Earlier this week we asked you to ask anything of our esteemed editor-at-large Jason Thomas. We had so many good questions, we decided to break this up into two parts. Part I is below, part II will run next week.
Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.
Will there be any repercussions for Joey Savatgy allowing Eli Tomac by in the last lap of the MEC? I'm guessing not since they are both sponsored by Monster. Are there any conversations with the riders about this type of thing prior to the race? Are there any rules against it? I wonder how the people paying the money out felt. It was neat seeing a fan win a million dollars too. Thank you for taking the time to answer questions. Hope all is well JT.
I don’t think there will be. Feld paid this money (not insurance) and I haven’t heard anything about them calling foul play. It seems like it would be a PR nightmare if they took this away from Tomac and especially Jesse, the fan who won.
Do you think there will be any drama coming from Bakers Factory over the offseason with such a collection of brash personalities there, particularly between Webb and Musquin, or do you think they will be able to put it aside for everyone's benefit?
This will be a slippery slope. Anytime you have that many elite riders all trying to co-exist, so will the potential for conflict. We saw Marvin and Anderson have their issues at the beginning of 2018 after their incident in Oakland. With those two ramping back up for a title run, Osborne becoming a competitor instead of “the 250 guy,” and now inserting the outspoken Cooper Webb, things will be more tempestuous than ever. It will only take one incident on Saturday night to make for a very tense Monday-Thursday in Clermont.
Do you think that when it comes to the MXoN the American riders have lost the win at all cost attitude we had with the likes of Hannah, Ward, Stanton, Johnson, Carmichael and Villopoto?
I don’t think so. I think it’s more of our riders focusing on supercross eight-plus months per year. The teams put a lot of money and importance on performing in supercross. The disciplines are very different and it simply goes to reason that if you are only working on outdoor skills for 30 percent of the year, you aren’t going to be as good as you could be. The MXGP guys have gotten better and on a wet track like RedBud they are just better than we are. Had RedBud been dry, I think we would have seen a very different day but that’s motocross. The MXGP guys ride mud and sand hundreds of days more per year than the USA guys do. That’s just the economics and priorities of American racing right now. Saturday, January 5, Eli Tomac won’t be worried about RedBud. All that anyone associated with he and his team will care about is Anaheim and the 2019 Monster Energy Supercross season. Meanwhile, Herlings and co. will be pounding motos in the sands of Belgium and Holland. The MXGP guys will continue to get better and better at outdoor motocross and with the schedule and focus put on supercross, the USA will continue to get better at supercross. Unfortunately for Team USA, the Motocross of Nations is not held at Anaheim and so we will continue to suffer. That’s how I see it.
Would a 2002-07 Carmichael have what it takes to beat a 2018 Tomac or has the level fitness, skill, and intensity been escalated to a completely new level?
I think on an equal playing field (equipment, training, technology, etc.), yes, Carmichael would win. I am almost certain of it actually. Carmichael was so strong mentally and simply sucked the life out of the rest of the field. Outdoors, especially, he was never really challenged when looking at a whole series. He didn’t have any weaknesses outdoors. He started up front, was faster than everyone, and was more fit than everyone. Tomac is very good and deserves a lot of credit but Carmichael was the best I have ever seen.
Willy Mansilla A
Is the Monster Cup dying?
I wouldn’t say dying as the seats looked pretty full, BUT, I do agree it could use a change-up. I would love to see this event moved back to the strip, or better yet, back to MGM.
Is the Supercross of Barcelona still your biggest win? What's harder to win: a good Euro "SX" or an arenacross round?
I always felt Montreal was the biggest because the competition was deeper. The Euro races were tough, no doubt, but there would only be a handful of guys that I really needed to focus on. Montreal had good USA guys, the top Canadian guys, and a random Euro thrown in here and there as well. Battling JSR at his home race alone was tough enough, let alone guys like Kyle Lewis, Ryan Clark, Jeff Dement, Josh Woods, Mike Craig, Pedro Gonzales, Colton Facciotti, just to name a few.
What do you think about all these top level riders not having a factory ride? Isn't it weird that Deano or Bogle will probably have to run 2019 as a privateer while a lot of the riders in the factory support teams have riders signed that are considered "Slower"? Excuse me if I’m misinformed on this or using the wrong names, just wanted to hear your opinion
It’s just how the sport works; the ebb and flow of riders moving up from the 250 class with limited 450 spots available. Factory rides are hard to come by but at least there are actual teams nowadays for these guys to end up with (Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-WPS-KTM, Autotrader/Yoshimura Suzuki, CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha, etc etc). Looking back to the ‘80s and ‘90s, there were no satellite teams per se. Back then, there might have only been eight to ten factory rides in the entire sport, covering both classes! Today, everyone might not end up on factory level teams but they will have great equipment, make a salary (albeit less than they would like), and will be able to 100 percent focus on racing. If Bogle puts in a solid year and can stay healthy, he will be right back inside a factory level effort.
