Racerhead #35

August 28, 2009 6:23pm | by:

Welcome to the Reno 911 version of Racerhead. My desk looks like a police blotter as there has been all kinds of good and bad news from the law this week. The Connecticut State Police recovered all of the stolen property from the Unadilla pits (well done!) while a former professional racer is going to jail. There’s also been a court case resolved, while another works it way through the docket. But first, let’s talk about television.

Tomorrow night, the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship gets an unprecedented three prime-time hours of coverage on SPEED. It starts at 8 p.m. (ET) with the Budds Creek 250cc Jet Ski race (okay, it was motocross, but barely) followed by same-day coverage of the 250 class from Southwick (9 p.m.) and then the 450 class (10 p.m.) This is a huge development for the series, and it comes on the heels of last Saturday’s live show on NBC, which had the biggest audience yet for the series.

You can also watch the first motos tomorrow live on www.allisports.com, beginning at 1 p.m. (ET), with Jason Weigandt joined in the booth by Jeff Emig. You can also check out the Racer X Pre-Race Show, which will be up early Saturday morning.

How bad was the rain at Budds Creek? This photo shows why the red flag was thrown after 30 minutes in the second moto. Not only was there lightning, the infield damn was about to burst!

And no, I can’t think of a single time in the history of AMA Motocross where two red flags were thrown in a single moto; first when the Rhodes Scholar holding the 30-second board lost count at seven, and then when they stopped the race due to the intensity of the storm blowing in and the damn overflowing. I had joked earlier with RC that the only way they would stop the race was if it started raining locusts… I was wrong!

Unfortunately, Southwick may get another dose of unfortunate weather as Hurricane Danny is headed up the coast and picking up steam. Not only could Southwick be a wash, but President Obama’s vacation may be sunk; he and the girls are staying on Martha’s Vineyard, which is an island off the Massachusetts coast.

Fortunately for Southwick, the track holds water well.

  • Ben Lamay's bike was stolen, sold, and still recovered.
So how did the police find the missing race bikes of Willy Browning and Ben Lamay, along with the bicycle of Justin Weeks and several gear bags that were stolen from the Unadilla pits? A fellow motocross enthusiast emailed MX Sports and reported that a truck was parked next to him in the pits on Friday evening, but when they awoke, the truck was gone, with no explained reason.

A week went by and we heard nothing, though the Robinson family (Unadilla) and MX Sports were constantly talking to the police and the riders who had their equipment stolen. Then the enthusiast heard that someone who lived near him in Connecticut was trying to sell a YZ450F (Lamay’s) and a CRF250 (Browning’s) along with a bunch of equipment. We alerted the Robinsons and the police, as did the young man who first tipped us off.

Within a few hours Connecticut’s finest had made an arrest and recovered most of the stolen property. Lamay’s bike appeared to be already gone, but the thief apparently cooperated and led them to the person he traded the Yamaha to for something else.

It was a great ending to an unfortunate incident, and everyone at MX Sports and Unadilla is really happy to have the case resolved and the bikes back in the proper hands. Thanks to everyone for their patience and input, and here’s a reminder to always lock up your possessions at the racetrack, whether it’s a pro national or just down the road at a local event.

Here’s a local newspaper report on the capture of the Unadilla bike thief.

  • That’s Healey, we believe, with his back to the camera.
There are a couple of very interesting court cases involving motocross that are on the dockets in California, and one of them has just been settled. First, there’s the ongoing dispute between Tommy Searle and KTM over the rest of his contract here in the U.S., though we are hearing that there’s been some positive movement that should see them stay together here on the AMA circuit. And then there’s the one that settled yesterday. O’Neal, which has been in business since 1970, had filed a copyright infringement claim against One Industries because the angular O that is their respective logos were too similar. The court, however, ruled against it.

