Welcome to Racerhead on one of those rare, blessed off-weekends for Monster Energy AMA Supercross. That’s because today is Good Friday and Sunday is Easter, and that means a weekend of rest for everyone. It comes at a weird time this year, a little later than usual, which means when the riders return, there will be just two races left to decide all three titles: the Meadowlands in New Jersey, then the Las Vegas finale.
In both 450SX and 250SX West, points leaders Cooper Webb and Adam Cianciarulo both control their own destinies and don’t necessarily have to win in their last two races (although Cianciarulo did win in Denver), but the 250SX East is now wide open, thanks to the crash and injury to runaway points leader Austin Forkner, Cianciarulo’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammate. He reportedly tore his ACL in that Nashville get-off and then missed that night’s race, but for all intents and purposes, it sounds like he’s still going to give it a go next Saturday in New Jersey. Forkner really has no other choice, because now GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton is just three points down, and Monster Energy/Yamalube/ Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper is only seven down now. Having torn an ACL myself before, I can’t imagine what this is going to be like for #24.
Beyond that, it’s been a mostly slow and quiet week. MX Sports Pro Racing announced that helmet-cam restrictions would be peeled back this summer, allowing riders and race teams to use whatever approved POV cameras they want, and also allowing them to share some race footage on their social media. Also, we are going to have a pros-only ride day at Fox Raceway at Pala on Wednesday, May 8, to give the riders a preview of one of the two new stops on the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship schedule.
If you’re wondering about this old custom-painted helmet on the carousel, it’s from way back in the day when a friend offered to custom-paint me my first lid. Easter was coming up, and I jokingly suggested he make it look like an Easter egg. He did exactly that, and it’s the only Easter-inspired motocross gear I know of, so we went with it for the carousel!
Let’s get into the other news and numbers of the week—Happy Easter, everyone, and see you next weekend at the races.
THE NUMBER: 50 (Andras Hegyi)
Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac celebrated a half-century jubilee last Saturday night at his home-state race. The three-time AMA Pro Motocross Champion got the 50th podium of his 450 supercross career in his seventh season—he debuted there in 2013, and since '14 he has raced there as a regular rider—and in his 95th main event. Tomac became the 12th rider to take at least 50 podiums in the history of 250/450 SX, in existence since 1974. The record-holder is the Australian Chad Reed, who got his 132nd podium earlier this year in Detroit. Tomac picked up 13 podiums with Honda and so far has 37 podiums with Kawasaki.
Riders to earn at least 50 podiums in the 250/450 supercross
Chad Reed: 132 podiums (2 titles)
Jeremy McGrath: 111 (7)
Ryan Dungey: 101 (4)
Ricky Carmichael: 87 (5)
Mike LaRocco: 81 (no title)
James Stewart: 76 (2)
Kevin Windham: 75 (no title)
Jeff Ward: 66 (2)
Ryan Villopoto: 63 (4)
Jeff Stanton: 56 (3)
Ricky Johnson: 51 (2)
Eli Tomac: 50 (no title so far)
This was the first time Tomac was able to race in supercross in Colorado. Tomac was born in Cortez, a little town located in the southwestern portion of the state. Denver, the capital, was on the AMA Supercross schedule for the first time since 1996. Tomac has now won in 14 states: California, Tennessee, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Michigan, New Jersey, Florida, Minnesota, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, and now Colorado. He also won an AMA round in Canada. While taking his fifth win this season, the 27-year-old joined two elite clubs. Tomac is the seventh rider to get at least five wins in at least three consecutive premier-class AMA Supercross seasons. He joins Jeremy McGrath, Ryan Villopoto, Ricky Carmichael, Chad Reed, Ricky Johnson, and Bob Hannah in this club.
Before this season, Tomac got nine wins in 2017 and eight in 2018. The record-holder is his predecessor at Kawasaki Ryan Villopoto, who between 2010 and '14 managed to get at least five wins in five consecutive 450SX seasons. (Jeremy McGrath, the seven-time SX #1 class champion, and Ricky Johnson, two times the SX #1, got at least five wins in four consecutive seasons.)
