The silly season bench racing is in full swing, so let’s get things started with Ping.
The hottest rumor of the week has Ivan Tedesco signing with Hart & Huntington. He was in talks with Vali again but he’s been buddies with Kenny Watson for a long time, so that move makes sense. It really shouldn’t have been a big surprise. Chad Reed was rumored to be in talks with H&H, but you’d have to think that Ivan took a good bit of their budget. So, where will Chad Reed end up next year? The former supercross and national motocross champ has said that he wants to be on a Honda next year, and he certainly looked great on the Pro Circuit-built bike in the Super X opener. Internet chatter has him matched with the TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda team for next year. After all, Ben Townley is heading back to Europe to race the GPs, and that would leave a spot open and some cash available. Seems like a great fit, doesn’t it? Hmmm.
I was a little surprised to read the news that Townley was headed back to Europe. He made it very clear that he wanted to race in the States in 2011 and beyond, but the simple fact is that he would have left hundreds of thousands of dollars on the table by staying here. I don’t know where those European teams are getting their budgets, but they’re still making good offers. It was a pleasure working with Ben last season and I wish him the best of luck next year. In my opinion, it’s a big loss to the series here in the U.S. Go get ‘em, BT.
Ben Townley is headed back to Europe for 2011. Photo: Simon Cudby
The Honda of Troy race team is ramping up its efforts and is going to be a real player next year. They’ve already signed Nico Izzi, Les Smith, and Levi Kilbarger, and they’re working on signing up Nick Paluzzi to race the East Coast SX series and nationals. With Phil Alderton back at the helm (Phil was the manager back in the HOT/YOT heyday), the boys from Ohio might just put themselves back in the mix as a major player among top 250 race teams.
Don’t forget that this weekend is the grand opening of the amateur supercross track at Competitive Edge. The event starts at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday with the opening of the SX track to the public, and the motocross tracks are open all day. I got this note from the crew up the hill:
"The Saturday Night Races Under the Lights will have classes for everyone. All riders will be entered into a raffle at the final round for great prizes such as autographed gear, Supercross Tickets and Pit Passes, Helmets, New gear packages, Complete Hinson Clutch, and other big prizes – SO DON’T MISS OUT!!!"
I’m not sure if you counted, but there were three exclamation points at the end of that last sentence. I was on the fence, but after that display of enthusiasm, I’m definitely going to be there. I’m not the only one, either—riders who’ve been confirmed to show up include Blake Baggett, Christian Craig, Cole Seely, Sean Hamblin, Austin Politelli, Jeff Emig, Travis Baker, Weston Peick, and Wil Hahn. There will also be booths set up by Amsoil, Answer/Pro Taper/MSR, Epic Ride, EVS, Fox, Hinson, and Trackside Tire & Tube.
In other news, there are still a few spots left in my motocross school in Phoenix on November 26. To sign up, just email me at email@example.com and I’ll send you an application. If you’re questioning my experience and ability to share knowledge, maybe you’ll be persuaded by the free, Twelve-Week MotoE Performance Program that Robb Beams is offering to anyone that signs up? The training alone is a $475 value, folks!
Twelve-Week Program includes:
• Motocross-specific workouts to improve muscular endurance and eliminate late-moto fatigue
• Strength protocols for improved muscular bike handling
• Nutritional program for increased muscle and decreased body fat
• Race-day nutritional program for improved endurance and faster lap times
• Unlimited access to MotoE Rider Resource Center for three months
This offer from Moto E Performance is good on all Motocross 101 videos purchased at www.motocross101.com as well.
Now here’s Steve Cox:
This past Wednesday, Feld had a bunch of us press types out to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles to show off their new racing venue for the 2011 season. It’s a big deal because Dodger Stadium hasn’t done anything like it before, and for them to cover their field with dirt is a big deal.
After the initial press conference, which included Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto and Feld’s Dave Prater and Todd Jendro, they took us on a tour of the facility, which was pretty interesting. Throughout the tour, the guys from Feld filled us in on what goes into making supercrosses happen, and it’s quite an undertaking, to say the least!
But for me, the most interesting part was when the guys at Feld introduced us to the head groundskeeper at Dodger Stadium. He’s the guy who makes sure the grass is perfect, and that the field itself is perfect for baseball. He took us out into center field and showed us a hole he had dug that was square and about a foot deep. Inside that hole was sand. As it turns out, there’s a foot of sand underneath the grass. That’s what the grass grows in! I had no idea, but apparently that’s normal in baseball.
