Welcome to Racerhead, and welcome back to America, Team USA. The 2016 Motocross of Nations didn’t turn out according to anyone’s best hopes, unless you’re French, but our team of Cooper Webb, Jason Anderson, and Alex Martin should all be very proud of their effort. They had a shot at it with just two laps to go, only to have Webb fall down on a steep hill while trying to get around British rider, Tommy Searle—at least I think that’s what happened as the live CBS Sports Network coverage, while very much appreciated, decided to cut away at that point and go into three minutes of commercials. We were winning when they went to break, and then when they came back we were losing. That’s just the nature of live TV!
Of course by this point we were all probably more worried about Jason Anderson than winning the MXoN. You surely know what happened to him, and I have to say it was one of the most sickening, horrible crashes I have ever seen. For him to get landed on like that, knocked out cold, and not have any more serious injuries than a concussion is just incredible. Anderson’s crash showed how durable the human body can be, the complete opposite of what we saw with Jessy Nelson’s crash at Unadilla, where a simple cross-rut resulted in a terrible injury. (And speaking of welcoming someone home, we are all really glad to know that Jessy finally got home to California from the rehabilitation center in New York, where he’s been since his accident in August.)
(And here's another thing: Did anyone see those fans almost get landed on as they ran out on the track after the third and final moto at the MXoN? We almost saw someone get killed on live television...)
Despite Webb’s heroic efforts, as well as the MX2 performance by Alex Martin, and of course the moto win by Anderson, Team USA came up short for the fifth year in a row. Are we doing something wrong? Personally, I don’t think so. I think we would have won if not for either Anderson’s inability to line-up for the last moto, as well as Webb’s tip-over towards the end of the final moto. We had a strong team, strong results, but not a whole lot of luck, which is just a huge change after so many years of having so much luck. Maybe we will get it done next year when the race returns to American soil at Glen…
Oh, that’s right. Scratch that. In an unfortunate bonus disappointment, Glen Helen will not host the 2017 MXoN. After hearing the rumor that was being spread all over the media center last weekend, word came out earlier this week that Glen Helen was not going to get the event after all. With the USGP crowds so small the past couple of years, despite the presence of a few top riders like Eli Tomac and two-time 250 Motocross champion, Jeremy Martin, it was decided that the race would be given to Matterley Basin in England instead. The news was as unfortunate as it was unexpected, though I’m sure many, many more fans would turn out for the MXoN than they did for the USGP races there. I haven’t got to talk to Glen Helen track owner Bud Feldkamp about what went down, and I’m sure the Southern California faithful are bummed that they won’t host the race in 2017.
Congratulations to the French team on their third straight win, and thanks to Cooper, Jason, and Alex for making the effort to go over there and represent our country like they did. I hope they are all taking some well-deserved vacation time this week and taking a breath, because before long it will be time to start getting ready for 2017.
RETURN TO SENDER (DC)
Two years ago, on a cold winter’s night, my brother Timmy’s house burned down. He and his wife Jessica and their three kids got out fine—that was the most important thing—but they lost everything else, including their cars, their cat, and all of the memorabilia that they had collected in a shared life in racing. (Jessica McConnell’s dad, John, was a pro and Jessica, her twin sister Mel, and even their mom Valerie have raced their whole lives.) Among the lost items was my brother’s most important trophy, a hand-carved wooden gem he was given for winning the overall in the notorious Blackwater 100—America’s toughest race—in 1988. That’s the kind of thing insurance just can’t replace.
But recently my sister-in-law Jessica was on Facebook when she spotted a post from a man named Michael Goss of Davis, West Virginia, the town in which the Blackwater 100 was held from 1975 to ’94. Goss had a framed Gear Racewear jersey that he’s had since 1988, and he was planning on giving it to Siriani's Pizza Café in Davis. The jersey was the one my brother wore when he won the Blackwater, and he apparently had given it to Goss, who grew up in Davis. He’d held on to it over the years, and felt it was a good time to give it a new home.
Last night my big brother Tim was reunited with the jersey he won the 1988 #Blackwater 100 #GNCC in when his old friend Michael Goss brought it to Morgantown to give him. Having lost all of his other memorabilia in that fire two years ago, my brother was truly shocked and happy to be given back the jersey 28 years later! @racerxonline @gncc_racing #legend
Jessica immediately reached out to him and asked if she could buy it. After she explained that they had lost everything in the fire, and what the jersey would mean to my brother, Goss wouldn’t take a dime for it, but he did ask if could come to Morgantown to hand it to Timmy in person—they apparently knew each other back in the day. So Jessica invited Michael to town, and set up a family dinner at the Iron Horse restaurant, with a surprise ending. Goss came over and asked Timmy if he recognized him—somehow after 28 years he did, saying, “Didn’t you live in Davis?”—and then pulled out the framed jersey. My brother was speechless. It was a really cool moment and I can’t thank Michael Goss enough for bringing that jersey back to Timmy and Jessica and their kids, who all probably didn’t realize what a great racer their dad was back in the day. It was a great #ThisIsMoto moment.