MILESTONE (Steve Matthes)
The weekend off means the workload slows down a bit for guys like me. So what did I decide to do? Go dirt bike riding! Yesterday I woke at 5 a.m. and drove to Southern California to Kris Keefer's place, and we loaded up to go down to Milestone MX for some laps. Track was great, and with some other races going on, there weren't many people there, and the dirt was pretty sweet. Alex Ray showed up as well with J-Bone the dog, and even though he had SX suspension on his HEP Suzuki, he wanted to come hang out as well.
It was a fun day of riding. I love my YZ450F—the bike is so good you can just leave it in whatever gear you want and there's plenty of power everywhere. Great bike + great dirt = a fun day of riding. My fellow Blu Cru member Ryan Villopoto even showed up! He was doing some filming for someone, so it was good to see him riding, and I was pleasantly surprised when he passed me that he didn't try to take my front wheel out. I had a ton of fun riding and remembered again why I love dirt bikes, because sometimes when you're in the grind of week in and week out, you tend to forget these things.
After the riding was done, I headed back up to the Hi-Dez and put in a mountain bike ride with Keefer that was pretty fun also. It was a hell of a day for me! Ended up back home in Vegas at 10 p.m. and was pretty much a zombie for the last hour or so of the drive. It was hectic but a lot of fun. Haven't slept that good for a while.
ASSAULT ON HANGTOWN/PALA (Matthes)
As I mentioned, I went down to California with Kris Keefer, who's planning on riding the first two rounds of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship for the Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda team, with me as team manager. Yes, it's happening. So even though I was down there riding, I was keeping an eye on Keefer and his prep. I don't accept anything but excellence! But seriously, he's been riding a ton, the MCR Honda package is really good, and the guys at Showa have given him the good stuff for suspension. He's been dialing the bike in and putting laps in—should be interesting to see how he does. The sprint speed for qualifying will be the biggest issue, in my opinion, as his fitness and overall speed are fine, but sending it for one lap might be the problem. He's been riding with #800 Mike Alessi in the Dez and compares well in times with him, so I guess we'll see. Should be a lot of fun. Come by the truck if you're at the first two nationals and see us!
GOGGLE LANE (DC)
We mentioned the addition of a Goggle Lane in MXGP that began at the series opener in Argentina. It's meant to allow riders who throw off their goggles a quick and easy place to get a new set. The stops are not mandatory this year, but they likely will be next year. In a press release that went out earlier this week, Youthstream's Giuseppe Luongo explained the thinking behind the new Goggle Lane:
"Possibly some may not understand the importance of a goggle-lane for riders’ safety, however this means a lot because in bad weather conditions it’s common for riders (more than 50%) to remove their goggles because they are covered in mud and the rider can’t see anymore. If the riders wanted to change their goggles by entering into the Pit Lane they could lose more than 1 minute so often they continue the race without goggles putting their eyes in serious danger. Therefore, the goggle-lane has been created close to Pit-Lane, which is a dedicated area to be used only for changing goggles, and we have calculated that riders stopping in this area will lose a maximum of 10 seconds. This is very beneficial for the rider: 1st for his health and also for the results.”
The one counterpoint to this is whether or not a rider will continue racing when his goggles are covered with mud because they don't want to have to pull in, and that might create a different hazard for the rider: riding without being able to see clearly. Either way, it's worth watching to see if will have any effect on races, particularly muddy ones.
While we’re talking about Europe, I was digging through my old sticker collection for some stuff for Instagram on the new @motocrossstickers page and found an old Venko Honda decal from 1984. Venko Honda was the sponsor of many fast riders in the Netherlands, including future 125cc World Champion Davey Strijbos. But upon closer look I realized that the decal wasn’t a motocross sticker but one for the ISDE that year, and it said Assen.
Assen is the TT circuit that hosts MotoGP, and later this year it will host the 2019 Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. It piqued my interest because I wanted to figure out if the first-ever ISDE in Holland back in 1984 was at the same site as this year’s MXoN will be. I was also curious to see who won and how the Americans did. So I went to one of my favorite research tools—the Cycle News Archive—which is the best $4.99 you will ever spend.
Turns out the Assen TT facility, Circuit Van Drenthe, did host the ISDE’s parc ferme (impound area) back in the week of October 1–6 in 1984. There was also lots of rain and cold. And the overall winner? The host Dutch team fought back from a Day 3 setback to beat East Germany for the World Trophy Cup. The team was captained by none other than Gerrit Wolsink, the retired pro motocrosser who won the 500cc U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross at Carlsbad on five different occasions!
