Tuesday is going to be a big day here in America. For the first time in eight years, and the only second time in sixteen years, we will elect a new president. With all that’s going on in the world right now, from war in the Middle East to economic turmoil; from the rise of rival super-powers like China, Russia and the European Union to the global oil shortages; from Supreme Court appointments to the environment, there’s a lot to take into account when you step in the voting booth, draw the curtain and start going over your choices. There’s no way in the world I am going to tell anyone how to vote, but I do think it’s every citizen’s duty to do just that: Vote. Otherwise, you will have lost your right to complain about how anything turns out beginning on Wednesday morning…
And today is an even bigger day if you’re under the age of 18—and still pretty big for kids of any age who like to dress up and have fun. It’s Halloween, which in a college town like Morgantown, West Virginia, means a full week of seeing seriously funny costumes or a bunch of cute coeds march up and down High Street, going from party to party dressed like they’re trying out for a Victoria’s Secret catalog. Good times….. I usually dress as Evel Knievel, but this year I’m taping a fishing hook on the stump of a my missing left index finger and going as an angry mini-pirate.
Looking ahead to next weekend in Paris, it’s another France vs. USA showdown, and I’m liking our chances. The U.S. lineup includes (for the first time ever in France) James Stewart, the veteran Kevin Windham, new JGR Yamaha rider Josh Grant, MDK KTM’s Justin Brayton, newly-signed-to-a-Suzuki-support-ride Matt Georke, and Daytona podium finisher Jacob Marsack.
The French team will be led by all-time King of Bercy David Vuillemin, Ben Coisy, Steve Boniface, another JGR Yamaha rider in Eric Sorby, Nico Aubin, Marvyn Musquin, and the top two French riders from a qualifying program. Simon Cudby and myself will be on the scene for some updates both here and for our friends over at VitalMX.com (hey, we covered it for Steve Cox’s magazine last time over).
And speaking of Vuillemin, he’s been working out on his new Kawasaki, getting ready for the Paris-Bercy Supercross and the 2009 FIM World Championships, where he’s going after one of the titles I truly believe he left on the table when he moved to the U.S. in 2000 and spent the next nine seasons here. DV12 made the cover of MX Magazine this week, and he’s updating everyone on his pre-season training on his blog.
Best of luck goes out to Boo, known to his family as Jarrod Suber, on getting married tomorrow in Florida. Boo is a lifelong friend of Ricky Carmichael’s, whose motor coach he used to drive, and the current Parts Unlimited brand manager for Pro Circuit and Renthal. Best of luck, Boo.
Carlos Aguirre was out at Perris this week when a whole slew of top riders showed up to practice, including Team Yamaha’s Grant Langston, who has been working and waiting to see if his eye will ever heal up to the point where he can race motocross again.
Now here’s David Pingree:
Okay, here’s the deal with the Yamaha of Troy race team. They are not going to have Yamaha support in 2009. They will be the YOT, Boost Mobile, Monster Energy, AM/PM team with Jason Lawrenceand Nick Weyas the riders. Lawrence has done a Fox gear deal, while Nick will likely stay with his longtime sponsor, MSR. Supposedly, the bikes will be all black with big Monster Energy logos. That’s a good thing, because you just don’t see enough Monster Energy logos at the races these days, you know? Anyway, it sounds like it will be a pretty cool deal and I’m stoked the YOT guys will be around again this year. In the current economic climate, that is a major commitment from those guys and I applaud them for it.
Advil sales are going to skyrocket in the San Bernardino area this weekend as the MTA World Vet Championships get underway. The national track is being turned around and run backward, which should make for a challenging course. The weather is supposed to be great and as long as the Ibuprofen, coffee, and enlarged prostate meds hold out, the racing should be terrific. I’m having my first go at the 30 Plus pro class, which always seems like a very competitive division. Should be fun.
