Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar U.S. Open Race Report

October 17, 2007 7:22am

10/16/07 - Fledgling Supercross Lites East team Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar made their debut performance at the infamous U.S Open of Supercross in Las Vegas October 12-14.

The hybrid American/Canadian team pulled together a professional factory team just in time for Vegas, under the guidance of Josh Woods and riding high on the success of Canadian Tyler Medaglia’s outstanding MX2 victory at the Montreal Supercross September 29. Still, the U.S Open is the big time, and for a new team and a young rider it could have been very intimidating. “It was pretty cool, definitely,” Medaglia says. “I’d never been out there before and just to experience the whole thing and to be with all those guys was really neat. I wasn’t really scared, because after Montreal I had lots of confidence going in. I’ve been riding lots of really technical stuff and the track in Vegas just wasn’t really that technical. I just wanted to go out and ride like I did in Montreal and have some fun.”

The Biloxi, MS, motorcycle dealer Suzuki City and Canadian national motocross team sponsor OTSFF (Ocean Transfer Services and Freight Forwarding) arrived with ultra-trick RMZ-250Fs to do battle in the MGM Grand against the established powerhouse teams. Freddy Karrle was scheduled to race as well as Medaglia, but a practice crash on Tuesday resulted in a separated shoulder that put him out of the action in Vegas. For a first date, the team scored some impressive results and turned heads in the motocross industry. “Tyler rode really well in the practices,” said Suzuki City’s Michael Nasakaitis. “His times were really good and although he fell a couple of times, every time he got on the track he was consistently faster.” For Medaglia that was a huge success on its own.

“I’ve definitely improved since last year,” he says. “I mean, in practice my laptimes were right there with some really fast guys, guys that were four-seconds a lap faster than me before. I was even faster than some of those guys, so it felt really good.”

Not merely the ‘new guy’, as a Canadian Medaglia definitely felt a little out of place. That is, of course, until he won the crowd over. “It’s weird,” he says, “…because the other racers were wondering ‘Who is this guy?’ Then after practice guys were coming up to me going “Hey are you number 404?” and then they started talking to me. Its funny how that works!”

The U.S Open has a different format than most races, pitting all sizes of bikes together in the qualifiers and taking only the top three to the main each night. “It’s a different layout, the way they have the 250's and 450's combined,” explained Nasakaitis. “They only take the top three from each qualifier, and with guys like Byrne and Reed and Langston out there it’s really hard to make the main. All the big tickets are there. And it’s a little more difficult with the open-class format for the 250F guys, and they all had to go to the semi. In most of the semis and last chances Tyler was the second or third fastest 250 rider. It was more of an Arenacross style track, so tight and narrow that if you didn’t get a good start you couldn’t really go anywhere else.” For Medaglia, that meant he faced very difficult challenge…especially for a first date. “It was tricky, because there were only 15 spots on the gate and the outside gates were aimed right at a berm,” he explains. “It was open too, 450s and 250Fs all together, so it was tough to get a really good start. We did a lot of racing, and I did get some really good starts but also some bad ones. You had to pretty much win your qualifiers to get in, and to win you pretty much had to get the holeshot.”

For team Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar, the MGM Grand was a testing ground worth its weight in gold. “It was awesome, and I am really proud of Tyler and how he rode and handled himself,” says Nasakaitis. “He has adapted to the new bike so quickly, I mean he probably hasn’t had two weeks with the A-kit suspension, and has had to go from basically off-the-shelf stuff to this and to do so well in such a short amount of time was great. I wanted to see him get progressively faster and not get hurt, and he did both of those things in Vegas.”

The U.S Open was as much an introduction to the motorcycle industry for the fledgling team as it was a race. Nasakaitis says “It’s just an exhibition race, and we really just wanted to get the truck and team out there and be seen. Everyone seemed really positive and excited about our new team.” The U.S open was a great start for team Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar and a great experience for Medaglia. “Sunday night after the races we went out and checked out Vegas,” said the thrilled Canadian rider.

“We went on the roller coasters and stuff and it was really fun, but the highlight was my riding. Getting my feet wet. And lining up beside Chad Reed…Vegas was definitely cool!”

Helping Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar make their mark were team sponsors Rockstar, RG3 suspension, Troy Lee Designs, Suzuki Genuine Accessories and Crew Wear, American Suzuki, Millsaps Training Facility, Beef O'Bradys, PR2, Hindle, Alpinestars, Twin Air, Millsaps training facility, Pirelli, Hindle, Braking and CV4. The team starts their assault on the Supercross Lites East series at Atlanta, GA, February 23. “I’m really looking forward to Atlanta,” says Medaglia. “I’ve been working really hard on the 250F, and I feel really good riding Supercross plus my fitness level gets better every day. The new team is awesome, everyone is so nice and supportive, my bike is perfect, and Josh Woods is a big help giving me pointers. I know I can do well at that race.”

For more information on team Suzuki City OTSFF Rockstar, please contact:
Michael Nasakaitis
Suzuki City Inc, Biloxi, MS