And whither Team USA? Both the World Trophy and Vase teams finished sixth. Among the riders’ names I recognized were a lot of longtime GNCC contenders, including Ed Lojak, Mark Hyde, Wally Wilson, and Jeff Russell (Kailub’s dad), plus National Enduro greats like Randy Hawkins, Dave Bertram, Jeff Fredette, Fritz Kadlec, Drew Smith, and Charles Halcolm, plus desert racing legend Larry Roeseler.
Hopefully, all of what I just wrote it NOT a precursor to what we can expect this fall when Team USA sends its motocrossers into the sandy lair of the very competitive Dutch team that will be led by Jeffrey Herlings and last year’s MXoN individual winner, Glenn Coldenhoff.
And speaking of Herlings, he was interviewed by MX Large’s Geoff Meyer this week about his impending return to riding, and Geoff asked about the talk earlier this spring of Herlings possibly coming to America for the summer since this year’s MXGP title will not be in the cards.
“Well, I actually wanted to go, but logistical wise, if something happened to Tony, they would have nobody here in MXGP and three in America, with only Tom Vialle here for KTM,” Herlings said. “For KTM it wasn’t an option, although I would have dreamt to do it. It was a life time chance I would say, and I had to only spend three months there. I was prepared to do it, but I have an MXGP contract, so we couldn’t make it happen.”
THE NUMBER: 23 (Andras Hegyi)
Last Saturday night there were several touchpoints for the number 23 in Denver. Monster Energy AMA Supercross returned to Denver for the first time since 1996 (23 years ago) and in 250SX, Kawasaki rider, Adam Cianciarulo, who will turn 23 later this year, took his 23rd career podium result in supercross!
YOUNG JUSTIN COOPER (DC)
Check out the note and the photos of Star Racing Yamaha rider Justin Cooper we got from our friend Tom Acquilano:
“I was going through some of my old photos last weekend and came across some pics of Justin Cooper from the 2007 Arenacross in Rochester, NY. he took first place on his KTM 65. I had no idea until I noticed the name on his number plate. Thought it was some kid with the same name. Turns out he grew up racing with one of our local kids who still races in the expert class and has his pro license. Who knew.....”
CAVALARI'S CAUSE (DC)
Longtime photo hound Scott Cavalari is a familiar fixture at East Coast races—he's got a big white beard that the Houston Rockets' James "The Beard" Harden would approve of. He's also got a new Nikon 200mm Prime F2, which he used at the track for the first time to shoot the Pro Am race at Walden Playboys this past Sunday. He used it to make this shot of #162 Maxwell Sanford from Maryland on Waldens' new triple jump.
Scott also told me that he spotted former professional racer Ryan Mills back out on the racetrack, after undergoing what can best be described as a really rough patch of life. I asked him if he had any photos of the former KTM factory rider from New York and he said he did, and that Ryan has a sponsor now that had actually asked for the photos too. Cavalari agreed, but with a request of his own.
"So what I do with the locals is I give them the pics for free, but they have to donate to my St. Jude's Children’s Fundraiser," Cavalari explained. "In less than one year, the fundraiser is at $7,000. Not bad for someone with no organizational skills and caveman workflow methods for the post-processing. A good lens goes a long way!"
Indeed it does, and good work, Scott.
JOHNNY CAMPBELL ON THE WHISKEY THROTTLE SHOW (PING)
We had 11-time Baja 1000 winner Johnny Campbell on The Whiskey Throttle Show this week. The King of Baja has an incredible story and a very unique path to the success he had on the Mexican peninsula. The San Clemente native grew up riding and racing just about anywhere he could, but his gravitation towards the endurance events like Baja seemed almost serendipitous. Johnny talked about dabbling in GNCC, Dakar, and motocross during his career and I learned a bunch about the different off-road disciplines and what it takes to succeed in each. I came into this show respecting what Campbell had accomplished professionally but I left really admiring him for the man that he is. Watch on YouTube or listen on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.
And if you're a fan of the show, please head over to www.whiskeythrottlemerch.com and pick up a T-shirt, sweatshirt, or hat. We have several designs available and there will be more to come. Thanks for watching!
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 East Rutherford and Las Vegas. Check out the Denver show below in Listen To This!
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 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.
THE JUNE ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE 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—the original color version of that fabled Oakley poster—available only in the print edition of the June issue of Racer X Magazine.