The Racer X Tested crew got some help from former national motocross champion Micky Dymond this week to break down the 450 motocross machines. Micky still has the same style he did when he was winning motocross races, and judging by how many laps he rode around the Milestone facility this week, he is just as good of shape. Stay tuned for those results… they just might surprise you.
Andrew Shortis doing some racing in Japan. He was brought over to race the 2009 Honda 450 for the very first time and he told me that there is plenty of pressure to win.
“The Japanese are very proud of this new bike and it means a lot to them for the bike to have a successful debut,” he said. “I went over last year and did this race but there seems to be a lot more pressure this year with the new bike. Making it even gnarlier is the fact that Kawasaki is debuting their new bike as well, and they have Pourcel coming over to ride that. I know that dude hauls, so I’m going to have to bring my A game.”
He left last week and I haven’t heard from the guy. If anyone in Japan sees a stocky, 25-year-old toe-head packed into a commuter train and looking lost, please direct him to the airport. His name is Andrew-san. Arigato.
That’s it from Ping, who will be glad to know that Shorty ended up taking both motos from Sebastien Pourcel, the French GP star and upset winner of the last moto at the MXoN after James Stewart’s crash, over at the All-Japan GP or whatever it’s called.
While on the subject of Japan, I’m going to hand off to Jason Weigandt.
This weekend, the Japanese off-road scene wraps its season with the AAGP, the finale of the JNCC (Japan National Cross Country) Series. GNCC Racers Nathan Kanney and Thad DuVall are headed there to compete, hoping to follow in the footsteps of Paul Whibley and Charlie Mullins, who won the ‘06 and ‘07 AAGP events, respectively.
Racer X also sent Jason Hooper over there with the boys to shoot photos and video. Look for some blog posts from Japan from Hoops.
I went to the JNCC last year and met an American racer named Keith Krohn. Keith is from Colorado but found work in the computer industry in the Land of the Rising Sun. He still races every weekend and follows the American moto scene by reading Racerhead. So when Andrew Shortshowed up to race over there last weekend, Keith was pumped! He sent over this photo of he and Shorty, and another of Short signing autographs for some Japanese fans.
By the way, Kanney won the GNCC finale in Indiana over the weekend, and David Knight finished 49th overall out of 230 in the afternoon ATV race (another 500 raced ATVs in the morning). Knight beat all the B riders overall! Not bad. Be sure to check out our Monday Conversation with the Knighter to find out how it went.
Now, turning this over to Steve Cox:
Just a couple of days after we did an interview with Jagermeister MDK/KTM’s Steve Lamson about his new riders, one of them has come up injured, as Travis Prestonhurt his hand in a crash at the supercross track when the chain came off of his new mount…. Only a few days into their relationship, the once-happy couple (Travis and his KTM) are already fighting. The good news is that he should be healed up in plenty of time for Anaheim 1.
Another guy fresh to the IR list is GEICO Powersports Honda’s Dan Reardon. Reardon has been on Chad Reed’s schedule, racing in Australia on a CRF450R in Reed’s SX series. Unfortunately, at the last round, he tangled with another rider in midair and went down, injuring his shoulder. We don’t know any more than that, though, about the severity of the injury or the time he may be out at this time. (By the way, we’ve been checking out the videos posted online from Chad’s series in Australia, and it continues to look very impressive. You can see for yourself here.)
At least one rider is about to be returning from injury, though, in Trey Canard. Canard broke his femur at Washougal in late July and has been out ever since, but it sounds like he will be back on a bike in the next few days or so.
Our friend Will Topete caught a couple of French riders driving down the freeway in California and followed them to a supercross track. The riders were Steve Bonifaceand Chrisophe Pourcel, and he reported that Pourcel looked really, really fast.
Tonight, I’m heading to the Monsters of Motocross Halloween event at San Bernardino’s California Theatre. If you are in the area, you should head there too, as on hand will be lots of cherry vintage motocross bikes, legendary riders like Bob Hannah, Brad Lackey, Donnie Hansen, Danny LaPorte, and Mike Bell, and the highlight will be Hannah’s tribute to “Bad” Brad. The doors open at 5:30 p.m., showtime is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 each (or two for $40). All proceeds go to a great cause: to benefit the Reeve-Irvine Spinal Cord Injury Research Center.