Data Bank from Maggiora (Andras Hegyi)
Team France has collected its fourth victory at the MXoN, and third in a row. They first won in 2001, when Team USA did not compete after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and three straight from 2014-16. Besides Great Britain and the United States, France is only the third nation to win three consecutive Peter Chamberlain Trophies. This year’s victory was memorable, as it’s been since 1995 that a team has managed to get the win by only one point (in ’95, Belgium won with nine points, overtaking Team USA’s 10 points).
Team France's win in Italy was memorable also for another performance. Both in 2001 and 2016 France was able to win without winning any of the three categories. In 2001 Luigi Seguy was second in 125, David Vuillemin second in 250, and Yves Demaria second in Open. This year Romain Febvre was second in MXGP, Gautier Paulin was third in Open, and Benoit Paturel fourth in MX2.
The Dutch motocross community could be very happy this season. After Jeffrey Herlings' third world championship title, Team Holland grabbed its first MXoN podium since 2004. The Dutch were fighting for the victory! It would have been the first victory ever for the Netherlands. It was the 11th podium for the Dutch. Before this 70th edition they were second also in 1976, ‘80, ‘85, ‘87 and 2004, and they were third in ‘48, ‘55, ‘64, ‘72 and ‘91.
Team USA took third, collecting its 32nd podium at the ‘Nations. Now the Americans have caught up with Great Britain, which captured its 32nd and most recent podium in 1997.
Here’s an odd one: with a Husqvarna rider, Team USA has not been able to win the MXoN so far. In the past Team USA had had Husqvarna riders in ‘73, ‘74, ‘75, ‘76, ‘77 and ‘78, but it could not win. This year Jason Anderson was fantastic on the KTM-owned historical Swedish brand, but the Husky rider had that terrible misfortune after winning the second moto flag-to-flag. He obviously did not ride the last moto, and that might have made all the difference for Anderson and his teammates Cooper Webb and Alex Martin.
Jeremy Van Horebeek had a great performance for Belgium, maybe his best race this season. The MXGP rider raced in MX2 class and he won it. It was the first category win for Van Horebeek at the MXoN. He had already raced for Belgium in 2007, ‘08, ‘10, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14 and 2015. It was the first Belgian class victory since 2010, when Clement Desalle got the Open class win. But Van Horebeek's eminent result was not enough to help Belgium to step up on the podium. It was the first time since 2011 that the Red Knights were not able to get podium at the MXoN. Belgium has the most podium finishes ever in the entire history of the ‘Nations, with 56.
The eight-time FIM World Champion, Antonio Cairoli, had a rather brutal crash in qualifying. His whole body was sore, but despite all the kind of pains he was able to take the MXGP class win. It was Cairoli's third class victory at the MXoN. He had won the MX1 in 2012 and ‘13 with double moto wins.
Pro Perspective (Jason Thomas)
Last Sunday, the final moto at the MXoN was a whirlwind of emotion. At different points of the moto, the Dutch, the French, and Team USA all thought they had it locked up for the top-spot of the podium. At the checkers, the riders themselves had no idea who had actually won.
I watched Herlings take the win and as he stopped, the Dutch tackled him, thinking they had won the event. They were going bonkers, screaming and waving their Dutch flag. Glenn Coldenhoff was mistaken, too, revving his bike to the moon in celebration. He was high-fiving his team and celebrating like it was 1999 (R.I.P. Prince). All of this was for not, however, as the French ended up winning. For Team France, they were a bit subdued crossing the finish. Romain Febvre was completely unaware of the points situation and calmly rode across the finish line. As the picture became more clear, it was interesting to watch the change of emotion from team to team. The French team went into a state of hysteria while the Dutch couldn't believe it. No one had realized that Febvre and Paulin's last lap moves had made the deciding difference.
It was a transfer of jubilation (much like Jason Weigandt's transfer of power theory) between nations. For myself and the rest of the American faithful, it was all just background noise. America had lost it in the most painful of ways and whether it was Romain Febvre, Glenn Coldenhoff, David Vuillemin, Johann van der Smut (Goldmember), Coco Chanel, or Napoleon himself, it was some other nationality celebrating and I didn't want to witness it. I have to admit that I did smile a bit when I saw the Dutch realize they had lost because I would be feeling that same level of heartbreak for a day or two to come.
Yellow Beards (Matthes)
Lots of stuff still to be figured out when it comes to silly season, it’s unbelievable that the sport of supercross (in particular) seems to be doing better than ever but the market for getting rides might be the worst it’s ever been. But we sit here with riders like Dean Wilson, Weston Peick, Broc Tickle, Jake Weimer, and both Stewart brothers without a ride, and it’s October tomorrow, people!
One thing that dropped this week is sources close to the situation telling me that JGR Yamaha is no more. The team is not folding, they’re dropping the “Yamaha” from their title and going with Suzuki for 2017 and presumably beyond. The team has been with big blue since they launched in 2007 so to see Justin Barcia, Phil Nicoletti, and one other rider on yellow will be a bit shocking. Barcia, in particular, has been a critic of the Yamaha this past year and with Yamaha out-bidding its partner for the rights to Cooper Webb, maybe this should be looked at as a tad inevitable.
As far as Suzuki goes, they folded up the Yoshimura squad but kept the RCH guys (who will use Yoshimura for its motors while JGR will continue to do everything in-house) and now added three more 450 guys via JGR. So that’s a nice commitment by them and a good rebound from the lows of having the Yosh team say good-bye. Remember the JGR guys did the motors and suspension for the BTOSports.com team when they were on Suzuki, so they have a small base to start with when it comes to the RMZ-450 that hasn’t changed much since then. Suzuki’s all-new 450 will be out in 2018 but for now, JGR will get a small head start on yellow.
There’s a rumor out there that JGR is looking to field a second team with an outside sponsor but I haven’t heard anything about that in a while. I’m surprised the team went with Suzuki to be honest, they have so much data and work invested with Yamaha, and the blue crew had made them a good offer to stay with Yamaha that I didn’t think it made sense to switch. And people at JGR had told me they were close to finishing the deal with Yamaha near the end of the nationals. Suzuki must’ve stepped up big time to help and that’s a good thing for them.
The Pulp App (Chase Stallo)
Earlier this week, Steve Matthes and his crew at Pulpmx—show producer Travis Marx and Swizcore—released their long-awaited redesign to the Pulpmx App. I got an early look at it thanks to Steve, and here are some early thoughts:
- I like how easy it is to navigate. You can bounce from drops to live shows all on the dropdown menu on the left side.
- The Drops are the best thing about the app. It features amazing sound bytes from personalities all over the industry. I probably listened to it for 30 minutes the other night.
- I haven’t listened to a live show yet (I got the app on Wednesday) so I can’t comment on how the live show sounds, but I have listened to a few previously recorded ones and they sound great.
- It features app exclusive podcast with Dirt Rider’s Kris Keefer and four-time Arenacross champion Tyler Bowers.
- It has access to all 1500+ podcasts Matthes has done, including Pulp Hockey! (Steve made me add the hockey part.)
You can download it for your iPhone for just $1.99. The Android version will be available in a few weeks. Don’t be a Weigandt and spend the $1.99—it will make Steve happy!
HOT FRESH PULPMX LINKS
The FXR Racing MXoN photo report with great images from Lissimore and witty captions from JT.
EKS Brand has a brand new goggle out and Kris Keefer tests it out for us.
Swizcore writes about how the MXoN should deserve an asterisk this year.
Hey, Watch It!
Dougie Lampkin Wheelies Entire Isle of Man TT Course—37.7 miles!
We always receive a wide variety of Racer X Amateur Film Festival submissions—some good and some, well, interesting—but a new one landed in our inbox that easily stood out from the rest, and we knew it would based on the title alone: Saddleback Park 1983. The submission came from Seattle, Washington's, Dean Jocic, and after talking to him and coming to the conclusion that altering his film to meet the necessary rules and guidelines was out of the realm of possibilities, we decided to share it here.
"I shot that Super 8mm film for an intro to film class I took while attending Art Center College of Design. All shot in 1983. The intro was filmed at Indian Dunes at the Shadow Glen course. The rest was filmed at the CMC Golden State Series race at Saddleback Park.This was pre-digital. Just a Super 8mm camera, film splicer, record player and cassette recorder. I rigged a lightweight 8mm helmet cam for the rider point of view stuff. 20 years before GoPro was invented! Bolt drilled through the top of one of my old racing helmets that was the same size as a tripod bolt. Old school!"
Visit filmfestival.racerxonline.com today to learn how you can win cool prizes from MotoSport, WASPcam, BAK Industries, and Racer X for submitting your own motocross video edit.
"The Editor of 'Thrasher' Doesn't Want Bieber or Any Other 'F*cking Clowns' Wearing His Gear." - Esquire Style
"Covington/Charlier to replace Nagl/Anderson" - Vital MX thread.
Ripped no more! Justin Bieber strips to the waist for motocross bike ride in Sweden... but what happened to his six-pack? - Daily Mail
"Race of the Century!!" - the hyperbolic MX Geoff Meyer on the Manufacturers' Cup race next weekend in Germany.
"Podesta to Trump: ‘Safety tip: don’t reach for your phone’ at night" - Politico
Miss out on grabbing one of our Ogio backpacks? Head over to www.racerxbrand.com, where we now have three different Racer X Brand backpacks stocked as well as plenty other Racer X Brand apparel and merchandise.
Subscribe today for as low as $9.98 and get a free $20 RIDE365.com gift card!
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid'EH Update #40.
That’s it for Racerhead. Once again, best of luck to Jessy Nelson in his return home, and better luck next year to Team USA. Have a good weekend, and we’ll see you at the races.