Dan Betley | Honda HRC | Team Manager
Racer X: Christian Craig, Cole Seely today. Christian ran up front in the first moto. I guess he hasn’t had a ton of practice time, so that’s a positive to today, doing that when he doesn’t have a ton of time under his belt.
Dan Betley: Yeah. First moto … he gets really good starts and he nailed that pretty good. Even Cole was running up front until he tipped it over. So, to walk away top five, six, it was good. We’ll take some positives away from that. Went into the second moto and things didn’t work out as well as we were hoping.
The Christian Craig starts thing is phenomenal. Do you credit the Honda CRF450 or is it Christian Craig?
Well, it’s both, but I’ll credit Christian. It’s both. The bike definitely starts better than our older bike, but Christian knows how to get it started. I think good starters can start on anything, quite honestly.
This week I hung out with Shorty [Andrew Short] at the WPS [Western Power Sports] intro and we talked a little bit. He’s being very corporate, by the way. You’d like that. He gives no information, but in whatever you can tell us, how much of a help has he been?
Shorty has been phenomenal on many different levels. Everybody loves the guy. We loved him before, right? So we knew what we were getting when we got involved with him. Everything from testing to marketing to PR to whatever. He does a great job and is very positive, very optimistic. Can’t say enough about him.
Testing-wise and he’s leading you in the right direction for these guys?
I think so. A benefit of a good test rider I think is knowing what the differences are for the people you’re testing for, right?
He has to know how Seely rides, how Craig rides.
Exactly. I think this would work better for Christian say than Cole because of this reason, or these two parts weren’t any good so we shouldn’t even let them try it, but they should try this part. That’s what a good test rider does, and that’s what he brings to the table.
Speaking of that, do you even change clutches with those two riders in the middle of the day? They’re probably the two easiest riders on bikes.
Yeah, pretty much. It’s really not an issue. Kenny’s [Ken Roczen] the same way. We don’t go through a lot of clutch parts.
Speaking of Kenny, he was here today. Good to see him. I talked to him a little bit. Two times at physical therapy a day. He just told me ’18 supercross is the goal.
I don’t know why I wouldn’t believe the guy. He’s made a phenomenal recovery. He’s going for a CT scan this week. If that is any indication of what his X-rays have looked like so far, we’re on the right track. I think he’s getting antsy. He sees the light at the end of the tunnel. So, he’s getting excited. We’re getting excited. I think there’s more posts to come of him doing wheelies or whatever.
What did you think when you saw that?
I thought it was awesome.
What about upper management?
There was a little concern in the upper management because we have to be proper. Luckily he had a helmet on and did all that, but for me, my perspective is everyone should be ecstatic he’s back on a motorcycle. I’m sure he should have had long pants on, but at the same time, I’m just so happy to see him back riding. I think there’s just going to be more coming.
You were very happy today. Six-time is here, your old rider. Six championships you’ve won together. Jeff Stanton. Great guy. RedBud is his house. Is it always nice to see a guy like that?
Always. I have utmost respect for him and the work ethic. He’s just a good person overall. Those are the type of people you need in your life.
When I go up to Tim Ferry I talk about ’99 SummerCross. What do you talk to six-time about? Do you actually reminisce? You don’t strike me as that type of dude. What do you and Jeff Stanton talk about?
I think the current crop of riders and just things in general like that. I had so much respect for his heart and his work ethic and what he brought to the table, just things like that. We don’t reminisce about old races. Remember at this race or that race … we talk about the funny stuff, the practical jokes he pulled on me and stuff like that, but not so much. Just day to day life and what he’s doing at home. He has a lot of cool things going on. He’s been really smart with his money and everything, just the way he’s led his life. I respect the guy a ton.
Jeremy Albrecht | Autotrader.com/JGR Suzuki | Team Manager
Racer X: Talking to a few managers today about their day. [Justin] Barcia didn’t have the overall finish he probably wanted in that second moto, but looked good, led laps. That’s probably the highlight?
Jeremy Albrecht: Yeah, for sure. Last week was an improvement and then today, the second moto leading until halfway was great. Obviously slid out, but he was in the lead when he slid out, so that was cool. To still get fifth overall with a crash is not a bad day. We’ve had worse days, so we’re going in the right direction.
[Weston] Peick I thought rode well in that second moto. He was fourth for a long time. I remember the first moto he crashed in the second turn, but nice rebound for him.
Yeah, he did good too. He came from way back in the first one. He wrecked in the first corner and came all the way to 14th, which I didn’t even know if he’d get in the top 20 there for a bit, so I was happy with that ride. He gave a good effort. Then second moto he ended up fourth. He rode great. Ended up 10th overall which I thought he would have got a better overall, but he rode great today, so happy.
Kyle Cunningham, we talked a little bit during the motos. At this age he’s not going to do it, but if he could just cut out the mistakes. The kid’s got speed.
Yeah, he’s definitely, definitely fast. It just seems like there’s always something that happens—a crash or a slide out or a bad start. It seems like it’s always something. Hopefully that changes.
