Racerhead #15

April 9, 2010 7:50pm | by:
The Easter Break is over, and Supercross is back on! The 2010 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship is back in action at the second nicest stadium in Texas—and maybe the second or third nicest stadium in the country, Houston’s Reliant Stadium. That’s good news.

  • It will be great seeing Chad Reed back… unless Ellie goes into labor!
Even more good news is the fact that both Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Chad Reed and Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short are finally coming back after some long layoffs due to injuries. That’s also good news for Ryan Villopoto, who needs some bodies to get between him and Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey if he’s going to close up the points’ gap in these last five rounds of this series.

The wild card, though, is not Chad Reed, but rather Ellie Reed. She’s almost due to have their first child. If she goes into labor, Reedy is out of there—and for good reason! Good luck to the Reeds when it does happen.

In the Lites class, it will once again be Christophe Pourcel in the role as favorite, Austin Stroupe giving chase, and GEICO Powersports’ Justin Barcia looking to get under both of their skins and score a second win—and it would be cool to see Ryan Sipes or Brett Metcalfe finally grab a win.

More good news here is the fact that Dean Wilson is back from Canada, having finally made it back into the USA following a red-tape nightmare that lasted a fortnight (that’s two weeks’ time, old school).

The Houston Supercross will get next-day coverage on Speed with the Lites class airing at 3:00 p.m. ET, with the AMA Supercross class broadcast at 5:00 p.m. As always, be sure to check your local listings before setting your DVR! While you’re at it, set your DVR or tune in to Speed’s Wind Tunnel program Sunday at 9:00 p.m. ET, which will feature Ryan Villopoto being interviewed by the one and only Dave Despain.

  • The Houston track.
And before anyone fills my in-box up with angry letters, the AMA Motocross Nationals will STILL be two 30-minutes-plus-2-laps motos, for both classes. I will take the blame for the confusion. I had been looking for suggestions on how to tweak the series moving forward, asking riders, team managers, journalists and fans about the idea of going to a straight 30 minutes and dropping the two bonus laps. Why? Maybe use the added time in the allotted hour (which is really only 42 minutes after you take out the commercials) to show behind-the-scenes stuff, build personalities, help teams showcase their sponsors and their race shops, so on and so forth…The responses I got were mixed. At best. So we scrapped the idea.

Unfortunately, two weeks later, it was still on a preliminary rulebook draft that got sent out to several teams for suggestions, and that helped land the misstep on the VitalMX.com message board, causing a brief virtual burning-at-the-stake of yours truly. Again, sorry for the confusion.

In case you’re wondering, other ideas I had that received mixed reviews were: two-way-radios-in-helmets, a return to full works bikes in the 450 class, sending the riders to the gate in the second moto according to first-moto results (rather than timed qualifying like it is now), mandatory helmet cams on the top five… And 30-minute motos (sorry). Back to the drawing board! Got a great idea, weird idea, or just an observation for motocross—next year? Letters@racerxonline.com

  • Ken Roczen (94) was the favorite of many for the MX2 win, but Marvin Musquin (1) had other ideas.
The Easter weekend meant a break for the AMA riders, but they were just getting started in Europe, where the Grand Prix series started in Sevlievo, Bulgaria. As expected, Marvin Musquin won the MX2 division (at least I expected it, but a lot of others had super-fast 15-year-old Ken Roczen taking over already). And in the MX1 class, Roczen’s fellow German Max Nagl got the better of his KTM teammate Tony Cairoli for the overall, splitting moto wins—Nagl was on a 450 while Cairoli was armed with the new 350. And rounding out a great weekend for KTM, Steffi Laier dominated the Women’s class.

Three Americans rode in Bulgaria, with modest returns. Zach Osborne was seventh overall in MX2, Jimmy Albertson struggled with nerves to barely make the top 20 in each MX1 moto, and Ashley Fiolek could only muster 4-6 scores in the Women’s race. Our own Billy Ursic caught up with Albertson for this Racer X Online interview. The Americans get a chance to redeem themselves this weekend in Italy.

They will also get a chance to race in front of a home crowd in May when Glen Helen returns to the GP schedule for the first time since 1992. It’s still undecided which other Americans might sign up for that race, as the race sits between the first and second rounds of the 2010 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship at Hangtown in California and Freestone in Texas.

