Racerhead #12

Racerhead #12

March 25, 2011 5:30pm
Welcome to Racerhead, home of the world's worst NCAA bracket. I had Duke and Wisconsin in the Final Four. Whoops.

If it seems like it's been a long week since last Saturday night's crazy Jacksonville race, you’re right. The masses and the media have been waiting to hear more about James Stewart's undisclosed injuries after that frightening crash off the start of the main event. It happened in a section that basically knocked four top riders out of the points: Stewart finished eighteenth based on his qualifying time, which was better than Matt Goerke (nineteenth and a broken wrist) and Weston Peick (twentieth), who also went down with him. Then of course series points leader Ryan Villopoto failed to qualify, as did Justin Brayton and Daytona SX Lites winner Blake Baggett. Was it a flaw in the track design? In my personal opinion, yes. Having a rhythm section that close to a start (and a right-handed one at that) was asking for trouble, and the series got it.

The view from inside the Rogers Centre.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

But from an entertainment standpoint, it was good for the 450 class—Chad Reed is suddenly in title contention after picking up 22 points on RV—but obviously bad for RV and Stewart. How they bounce back this week is the thing we've all be waiting to see, which is why this week just seems longer than normal!

You can watch the Toronto SX on Sunday on Speed at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. But if you want to save the suspense, you might not want to get anywhere near Racer X Online, because we will be covering the event from early tomorrow to late night, long after all of the riders and teams end up in the hotel bar that overlooks the Rogers Centre. You can follow lap times here, or follow us on Twitter (@racerxonline).

While most of the teams would probably rather do without the hassles of a trip across the border (especially so many foreign-born mechanics that probably worry about not having their visas in order to reenter the country), I think it's pretty cool to have a round outside the U.S., and I have floated the idea of going to Estadio Azteca in Mexico City for years. The “international” aspect is still a leftover from the Jam Sports/AMA/Live Nation/FIM fiasco of several years ago, so it's a must-do. But here's the thing about Toronto that I don't get: there is exactly one Canadian rider who signed up for the AMA Supercross class. Seriously. So root for #926 Josh Snider, Canada—he's a hero for even showing up and trying.

Ryan Villopoto is not only on the cover of Racer X, but he made the cover of Moto X in Germany as well, shot by our own Simon Cudby.

One thing I want to point out about Ryan Villopoto: I was really impressed that he stepped up on the podium before the main event and faced the music of the Speed TV cameras by doing a pre-race interview with Erin Bates. It had to be horrible for him to be there watching, and he even said he expected to lose 25 points to Stewart, which of course did not happen. But standing there and and answering a reporter's questions on your worst day of the season is the mark of a champion in my book.

So will Chad Reed carry his momentum into Toronto? His late-race battle with Trey Canard was almost overlooked as a result of all the drama off the start. Both Reed and Canard were flying, and it only added to the element of excitement that makes it feel like it's a brand new season. If Reed somehow gets his TwoTwo Motorsports/Bel-Ray Honda into the points lead, it will be one of the biggest stories our sport has seen in some time. Six rounds to go and yet it seems like we're starting a whole new deal beginning this weekend!


We've been talking about the Lead Law for about two years now, and the thing is coming to a head in May in Washington, DC. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has a hearing scheduled then to review a motorcycle exemption, and the AMA and MIC are working the phone hard to get some traction in our nation's capital with lawmakers. I also took a moment to write the State Journal newspaper here in West Virginia to hopefully get the attention of some my state's policymakers. This is an extremely important issue for the future of motorcycling, so write to your congressmen, senators, newspapers, and anyone you can to get the word out about stopping the ban on minicycles for children under the age of 12.

I will now admit that I am honestly getting excited about the GPs starting up next week in Sevlievo, Bulgaria. With Zach Osborne an honest title contender in MX2, and Michael Leib possibly making a run on his new factory Husqvarna, it could mark the first time since 1995 than an American has won a world title, though they will find huge competition from Ken Roczen, Jeffrey Herlings, and the returning Tommy Searle and Racer X columnist Max Anstie. Plus with Ben Townley coming back (though currently on the injured list) and Clement DeSalle going after Tony Cairoli's #1 plate (well, #222) the action should be interesting in MX1 to say the least.

I'm also looking forward to the late-April Grand Prix at Valkenswaard in the Netherlands. I was there back in 1992 when Donny Schmit, Bob Moore, Trampas Parker, Tallon Vohland, Bader Manneh, and Mike Healey were all racing the Grand Prix tour, but I understand the place has undergone huge changes. And I haven't been to a GP in Europe since Ryno was racing there, so I look forward to seeing all of the changes the series itself has undergone. (And yes, Klaus, I am stopping by your shop for a visit!) Round three will be the U.S. Grand Prix at Glen Helen on May 15, and with more top AMA riders talking about entering, it's shaping up as a good race too.

