Welcome to Racerhead, coming at you from Morgantown, West Virginia, rather than Washougal, Washington. The Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship rolls on tomorrow with another live TV show on SPEED, as the second 450 moto airs at 9:00 p.m. ET (6:00 out west). And once again you can watch the first motos live on www.AlliSports.com beginning at about 3:30 p.m. That includes coverage of the Women, as Ashley Fiolek and friends get back on track for the sixth round of their tour.
Of course last weekend was another stellar race as Millville went off on its new day (Saturday) and month (July). The race used to mark the coming-out party for most of the kids turning pro after Loretta Lynn’s, but a schedule change put it one month earlier—and somehow about 30 degrees colder! And the only coming-out party may have been the one Kyle Regal held for himself in the second 450 moto, where the privateer ran an incredible sixth on a 2008 CRF450. For that we named Kyle our Privateer of the Week, and you can learn more about him right here.
Beyond that, the big news was another overall win for Chad Reed, the 450 class series points leader, and another six points closer to Christophe Pourcel for Ryan Dungey in the 250 class, as Dungey took both motos to win his first overall win since Freestone, Texas, back in early June. Dungey is now three points behind Christophe in what’s shaping up to be a fantastic battle for the 2009 title.
Josh Grant was fast again in one moto and down again in another, while the next-best-man in the 250 class was the youngest Justin Barcia. Oh, and here’s a shot of that remarkable moment where GEICO Powersports Honda teammates Brett Metcalfe and Barcia touched wheels off one of the big jumps at Millville. It was “like a Honda poster” said David Bailey (or was it that other guy?) And props to “4QSA” from the Vital MX message board on getting the screen grab off of the Allisports.com live streaming feed.
You can watch the 250 class from Millville on SPEED tomorrow night at 8:00 p.m. ET – it’s the perfect lead-in to the live Washougal show! Well, it’s as perfect as it gets until we get both on live—next year?
Washougal is the only round of the series in the Pacific Northwest, so it’s a huge deal to the very strong motocross community up there. MX Sports’ John Ayers sent over some snapshots of what the track looked like as they were pulling it together this week, which you can check out below. It’s nearly 100 degrees there today, and it’s shaping up to be just as hot tomorrow, even though in the morning it’s cool enough to wear a sweatshirt.
To learn more about what happened at Millville, you have to check out this week’s Observations, which were written not by Steve Matthes, but rather the world’s fastest bench-racer (and still very, very fast on a motocross bike), Denny Stephenson.
Here’s a good way to get revved up for the weekend: Bonus coverage of the FMF Two-Stroke Challenge at Red Bud, featuring Ricky Carmichael, Jeff Stanton, LaRocco’s Leap and the sounds of yesteryear…. Only it was on July Fourth!
GuyB from VitalMX took privateer Scott Champion up to Washougal to be Vital’s test guy at the Yamaha YZ250F intro, and as Guy B. wrote, “Sometimes it’s good to be in the right place at the right time. With the news that Josh Hill will be out of action this weekend due to a back injury, and his bike sitting up here being unused, Scott got the nod to use it for this weekend’s race. How cool is that?”
Very cool, and the recent trend of teams bringing in others to occupy factory bikes—Ricky Dietrich and Branden Jesseman at Monster Energy Kawasaki, Alex Martin and Vicki Golden at GEICO Powersports Honda, Jimmy Albertson last year with Honda Red Bull Racing—is a really cool development. There’s nothing sadder than an idle factory bike….
Okay, that’s exaggerating it just a bit, but once upon a time, Team Honda handed a fully-prepped works bike to a support rider named Kenny Keylon (yes, Kyle’s dad) and he went out and won the 1982 St. Petersburg AMA National in the 250 class. That’s the gold-standard for this kind of one-time support, though you never know when lightning will strike again.
