Racerhead #18


Welcome to Racerhead, which is coming to you live (sorta) from the press box of Sam Boyd Stadium. Steve Cox is to my left, Guy “404” B. is to my right, waiting for the East and West Lites champs and Chad Reed to go do some laps on the course below us. We are also waiting to see James Stewart, so we might be here for a while….

In what will likely be the second-to-last chapter in what’s been a wonderful season of supercross drama, Monster Energy Supercross Series points leader Stewart did not show up for the press conference, much the puzzlement (and outrage, in some cases) of the local media, the competition, and the series promoters. Stewart apparently decided not to do any pre-race media so he can focus on the championship at hand.

  • Chad Reed and Roger D.
Obviously, there were people who wanted to hear more of his take on what happened last week with Kyle Chisholm, as well as how he was going to approach the last round of the championship. Chad Reed did show, which led one local newspaper reporter to start the questioning with “I want to thank you and the other riders for showing our readers respect by showing up today. It’s a shame that not every pro athlete feels that way.”

To read about the whole press conference, check out Cox’s report that was posted earlier.

Tomorrow night’s race will air live on Speed TV, beginning at 7 p.m. here in the West, 10 p.m. back East. I’m not sure how things will play out, but the tension is as high as I’ve seen at a final race since Damon Bradshaw and Jeff Stanton dueled it out in riot-battered Los Angeles in July of 1992.

Here’s something to add to the plot: Guy B. just told me he ran into Mike Alessi and asked him what was going on last weekend, when he didn’t qualify, and he explained that his girlfriend Danielle’s grandfather had passed away, and they were very close, so he was off his game. He also said of the question on everyone’s mind, “I’m not helping Chad, I’m not helping James, I’m not helping anyone. I have spent the last three or four years trying to clean up my reputation after the Tedesco thing!” he said, referring to his forever-regrettable actions of Glen Helen ’05.

Speaking of Glen Helen, on the way out to Vegas, Simon Cudby and I stopped off at Glen Helen just to get a look at what was in store for everyone three weeks from now when the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship begin there. It was a little after 3 p.m. and there were maybe fifteen riders there, some on 60s, some on very fast 250Fs. Simon mentioned to me that most of the top guys show up in the morning on Thursdays and do their riding when the track is fully groomed.

By the time we got up to the fence, I realized who the two very fast 250F riders were: Tyla Rattray and Tommy Searle. The two newcomers to the AMA Motocross tour were doing their homework, riding motos on what was by then a completely baked and choppy track.

  • Tommy Searle
  • Tyla Rattray
“He came out and did a couple 15-minute warm-ups, then a 40-minute moto, and now he’s doing a bunch of three-lap sprints,” Jim “Bones” Bacon told me when we asked him how Tyla goes about days like this. “When we’re out there testing, he’s out there all day.”

Rattray, like Searle, sat out the AMA Supercross tour, electing to focus on his specialty this first year in America, then learn SX in the fall and have some momentum and living experience here. Both Tyla and Tommy can probably tell you now that there’s a really big difference between living in Southern California and, say, Belgium. They would also likely tell you that the riders on the GP circuit are more close-knit than the ones here are lately.

Mitch Payton was also there, watching Tyla closely, taking splits on his iPhone. I asked him if there were any plans for Rattray to come east or stay east during the summer and ride some of the national tracks he’s never been to.

“I really don’t think it matters to him,” said Mitch as Tyla absolutely blew past us on the rough straight just after the finish line. “When Ricky turned pro, he rode a lot of tracks he’d never been on and it didn’t affect him one bit. Same goes for Ryan [Villopoto]. I think both of these guys will do just fine,” he said, signaling over to Searle, who was pitted in his own pickup truck right next to the Pro Circuit box van.

As we sat there, a guy on a Honda came over the jump in front of us, elbows up, perfect form, hit the corner and totally worked the berm … and then looked over his shoulder to where Mitch sat, checking to see if the power broker was watching. I asked Mitch if people did that a lot—suddenly go faster when they were in front of him.

