Welcome to Racerhead. We are finally getting ready to get back to racing when the 2013 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations goes off next weekend in Teutschenthal, Germany. Team USA's Roger DeCoster will manage the strong lineup of Ryan Dungey, Justin Barcia, and Eli Tomac in hopes of getting back the Peter Chamberlain Trophy, which we lost last year to the Germans at Lommel, Belgium. It will be Tomac's first Team USA ride, Barcia's second, and the fifth straight for Ryan Dungey, one short of Jeff Emig's all-time Team USA record of six straight years on the team.
Speaking of Emig, he's #9 on our Team USA Top 25 countdown, which you can check it right here.
This list has been as difficult to narrow down as it's been fun to work on, but putting Emig at #9 was no fun—he was the soul of the team for much of the nineties, and he hung in there even after the thirteen-year winning streak ended in 1994. But it speaks volumes to what the other guys coming up on the list did over the years. Stay tuned, because the countdown will go right up to next Saturday and the start of qualifiers.
And speaking of next weekend, you can subscribe to watch the races streaming live online at www.mx-life.tv with a weekend pass. They will show all of the qualifying races on Saturday, and then Sunday's actual Motocross of Nations, live from Germany. Next week Racer X Online will be giving away ten weekend passes for subscribers to watch the races live online, courtesy of Youthstream and MX-Life.tv. We will also be giving away some Team USA swag, autographed by the Team USA riders, thanks to Chris “Beeker” Onstott at Fox Racing. Stay tuned next week for ways to win some very cool prizes from Racer X Online as we get ready for the Motocross of Nations!
I am fortunate enough to once again be going to the race—the one race each year where I can be a fan on the infield, cheering the guys on. I make no attempts to hide my patriotism at these races, though I also pull for Team Ireland, Team Canada (when they're there), and Australia, simply because those guys are usually made up of men who race here year-round. And I was pulling for Germany last year when it became obvious that the Americans weren't going to win.
Team USA heads to Germany in a weeks time to try and reclaim the Peter Chamberlain trophy.
Simon Cudby photo
This time, I can't wait to see Tomac and Roczen battle in MX2. It will be the one chance Ken gets to have a home race in his growing rivalry with Eli, and both of those guys will be moving up to 450s full-time, which makes this the rare marquee match-up—I really believe the annual Dungey/Tony Cairoli battle will be overshadowed by this race-within-the-race, because Roczen will go all-out to win in front of his countrymen, and Tomac will give it all he has as well. I can't imagine what it might have been like to see Jean-Michel Bayle race in France at the MXoN in 1988 when he finished second on his 125 behind Ron Lechien's 500 in the first moto, and I am sure if K-Roc comes through with the MX2 win, it will send Teutschenthal into an absolute frenzy.
Still, I think Team USA has the strongest squad, and on a track much more suited to their skills than Lommel, which was rough beyond anything we have in America—including the old Cocoa Beach track—I like our chances. But then again, I'm an American! We'll have reports and updates all week long from over there, as Simon Cudby has already gone across the pond and is in England right now, Matthes is heading over, and so is Jason Thomas.
Here's a preview of the MXoN track, courtesy of Team Germany.
And you can follow the French team all next week on their Facebook page.
Team Great Britain
OH, CANADA (Steve Matthes)
We’ve broken down the USA team for the upcoming Motocross of Nations ad nauseam, we’ve also talked about how Belgium and perhaps hometown team Germany could be challengers to the red-white-and-blue. Heck, in this very space last week I mentioned that the Russians and Australia could be the underdogs next weekend. Nothing brings out the MX Geoffs in us all more than the Motocross of Nations!
One team no one has talked much about is my home country’s team. That’s right, the red-white-and-bacon team of Canada! If you’re a regular reader of mine, you know how I feel about my home country’s squad-many, many times we don’t send a team at all or we don’t send our best team because up in Canada, well, how do I say this politely? They’re screwed up.
The FIM recognizes the CMA as the official motocross organization in Canada, but they haven’t been relevant in motocross in twenty years. The CMRC moved in and took over running the national series a long time ago. And the CRMC and the CMA can’t get along and won’t get along to make sure the best team goes. The FIM won’t start recognizing the CMA because the person in charge of the CMA has deep, deep roots in the FIM. The CMRC won’t help the Canadian MXoN team (even though it’s the very riders they make money off of) collect donations at their events, and it’s pretty much a clown show.
But regardless, some people try to make it happen each year. Sometimes it fails, sometimes it succeeds. This is one of the good years and we’re sending Tyler and Jeremy Medaglia and Cole Thompson. It’s not our best team, but our best rider (Colton Facciotti) is injured, so this is a pretty good squad.
Tyler Medaglia has raced at this event before. He’s a strong veteran of Canadian motocross and will do well. His brother Jeremy was a huge surprise in Canada this year, his first in MX1, as he won a national and finished fourth in the series (behind Tyler). And Thompson is a great rider who could run with the very best in Canada when he does race there. Jeremy is dropping down to the 250F for the team, and that’s a good move, as Thompson is the better big-bike rider.
We’re running numbers in the 130 range (because we did not go last year), but there’s no doubt in my mind that the Canadian squad will easily make the A main. And who knows? Maybe they can get near the top ten. This is the strongest team we’ve sent in a few years (when we’ve sent a team) and I’m happy that we’re going. I just wish Canadian motocross wasn’t so screwed up.
A few things on Pulpmx for you to check out- our cub reporter Moser asks GEICO Honda's Zach Osborne a bunch of questions (29 of them to be exact) about the ISDE here.
Tony Blazier gets into GP’s Classic Steel mode with a look at the 1983 CR250 here.
Jeff Stanton talks about the 1992 250 USGP at Unadilla here.
THE NEW BLUE (Weege)
Josh Grant is very happy. Last week Matthes reported that JG is now officially back with JGR Toyota Yamaha for 2014, and this week Grant flew East to test the new 2014 YZ450F at the the JGR test track in North Carolina. There's a lot of attention focused on the new Yamaha, because the old 2010-2013 model had a bad rap. Talking to Grant this week, he admits the old bike had some flaws, and he's pleasantly surprised to see the '14 addresses them. JG first threw a leg over the new bike at Glen Helen just to get a feel for it, and he focused in on the things the previous model didn't do well to see how the new bike would perform. Specifically, he said the turning and stability of the new bike is much better, and he's very happy that's the case. Now, it's strange for a bike to have problems with both turning and stability—being good in one usually means being bad in another—but we all know the previous-gen Yamaha was an acquired taste that some never quite acquired. Grant says they had a ton of work to do in late 2009 when the 2010 450 showed up, and this new 2014 is much closer.
There's still a lot of work to do, though. JGR doesn't even have a works shock machined for the new chassis yet, although it's coming soon and testing will continue to ramp up. But Grant is happy to be getting started this early on testing. Last year he rode a Yamaha for about five days before racing the Monster Energy Cup, now he'll have several weeks under his belt before the event. After several rough years for the blue crew, a lot of people will be watching the performance of the 2014 YZ450F closely.
Josh Grant will debut the 2014 Yamaha at the Monster Energy Cup.
Simon Cudby photo
PRO PERSPECTIVE (Jason Thomas)
By now, most guys are getting back into the swing of riding again after maybe a few weeks of rest. I always felt like a complete goon my first few laps back on a supercross track, but by the end of the day, things start to come back pretty quickly. The biggest difference for me was going back to really stiff supercross settings and getting that "feel" back. All of the jumps seem steep and the whoops look much more intimidating than a few months ago. It really just comes down to comfort and readjusting to the style of riding. It usually took me a few weeks before I could get back to the same lap times and speed that I had in May, but there was plenty of time to work out the bugs. I always tried to just put in tremendous amounts of laps in these early months of training to build a base. Once I got my base fitness set up, I could then work on sprint speed and intensity.
