Welcome to Racerhead, coming to you from the Cracked Egg Diner in South Daytona Beach. It’s a busy day here as Bike Week begins, load-in for tomorrow night’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross is almost finished, and then the 1,200 or so amateurs for the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross and their families get parked on the infield.
There is also the nearby opener for the 2019 Amsoil AMA Grand National Cross Country Series, presented by Specialized, which airs live on RacerTV.com beginning with tomorrow’s ATV race and then Sunday’s bike race. (The original opener was postponed two weeks ago due to flooding in South Carolina.) And then we’re trying something new on Tuesday after the RCSX amateurs are finished: the Daytona Vintage Supercross, where four-time Daytona SX winner Jeff Stanton will be the grand marshal, joining his friend and five-time Daytona SX winner RC on some old-school vintage bikes for an afternoon of fun. Finally, as far as dirt events go, the American Flat Track opener will go off next Thursday evening, with Jeff Ward and Ryan Sipes racing TT (and Sipes is doing SX and GNCC too). Add it all up and this is going to be a very long and busy and fun Bike Week!
Daytona of course is the granddaddy of them all, at least in regard to Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Back in 1971—more than a year before Mike Goodwin “invented” supercross when the Los Angeles Coliseum ran its first race—Daytona International Speedway opened its road racing venue to a dirt bike race on the day before the Daytona 200. It didn't go over well with everyone, but it was a great addition to Bike Week and has been thriving ever since. It's also evolved from a round of the Florida Winter-AMA Series to a 250/500 National in 1973, and then marked the first true AMA Supercross race in 1974 when it kicked off what was then called the Yamaha Super Series of Stadium Motocross. One year later the word supercross was coined (and I can make a strong argument that it was broadcasting legend Dave Despain, then working as the AMA's communication director, who published it first), and Daytona has been a pillar of the series ever since.
My parents first came here in 1973 for the race. Dad was a privateer who did not qualify, but he did meet Bill West for the first time, and they began a working partnership and great friendship that lasted until my dad passed in ’98. The first event they did together was a match race between Team Appalachia Lake (our old track in West Virginia) against Team Diamondback (Bill's notoriously rough track in Cocoa Beach, Florida). About 40 vans and trucks convoyed down for the race, many of us riding a sand track for the first time. And when I say sand, think Lommel-level roughness! Needless to say, Team Appalachia Lake got smoked, and I remember getting lapped by 80cc winner Kenny Keylon—twice! In the years to follow, they worked on the outdoor nationals together, the Pittsburgh Supercross, various arenacross events and series (the pre-Mike Kidd days), and of course their big amateur races, the Mini Os (Bill's) and Loretta Lynn's. They also worked together on the concept of adding a 125 class to AMA Supercross in 1985, by which time Bill was also organizing the old Daytona Amateur Supercross as the last round of the Florida Winter-AMA Series. The whole East-West concept and using the 125 (now 250) class as a stepping-stone more or less evolved from that friendship. Bill is retired now, but every time I come to Daytona I think of him and my dad smoking cigars over behind the tractors, sipping on their Jack-and-Cokes, and trying to outdo one another with good ideas or bad practical jokes!
And while I’m thinking of it, now that Feld Entertainment has launched their SX Futures program, which is the Road to Supercross, it's puzzling that they do not count the Daytona RCSX as one of the qualifying rounds to allow kids to eventually turn pro and race Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Without any other rounds in the Southeast for amateurs, it means kids have to go as far as Nashville to just get a race in. The RCSX is in its tenth year now and the biggest amateur SX race of all. The A-class fields are deep and fast, as all of the OEMs send most of their top prospects here. There’s a lot of heritage to a race that has five-time AMA Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael as its host and co-promoter. Hopefully next year Feld and the AMA will include the Daytona RCSX—the oldest one of all—in what's becoming a really good program in SX Futures.