Now here’s Steve Matthes:
Over at Motocrossactionmag.com, they've posted the upcoming rule changes for the 2009 SX season. The long-rumored 250Fs in the 450 class has finally come to see the light. The jury is still out if that will work out or not, but what I found interesting is that the provisional rule is being taken out. If you read my columns, you’ll know that I’m in total agreement with this. I’ve always thought it was a silly rule (although without it, Chad Reedwould have had trouble winning the SX title last year), and I’m glad they changed it. This isn’t NASCAR—you have to make the main event on merit, not just because you’re in the points. Kudos to the AMA, Feld Entertainment, and whoever else for changing this silly rule. Now if someone can just succeed in getting 250cc two-strokes in the 250 class, I would be even happier…
Also, don’t forget, time is running out to bid on a James StewartMXoN Jersey on eBay, plus you can own one of Tim Ferry’s custom helmets he used this summer. All proceeds go to the Blair Morgan Recovery fund. Let’s bid on some cool stuff and help out a Canadian hero at the same time. Thanks to the WMXF, and just search “Blair Morgan” for all the items. There will be more added next Monday, like a Rockwell watch, signed Wey gear, signed Reed gear, and more.
With more words from Canada, next up is Danny Brault.
Happy Halloween, everyone! That’s right, we even celebrate the holiday way up here in the Great White North. Hopefully, this holiday rush creates a spike in our economy, but even if it does, it will surely plummet quicker than a trick-or-treater’s insulin level. So what is everybody dressing up as this year? I don’t normally take Halloween too seriously, but the girlfriend sure enjoys it, so I’m sucking it up and participating. My outfit? Charles Lee Ray, better known as “Chucky.”
Colton Facciotti and Kyle Beaton both had an impressive night at the Sheffield SX in England last Saturday evening. Blackfoot Yamaha’s Facciotti had a tough go in the SX2 final, going down early in the race with a few other riders. The Canadian champ rebounded in the SX1 final, however, taking the win over Heath Voss, Jeff Alessiand Mike Brown. Little “Beets” night started off rough as well, blowing up his YZ250F four laps into practice and then getting cleaned out by a South African rider in his qualifier. Beaton says he didn’t have a great start in the SX2 final, but worked his way up to third, just behind Great Britain’s Tommy Searle.
The West Coast duo will now begin preparing for battle at the first round of the Canadian Arenacross Championships in Chilliwack, BC, on November 7-8. Other pros set to line up include Leading Edge Kawasaki’s Teddy Maier and Brock Hoyer and KTM’s Ryan Lockhart. Word has it that the “King” Jean-Sébastien Roy is racing the second round on November 11-12, too. Check out www.arenacross.ca for more info.
Brady Sheren is no longer struggling to in the shower or bathroom, as the Surrey, BC, rider cut off his cast last Saturday night. Sheren had broken his right radius back on September 19 at the Montreal Supercross. He will be back with the Fun Center Suzuki team for the West Coast SX series. “It wasn’t easy putting together a deal, considering all of the teams that are dropping out,” says Sheren. “Last year went okay, despite only having a month to prepare after getting hurt. I made one main event, but this year, I have an extra month to prepare and I will be working with Donnie Hansen again.”
Sheren says supercross freshman Cole Seely and Michael Lapaglia are also on the team. “It’s probably one of the best teams I’ve ever ridden for,” he adds.” They’re so organized, there’s no drama and everyone gets along really well.” Travis McKnight will once again man the wrench of Sheren’s #611 RM-Z250. Sheren should be back on the bike shortly, and plans to race the second round of the BC AX series.