Jeff Hain sent this note over: “Here are a couple photos that I thought you might be able to use on Racerhead today. Before they were factory riders for a day, both Ryan Beat and Scott Champion made names for themselves on pitbikes. Over the past few years they have been a couple of the world’s top pitbike racers. In ‘07 Champion won the 12-inch Youth class, beating the likes of Tyler Villopoto, Kyle Engle, Wil Hahn and Blake Bagget at the MiniMoto SX. That same year, Beat placed second in the 10-inch Expert class behind Colt Humphrey, beating the likes of one Jeremy McGrath (who got third), and Racer X’s own David Pingree – who failed to qualify for the main event.” Ouch.
Adding a subplot to this weekend’s race is the arrival of 19-year-old Belgian rider Clement Desalle, who is currently fourth in the MX1 Grand Prix rankings. Desalle won himself the first moto of his career a few weeks back in Latvia, and is sitting in between reigning world champ David Philippaerts and his teammate Josh Coppins in the rankings. That’s pretty much all we know about the guy. So we asked MXLarge.com’s Geoff Meyer to tell us more about the Belgian visitor….
“Clement is as old school as you will find,” says MXGeoff. “He doesn’t have time for the glamor of the sport, just hard work and tail up. He is from the south part of Belgium, which means he didn’t grow up on sand tracks, but hard pack, yet as a kid his father took him to the sand circuits and Desalle is pretty handy on both sand and hard pack. He is a rider who doesn’t mind block-passing or waiting for a rider to get out of the way; if he feels like coming through, then he does it—doesn’t matter if it is Antonio Cairoli or a lapper!”
“What is really impressive about Desalle is the fact he never gives up, and would sooner die on the race track than lose a spot. The work ethic of a Josh Coppins or Joel Smets, this kid will go all the way.”
Desalle, by the way, is coming to America packing one of the all-time interesting nicknames, “MX Panda.” We have no idea what that means…
While Desalle is coming from Belgium to Washougal, Roger DeCoster has made the trip the opposite way. DeCoster, manager of the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team—his riders Reed and Dungey are both vying for the titles—is attending the wedding of his son Nigel, who works for the U.S. State Department but is getting married in his father’s native land. DeCoster told me this week that it will be the first national he’s missed in maybe 15 years, but he will have an eye on www.allisports.com for the first motos during the reception. Might he also be talking to Teka Suzuki while he’s over there? Yes, for sure. He’s likely going to have three guys at the MXoN in Italy—Dungey (Team USA) and both Reed and Michael Byrne (Team Australia)—and will be needing some technical support while on the continent. As for that rumor that Teka Suzuki is thinking about coming here, he never mentioned it directly.
This popped up on the Langston Racing Facebook page yesterday:
“I have been getting a lot of questions and messages asking how I am doing and what the future holds for me. I am extremely grateful to have such great fans that still care about me even when I have dropped off the radar.”
“Mid summer 2008 I learned that I had melanoma of the eye. It is a very aggressive form of cancer. I received radiation treatment which thankfully killed the tumor and the melanoma. My eye began healing itself but the progress has plateaued and my eye is at the best it ever will be. Although my vision in my left eye will never be 100% again I am getting a contact to compensate for the impairment. Going through all that made me realize how badly I wanted to get back to racing and I began putting all my energy into preparing for the 2009 outdoor series.”
“Unfortunately while training for the upcoming series I re-aggravated an old knee injury, much like Villopoto has just experienced. I needed a full knee reconstruction surgery that takes 6 months to heal. I am over 3 months into the recovery process and have begun training and am confident I will be back on the bike earlier than the previously expected 6 months.
I am now hungrier and more determined than ever to race for a championship. I am currently in negotiations to hopefully have my own race team for the 2010 supercross and motocross series. Thank all of you again for your support. I hope to see you at the races next year!”
Okay, here’s where I turn it over to Jason Weigandt….