  • Zach Osborne took seventh overall in Bulgaria.
It is also unclear which GP riders will show up and race at Hangtown, because that’s an off-weekend for the Grand Prix tour and, well, why not? Sure, it’s in the middle of their series, but if they’re making the trip across the Atlantic anyway and they have a free weekend, why not head to Hangtown and see what they can do? If KTM’s willing to commit AMA stars Mike Alessi and Tommy Searle to the GP at Glen Helen, which they have, why not commit GP stars Musquin and Cairoli or Nagl to the AMA race at Hangtown? That would be kind of cool….

… And it probably won’t happen. The GP riders use works bikes; the AMA has a production rule. That would make it harder for the Grand Prix guys to show up at Hangtown than it would for the AMA riders to go race Glen Helen, unfortunately.

It would be particularly cool to see an early match-up between the brewing rivalry between France’s two best current riders, Pourcel and Musquin, battle at both races. Marvin has already signed a deal to move here and fulfill a lifelong dream of racing on the AMA circuit. The reigning MX2 world champion will be here full-time as soon as the GPs end this year, likely doing West Region Lites Supercross and the whole AMA Motocross tour for the next two years. I watched Marvin closely at the MXoN. He’s really, really good… But right now, I would still take Pourcel in both races.

And mark my words, the French will be formidable challengers to Team USA at the Motocross of Nations at Thunder Valley in September. Pourcel has been primarily riding his 450 since last summer, and his brother Sebastien is finally healthy too. Put those two on big bikes and MM on the 250F, and our boys will have their hands full.

  • Will Tony Cairoli come out and try his hand at Hangtown and showcase the new KTM 350?
Before I turn this over to the other guys, please take a moment this weekend to check out this interview with Cycle News’ editor Paul Carruthers, who is about to run the legendary Boston Marathon. Paul is not only running to see if he can measure up in this 26.2 mile race, he’s also making it a Race 4 Rett to bring awareness and hopefully raise funds for Rett Syndrome, a rare and particularly cruel disease that robs little girls of their motor skills. Emma Foley, the young daughter of former pro Kevin Foley, suffers from the disease, and she has helped inspire Carruthers in his quest to complete the most famous marathon of all. To learn more, check out www.emmafoley.com.

Okay, here’s Jason Weigandt with some preview points for Houston:

Monster Energy Supercross just enjoyed its only weekend off. I know my wife was very happy about that because now our old blue house has been painted tan. Look out, Daniel-San, I have four days of “paint the house” punches built into my Karate Kid repetior now. But this weekend, thankfully, I get to drop the chores and get back to racing. And I’m not the only one. Here’s what to watch this weekend in Houston:

1. They’re back!
As DC said above, we know for sure that Andrew Short will return to action for the Honda Red Bull Racing team, and Chad Reed will finally be racing, after several weeks of will he/won’t he questions. A few weeks ago, Chad came on the Supercross LIVE! Webcast and said he was frustrated by setting goals for a return only to realize he wasn’t ready… And now that he’s ready, his wife might have a baby!

2. Getting some good dirt.
Riders always rave about the dirt in Houston. The track layout looks pretty good, too. Check out the hilarious Smith Optics Track Walk with Daniel Blair.

3. K-Dub’s in town
New Orleans is back off of the schedule, which makes Houston once again the closest track to Kevin Windham territory. He’s already one of the most popular riders on the tour, and the fans only get crazier for him here. Look for a big pop when he lays out his classic stoppie during opening ceremonies, and don’t rule out the chance of another K-Dub win here. He’s been fast all year and always rides strong on this soil (he won here as recently as 2008).

4. Showdown rundown.
We say this every week. One of these weeks, Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto are going to hook up with similar starts in the same race and duke it out. Maybe, hopefully, this is the race where it happens.

5. Rested and ready.
Before the Jacksonville race, we mentioned how many riders were struggling with nagging injuries. The weekend off was just what they needed. Could we finally see the return of the Josh Hill from the West Coast rounds, the one who was battling for the championship?