Check out this great Ken Roczen cover shot for England's Moto magazine, shot by Hoppenworld.

Speaking of Townley, the guys at Vurb Moto got hold of BT101 at a British race over the weekend for this update.


If you want to follow the GPs beginning next weekend in Bulgaria, Youshtream is offering its new MX-LIFE.TV site. You can watch the live on www.mx-life.tv. You can sign up for free and get instant access to the exclusive free content and the 2009 and 2010 archive footage. The events this year will have a small fee, or you can order a season pass.

Finally, I discussed Ian Trettel at length last Friday. Here is an update on the rider who was injured at Daytona that we spotted over on Vurbmoto.com. Bracelets and T-shirts are also being sold at store.vurbmoto.com with all proceeds being donated to Ian and his family.

Okay, let's move it over to our resident Canadian, Steve Matthes...

Welcome to round twelve of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, otherwise known as the “Absolute Best Round of the Whole Series.” We’re in my home country!

Okay, it actually hasn’t been voted on as the best round or anything, that’s just my opinion. I don’t think you could get very many others to agree with me, but that’s just because maybe they don’t like the weather (it is rather frosty up here) or maybe they don’t like the strange money or customs that Canadians have, like saying thank you and being overtly friendly.

As I type this, I’m in my hotel room getting ready to head out on a fun day of visiting the Hockey Hall of Fame, buying a whole bunch of Toronto Maple Leafs crap (that’s the hockey team, in case you’re wondering), and just generally soaking up all the Canadian-ness I can. I even headed out here a day early, which should show you how serious I am.

Here's last week's winner Trey Canard, on the cover of Germany's revamped Cross Magazine, shot by the Hoppeworld crew.

Some of you may remember Toronto having insanely soft dirt with ruts everywhere and riders singling the jumps, but the folks at Feld have found a better spot to store the dirt and it was great last year and should be fine this year. I personally didn’t mind the rutty, soft dirt from years past, as it made the guys really struggle out there and added a different feel to the race. But last year and this year should be more like a traditional supercross as far as dirt goes.

The other thing you may remember was the lack of entries last year as just twenty-three 450 riders showed up and everyone made the main event in an unprecedented move. That shouldn’t be a problem this year, as there were over 50 riders pre-entered for this weekend.

James Stewart is in dire need of a win after six straight weeks of not winning.
Photo: Garth Milan

The racing should be great this year as well. James Stewart needs a win bad—he’s never gone this long without winning a race. But despite being carted off last weekend, he made up three points on leader Ryan Villopoto. RV is coming off his second-ever DNQ and is no doubt feeling the heat as his double-digit lead has shrunk to single digits on Chad Reed.

Really, after last weekend, only Reed and winner Trey Canard have to be happy. RV didn’t qualify, Stewie was hauled off, and Ryan Dungey, although he got third, can’t be pumped the way the 22 and 41 pulled out on him. All of this should make for an impressive cocktail of racers wanting to go out and make statements, which should reward all you fans who are there this weekend.

Pro Circuit’s Dean Wilson has to get to the top of the box, as GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia is pulling away in the points race. Barcia won this race last year and Wilson had some problems getting back into the USA afterward, so I would say Toronto would bring out the best and worst feelings for those two guys.

It's a photo from last year, but that's Dean Wilson on the cover of Japan's Dirt Cool, No. 1 2011.

Don’t forget about Star Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes. he’s been really fast this year and I really want to see what he can do with a start.

I still say, though, that no lead outside of 20 points is going to be safe going into Vegas, because with what is normally the heat races being the main event for the final round, things are going to get crazy. Think about how much they water the track in Sin City, and normally the heat races see some dudes hitting the deck. The 250 finals in Las Vegas are definitely going to be ridiculous.

Over on Pulpmx.com, I did a Classic Commentary with Jeremy Albrecht as we watched Daytona 1995 250 main event. Good times! I have fun doing these with guys, because as a fan I think you can learn a lot about what happened back in the day. Check that out right here.

If you’re not into that one, there are plenty more races on the Classic Commentary page for you to check out. Thanks to Swizcore for the help with these—he’s the man.

