It’s been a hectic week here in Morgantown. First, there was the weekend-long Red Bull United States MotoGP at Indianapolis Motor Speedway—a fantastic event until Hurricane Ike ended it too early with Sunday’s storm. There was also an amazing Indy Mile race the night before that was the single best dirt track event I have ever attended (more on that later). Then there was a busy NPG meeting where all of the top AMA Motocross promoters in the U.S. came to town to talk shop, trade ideas, and work on a blueprint to take the series into the future.
Meanwhile, some of the Racer Xers were down at Sam Gammon’s Muddy Creek Raceway in Tennessee for the new Kawasaki KX450F intro, Steve Cox was already flying off to England to get an early start on the Motocross of Nations, and Wes Williams is right behind him.
And speaking of the Red Bull Motocross of Nations, you can watch it live next weekend with a $9.99 subscription to Media Zone. Watch the race live on your computer and cheer for Team USA, or the Australians, the French - whoever!
went out to the Suzuki track this week to watch some testing. Team Australia’s Chad Reed and Michael Byrne were putting in the laps under the eye of Team USA manager Roger DeCoster (who is actually from Belgium). Future Team USA member Ryan Dungey was also there…. Confused yet? That’s what makes the MXoN so interesting. Anyway, Simon shot a film of Reedy that can be viewed here at www.racerxonline.com. Chad also indicated that he would be running “two-two” on his bike for the upcoming SX season.
Upon hearing that, Steve Matthes (also headed for England) had some other number news: It looks like Ryan “Dungey-Time” Dungey has chosen the #10 for his permanent number in 2009.
Okay, back to Indy: Last Saturday night I went to a downright cool event, the Indy Mile at the Indianapolis State Fairgrounds. The place was pretty much overwhelmed with energy and excitement, not to mention motorcycle racing fans, as a last-minute surge of spectators was too much for the system. The dirt trackers have probably never seen a crowd like the one gathered outside the venue, let alone inside! A couple thousand folks were jammed up against the ticket and will-call windows, trying to get in before they threw the green flag; many we still there in the queue at halftime!
A bunch of us stood on the inside of the first turn, bumming cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon from the tailgaters on the infield. “King” Kenny Roberts was down there, and so was his old rival Gary Nixon. Our friends from Hardcard—Andy Leisner and his wife, Dierdre, John Farris and one of his boys, and Scott Hollingsworth and his son—were also down there, along with some HRC technicians, old-schoolers like Don Emde and Norm Dewitt, Cycle World’s Larry Little and just a bunch of folks having fun. They were watching the guys slide by at 100-plus mph, enjoying the rush and the packed bleachers that dirt track so rarely sees. A man named Robin Miller wrote an excellent piece about the evening for SpeedTV.com called “A Reminder of Why We Love Racing.”
Ryan Villopoto has been back on the track getting ready for his final race on a 250F: the 2008 MxoN. His post-season vacation to the Atlantis Resort in the Bahamas was cut short when a hurricane blew through and he was basically booted off the island. He and his lady friend Kristen finished up their vacation time in Cancun (nice consolation prize!).
But now it’s back to business. One of the many traits that Ryan shares with Ricky Carmichael is that when he has a bad race, you can bet your sweet hiney that he is bringing his A-game to the next event. After the way Steel City went for Ryan, I’m thinking he might embarrass some 450 riders at the MXoN—again. Villopoto is in Dallas right now for the annual Kawasaki dealer show, and he leaves straight from there for England.
Speaking of England, I like our chances with James Stewart and Tim Ferry too. Those guys are pretty good. Maybe we should just save everybody some time and money and send Bevo to England? We’ll dress him up in a stars-and-stripes costume, have him kick all the other riders in the nuts, grab the Chamberlain Trophy, and get back on a plane headed home before you can say “four in a row.” I’m just throwing that out there. But maybe I’m just being overly patriotic. I think our guys have a good chance of winning - that’s all I’m saying. If it rains, well, all bets are off.
Out in California, the test tracks are already busy as riders start to prepare for the Rockstar Energy U.S. Open, which is sneaking up on us. Three weeks goes by in a hurry, and it sounds like there’s going to be some good racing in Las Vegas. The lineup looks stacked, with most of the major players taking part and more than a few younger riders looking to mix it up.
I’m hearing good things about Justin Brayton right now. He will be on a 450 in Vegas, and if you saw him ride that thing at the X Games, then you know he is more than capable. Actually, we have a Racer X Films video of him preparing right here.