Bonus: A few industry heavies will be doing some actual riding of their own today at Three Palms Sports Park, at a great annual ride day hosted by Toyota’s Rick Humphreys. There will be a lot of sore muscles at the SX track on Saturday—I don’t think painting the house got me back into riding shape.

Bonus 2: GNCC action rolls into Union, South Carolina, with FMF Makita Suzuki’s Josh Strang still undefeated after three races. Is he the new star of off-road? Is he on his way to a championship? We’ll see.

That’s it from Weege, who will be a new dad himself sometime around the High Point National.

Matty Fran was out at KTM's second annual Buck Wild Whiskey Tango Roost Day. Check out the video below, or click here to watch it on YouTube:

Old-schoolers will remember the name Larry Wosick as a former Kawasaki and Suzuki factory rider and all-around good guy. New-schoolers will know him from his fine Honey Lake MX Park in NorCal and his legal battles against neighbors who wanted to shut him down over excessive noise from the track. In a full-circle move, Wosick is now running for Lassen County District Supervisor in the California primary elections on June 8, 2010. His campaign website is www.larrywosickforcountysupervisor.com.

  • Vote for Larry Wosick!
“We both have gained a great deal of knowledge in how county government can at times work against the interest of the people,” his wife Lise wrote me in an email. “Larry wants to take what he’s learned through our victory with Honey Lake MX to help others in their private property issues and promote economic growth through business and sport.” Go get ‘em, Larry!

A late addition to our injury report is an update on MotoConcepts Yamaha rider Vince Friese. Vince was hurt on the first lap at Jacksonville, and his mother, Lisa, emailed us this update:

“Vince had a major laceration to his cheek that required a plastic surgeon and over 50 stiches. The CAT scan showed several facial fractures so we brought him home to Missouri. He underwent facial reconstruction surgery Friday for a broken nose, shattered cheek bone, and a fracture of his eye orbit in two places. He now has four plates and several screws in his face along with some scars! He is traveling to Houston with the hopes of racing. With a lot of determination (and many prayers) we are hoping for the best. He is really looking forward to St. Louis…his home track. I have sent a picture of Vince in the ER at Jacksonville. The medics and doctors were great at the track.”

Okay, here’s Ping:

If you live in the northwest and you’re looking for something to do this weekend check this out. This snow bike race is being held by the same company [2Moto] that invited me to Mammoth last year to try their snow kit… and it is really fun. The only bummer about going to watch is that you will be bummed you don’t have your own bike there. Still, it should be a good time.

  • Click to enlarge
The Moto GP opener is this weekend and everyone at the TLD offices is excited about the unveiling of the new Rizla Suzuki team graphics which Mr. Troy Lee himself designed. “I have always loved MotoGP and wanted to get involved, so when the opportunity came to be a partial sponsor of the Rizla Suzuki team and design all their artwork and clothing, I couldn’t resist,” Troy said of his involvement.

Sporting Troy Lee “Rizla” colors will be veteran Loris Capirossi of Italy, making his record 300th MotoGP appearance at age 37, teamed with a young racer in his rookie year, Alvaro Bautista of Spain. Personally, I’ll be cheering for American rider Ben Spies who is looking good to have a big season there.

After a month of riding and testing for the upcoming outdoor motocross series, my guys are shifting gears back into supercross mode. The break is always great back in February but by this time most of us are bored out of our minds and ready to get back to the races. I have been surprised at how few people I’ve seen at the local motocross tracks lately. Jake Weimer and Broc Tickle will turn up usually and once in a while I’ll see Searle, but that’s about it. It will be interesting to do a blister check after Hangtown to see who really did the work these next six weeks.

Sean Borkenhagen has a deal with KTM in Canada to race a 350 up north. The bike won’t be ready by the opener from what I understand so he will race the first couple nationals here at home, then head up for the rest of the Canadian rounds, and then finish off the series down here. It’s good to see Borky putting things together because he is good people to have around at the races. Hopefully he has a good summer.

Two weeks until Seattle… just two more weeks.

Thanks Ping. In this week’s Hammerhead Designs Online Poll, we asked you how you think Chad Reed would do if he returned this weekend in Houston. 43% of you said he’s finish on the podium, while 28% voted that he’d finish top five. As for a win, only 17% voted that we’d see the #22 on top of the podium Saturday night. I guess we’ll see tomorrow! If you didn’t vote yet, do it now.