Big thanks to Trey Canard for coming to Millville and helping David Bailey and I with the call for the 250 class, both the first moto on allisports.com and the second moto on SPEED (and by the way, the Millille 250 race airs this Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. EST. It leads right into the live coverage of Washougal’s 450 class at 9:00 p.m. That’s a two-hour block of motocross on SPEED this Saturday night, so cancel all of your other Saturday night plans, or just admit that you weren’t cool enough to have other plans in the first place.)
Trey also helped us on the Racer X webcast last season when he was out with a broken leg, the kid is just a huge fan but also still a racer at heart. When Dungey was out taking his victory lap at Millville, Trey finally showed the frustration you’d expect from a rider who crashed out of the season while leading the race at High Point. Trey wants that feeling of winning again, and it all sinks in when he sees someone enjoying it. Not that he doesn’t like Dungey, but it’s just that Trey wants to capture that feeling of winning for himself again, and he wants it badly. Trey may be solid in the broadcast booth, but he wants to do a lot of winning before he does any announcing for a living.
Last season, on the Supercross Live! webcast in Atlanta, Jim Holley predicted Canard would win the race. It was a bold choice since that was Trey’s first ever SX, but he was proven right when Trey won the darned thing. And Holley did the same the year before, when he accurately predicted Dungey would win in Atlanta. Bailey has similar abilities, after each first moto, we’ll bench race a bit about who is feeling what and who should be motivated most. And almost every time, DB not only guesses who wins correctly, but also how the top five will finish! I think David should just start charging money for fans to bench-race with him. I can’t believe I get to do it for free—it’s that cool.
If you’ve missed any of our SPEED shows, I’ve got good news. SPEED is now broadcasting each one on the web in their ON DEMAND section. It’s called AMA Motocross on Demand Presented by Kawasaki and you can check it out by clicking here: http://www.speedtv.com/on-demand/ama-motocross/ I’m narcissistic enough to have watched several shows just this morning.
Really looking forward to the racing from Washougal. On 450s, I think Josh Grant is rolling with more confidence than he ever has—he has to truly feel when he goes to the starting line that he should win. But Chad Reed seemed a lot stronger at Millville, and I think he was ready for the fight in the second moto. And don’t ask Chad what would have happened if Josh had not crashed. Someone asked that in the post-race press conference, and Chad was quick to point out that he’s been dealing with those “what if” questions his whole career (like the entire supercross season this year). The goal of racing is to go fast and not crash, Chad does that well, and that’s why he has a big points lead. But that doesn’t mean we won’t have a great race this weekend.
In 250s, we finally got the showdown we wanted with Dungey vs. Pourcel. The Frenchman didn’t have it dialed in moto one, but he came back ready for moto two, and the duo pushed and pushed out front. The pace claimed Pourcel first, which proves just how mentally tough Dungey has gotten over the last year. But still, it’s too close to call between these two at the moment.
By the way, Bailey told me Washougal rewards those who are willing to push out of their comfort zone and just let it hang out, because it’s slippery. Does that bring the name Justin Barcia to mind?
And now to David Pingree….
The whole Michael Jackson thing is running out of steam as of right about… now. I know he was the “King of Pop” and he was in the Jackson Five and yadda, yadda, yadda. Look, “Beat it” was a great song but from there he just got weirder and weirder, okay? Now millions of tax dollars are being used to pay for his memorial service in L.A.? This country has officially derailed, folks. Okay, onward and upward to things of motocross…
I had to rub my eyes when I saw photos of riders wearing jackets on the start line in Millville. I remember several years where I literally dropped my bike to the ground, stumbled down to the creek and face-plated in the water in full gear. I was so hot I couldn’t even get back to the pits! I’ve seen days at that place that are so hot and humid you’d think Spring Creek was located on the equator. I guess global cooling isn’t a myth.
The 2010 models are hitting the shores here in California. Honda dropped photos of their new 250F recently, Kawasaki showed off their new bikes and I think I heard something about a new Yamaha somewhere. Suzuki has been very quiet but I’m sure it won’t be long until we see what their new rides look like. Media introductions are getting underway soon so stay tuned for a closer look at the 2010 models.
If you are making a trip to Washougal this weekend you should bring your skis. No, not your water skis [although you could bring those because the Columbia River is right there]… Mt. Hood is still open for snow skiing and there is even a race going on Friday and Saturday. It’s a glacier, people.
The big news going into this weekend, of course, is the addition of Scott Champion and Ryan Beat to the Factory Yamaha and Kawasaki teams respectively. Who and who with what? I guess the cool new thing to do is replace riders that are getting crappy results with obscure, young riders who will go out and get crappy results. Look for totally unknown racer Rod Dingleberry to make his pro debut with Factory Honda at Unadilla.
Okay, rumor time…
Justin Brayton is in talks with JGR to be their second 450 rider next year. I know Cody Cooper is great outdoors but he struggled badly in supercross. For Coops the only thing harder than jumping his way through a tricky rhythm section is going to be finding a ride for 2010.
I also heard that JGR is looking to add a couple lites riders under the tent. That’s good news for two of the many riders looking for a spot to land next year. I hope it’s true.
David Vuillemin is coming back to America. The Moto Concepts team is setting a new record for hiring the most retired racers. Lammy is currently the team manager, Eric Sorby is the team organizer [or something like that] and David Vuillemin will be the rider coach. Dang, that’s a lot of talent under one tent… and a lot of broken English. The Moto Concepts team is also rumored to be riding Yamahas next year.
And now Steve Matthes….
Washougal is always a favorite of mine and it doesn’t have much to do with the track. I worked for a privateer named Ty Birdwell for two years and he lived in Astoria, Oregon and I also lived in Victoria, British Columbia for a little bit when I first started out wrenching and have a soft spot in my heart for the Pacific Northwest. I love the greenery up there, the little coffee shacks, the scenery, the weather and…and…I’ll be quiet now.
The track at Washougal isn’t the greatest for spectating, but the hot line is to just walk around and watch different spots throughout the day. I’m lucky in that I can stand in the announcing tower and check out a good portion of the track. Or until “Rocket” Rob Buydos kicks me out.
What’s going to happen this week? I don’t know but right now Chad Reed can afford to be a little conservative if he doesn’t have something for the leader this weekend. It’s very easy to make a mistake on the slick Washougal surface as well as maybe not quite see a rut in the shadows of the trees in the back.
This track is always hell on the goggle and tire guys. If you’re Reedy and you have a good points lead, well best to lay-up and let someone else be the hero if you don’t have it. The reason I say this is that Chad has told me a couple of times that he’s not at the point where he really trusts his bike and his front end to stick on motocross tracks. He’s lost that “push it” feeling that you have to have out there and he always waits a few laps before knowing how hard he can push before he puts his charge on. The Washougal track doesn’t reward those that don’t push the limits of traction.
And it’s for that very reason that I think Christophe Pourcel has to be a favorite this weekend over Ryan Dungey. The throttle control that the Frenchman displays is uncanny sometimes and I think it will play into him doing well. Of course, Dungey beat hometown favorite Villopoto last year so what do I know?
Well, one thing I know is Canadian racing! So this past weekend the race was in the sandy hell known as Gopher Dunes and the Canadian series saw the MX1 winner, Blackfoot Yamaha’s Dusty Klatt go 3-2 for the overall win on the day. It was Dusty’s first win in Canada for three years (there was a one year deal with Star Racing in ’07) but unfortunately for Klatt, he only made up two points on his teammate and championship rival, Colton Facciotti as Colton dominated the first moto and finished 6th in the second moto. Monster Kawasaki’s Paul Carpenter had a poopy first moto but laid it down in the second one going 10-1 on the day. With four rounds left its Facciotti’s championship to lose. The Hungarian Warrior, Kornel Nemeth came back over from the German championships and tied with Klatt for the overall win (2-3) but lost the tie-breaker.
In the MX2 class, Leading Edge Kawsaki’s Teddy Maier dominated the day and went 1-1 to beat KTM’s Eric Nye and his 2-2 score. With the win, The Teddy Bear extended his points lead in that class.
What’s up with Andrew Short? After being thought of as a guy who could win the 450 title, he has struggled the last couple of races to, for him, some mediocre performances. Simply put, Andrew is not in line to win his first 450 national right now and people around him and in the dreaded media are wondering why. I’ve been told that it could be over-training to him simply not being as fast as the other guys but I tend to believe the training theory because, while I don’t know him that well, I do know that he tries super hard and if it’s not coming together for him, he’s just going to try harder and harder until he’s not giving his body enough rest. Maybe Shorty needs to get some training tips from Jake Weimer who did nothing for a week and then won the next two nationals! Washougal has been good to the 29 in the past and I’m hoping he makes it six first time winners this weekend.
In some silly season rumors, I spoke to a well known agent this week and he was telling me that the salary levels are going to be scary next year. Like early 90’s scary! He had one factory team manager tell him that the most he can pay for a top, top guy in the 450 class is 400K. That sounds like a lot to me and you but it’s basically a 5th place 250 guy two years ago. Revenge of the Teams should be on the marquee all this fall.
Look for Pourcel, despite his stated desire, to stay in the 250 class next year. He’s just not finding the offers for his liking and why not just stay down and dominate the 250 class for the next few years?
The Pro Circuit Privateer Payday contest is closed for entry and we will announce a winner next week. Stay tuned for all the info, I got so many great submissions and I know it’s a cliché – but I really could’ve done this for 30 guys. There’s that many guys that deserve it.
That’s it from Matthes, so let’s round everything up now.
Speaking of Travis Pastrana (and this close to the X Games, who isn’t?) the Subaru Rally Team USA driver beat his teammate Ken Block to win the New England Forest Rally, Round 6 of the 2009 Rally America National Championship. The win extends Pastrana’s points lead and puts him one step closer to winning his fourth consecutive Rally America National Championship.
Looking for some property in Ohio? Check this out:
For Sale – The Oehlhof House
3800 sq ft Log Cabin home – 7.4 acres of land
3 levels with complete basement including bike ramp going from basement to outside
2 car detached garage with work area
Full size Motocross track on 4 acres of the land
6 miles East of Interstate 75 on State Route 33 in Wapakoneta, Ohio
Interested? Contact Kristen Oehlhof @ firstname.lastname@example.org
Fox Racing will launch their 2010 Racewear line at Washougal MX Park this Saturday – 7/25/2009. Look for the entire 250cc team to debut the all-new 360 Vortex which features an aggressive offset & bold two-tone theme that blends the concept of clean lines and stylish race prints. Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, Brett Metcalfe, Blake Wharton & Ivan Tedesco will no doubt capture the attention of the fans and other racers alike.
The 2010 Fox MX line will be available to consumers August 3rd. Contact your local Authorized Fox Dealer or visit www.foxracing.com for more details.
As a motocross racer, there’s a pretty good chance your father has spent a fortune and a half to support your habit. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to give back to him some day? Check out the birthday present that James Stewart just picked out for his dad.
Down in the heart of Tennessee, Marc Peters is hard at work on the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch track, massaging the dirt and the jumps here and there as he adds to what he started last year. I’ve been getting calls and emails from lots of riders and parents and coaches, and all I can say is that the track will stick to it’s original layout (and direction) for the most part, but Peters will be doing some stuff on sections he did not touch last year. And track manager Jeff Russell has a bunch of sawdust on the way….
This year marks the 28th Annual Air Nautiques AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships and you can follow all of the action when MX Sports Center returns for it’s fifth year. MX Sports Center packs in highlights from each day of racing, with our own Jason Weigandt and DMXS Radio’s Kevin Kelly as co-hosts, plus some special guests helping out. What’s different this year is that the Wes Williams-produced shows will air on www.allisports.com, the home of the Racer X Motocross Shows. We’ll let you know more as the race gets closer.