And then there’s the tragically sad news from California that former pro motocrosser, 125 SX winner and Grand Prix contender Mike Healey, is facing a long prison term. Healey could get up to 15 years after robbing an older woman back in May in the parking lot of a Huntington Beach mall, grabbing her purse and leaving the woman with a broken collarbone. Here’s the report on Healey’s crime:
I’ve known Mike Healey since we raced together at the first 125 Supercross East-West Shootout in the Los Angeles Coliseum back in 1985. He was Bob Moore’s teammate on a very young Suzuki team, and he would follow Moore to Europe a few years later and team up with him again at KTM. Healey used to wear “Gunner” on the back of his pants, and he had a breakthrough of sorts in 1989 when he won some 125 GP races, though his efforts were largely overshadowed by the Cinderella story that was Trampas Parker. Healey would narrowly lose the ‘91 250cc world title to Parker, then watch both Donny Schmit and Bob Moore go on to win Grand Prix titles that he never could grab. He was more recently teaching motocross schools in Southern California.

There was also some confusion that stems from a post that went up on Vital MX over reports that Mark Easley, another former SoCal pro, was going to jail for an even longer stint, but that report was erroneous and false. His father called and said he is not going to jail and has no idea where that post or report came from. We apologize for any confusion and hope that this situation work itself out for everyone involved.

Here’s a cool story on John Dowd, who is racing this weekend:

  • BobbyM back in the day.
  • Imagine a cigarette company sponsoring motocross today.
  • The '86 Motocross des Nations was in Maggiora, Italy
Sometimes we stumble upon a treasure trove of photos, and this week it came in an email from Ed Santin of the Dirt Diggers North M/C, the gang behind the Hangtown National. Check it out.

And here’s a gem: It’s the notorious internet moto man BobbyM, once known as Bob Myers, grabbing a holeshot.

Check out these other rare gems I just got in the mail from my old friend Al Hand, the father of longtime Ohio races Carl and David Hand. One is a decal from the pivotal 1986 Motocross des Nations at Maggiora, Italy, and the other is a Camel sticker from the early eighties featuring Andre Vromans (4), Hakan Carlqvist (3) and I am guessing that #37 on the Kawi is future three-time world champ David Thorpe!

Wes Williams and his merry band of Vurb Moto videographers have a new DVD coming out called “EPIC: Love is like a retractable pencil...” Here's a link if you haven’t checked it out already:

Okay, the retractable pencil thing is from Flight of the Conchords….

  • Watch the EPIC trailer on our homepage and enter TGI Freeday for a chance to win a copy!
Now here are some silly season updates from an anonymous reliable source.

1.)  Chad Reed to Honda.

2.) Ryan Dungey has re-signed with Suzuki. They have a new co-title sponsor which allows them to go racing next year. There will be one 250 rider, as well.

3.) Pourcel and Weimer have re-signed with Monster Energy/Pro Circuit and Tyla Rattray remains under contract. Dean Wilson picks up the fourth spot, while Stroupe and Morais are packing their bags.

4.) Muscle Milk signed on as the title sponsor of Joe Gibbs Racing, with Justin Brayton replacing Cody Cooper.

5.) Josh Hill to L&M for no salary. And he’s done for 2009 with the Yamaha factory team, which means he may be done there for good.

Also in rumorville, word has it that Sean Hamblin and Grant Langston are going to be entering a team into the series next year. Details are sketchy right now as to whether it’s going to be an existing team or a brand new one, but there have been serious talks with sponsors.

Here’s Jason Weigandt.

  • Blake Baggett had a tough time on the starts last week, but did well moving through the pack
Weege checking in from Southwick, where the big question is, “How bad is the weather going to be?” And the big answer is, “What difference does it make? We already proved we’ll race through anything last week.”

Assuming a hurricane doesn’t hit here and conditions are normal, Southwick will still act differently than any other race on the tour because it’s “the sand track.” But sand is different everywhere, which means riders with local sand knowledge do even better than those with regular sand knowledge. John Dowd told me he literally knows where and how every single bump will form on this track, so even if he’s not training full-time, he can save enough energy to overcome a lot.

Last week’s race marked the debut of some top amateur talent, but all of them were plagued with bad starts. Blake Baggett qualified third overall in the 250 class, but crashed with Brett Metcalfe in turn one of moto one. He came all the way back to 12th. Moto two was, well, a washout for everyone. Blake’s back this week, still doing the privateer thing. His mother Leann is actually driving their rig from race to race, and Blake flies back to California in between events to train. After Budds, Mom had to find a UPS store so she could ship his engine and suspension off to Pro Circuit, and then P.C. sent the stuff back to a UPS store near the track here. Then Blake arrives, they bolt everything together and they go racing.

And now Steve Matthes.

By the time you read this, “Bad” Billy Ursic, Keith “Pitts” Burgie and myself will be driving our way across the North East part of America on the way to Southwick, Mass and more specifically, MX-338. The eight-hour drive [more like 10, Steve] should provide us with plenty of time to bench race and play the “Or” game. The “Or” game is where you go through the numbers 1-100 and each guy has to name two riders that ran that number at least once in their careers. For example, for the number 34, you would say “Ezra Lusk OR Barry Carsten” and then the next guy has to start with 35.  I know, ground-breaking stuff, but it’s something to pass the time while driving and me and Ursic should whup up on Burgie who’s just a young buck whose motocross knowledge starts around the MC days.

This weekend the Pro Circuit Privateer Payday Contest winner will be in the house and I’ll be there to help him out. Ozzy Barbaree of the great state of Arkansas is the lucky guy and thanks to the help of Pro Circuit, Racer X, Pulp Mx, Answer and Scott he and his RMZ 250 will be decked out with the latest pipe from PC and the coolest gear and goggles from Answer and Scott. It’s great to see everyone step up for the Oz-master and I hope all the support helps him to a career best finish.

  • Ozzy Barbaree and Steve Matthes will take on Southwick this tomorrow.
I told Ozzy that I can be his mechanic and I thought he accepted, but last I heard, he was bringing a friend, which might not be a bad idea considering that the last time I worked as a mechanic at Southwick, Ferry worked his ass off to get to fifth and then, with a half a lap left we had an electrical problem and he DNF’d. It wasn’t my fault but that feeling sucks and I wanted to hang myself. Anyways, if you see the 862 out there in the 250 class, cheer him on.

Check out directmotocross.com for all the exciting Canadian moto news.

Check out Pulpmx.com for more moto stuff. But only if you’re really, really bored.

I checked with some peeps on some of those silly-season statements made above me and it seems that it’s true. It’s looking more and more like Ryan Dungey is going to stay with Suzuki and that Chad Reed may not. Unbelievable for sure and there are lots of things that could still happen, but now, finally, the wheels of silly season are turning.

I don’t know what happened with JC Waterhouse at Factory Connection but I have to say, JC was always a great dude with me and I appreciated his honesty and forthrightness with me in regards to anything I needed. I just wanted to write that and wish him well in whatever his next venture will be. Little known fact: JC was the parts manager at Honda during the powerhouse 1986 years. If you’re a team looking for a manager, you should have JC’s number on speed dial.

Remember the tears and the love that streamed down when Jimmy Page, Robert Plant and John Paul Jones got back together at Live Aid in 1985? It was nice to see the masters come back and produce their magic for one more night, and there’s something like that happening this weekend at Southwick. John Dowd will line-up on the number 16 Kawasaki and spinning the wrenches for Dowdy for the first time since 1999 will be Brian Berry.

Muffin, as he is known, was John’s long-time mechanic that was there when he was a privateer in a van and was there when he was a factory Yamaha rider winning a 125 SX title and nationals. It’s just good to see and maybe next year we can get Bundy and Ramsey back together for one more farewell ride.

And now here’s David Pingree…

  • Check back next week for more from Powder Mountain's inaugural event.
Just checking in from the Powder Mountain Ski Area in Utah… This facility is home to some incredible snow-skiing during the winter and it is now going to be the home of a very cool annual motocross race that will end up being a staple on many calendars. The track runs up and down several ski runs and makes for one of the most unique settings for a motocross track ever. Wait until you see the photos from this place. Racing gets started tomorrow and then repeats itself again on Sunday. If you live in the Salt Lake area it is a short drive so be sure to come up and check it out.

Ryan Morais is back on the race track this weekend. Ryan had a stellar supercross season but right after Las Vegas he went in to surgically fix a problem with his shoulder. He’s hoping to impress at these last two rounds but he has his work cut out for him on his Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki.

Just to clarify for those that watched the video of Jake Moss looping out at Budds Creek and couldn’t figure out what happened. He looped out. Yep, straight-up, old-school, novice-class loop-out. He tried giving me some excuse about oil on his brake pedal but about half way through his spiel he just smiled and called it like it was. He had massive arm pump and when his brain said to shut the throttle off his wrist wouldn’t respond. Anyway, he might show up to the Kawasaki truck and find wheelie bars mounted to his swingarm this weekend. If he can keep the front end down, I expect him to be on the podium this weekend in at least one moto.

Of course the weather could change all that… I guess there’s another hurricane heading up the coast or something? I’m not sure. I just know the weather here in the mountains of Utah is perfect.

Now for the Miscellaneous items

Here’s a cool development: Chad Reed will not only wear his new #1 plate at Steel City (and maybe even Southwick this weekend), he’s planning on incorporating a pink ribbon in there to support the Race for a Cure for Breast Cancer.

  • Wear pink, bring green.
On that note, wear pink and bring green to Steel City. The Steel City Motocross National will serve as a “Race to Cure Breast Cancer.” The entire event will have a pink Breast Cancer awareness theme with riders, teams, sponsors, crew, staff and media incorporating pink. In a show of solidarity, riders will have a pink breast cancer ribbon on their jerseys. There will be a Breast Cancer Awareness booth on vendor row where fans can learn more about breast cancer prevention, including obtaining free mammograms as well as purchase raffle tickets, bracelets and/or donate.

Fans can show their support by wearing pink on race day. Anyone wearing pink on race day can stop by the Breast Cancer Awareness booth on vendor row and get a free raffle ticket.

There will be a Mystery Rider Auction during intermission where Ryan Dungey, Andrew Short, Ryan Villopoto and Ashley Fiolek will be unveiling their exclusive mystery items for the auction. These charitable riders will not only be donating an item but will match the sale price of their item up to $1000.00 of which all proceeds will go to the Susan G. Komen fund for the Cure and the National Philanthropic Trust (NPT). In addition to the auction, a variety of activities are scheduled for the event. A raffle will be held throughout race day September 5th at the Breast Cancer booth. Fans will have the opportunity to win exclusive autographed memorabilia donated by athletes and supporters of the industry. Raffle winners will be announced prior to the final moto of the day. Volunteers will be selling a limited edition Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship bracelet at the event.

Here’s an update from Katherine Prumm:

Hi everyone,

Just thought I’d put together a quick email to let you know how everything is going. As you know following my injury to my spine in November last year I have not been able to race in the World Championship or any motocross events this year. I have really missed the racing and competition but am really glad to be on my feet and up and about. I have been on the exercycle at the gym whenever I can as I cannot live without my fix of endorphins from exercise and want to stay in the best possible shape I can whilst restricted with my back.

In the time off I have been keeping myself busy by studying for a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science and thoroughly enjoying it. I have learnt so much about the human body, training, coaching and other factors associated with sports science. Many things I would have loved to have known when I was competing! My grades have been really good with all A+ averages for last semester.

I broke two of the screws in back over the past month when I was cleaning my room so I have had my surgery approved and am waiting for a date to confirm when this will all happen. I hope soon because having two rods poking out of your back is not the most pleasent experience.

Last weekend I had the chance to go and watch and support the Junior Worlds in Taupo and it was a great event with close racing. There are some good young riders coming through and I think the event was great for motocross in NZ.

Hope you are well and thanks for your continued support,

Katherine Prumm

  • Be a part of Mulletica tonight in Windsor, CT
Here’s a really cool video a friend sent along, from bicycle rider extraordinaire Danny MacAskill, riding through the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Laurette Nicoll, the longtime announcer of the MiniMotoSX and Endurocross, has a new Facebook page based on her work. Check it out right here.

Mulletica is on tonight! Mullets, jean jackets and any ‘80s attire is encouraged. See the poster for more details.

Okay, that’s it for Racerhead. Here’s hoping they have better weather at Southwick than what’s being called for. See you at the races.

p.s. Racerhead came to you today from the back seat of a BMW 745i, where while stuck in a late afternoon traffic jam Steve Matthes’ Canadian-made Blackberry Storm’s tethering ability saved the day after two iPhones were unable to get the job done. He just wanted everyone to know that.