As for tomorrow night’s Daytona Supercross, I can’t wait to see if Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb can keep the momentum going on a track that’s long been one of Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac’s favorites. And with it being a local race for title contenders Ken Roczen and Marvin Musquin—both of whom have been shut out of the winner’s circle so far—there’s a lot of potential for some great story lines tomorrow night. And I didn’t even mention Justin Brayton, last year’s winner and one of the best stories in years. Remember, Tomac came from dead last to almost get Brayton at the end last year and joining him on the on a rare good night while riding for Monster Energy Yamaha was Webb.
Another development is happening on the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross front. After consultations with some of the teams, riders like Chad Reed, NBC Sports, and even a bunch of lawyers, look for the rules for CBD-oil-related sponsorships to ease up this summer. While it looks like the riders won’t quite yet be able to run the logos on the track, they will be allowed to have them on their vehicles, awnings, and more. The laws are rapidly changing—even Martha Stewart has a hemp deal now—and as the new Farm Bill comes into effect, the laws are relaxing, and the riders and teams will all soon have a better opportunity to add sponsors from this field. We’ll be discussing it with the teams at our team managers’ meeting here at 3 p.m. at the speedway.
NEW COVER, NEW DIGITAL EDITION (DC)
We’ve all been working really hard on a new look and feel for Racer X Illustrated, both on the cover and in the digital edition. After more than 20 years the original logo, created by the great Marc Blanchard (back then with One Industries, now the co-owner of 100%), we decided it was time to switch it up. We gave Racer X Art Director David Langran free rein as well as an amazing photo of Ken Roczen that was shot by another great, Simon Cudby. The result is right here.
Also, and with much more work, we built a whole new digital experience for reading Racer X Illustrated and are offering a complimentary tryout of the new issue featuring our redesigned cover. Please give it a test run and let us know what you think. We are trying to make the digital version feel more like a traditional magazine-reading experience.
DOWN AT THE SPEEDWAY, SOME KIND OF ELVIS THING (Steve Matthes)
Well, it's round ten of Monster Energy AMA Supercross this weekend in Daytona and let me just say that I'm stoked to be credentialed to cover this race. After all, DC got turned down one year early on in Racer X's history. There's no race on the circuit, including nationals, that's changed as much as Daytona since my first one in 1996. From daytime 30-man main events (used to be 40!) that were over 30 minutes with unique obstacles to now being 20 minutes, traditional-style obstacles, and held at night, if we dropped The Hurricane onto the speedway right now he might not recognize the place!
And I know that I have a tendency to yell about walking uphill to school both ways and all of that, but truly, I'm torn about Daytona and the changes. The old way was pretty gnarly, and by the end of the race, there wasn't much happening out there. There were lappers everywhere, it was hot, and the entertainment value of the race wasn't much. Nowadays it's quicker-paced and more like the other 16 rounds of the series. I see upsides and downsides to both formats/tracks and mostly just shrug my shoulders at it.
One thing for sure is that Eli Tomac is VERY good at this iteration of Daytona. He's gone 2-1-1-2 his last four times there, and if you remember last year he was probably about one lap away from ruining what was a massively cool night where Justin Brayton won. He came from way back in a tremendous ride. Well, he's 22 points down to Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb, and although it's nothing written in stone, I'm of the belief that he HAS to win this weekend. Or at least beat Webb and narrow this points gap. He's capable of going on a run as we all know, and with seven races left, he might want to start now at Daytona. I'm fascinated by this season of Tomac's. Every time I think he's ready to string something together, it goes sideways for him. It's cliché to say it, but this is a huge race for the #3. I can't wait to see how he responds.
MOTO MONEY SERIES (DC)
While wandering around Atlanta before last weekend's race, I ran into a guy who told me about his "moto money series," and I wasn't sure what he was talking about. He told me that Jason Weigandt would probably really enjoy it, which confused me even further. But then I checked the website he wrote down on the back of his receipt and it suddenly all made sense. "Frugal Stu" is a financial analyst/blogger who gives advice based in part on motocross metaphors and analogies.
"I grew up racing motocross and have been obsessed for years. Motocross and money are my two biggest passions and interests," he wrote in the introduction to the Moto Money series. "I’ve noticed over the years that there are many analogous parallels relating to motocross. Between common sayings and other observations I have made, there is a lot to share and teach about money through motocross."
