Racer X  Notebook: Millville

Racer X Notebook: Millville

July 19, 2011 11:30am
  • The track crew really had a challenge on their hands at Spring Creek, as it rained about as hard as it could possibly rain on Friday. Luckily, the sandy soil absorbs water pretty well, but still, on Friday people definitely feared the worst. The rain let up for Saturday and the crew scraped off a lot of the mud from the track, with high temperatures and sunshine taking care of the rest. The track was still soft in spots, but most riders were amazed that the track shaped up as well as it did.
  • Friday’s wild weather in the Minneapolis area also held up flights for many, and Dean Wilson thinks that played a factor. “I just didn’t drink enough water before the race, and it’s my fault,” he explained. “My flights were really delayed yesterday and I was stuck in airports all day. I didn’t drink enough water and I think I kind of got dehydrated.”
After being pounded by rain on Friday, the track crew still had Spring Creek in pristine condition.
Photo: Brian Robinette
  • Ryan Villopoto got a first-hand look at Chad Reed’s wild second moto crash, and although he’s battling Reed for the title, he was definitely worried watching it happen. “It was definitely a bad one,” said Villopoto. “He got a little bit of headshake, and it seemed like his front tire kind of washed up the takeoff, and then it hooked up. It spit him off. I was able to just kind of watch, I kind of jumped past him, and I was looking over at his body flying through the air. I think he got pretty lucky that he got into some of that soft dirt on the side of the jump, because I know there’s a [water truck] road down there, and yeah that’s pretty hard. I’m glad he’s okay.”
  • Villopoto struggled in moto one, taking a distant third behind Reed and Ryan Dungey. He made a shock change for moto two, and it improved his performance. “Over the last week, Jake [Weimer] went to California and did some testing. Seemed like they came up with a better setting, I didn’t run it in practice or the first moto, I ran my normal set up. So I felt like it couldn’t get any worse, so I tried it for the second moto. Getting the holeshot helped, too, but I think my bike was better, too.”
  • Rumor had it that Blake Baggett had crashed and broken his collarbone last week. Close, but not quite. “It happened last Friday,” he explained. “On Thursday we did a whole bunch of starts and stuff and I was debating not riding on Friday. I was on the last lap, and I crashed on a table top, and the way I was jumping, I couldn’t just bail off. So the bike slammed me into the ground and I dislocated my collarbone. It didn’t even get back into place until Sunday. I have a doctor who got it back into place, but I knew it was going to be sore today. I couldn’t ride all week. It definitely hurt out there, and I’ve just got to figure out a way to get through this one and then Washougal next week.”
Baggett is battling a collarbone injury after a practice crash last week.
Photo: Brian Robinette
  • The GIECO Honda 250 riders spent a week after RedBud at Mike LaRocco’s house in Indiana doing some hard training. But they still had a rough weekend. Justin Barcia had a yet another wild ride in moto one, as he crashed hard on one of the fastest sections of the track--the straight after the start—and landed face-first. A classic face plant! Barcia broke his nose and was expected to be out for the day, in fact, they even tore his bike down. But 45 minutes before the second moto, Barcia changed his mind and decided to try to race, so his mechanic Snikey went back to work rebuilding the bike in a hurry! Barcia got to the line and gutted out a sixth in the second moto. "I’m happy I went out there. It took a lot of heart to finish the race but I made it through,” Barcia said. "I need to get some X-rays this week and make sure nothing else is broken and just take it easy for a couple days before next weekend’s race. I think boot camp helped a lot though. It toughened us up and made us stronger for this race and races to come."
  • Things were tough for his teammate Eli Tomac, too. Tomac was running near the top five late in moto one when he became so overheated that he stopped on the track to get some water. "Throughout the race the heat really started to get to me and I felt really weird," Tomac said. "I needed to save myself so I pulled off the track with only a few laps left. I felt much better in the second moto with the cloud coverage so that helped. Hopefully I’ll have much more energy next weekend." The heat had a similar effect on Darryn Durham in the second moto, dropping him from just outside the top five to 33rd.
  • Wil Hahn had the team’s best results, going 9-8 for 7th overall.  "I was pretty happy with my races,” said Hahn. “The track was really rough and the humidity was just unreal. For the second moto I put myself in a good spot. I went wide and got into the deep stuff. I didn’t have the intensity at the beginning. Everyone else was riding really hard in the beginning and I just didn’t bring that intensity. Not my best day but not my worst."
Windham finished 10th overall at Millville.
Photo: Brian Robinette
  • Kevin Windham struggled a bit at Millville, taking 10th overall. "I never fully recovered from RedBud," Windham said. "I feel like the tank is empty and I just don’t have much left. I like this track a lot and enjoy all the fans here supporting us, especially in humidity, but this heat is really getting to me and I’m not happy with what places I have been finishing in." In fact, a few members of the Honda team were apparently doing some dances inside the team semi to try to get K-Dub pumped up! Indeed, the full-season schedule is starting to wear on the 33-year-old, but he’ll be racing again this weekend at Washougal.
  • The Muscle Milk Toyota JGR team was without Davi Millsaps. Davi has a bone bruise in his knee after twisting it at RedBud, and jamming his femur into his tib/fib. Millsaps will test the knee again this week in an attempt to recover for Washougal. Justin Brayton considers Millville his home race, as he hails from Fort Dodge, Iowa, about three hours away. He had a tough day. In moto one he got tangled up in the first turn and then crashed in the sand whoops a few turns later. He came back to 12th. In moto two, he battled the whole way with Brett Metcalfe, Jake Weimer and Tommy Hahn, taking seventh.
  • Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Brett Metcalfe was more confident coming into the race thanks to major progress on bike setup throughout the first half of the season. But he crashed in a muddy spot in moto one, landing him in sixth. He didn’t get as good of a start in moto two but finished fifth.
  • Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs Honda’s Christian Craig hurt his wrist in practice and wasn’t able to finish either 450 moto.
  • Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi had a quiet but effective day, going 4-4 for fourth overall. JDR J-Star KTM’s Tye Simmonds had his best race yet in the U.S. The 18-year-old Aussie went 9-12 for 11th overall.

Alessi was solid at Millville, going 4-4 for fourth overall.
Photo: Brian Robinette

  • Valli Motorsports Rockstar Yamaha rider Nick Wey got caught in a hard first turn crash and banged his head a bit. He soldiered on for 29th, then took 15th in moto two on a tough day.
  • DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Kyle Cunningham now has four-straight fourth-place finishes in the 250 motos.
  • Rockstar Suzuki rookie Jason Anderson was back in action at Millville after taking a month off to rebuild his training program with new trainer Randy Lawrence. There seemed to be some improvement, as Anderson fought hard all the way through the end of moto two, going 10th overall with 14-10 scores.