Racerhead #34

August 21, 2009 5:12pm | by:
  • Six motos to go and Dungey and Pourcel are six points apart.
Another Friday and another road trip, this time right down the road to Budds Creek, where the final round of the Monster Energy Triple Crown of Motocross will take place—live on NBC to boot! The weather looks a little sketchy, to be honest, so when you tune it at 3 p.m. (ET) tomorrow, you may just see a mudder!

Here is a quick reminder that the entire set of first motos from tomorrow’s Monster Energy Motocross National at Budds Creek, round 10 of the 2009 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, will be streaming live on the internet for the worldwide audience.

Fans can access the stream by going to www.allisports.com and clicking on “Motocross.” This includes the both the first 450 and 250 race. The second motos are also available for listeners via the live audio feed.

Worldwide times for internet viewing, based on the 1:00 p.m. USA (EST) start time for the 450 class are as follows:

USA Pacific Standard Time – PST (San Francisco, LA): 10 a.m.
USA Mountain Standard Time – MST (Denver): 11 p.m.
USA Central Standard Time – CST (Minneapolis, Dallas): 12 p.m.
USA Eastern Standard Time – EST (New York): 1 p.m.
Brazil (Rio): 2 p.m.
United Kingdom (London): 6 p.m.
Europe (Brussels, Paris, Monaco Milan): 7 p.m.
Iraq (Baghdad): 8 p.m.
Afghanistan (Kabul): 9:30 a.m.
West Coast Australia (Perth): 1 a.m. (Sunday)
Japan (Tokyo): 2 a.m. (Sunday)
East Coast Australia (Sydney): 3 a.m. (Sunday)
New Zealand (Auckland): 5 a.m. (Sunday)

  • Boyesen’s Paul Waslin was in the spirit
  • The Unadilla Boobs Inspector has that rare Benjamin Button disease
My road-trip partner from last week, Big Dave Brozik, “doesn’t do non-retro races,” so I’m all alone on the road to Maryland … or rather in this Starbucks on the road to Budds Creek. Before we get into the coming week, a nod to everyone who really got into the retro theme of last weekend’s Unadilla National, held in upstate New York. From Team Honda to some of the privateers, from the TV talent to the fans themselves, there were lots of cool looks and outfits out there at the Robinson family’s legendary racetrack. It was a lot of fun and I hope they keep it going next year too.

What sucked about the weekend was the group of thieves who apparently went through the pits in the wee hours of Saturday morning, under the cover of that deep fog, and grabbed the race bikes of Willy Browning and Ben Lamay, plus a few other riders' gear bags and bike stands.

The New York State Police were there all day trying to find the bikes, searching each box van and rig as it left the pro pits. Lamay and Browning both scrambled to pull bikes together to race, and Browning actually qualified on his practice bike.

With the help of Spinechillers, Willy will also ride this weekend, and Bill Savino of American Honda stepped up and offered Browning the use of a bike from the company's media pool, for which Willy and his sponsors were grateful.

Also to help make things a little easier for Willy and Ben, MX Sports is picking up their entries for the last three rounds.

Here’s a letter from one of the theft victims:

Hi, my name is Richard White and I was one of the privateers who had gear stolen out of their trailer at the Unadilla national. I had sets of brand new O’Neal gear as well as an O’Neal helmet and 5 gallons of race fuel stolen. I would like to send out a big thank you to Chris Honnold at O’Neal Racing for being able to help me out in these tough times and being able to get me gear for the next national!

Thank you,
Richard White
Ashland, PA

P.s. Check out www.oneal.com for a look at their 2010 line!

  • Have you seen these bikes?
  • Ben Lamay's YZ450F
If anyone has any idea what happened to this equipment, please let us know: Letters@racerxonline.com

This week we will have David Bailey back in the booth, along with Ricky Carmichael as guest color analyst for both the NBC and SPEED (250 class) shows.

Here’s a preview of this weekend’s race that ran Thursday in the Washington Post.

Chad Reed is flying high right now, enjoying his first “summer job” in a few years and holding a personal-best five-moto winning streak. Steve Cox caught up with the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki rider to talk about next year, his summer so far, and wanting the tracks even rougher. Check it out.

Here’s some silly season stuff I had not yet heard: Josh Hill and Nico Izzi to Star Racing Yamaha on YZ250Fs, and Tommy Searle and KTM are working out their issues and may yet end up together moving forward.