I talked to Kyle Bentley a little bit and he was saying that the cooperation—because I mentioned how many Suzukis are up front lately—last week, this week. Kyle over there said the cooperation between you two guys has been fantastic. You’ve shared some motor settings. Everybody sounds like they’re working in the right direction.
For sure. Some of the other years that we’ve been doing it we didn’t really feel like we had that camaraderie with the other teams, so coming into this we really wanted to be helpful and just work with everybody really well and try to do a really good job for Suzuki. We share with them. We share with Suzuki. We all help each other, so it’s been really good.
There’s been a lot of Suzukis up front, too.
It’s cool to see. Obviously Roczen won on it last year, so we know the bike’s good. It’s cool because a lot of people like to say little rumors of maybe their bike isn’t fast or whatever, but they’re all up there. So, they’re all fast. It’s cool to see all the yellow bikes. Hopefully we keep doing it and get more up there. The new bike coming, we’re all excited. It’s all good stuff for us and Suzuki.
Give me a Stew [James Stewart] RedBud memory. The [LaRocco’s] Leap on a 125?
We actually bent some frames here. I went through three frames at this race because of The Leap. He wouldn’t stop doing it.
You changed it in-between motos?
Back then we used to ride on Saturday. So, we bent one Saturday. He landed short. So then put a new frame on that night. The next day in practice he did it again. Back then we had carbon fiber head stays, so the frame bent so much the head stays broke off. So, you can’t just put them back on because they don’t fit. That’s why they broke. So then you got to change the frame. All of us. It happened to [Michael] Byrne, all of us. It was crazy. We went through three frames. No one carries three frames, usually. I had to take—I think it was someone else’s, actually.
Did you tell him, “Hey, James, don’t jump The Leap?”
Yeah, we told him in the race not to do it. The second moto he didn’t do The Leap anymore, because we don’t have enough frames to keep doing that. We need to make it. The goal is to make it.
Kyle Bentley | RCH/Yoshimura Suzuki | Team Manager
Racer X: Kenny Watson’s the team manager, I heard on TV. But the rumor is that perhaps you’re the team manager?
Kyle Bentley: Yeah, I don’t know. I think Kenny’s getting old in his age and I think his hearing is maybe going out, so I don’t think he heard Georgia [Albertson] in that interview. I don’t think he was able to correct her. But yeah, he can be the team manager. It’s all good. There’s no titles here.
Why can’t all Nationals be like this one, right? From the track, to the crowd, to the viewing. I don't know if it’s the Fourth of July holiday. I’m not American so I think I’m non-biased. I don’t think it’s the Fourth, but this is a great race.
Great event, great venue. The best fans on the planet, I believe. I wish they’d get a des Nations here. I think it would be a good showing.
I think it’s coming.
That would be awesome. Good showing. Fans are always into it. They’re partying all day long. It was a good day.
Garbage day for your team, though. [Broc] Tickle crashed first turn, first moto. Second moto he must have crashed somewhere. [Justin] Bogle had a decent first moto. Just a bad day.
Yeah, bad day. Tickle actually had a get-off in the second timed practice. Right before the finish line he high-sided and jammed his shoulder into the ground pretty good. He was doubtful to even race. He said he’d give it a go and we taped him up. He went out there and crashed in the first turn and came from dead last and able to score a few point. [Ed. Note: Tickle actually sustained a dislocated shoulder in that practice crash. He is still going to try and race this weekend at Southwick.]
Screwed me on the Nick Wey fantasy.
Yeah, you were telling me to radio in and tell him to throw the anchor out so he didn’t pass Wey, back it down. That fantasy stuff. He crashed and then second moto he was sore and tender.
So, he didn’t go down? It was more like just, I’m beat up?
Yeah. Beat up, bad start, salvage what we can. Ended up getting seven points. That’s a win for him. Bogle first moto, he was up there running with the boys and then I think he just cramped up or got tight and fell back a little bit. Two good starts from him. Second moto he ran up there for a while with the leaders and then kind of lost touch. Then just ran a decent race and finished seventh. I think 9-7 for eighth overall on the day. So, he’s fifth in points and we’re going to try to get both guys in the top five for the end of the season.
You’ve had some good races. Bogle winning a moto, Tickle making the podium. I think overall today sucked, but overall a good outdoors season for you guys. You’re getting a lot of yellow up front combined with those idiots over there.
Yeah, the JGR guys and us, we collaborate on a bunch of stuff. We’ve come up with some new engine specs and the bikes are good. So, you’re seeing a lot of yellow out front early. We just get the guys to finish up there and it’ll be good. For us as a team we have some battles to win. We continue to make strides to improve each weekend with the guys we have. Ultimate goal is to put both guys in the top five for the end of the series.
Want to talk about how you have time to do a Vital MX Q&A, but not the podcast?
Yeah. The effort wasn’t there from you. I only got one text and it was only like, “Okay, cool guy” and that was it. But I did score 626 points in fantasy today, so that was a big day.
Who came through for you?
A lot of guys. I don’t even know half the guys that scored points for me.