Racerhead #20


To race, or not to race? That is the question….

  • Look for the souvenir yearbook for the 2009 Lucas Oils AMA pro Motocross Championships at every round this summer
  • Kyle Cunningham’s arm looks like it tangled with the same tiger that ended Siefried & Roy’s run
Okay, Bubba is no Hamlet, and Australia is not exactly Denmark, but in both cases, there have been a Shakespearian level of court intrigue over whether or not we might see #7 and/or the two-two at Glen Helen or any other rounds in the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championships. To be perfectly honest, I have no idea whether it’s really going to happen or not, but I have my fingers crossed that at least one of them does!

The Reed chatter hit some high notes yesterday when he returned from Australia and went straight to what looked like the 13th National at Glen Helen, where no less than two dozen pros were out there doing last-minute laps and testing. Simon Cudby was there to capture it for Racer X Films, and he pulled together this cool video.

The funny part is when Reed deflects the question and says he’s just out there testing the bike for Mike Alessi, and then when he rides by the camera, he asks Cudby, “One down, four up, right? Throttle?” as he blips the graphics-free Suzuki RMZ-450.

Reed looked exactly like someone who just got off a 15-hour plane ride and got on a dirt bike and started riding. Some of the other guys out there — Ryan Villopoto, Ryan Dungey, Tyla Rattray, Just Brayton, Tommy Searle, Kyle Cunningham, Ivan Tedesco, Tommy Hahn, even Jason Lawrence—looked like they had been riding outdoors for a very long time.

But at some point, apparently, the Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki rider Cunningham had some kind of problem, by the looks of this iPhone pic we got.

The Stewart buzz started with him showing up out at Competitive Edge wearing a big red #1 plate. Like Reed, he has said repeatedly that he would like to race this summer, but it’s not been his decision, and you have to respect that: His L&M Racing Yamaha team has been SX-only for the last two years, while the nationals have not had near the TV package it now has, so they had no plans to come out. Donn Maeda put together a couple of really cool videos for TWMX of Stewart flying around like, well, James Stewart on an outdoor track! He also didn’t really answer the direct question, which means both of these supercross rivals enjoying hiding their cards, even if chances are very slim (in my opinion) that we see them both out at Glen Helen next Saturday. But wouldn’t it be cool?!

  • Allisports.com
The new series website is finally up and running after some tweaking and fine-tuning. Check it out. The series site is part of the Alliance of Action Sports, which organizes the Dew Action Sports Tour, the Maloof Money Cup, the King of Wake Series and more. There’s already some pretty cool moto content up, including an interview with Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider Ryan Dungey.

And yes, Allisports.com is where you will see the first motos streaming live and free, with Jason Weigandt and David Bailey helping out with the call, and also the WMA races, the Racer X Motocross Shows, and more. Look for a press release soon.

One rider who’s been mostly under the radar during the Supercross season is Justin Barcia — maybe THE biggest unknown talent of all. When I was on DMXS Radio this weekend, David Izer said he has the GEICO Powersports Honda gig pegged for at least three wins — that’s a Ron Lechien-in-’83 number, Mr. Izer. If you haven’t seen much of the kid yet, check out this very cool video of the New York native by Fox Racing:

Back to Glen Helen. David Bailey was out watching some of the pros work out there recently, and he offered this insight:

  • That’s Zach, on the cover of Moto-X before his bad weekend in Portugal
“I didn’t see the morning session partly because of work and I wanted to see who would still be out there when it was rougher and hotter. The 250 guys — Rattray, Pourcel and Searle — look strong. They have the speed and they put in a lot of laps. Pourcel is very effortless and sneaky like Bayle, with good lines and techniques. He cruised around a lot, but when he decided to go, it was fast.

“Searle is going to be tough too. Really fast and smooth. Rattray looks very similar to Mike Brown when he won the title. Ryan Dungey looked good too, but from what have seen so far the GP guys are going to challenge the Americans. I remember when the Europeans ran extra tall seats, low elbows and visors, should pads under their goofy gear and I wasn’t all that impressed with the exception of a few. Times have changed!

Villopoto is hauling ass and makes it look so easy. Feet up, great lines and steering with the throttle just he did on the 250. It’s his title to lose. I’m pretty sure Alessi will be out front early on, but I don’t know if he has enough to hold off Villopoto. It could end up looking a lot like last year, only it will be #2 instead of #7 chasing him down. It’s going to be a good summer.”