There were a few guys I rode with who seemed to transition very easily. Chad Reed and Michael Byrne were always very quick at making the switch back to supercross, much to my frustration. I am sure it varies for everyone, but now is the time to get back into form and then try to make real progress before 2014. There are seemingly endless days ahead to really change how next year will play out. In January we will see who took advantage and who didn't.
Cooper Webb has been busy testing the new Yamaha.
Simon Cudby photo
THE LONGEST BATTLE (DC)
If you have been around this sport for more some time, you probably have heard the name Mike Goodwin mentioned from time to time as the “godfather of supercross.” Goodwin was a rock-n-roll promoter who produced the 1972 Superbowl of Motocross in the Los Angeles Coliseum. It was the birth of modern supercross as we know it, motocross taken downtown, placed indoors, and held under the lights. There had been races like TTs and short tracks in the Houston Astrodome and Madison Square Gardens, but never a motocross race of this magnitude. With ten years, supercross was the biggest thing in dirt bike racing, and it remains so today.
But Goodwin's life took another turn. He was partners with another promoter named Mickey Thompson, albeit for a short time. Thompson was a well-known land-speed pilot, racecar driver, off-road truck racer, and promoter who had also begun promoting SX races through his company MTEG. The personal rivalry between these two men, Goodwin and Thompson, made working together impossible, and soon they were suing each other. It got ugly quickly.
On March 16, 1986, two men rode into Mickey Thompson's driveway on bicycles, shot and killed Mickey and his wife, Trudy, then disappeared. The killings made news all over the nation and particularly in the off-road-truck and supercross circles. The dislike between the two men was well known, but was it that bad? Goodwin was instantly a suspect, but there were supposedly others who had crossed paths with Thompson....
The case bounced around for a very long time and in the process became a crusade for Thompson's sister Colleen Campbell, who lobbied police and the media to look closely at Goodwin, even while he maintained his innocence. Their back-and-forth caught the eye of America's Most Wanted, CBS' 48 Hours, and more. Colleen was offering a $1 million reward to anyone who could find enough evidence to bring about an arrest.
For years Goodwin remained free and was seemingly in the clear, but he was arrested and charged with organizing the murders in Los Angeles County. After a long delay, the trial finally took place in 2007, and a court found Goodwin guilty on the evidence, albeit almost completely circumstantial. Said Superior Court Judge Teri Schwartz, "There is nothing to assume that Mr. Goodwin wasn't responsible. The circumstantial evidence was overwhelming. He made numerous statements to numerous witnesses over a period of time preceding the murders. It was unparalleled."
Goodwin got a double life sentence, with no chance for parole.
I bring this all up because a recent audiotape of Goodwin from prison popped up online this week where he discusses his ongoing appeal. You can listen to it here (mp3 file).
What do I believe? I honestly don't know enough about this case, which stretches back to the early eighties, to have a hardened opinion one way or another as to what really happened. But the best article I have read about it came a few years ago in LA Weekly, "Murder on the Last Turn," and if you've got time, check it out, because it's an amazing, crazy story that really happened in our sport.
HEAD-SCRATCHING HEADLINES OF THE WEEK
Creepy Clown Frightening Passers-By....
"University Removes 500-Pound Pendulum From Campus After Students Keep Imitating Miley Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' Video"
HEY, WATCH IT!
Sound of Honda - Ayrton Senna 1989
Looking for some good wallpapers for the off-season? Matt Rice shot all summer long for MXPTV and various other outlets, and he's pulled together some of his favorite shots, and they are exceptional!
Finally, Happy 75th birthday to Stu Peters, AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Famer and the man who has probably dropped the starting gate on more motocross riders than anyone in the history of the sport.
Happy birthday, Stu Peters!
That's it for Racerhead. See you at the races—in Germany!