“Happens all the time,” he laughed. “But what’s funny is when people call later and say, ‘Hey, did you see how fast my kid was going out there?’ or an agent calls and says, ‘I hope you saw Little Bobby passing your guys out there at Glen Helen today.’ I just laugh and say, ‘How could I have missed him?!’”

I got to speak to both Tommy and Tyla before we left and they looked like they were doing well, working hard, and going really, really fast!

Wow, watching the guys ride down below here in Las Vegas, Christophe Pourcel’s bike either broke down or he crashed, as he’s walking off the infield while his mechanic pushes the bike back to the pits. What is it about press day at Vegas and Lites champs always going down?

  • Greg P. and Johnny O.
Johnny O'Hannah went out to the Nellis Air Force Base with a couple of friends yesterday: Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, Roger DeCoster, Greg Primm and Stephan Legrand. There’s some extremely cool stuff out there, as you can see by these pics!

Guy B. also just me some cool pics of the bikes down in the pits, including some funky numbering on Chris Pourcel’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki. Check it out.

He also told me Pourcel did not crash—rather, he broke a chain. What is it about Pro Circuit and bad luck in Las Vegas? They haven’t won the East-West Shootout since 1999!

Anyway, I wasn’t at Salt Lake City, but I will say this: I think Kyle Chisholm is a really nice kid who showed a serious lapse of judgment. I feel bad for him, but if I were his team manager, I probably would have fired him. The fact that he wasn’t let go is as puzzling to me as what he did on Saturday night. I know that’s harsh, but that’s just how I see it. It affected the way people will view a championship otherwise won straight-up by his teammate, if it works out that way, and that is not something any team should tolerate.

Today is the day that CPSC Chairwoman Nancy Nord and Commissioner Thomas Moore are scheduled to vote on whether to delay enforcement of a lead law that currently bans the sale of youth-model motorcycles and ATVs, the AMA reported. Specific details of the ballot have not yet been released. The two commissioners voted earlier this month to deny a petition to exclude youth-model motorcycles and ATVs from the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). However, the commissioners indicated their desire to enact a stay of enforcement that would give the motorcycle industry and Congress time to pass legislation exempting these vehicles from the law as it is currently written.

  • Nathan Ramsey was at work early to help out the local news crews.
  • Check out the T-shirt the Thor guys made up in honor of Simon Cudby's surviving a trip to Mexico this week.
“The effect of denying the petition is to make Section 101(e) of the CPSIA, which limits the commission’s authority to stay enforcement during rulemaking, no longer applicable,” said Nord on April 3 in her statement on the request for exclusion from lead content limits of the CPSIA of 2008. “Therefore, during the pendency of a stay of enforcement, ATVs and motorized bikes appropriately sized for children 12 and younger can again be available and the Commission will not seek penalties for violation of Section 101 and related provisions of the CPSIA against those who sell them. I hope that the state attorneys general will follow the lead of the agency on this matter.”

The stay is not the end-all, but it’s temporary relief, and our whole industry needs that desperately right now.

Life with Twitter…. That’s something that more and more athletes and celebrities, politicians, businessman, and plain-old serial communicators are doing: offering their innermost thoughts and feelings—and some simply boring, short blips about themselves—at a maximum rate of 144 characters at a time. James Stewart is one of those people, and he’s been offering up a lot of insight on how things went down in Salt Lake City. Here are a few excerpts from Bubba himself (and pardon the grammar—that’s what happens when you Twitter on the go):

“Hey every1 I’m still at the track believe it or not. Goodnight for sure. Thank u for your support. Man chad tried putting me in row f today.”

“Just got back to the hotel. You guys know that I had nothing to do with kyles deal. I’ve beaten chad all year and I don’t need help.”

“Wait til u see it on t.v tmrw because if Kyle did try to take him out( which Kyle wouldn’t hit anyone) it was the worst attemp in the world.”

