Welcome to November, the day after a fun Halloween week. Throughout Racerhead we’ll drop in some of the cool costumes we spotted online or in our inboxes along the way.
Last weekend the Amsoil Grand National Cross Country Series ended with a dramatic finale at the Ironman GNCC in Crawfordsville, Indiana. KTM factory riders Kailub Russell and Charlie Mullins took it all the way down to the wire, with a winner-take-all scenario for the thirteenth and final round. Russell emerged the victor, taking his first major off-road overall title after several class championships.
We usually don’t discuss much off-road in this column, but with little other racing going on over the post-Monster Energy Cup days of autumn, the Ironman is something to bench-race over. There was another element to the event that motocross fans will find more interesting: The brand new Marc Peters-built motocross track on the property will host the eleventh round of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The 1.3-mile track, still under construction, is set into the trees in a river-bottom area with nice, steep hills, loamy dirt, and almost no rocks at all. It has pretty much 100 percent spectator viewing, and the reviews from last weekend’s GNCC visitors were excellent.
Congrats to Kailub Russell on his first career XC1 title.
Ken Hill photo
The Indiana National, which will be held on August 16, is the second new round to be announced for 2014—Glen Helen Raceway returns as the opener on May 24, three weeks after the last SX race in Las Vegas (and there’s the always fun Vet World Championships at Glen Helen this weekend if you’re in the West). The rest of the 2014 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship rounds will be announced next week.
Indiana is the home state of Lucas Oil (as well as the Kokomo-strong Throttle Jockey) and also the site of one of the most popular events in Monster Energy Supercross, at Lucas Oil Stadium. Crawfordsville is 35 miles away from the Indianapolis airport, and over the weekend, more than 10,000 spectators turned out to watch the Ironman GNCC. I got to ride the track a little bit myself on a borrowed KTM 350, and I absolutely loved it, even though I didn’t try the big uphill triple that’s already been built. I really think the riders are going to love this new track, and I’m pretty sure the spectators will too.
Okay, let’s get into the rest of the week…
A sneak peek at the Indiana National.
PRO PERSEPECTIVE – The Transition (Jason Thomas and David Pingree)
JT$: The transition from the racing lifestyle to … well, anything else is a big adjustment. Racing allows a lot of freedom and flexibility in schedules and daily planning. If I didn’t feel like riding at 9 a.m., I could go find a track open later in the day or even at night. If I didn’t feel like training that morning, I could go to the gym literally anytime I chose. Waking up early wasn’t mandatory, and there was generally no rush to be anywhere most days. Sure, there was work to be done and it was hard work, but it was really up to me as to when I wanted to do it.
Nowadays, things are different. Waking up early is a way of life as we start early at the Fly Racing HQ. Whether it’s speaking with our reps, design meetings, or working on articles for my side gig with Racer X, there is always something on the agenda with a timeline. The real world is much more structured, whether it’s monthly sales reports or deadlines for Racerhead.
Really, though, the biggest adjustment for the media side is the delicate balance I now have to play between my position at Fly, writing for Racer X, and being associated with the team I used to race, BTO KTM, on the weekends. I am friends with so many riders and industry members that writing anything about anyone is sure to somehow offend someone. Not an easy balance.
Overall, I am very lucky to be so involved in a sport that I have been around since I was born. From before daylight till long after the sun sets, I’m somehow working in some aspect of the motocross industry. I’m not sure there is more that I could ask for than that.
The transition from motocross is tough for any rider.
Simon Cudby photo
Ping: Making the transition from racer to everyday Joe is difficult, and it has proven devastating to a lot of riders. As a racer, the world revolves around you. It is an inherently narcissistic job, and in that way it doesn’t prepare you well for life after dirt bikes. I was lucky because my job at Racer X Illustrated allowed me to slowly transition into something else. Since my last year racing in 2003, I have been at the races as an editor, a team manager, racing Supermoto, or working on the floor as a medic for the Asterisk Medic Unit. It hasn’t been much of a transition, really, except that I’m not lining up on the weekends anymore.
This year, though, I’ve made a jump into the fire service, and it has been an eye-opener in many ways. I used to sleep until I woke up. Once I wasn’t tired anymore, that was my alarm clock. Now that bell rings at 4:45 a.m. whether I got great sleep or I was up all night running calls. Things are very structured, and I am at the very bottom of the totem pole in terms of seniority, which means I clean toilets, mop floors, and empty trash. Glamorous, right? For me, beginning a new career is exciting; motorcycles have been the focus of my life since I was 5. I still love motocross, and I have no intentions of leaving the sport completely, but I am now in a place where I can continue to grow as a person and as a firefighter. I’m in a good place right now. But it took a long, long time to get here and more effort than I ever imaged it would.
I always tell guys who are nearing the end of their careers that they have all the tools they need to be successful. Motocross at a professional level does prepare you for success in life after racing if you can focus on a new goal. Racing demands commitment, hard work, determination, and many aspects of customer service that are required in the real world. You just have to find a new goal and then put your head down and chase it.
Another look at the Indiana National.
EUROPEAN SUPERCROSS (Steve Matthes)
Coming up next weekend is the annual Bercy Supercross in Paris, and once again I'm lucky enough to get to go to this thing. Years ago the off-season was full of supercrosses for the American riders to hit and were very profitable for the guys (Jeff Stanton told me he would make more in two months of racing in Europe than his entire factory Honda contract), but nowadays there are just three: Genova, Italy, this weekend, Bercy next weekend, and Geneva, Switzerland, the first weekend of December.
Bercy is still the king. They’ve been running it every year since 1984 and the race usually sells out Friday and Saturday night and just a few hundred seats are left Sunday afternoon. It's a crazy race. Eric Sorby waiting for Jeff Alessi in the tunnels and jumping him? Check. Justin Barcia waiting for Gregory Aranda and jacking up his race? Roger. Ezra Lusk flying off the track and onto a concrete structure? Yep.
The fans are as passionate as they come, and with Justin Barcia, Wil Hahn, Cooper Webb, Andrew Short, and Trey Canard all lining up, this thing could get down and dirty. Well, actually, any race with Barcia in it can get that way. The last two times at Bercy, Barcia's been an absolute superstar at creating controversy by tangling with French riders and getting the wrath of the arena hailing down on him. I personally can't wait to see what Justin does this year!
Multi-time GP winner Gautier Paulin will be there, as will French heroes Jordi Tixier and Aranda. New this year is a Joker Lane! Yes, I'm serious. I can't wait to to see how this unfolds. Look for coverage right here on Racer X next weekend.
Other news: We all talk about the riders and the pluses and negatives of them, but I thought I'd take a look at the sport’s team managers and grade them on a scale of one to five clipboards over on Pulpmx.com. Take a look.
The Bercy track map.
Random Moto-Related Halloween Photos
Kiss' Ace Frehley aka Malcolm Stewart.
Miley Cyrus and whatever that guy's name is.
Can there be a more suitable costume for Jacob Saylor's son?
Erin Normoyle as ... well, we're not quite sure.
Popeye grew up fast. Must have been the spinach.
Chuck Carothers and Robin.
Chris Blose's dad.
Don't do it, Vance.
Eric Johnson's daughter, Ellie.
Matthes' dog likes pumpkins!
But not as cool as Nick Wey's.
JGR's Truck Build for Charity (Weege)
Next week the automotive aftermarket industry opens the gigantic SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and there's an interesting motocross tie-in. Each year, Toyota challenges some VIPs to see who can build the baddest ride. The JGR MX team got a nomination this year, and along with N-Fab, they built a one-off Tundra designed to be the ultimate truck for a day at the test track. The truck has room for a bike, a spare engine, gear, and suspension components, as well as a built-in workshop. It's like one of the big NASCAR pit stalls with room for a bike, grafted onto the back of a four-door pickup. You'll see this truck at a supercross near you in 2014. Vote for this build, because if the Go Moto truck wins, JGR and N-Fab have decided to donate $50,000 to charity on behalf of Toyota. That’s 25k to the Asterisk Medic Unit and 25k to Road 2 Recovery. Check it out here.
