Welcome to Racerhead, and welcome, Nashville, to the Monster Energy AMA Supercross schedule. For the first time in series history, an AMA Supercross will be held in the state of Tennessee, home to a couple different 125 SX winners back in the day, Mike Brown and Nathan Ramsey (who also won the '02 Pontiac SX aboard a 450). The Volunteer State is also home to the biggest amateur motocross race of all, the AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn Ranch, which is about 70 miles west of Nashville in tiny Hurricane Mills. And while this state has never hosted SX before, there were six outdoor nationals held over in the eastern side of the state at Sam Gammon's Muddy Creek Raceway between 2013 and '18.
The series arrives in Tennessee as a kid from North Carolina, Cooper Webb, continues to close in on what would be his first 450 AMA Supercross Championship. Webb won another wild one last weekend in Houston, banging with his teammate Marvin Musquin in the Triple Crown event. Webb now has just four rounds left to close out the deal, and he leads Musquin by 17 points (288 to 271), with Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac another nine points back; Honda's Ken Roczen is now 36 points down and fading out of championship contention.
And speaking of Loretta Lynn, there was a tribute concert to the grand dame of country music on Monday night in Nashville at sold-out Bridgestone Arena. She was feted by a who's-who of country music legends, including Garth Brooks, George Strait, Crystal Gayle, Tanya Tucker, Keith Urban, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert, and Darius Rucker—and then Jack White of the White Stripes came out and did Loretta Lynn's songs for her. In the end, Loretta herself got up and sang her signature song, "Coal Miner's Daughter," with all of the stars. That got to me thinking that “Coal Miner's Daughter” could be arguably the second most popular song in American motocross, trailing only the national anthem, because it's been played every single morning since 1982 at the beginning of each day at the AMA Amateur Nationals, which means three generations of top amateur motocrossers and much of the industry probably can't get that song out of their heads for much of August! Though we could make an argument for “On Any Sunday,” the theme song for the seminal motorcycling film....
Anyway, since I pre-ran NASH earlier this week, I can suggest to those going to the races this weekend to just head toward Broadway, which is right across the river from the stadium and has become the hub of the city's music and bar scene, and in the center of that is the new hotspot Kid Rock's Honky Tonk, a five-story bar that was just packed on both Sunday and Monday night. If you can't get in, don't worry, there are dozens of bars around it. As my friend Larry Little pointed out on social media earlier this week, Nashville is now the Bachelorette Party Capital of the United States, as you will almost certainly see this weekend. (It's also got an amazing amount of neon signs, so it's #signjousting-worthy for sure.) And if you're out tonight, head over to the Ryman Bar, where Kevin Kelly will be organizing one of those highly unorganized Red Bull Minicycle Challenges like he does on the starting grid at Loretta's every summer. They are a hoot!
LOOKING AHEAD AT THE NATIONALS (DC)
A couple of developments to look forward to in the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. The press release dropped on Monday on the continued development of the 125cc All Star races, which will now happen at all 12 rounds. And with the exception of Southwick, 11 of the 12 rounds will have Friday practice and qualifiers for more track time. If you're a 125cc rider and at least 15 years old, a B- or A-level rider, or an ex-pro or current pro who is not competing in that day's national, and are interested in signing up, check this out.
And MX Sports Pro Racing is getting calls from some interested prospects who are realizing they really can ride up to three rounds of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship and still be eligible to compete at Loretta Lynn's. The hope is that this new approach will help get fast B riders more interested in racing the A class (and even just racing more) because then they can also ride outdoor nationals before Loretta Lynn's. This used to be the case back in the day when we would see guys like Mike Kiedrowski, Jeremy McGrath, and Kevin Windham ride a few pro races while also staying eligible for Loretta Lynn's AMA Amateur National Championships. It should make for cool story lines this summer!
This Week’s Drama (Jason Weigandt)
Welcome to yet another pivotal round in an entirely pivotal season of Monster Energy AMA Supercross. The intrigue just won’t go away, starting from the very first laps of the season when Dean Wilson and Malcolm Stewart led a significant portion of Anaheim 1, to Barcia/Baggett wins to start the year, to Cooper Webb’s surprise run, then wins here and there by Eli Tomac and Marvin Musquin to keep pressure on Webb, as well as the Ken Roczen watch. When will Ken finally get a win? No shortage of stories in what’s been one of the better all-around seasons for drama.