  • Erin Normoyle lost a fight with the ground
  • J-Law sits 20th in both the 250 and 450 classes, but he's riding a 110 (160) this weekend.
“I couldn’t sleep at night if I had anything to do with that. I have pride and I believe in doing things the rite way. Night nite.”

That’s good stuff, straight from the well!

With Jason Lawrence and Ashley Fiolek both on the starting gate, tonight’s MiniMoto SX boasts some real star power! Here’s the bike J-Law hopes to win on. One person likely out for the MiniMoto SX is Miss Motocross herself, Erin Normoyle, who dislocated her elbow practicing for the event. She’s hurtin’, but she still looks pretty good!

The White Bros. Four-Stroke World Championships took place at Glen Helen over the weekend, serving as an unofficial preview to the upcoming opening round of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Check out the report on MXA.

Austin Stroupe was the fastest man out there, beating the likes of British KTM imports Max Anstie (who will turn pro for GH) and Tommy Searle, Star Racing’s Broc Tickle and Matt Lemoine, GEICO Powersports Honda’s Blake Wharton, as well as top amateur prospects like Dean Wilson, Winston Peick, Travis Baker and Blake Baggett.

They also ran the track counter-clockwise and added some razzle-dazzle here and there, as Jody Weisel has begun to shape Glen Helen for its leadoff spot on the summer tour. Looks like it’s going to be as rough and challenging—and spectacular—as always.

Check out this video of Justin Barcia training at MTF.

It’s never too early to start looking forward to summer, and if you live in the Lone Star State, Oklahoma, or anywhere in that part of the country, it’s time to start planning to be at the Freestone National in Wortham, Texas, on the weekend of June 5-7. Tickets are now on sale for Round 3 (June 6) of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Freestone County Raceway. Go to www.FreestoneMX.com to make your plans today to attend. A lot of changes are in store for 2009, so please read below to get yourself up to speed.

The Freestone National will host three days of racing. The biggest change is the national itself: Every national round of the AMA Motocross Championship will host practice, qualifying and the full motos for all classes on Saturday. The AMA Amateur Day event will now be all in one day on Sunday (June 7). For the Freestone national weekend, the gates open on Friday (June 5) at noon for campers. That same night will be the finale of the 10th Annual North Texas Night Series and Round 2 of the Big Texas Summer Series. Then on Saturday the Pros hit the track. The gates will open on Saturday at 7 a.m. with the Pit Party starting at 9 a.m. Once practice and qualifying are complete, opening ceremonies will start at 12:30 p.m. with the first moto’s beginning at 1 p.m. Returning in 2009 will be the Pro women, which means a rematch of Ashley Fiolek vs. Jessica Patterson, which many called last summer’s “race of the year!” The amateurs will complete the weekend on the same national track on Sunday, June 7 for the AMA Amateur Day.

  • The AMA has partnered with Google Books
For you motocross history buffs: The AMA has partnered with Google Books to have their entire collection of back issues scanned and available for viewing. Racer X Publisher Scott Wallenberg did a quick look through and found an incredible article on the 1970 Trans-AMA Series with great photos.

Here’s another fascinating account of the opening round of the precursor to our AMA National Motocross Series, the Summer Inter-AM of 1972, held in Boise, Idaho, and won by Gary Jones.

Let me hand it off here to the rest of the guys, starting with Ping:

I stayed an extra day in Salt Lake City and went skiing with a few buddies at Snowbird Ski Resort. Andy Bell, Tyler Keefe and a few others were in our crew and we bumped into some of the Cernic’s Kawasaki gang as well. It was a good time. Even though the bikes ran like crap in the SLC elevation, the mid-winter ski conditions were enough to get my vote for a return to Utah. See you next year.

I got this from a friend this week:

Do you remember when Mike Brown won his 125 MX title in 2001? He was battling KTM rider Grant Langston at the time and the points were close all the way to the end. At one of the final rounds the KTM team manager gave team orders for all KTM riders to take out Mike Brown if given the chance. Steve Boniface actually sat out a round because he refused to follow those orders. They literally took the wheels off his bike.