In silly-season gossip, three-time Canadian champ Dusty Klatt is currently reviewing two offers from Blackfoot Yamaha and Suzuki OTSFF. My prediction is that he returns to Blackfoot. He meshes well with team staff, won three championships there, and their Calgary based shop is located much closer to his BC home than OTSFF’s HQ in Toronto. No matter who Klatt signs with, 2009 is going to be an interesting year regardless, with Facciotti, Klatt, Medaglia and Keast, and Paul Carpenterand Bobby Kinirycoming up with Cernic’s Kawasaki. Who will be the first to record a second Canadian MX1 title: Facciotti, Klatt, or Carpenter? Or will we see a new champ? I can’t wait!
If you’re a fan of the old school and love seeing vintage collections and retro photos and video clips, check out Scott Steger’s www.vintagefactory.com. Scott used to be involved with the site www.redracer.com but now makes this the home of all of his cool 1970s’ Team Honda stuff.
Famous former MX promoter Bill West forwarded this link of an amazing collection of photos depicting the early years of off-road riding in Southern CA.
Racer X contributor Shayne Rice, who is based in the motocross hotbed of New Zealand, has launched a new site. Shayne’s a photographer and is always on the case down there so if you want to keep an eye on NZ during what is their summer coming up, check out www.holeshot.co.nz.
This weekend would be a good one to keep an eye on New Zealand, as the big Taupo International MX takes place. This year’s race will include Grand Prix star Josh Coppins, the journeyman American hero Mike Brown, plus GP regulars Billy Mackenzie (England) and Gareth Swanepoel (South Africa). Ben Townley will not be racing, but he will likely be there to visit old friends and enjoy his old stomping grounds.
Swedish Champion Thorleif Hansen recently turned 60 and plans to race at this weekend’s Vet World Championship at Glen Helen. Thorleif was, in the words of mentor and former World Champion Torsten Hallman, “The fastest man never to win a world title in our era.” Hey, maybe he’ll win that title that has eluded him for so long. Here’s a shot of Thorleif crashing the gate at Elkhorn Wisconsin in 1972
Wings For Life boss (and 1984-’85 250cc MX World Champion) Heinz Kinigadner sent us the following note earlier today:
“David Coulthard will race his last F1 race in Sao Paolo for Wings for Life. With this action he wants to say ‘thank you’ because many times in his career it was a question of luck, which around 2.7 million people didn’t have. His car is completely Wings for Life designed. Therefore, watch the race on Sunday!”
Yes sir, Heinz! For more information (or to donate to help find a cure for spinal column injuries), visit www.wingsforlife.com.
Congratulations to former factory Suzuki rider Ryan Huffman and his wife, Tavi-Marie (formerly Weeck), on the baby girl they found out they are having. Tavi sent a photo over of the most recent ultrasound. Here’s wishing the whole Huffman family could luck on the journey they are on.
Want to add some limited-edition art to your moto collection? Here’s your chance: Racer X Brand will be selling nine pieces of Rob Kinsey’s limited-edition prints this fall. Check out www.racerxbrand.com and start your Christmas shopping early. You can also pick up Racer X casualwear for 25 percent off right now, so hurry up!
Finally, Simon Cragg was out and about with his wife, Claire, “doing a spot of Sunday night karaoke” and saw that Racer X was on the song sheet! “I knew you guys liked the karaoke but never knew you’d already made it into the recording studio!” joked Simon. Of course this was the eighties’ “hair metal” band, which may have changed its named to King’s X somewhere down the line…
Prepress manager David Brozik had this to say: "Not many cool kids know of Racer X (the band), but many DO recognize one of the other bands that the Racer X guitarist was in—Mr. Big. 'To Be With You' is a karaoke staple among the read-and-sing populous. The catchy, cartoonish cadence is easy to drone along to while swiggin’ swill. The problem with this song is that it doesn’t showcase Paul Gilbert’s ultra-fast, super-flashy axemanship. This is just some useless info I picked up in between motos. Oh, BTW, King’s X is an overblown band only mentioned by pretentious metal-nerds. They don’t even register on the cool-kid meter."
That’s it. Enjoy a safe and fun Halloween, and don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. Thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races.