Justin Barcia is way out front in the Lites East.
Photo: Garth Milan

We had the Pulpmx Show on Monday with Nick Wey talking about dirt track, Trey Canard filling us all in on Ronnie Mac, and Matt Boni informing us all about gator hunting. Then Eric Sorby called in and things got weird. There was also some moto talk in there, so make sure you check out myself and Kenny “MTV Superstar” Watson each and every Monday at 6 p.m. Pacific and you can laugh with us and at us.

I got a bunch of tweets and texts that Watson was on the MTV Real World show as they are filming in Las Vegas. Kenny actually talked about this on the show a few months ago but like a lot of things with Watson, I didn't know if it really happened or if he just dreamed about it.

It appears that it really did happen and I think that's cool, I didn't see it because I stopped watching the Real World after the first time they were in Vegas and that Trichelle chick hooked up with half of the male population of Vegas but it appears the cast was put to "work" by the H&H Racing crew.

God help them if Kenny was the boss.

Hey if anyone is in Toronto and wants to bench race about how Ferry was only a few race wins away from being considered the greatest racer ever, come down to the Loose Moose on Front Street (right by the Dome) as I'll be there with the Directmotocross.com crew hanging out and talking moto. Chances are you'll see more than a few industry people there as well.

Okay, here's the Weege:

And once again my Uncle Lord Alfred Weigandt has sent a letter in via Royal Mail. He is of course very excited since this weekend's race is not taking place in the United States. Here's his letter:

Oh ‘ello! It’s me favourite race of the American stadiumcross season, the internationally flavored Canadian Stadiumcross! Yes, Yanks, you may call yourselves Americans, but you live in North America, and only one nation within it properly recognizes Queen Elizabeth II on its loonie (that’s buck or dollar to you Americans, er, sorry, United Statesians). O’ Canada, we stand on guard for thee!


Thank you to everyone who has helped push Motocross 101 to be the top-selling sports download and second in top selling TV Seasons. Go to iTunes and buy it right now!

Have you seen the new Mud Dolphin video? There’s a pretty amazing curve session early on in the video. Check out the mermaid hunter right here.

I was really bummed out this week to hear that Wil Hahn suffered another injury. After waiting out a pretty serious injury from his A1 crash, I’m sure Wilbur was anxious to get on a bike again. But a crash recently left him with a broken shoulder blade. Hopefully it heals quickly and he can be ready to go at Hangtown. Keep your head up, Wil. Maybe you can use this time to work on getting out of the friend zone with Miss SX?

Check out the cover of the new Xtreme RC Cars magazine... Is that Dave Castillo pulling his first cover?

I was also really disappointed to hear that Ben Townley is hurt again. Go ahead and insert your sarcastic comment about how Ben is always hurt. Whatever. It sounds like he took a big hit to his head, so I hope everything heals up properly. BT would have been a title contender over there, no question about it. As DC mentioned, we still have American riders Zach “The British Pound” Osbourne and Michael “What is a TC610” Lieb to cheer for. Go get ‘em, boys!

While we’re talking about injuries, it seems like that stupid supermoon really kicked some ass in Florida last weekend. We all know RV and Stewart took a beating, though there is some speculation about the seriousness of James’ injuries. His press release says everything is peachy keen and he’s ready to win in Canada. But what’s a press release supposed to say? “James is more beat down that Charlie Sheen’s liver and he’s really just hoping for a miracle at this point”? Press releases are the most idiotic things in our sport. I understand the point of getting the word out to sponsors and fans, but it’s all such a bunch of candy-coated donkey crap.

Anyway, the point I was trying to make is that, lost in all the commotion last Saturday, Matt Goerke suffered a pretty serious injury. He crashed with James in turn one and broke his pelvis and his wrist. A pelvis is not an injury you mess around with, either. You can lose up to two liters of blood from a broken pelvis alone, which can lead to significant hypotension and hypoperfusion. (Yes, I just graduated from paramedic school, so I’m throwing out some terminology.) Let’s just say it’s a bad deal. And what a bummer for Matt, who has been riddled with injury since, uh, since he started racing professionally, really. Get well soon, Matt.

Hopefully this weekend’s racing is much safer but just as entertaining as it has been the past few weeks. One thing is certain: with Steve Matthes back in town, the local Tim Horton’s establishments will enjoy a spike in weekend revenue.

Okay, here are some more notes:

The 4th Annual Racer X Inter-AM is only one week away. Check out this Husky 125 prepared by Dallas Nyblod for Damon Bradshaw to race in the Classic 125 class. It will be a battle of Swedish bikes as Damon will be lining up with Racer X Publisher Scott Wallenberg on his factory replica Monark. Free admission, so if you are in the area, stop by for a trip back in time at the famous OMC track in Boise.