Follow me here. In 2005, Ivan Tedesco won the 250F MX championship but not before a strange debacle with Mike Alessi at the final round. That’s where Alessi almost blew Ivan out of his boots in a corner and then proceeded to stand on his bike so he couldn’t get going.

Last weekend Kyle Chisholm pulled a move that was totally out of character for the once-thought-of-as-friendly Floridian. Regardless of what any press releases say, Kyle was rolling around the track and then jumped in right behind James as he went by, cutting Chad Reed off and forcing him to the outside of the track. Then he rocketed down the next section and almost punted Chad off the track. It was obvious what was going on. It was very obvious.

The common denominator from all those seasons? Larry Brooks was the team manager for each of the offending riders. Maybe Kyle isn’t the one that deserves the fine.

Here’s one viewer’s take on last weekend’s incident.

That is definitely an interesting point. I think Larry is a great guy, and I know he is very passionate about winning races and championships. I don’t know what he tells his guys behind closed doors and we will probably never know what was said. One thing is for sure, though: Kyle looks like an idiot after what he did last weekend. I don’t care whose teammate you are, you don’t get in the middle of a title fight like that. The most telling piece of evidence here, and I haven’t seen a photo of it yet, is Kyle’s pit board that allegedly said “Good job” the lap after the incident. I didn’t see it, but I’ve spoken to several people who did. Again, if a photo of that surfaces, it will be very telling.

Dan Reardon isn’t racing this weekend in Las Vegas. The GEICO Honda team hasn’t been “super pumped” on his results lately, so they parked him for the finale. Dan will be on a 450 outdoors, and he is flying. Look for Reardo to turn things around starting at Glen Helen.

  • How would Rattray have fared at Glen Helen?
Tyla Rattray hurt his thumb last week. He was scheduled to race the Four-Stroke Nationals (this event is in bad need of a new name) but pulled out at the last minute. The Pro Circuit camp assured me that he will be ready to go for Glen Helen.

One last thing: Has anyone else noticed how Ryan Dungey sounds just like Ricky Carmichael during interviews now? I know he’s staying down there to ride and train with him, but honestly, Ryan should come up with his own material, because interviews weren’t RC’s strong point. I swear I heard the words super pumped about fifteen times while he was on the podium. Are we such mindless sheeple that we can’t come up with other words to display our emotions? For any that is lucky enough to make the podium anytime soon, here are some gems you could use besides RC’s coined expression: happy, thrilled, stoked, elated, excited, over-the-moon, on cloud nine, delighted, ecstatic, overjoyed, tickled or jacked out of my mind. Please feel free to use any of these descriptors so you don’t sound like a bad recording of any post-race interview from 1997 to 2006. Thank you.

Maybe I’m just bitter.

Here’s Matthes.

Seeing as how the supercross is in my hometown, I took the opportunity to go around and visit a few of the trucks that were parked around. I got to see a lot of bikes in various states of being built, and it’s always interesting to me to see how certain things are done in the engines and chasses, but because it’s nice of the teams to let me in an hang out, I really can’t print the things I see because that would be some sort of ethical boundary crossed and would mean I’d be shunned from hanging out ever again. Anyway, in the past, I’ve been involved with these teams at the highest levels and have seen some really cool things, and hanging out all day with the mechanics kind of felt like old times. Only I got less dirty.

  • K-Dub's new gear
  • Nick Wey's new gear
One thing I love is when the old dudes sit around and tell stories, and Dan Bentley told me some awesome Jeff Stanton/Jean-Michel Bayle ones from when he was Stanton’s mechanic. Interesting to note that he told when they went to the L.A. Coliseum race for the final race, the thought that they could win the title wasn’t even in their mind. They never talked about it because the chances were so remote of Bradshaw not finishing third or better. We know now that anything can happen and there’s a reason they hold the races.