Bailey’s assessment of the incoming European talent is shared with Zach Osborne, and then some. Osborne, who was vying for the MX2 world title before he broke his wrist over the weekend in Portugal, was asked by England’s Moto X magazine how he thinks Searle, Rattray and Pourcel will do this summer. “I pretty much think those three are going to clean up in the states this year.”

Osborne broke his wrist ten years to the day and race that Ryan Hughes did the same thing: In 2000 Hughes, riding for the old PAMO Honda team, snapped his wrist in practice at Portugal, just one week after running off with the second moto of the Spanish GP.

  • Fast company indeed: Spot the X Games gold medalist. Spot the Honda factory rider. Spot the former WMA contender. Spot the privateer heroes. Spot Paul Lindsey’s two little girls...
Ryan Morais and Hannah Short (Andrew’s sister) got married this last Friday at a beautiful ceremony at a winery in Temecula, California. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider and the part-time model for Transworld MX had a star-studded list of family and friends who came out to see them drop the starting gate on the rest of their lives together. Paul and Susan Lindsey snapped off a couple of photos for us, and Paul dropped us this new: “He sure had some fast company for groomsman, including Andrew Short, Nate Adams, Logan Darrien, Jimmy Mcguire, and Andy Bakken!”

“The wedding and reception were awesome!” wrote our wedding-beat reporter, Paul Lindsey. “They had one of the coolest ideas I have ever seen for a reception: When you arrived at the reception, there was a table at the entrance with all these black stones on it. Each stone had a name, and then the name of a race like Mammoth, Lakewood, Anaheim, Loretta’s, etc. Each table was named after a race, so you found your stone, and then figured out if you were sitting at the Anaheim table or the Lakewood table, and so on. Lot’s of fast boys in attendance too, like Tyla Rattray, Jake Weimer, Justin Brayton and more.”

Okay, let me turn it over to Steve Cox on the 909 beat…

It’s almost that time! No, I’m not talking about the start of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship; I’m talking about the release of the next edition of the THQ MX vs. ATV videogame series. To be entitled “MX vs. ATV: Reflex”, the newest version features some pretty incredible innovations, such as a racing surface that changes based on where the bikes go (dirt thrown up out of areas creates ruts and berms, just like a real motocross track) and many other things. To read a full preview, check it out on the Gamespot website.

  • Michael Byrne is just coming back from this famous Daytona crash
Coming up more immediately, though, is the aforementioned motocross series, and it’s going to be a doozy. I went out to Glen Helen yesterday and saw Chad Reed, who is “testing for Mike Alessi,” along with his Rockstar/Makita Suzuki teammates Michael Byrne and Ryan Dungey. Then there was the entire Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, Ryan Villopoto of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team, most of Muscle Milk/MDK KTM and Jagermeister KTM, the Troy Lee/Lucas Oil Honda team, the Canidae/Motosport Kawasaki team, Ivan Tedesco of the Honda Red Bull Racing team, Josh Hill of Team Yamaha, Sean Hamblin of the new Valli Motorsports Yamaha team, J-Law of, well, Team J-Law, and many more.

Doug Dubach, owner of DRD Exhaust, was even out there on a YZ250 two-stroke preparing for the Two-Stroke Invitational scheduled for next weekend, although he has one less competitor, as our own David Pingree has bowed out of the competition.

The funny thing is that many of the riders acknowledged that all of the Glen Helen testing does little for actual race day, as the track might be laid out somewhat similarly, but the dirt is prepared entirely differently. On Thursday (and basically every other day at Glen Helen), the surface is largely hard-packed and square-edged holes are the norm. By race day, it will be dug really deep. One interesting thing is that the track is running in reverse this year, which means the famous “Mt. Saint Helens” uphill is now a downhill. It’s narrower and steeper, which might mean it will be rougher and faster than normal come race day.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, despite it being his first day riding outdoors in a very long time, Chad Reed looked fast.

Byrne is still recovering from the shoulder injury he suffered in the famed Daytona first-turn crash. He’s going fast, but isn’t sure about his shoulder’s stamina as of yet.

Congratulations go out to Ivan Tedesco and his wife Theresa on the birth of their son, Hunter, last Sunday, May 10. Watch out for Hunter Tedesco, 2027 AMA Rookie of the Year.