PERFECT DAY (Nick McCabe)
Jeff Fredette, the off-road legend and longtime ISDE hero, had this quote posted about the Ironman GNCC event on his Facebook page:
"Do not have pic from yesterday's Ironman in Indiana, so just close your eyes and think of the perfect day for riding... Sunshine, cold morning but over 700 riders show up they push the 10 a.m. start to 11 a.m. to get scoring right. You pull a jersey off before the start as it is getting warm out. The race starts and your bike starts with the flag! You go into the first turn hoping for traction... it sticks like Velcro!! You come out almost in the lead and turn 2 is just as sticky. You have a lot of other riders out there with you and you just can not find a slippery spot on a perfectly laid-out course of 10+ miles. It was so much fun I wish I would have rode the afternoon 3 hour race as well. Days like this do not come around very often!"
Fredette ended up first in his class and third overall during the morning event.
Trey Canard on the cover of Dirt Cool.
PLAYBOY (CONT'D) (DC)
For the second time in recent weeks, men’s magazine Playboy has crossed paths with the motocross world. First there was Miss November, Monster Energy Girl Gemma Lee Farrell, who graced the centerfold and a multi-page pictorial. Now there's the rather strange news that some people in Ontario, Canada, are angry that their government tourism agency used tax dollars to hire Leticia Cline to model for their latest campaign. Cline, a longtime model around our industry and once Miss Motocross as well as a TV pit reporter, was in Playboy seven years ago. She shared this current gig with Ami Houde, a Canada-born rider/reporter/model who stars in the Motorcycle Superstore video series.
According to The Star in Toronto: "Under the rubric #edgyadventures, which was used to label events on social media, American model Leticia Cline and professional Canadian motocross racer Ami Houde participated last week in a variety of outdoor activities to promote local tourism, hosted by snowcross professional Shelby Mahon. Activities included all-terrain vehicle and dirt bike riding, a spin on a hovercraft and a tour in a float plane."
What may have angered folks wasn't necessarily Leticia, but the way the feature was presented—and then linked to her portfolio—that set some off: “There’s something about a woman who rides, whether it be an ATV, a motorcycle, a float plane or a dirt bike... If you’d like to look at her body of work, click here — but be forewarned, it just might move you to tears — Leticia [Cline] is a beauty beyond words, and you may need to take a moment to recover.”
Said one of the top officials in the tourism agency up there: “I’m concerned in the future we make sure we vet every participant... I don’t think that person’s other life” — as a model — “was necessarily intended to be part of the story."
Leticia went to social media to get her response out:
"IN THE HOT SEAT AGAIN!!!!! MOTO FANS, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINK AND GO TELL THE STAR WHAT YOU THINK! I'm amazed that because I was in Playboy 7 years ago that the Government would have an issue that I wanted to come up and ride. Thank you#edgyadventures Honda Powersports Canada Bear Claw Tours - ATV Adventures on the Canadian Shield Claude Aumont Virgil Knapp for the trip... I'm sorry that your Publications aren't very educated in their articles."
Ken Roczen on the cover of Cross Magazine.
MX-Pure.com talked with KTM sport director Pit Beirer about Ken Roczen's decision to not attend Genova and Bercy due to personal reasons.
Speedcross? Check out what Ben Townley has been up to.
We got a note from our old friend Tim Buck, who wanted to spread the word about his new site, which he’s just now building: "It's nothing fancy, since I'm doing it myself but it'll do for my first push with product." He's already got some cool old-school hats and T-shirts up and running.
Eric Putter found some national-caliber beer and sent us this photo.
Brotocross, The Onion of motocross, reposted a very funny Halloween piece they did awhile back. If you missed it, and you have the stomach for heavy sarcasm, check it out.
That’s all for this week. Thanks for reading, and enjoy all that candy. See you at the races.