Racerhead #36

TGIF. This is Bad Billy welcoming you to this week’s edition of Racerhead. DC has been out of the office all week because he’s been helping his brother and the rest of the Racer Productions crew up at Steel City, preparing the facility for the final round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship on Saturday. The weather looks pristine, so if you live anywhere in the Northeast and want to witness some great racing, head out to Delmont, Pennsylvania, tomorrow. For more information, visit www.steelcitymx.com.

  • www.justinweeks381.com
This weekend’s race will also serve as a race to cure Breast Cancer. Everyone in attendance is encouraged to wear pink in an effort to raise awareness and money in support of the Philadelphia Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. You can help the cause by donating right here.

Now on to the bad news. It’s been a downright terrible week for motocross. First we got the tragic news that rookie pro Justin Weeks crashed at Freelin MX in Michigan last weekend and broke his T2 and T3 vertebrae. He currently has no feeling from the chest down. Earlier this month, Justin won the 450 A class at Loretta Lynn’s with 1-1-1 scores before jumping up to the professional series at Unadilla, where he went 15-18 for 19th overall in the 250 class. A website is up to help support Weeks: www.justinweeks381.com.

Former minicycle prodigy Troy Blake passed away earlier this week. Blake came out of the Arizona desert in the late seventies and immediately was signed to a Yamaha factory ride. This was during the glory years of Southern California minicycle racing, and his competitors were guys like George Holland, Erik Kehoe, Jim Holley, Mouse McCoy, and more. But Blake never really reached his full potential on a big bike, though he never lost his enthusiasm for motorcycling. He was the owner of TnT Racing in Arizona and had been suffering from kidney problems. Troy was taken to the hospital last Wednesday with breathing problems. The doctors diagnosed him with pulmonary hypertension, and he was placed on life support. He passed this Monday at 3:32 p.m. Godspeed, Troy.

This is from Troy’s mother:

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you all for your kindness and support at this difficult time for Terry and I. The funeral arrangements for Troy have been made. Here is the information:

Funeral Services are Thursday morning, Sept 10th, 10:00 a.m. at St.Matthew’s Church, 901 West Erie Street, Chandler, AZ.

  • Troy Blake
  • Troy Blake
There will be a visitation on Wednesday evening, Sept 9th, from 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Bueler Mortuary, 14 West Hulet Drive, Chandler.

We would like to ask that everyone wear Honda red to the

In lieu of flowers we request donations to the Road 2 Recovery Foundation, 23623 N Scottsdale Rd, Suite D-3420 Scottsdale, AZ 85255. You can also make an online donation at www.road2recovery.com

More bad news via a note from reader Eric Muth:

In case you guys haven’t been made aware, Dennis Akins was killed in a traffic accident yesterday. His son showed an interest in motocross, so what did Mr. Akins do – he spent practically every spare minute (working 2nd shift) building a track in his backyard – ChrisCross in Alabama. He started off making the track available to practically anyone that stopped by simply for donations. It grew from there. He was a nice guy and deserves mention if you can squeeze it in.

Greg Nesler then sent us a note about his brother, Todd:

We are saddened by the loss of Todd Nesler. Todd has left us from our heavenly earth and is in a better place surrounded by all of his hopes and dreams. Todd is dearly loved and missed by his family and friends. Todd was an inspired pro in the early ‘80s racing out of the Michigan Mafia and spent several years on the pro circuit having received help early on with Yamaha and as a Honda Support rider and traveled the national circuit. Todd was well known as a holeshot artist and one time yanked a big one against the factory boys in the Montreal supercross leaving the factory wrenches scratching their heads. Later, Todd developed a handful of patents and products including, several notable and world wide selling, including the Vents goggle which was used in the moto, ski and paintball markets. The Vents goggle was in fact selected and used by the post gulf war Iraqi army as a field operation eye protection piece. In his spare time, Todd enjoyed running and mountain biking and excelled in the sport of Duathlon. 