  • That’s Roxanne Flores and James Stewart getting a prom photo at Yamaha
On Wednesday, Yamaha held a really cool event, mainly for Yamaha employees, to thank them and congratulate James Stewart for the 2009 Monster Energy/AMA Supercross Championship. Yamaha principles made speeches in front of the building for their employees, followed by Larry Brooks making a speech, and then Doug Henry walking, assisted, up to the podium on top of the grass mound in front of the headquarters to make a moving speech before handing the mic over to Stewart, who also spoke with genuine feeling and appreciation for what Yamaha has done for him and his team this year.

At the conclusion, Stewart was presented with his 2009 championship-winning factory bike as a trophy, then went inside and took pictures alongside every Yamaha employee in attendance.

After the event, Stewart returned a phone call and I conducted an interview with the champ that will be featured in the next issue of Racer X. In my opinion, Stewart has turned into an amazing personality in the sport. Throughout our interview, he was candid, thoughtful and open. It’s going to be a really good read, so check it out in the next issue. It’s true that a lot of our top stars (maybe all of them) go through a period of uncertainty and discomfort with their level of fame and demands on them from such a young age, but it’s clear that, like Kevin Windham and Ricky Carmichael, and even Chad Reed, Stewart has risen above it, figured out his place in the world, and has become comfortable with it. It’s a great time to be a motocross and supercross fan.

Okay, now it’s Steve “Rollerball” Matthes’ turn…

  • Villopoto and Mitcheff won three AMA Motocross Championships together
Well the kid from Washington named Villopoto has certainly gone through a few changes here recently. Just before Seattle, he let his longtime trainer, Randy Lawrence, go and picked up Jeff Spencer, and now his longtime mechanic, Jon Mitcheff, has been let go from Kawasaki.

As DC once told me, “All things end badly; that’s why they end.” I can certainly feel for the man they call “Throttle”. I’ve been, ummm, relieved of my duties halfway through the outdoors by a team, and it’s not a good feeling. There are always two sides to every story so I’m not going to get into the he-said/she-said stuff. But I do know Jon’s a good dude, the guys at Kawi are good dudes, and poop happens. I’m sure Jon will land on his feet somewhere. He’s an excellent mechanic and teams would be foolish to not try to snap him up immediately.

What about the effect on Ryan? Well, honestly, I’ve been a mechanic and I know how these things work and I don’t think it will really affect RV very much. He’s got a guy working for him now (Mike Williamson) that wrenched Stewie to a perfect season last year so the performance won’t drop off at all. Sorry to all my fellow mechanics out there; hopefully my union card won’t be pulled.

I’ve been asking about the whereabouts of ’84 Hangtown winner Alan King for some time and finally got a break in the case, and it comes from longtime privateer and factory Husky rider Andy Stacey. Andy gave me a number that he had for Alan and I dialed it up... and it worked! So, anyways, I left Alan a message and we’ll see if he gets back to me.

  • Alan King won a national in 1984 as a Team Tamm privateer
Make sure you head to directmotocross.com for all your Canadian needs, and check out Pulpmx.com if you want. We got a great “Tell Us a Story, Jeremy McGrath” on there.

Now for some of Ping’s words…

I think we might have a good battle on our hands this summer in the WMA series. Ashley Fiolek is the obvious preseason favorite after winning last year’s series pretty easily. She also has a new factory bike under the Honda tent so you know her equipment is going to be good. But Jessica Patterson has been working her butt off, literally, to prepare for this season. Ryan Hughes is working with her, and the rumor is she lost thirty pounds and is riding faster than ever! And you can’t count out Sheri Cruse, Sarah Whitmore and rookie Sara Price. There is a big group of girls all going fast and it should be fun to watch...

Unfortunately, Tarah Gieger broke her wrist in Portugal last Saturday (what is it about North American riders breaking their wrists on Saturdays in Portugal?) and she is now, sadly, on the sidelines. 

The NAHA Hill Climb Series came through Glen Helen Raceway last weekend. This year’s stop was round two of the series and local boy Robbie Peterson took home the lion’s share of the pro purse. Peterson won the 450 and 700 classes while Harold Waddell went home with the Open Exhibition win. Travis Whitlock won the King of the Hill event at the end of the day. It was an awesome event but the crowds were on the small side. What do you expect when you hold an event on Mother’s Day?

