Lots of incest on the podium after the first Lakewood 250 Moto. Husky's Zach Osborne thanked Honda rider Eli Tomac's dad, John, and Yamaha's Jeremy Martin thanked Suzuki team owner, Ricky Carmichael. Having sons that raced and made many friends at the track, I understand friendships are developed that will last long after teams come and go. My question is: at what point does helping the other side cross the line? Do manufacturers and sponsors get their panties in a bunch when the cross-brand training breeds success for rival teams?
That's a fair question, and it will likely start getting more sticky as time goes on. Remember, these Florida camps being run by RC and Baker are relatively new, so it hasn't been too much of an issue. But when you start having top 450 guys riding at Ricky's farm and beating his riders on the weekends it could change. Come to think of it, Dungey left Ricky's farm just about the time Carmichael got involved with Ken Roczen. Coincidence? As long as the riders aren't in direct competition I don't think it's too much of a problem. Zach training with the Tomacs doesn't threaten Honda's 450 riders, but if Weston Peick were riding with Eli and started beating Cole Seely regularly, they might have a problem with it. Keep an eye on this moving forward, though, because it could get weird as different riders partner up to train.
Great column as always, enjoy reading your stuff. How do you feel about KTM and Husqvarna announcing a bunch of their US riders signing up for the MXGP in Glen Helen this year? I think it sounds great and wouldn’t want to deny anybody from racing BUT, how do you think the MXGP guys are going to feel about this? I do not think that Tomac, Dungey, Roczen and whoever else joins the conversation would be happy if the AMA National championship comes down to the wire and all of a sudden a bunch of MXGP guys decided to sign up for the last US national event and potentially interfere with the outcome of a championship series they had no part in. Can you imagine Cairoli losing to Nagl by 1 or 2 points because Tomac decided to sneak in between the two of them in a moto? I think it is a thing of respect and if they want to race they should make their efforts to make it to the MXoN squad or go race the MXGP series but not just jump in because it is in a convenient location.
I think it's great news for the folks at Glen Helen, the FIM World Motocross Championship in general, and the fans in SoCal. Without notable American riders in the fray, there is very little interest in that series here. If you look back at the last GP held at Glen Helen in 2010, you could count the number of fans there on the one hand of a bad wood-shop teacher. It was desolate. If you add Ryan Dungey to the mix fans will immediately be more interested and think about showing up. And If Ryan Villopoto actually lines up, then I may have to drive up to San Bernardino and check it out because that plays out like a Motocross of Nations preview. I don't think the point race is going to come down to a position or two at the last race, but if it does, it’s a situation both contenders will have to deal with.
[Regarding last week's question about riders being sick] If you want to take this question another step you can look into the long-term effect of the “fight or flight” response of the nervous system. Nothing will deplete you worse. No matter how good you are over the course of the riding day you will have multiple moments when this reaction kicks in. It was built into us to respond to a physical threat on occasion but reacts to fear in the same way.
That's called the sympathetic nervous system, and it obviously gets overworked over the course of a motocross racer's career. Every time you line up for a race, come up short on a jump, whisky throttle, cross-rut, or do anything else that causes your ring-piece to clamp shut like a vice on a work bench, you’re stimulating that response. You’re also dumping a hormone called cortisol, which helps your body deal with stress. Sedentary folks only jog this response loose when they get startled by a car horn or watch that creepy video that gets emailed around with the face that pops on the screen, or when they think they are having a heart attack after eating two Baconators from Wendy's with a large side of fries and a Frosty. Motocross riders will trigger this every day they ride and multiple times over the course of a race day. Studies have shown that when cortisol levels are elevated the body is much slower at healing and repairing itself, and that goes hand-in-hand with riders feeling tired and run-down all the time. There's a condition called adrenal fatigue that is said to be caused by overuse of the adrenal glands. The symptoms are very similar to chronic fatigue and fit many of the complaints of riders who've been training and racing for years. There is a long list of things you could go into regarding fitness and physical health. Coach Robb Beams has some really good literature on his website if you want to learn more about diet, training, and fitness in general, or as it relates to a specific sport. He also has some great dietary supplements as well. Check him out.