And here's a note from a true privateer looking for help:

I have set up a paypal -bradripple@ymail.com. I am looking for some support from our motocross industry. I need some help on entries and travel. I'm currently tied for 15th in the east coast lites points. The first three rounds of the east coast Lance Vincent was kind enough to let me borrow and race his practice bike where I was able to put in the main at Atlanta. I was in a qualifying position at daytona and made a few mistakes and missed it by one in the heat. The LCQ in Daytona I had gotten the start and was clipped coming outta the 2nd turn only to go down and not make it. Indianapolis I managed to get a 5th in the heat and logged a solid 12th in the main! Thursday night leading up to Jacksonville I caught the flu. I was riding Saturday with a 102 temp. Couldn't keep any foods down, I was in survival mode. In the heat race things came up my throat twice—I did throw up on myself—and Alex Martin almost caused some to go out the other end! :) I pushed through it and made the main. But from there I was spent. The outside temps throughout the day took alot out of me as did the little flu bug. I did the best I could with the circumstances that I was under!

Brad Ripple is asking for some much-needed support.
Photo: Andrew Fredrickson

I have to say thanks to those who have helped me. First off, Naveen, thanks for all the support and allowing me to ride your rider's practice bike! And building my motor outta your pocket! Without you I wouldn't have been able to race! All the guys at Honda of Houston, Fly Racing, Von Zipper keeping my sights clear! Ogio, EVS, Rockwelltime.com, HJC Helmets, Vortex, Fuupclothing.com and my girlfriend Kelly for helping me get to Atlanta on such short notice!

Anything helps guys! 20 people pitch $10 each and I can go race. Thanks for all your time! And please help the privateers. WE MAKE THE SHOW!

Okay, people, can we help this kid out?

Here is an update on Brad Frace, who had a gnarly crash at Oak Hill over the weekend and was airlifted to a local hospital.

The 2nd Annual Old SoCal Pro Bench Racers' Reunion is coming up next weekend in Santa Ana, California. Steve Bauer sent us over a list of all of the folks on the guest list: Gary Chaplin, Jim Wilson, Rex Staten, Marty and Mike Tripes, Jon Derhammer, Danny LaPorte, Uncle Donnie Emler, Ricky Johnson, Gary Jones, Marty Smith, Tommy Croft, Morris Malone, Ray Lopez, Gary Ogden, Goat Breker, Warren Reid, Bill Urban, Ray Topham, Bill Rubly, Wayne Boyer, Bobby Myers, Mike Beier, Rick Maki, Todd Peterson, Davey Carlson, Bruce McDougal, Jim Fishback, Joe Bonnello, Tom White, Lee Ramage, David Taylor, Dave Williams, Tim & Chuck Lunde, Mark Tyer, Gary Denton, Ron Turner, Mark Ellis, Bob Sullivan, Ross Maeda, Andy Jannings, Clint Hardick, Doug Nicol, Dave Eropkin, Bill Payne, Tim Hart, Chuck Miller, David Moates, Harry Klemm, Dennis Cox, Jim Gibson, Todd Huffman, Dave Miller, Tom Corley, Tim Hoover, Robert Reisinger, Clark Jones, Val Tamietti, Jeff Ward, Dave Pessy, Stu Peters, Ken Faught, Chip Howell, Jim Beaucham, Scott Heidebrink, Ron Lawson, Bob Tocco, Shawn McConnell, Dave Rodgers, John Tessitore, Mike Faria, Dan Dilkey, Eric Crippa, Gary Martini, Jim Gianatsis, Matt Devich, Keith Lynas, Ward Bassett, Terry Clanton, Thad Friday, Tim Buck, Brad Lackey, Bryar Holcomb, Donnie Hansen, John DeSoto, and .. Steve Bauer!

Sounds like half the guys in this photo will be at the SoCal Pro Bench Racers' Reunion.

If you’re a Facebook user, here is something worth checking out: Jill and Greg Robinson, the second-generation owners of the famed Unadilla circuit, have been busy updating their Facebook page with some cool really historical photos. The Robinsons have been adding galleries from different years and various races, and they are definitely worth browsing through. They are adding and revising images each week, so make sure to “like” them and check it out. Also, in addition to their own archived photos, they are also asking fans and readers to post there own pictures and comments as well.

We all know the other side sucks and that Bob Hannah was a legend at the track, but who knew Chris Muk and his buddies had the three-man slingshot (complete with water balloons as ammo) fired up in the pits sometime around 1990? This stuff would never happen today. You’ll find all that and more right here at Unadilla’s FB page.

