improvement across all performance parameters – more horsepower, more torque and better throttle response,” Burns added. “It also enabled us to achieve a consistent, reliable tune which was eye-opening, given that OEMs have told us they’ve never before had a race fuel for a 50cc bike that worked well every day in varying conditions.”
C50 is unleaded and pre-mixed with a top quality JASO FD-rated, certified premium oil at a 50:1 ratio, so no measuring or mixing is required. It’s also ethanol-free, which prevents the damage that occurs with ethanol-blended street gas which fouls carburetors, degrades rubber and plastic parts, and goes bad after just a few weeks in storage.
C50 will work well in Cobra motorcycles and all other 50cc 2-stroke competitive racing applications.
Photos by John Basher, Travis Fant, CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha