Welcome to Racerhead, to what’s been a great week and also a bad one. The 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship got off to a fantastic start last weekend with the 49th running of the Hangtown Motocross Classic. Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin put on an amazing battle in the second 450 moto, Zach Osborne rode into the history books (again) with a convincing 250 win, and the FMF 125 Dream Race was just pure fun. More on all that below and elsewhere on Racer X Online.
The bad was double-headed. First came the news we all feared: 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden passed away in a hospital in Italy from the traumatic injuries he suffered when he was hit by a car while riding a bicycle along the Rimini coast. Hayden was an incredibly well-liked person in the motocross paddock, and everyone was talking about his accident at Hangtown and posting their thoughts and prayers online. The loss of this remarkable 35-year-old legend from Kentucky resonates even more today, as Honda brought a couple of tribute bikes for one of their all-time greats, and Hayden’s #69 now adorns the Honda HRC rig and the side-panels of the team’s motorcycles. Hayden will be buried near his bellowed OWB in the Bluegrass State next week. He will never be forgotten.
And nor will Tom White, who was honored with a surprise tribute last night organized by Glen Helen Raceway, Malcolm Smith Motorsports, and Tom’s family—and it was a huge surprise for Tom himself, who thought he was hosting a Thursday night viewing of “On Any Sunday” at the Glen Helen Museum, alongside Larry “Super Mouth” Huffman, only to find out that he was the subject of a giant roast! Then Bud Feldkamp unveiled a new statue on Glen Helen’s Walk of Fame that honors Tom, who is now battling cancer, which is a damn shame after his decades of giving and sharing and helping others. He’s been a great influence on this industry in general and this series and track in particular, and he is the one who helped get MX Sports and Glen Helen back together after the National here left the schedule in 2010. He is the epitome of grace under pressure, and a man I have long looked up to on multiple levels: as a racer, a businessman, a parent, a historian, everything.
I could go on and on about Tom, but this article and video that just came out in the Los Angeles Times does a better job.
So now it’s time to turn our attention to better news, like the second round of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross here at Glen Helen. Jody Weisel and Karl Scanlon have an epic track out there, and yesterday’s press day was great to watch. We will have some video of it down below. Make sure you tune it tomorrow to NBC Sports Network and MAV-TV to watch it on television tomorrow, or sign up for the NBC Sports Gold app to watch it all day long and without commercial interruption. I need to get back out there to help out wherever I can. Godspeed, Nicky Hayden. And God bless Tom White.
WHATS HAPPENING (Steve Matthes)
With the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship starting up this past Saturday, my work ramped back up and there was plenty to talk to people about all week long. Let's recap the week that was in conversations.
– On the Pulpmx Show we had “Filthy” Phil Nicoletti in-studio as a co-host and he told us that he's ahead in his recovery and looks to be riding pretty soon. It's an amazing recovery from some bad heel and ankle injuries and he seemed to be in a pretty good mood, although he did say that Alex Ray "sucks outdoors." Also, he and Jeremy Martin aren't speaking to each other right now so we tried to mend that fence by calling J-Mart, but he didn't pick up.
– We had Marvin Musquin on and he talked about about his 2-2 Hangtown ride. He mentioned that he didn't really ask Ryan Dungey if he was retiring, but he wasn't surprised that the #5 hung up the boots. He then sort of hinted at pulling over for Dungey in New York by saying something about how "there are things you can't talk about."
– Jessy Nelson joined us to talk about Hangtown, helping out the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull KTM riders, how he may want to dip his toe into the rider agency business, and he's into driving UTV's now.
– Jimmy Albertson was on and he said that he'd like to race again, that getting carried off on a backboard is not the way he wants his pro career to end. Then his wife Georgia called in pretending to be "Oliva" and we then bagged on Georgia to "Oliva" a whole bunch.
– Wil Hahn joined us to talk about his Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha squad, wanting to race a 125 in the Dream Race, how his riders missed the start of practice at Hangtown, and then at some point during the interview, he made coffee.
– Later on this week I put out a podcast with Pete Fox who helped make Fox Racing into the bajillion dollar company they now are and whose got a lot of ownership in it, but is out of the day-to-day decisions of the company. Pete said that at times it's frustrating not being there at a company that's got your name on it but at the same time, he's off the 100 mph rollercoaster of big business.
Pete talked about how Fox got Dungey from One Industries, signing the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team, building jumps with shovels at the Acapulco SX in 1992, the Star Wars/Fox tie-in, and much more. Pete's an interesting guy who's done a lot. I loved talking to him.
– We did the Racer X Fantasy MX podcast where Dan Truman and Jason Thomas talked about how Jon Ames DNF-DNF day at Hangtown really jacked their days up and then Truman told us about how Chad Reed's into fantasy MX now. I myself don't want to talk about my scores; I did horrible and I'm not even sure how I can credibly host a podcast show about fantasy MX now.
– JT, Paul Perebijnos, and myself did a Fly Racing Moto:60 Show where we discussed the possibility of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Josh Grant actually winning the overall this weekend (we all thought it could happen!) and how it's impossible to see Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne off the podium at Glen Helen without some sort of catastrophic event happening; he was that good at Hangtown.
– Want to know what former Hangtown winner David Vuillemin thought of the race? Click HERE to read it.
– Chase Stallo's favorite column on Pulpmx, Just Short, featured a hard hitting interview with Bradley Lionnet who went 21-21 at Hangtown HERE.
– Swizcore wrote about Zach Osborne and more Hangtown thoughts HERE.
SINCE 1976 (Andras Hegyi)
Husqvarna's first small-bore AMA Supercross Champion Zach Osborne keeps rewriting Husky's history, only now in Pro Motocross. Thanks to his two moto wins at Hangtown, Husqvarna was able to win an outdoor season opener for the first time since 1976. That was 41 years ago! The last season opener winner for Husky was Kent Howerton, who got the 500cc National season opener race in 1976.
Besides Ken Roczen, the French rider Stephane Roncada, the New Zealander Ben Townley, Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and Ryan Dungey, Osborne has become only the seventh rider since 1985 to win the 125/250MX season opener as a current 125/250 SX champion.
Current 125/250 supercross champions with season opener wins in the 125/250MX Class
- 1998: Ricky Carmichael
- 2000: Stephane Roncada
- 2004: James Stewart
- 2007: Ben Townley
- 2009: Ryan Dungey
- 2013: Ken Roczen
- 2017: Zach Osborne
From Bad to Worse (Dan Carson)
This past Saturday, Nina Barratts’ day went from bad to worse. After taking first in her class at a local race out at Perris Raceway, Nina crashed and severely broke her left humerus and required emergency surgery. While the Barratt family was inside helping Nina recover, their truck along with two bikes and $1,000 worth of gear were stolen right from the emergency room parking lot.
Nina’s YZ250F that was stolen was actually given to her by Bryce Stewart, who made three supercross main events this year, and it was more to her than just a piece of equipment. She said on the local news, “He’s the one who got me riding, so I was devastated when I broke my arm and I was devastated when I found out that we didn’t even have a truck to attend races or a bike to race with.”
According to Steve Giberson of VitalMX.com, the family’s truck has since been recovered, but the bikes and gear are still missing. If you have any information on the missing items, please contact Marty Barratt by phone at 714-625-9317 or by email at email@example.com. A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family to help them recover from their losses. You can donate here if you wish.
GRAND PRIX NEWS (Andras Hegyi)
Antonio Cairoli has overtaken Stefan Everts in one regard: The eight-time world champion got his 80th GP win sooner than Everts, the 10-time world champion. The most successful MXGP rider of all, Everts took his 80th MXGP victory in his 16th season in 2005, the year he turned 33 years old. But last Sunday at the MXGP of Germany, Cairoli got his 80th MXGP win in his 14th season. The Sicilian will 32 this year.
Everts has 101 MXGP wins, so for the time being he does not have to worry about Cairoli. But the #222 is back in the business of winning, as he is in a title contender shape again and nobody knows when he wants to decide to retire.
Hey, Watch It!
Racer X Films: Glen Helen Press Day
HEAD-SCRATCHING HEADLINES OF THE WEEK:
“Yamaha Factory Motocrosser Cooper Webb Is Ready To Race SoFast In SoCal At Glen Helen This Weekend” – Yamaha PR
Bell will continue their support of the holeshot awards at Loretta Lynn's. With a total of 102 gate drops scheduled for 2017 at the Ranch, Bell will have $10,200 in gift certificates up-for-grabs the week of the Amateur National.
The final step in qualifying for the 36th Annual Rocky Mountain ATV/MC AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, presented by Lucas Oil, begins this weekend in three regions across the United States. Amateur racers in the Southeast, South Central, and Northwest will continue their quest to compete in the world's largest and most prestigious amateur motocross race at the iconic Loretta Lynn Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.
We got this note from Michigan’s Bart Newman:
Moto folks, one of your brothers needs some help, in early May Michigan’s own #128 Jimmy Wilson was diagnosed with testicular cancer and it is spreading fast and just started four months of Chemotherapy. This Saturday May 27th at Log Road we will be having a fun moto at the end of the day (4:30ish) with all the proceeds going to help Jimmy with his fight… A $15 donation per rider, all donations will go straight to Jimmy ! We are currently putting together some auction items and I will keep you posted on what we have going on. No AMA, GLMX needed just a bike long pants and shirt and the willingness to help out one of our own.
Head over to RacerXBrand.com to receive 20 percent off with the discount code "MEMDAY17" this holiday weekend. While you're there, check out our recently released limited run of shirts that are currently only available for preorder. They'll be taken offline after the sale and it's still up in the air as to whether we'll print a full run or not, so get yours today!
Going to Glen Helen this weekend? Want to be able to get into the pits all day?
The only way to cruise the pits whenever you’d like is with the Racer X All-Day Pit Pass, but quantities are limited! Get yours today while they’re still available and get all-day pit access plus a one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated for just $50. Pre-order ticket sales end Thursday, May 25th at 11:59 PM.
If you preorder online for this event, you’ll need to pick your Racer X Pit Pass up at the Racer X Pit Pass booth, where you’ll also receive an extra copy of Racer X Illustrated, the official event sticker, and Racer X stickers.
Headed to the FMF Glen Helen National this weekend? Be sure to stop by the Racer X Booth in Sponsor Village, and subscribe to Racer X Illustrated for as low as $10 to receive a FREE $20 Motosport Gift Card, a one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated, an extra copy of Racer X, the official event sticker, and Racer X stickers.
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Thanks for reading Racerhead. RIP Nicky Hayden. See you at the races.