His first lesson was how the Bubba Scrub could be a lesson on how to save money: "It all comes down to a higher level of efficiency, maximizing your time on the ground and doing something cool."
This is definitely the kind of stuff that the notoriously cheap Jason Weigandt would love—free advice! Check it all out right here.
Oh, and I may be wrong, but I think he said his own name was also James Stewart!
THE NUMBER: 10 (Andras Hegyi)
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo is putting together his best supercross outing yet. The 23-year-old Floridian has four wins already, and it’s the first time he’s taken three consecutive wins. Regarding number of wins before 2019, Cianciarulo’s best season was the 2014 250SX East Region, where he got three wins; before 2019, he had no consecutive wins. Winning the first 250 East-West Showdown main event in 2019 at Atlanta, Cianciarulo became the 19th racer to get at least 10 wins in the 125/250 supercross. Cianciarulo also became also the 15th rider to take at least 10 wins with a same brand in the history of the small-bore supercross. And finally, he now has three East-West Showdown wins in the last four held, and he ended the perfect season for his Pro Circuit counterpart Austin Forkner.
Riders to get at least 10 wins with a same brand in the 125/250 supercross
James Stewart (18 wins), Ricky Carmichael (12), Christophe Pourcel (12), Jeff Matiasevich (11), Ryan Villopoto (11), Adam Cianciarulo (10)
Jeremy McGrath (12), Eli Tomac (12), Justin Barcia (11)
Kevin Windham (12), Ernesto Fonseca (12), Cooper Webb (11)
Ryan Dungey (12), Damon Huffman (12)
Marvin Musquin (11)
TERRAFIRMA REMASTERED (DC)
Hard to believe it was 25 years ago that Fox Racing released the first installment of the epic Terrafirma series. The video was a game-changer, too. While there were other pre-existing "play ride" videos like Gary Bailey's eighties' freeriding videos—which included huge star power like David Bailey, Johnny O'Mara, and Damon Bradshaw—they lacked really good production and editing. The Fox brothers (Greg, Pete, and Scrap) changed all that with Terrafirma, which had its own star power in guys like Doug Henry, Ezra Lusk, Robbie Reynard, and some other fast kids that were ascendant at the time. This was all before the really big video wave of freestyle motocross and that other game-changer, Crusty Demons of Dirt. It's a snapshot of the nineties, just when things were starting to get interesting. Jeremy McGrath's reign had just begun, and he would end up in Fox Racing gear and videos within a year.
For pure cool racing highlights, go to 20:30 for the 125 National highlights from 1994 with Henry, Ezra, Ryno, Emig, Lammy, and more (with cameos by Deegan and Ping) banging as Alice in Chains wails in the background. It was next-level stuff back then!
Oh, and if you're looking for the first of those memorable scenes of three fast young men with great big futures ahead of them—Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana, and James Stewart—it starts right around the 7:30 mark. And when Pete Fox asks young James about women at the 13:30 mark, that's worth watching too. As I have said time and again, if we could ever get these three together again on a couch for an updated version, it would be the most watched motocross bench racing scene ever.
THE NUMBER: 16 (Andras Hegyi)
Nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli holds some absolute records in the FIM Motocross World Championship. The 33-year-old is the most successful Italian rider in history, as well as the most successful KTM rider, where he has won six of his world titles. Regarding GP wins in the MX1/MXGP premier class, Cairoli is also the most successful KTM rider, as last Sunday at the Argentinian season opener he got his 57th GP win in the saddle of a KTM. And regarding GP wins in the 125/MX2 small-bore category, Cairoli is the most successful Yamaha rider as he earned 24 wins with the brand.
Before this season, Cairoli already had another absolute record. Between 2004 and 2018 he won in 15 consecutive seasons. Cairoli’s closest chasers, the three Belgian legends Joel Smets, Eric Geboers, and Roger DeCoster, all won in 11 consecutive seasons. By winning the 2019 opener, the new standard is 16. That’s the most in the history of the series, in existence since 1957. The Belgian legend Stefan Everts won in 15 different seasons, though not consecutively.