And it’s not over yet. This week’s storyline focuses on the teammates Webb and Musquin, as the Baker’s Factory dynamic always draws a crowd. Anything anything anything that results in even the slightest friction generates attention, even though there is zero proof that these relationships will crumble. Last year the heat followed Musquin and Jason Anderson, but neither ended up leaving the fold. Last week’s aggressive riding by Webb brought the “how can two guys going for a title get along?” story back to the front, but again, smoothing over has begun. Baker himself doesn’t post to social media much, but I’m sure it was no accident that this week he showed a shot of Webb and Musquin side-by-side doing a practice start. No matter, the “they can’t get along!” story is always right around the corner, despite things always working out fine in the end.
So that’s where we stand this week: everyone wondering if Webb and Musquin will get into it on the track. I had several people on Twitter this week saying Marvin basically said a payback was coming in the post-race press conference, but I didn’t hear it that way.
“I never touched Cooper, and we’ll see what happens in the next few rounds,” Musquin said. “It’s definitely not my intention to do stuff like that. He’s my competition, but also my teammate. We’ll see how it goes.”
I took that as Marvin can’t just roll over and keep taking hits, so if the opportunity comes and it helps him, maybe he’ll return the favor. I don’t think he’s out headhunting this week.
By the way, we’ve all seen much more aggressive moves in supercross than what Webb did to Musquin. It was nothing in the grand scheme of supercross hard knocks, but I have no doubt that Webb wasn’t just trying to make a pass so he could go for the win. He was angry, so he was putting a little extra spice on it to make something happen—and Marvin ending up off the track was exactly that. The trouble for anyone battling Webb for this title is that Cooper is really good at this kind of stuff. He thrives in this element, even though I know KTM, Baker, and his surrounding cast have been trying to tell him not to ride that way. I don’t think we’ll see this happen again, but if it does, Webb has reminded everyone that if those are the games to play, it will be absolutely fine by him.
7 and 3 (Andras Hegyi)
Antonio Cairoli still has a sore shoulder and neck, but that did not prevent him from setting another record last Sunday. Cairoli won again at Valkenswaard, marking the first time since 2014 that Antonio has been able to win at this track. This Valkenswaard victory means two new records in Cairoli’s career. During his career Cairoli has won at 42 different tracks so far. (Stefan Everts won on 49, Jeffrey Herlings on 39.) He got the most wins at Uddevalla, Sweden, and Valkenswaard, taking six GP wins at each. Valkenswaard is his best track, with seven wins total (2007, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14, and ’19). Cairoli has also joined elite company: besides Stefan Everts, Roger DeCoster, and Jeffrey Herlings, AC222 is only the fourth rider to get at least seven wins at a same circuit in the FIM Motocross World Championship.
Cairoli is undefeated so far this season, with three consecutive wins to start 2019. This is only the second season in which he has won the first three rounds. In 2007 in MX2 he won the first five. The best start ever belongs to Stefan Everts. In his last season, in 2006, he won the first 12 rounds.
Riders to get at least seven GP wins at a single circuit:
Jeffrey Herlings (8) at Valkenswaard, Holland (2010-'16, '18)
Stefan Everts (7) at Namur, Belgium (1998, 2001, 2003 when he won in two different categories, '04-'06)
Roger De Coster (7) at Namur (1969-'72, '74-'76)
Antonio Cairoli (7) at Valkenswaard (2007, '10-'14, '19)
UPCOMING PULPMX/RACER X LIVE SHOWS
You wanna argue with us? Or maybe you just want to watch JT and Matthes argue in person? You will have three chances, as we are taking the PulpMX/Racer X Show live to Denver, East Rutherford, and Las Vegas.
We'll have all the usual characters assembled from both the PulpMX Show and our Racer X Race Review podcasts. You know ’em: Steve Matthes, Jason Weigandt, Jason Thomas, Kris Keefer, and more. We will be adding more guests, so stay tuned!