When Dirt Wurx comes in to build the track, the first thing they do is skim off about the top 1.5 inches of soil with a blade, which gets rid of the grass and its roots. (They could give some of it to me—my yard needs it.) Then they lay down plywood, build the track, then re-outfit the stadium for Monster Jam, and after all of the festivities are over, Feld pays to replace the grass, which includes one inch of new sand all around. (The sod is only a half-inch thick as far as soil is concerned, but after it grows into the soil, it’s the 1.5 inches I talked about earlier, so they have to replace the sand that was lost when the previous grass was scraped out of the place.)
Tom McGovern from Monster took the media on a tour of the Monster Energy Kawasaki rig in the parking lot as well. After all was said and done (and I could only find one weed in the outfield), we headed back upstairs, ate a few Dodger Dogs (I estimate that Jendro ate like $30 worth), and then called it a day. It was a bit rainy out there, but an interesting experience nonetheless. And it’s a positive thing that Feld is doing something to end the monotony of three Anaheims nearly consecutively. Even if they get exactly the same turnout, and it’s all of the exact same people (unlikely), it’s worth it to give the sport a little more variety.
Round two of the Monster Energy Super X is going off in Australia today (when this is posted on Friday afternoon, it’ll be Saturday morning Down Under), and although round-one winner Chad Reed came back to the U.S. to handle some business or something, there’s someone else on a Honda sort of taking his place out on the track: Kevin Windham. Windham brought his suspension and motor from the USA and has committed to just that one race, although he may do more if he’s having fun, or he may go and do the race in Genoa, Italy—or both. So while Josh Hansen and Justin Brayton were both pretty strong last weekend in chasing Chad Reed around, it’s not impossible that Windham will keep a Honda on top of the box for the second week in a row. We’ll see!
And finally, I’m working with a new video camera. I’m all about shooting videos now, so do me a favor and check out the few that I’ve posted this week, including interviews with Ryan Morais, Kyle Chisholm, Andrew Short on his new Red Bull KTM , and the Broc Tickle interview I posted last night in which Sean Borkenhagen talks to Tickle about nearly getting drowned by a crazed Hawaiian in the surf. Hope you like them. You may notice I’m trying to stay away from the normal rap or punk as the only option for background music.
Now we’ll flip this over to The Weege:
Racing season over? Not quite. The Can-Am Grand National Cross Country Series still has one race to go, and it takes place this weekend with the Amsoil Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana, which is an hour west of Indianapolis. If you're within driving distance, pack up the bike and go race on Sunday. The Ironman track is the best of the best when it comes to GNCC, with the perfect mixture of fast fields, big hills, a few fun water crossings, and the best darned dirt you've ever ridden on. Why? The track runs through a corn field, and after the corn is picked, they lay out some banners and run the race. So this is real, healthy, fertilized dirt.
Once you're out of the fields and into the woods, Ironman's most famous obstacle is the massive Ironman Hill, where it seems like every resident in the town of Crawfordsville hangs out to watch the action. The track operates an old school bus to ship spectators down there, and that's where you'll see the real ,unique element this weekend. Since this is the Breast Cancer Awareness month, GNCC is going pink for the weekend. A bunch of riders and teams are going to run pink number-plate backgrounds and graphics, and the whole facility is transformed for the pink theme. And so is the school bus!
Next week, the pink GNCC podium backdrop will be auctioned off on eBay with money going to the Susan G. Komen foundation. Plus, Team FMF Suzuki is donating a set of Josh Strang's RM-Z450 plastic, complete with pink numbers and graphics, to the cause. Should be a cool eBay auction, and we'll have details once it's up and running.
As far as the racing goes, Strang wrapped up the GNCC title at the last race in Ohio, but this one should be a knock-down, drag-out battle. There have been five winners in twelve rounds of the GNCCs this year, so anyone can get this one. Check out www.gnccracing.com for more info or to follow live timing and scoring throughout the weekend.
Here's a few more tidbits:
Earlier today an official press release was issued announcing the signing of amateur standout Justin Bogle to the GEICO Powersports Honda team for 2011 and beyond. The plan is for Bogle to finish out his amateur career next year and then to possibly make his professional debut after Loretta Lynn’s in August. This is eerily similar to when the GEICO Powersports team snatched up Trey Canard back in 2006. How so? Well, to get a ride with the GEICO Powersports Honda team, it looks like it helps if you’re from Oklahoma, sweep all six of your B-class motos at Loretta Lynn’s, and you ride a Kawasaki.
Classes won at Loretta Lynn’s: 125 and 250 B Modified
Moto wins: Six
Hometown: Cushing, OK
Team: Kawasaki Team Green
Classes won at Loretta Lynn’s: 250 B Mod and 450 B Stock
Moto wins: Six
Check out what O’Neal has going on over at their model-search page—they’re looking for a new O’Neal model and need some input from you guys! Head on over to the link and vote for your favorite girl. Right HERE.