Racerhead #51Friday, December 21, 2012 | 5:20 PM
Honda is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, and the undisputed leader in motorcycle technology. More motocross riders have won titles on Hondas than on any other bike. When you’re serious about winning, Honda is the machine for you.
Welcome to Racerhead. DC is out for today, so you've got Jason Weigandt at the controls.
Here we go, motocross people. One finish line looms, while another starting line is not far in the distance.
Figuratively, this industry's year begins just after January 1, with the opening round Monster Energy Supercross at Anaheim. Fittingly, it carries the nickname A1. But for most in the trenches, A1 is not the start, but rather the finish of a whirlwind time—for many, the hardest sector of the year.
We've just experienced it here in our offices.
Two weeks from now, if we want of a photo of any racer, we'll just walk to the track and snap it. If we need a quote or clarification on a news item, we'll just go to the pits with a recorder. But right now, everything is in a state of flux. Some teams, sponsors, and riders are looking for publicity, but others aren't yet ready for primetime, and they operate under a veil of secrecy until race day. Through it all, everyone works hard behind the scenes—team guys on bikes, riders and trainers on fitness, sponsors and graphic people on the deal and the look. Our workload triples, as we put together the annual Souvenir Yearbooks for Monster Energy Supercross and Amsoil Arenacross alongside our standard daily content on this website and another issue of Racer X Illustrated. That's three magazines in the time we normally build one, crunched against holidays, photo shoots that aren't yet done, team deals that still haven't been signed, and the rest.
And you can bet the people putting on the races—the folks at Feld Motor Sports, who will produce both the opening Monster SX and Amsoil AX rounds on the same day—are pinned harder than anyone. But really, everyone is jammed, everyone is working their tails off, just in a manner far away from the Angel Stadium limelight. If all goes right, the hard work will be done by the time the gate drops in two weeks.
It was announced earlier this week that the first round of Arenacross will be shown live on Speed.
Simon Cudby photo
Through it all, some very exciting news has become official. The supercross TV schedule is now public, including a record tweleve live TV shows, and nearly 100 hours of domestic coverage on Speed, CBS and Fuel TV, in addition to major international growth. And in a big bombshell, Feld also announced that the Amsoil Arenacross Series is getting live TV, with its Worcester, Massachusetts, opener airing on Speed right before the exciting hourlong live SX pre-race show from Anaheim. Live TV for Arenacross! That's awesome for that series, and it would have to be exciting to be part of such a landmark moment. Congrats to all the dedicated members of the Arenacross team who have done their part to keep the flame alive during the last few years. Now things are set to blow up!
So whether you're going to Anaheim or Worcester, or just kicking back to watch the five-some hours of live coverage on Speed two weeks from tomorrow, things are going to look bigger and better than ever. But, as they say, it's hard work to make things look so good.
Since deadlines loom for all of us (have you finished your Christmas shopping?), we'll try to keep Racerhead short this week, and also throw in some Christmas cheer. But first, some sad news for the sport, and DC writes about it below. Take it away, Davey:
When we are kids growing up in motocross, we always have that special rider we look up to, someone who becomes your role model even from afar because they just look so cool in the magazines. Georges Jobe was one of those guys for me, and I imagine a lot of others around this sport. The Belgian was a fierce competitor on the world championship circuit, winning his first 250cc Grand Prix title in 1980 while looking absolutely perfect on a works Suzuki, in yellow JT Racing gear, always with great form. Even when he become the archenemy of American hopeful Danny LaPorte in the 1982 and '83 GP campaigns, you couldn't help but admire even while rooting for “Danny the Door” to get that world title. Danny himself responded upon learning of Jobe's death, "RIP George, you were the best, you made my career worth it all! You are right, we might have fought on the track but were buddies after the flag! Adieu mon ami!"
Godspeed, Georges Jobe.
Racer X Archive photo
Jobe was incredibly versatile, able to win on any size or type of motorcycle. He was a leader in the paddock among his peers. He also was one of the first GP men to understand and appreciate that the Americans were to be respected as a result of supercross racing, not in spite of it. He knew that the style of racing was changing, even while he was atop the world as a multi-time champion, and that Europeans needed to adapt, which it did. Like Roger DeCoster and Jacky Vimond, he was a motocross man of the world. Now the motocross world has lost a great man and champion.
Earlier this year my good friend and fellow moto scribe Nick McCabe did an interview with Georges for Racer X Online. As they were wrapping up the conversation, Nick said, “Wow, you sure have won a lot of fights in your life, you are almost like a boxer with all that you have overcome....” To which Jobe responded, “Well, I still have one big fight in front of me, I just learned that I have leukemia.”
Jobe put up the best fight he could. He was 51 years old.
MXGeoff Meyer penned a fitting tribute to Jobe on his site MXLarge.