The only reason I got out of the house was because I told my wife if I won the Crossover Challenge event she could keep the $500 cash prize. Phil Lawrence, Micky Dymond, Tyler Keefe and I all went head-to-head in a battle of former motocross racers for the wad of loot. I thought I had it covered after my second run where I posted a pretty solid time up the hill. And then Micky channeled his inner mountain goat and rocketed up the incline like it was 1986. He posted one of the quickest times of the ENTIRE day and relegated me to the runner-up position. Maybe next year? If you get a chance to see one of these NAHA events, you should go check it out.

The XTRM AMA Supermoto Championship continues this weekend in Sonoma, California, at Infineon Raceway. The AMA Superbike Series runs in conjunction with the Supermoto event, so if you are in the area, go check it out. The Supermoto pro events run on Sunday with amateur racing going all day Saturday. Go to xtrm.com/supermoto/for more info.

  • The Troy Lee Designs Honda team is now teamed up with Lucas Oil
Lucas Oil has stepped up in a big way this year to sponsor the nationals. While they may not be as well known in the motocross world yet, they are a major presence in just about every other form of motorsports. And now they have set their sights squarely on motocross racing. In addition to title-sponsoring the nationals, they are also partnering with a race team for the summer and potentially longer. How do I know this? Well, because it happens to be the Troy Lee Designs/PPG/Honda team and I happen to know a couple of people over there. Actually, the official title is now the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/PPG/Honda racing team. Lucas Oil has a new line of high-performance racing lubricants coming out and this partnership will give them a platform to introduce it. The folks at Lucas Oil are amazing people and their commitment to this sport is huge. I know I speak for everyone at Troy Lee Designs when I say that we are thrilled with this new partnership and excited about what the future holds for both parties. Be sure to come by the Troy Lee Designs transporter next weekend and check out the team’s new look.

That’s it from our Supercross Team Manager of the Year. Some loose ends…

Off-weekend for the races? Well, it depends on what races you’re talking about, because the Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series is rolling into Western Pennsylvania for a race this weekend, the Mountain Ridge GNCC (517 Boone Rd.,

Central City, PA 15926 if you want to GPS that). This race is probably the rockiest on the whole circuit, which often leads to bike troubles for pros who really push over the rough stuff. A few years ago, David Knight had a one-minute lead but busted a radiator in the final hour, opening the door for Pennsylvania’s favorite GNCC racer, Barry Hawk, to win for the home fans. This year’s points race is super-tight between GEICO Monster Kawasaki’s Paul Whibley, and FMF Makita Suzuki teammates Josh Strang and Charlie Mullins. This rock race could be a difference-maker. Pros start Sunday at 1 p.m. and race for three hours.

  • Are we going to see this guy next Saturday or not?!
If you want to race it yourself, there are plenty of classes for everyone and the weather forecast looks good. It’s www.gnccracing.com for the info if you want it.

LPmotocross was in Tigerton, Wisconsin, last weekend for the Loretta Lynn North Central Area Qualifier. The weather looked gloomy early on but the sun came out and fans were treated to a great day of racing. Check out the video here.

Todd Huffman posted the trailer for his latest motocross masterpiece, a film he made with Bob “Hurricane” Hannah about the 1981 “Saddleback Massacre” where he and Kent Howerton went at it for both 45-minute motos. If you watch closely, you will see a certain #45 Kawasaki rider wearing Fox gear, grabbing a holeshot coming down Banzai Hill… Yes, it’s David Bailey!

Matt Wozney of MXPTV ran into Ryan Mills last weekend during the Calverton Ride Session in New York. “Millsy still looks like he’s got it!” Wozney told us. “He’s gained a few pounds but he’s doing schools and living on Long Island the past year and a half and did mention about trying out for some nationals this year.”

Here is the link to the video.

Jeremy McGrath, Todd Potter, Ronnie Renner, Robbie Maddison, Kyle Loza, Josh Hill, Andrew Short, Davi Millsaps, Erin Bates, are just a few of the supastars confirmed for MotoBowl on May 21st @ Trevi Lanes in Lake Elsinore. Event open to everyone, tickets at the door $30.00 = Memories of a lifetime! Come jump in the Jake Ashcraft Photo Booth and take a picture with your Icon! Bring cash! Lots of fun stuff to do!! Questions?

Round 2 of the EBAY Bidding is up!

Here is the direct link!

That's it for this week. Thanks for reading Racerhead.