Is this the future?

Zero Motorcycles, the upstart electric motorcycle company, recently held their 2011 product launch in the Santa Cruz Mountains. With industry veteran Scot Harden in charge of Marketing, the company proudly introduced the entire 2011 product line, and which is comprised of five models. There big news for 2011 is that all models have been completely revised and updated with better technology. This includes everything from the battery power pack to the chassis, suspension and wheels. In addition, the company introduced a few new street/commuter models to the product line up, which makes them the only electric motorcycle manufacture to offer a full range of two wheel products.

In addition, the company also announced a new round of $26 million in investment capital, which they expect will carry them through to profitability. One thing that is particularly cool about these guys is that they build and assemble the bikes right in the Santa Cruz area of Northern California, and over 50% of the part on the bikes are sourced from North American suppliers. Not too many OEMs can make this claim!

The idea of electric bikes is pretty cool there are no dirty air filters to clean, no oil to change and no valves that need replacement. Also, with virtually no noise emitted, it also means improved access to riding areas that might not normally be available. Look for more information on Zero Motorcycles, including a riding impression on the MX models, to be posted here next week.

Bad news from Jimmy Button's Twitter account:

“So I crashed my bike on Monday and broke my arm. Operation in 2hrs and then I can finish the ride a week from now. More plates and screws.”

Good luck to Jimmy on his Miles for Miracles ride to raise funds and awareness for spinal cord trauma research.

In case you missed it, you have to check out this brutal crash Ken Block suffered last weekend while competing in Portugal at the World Rally Car Championships. While it's impossible to tell by the angle of the camera what exactly Ken hit, whatever it was had the same effect as the little jump James Stewart hit while leading the Daytona Supercross.

"Yep, that was a big one," Ken told us via email. "Those things are built so well...all I walked away with was a bruised foot and a bruised ego (the ego hurts worse). With age comes a cage!"

Here's a piece on the best and worst races ever, from some of Monster Energy AMA Supercross' biggest stars of all time, by Eric Johnson.

Hey and check this out, we've released version 2.0 of the Racer X App!

What’s New in Version 2.0?

* Now plays ALL video from Racer X Online!

* Now plays ALL podcasts from Racer X Online!

* New news feed

* Includes Socialize, a new mobile social-networking platform that allows commenting, story liking, and better sharing

It's free, so if you've got an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, check it out right HERE!

Carol Beale and her fourth-grade students in Texas continue to participate in her program Tracking 21, which follows Blake Wharton’s season with stats and facts. Check out the video that their local news station KXII created.

By many generous donations, all of Carol’s 120+ students will be traveling to the Dallas Supercross on April 2, and they’ll be wearing Blake Wharton replica wigs!

This week's eye candy for the upcoming Racer X Inter-AM in Boise on April 2: a stunning 1974 YZ 250 with Maico forks ala Ake Jonsson. Prepared by Seattle hot shoe Dallas Nyblod. For more info on this event click here.

Finally, a sad note from our friend Glenn McGovern, who lost a close friend and riding buddy this week:

“My best friend David Redmond, #28, passed away last night leaving his wife Estelle and is two year old son, David. He was 51 yrs. old and riding his beloved CR450 Honda at CCR MX at Lorranger, La. at night practice when he had a massive heart attack, dying almost instantly. He was treated with CPR and Acadian Ambulance to no avail for he had departed already. David was to ride the Golden Pines MX race in the Louisiana Winter Series in the 40 plus class with me again this weekend. He used to say when he died he wanted his ashes spread at Mt. Glen Helen for he love going to the MTA World Vet Championships yearly. He loved that Glen Helen track. In 2004 we made 4 races including the Endurance Series there driving 29 hrs. one way in my box truck. He could operate heavy machinery and helped build Trampas Parker's original track, Stone County and the old club track at Skip's land in Gulfport, Ms. He was a shipfitter at a local ship yard that build military stealth warships. He loved motocross. He was very religious and did not fear death. I am sure he is in heaven. I will do my best to help Estelle and little David race as he purchased and was rebuilding two (David on little David : "He needs a backup bike."), YZ Zingers for little David. We planned to camp and race this weekend at Golden Pines. I plan to do a memorial lap Sunday if allowed to in honor of David Redmond, father, racer, husband and friend.”

David Redmond at last 2009 Glen Helen MTA World Vet race in the middle with me to left, my mom, David and friend Daniel.

Godspeed, David Redmond.

Thank you for reading Racerhead. See you at the races.