Thanks, DC. After months of filming, editing, judging, and voting, we have our 2012 GoPro/Racer X Amateur Film Festival champion. Congratulations to Dayton Daft, of Boulder, Colorado, for taking the top spot on the podium. His winning entry secured enough votes in the finals to get the grand prize:
- A $1,000 budget from Racer X to make an exclusive video for Racer X Online
- The Ultimate GoPro MX Package
- A Unit prize package valued at $750
- A Racer X t-shirt
- A one-year digital subscription to Racer X Illustrated
The runners-up finished in the following order, and will also receive prize packages from GoPro, Unit, and Racer X.2. Jeff Scott (Hudson, OH)
3. Chris Barnes (Riverton, UT)
4. Keven St-Pierre (Quebec, Canada)
Congratulations to all finalists!
Remember when Honda was touting their 200th SX win last year at Dodger Stadium? Well, Pulpmx.com contributor Paul Quesnel is all geeky into the stats and record books and, while doing research for another story, figured out that Honda's 200th SX win was not Reed's at Dodger but actually Andrew Short's at Seattle. Ready for some sabermetric moto talk? Here's what Paul had to say:
I did some of my own calculations before I had even really realized that Reed "supposedly" had broken the mark and I came out with an even 200 after Short's win. The stats say that Marty Smith's 1976 Pontiac win was Honda's first, which is correct, but then the say that RJ's LA win from 1986 was there 50th. This is where my calculations keep coming up 49. (Bailey 12, Hannah 7, Omara 7, Johnson 6, Hansen 4, Leichen 4, Smith 3, Tripes 2, Shultz 1, Wise 1, Sun 1, Ellis 1). I actually believe that the mistake they made was in '85 where in the AMA series guide has RJ marked as riding a Honda (but he was on a Yamaha). Anyway thank you and if you can figure anything out please let me know, like I said this whole thing has been driving me crazy.
So basically, the AMA has Johnson on a Honda in '85 when we all know he was actually on a Yamaha and it wasn't until 1986 that he switched to Honda. I double-checked my record book collection and indeed, they do list Johnson on a Honda. I checked the Racer X Vault and it's correct, Johnson is on a Yamaha for the Dallas SX win. Here’s Paul's column with more stats and proof.
After a lot of back and forth, it has been declared that Chad Reed claimed win number 200 for Honda.
Simon Cudby photo
So congrats to Shorty for collecting Honda's 200th, right? No! I then talked to SX PR man Denny Hartwig about this, and it turns out the AMA record book has a double error. Johnson's '85 win on a Yamaha was credited to Honda, but Doug Henry's Dallas win in 1995 was credited to Yamaha, even though Henry was on a Honda. So that's two wrongs making a right! Take away Johnson's win and add Henry's and we're right back where we started—with Honda getting its 200th win via Chad Reed, not Shorty. Sorry, Shorty.
No, you're not going to get the two minutes you just spent on those previous few paragraphs back.
Eric Johnson is working on an upcoming feature for Racer X Illustrated and recently asked Yamaha's Keith McCarty if it was weird for Yamaha to not have a factory team right now.
"I think it’s more work than what it was to have a factory team," McCarty said. "We have numerous teams that we’re supporting now. If I had my wish, yeah, we’d have it back in a heartbeat. We’ve learned a lot as a team and as a company and things change. I think it’d be our goal to have it back, but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in the teams we currently have. For me personally, I like to port myself and I’m a little bit of a technical guy and I really like that part of it. When it’s somebody else’s team, I’m not allowed to play. We still do development and we have guys that do development, but it’s a whole different way that we used to do it. The teams want to do their own thing. It’s much harder for us to be a relative part of that. If we had our own team, we could get in there and try things and do it immediately. It’s just a different dynamic with the same outcome in mine—you want to win. I think if we had the team, we’d be able to do those things."
Okay, now time for David Pingree:
After hearing about Ivan Tedesco joining Team Tedder for 2013, I think just about every moto fan got excited. Ivan is a great guy and it’s always good to see a good ride created. But this week we are hearing that talks between Tedesco and Tedder are not completed, and as of right now Ivan is not planning on racing the season opener. What the heck is going on here? I left a message for Ivan but never heard back. Hopefully they can get everything resolved in the next week or so.
Will Tedesco miss the season opener?
Simon Cudby photo
Time is running out to sign up for the Season Opener Academy on January 3 and 4. Right now there are entrants from all over the world who will be getting instruction from Grant Langston, Sebastien Tortelli, and myself and then heading up the street for the first round of supercross at Angel Stadium on Saturday. The two-day program is going to be all-encompassing and will definitely be a lot of fun. Visit www.rockwelltrainingfacility.com and click on the Season Opener Academy link. Food will be provided and bikes will be available to rent.
There are a lot of story lines coming into the first round of supercross, but one of my favorites is always the rookies. Dungey, Villopoto, Reed, and Stewart will be fast. We know that. But where will Barcia fit in? How about Jessy Nelson (check out a behind the scenes look at TLD/Lucas Oil Hondas photo shoot) in the 250 class? We could almost consider Zach Osbourne a rookie since this will be his first full season of supercross racing in a long time. Zach was flying at the first few rounds in 2012, so he is poised to have a breakout year with the GEICO Honda team. Keep an eye out for the new recruits this year because you never know when one of them is going to flip the switch like McGrath did in ‘93 and just start winning.