Which brings me to day six of Chisholmgate, and I have to say, I’m definitely in the minority with my opinion that Kyle, and Kyle alone, made a bad decision to try and race with Reedy despite being a lap down. The guys I talked to all think there was some sort of orders given out to Kyle to try and affect the championship, and they’re genuinely upset at the reactions of the team people in the mechanics’ area and Kyle’s girlfriend after the black flag had been doled out. I’m sticking to my guns because I just want to believe in lone gunmen, weather balloons, and there being no black helicopters flying around at night.

Check out the KW podcast.

Please go to www.directmotocross.com for all your Canadian moto news that’s fit to print. If you’re really bored out of your mind, go to www.pulpmx.com.

I spoke to the Big One-Five (your 1997 125 East Region Champion) and he’s healing up fine from his broken heel and starting to road bike and swim himself back into shape. Ferry also told me he’s lifting weights and is “Ferrigno huge” right now. He’s still shooting for Glen Helen, and if he makes it there, he definitely won’t be 100 percent and might only go 4-2 or 3-1 or something like that. Okay, I made that last part up.

  • Ludo at the Rally of Tunisia in Africa
  • Somewhere in Africa
  • Ludo's in good spirits after visiting some hospitals
Remember last week when I wondered what happened to Jeff Friz, a fast guy from Florida? I got a note from reader named William Comer who told me he ran into Jeff a few weeks ago and he has his own landscaping business.

I’m still on the trail of Alan King – I’ve got a lot of tips but nothing solid yet. A reader named George Sosnick sent me this picture of King sitting in a bulldozer at the Meadowlands years ago. This is turning into “Evel Update” DC ran in the old RXInewspapers.

What ever happened to Shaun Perolio?

Also in the retirement department, it looks like Cliff White has decided to lay the wrenches down and sail off into the sunset. The longtime Honda championship-winning mechanic has been in-house the last little while, and the man who wrenched for Bailey and Bayle, among others, is surely a behind-the-scenes legend in the sport. Interesting to note: While there are no official records kept, Cliff is tied with Mike Gosselaar for first in total championships won. Will Goose break the tie tomorrow?

Thanks, Steve.

Ludo Boinnard, one of the founders of One Industries, is now enjoying life as an international rally racer. Ludo was entered in the Rally of Tunisia in Africa, but then he hurt his ankle in a crash and had to go to the bivouac to be checked out. He was then transported to a hotel in Sebba, then enjoyed an airplane ride back to France to have his ankle further examined. As for the rally itself, the second part of the marathon stage was canceled because of the hard sand wind blowing on the top of the dunes.

  • It says BSA, but I am checking on the DNA
Check out the new addition to Tim Clark’s garage. “Found this in an old shed; the grandson owned it and says it hasn’t moved in 20 years,” Clark told us. “His grandpa was the original owner and race District 37 in SoCal. Pretty clean, all the parts are there, it’s on my list for a restore.” Sounds like a great summer project!

(PHOTO It says BSA, but I am checking on the DNA)

This week until May 6, English artist Rob Kinsey is having his second solo exhibition at Dovedale gallery 25 Dig St Ashbourne, Derbyshire. This Saturday, May 2, Rob will be at the gallery from 11am till 3pm working on a live painting, organizing children’s art competitions, and showing his latest large-format work, including the Anaheim ’86 battle between David Bailey and Rick Johnson, a race people still talk about. Rob looks forward to meeting many friends old and new.

The Dovedale Gallery

25 Dig Street

Ashbourne, Derbyshire


MSR’s Randy Valade dropped us a line with a look at their 2010 offerings. Check it out!

Congratulations to Troy Adamitis, Jessica Young, and the whole crew involved with The Great Outdoors: The Destroyers, which won the Extremey Award this week.

Finally, I would like to say thank you on behalf of my mom, my brother and sister, and myself to Charlie Mancuso and everyone at Feld Motor Sports for continuing to honor my dad by naming the East-West Shootout after him. It means a great deal to us and we just wanted to say thank you again.

Thanks for reading Racerhead.