When: Friday, April 12 (the night before Denver Supercross)
Where: Oriental Theater
4335 W 44th Ave.
Denver, CO, 80212
Tickets: A limited number of tickets start at $20, with VIP tickets $40, and VIP plus meet and greet at $60. You can purchase tickets here.
VIP doors will open at 5:30 p.m on Friday. General admission doors will open at 6:00 p.m. The show will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m.
When: Friday, April 26 (the night before East Rutherford Supercross)
Where: The Loft at Riverside Manor
27 East 33rd Street
Paterson, NJ, 07514
Tickets: A limited number of tickets start at $20, with VIP tickets $40, and VIP plus meet and greet at $60. You can purchase tickets here.
The show will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. with a meet and greet after for VIP ticket holders.
When: Friday, May 3 (the night before Las Vegas Supercross)
Where: The Space
3460 Cavaretta Ct.
Las Vegas, NV 89103
Tickets: A limited number of tickets start at $30, with VIP tickets plus meet and greet at $60. You can purchase tickets TheSpaceLV.com.
Doors will open at 6:00 p.m on Friday. The show will start at 7:00 p.m. and end at 9:00 p.m. with a meet and greet after for VIP ticket holders.
34 Becomes 25 (Mitch Kendra)
When Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis earned his first career 250SX win in Seattle, he became the 108th rider in the 250SX class to win—doing so in his 19th start. But when the dust settled in Houston and Ferrandis followed his first win with his second, he joined elite company, becoming the 25th rider to earn their first two career 250SX wins in back-to-back rounds.
Here are the riders who earned their first two career wins in back-to-back rounds:
|Rider||First Win||Second Win|
|Eddie Warren||2/23/1985 - Atlanta||3/9/1985 - Daytona|
|Mike Healy||2/2/1986 - Anaheim||2/8/1985 - Seattle|
|Keith Turpin||2/22/1986 - Atlanta||3/8/1986 - Daytona|
|Damon Bradshaw||2/18/1989 - Miami||2/25/1989 - Atlanta|
|Denny Stephenson||2/24/1990 - Atlanta||3/10/1990 - Daytona|
|Jimmy Button||3/14/1992 - Charlotte||3/21/1992 - Indianapolis|
|Doug Henry||2/20/1993 - Atlanta||3/6/1993 - Daytona|
|Kevin Windham||1/20/1996 - Minneapolis||1/27/1996 - Anaheim|
|Stephane Roncada||4/5/1997 - St. Louis||4/12/1997 - Pontiac|
|Casey Johnson||1/9/1999 - Anaheim||1/16/1999 - San Diego|
|Nathan Ramsey||1/23/1999 - Phoenix||1/30/1999 - Seattle|
|Ernesto Fonseca||2/13/1999 - Tampa||2/20/1999 - Atlanta|
|Travis Pastrana||3/10/2000 - Daytona||3/18/2000 - St. Louis|
|Chad Reed||2/9/2002 - Indianapolis||2/16/2002 - Minneapolis|
|Ben Townley||3/3/2007 - St. Louis||3/9/2007 - Daytona|
|Jason Lawrence||1/26/2008 - San Francisco||2/2/2008 - Anaheim|
|Trey Canard||2/23/2008 - Atlanta||3/1/2008 - Indianapolis|
|Wil Hahn||2/23/2013 - Atlanta||3/2/2013 - St. Louis|
|Marvin Musquin||3/9/2013 - Daytona||3/16/2013 - Indianapolis|
|Cooper Webb||1/10/2015 - Phoenix||1/17/2015 - Anaheim|
|Shane McElrath||1/7/2017 - Anaheim||1/14/2017 - San Diego|
|Zach Osborne||2/25/2017 - Atlanta||3/4/2017 - Toronto|
|Jordon Smith||3/25/2017 - Detroit||4/1/2017 - St. Louis|
|Austin Forkner||2/24/2018 - Tampa||3/3/2018 - Atlanta|
|Dylan Ferrandis||3/23/2019 - Seattle||3/30/2019 - Houston|
SMASHVILLE (Steve Matthes)
By the time you read this I'll be in Nashville. First time the series has visited this city, and that's always exciting. Home of Alex Ray, everyone! It's interesting to see what new cities get added to the series and which ones get dropped. This round will be very popular with many in the industry—the downtown section in Nashville is loaded with restaurants and bars, and it's not far from the stadium.