God Speed my loved brother you are missed and will always be remembered every time I ride. -Greg

  • Taken far too soon, Tanner Krahenbuhl was only 16 years old.
The first Powder Mountain motocross was held this past weekend, and though the event was a huge success, it did end on a sad note, as young Honda of Houston rider Tanner Krahenbuhl died leaving the track when his motor home’s brakes failed while descending the mountain.

According to a local newspaper, a Weber County Sheriff’s deputy driving up to the Powder Mountain resort to help with traffic control spotted a motor home that seemed to be out of control traveling down the road at a high rate of speed around 8:20 p.m. The motor home then rolled a few times before crashing just off Powder Mountain Road near 6910 E. 6800 North.

Krahenbuhl, 16, from Henderson, Nevada, was pronounced dead at the scene. The motor home’s two other occupants, Zach Fussell, 17, and Mike Hutcherson, 34, were critically injured. Fussell was taken to McKay-Dee Hospital and Hutcherson to University Hospital in Salt Lake City. Click here to visit Tanner’s memorial page.

In more uplifting news, Feld Motor Sports Arenacross series manager Jayme Dalsing and his wife, Nikky, welcomed a baby girl into this world on August 3. Alissa Joanne and Mom are doing great. Congrats to the family.

  • DC and the crew have been hard at work in Delmont, PA.
By now you know what happened last weekend at Southwick’s MX-338, but if you feel you missed out on something, be sure to check out our site for the race report, 250 and 450 Words, and Observations. We also had a ton of great interviews this past week, ranging from Privateer Profiles with Taylor Futrell and Weston Peick to 5 Minutes with interview with Jessica Patterson, Ozzy Barbaree and John Dowd. Seriously, if you haven’t already, bookmark www.racerxonline.com and sign up for the Racer X newsletter. Want to win free swag? Sign up for our weekly TGI Freeday contest as well.

Attention amateurs: This Sunday at Steel City is an AMA Pro-Am points-paying event. For more information, check out www.steelcitymx.com or www.gopamx.com.

Steve Matthes, of Directmotocross.com fame, spent the entire week here in the Racer X headquarters, and in addition to Twittering and updating PulpMX.com, he had time to submit this:

The AMA nationals wrap up with Steel City this weekend. Who would’ve thought that Chad Reed would be the champion? Who would’ve thought that Kevin Windham would ride the 250 class? Who would’ve thought that Tommy Hahn would be so good? What about Justin Barcia and his full attack on the 250s?

There are so many things that provide a little excitement in the course of twelve races that you need to take a step back and review each race to find the nuggets and then wrap your brain around that. Now try to figure out just how many of those nuggets comprise the entire series! There are just so many cool things to talk about when you start looking at forty-eight motos and what took place in them. I don’t have the time or room to break down the series that way.

It was an unbelievable series, and having the last race at Steel City just feels right to me - I never liked having the last round at Glen Helen. Everyone seemed to split out of the pits quickly because they all wanted to just get home ASAP.

  • Remember this guy? Ezra Lusk has been riding again. Look for a Steve Matthes podcast soon.
  • Coming in Oktober!
At Steel City, everyone has a flight out either on Sunday or Monday morning after the MX Celebration banquet that’s taking place in Pittsburgh on Sunday night. There’s no rush to leave the track - it’s time to sit back and reflect and hang out with the people that you were in the trenches with all summer. Riders, team personnel, and journalists (I use that word lightly with me) are all part of the series, and each person who works at the races brings you, the racing public, something to digest each and every week.

Ok, I’m getting sappy, so I’ll stop now. I know after the last checkered flag falls on Saturday (love that word also), I’ll take a moment to look around and appreciate where I am and what I do for a living, because you just never know if you’ll be back.

I spoke to none other than Ezra “Yogi” Lusk the other day, because I really want to line up a Racer X Podcast with him. Yogi’s in the backwoods of Georgia working out, playing tennis, and, yes, riding. It seems Lusk has been thinking about coming back to racing and has some offers on the table to come back to arenacross, supercross, the U.S. Open, and whatever else he decides he wants to do. Lusk is a multi-time winner of supercrosses and nationals, and he retired in 2005 after a broken leg suffered while he was on the Mach 1 Yamaha team. As he pointed out to me, he’s the same age as Tim Ferry, and his reasons for quitting motocross aren’t there anymore for him. He stressed to me that he’s not one of these old guys who sit on the couch and say “I’m better than these new kids” and that there’s no ego in the decision to come back (if he decides to) to prove something. He simply misses the competitiveness and the fans and wants to see how he can do.

Anyway, look for a podcast with Lusk soon.

Check out www.directmotocross.com for all the Canadian moto news that’s fit to print. We just did a little season wrap-up pictorial on the MX1 and MX2 classes that might be interesting to read for you people who want to have an idea of what happened in the land of Ketchup chips. Oh, and what about pulpmx.com? Maybe you should check that out.

I’m in my last day of being here in the Racer X offices, and I would like to thank all the guys here for putting up with me talking on the phone, drinking Starbucks, and generally just talking a lot. Matt Ware, the photo guy, is pretty sad to see me go I bet. I saw DC for about 32 seconds this whole week, which kind of sucked because I was hoping to go out for some bench racing with him. But with Steel City coming up, there were weeds that needed to be whacked, I suppose.

  • David Pingree airs out one of Powder Mountain's leaps.
  • Spotted at a Pennsylvania gas station
Keith, you can have your desk back now.

Here’s Ping:

It shouldn’t be long before the music stops playing and the riders and mechanics have to scramble for a seat. It looks like Ryan Dungey finally made his move and will stay at Suzuki, but that leaves Chad Reed without a spot. Rumors have Chad forming his own team with Monster Energy on green bikes. And I heard something about Kevin Windham being let out of his contract; I’m not sure what that’s about. More gossip includes Mike Alessi and Tommy Searle as the two KTM riders (with Mike on a 350cc?), with Josh Hill going to L&M Racing. No word at all about what Yamaha will do, and Suzuki will try to find one more 450 rider and possibly one 250 rider. Either way, there are lots of riders looking for work and not so many jobs. The next two or three weeks should be interesting.

The first Powder Mountain Motocross, held at the ski resort just northeast of Salt Lake City last weekend, was a huge success. Jeremy McGrath was the star of the show, and he even went as far as helping to design the track. It was an amazing backdrop for a motocross race, and the track was one rough, nasty, old-school course that didn’t favor those with arm-pump issues. The turnout was better than I think anyone imagined, as every rider in Utah turned up. There were also some pro riders from Idaho and Wyoming like Cole Siebler who made the trip down. They learned just like me that Jeremy is still a fast, crafty bugger, and he doesn’t like to lose.

There was one jump on the course that injured a few riders, including Nitro Circus boss Gregg Godfrey, who was flown to the hospital with internal bleeding. Greg is recovering and should be fine, but he left a nice dent in the ground up there. There were a few other scary crashes, and I can only hope they turned out okay. The news about Tanner Krahenbuhl was just heartbreaking.

  • Dean Wilson had a scary crash this week.
  • I'm no mechanic but it looks like something is missing here.
Photog Carlos Aguirre told us that rising star Dean Wilson had a bad get-off this week and was lucky to walk away with a smashed-up thumb. “He was scrubbing this small double and his engine blew up he and went the over the bars pretty hard,” Carlos wrote. “Larry Brooks was right there next to me when it happened and we later talked about how lucky he was it happened there. Then Larry said something I thought was funny: ‘The 250 is like a tropical fish - you just never know!’”

Want to watch Ron Lechien walk away at the MX des Nations? see that and some other good 1980s racing videos right here.

David Bailey collections from Ludo.

The complete pre-entry list for the 2009 Red Bull Motocross of Nations was announced earlier today. Check it out right here.

Finally, if you can’t make it out to Steel City this weekend, be sure to log on to www.allisports.com at 1:00 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the first set of motos. The 250 class will then air at midnight on Saturday on SPEED, and the 450s will run on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. Be sure to check your local listings.

That’s it for this edition of Racerhead. Have a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend. We’ll see you at the races.