Jason Thomas, we can ask you "everything" so.. What about moving the MEC to mid-December so racers will have the entire month of October off?
Matthes brought this up recently and while I can’t be sure, I think it would scare some teams away. If someone got hurt in December, there is no time to heal before the season. Also, most trainers hate for their riders to do any racing during their boot camp. They need consistency during this crucial pre-season training time and racing changes up that schedule. I am not saying it wouldn’t work, I am just proposing some challenges. I think October works but maybe the end of October would fit better. November 1 is the beginning of boot camp so it wouldn’t interfere, and it would also give the riders switching teams the whole month of October to test before MEC.
Option 2 (but certainly impossible) What do you think about moving the beginning of the AMA SX to the first week of January to the first week of February? From that all the rest of the season will click perfectly (AMA MX, MXN, MEC & racers vacations). Mid October (right after the MEC) racers will have 1 month & half off before beginning training the 1 December for the following season (so starting in February).
Both supercross and outdoor schedules revolve around television availability and stadium availability. There are lots of more efficient schedules I could dream up but Feld is fairly limited as to when they can run the races (some of this is even restricted through AMA sanctioning). They are forced to dodge the stick-and-ball sports schedules for the stadiums and also television contract conflicts. That’s why the US motocross series ends earlier than it used to. The season needs to be over before college football starts, and also the race track promoters feel that once football season starts—high school, college and NFL, attendance and attention wanes.
Subject 2 (If DeCoster leave his post of Team Manager of Team USA) In your opinion who will replace him? Who will be the best choice for his replacement?
I would like to see Mitch Payton get a crack at it.
Tomac better have 20% of that coin handed over to Joey or is he the biggest tight a#$÷ in American history?
My suggestion was 50K (not that he cares what I think). Tomac would most likely choose the 550K lump sum payment, so that’s right around 10 percent.
If Dean Ferris gets good equipment, is healthy and trains for outdoors during the supercross season, what can he do in outdoors?
Top five overall is realistic from what I saw last year. He was the real deal at Mt. Morris.
Have you an Chad made up yet?
We are okay but definitely not like it once was. Things change, life goes on. I am not in Florida anymore so it’s hard when you don’t see people very often.
If Deano still is riding Husky, you would assume that he believes he can still get a ride on the team once the money settles down. What do you think?
I am sure he is hoping if an injury pops up, they move him to the factory truck. They’re being cool to give him a practice bike. More than anything, he just needs to get a good bike and ensure the possibility of good results. Results will fix any problem.
I know this is a hush hush subject but how many miles a year do you ride your street bike?
Not as much as I would like! Weather is a factor here in Idaho for a big part of the year so it’s parked during the winter. I would ride it to work every day if possible but I am also a pansy with the cold mornings.
The AMA Supercross and National series is so long for the racers with only the occasional weekend off. Then there's a fairly big break before the MXON and Monster Energy Cup. How about given the riders four weeks off of racing after the supercross season. Let the injured heal up, allow for more bike set up, testing and more time for establishing outdoor fitness etc. Riders and teams get a little breather, some family time, regain some focus and motivation. As a fan we still get all the races, hopefully with better racing with more healthy guys and everyone is still in race shape for the MXON and Monster energy cup. Thoughts?
It’s not as easy as it sounds. See above to the schedule question but we are always subject to the mainstream sports around us.
Actually a serious question, did Kevin Windham break the MXON record for oldest rider to qualify for the race? Just thinking that could be another item to add to his long successful career.
That’s a good question and I don’t know! I bet there is an obscure country out there we aren’t thinking about along the way.
If asked to be team manager for Team USA next year would you step up and take on the task? If no, can you tell us the reasons why?
First, I would never be asked to do that. That’s a very prestigious position that I don’t have the resume for. Second, I don’t know if I could commit to something like that with my full-time job responsibilities at Fly Racing. With that job requiring a lot of time in southern California, I don’t think I could make it work. Having someone based in SoCal with lots of experience is the way to go. Also, they need to WANT to do this job. Being motivated to make Team USA the best it can possibly be is super important.
How do you think Tomac would do in next year’s Assen MXoN being far the best sand rider currently racing in the AMA series? Where would you rank him right now against the top MXGP guys in those situations
I don’t think he would do very well. That sand is so different and not a condition the American riders see. If the race was at Southwick, he would be in the mix (he won the first moto at the USGP 2017 in the sand), but Assen is a whole different deal. This is basically like asking me how Herlings would do at Anaheim.
A couple of questions. 1.) What is your opinion of WW Ranch getting a National and then Muddy Creek going away?
I think Muddy Creek was struggling to get the attendance they wanted. It will be interesting to see if WW Ranch can change that in a positive way. Florida races have historically not been well attended but I am hoping for the best.
What US track do you think could/should host the MXON next time it comes to the states? And does it have to be a National track?
RedBud was and is the absolute best choice, it’s just a bummer the weather didn’t cooperate. I would like to see another RedBud go-round in a few years. We went to Ernee in 2015 and are going back in 2020, so why not? I think Glen Helen would be cool, too, being in the moto mecca of the world. October weather would help, too.
For MXON, what do you think about Team Puerto Rico being comprised of retired MX stars from here on out? Windham and Pastrana were a huge hit. Being in the US certainly helped but I would think it would sell no matter where in the world the race was held. Dungey, Villopoto and JT for Team Puerto Rico 2019? McGrath, JS7 and Langston? Wey, Carmichael and Emig? We could go on for days! Wait....where was Langston from?
I am all for it! The only thing that could stop it is the riders not wanting to participate. Otherwise, great idea! (Langston is from South Africa, but he’s a full-on U.S. citizen now. Who knows if that makes him eligible.)
When I first saw the track at RedBud I was like woah, this is a totally different track with all of the sand. I didn't see any talk about how the track was turned in to a euro style GP track until I read Marvin's recent interview on Racer X. There were hardly any ruts and you can tell how the GP guys were just much better at carrying their speed in deep sand. Who do you think made the decision to cover the track in sand? Was it Giuseppe Luongo or Tim Ritchie or a combination of both?
According to Tim Ritchie, he only added sand to two sections. I think the rain was just overwhelming to the soil and made it like quicksand. For how much it rained, the track was actually pretty decent. Americans just don’t ride conditions like that as much as the MXGP riders do. They are better than we are when conditions deteriorate. It rained A LOT all weekend, much more than the track would indicate, but the prep saved it from being a full mudder.
What is the most amount of money, or cost of freebies, that Weege has scammed you for?
Weege hasn’t ever scammed me, other than a free meal here or there courtesy of WPS and Fly Racing. He rarely asks for free stuff even though I am always offering.
Two questions: 1.) Does France beat USA's longest win streak at MXoN? 2.) Does USA ever win MXoN again?
No, I think the Dutch win next year easily. Yes, the USA will win again. I think if we send the right team and it’s dry, we could win at Ernee in 2020.
Do you think Rodger DeCoster has total control of team USA's riders as far as bike set up, training and preparation for the MXoN? Since all the riders are from other factories, will they allow him access their bikes, since factories are very tight lipped about what they're running on the team bikes. If true could this be the reason why we can't win MXoN. Because Rodgers hands are tied.
I would bet he doesn’t have any access or control whatsoever unless it’s a Red Bull KTM rider. That’s normal, though. His job as manager is more about organization, strategy, and attention to detail, not bike setup or training. It’s difficult with him being a key member of Red Bull KTM, to then interact with his biggest rivals effectively.
Was Travis riding his Suzuki/Honda 500cc in the open class at MXON?
No, it was a 250 two-stroke with a factory engine and a smorgasbord of works parts from that era.
Why do you bad mouth Detroit when we have a supercross here? The attendance is always excellent. But all you can write about is cutting down the city of Detroit. If you cannot say anything positive about Detroit, don't say anything about it. Just talk about the racing instead. Things will go a lot easier for you if you decide to show up here and we recognize you.
I think it’s fair to say Detroit has had a rough decade. They are on the rebound and things are looking up compared to a few years ago. I was never trying to offend you, personally, of course. Thanks for the threat, though, I will be the guy wearing a mustache disguise!
Do you think that supercross preparation is more accident/injury prone for the athletes, then motocross preparation?
Yes, supercross is always going to be a bit more dangerous. The margin for error is simply less on a supercross track.
Did you smile or screamed when JS let ET pass through?
Neither, really. I was more curious to see how it would play out. I figured he would let him by, but you never know in the heat of the moment. I really wanted to see Joey’s pit board on the last lap, though. I think it all worked out for the best unless you are a Feld accountant.