Should be a good time there as the series heats up between the Red Bull KTM teammates, and the fans there will be treated to quite a show. Will Marv and Coop continue their aggressive racing? Will they go out of their way to make sure nothing happens? The gap is 17 with four races to go; Marv's gotta make something happen and soon if he wants to avoid his fourth runner-up in the points in his last five 450SX/MX series. I, along with everyone else, will be watching these two every time they're on the track.
I wrote something over on MX Vice about the seasons that Chris Blose and Tyler Bowers have been having. Both vets have impressed this year at times. Yeah, Bowers has some good parts on his Kawasaki, but he's also a true privateer out there each week. He's the highest-placing non-factory team rider, and he's made every main but two. One he wasn't in the country and the other one, yeah, he got DQ'd. Blose has been scoring better, but of course he's in the 250SX class. When the class goes east, like this weekend, Chris will jump on a 450 and do good things. Both Bowers and Blose aren't next in line for a factory ride—they won't get a lot of attention each week, but they're there grinding away a living, doing it the hard way, and racing with a lot of disadvantages that their competitors don't have.
Go over and read everything on PulpMX.com when you can, please and thank you!
JMB at 50 (Andras Hegyi)
Right now two French riders are in title contention. Marvin Musquin is battling his Red Bull KTM teammate Cooper Webb for the 450 crown, while Dylan Ferrandis is going after Adam Cianciarulo for the 250SX West Region Championship. Ferrandis could be the fifth French champion in the small-bore class, while Musquin could be only the second one in the premier class. Among French supercrossers, only the legendary Jean-Michel Bayle managed to be champion in AMA Supercross, as well as AMA Pro Motocross. He is the one that blazed the trail to America for Musquin and Ferrandis and all of the either French riders who followed in his wake.
Bayle turned 50 last Monday, and we wish to congratulate JMB on such a big birthday, as he is one of the greatest motocrossers ever. He is a hero of two different worlds: First, he became a star in the FIM Motocross World Championship, in which he raced between 1986 and 1989. The seven-time French national motocross champion got some memorable successes there. Bayle became the first French 125cc World Champion in 1988 as well as the first 125 World Champion for Honda. One year later he became also 250cc World Champion as a rookie. He is the only one French rider to be world champion in two different classes.
In 1989, Bayle debuted on the AMA circuit, shocking the world by winning the first AMA Pro Motocross National he entered, the Gatorback 250 National. Then he went back to Europe and won that 250cc world title.
During his rather brief American career, between 1990 and '92, Bayle managed to set some unforgettable records. He is the only rider in AMA Motocross history to win three major titles in one season. In 1991, JMB won the AMA Supercross crown, the 250 Pro Motocross title, and the 500 Pro Motocross title. Bayle still has the most wins (16 victories) for a French rider in AMA Supercross. He is also the only rider in history to have won an AMA National and FIM Grand Prix in all three classes (125, 250, 500).
And then, at the height of his career, in his early twenties, Bayle decided to quit and go road racing. He was less successful there, but he did make a name for himself, mainly in endurance racing. By the early 2000s, Bayle had become one of the best endurance riders, winning some legendary races and the Masters of Endurance series. He also became an expert rally car racer.
Happy 50th, Jean-Michel Bayle!
Fox Raceway (David Pingree)
They've started moving dirt around at Fox Raceway in anticipation of the second round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. While I was bummed I couldn't ride the main track out there this week, I am excited to see what layout the track builders there can come up with. The last time there was a national there, the track broke down more than I've seen any other national circuit come apart; there was a rut up one of the hills in the back that could swallow up bikes whole. It goes to show you that hosting a national is a different animal from any local race or practice day. Regardless, I'm stoked to see how the 2019 version turns out.
The Whiskey Throttle Show (David Pingree)
We are taking our first break over at The Whiskey Throttle Show, so if you haven't had a chance to listen to all of the guests, go back and catch up. When we return, we will have off-road legend Johnny Campbell on to recap his life and career. Jimmy Button will join us after that, and some other really interesting guests will follow. Our next live show is in May and we'll be able to announce that guest soon. It’s going to be epic.
Finally, we have our merchandise site up and running for those who want to represent the fastest show in moto: visit www.whiskeythrottlemerch.com. We have tees, sweatshirts, girls, tanks, and much more coming in the weeks ahead. Thanks for listening and supporting the show!
Jenner and Jimmy. To be number 1, you gotta be jammin’.
The June Issue of Racer X Illustrated Is Now Available
Get the inside scoop on Broc Tickle’s ongoing suspension stemming from a failed drug test, the untold story behind the most expensive photograph in motocross history, how the East-West Shootouts and Showdowns began, and Bike Week at Daytona Beach. Along with those stories get the never-before-seen Ricky Carmichael poster, which has a fabled story of being “the most expensive photo in motocross history,” available only in the print edition of the June issue of Racer X Illustrated.
Broc Tickle has spent the last year in career limbo waiting for the FIM to decide his fate in the wake of a failed anti-doping test. Will he ever get his day in court? Read Waiting for Answers starting on page 72.
Read all about the untold story behind the most expensive photograph in motocross history in One Hit Wonder starting on page 86.
For 35 years, smaller-displacement riders from the East and West Regions of AMA Supercross have done battle in Shootout/Showdown races. How did it all start? Find out in Civil Wars starting on page 102.
Bike Week is a rite of passage for any two-wheeled enthusiast. This time around, the Racer X gang hit Daytona Beach with enthusiasm and social media outreach to burn and tweeted all about it in Bike Tweet starting on page 114.
Hey, Watch It!
Check out the latest Racer X Films Garage Build, where David Pingree takes a ride on a 2019 KTM 450 SX-F:
Watch as Red Bull KTM's Antonio Cairoli takes on his qualifying moto at round three of the MXGP at Valkenswaard:
Watch what unfolded at round 13 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross in the 250SX from Adam Cianciarulo's perspective:
Jorge Prado made a triumphant return to MX2 after missing the second round of the series with an injury. Here's a video of his dominant performance at Valkenswaard:
Can Marvin Stop the Webb Wagon? | Moto Spy Supercross
Check out this GoPro footage of Supercross Futures in Houston with Canyon Richards
In Houston, Dean Wilson finished third overall in 450SX. Watch some highlights from his night here:
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast talks about the Houston Supercross, “the pass” Cooper Webb made on teammate Marvin Musquin, Eli Tomac, 250SX, and maybe even some Stew.
With the release of the June issue of Racer X Illustrated, Jason Weigandt’s 50th episode of the Racer X Exhaust Podcast comes in with Brett Smith and Davey Coombs. Smith got in touch with David St. Onge, who took the most iconic photo in supercross history, and tells Weege about the process behind uncovering the unknown story of the photo. Coombs talks about his feature on Broc Tickle and the waiting game he’s facing after failing an anti-doping test in April 2018—which you can read for free here. Listen to the full podcast here, and don’t forget to subscribe!
To listen to an audio reading of Smith’s “One Hit Wonder” feature, click here and press the orange play arrow in the SoundCloud box.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“McGregor insults Khabib's wife, religion in tweet”—ESPN
“Study: West Virginians lead nation in TV watching”—AP News
“Weege Raced A GNCC And Lived To Tell About It”—Exhaust
“Quit Racing With Headlights, People”—Exhaust
“Riders With Headlights Offended”—Exhaust
CYCLE FOR SAVAGE REGISTRATION
Date: April 17, 2019
Location: Oakley Headquarters
One Icon, Foothill Ranch, California 92610-3000
Check-In Opens: 10:00 am
Ride Starts: 12:05 pm
Only 100 registered riders available.
Spectators and friends are welcome to come hang out and enjoy the festivities. For more information, click here.
St. Jude has posted an inspiring story on Ryan Dungey becoming friends with dirt bike loving patient Gabe on their new Inspire webpage. Read the full story here.
And check out some more stories here.
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid'EH Update #14.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!