  • How will former SX champion Gary Semics fare in the Fox Fifty for Ohio?
And speaking of polls, yesterday was the highly-anticipated debut of an all-new online feature that all of us here at Racer X and Fox Racing are very excited about: The Fox Fifty. The basis of it is to bench race and vote on who you think the five fastest riders are from a particular state. We plan on running the feature every week until we go through all 50 states, and we debuted yesterday with the Buckeye State of Ohio. If you haven't already, check it out and vote.

While we’re on the subject of Ohio, here’s the address where James Eickel is being held on those armed robbery charges. Maybe some letters might help him through these tough times.

James Eickel
2460 Jackson Pike
Columbus, OH 43223

Racer X reader Tim Wallace sent us a link about GEICO Powersports Honda rider Blake Wharton’s work with a local grade school in Texas. The kids are learning geography by charting Wharton’s progress this season in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Check it out.

Here’s a Tyler Evans Update, as reader Bryan Dayton was listening to Sirius radio today and sent us a description: “I am listening to the Bubba the Lovesponge show. Hulk Hogan is talking about Tyler Evans trying out in TNA Wrestling yesterday. They were talking about him for maybe 5 minutes. He said he was pretty tough and it sounds like One Punch will be doing some wrestling training. I’m sure you can find a link somewhere, or listen to the replay this afternoon on Sirius 101.”

Cody Lipps sent us some photos from the MX for Children “Inside Line Experience” down in the pits from Houston. The kids had a great time and deserved it as they raised over $4,500 for Texas Children’s Hospital.

MX For Children’s Brett Wise also let us know that Honda Red Bull Racing’s Andrew Short visited about 30 sick kids at Texas Children's Hospital, going room to room handing out posters and chatting for a bit, trying to put them in a better mood. Well done, Andrew. That’s what heroes do.

  • Chip's winning photo.
Congratulations to Southern California freelance photo man Chip Morton on winning the amateur division, sports and leisure category, in the Go Indie Photo contest

“This photo was shot at the Southern California Summer Special Olympics held in Long Beach last June,” Morton explained in an email. “I always love shooting these events and have been doing so for several years now. I’m happy to help out in some small way. You can see more of the work I have done with the Special Olympics on my website.” Congratulations, Chip, from everyone at Racer X!

Nicolas Alessandro Boyce was born at 9:42 pm on the 6th of April, to Alex Boyce and his wife Danielle. Congratulations to the expanded Boyce family!

Here’s a video recap courtesy of LPmotocross.com from the final rounds of the Winter MX Series at the AMSOIL Sandbox Arena.

Here’s a get-well-soon to Ken Martin, a +50 pilot who was hoping to make it to Loretta Lynn’s, only to crack some ribs while attending riding school with The Professor himself, Gary Bailey. See you at the ranch next year, Ken!

British motocross artist Rob Kinsey reminded us of this old-school gem: Sheryl Crow’s tribute to Steve McQueen, including a little motocross…
  • Welcome, Nicolas Alessandro Boyce!

Dear Racer X,
Hi, my name is Cluis McCarthy from Louisiana. Could you possibly post something to help a young, paralyzed MXer out? His name is Wesley Bandemer, he was hurt in 2006 and is now trying to raise funds for treatment. Wes is selling T-shirts, wrist bands, etc.And I sure if his story was on Racer X he would get the help he needs. Here is a link to his site and it has all the info.

Join today @ MxOnlineTournaments.com to win a chance to win autographed J-LaW racing gear & to race with the fastest rider’s in the world! Check out www.JlawRacing.com @ his friend’s @ www.MxOnlineTournaments.com to have a chance to win Jason Lawrence swag!

Lastly—sadly—it’s been a tough run for some ex-pro motocross riders continues. Joining Mike Healey, Eickel, and “Mad” Mike Jones in the news is longtime pro David Mack, who has been convicted of child abuse charges in Tuscola County in Michigan. Mack will serve one year in jail and five years’ probation for abuse of a child. Here's a link to the report.

Well that’s it, thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races.

photo: Predrag Vuckovic/Red Bull Photofiles