Riders to win in at least 10 seasons in the FIM Motocross World Championship
Antonio Cairoli (Italian) 16 seasons
Stefan Everts (Belgian) 15
Yves Demaria (French) 13
Roger De Coster (Belgian) 12
Joel Smets (Belgian) 11
Eric Geboers (Belgian) 11
Andre Malherbe (Belgian) 11
Dave Strijbos (Dutch) 10
Jeff Smith (British) 10
Kees Van der Ven (Dutch) 10
And of course the race in Argentina went off without defending MXGP World Champion Jeffrey Herlings, still on the mend from a broken foot. He posted this update on Instagram:
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Hello everyone, It’s difficult physically and especially mentally to not be lining up this weekend in Argentina for the opening round as reigning MXGP World Champion. Unfortunately as many of you will know I shattered my foot during a practice crash in Spain preparing for the season. I was feeling great during the winter preparation and I am convinced I was being faster and even better prepared then I was in 2018 when I won 17 out of the 19 rounds and the worst overall finish was a 2nd place. But being fast is one thing, being present at all races is another thing and for some reason I haven’t succeeded that well in the 2nd part. As out spoken many times, my biggest competition for the championship is Jeffrey Herlings himself. Aswell as 2014, 2015, 2017 I might have possibly ruined another championship by taking my self out early of a championship hunt due to a injury. Anyhow, most important for now is to heal up a full 100% and come back strong when the time is there. I feel like I let many people down and in times like this you find out who are really there for you and who are not. Ofcourse there are thousands of friends at the moment when the sky is the limit, but when you get in to the difficult part of your career aswell as in life the real friends are hard to find. Hard times teaches us valuable lessons and hard times will reveal true friends. For now I do not really know yet when I’ll get back to racing and what my plans are for the rest of the season. I’ve had many injury’s in my racing career but the last weeks I’ve stept a few steps back from the sport and have given myself a little break to recharge the battery’s for the 2nd part of my career. I’m more motivated then ever and I would like to thank all my partners, sponsors, family and close friends who are there for me with their support. We will be back on top before we know it. And believe me, we are going to be back nr. 1. ? JH. #MAXIMAALVUUR ?? @ktmfactoryracing @redbull @oakleymotorsports @jumbo @giampishow @knmv_motorbond @dodgeram.nl @hennekenskay @debrug.eu #Josmaas
JORGE PRADO (Andras Hegyi)
Eighteen-year-old Jorge Prado is already the best Spanish motocross racer ever. The KTM rider is the only Spanish world champion in the history of the small-bore class. He is the youngest Spanish world champion and GP winner ever. Behind the German Ken Roczen, Prado is the second-youngest world champion, and behind Roczen and the Dutchman Jeffrey Herlings, Prado is the third-youngest GP winner ever. Prado has the most GP wins among the Spanish riders; at the season opener in Argentina he celebrated his 16th GP win. Prado also became the first Spanish rider to win in three seasons in the motocross world championship. Besides Roczen, Herlings, the Italian Antonio Cairoli, the British ace Max Anstie, and the South African Tyla Rattray, Prado is the sixth rider to win in at least three consecutive MX2 seasons, in existence since 2004. So far, MX2 has had 43 GP winners.
I did a Race Tech/FXR Privateer Island Podcast with Cole Martinez this week and it was interesting. He missed the first two rounds of SX because he was racing in Germany, he's racing Suzuki here with some support from those guys, and also because that's what he was riding overseas, so it was easier to just ride yellow for adaption purposes. He missed the main at Anaheim 2 but has been in almost every one since putting in some good rides. He's got nothing lined up for the summer as of now and he also had some interesting things to say about his buddy Cooper Webb and why he's been so great this year.