The best rumor I heard all week was a stunner: Reed wants to switch his entries to the 250 class (knock on wood) once he gets the 450 championship settled. It makes all the sense in the world: He could drop down and ride as Ryan Dungey’s wingman on the Rockstar/Makita Suzuki, because right now Dungey’s out there by himself, while Christophe Pourcel has a six-point lead and his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates are Jake Weimer (won two rounds) and the back-from-injury Austin Stroupe, and now even Tyla Rattray is coming back! Reed riding that class would be akin to Ricky Carmichael dropping down for various reasons in 2001 after he’d clinched that title, and it would add some real drama to the stretch run for that 250 title!

  • Will we see black plates on Reed's bike in the near future? No, no we won't.
The only problem is that Chad started the rumor himself. He sent me a text joking that, after he heard that we were planning on switching the same-day SPEED TV coverage to the 250 class starting next week in Southwick, should the 450 class title be a foregone conclusion—or even clinched. It was laugh-out-loud funny.

The other hot rumor is that Joe Gibbs Racing MX/Toyota Yamaha’s Josh Grant IS coming back to the series, and he’s doing it this weekend. I guess we’ll know better by the time Racerhead is posted, but the team still has #33 entered (and if he rides, looks out, because Grant always seems to step it up on the national TV and live races).

One fact among all these rumors is that Kevin Windham will return to his CRF450R this weekend alongside teammate Dan Reardon. Reardon has been sidelined with a shoulder injury.

Last week's post-race press conference from Unadilla revealed quite a bit of information. The season is winding down and the last men standing are probably road weary enough to just say what's on their mind. Andrew Short revealed the true physical issues he has been dealing with all summer, which is a thyroid problem that saps him of energy. For all of those who were complaining that Shorty wasn't fighting for his position, well, there was a reason for it. He says he has some meds now and he thinks he will get a little more strength back each week. Sadly he thinks he will be back at 100 percent by the time the season ends.

Speaking of meds, a few doctors have volunteered their services for American ISDE riders. Doctor McGee, who helps a bunch at Loretta's, wants to go so the Yanks can get good care if needed, but the team is hoping to find some funds to get them over there. Go visit www.riderdown.org to donate. What's Rider Down? A great organization that helps injured riders back up, amateurs, pros, off-roaders everyone. There's a great interview with the founder, Bruce Vermillion, at gnccracing.com.

  • Yes, Adam Cianciarulo's last name does in fact fit on a magazine cover.
There is a very interesting debate going on over at the VitalMX.com message board about the change in minimum age that will see AMA Pro Supercross and Motocross licenses go to 17 years next year, then 18 in 2011. The debate now stems from the father of the super-fast Adam Cianciarulo (who may be the youngest person of this millennium to featured on the cover of Cycle News) telling AmateurMX.com’s Chris Hultner that they would likely head to Europe when he turns 16, rather than race amateur and pro-am here in the States for two more years.

To me, saying you will go race in Europe when you’re still only 12 is like saying you’ll play quarterback at the University of Florida when you’re 13. There’s a long ways to go between here and there, and a lot can change. Many (including Racer X) have compared Adam to a young Ricky Carmichael, and if anyone can go to Europe at that age and win, it may be him. The rule wasn’t meant to hold the truly exceptional back, but he appears to be the exception and not the rule, and in this case it might. If he goes to Europe and comes back here at 18 as a seasoned pro, everyone on the AMA circuit could have a monster on their hands. If he stays in Europe, Europe could have a monster on their hands. They may already have one in the sensationally fast and rapidly improving Ken Roczen—and he turned 15 in April!

If kids like Adam head for Europe, it’s an unintended consequence of a rule meant to improve the sport here in America by giving kids and families more time to get ready for the life of a professional athlete, as well as give teams a better idea of what kind of person they are hiring for large sums of money. I am sure every team out there has a horror story about somebody or somebody’s mom or dad that they do not know well when they signed, or otherwise they might not have. I know it’s a cliche, but for every James Stewart success story, there are dozens of Josh Sweat- and Ben Riddle-type stories out there where professional success did not happen and things went off the rails in a hurry. The NBA, the NFL, NASCAR and more all have minimum ages for good reason.

Reese Dengler sent me this note:

Speaking of all the Unadilla Memories surrounding last weekend’s Unadilla national. Was there ever a film or video of the 1987 Motocross des Nations at Unadilla? I attended that event and I seem to remember seeing TV or video camera stands around the race track, or at least I think I remember them. But I sure don’t remember ever seeing a video program offered on that event, or I surely would have bought it.

  • Blake Wharton hit the deck hard at 'Dilla
It turns out Jason Weigandt had the answer:

Sealsco did cover that ’87 MXdN for MotoWorld, They ran a special one-hour show with the typical 30-minute MotoWorld news-desk show, followed by 30 minutes of (muddy) Unadilla coverage. Aired on USA Network, produced by a 20-year-old named Scott McLemore, who is now the executive producer for Lucas Oil and this year’s SPEED and NBC Coverage of the races. This being retro weekend, it was pretty cool talking to Scotty about those old Unadilla TV days. He started working on the crew when he was 15!

I don’t think anyone ever released the video for sale, but my dad did tape it for me back in ‘87, and providing the videotape doesn’t break, it’s still sitting in a box at my parents’ house back in Jersey. Since MXdN is a three-moto format, you don’t get much in a half-hour show. I can sum it up like this: In moto 1, Jeff Ward gets his goggles knocked off in the first turn and crashes trying to come back through, while Bob Hannah can’t make it up one of the big hills on a 125. All hope is lost for Team USA, but in moto 2 the Unadilla magic (and Rick “Magic” Johnson) deliver with a resounding 1-1 score. RJ beats everyone in the mud on his CR250 and Hannah takes first 125, and fourth overall. The Unadilla fans are going nuts at the finish for Hannah. But he does get help when Dutch rider Dave Strijbos blows up his Cagiva in the mud, and some French kid named “Jean Michael Bayle” (sic) bends his shift lever. TV announcer Larry Maiers says of Bayle, “Roger DeCoster says someday Bayle will be the best rider in the world.” The Man knows what he’s talking about.

Team USA has it in the bag heading into moto three, and RJ whips ‘em again (the fact that the El Cajon, California guy ran away from the Dutch and Belgian mud masters shows just how strong, fast and confident RJ was in his prime) while Wardy delivers a consistent finish to seal the win for the team. The fans go nuts. Later Hannah comes out wearing a sweet “I Love Airplane Noise” T-shirt to join in the celebration.

Parts of the show re-aired in 1989 during a program called The Best of American Motorcycle Association Racing, with announcer Bruce Flanders basically repeating everything Maiers said.

It’s a fun show to watch and the fact that I still remember every word of it now shows how much of an impact it had on me. Thanks for the memories, Larry Maiers. And sorry for rubbing it in, Reese!

Speaking of retro days, looking for a very cool 1973 Honda Elsinore 250? Bill Masho has one in mint condition, and he’s selling it. Click here to see it.

  • Matt Walker gives the Racer X crew a lesson between motos
Looking for some help in going faster? Learning safer riding techniques? You need to check out Matt Walker’s motocrossu.com. Walker, of course, is a long time pro from Georgia who was once a Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider. Now he is one of the top instructors in the sport. Matt has a series of online videos coming up that you can download and take on the go so you can watch them on the way to the track or between motos. Those videos are coming in the fall, so for now, check out his website and the Sunday Funday story in the October issue of Racer X.

After years on the sidelines, Titanic director James Cameron has his new movie Avatar finally up and running with a trailer…. Okay, so that’s not moto news, but check out the photo of Cameron halfway down this post.

That’s as moto as it gets! Now here’s David Pingree.

I’ve gotten a bunch of emails this week about Jake Moss joining the Kawasaki team for the last three nationals. Jake really wanted to keep racing this summer, and Kawasaki needed a replacement rider so it just fit. He will still be in Troy Lee Designs gear, and if a handshake means anything, he’ll be back to ride for us again in 2010. Jake has been an awesome part of the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda team, and we are looking forward to next season with him. We also wish him luck during the last few rounds of the series, and I won’t be surprised at all when he is running at the front of the pack. After Steel City, he is headed to Australia to compete in Chad Reed’s Super X Series down there. That series looks like it is continuing to grow. Jeremy McGrath is one of the riders headed Down Under for multiple rounds this year.

Cole Seely will be riding a factory Suzuki at Budds Creek this weekend. Cole had some great rides in supercross and will do himself some good if he can turn this opportunity into some solid moto finishes.

Another rider making a return this weekend is Wil Hahn. Wil crashed earlier this summer and tore the AC joint in his shoulder. After a minor surgery, he’s ready to get back at it.

  • Did Brayton get the attention of Joe Gibbs Racing?
Remember that Justin Brayton-to-JGRMX suggestion a few weeks back? Stay tuned for an announcement soon.

Eric Johnson did an interview with the promoter of next weekend’s Powder Mountain Motocross in Utah. If you missed it, click here to check it out. Lew has a long history in the sport of motocross, and he knows exactly what it takes to pull off a great event. I’m making the trip up with KTM test rider Mike Sleeter to be part of the inaugural event and I can’t wait.

Here’s Bad Billy:

Last night I attended the funeral for a very good friend of mine, Alan Puskarich. Alan and his older brother, Ryan, grew up near me and both started racing motocross just before I got into it. Over the years we all became really good friends. To read Alan’s full obituary, click here. Please keep Alan and his family in your thoughts and prayers.

On to Steve Matthes.

As many of you know, I traveled up to Canada with one David Pingree and we took on Canada’s best. Mano a mano in a knock-down drag-out battle of wills. It was like Rocky IV where it’s one country against the other … only I think we were the Russians. Ping ended up going 12-20 on the day, but he came from dead last in the second moto and even stopped for goggles at one point. I was happy for the little guy - he tried really, really hard. Like he told me, he hadn’t put two motos together since last fall’s World Vet National, where I was also his mechanic. And we lost there as well. If I’m going to work for Ping, I’m going to have to start demanding perfection, I suppose. Anyway, it was a barrel of laughs, and look for this story in a few months.

  • The number one looks good on Teddy Maier!
As expected, the series wrapped up in Walton, Ontario, with Colton Facciotti winning the MX1 title and Teddy Maier winning MX2. Congrats to them and their respective teams. It was a pretty successful season up in Canada, eh.

I get a lot of letters. I get a lot of weird letters like this one that I left untouched:

my name is [redacted]. im so computer illiterate that i do not even have my own email address, i have to piggyback off my wifes. its my life story, me riding her coat….er… dress tails.anyhoo, im 36, been riding for 30 years yada yada blah ad nasuem. i know times are tuf right now but i swear when i read one of ur little tales of mayhem and hi jinks it just totally cracks me up and takes me away and puts me there and for one fleeting moment i forget about all the crap going on and just love the motocross community as a whole. if u are ever in the loretta lynns area and want to ride let me know cause we have SWEET trails and bitchin bbq. i have to go cause my dog is scratching at a bean bag like it has a dead squirrel in it and it just might.

And when I got one from a guy in Vegas here who wanted to eat lunch with me, I thought that was kind of weird also. He explained that his brother and he are big moto fans, read my stuff, and because it was his brother’s birthday, he thought that surprising him with me at lunch would be cool. In essence, I was the present. Anyone who knows me (especially Jim Perry) just threw up in their mouth right there, as I’m really not that big of a deal. I wasn’t sure if I should go (my wife and Weege said go, Steve Cox said I was nuts), and I didn’t want to wake up in a bathtub covered in ice with a missing kidney.

But he was promising to pay for lunch! So like the rat going to the cheese block attached to an electrode, I went to the lunch. And Brian and Peter were pretty cool! They were nice, normal fans who had a lot of questions, and I think Peter said I was the best birthday present he ever had. Or maybe he was just asking for a fork. Either way, I just wanted to put this story out there and say thanks to those guys for the free lunch!

  • What if you held a supercross and no one came?
If you’re like me and have been wondering where Ricky Dietrich has been, wonder no more. He hurt his foot at the last Endurocross and will probably miss the rest of the AMA nationals. Which is too bad, because he was hauling ass. Kawasaki has another fill-in this week: TLD’s Jake Moss will most likely be there for the last three. Jake is fast and on the rise in my mind, and he’ll be back with TLD next year alongside his brother and Chris Blose. Most likely, that is. I don’t think he’s actually signed anything with TLD, so I wonder if he goes out there and gets on the box what might happen. And I entirely think he’s capable of getting on the box. Seriously.

In my podcast with the Weege, we spoke about the old supercrosses at the Meadowlands (everything with the Weege comes back to Jersey, like everything with me comes back to Canada), and Weege was commenting that almost no one went to those races. Well, a listener named Joe Hartson has photographic proof of that fact. Check out the photo of the … umm … crowd?

Okay, time to get back on the road to Budds Creek. Thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races.

Courtesy of Troy Lee Designs
Jeff Ward