Dan Reardon is also rumored to be hauling the groceries. And from what I understand, he might even be on a 450 full-time next year. Apparently, Factory Connection is waiting for an answer from a major sponsor, and depending on which way that goes, he could be done with the Lites class. Remember, this guy has a couple 450 titles in Australia to his credit, so he would be comfortable immediately.
Ryan Villopoto? And how motivated will Ryan be knowing that he has to race Reedy and Bubbles? I know this is starting to sound like an Andy Bowyer Rev-Up column, but next year is going to be great. THE STORM IS COMING! Days of Thunder! Just say no to restrictor plates!
That’s it from Ping. Please don’t forget to tip your waitresses.
Danny Brault was with Racer X Canada, and now he’s with us. But he’s still in Canada, so here’s his report:
For those of you who can’t make it to the 31st Parts Canada Montreal Supercross tomorrow, you can still listen to the action live here. For the first time ever at Montreal, the promoters are offering a free live audio webcast from the event (with a huge thanks to Chris Haddad!). This is something very similar to the program run at AMA SX and MX races. The show kicks off at 7 p.m. with myself and Ryan Gauld taking you through all of the autocross, ATV, freestyle, and, of course, SX action in Olympic Stadium. Special guests will be brought in throughout the evening, and listeners also enjoy a chat forum and interaction with the hosts.
This is the final major pro race for five-time Canadian champ Jean-Sebastien Roy. Can he hold off the charge of young Canucks Colton Facciotti and Tyler Medaglia and Americans Ryan Clark and Jason Thomas? Tune in to find out!
Okay, this video has nothing to do with motocross, but man is it good.
Now here’s Steve Matthes:
Silly season is still going on, folks - it's just the big fish are all hooked and ready to perform come Anaheim 1. We learned this week that one fish, Brett Metcalfe, was actually jumping into another pond. He seemed to prefer the red water of the GEICO pond after initially agreeing to stay in the green pond. Maybe the FC guys were mad that the PC guys snatched Jake Weimer from them….
Okay, I'll stop talking like a weirdo now and just run down the teams as far as we know. If you want to read about what I think about the whole Metcalfe thing (and who doesn't?) check this out.
We know Monster Energy Kawasaki will have Ryan Villopoto and Tim Ferry, and Honda Red Bull Racing will have Ben Townley, Andrew Short, Ivan Tedesco, and Davi Millsaps. Yamaha will have Josh Hill and probably Broc Hepler, with Grant Langston holding up hope he can ride.
Rockstar/Makita Suzuki will have Chad Reed, Mike Alessi, Michael Byrne, Ryan Dungey, and Nico Izzi, and KTM will have Wil Hahn, Martin Davalos, Ryan Sipes, Justin Brayton, and Tommy "Gun" Searle (for the outdoors only).
GEICO Honda will have Dan Reardon, Trey Canard, Blake Wharton, Brett Metcalfe, and maybe another 450 guy to join Kevin Windham—if he’s still there. Justin Barcia will join the team for the outdoors. They appear to also be lining up Eli Tomac for 2010 and beyond.
Yamaha of Troy/Star Racing Yamaha has only Jason Lawrence signed but are talking to Matt Lemoine and Darryn Durham as well. Motosport/Xtreme Kawasaki has Tommy Hahn, P.J. Larsen, Kyle Cunningham and Hunter Hewitt.
Things should be falling into place for the teams such as Moto XXX, BBMX, Wonder Warthog, and others right about now. We'll keep following the signings as they happen.
Wait! This just in! Team Brawndo/MB1/Solitaire has signed Ryan Clark to ride for them next year. The talks were tough - the owner of the team played hardball - but in the end, Ryan will ride there next year. See? Told you we would keep you guys up on things.
The Road 2 Recovery Foundation's Anita Button sent us this note:
The Doug Henry FZ1 Yamaha auction just ended and the lucky winner was Bob Briggs from Alta Loma, CA. The winning bid was $19,550.00.Thanks to Bob Starr & Keith McCarty with Yamaha Motor Corp; Chuck Graves with Graves Motorsports and Mike Buckley with Dunlop Tires for making this auction possible by their generous contributions. And of course a big thanks to Sheryl Briggs. She’s getting an incredible bike for one of our sport's greatest heroes.
That’s it for Racerhead. I want to thank all of my friends from Colorado—Scott Lalonde, David Clabaugh, Mork & Mindy—for not beating me up too badly after last night’s Colorado-over-WVU game. Oh well, at least we’ve got Team USA coming up next.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races.