GET WELL SOON, REGIS (DC)
The headline was a head-scratcher:
'MacGyver' stuntman injured on set in motorcyle jump gone wrong—TMZ
Turns out that it was former KTM factory rider Regis Harrington! Formerly known as Andy, Harrington was in Atlanta last week for the SX race, as he was in town shooting Bad Boys III with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, as well as the MacGyver reboot. As a matter of fact, I was walking around the ATL on Saturday and ran into the movie crew filming what appeared to be a bank heist scene, and it was weird because of all of the police cars were “LAPD” and the fire trucks had “Los Angeles Fire Dept.” on them. Regis had the day off, so he was at the race visiting old friends. Atlanta has become popular for movie production with tax breaks and all, so it’s just kind of funny that the last rider to get hurt in Atlanta was on a movie set, not a supercross track!
Get well soon, Regis!
And since we didn’t do a one liner from The Vault yet, here’s Harrington’s race results.
Over on Pulpmx.com, Kris Keefer took a look at the contingency payouts by the six OEM's for the 250SX/450SX races. Then he took Ben LaMay and Alex Ray and looked at their finishes and what they would have made riding the different brands with their results. Like last year, Kawasaki pays the best for privateers but what's weird is there isn't a lot of green out there. They pay you $300 for just making the night show which is pretty sweet. Go read more about it here.
Go look at everything else over on Pulpmx.com when you can. We have a Moser "interview" with Scott Champion (who was Just Short at ATL), Swizcore wrote about AC, and more.
Vintage Bikes Stolen En Route to Daytona
AMA District 14 rider Mike Sokolski was heading to the Daytona Vintage Supercross and Bike Week when all four of his vintage bikes were stolen from the Quality Inn in Titusville, Florida. The bikes were stolen on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. Anyone with information should call the Titusville Police.
The bikes are: 2009 Kawasaki KX450F, 2004 Honda CR250R, 1979 Honda CR250R, 1983 Honda CR480. All but the CR480 wear number #931
This is terrible news. Best of like to Mike in getting these prized machines back!
Hey, Watch It!
Our friend Kjell Amundsen from Norway sent this note with a very entertaining video attached:
“Check out this cool video, made by some guy from Australia. The moto clips are from a ‘high school’ where you can choose between art, music and sports. And both moto, enduro and trial are represented. And it shows also our beautiful country!”
AC gives us some helmet cam action from ATL:
Filthy Phil Vlog in Atlanta:
And Dean Wilson is at it again, this time in Dan Bilzerian’s house in the Hollywood Hills!
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
Kanye West has a contract that forbids him from retiring—Yahoo Entertainment
Here are a couple of the bikes pilfered from the Rolling Stones' guitarist's garage behind his estate: a mint KTM 495 and a Maico 490, both from 1981. The man definitely had a taste for heavy European metal!
Cooper Webb gracing the cover of the March issue of German Cross Magazine
Kern County Raceway Park (KCRP) will be hosting the MX Coach 2-Day Motocross School along with former AMA Pro Racer Ray Crumb. The track will be closed to the public, allowing full focus and use of the facility exclusively for the school participants. Limited to 12 students, this event offers individualized attention and all-day coaching from 8:00am to dark each of the two days.
MX Coach has a unique approach to their coaching and training by:
- Using proven scientific methodologies to develop skill in motocross athletes
- Sports science, Neuroscience, Physics and Ontology
Mental Training & Development permeates their entire programPromising breakthrough results to riders of any skill level from beginner racer to AMA Pro
About the School:
8:00am to dark each of the two days, Saturday and Sunday March 23& 24, 2019
Open to racers of all abilities on 65cc motocross bikes and larger.
Limit 12 students
More information at www.MXCoach.com
The Third Annual Husky Championships will take place next weekend. (Formerly called the Husqvarna World Championships, this year the event is AMA-sanctioned and they can't run a "world championship" without an FIM sanction, no matter how tongue-in-cheek, so Husky Championships it is.)
As in years past, this year's all-Husqvarna weekend consists of a bike show and swap meet on Saturday morning, practice Saturday afternoon, and motocross racing all day Sunday. Saturday evening is our infamous Supercross viewing party, and this year's event is on St. Patrick's Day weekend so it should be one helluva party! New this year is an Off-Road Grand Prix that will use most/all of the vet/vintage track and run up into the hills behind on graded dirt roads and singletrack. There are classes for ALL Husqvarna motorcycles, new and old, grouped by displacement and age, plus women's and kid's classes. Details at www.huskywc.com.
For Round 11 of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, HEP Motorsports is proud to announce its partnership with Haag Ford. The team along with the dealership will be passing out special edition Haag Ford/H.E.P. Suzuki swag, including t-shirts, koozies, and Haag Ford snapback hats. Along with those awesome prizes Haag ford will be giving away a few ultimate prize packs after the event in a random drawing. Follow @haagfordcountry on social media and compete in their contest to win signed race gear worn by the team. Kyle Chisholm, Alex Ray and Adam Enticknap’s 6d helmets and Thor MX gear will display the Haag Ford logo.
“We couldn’t be happier to partner with the H.E.P. Motorsports Suzuki team as they take on the Indianapolis Supercross,” Haag Ford digital marketing director Troy Bendgen said. “These three riders are fan favorites for a reason and it’s an honor to support them in one of the deepest fields of talent that we’ve ever seen in the history of the sport.”
Make sure to stop by the pits next Saturday and pick up limited edition Haag Ford/HEP Suzuki swag.
It was pretty neat to see our buddy @lego.mx get recognized during the Atlanta Supercross for some of his recent work:
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LEGO.MX - LIVE on NBC Sports! Thanks to all of YOU FOLLOWERS that have helped @lego.mx to reach some incredible milestones during the last couple of months: Appearance in Racer X Magazine ✓. Appearance on a Racer X "Cover" ✓. Appearence on NBC LIVE TV ✓. A "Roger" for Best Instagram Account - Racer X Awards 2018 ✓. 61500+ FOLLOWERS ✓. WHAT'S NEXT?. . THANK YOU! . . . . . . . . #lego.mx #LEGOMX #sx #supercross #supercrosslive #motocross #mxgp
He also takes us back to the 2018 Daytona Supercross:
Finally, we mentioned before how bummed we were for all of the guys and girls at Transworld Motocross who got the news from new parent company American Media that they were no longer going to publish the magazine. Donn “Swap” Maeda and crew are making a go of it online with the new www.swapmotolive.com, and we are going to do what we can to help with mentions and links—Donn and I have worked together since the Cycle News days!
But TWMX isn’t the only magazine that got shuttered, and another friend, action sports icon Sal Masekela, posted this really nice ode to Transworld Snowboarding on his Instagram:
I can’t believe it’s over. When I was a teenager I used to treat 7-Eleven like it was my personal library and read an issue cover to cover on a Friday night. I remember reading a profile of Craig Kelly, being mesmerized by his style and concluding that he was the Tom Curren of Snowboarding. At 22, after trying my hand at literally everything...landscaper, drywaller, framer, insulation installer, supermarket floor maintenance guy, bank teller, credit card machine salesman, night janitor, window washer, pool cleaner, busboy, barback, bouncer and waiter...a chance encounter while bussing tables at the Potato Shack in Encinitas would permanently change my life. I landed a job answering the phones at the then small but mighty Transworld Skateboarding and Snowboarding magazines in Oceanside, Ca. I’d finally made it. I’d gotten a job at The Bible. The list of legendary humans I got to work alongside is illustrious and long. Each of whom encouraged, mentored/supported and put up with a kid who had finally found his tribe but didn’t yet have a particularly honed skill that he could excel at outside of his enthusiastic passion for the culture and mighty gift of gab. Receptionist, product sales and video magazine production assistant were my titles during my few years there but it was Transworld’s ‘Board Aid’ event in ‘94 at Snow Summit where a microphone was first put in my hand. I’d overheard Louise Balma stressing loudly near my post at the front desk that they hadn’t yet found an MC for the event. Naturally, I blurted out that I thought I could do it. Somehow, Louise decided to give me a shot. I crushed that first event which would begin many years of live PA announcing, at trade show skate demos (mentored by Double D) snow big airs/halfpipe events and local surf comps. The rest is history.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!