Welcome to Racerhead. It's post-election America, preseason supercross, and still a feeling of general disbelief that we have a new U.S. president-elect with some very huge campaign promises to begin working through. I rarely talk politics in Racerhead or on social media, but this warrants a little time here. I've been trying to answer questions for my friends from other countries about just how exactly this all happened; some understand, others just don't grasp it. But I did hear a political scientist on one of the networks give a really good explanation as to why he thinks Donald J. Trump won the U.S. presidency, despite the fact that the New York Times would not even recognize him as a real candidate at first, and his own Republican party barely paid attention to him—at least not until he became bigger than the party itself!
The way the man explained it on TV was something like this: There used to be a straight vertical line through the middle of American society, and you were either on the left or right of that line, depending on whether you were a liberal-leaning Democrat or a conservative-leaning Republican. There were easy-to-spot differences, but no real chasms like we saw throughout this election.
But now there's a different line separating Americans, and it's more of a horizontal one, not left or right. Above that line are the "haves" of political elites, executives, and the wealthy—the "one-percenters" as they are often referred to—and below that line is the "have-nots," which means pretty much everyone else, who feel like they aren't getting their fair share, are losing their national identity as more and more minorities assimilate, and don't like paying the taxes they do for programs that don't directly affect them, etc. In recent years, the men and women below this line have been growing more and more disgruntled and disenfranchised, and today's more conservative media outlets have added a voice to that general feeling that we needed to "make America great again."
Somehow, president-elect Trump, one of the very wealthiest of the one-percenters and a newcomer to politics, tapped into that underlying resentment and became its champion. People looked past all of his misdeeds and missteps and impossible promises and voted for him as much in protest of Hillary Clinton as anything else. She ran a good campaign, too, but the baggage and constant mentions of emails and FBI investigations—and just plain fatigue at hearing or seeing the Clintons in the news (be it the biased mainstream news or the biased echo chamber of the other side)—led to this result. It was a perfect storm of surging populism and general frustration, and now we have to get past all of the nonsense and get on with it together.
And that's the thing about the United States of America: we're a great nation, always have been and always will be. President Trump will hopefully surround himself with some real pros and think twice before he starts building that wall against immigration and terrorism (how high would that wall have to be to keep the internet out?) or starts throwing millions of people out, or continues to use Twitter like a mean-spirited teenager. No matter which side you were on, in all, we've got to get on with it now and support our new president. Because that's what really makes America great: we work together as citizens, we work hard to keep it together, and we will keep moving America forward together.
One more thing on America, and this is much bigger than a rough-and-tumble presidential election. Today is November 11, the day we in America and many other places in the world remember the veterans among us and before us who have served. Veterans Day grew out of the end of World War One, a horrific, brutal slaughter that changed the entire world in ways that still reverberate to this day. It was a four-year conflict that consumed much of the planet, costing millions of lives in epic battles with horrible names like Passchendale, Verdun, the Somme, Ypres, Belleau Wood, Gallipoli ... It finally ended in 1918, on the 11th day of the 11th month, and at the 11th hour. Ever since we have used that day and that moment to remember those who've gone for soldiers, who fight our wars and other wars, and will continue to be the best among us. So here is a tip of the visor and a huge thank you to all of the men and women who have served this great nation of ours. Thank you.
One more note as we were going to publish, the 2017 schedule for the AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series presented by Maxxis was released. Check it out below. Here's Racerhead.
Bonjour from Lille (MATTHES)
It’s that time again, racers heading over to Europe to make some cash and get ready for the 2017 supercross season. This weekend I’m in Lille, France, for the annual SX here. Of course it used to be Bercy right downtown in Paris for a long time but moved up here, about an hour and a half north, two years ago. Today was press day, and the riders made sure their bikes were up to par for tomorrow’s practice and racing. Of course every European friend I have over here wants to first talk about how they cannot believe a reality TV star with zero political experience got elected president before we talked about racing. I have a feeling this will be a common theme of the weekend.
The track here is tricky with a lot of jumps—nothing that hard for the guys, but I see a few spots where I think the elite few may quad before the weekend is out. The whoops are a good size, and today Romain Febvre didn’t look real comfortable in them.
Justin Barcia is here on a Suzuki that’s just got suspension, a head, and cams, so it’s far from his full race bike. Christian Craig is the same deal, while Marvin Musquin has his full race bike from the SMX Cup a few weeks back. Something that isn’t really mentioned in these off-season races is how the new trend is shipping the whole bike over, which is an advantage over the guys who can’t do that. This year’s Lille, though, is more privateer than ever.
American Ryan Surratt is here for the BUD Racing Kawasaki team riding MX2, as is Jake Masterpool on a Yamaha. Both riders got out there today and looked good.
One rider who didn’t ride today was Malcolm Stewart, who had a few bike problems that stopped him from getting out there. His guys got it fixed, but it was too late to get a few laps in. I spoke with Mookie a bit, and after we debated how good he would do in the 450 class on a 250 two-stroke, he told me he’s got no ride and is just planning on staying sharp and looking for a fill-in ride. That doesn’t speak well for the health of our sport when riders like Stewart, Dean Wilson, and Jake Weimer can’t get rides (even though, in Wilson’s case, he’s offering to race for free!), and I hope we can figure things out at some point.
One thing about coming to this race the day after an election that turned things upside down was also trying to think about the Paris terrorist attacks that happened the same day I landed there last year for Lille. I had gone to bed early when there was one shooting in the city that CNN was reporting on and woke up around 3 a.m. to a barrage of texts from worried friends and family.
The morning after the attacks, no one in the paddock knew whether there would even be a race that night. It was a subdued feeling all weekend long, knowing that an hour away many innocent people lost their lives. Added to that strangeness was GuyB from Vital MX and I standing in line behind the guys in Eagles of Death Metal at Starbucks in Paris airport Monday morning.
So between remembering the attacks, trying to figure out where America is going, and thinking about the race, it's been a different weekend so far here for me.
Twin Bill (Jason Weigandt)
Crazy to me that arguably the two biggest international off-season supercrosses—Lille in France and the AUS-X Open in Sydney, Australia—are taking place on the same weekend, but I guess that makes us the winners. That's a lot of good racing! The loser is our Steve Matthes, who is in Lille but can't pad his United MileagePlus account with a trip to Oz. Had the races been held on separate weekends, I'm sure he would have gone to Australia also, just to reunite with his old BFF Ryan Villopoto. Oh, how I wish you folks could have heard the convos between those two in the Monster Kawasaki truck from 2011-2014. It was trash talk of the highest order.
Of course no one knows how RV will do this weekend in the race, and he told us a few weeks ago that, "Anybody out there that has any expectations of me coming out there and winning, they must be smoking something strong.” So you have to be smoking something if you think RV will smoke everyone.
But, if you really believe, you can put your money down. Here's a link to actual, real, official betting on the race.
Cooper Webb is set as the favorite with 2:1 odds, Chad Reed is 3:1, and RV is 4.5:1. Throw a hundred down on Villo and you make $450 if he wins. I'm personally intrigued by Justin Brayton, for a variety of reasons, but mostly because his odds are 7:1. Brayton is very good in these off-season races on tight tracks, and he's been living in Australia for several weeks and winning the series. I could turn $100 into $700 with him and that's very tempting....
Chad_Reed_-_pre-event_media_call-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Chad_Reed_-_pre-event_media_call-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Cooper_Webb_-_pre-event_media_call-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Cooper_Webb_-_pre-event_media_call-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Cooper_Webb_and_Glenn_Cooper_from_Sports_Racer_Series_-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Cooper_Webb_and_Glenn_Cooper_from_Sports_Racer_Series_-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Justin_Braydon_-_pre_event_media_day AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Dean_Ferris_-_Pre_event_media_day AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Cooper_Webb_and_Glenn_Cooper_from_Sports_Racer_Series_-3 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Pre_event_media_day_-_1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Riders_cruising_Sydney_Harbour_AUS-X_OPEN-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Riders_cruising_Sydney_Harbour_AUS-X_OPEN-5 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Riders_cruising_Sydney_Harbour_AUS-X_OPEN-3 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Riders_cruising_Sydney_Harbour_AUS-X_OPEN-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Riders_cruising_Sydney_Harbour_AUS-X_OPEN-6 Davey Coombs Ryan_Villopoto_-_pre-event_media_call-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Ryan_Villopoto_-_pre-event_media_call-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Ryan_Villopoto_-_pre-event_media_call-4 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Kade_Mosig_-_pre_event_media_day_2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Will_Hahn_-_pre-event_media_call-1 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow Will_Hahn_-_pre-event_media_call-2 AUS-X Open / Jeff Crow
Speaking of money, I don't know where these AUS-X promoters are getting the cash to pay Webb, Reed, and Villopoto, who are huge names, but it's certainly put this event on the map. Last year was supposed to feature James Stewart and Reed, which would have been a blockbuster, also. Pretty impressive, and seeing all these guys face off will be interesting. I hope the money lasts and this event sticks around, because matchups like this make for great bench racing.
The Lille lineup is solid too. Marvin Musquin and Justin Barcia would generally be a close matchup, then you throw in two uber-talented riders like Malcolm Stewart and Christian Craig and you've got something going. I know Barcia and JGR are still early into the Suzuki project and don't have what's considered a full race bike yet, but these off-season races are weird, you never know who will come in feeling it and who won't be. That's what makes for good bench racing, too.
The 34th Bercy Supercross (Andras Hegyi)
Two-time 250SX Champion Justin Barcia will debut his new JGRMX Suzuki at Bercy Supercross in Lille, France. For Bam Bam, it will be the first race with Suzuki—he never raced with Suzuki, only with KTM (50s and 65s), Honda (85s to 450s), and Yamaha in recent years. If Barcia wins in France he would break Suzuki's losing streak for the Bercy SX, which goes back to 1998. The only Suzuki success at Bercy was Larry "Big Bird" Ward in 1998. And if Barcia wins, he would be the first rider to be victorious at Bercy with two different brands. Barcia already triumphed there with Honda in 2010 and 2013. A third win would make him the most successful American rider at Bercy.
All told, there have been 25 victories for American riders at Bercy (now Lille), made up by a total of 18 different American Kings of Bercy. Barcia can also continue the longest American winning streak overall at Bercy. Between 1984 and 1989, as well as between 1992 and 1998, the Americans were able to get seven wins in a row (there were two Bercys in 1984, one in the spring around Daytona and then one in the fall). This year the Americans are going to try to their ninth consecutive win, as they have been unbeatable since 2008.
Yamaha is looking for its 10th Bercy SX win through the 2015 MXGP World Champion Romain Febvre and the Swiss Yamaha rider Arnaud Tonus, who switched from Kawasaki and is back in Europe after his AMA career did not work out. And besides Barcia and Tonus, the young Brian Hsu will debut with a new brand at Bercy. Hsu, whose mother is Taiwanese and whose father is Hungarian—and whose passport is German—will debut in the saddle of a Husqvarna. If the Hungarian Maurer-Gép Racing's Hsu wins, it would be Husqvarna's first win at Bercy.
Helping Out Mad Mike (DC)
Here's a note we got from Mike Casto, asking his fellow moto enthusiasts to help out a friend in rather dire situation:
As I'm sure you know, "Mad" Mike Jones was involved in an auto accident while on his bike. "Tornado" Troy Barth is putting together a benefit ride for Mike at Reno Raceway on November 19th. The moto track will be open along with trails through the woods. Also, there will be a cornhole tournament, a country store with Industry-related items up for the winning tickets, and a 50/50 drawing. The cost is $15 to get in, that will include a small meal (hotdog, chips, drink and cookie). Additional food can be bought. All proceeds are going to Mike. All donations are welcome. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated.
What: Mad Mike Jones Benefit Ride
Where: Reno Raceway just outside Marietta, Ohio
When:November 19th 10am-5pm
Cost: $15 per person, regardless if you are riding or not, meal included with price of admission.
Contact info: Troy Barth Mobile (740) 525-4975 Home (740) 376-9225
Roczen to Serve as Honorary Race Official at NASCAR Event (Chase Stallo)
As Chad Reed, Ryan Villopoto, Cooper Webb, Justin Brayton, Wil Hahn, and a host of Australians prepare to do battle at the AUS-X Open this weekend, and Justin Barcia, Marvin Musquin, Christian Craig, Romain Febvre and Malcolm Stewart take on Bercy-Lille, defending Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Champion Ken Roczen will be in a different role—serving as an Honorary Race Official at this Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Can-Am 500 from Phoenix International Raceway in Avondale, Arizona.
The newly signed Honda HRC rider, who grew up in Germany, said he’s been a fan of NASCAR since moving to the States full-time.
"I've been a huge fan of NASCAR since I came to the U.S. to compete full time. What these drivers are able to do inside the car, pushing as much as possible for 500 miles, is incredible,” he said. “I have so much respect for their ability, and I know the feeling is mutual. I've been fortunate enough to meet several drivers over the past few years, so I'm honored NASCAR and Phoenix International Raceway have given me this opportunity and I want to thank MX Sports for making this happen."
The Can-Am 500 will air live this Sunday, November 13, on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT. Roczen will make a special appearance on the NBC broadcast and will also be interviewed on the Motor Racing Network (MRN), NASCAR's official radio partner. In addition to his broadcast opportunities, Roczen's role as Honorary Race Official will also have him participate in the morning Driver's Meeting, Pre-Race Ceremonies, and Driver Introductions.
Aaron Plessinger Race Scholarship (Dan Carlson)
Three weeks ago, Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Aaron Plessinger announced the Aaron Plessinger Race Scholarship, which would award one Loretta Lynn’s competitor and one GNCC competitor who excel both on the track and in the classroom with a $1,000 award. It was a generous move for the former GNCC racer, who earned four championships from the 65cc division to Supermini class. The winner of the off-road scholarship will be announced Saturday, November 26, at the GNCC banquet held in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Today, Plessinger, who has two Loretta Lynn’s titles to his name, announced that the scholarship for Loretta’s competitors will be increased from $1,000 to $2,000 due to a generous donation from his grandmother and aunt. While the application deadline for the GNCC scholarship has closed, there is still time for Loretta’s competitors to submit their applications to MX Sports. MX Sports provided details about the application process:
MX Sports encourages all riders to participate in this unique opportunity. To qualify participants must submit an essay detailing "What racing means to me." In addition to the essay, a race resume and an academic report or transcript must be sent in as well.
Applications will be accepted until Friday, November 18 at 5:00 p.m. EST via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The review process will be spearheaded by MX Sports' Roy Janson, Racer X's Andrew Fredrickson, and the American Motorcyclist Association's Kip Bigelow. The lucky recipient will be announced Saturday, November 26, at the Thor Winter Olympics held at Gatorback Cycle Park in Alachua, Florida.
For more information about the scholarship, visit the official GNCC website or call (304) 284-0084.
We’re going big on the PulpMX Show with our annual Pulpy Awards and looking for your vote. Hopefully our pollsters aren’t as far off as they were this past Tuesday and we can properly count these things up. We even have trophies and everything! If you listen to the show, please get to the site and vote here.
Hey, Watch It!
Eric Johnson spotted this awesome 1980s "Moped" Moto race in Riga, in the old Soviet Union. It's not exactly Loretta Lynn's or Ponca City in it's heyday but still pretty cool!
“CHER TO LEAVE PLANET!” - Drudge Report
Team USA Champions ISDE shirts now on sale at MotoTees.com.
Mototees is hiring drivers for the 2017 SX and MX series. If you have a CDL and would like to be a part of the moto season, email email@example.com for more info or questions.
Our annual and always-popular Racer X calendar offer is now available. Subscribe today for as low as $9.98 to receive 13 issues of the magazine (you get a free copy of the digital edition immediately) and a 13-month calendar to hang on your wall for all of 2017. For this year's theme, we celebrate 20 years of Racer X Illustrated by featuring our favorite covers and racers through the years. Remember, you can only get this calendar by subscribing today.
The third round of the Racer X Amateur Film Festival semifinals is now underway, featuring entries from Colorado’s Jared Hardy and Texas’s David Wells. Remember, you can vote up to once per day through next Thursday at 2:00 p.m. EST. Watch and vote now!
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races.
Want to really know and appreciate what veterans have done for all of the rest is us? Read Rick Atkinson's astonishing World War 2 trilogy: "An Army At Dawn," "The Day of the Battle" and the best WW2 book I've ever read, "The Guns At Last Light." #heroes #Warriors #GodBlessAmerica and #GodBlessOurVeterans