That's Ping. Now on to Steve Matthes:
Merry X-Mas to all you guys reading this, or Hanukkah, or whatever it is that you celebrate. Oh man, you know supercross is right around the corner when you have to start booking travel, which is what I did last week. United.com and Priceline.com were abuzz here in my house. This is exciting!
Last week I hit the test tracks to check things out, but this week I was hunkered down here in Vegas, and if I’m honest, I was trying to not work. You see, the calm before the storm is here, and I know that come the New Year I’ll be furiously typing away about my thoughts and feelings about Anaheim and then whoosh, the year begins.
Be sure to check out Racer X Online tomorrow to see the full photo shoot of the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil Honda team.
Jeff Kardas photo
So it was down time for me, but then my website, Pulpmx.com, went down and it was a cluster dropping our old server company, getting a new server lined up, everything moved over (thanks, Swizcore!) and all that.
This Apple iOS bug I mentioned last week in RH really sucks. As in sucks bandwidth and causes server companies to close your website. I suppose it’s cool that the podcasts we do here and Pulpmx Shows are so popular that it just floods us, so that’s the bright side to all this.
Of course we have the lows coming up this weekend also. Check that out later today or tomorrow.
The Pulpmx Show will be back the Monday after Anaheim with all the news from the first race but in the meantime, we’ve compiled a Year in Review Show- well actually two of them that cover the year that was in the Pulpmx Show. Thanks to super-fan Moser for providing additional commentary.
Talked to Roger Larsen this week. He's one of the guys behind this new gear company that James Stewart will be wearing called Seven. It’s made by Troy Lee Designs and in seeing some pictures of it, it looks pretty out there, but it’s designed by TLD, so of course it’s going to be cool. Larsen left Tucker Rocky, where he was the Answer guy, to go with Stewie and this new gear, and he’s happy about the switch. Larsen also commented on the Racer X covers and how much he’s been digging the look there lately. I’m sure we’ll have the #7 and his new Seven gear on there very soon, probably before the seventh round of supercross, even!
Ryan Villopoto has signed with Atlas for 2013.
I texted a bit back and forth with James this past week on a few different topics I’m writing about. He seemed to be happy with the progress on his bike and looking forward to this year. We’re going to try and get in a pre-season podcast in at some point as well.
I also went back and forth with Ryan Villopoto yesterday about how he’s four wins behind Rick Johnson for fifth all-time. He asked me if I thought he would get it and when I said it was doubtful, an angry RV lashed out on me and called me names that are not fit to print here. With twenty-three wins the last three years, I do like RV’s odds, but I’m not going to actually tell him that. It's not nearly as much fun.
And in neck-brace news, Villopoto looks to be running a different brand this year, much like the one his teammate has been wearing. And Andrew Short, from the photos I’ve seen, looks like he’s ditched his.
Have you heard about the Velocity3 race team with Kyle Chisholm and Bobby Kiniry? I really think it should be nicknamed Team Triple—just saying. Some solid riders right there for Yamaha and here’s hoping things go well for them. Chisholm did get a new mechanic this week as Donk went from Team N-Fab to Velocity3. Silly season isn’t just for riders you know.
Okay, that's it from Matthes. If you missed it last weekend, check out his Insight column for a tour of the factory test tracks and the Pro Circuit headquarters in California.
A few more things before we go. A get-well-soon goes out to our friendly contributor in Florida, Rob Koy, who earned himself a broken tib-fib last weekend. What a way to spend the holidays!
Get well soon, Rob.
Popular Maryland short track/flat track racer Chris Klinefelter passed away after a car accident Saturday night after a short track event in Timonium, Maryland. Chris was one of the top competitors in the area and always had a smile at the track. He was also an employee at Ellicott City Motorsports in Ellicott City, Maryland. Here's a helmet cam video of Chris from a short track event two years ago.
Dade City Motocross held their annual awards banquet, honoring all MX and quad winners from this past season. Check out this video to see all the action.
TV Alert: Rip to Cabo: A Baja Moto Adventure airs Christmas night at 7pm PST/10pm EST. Watch the inaugural Monster Energy Rip to Cabo presented by General Tire, the Baja moto adventure ride on CBS Sports. Here's a little clip to see what's in store.
Okay, on to some Christmas cards, then we're off. Enjoy one last crazy weekend of shopping, then have a fun and safe holiday next week. Emphasis on the safe, considering how much crazy and sad stuff has been happening lately.
Oh, and don't forget to stop by Racer X Online all week, because we can't stop working—not at a time of year that's this important!
And Happy Holidays from the few Racer X office members still in WV for the holidays.
That's it for this week in motocross. Thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races.
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The James Stewart Freestone AMA Spring Classic in Texas has quickly earned a place on the list of must-attend springtime amateur events. Page 182.