The other half of the building has been in a frenzy these past few weeks getting ready the event, and I want to mention that my older brother and sister-in-law (Tim and Jessica Coombs) have both qualified for the Big Dance this year. Jessica will be piloting her Cernic’s Suzuki RM-Z250 in the Women’s class, while Timmy qualified in the Plus 45 class and will be aboard his all-black Service Honda CR500. Tim Coombs vs. Doug Dubach for the three +45 holeshots may be the duel of the week down at the ranch! Good luck to both Jessica and Timmy.
Now we’re also wondering, though, has any other married couple ever qualified for Loretta Lynn’s in the same year? If you know, please drop us an email at email@example.com.
One of the pre-race favorites in the Vet classes at Loretta Lynn’s is unfortunately out with an injury. Rob Harris dropped us a note and said that Greg “Frenchie” Pamart crashed Wednesday night while practicing and is currently in the ICU of a Reading, PA, hospital with a C-1 fracture to his neck. The good thing is that no surgery is required and he is in good spirits and is expected to make a full recovery. Greg had some great rides at Loretta’s last year, and he also teaches his own motocross school. Keep Greg in your thoughts and prayers, and send him a “get well” email here: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here’s some more Loretta Lynn’s news: 40 Acres Motocross is open for practice July 31 – August 2, if you’re looking for a place to shake down your bike and get used to the sometimes cruel Tennessee heat. 40 Acres Motocross is a short 25-mile drive from the ranch’s front gate. They have free camping, and they are also RV-friendly. Have a look at the track and put it in your Loretta Lynn’s file: www.40acresmotocross.com
Funny thing: Last year when Ken Roczen was here, Jeff Cernic and I went looking for a place for the kid to ride. He and his family had pretty much just landed from Germany and he wanted to work out the kinks. We found a little track not far from the ranch, and Ken went out there and started riding, but he never looked comfortable. It would carry over for much if the race week that followed, but through it all Roczen kept his head up, never got down on his bike or anything, and just soaked it all in…
That was one year ago and he was racing Intermediate. Now he’s the youngest rider to ever win a Grand Prix over in Europe. He’s a very, very fast learner! The best kid in America to compare Roczen to right now is Barcia, who won an Intermediate class at Loretta Lynn’s last year but is now vying for moto wins in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Barcia ran off from Roczen, who was then only 14. If and when these two guys ever meet up again, it’s going to be some race!
From time to time we bring up the Blackwater 100 here, usually when my brother Tim “1988 Blackwater 100 Champ” Coombs walks in and brings it up himself. From 1975 through ‘93, it was America’s Toughest Race—and in those pre-Erzberg, pre-Romaniacs days, probably the toughest race in the world. My dad was the promoter of the race, which took place in the tiny town of Davis, West Virginia, on Father’s Day Weekend every June. The men who really put it on the map were guys like Rick “Super Hunky” Seiman, Paul Clipper, Tom “Wolfman” Webb and Vic Krause—the original Dirt Bike Magazine wrecking crew and The Beatles of off-road magazine staffs. Super Hunky has long since retired (and he needs to be in the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, if anyone wants to help write up a nomination?) but he recently put out a compilation of his Blackwater 100 memories, stories, photos and more. If you’re a fan of off-road fun and excellent motorcycle journalism, check it out.
They’ve got a star-studded field assembled for Saturday night’s EnduroCross at the Orleans Casino in Las Vegas. EnduroCross champ Ricky Dietrich (Monster Energy/Kawasaki) and his teammate Damon Huffman (the 2008 EnduroCross runner-up), WORCS Series points leader Mike Brown (KTM), Can-Am GNCC points leader Paul Whibley, AMA National Hare & Hound champ Destry Abbott, plus top international stars Taddy Blazusiak and Antoine Meo, and many more.
Okay, that’s it. Thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races—or watch them Saturday night on TV!