Racerhead #31Friday, August 3, 2007 | 1:08 PM
Honda is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, and the undisputed leader in motorcycle technology. More motocross riders have won titles on Hondas than on any other bike. When you’re serious about winning, Honda is the machine for you.
In this article…
- Nico Izzi
- Mike Alessi
- Tim Ferry
- Jason Thomas
- James Stewart
- Ivan Tedesco
- Austin Stroupe
- Travis Pastrana
- Ricky Carmichael
- Trey Canard
- Ryan Clark
- Ryan Villopoto
- Chad Reed
- Billy Laninovich
The event is a weeklong motocross festival with races all day, activities well into the night, and thousands and thousands of people. It makes one feel great about state of amateur motocross in America, even though it's not without its difficulties.
As for the unfortunate controversy surrounding Kevin Cozad riding the Vet B/C class: After dominating his first moto by 30 seconds (he was 4.5 seconds a lap faster than second-place finisher Allan Asseff), Cozad crashed a few turns into the second moto and suffered a broken collarbone. It was an early end to a situation that had become problematic for the event and for Cozad himself.
It's difficult to pick a single highlight of the week: Canard vs. Stroupe vs. Izzi, Team USA, the beer tent, Adam "Little Ricky" Ciancirulo, the Red Bull skydivers, Travis Pastrana's monster truck, Tarah Gieger battling Jessica Patterson, the sound of a full gate of 125cc two-strokes, the camaraderie of it all....
But I have to give it up to Kevin Walker, the new all-time Loretta Lynn's champion. As I typed that last paragraph out, the Yamaha rider from Penhook stepped up onto the podium to accept his 12th AMA Air Nautiques Amateur National Motocross Championship. Walker is the essence of this race: A vet rider who had a brief, forgettable season as a pro, followed by years of working at the local shop. Every August he shows up here, against a field of competition that grows more and more competitive as he gets older and past pros chase after amateur glory, and yet he prevails, time and again.
On another note, Mitch Payton showed up at Loretta Lynn's for the first time in a dozen years and spent a considerable amount of time on the infield gauging new talent. Of particular interest was his new signee, Austin Stroupe, who has been battling all week with Trey Cannard and Nico Izzi. While the AMA Horizon's Award was still up for grabs going into tomorrow's last day of competition, all three of those guys are set to make their pro motocross debuts at Millville next weekend. Who will do better? At this point, it's really too close to call.
So I’ll turn it over to Ping, and then Eric Johnson, who are both on hand at the X Games in Los Angeles, for a quick report on how things are going there.
I spent the first two days of this week in Whistler, B.C., Canada riding downhill mountain bikes. Bicycling icons Brian Lopes, Hans Rey, Jay Miron, Fuzzy Hall and about ten other athletes from various action sports, including Billy Laninovich, Troy Lee and myself, bombed down the mountain and its many trails and wooden obstacles together. It was absolutely incredible and one of the coolest places I’ve ever been. Look for the whole story in an upcoming issue of Racer X Illustrated.
Now, I’m sitting in a hotel in Torrence, California, just two miles from the X Games 13 in the Home Depot Center. I checked out the facility today and walked the supermoto and Supercross tracks. I’m not sure who built the tracks, but they did a good job. Some of the SX lanes are little narrower than a typical Live Nation event, but the format is different here. In the X Games version, only groups of four riders will be on the track at the same time. Heats are only six laps, so the action will be quick and the racing will be tight.
While Ricky Carmichael is all set to be the star of Moto X competition, he will certainly get a challenge from Chad Reed, who's back for this event and to get some time in on the 2008 Yamahas. But some motocross-series shakeups have this inagural event lacking the whallop ESPN hoped for when it was first announced. Stewart, Townley, Villopoto and Ferry all pulled out, as they're all vying for outdoor championships, which could potentially give Kawasaki a clean sweep on the nationals this summer. Tedesco is also out, as Suzuki decided not to support him in this endeavor. That's allowed riders like Mike Alessi, who will race a 450 in supercross for the first time, Jason Thomas and Ryan Clark to line up for this made-for-TV race. So who do you think will win? That's the topic of this week's Racer X Online poll -- be sure to vote!
Red Bull had a dinner this week for all their athletes. Each rider was presented with a big black box before dinner. Inside was each rider’s helmet for the X Games with a custom design, a solid white gold credential lanyard, a PSP with games, a Sony camera/camcorder, Red Bull swag, and a credit card that read, simply, “Anything, Any time, Anywhere.” The card is good for all Red Bull athletes for the weekend, and Eric Sorby has already put the card to the test. The first day home he ordered some clothes, food, and he even tried to get a French Bulldog delivered to his house. Take it easy there, Sor-balls. The card was a pretty unique way for Red Bull to thank all of their athletes. The helmets that the riders wear this weekend will all be collected after the weekend and auctioned off to benefit Heinz Kinigadner’s Wings For Life foundation, which aids in spinal cord injury research.
Have fun watching the X Games this weekend. Now I’ll turn it over to Eric Johnson, who was on hand for X Games rookie Kyle Loza’s big night last night. --Ping
“I’ve been working on the trick a very long time,” said Loza earlier that afternoon in the tunnels below the Staples Center. “I feel real good about everything, and I’m confident.” It showed, and Loza is leaving downtown Los Angeles with a big X Games gold medal around his neck.
Adam Jones, of Mindon, Nevada, pulled the Bar Hop Flip from his quiver of tricks to earn the silver medal with a score of 91.0. Third overall on the night was Todd Potter of the Metal Mulisha family. Razor sharp in execution, the 21-year-old’s Kamikaze Flip/Kiss of Death trick earned the X Games rookie a score of 91.0 and a bronze medal.
“I’m just glad to be here,” said Potter on Thursday morning. I mean, just a year ago I was riding demos at county fairs. I just want to go out there and do my best. I have a great trick, so at least I won’t be a bottom feeder.” After winning a medal in his very first X Games, Potter was thrilled. “No more county fair demos,” he mused.
Without a doubt, the most highly anticipated moment of the night was when Scott Murray rolled up on to the ramp and built up his courage in an attempt to complete the double backflip. Murray, who had to stage a fund-raiser in his hometown of Helps, Michigan, to earn gas money to get to Los Angeles, clicked his bike in gear, slowly idled down the drop-in, hit the ramp and made it one and three-quarters of the way around before coming up short and pummeling into the ground. He didn’t make it, sure, but it was a very gallant effort and the crowd loved him for it. Murray, a complete unknown coming into L.A. but for a piece of video that surfaced online showing him complete the trick up in Michigan, did himself quite proud. “He was six inches from making it!” screamed Moto X Best Trick head judge Andy “Regis” Harrington. The judges scored Murray at 66.0. Nonetheless, he gets a 100 for heart and effort.
Don’t miss the rest of the great motorcycle action at this year’s X Games. For a complete schedule, check out expn.com.
Oh, one more quick note before we sign off:
If you love to ride minis, here’s a great race for you to attend! It’s the 4th Annual Texas Mini National, on September 15 at Buffalo Creek Motocross. $15,000 purse money for pros and lots of prizes for the amateurs. Go to www.chpusa.net for more details.
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.