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!
Watch Michael Mosiman and Adam Cianciarulo battle it out in the 250SX West main event from Denver:
Here is that new Honda CR Electric bike making its on-track debut in Japan last week:
Simon Cudby went out to Fox Raceway at Pala on Monday and captured a bunch of guys stretching out their MX game as the 250SX West Region goes on a two-weekend break and the guys start looking ahead to Hangtown and the start of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Look for Cole Seeley, Adam Cianciarulo, Colt Nichols, Mitchell Oldenburg, Christian Craig, Garrett Marchbanks, and more...
Take a lap with Camp Coker Bullet GNCC champion Kailub Russell:
Check out the highlights from the Camp Coker Bullet GNCC last weekend at Hammerin' Hank Moree's place in South Carolina:
We were recently in Florida and had the chance to check out Chase Sexton and Alex Martin shredding Moto Sandbox.
Our latest Bike Build: 2017 Honda 250X Build
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast talks about everything in supercross’ return to Denver for the first time since 1996, including Eli Tomac’s home-state win, Adam Cianciarulo’s win and now eight-point gap over Dylan Ferrandis, “Zombie” Chris Blose, and more.
Check out the PulpMX/Racer X Live Show from Denver!
WARNING: Strong language used during the show, please do not listen around young children.
This week’s episode of Racer X Exhaust Podcast comes in with part one of a two-part series of interviews with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. The #17 joins Jason Weigandt to talk about his debut season in the premier class, “The Pass” Zach Osborne put on him at the 2017 Las Vegas Supercross (which cost him the title), and more. Check it out here.
With the release of the June issue of Racer X Magazine, 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
“Naked, Knife-Wielding Suspect Plows Into Palmdale Carl’s Jr. Before Being Shot Dead By McDonald’s Guard”—CBS
“Monster Energy Kawasaki Leaves Denver with Mile Wide Smiles”—Monster Energy/Pro Circuit PR is on a roll with this stuff
“Thai oil rig workers rescue dog swimming 135 miles offshore”—AP News
“Kentucky Substitute Teacher Arrested For Ripping Shots Of Vodka At 11am And Cussing Out Students”—Barstool
“Why Carl's Jr. is testing out a CBD burger”—CNN
“Swastika Acres, a neighborhood in Colorado, gets a new name”—CNN
“Here Is Honda's CR Electric Motorcycle In Action”—Exhaust
“A Look At Honda's CR Electric Motorcycle”—Exhaust
“Keanu Reeves Talks Motorcycles And Shows Off His Prized Collection”—Exhaust
ENTER TO WIN A 2019 YAMAHA YZ450F AT THE EAST RUTHERFORD SUPERCROSS
Want to win a brand-new 2019 Yamaha YZ450F? Here’s your chance.
If you’re attending the East Rutherford SX next weekend, all you need to do is stop by the Racer X booth—located in the Fanfest Area—and enter the drawing to win a new 2019 Yamaha YZ450F.
The winner will be picked at the end of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season and announced on Racer X Online.
Got this from our old pal Pat Schutte, who was doing PR for AMA Supercross back in 1997 when the whole deal went down with David St. Onge's photo of Ricky Carmichael:
“Cool spot for my Racer X/David St. Onge poster. Great work on that story by Brett Smith. He really captured the spirit of the thing. Circle back if you’re ever interested in the story of Tuff Blox.”
Jeff Ward posted this throwback on Wednesday #onanysunday
Pete Fox posted this video of James Stewart from years ago:
View this post on Instagram
Never forget. The physical feats and punishment that pro motocross racers endure when we see them at the races is only the tip of the iceberg. They spend every day between races pushing themselves and their bikes to the limit. They are warriors. ✨ Circa 2005. James Stewart on his Kawi 2-stroke 250 at his home compound. The engine bogs as he is launching a huge triple/quad section. ??✊?? Luckily he was able to walk away. ✨ #supercross #motocross #braap #motolife
Check out this awesome article Nick McCabe spotted about the notorious Altamont Rock Festival, which took place 50 years ago and marked the end of the innocence of the 1960s. The featured act, the Rolling Stones, hired the Hells Angels to be their security force, and they ended up beating up a bunch of fans, killing one with a switchblade. It's a pretty remarkable story about a lost time in America...
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid'EH Update #16.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!