Welcome to Racerhead, coming to you from the road to East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Easter break is over and now it's a short two-week jaunt to the end of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, and it's down to just four riders with a mathematical chance. Red Bull KTM's Cooper Webb has the best chance, of course, as he's 18 points ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki's Eli Tomac and 23 points clear of KTM teammate Marvin Musquin; Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen barely has a chance as he's 49 points down on the leader.
With 26 points going to the winner, it's entirely possible that Webb could clinch the title tomorrow night. If he wins Musquin and Roczen would be eliminated from title contention even with a runner-up finish by either. Tomac in turn would need to be third or better to keep his title hopes alive going into the finale in Las Vegas.
There's also a very compelling 250SX East Region battle, as series points leader Austin Forkner says he's going to race despite an injured knee. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider is just three points ahead of GEICO Honda's Chase Sexton after crashing out in practice at the Nashville round and not being able to race the night program. Forkner's condition has been a big question mark ever since, as the kid certainly doesn't want to do down without a fight, nor does he want to injure the knee any worse. The team issued a press release earlier this week saying that Forkner would give it a go in New Jersey.
“I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how well the therapy has been going on my knee and I’ve really been trying to keep a positive attitude about the situation,” Forkner said in a team press release. “The whole team has been really supportive and doing everything they can to make sure I have what I need to try and bring them home a championship.”
Forkner had won every stand-alone East Region race up until his Nashville crash, keeping both Sexton and Monster Energy/Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha's Justin Cooper (seven points behind) out of the winner's circle. (The Nashville race was won by Martin Davalos, Forkner's teammate.) Cooper, as you may recall, actually grew up on Long Island, in next-door New York, and even spent a year in college there. It would be kind of cool to see him win his first AMA 250 Supercross not far from the place where he went to school, which would also make him the first rider in Lord only knows how long to have both a race win and college experience to his credit!
Of course, the promoter in me hopes that all three of these title chases will go down to Las Vegas next weekend so we have one great big grand finale. That's what Feld Entertainment always hopes for, and when it happens like it did in 2017, it makes for one hell of a night of supercross!
MORE FROM EASTER (DC)
Last week we included an image of an old custom-painted helmet that someone did for me that looked like a giant Easter Egg. I should have mentioned that it was from Keith McGrath. He saw the column after our mutual friend David Hand pointed him to it.
"I’d forgotten all about that one!" wrote McGrath. "I’ve been away from MX for several years while chasing my kids around to whatever sports and events they were involved in but I’ve always kept a distant eye on MX. I love the way a person is always a part of the MX family even if they’ve been away for awhile. My daughter has her masters degree and is an academic advisor at Ohio U, and I am at Xavier University in Cinci this weekend watching my son, who plays baseball for Butler. So all things considered, I have a blessed life!"
Also in the comments, Bill Hunter left this note:
"Love the helmet, although I think Gary Bailey may have beaten you to the 'only Easter-inspired motocross gear I know of'... Bailey wore bunny ears on his helmet on Easter Sunday, April 6, 1969, at a CMC race at Saddleback Park. Check Cycle News April 15, 1969 pg 15 - and I'll try and send you one of my pics from the race!"
Indeed, Hunter came through, digging out this photo of Gary Bailey celebrating Easter 50 years ago!
MAGOO'S JERSEY (DC)
Our longtime friend and contributing photographer Mike Stusiak posted a cool eBay find: the jersey that Danny "Magoo" Chandler wore in one of the four motos he swept in the 1982 Motocross and Trophee des Nations in the single most dominant performance in the history of those events.
Here's what the seller posted about the jersey:
This is possibly the most valuable and certainly most historic motocross jersey ever to be offered at auction. This is THE race worn jersey by Danny Magoo Chandler winning all 4 motos at the 250 and 500 1982 Trophee des Nations and Motocross des Nations at Gaildorf Germany and Wohlen Switzerland. This jersey was given to me at the Gaildorf race directly after winning Moto 2. I also have the framed promotional poster to the race and program and Presse pass that is part of the auction! If interested, I also have photos I took including from front row of the trophy presentation. This is a once in a lifetime offering. The jersey has been kept in a frame and brought out for pics. I prefer it go to a museum for others to enjoy as it is HISTORIC motocross. I have a story to go along with this after meeting the Honda USA Team at the hotel too. I have proof I was there - that this is authentic. I am in several magazine photos and Roland Hinz's column photo was credited to me. I never expected to part with this but for a number of reasons - age for one, I've decided to share it with the motocross world. Only serious offers please. Contact me for better communication. European collectors and museums welcome.
At $10,000 it's a little rich for our office museum, but we did pull out some photos of the second moto of the Trophee (250cc) des Nations to compare and see if it was really one of Danny's jerseys. Because while Magoo wore Hi-Point Racing Products in '82, all of Team USA was sponsored in part by JT Racing. This was also the race where David Bailey raced in Fox pants but wore a JT Racing chest protector because it was so rocky. He ultimately signed a contract with JT Racing's John and Rita Gregory after the Magoo-led Team USA swept the two races.
Here is Chandler and Team USA in 1982.
PLANE CRASH (DC)
And speaking of JT Racing, founder John Gregory was extremely fortunate to escape injury, or worse, when he crashed his airplane into the top of a tree near his home in McCall, Idaho. Gregory, 79 years old and a lifelong pilot, landed his Piper Cub PA-18 on top of a 60-foot tall tree and the plane somehow stayed there until firefighters could come and rescue him. Check out the full story of Gregory's lucky misadventure right here.
Here is a shot of Gregory's plane stuck in the top of the tree from the Idaho Stateman.
And here is a shot that Scott Cox grabbed of two of the most prominent men in the early history of American motocross, Torsten Hallman (left) and JT Racing founder John Gregory, reunited at the recent Racer X Inter-Am in Boise, Idaho.
THE NUMBER: 15 (Andras Hegyi)
There was no Monster Energy AMA Supercross race last Saturday night, which meant that for the first time in this 2019 season the series had a weekend off. That ended a 15-week grind for the riders and the race teams. Between January 5 and April 13, a supercross race was run. Thanks to the Easter holiday everyone could finally rest, recharge, and prepare for the last two decisive rounds. This year is only the third season in the history of the series, in existence since 1974, in which there has been a racing streak consisting of 15 consecutive weeks.
This is the 46th premier AMA Supercross season and the 34th made up of at least 15 rounds. In 2011 and 2014 there were periods of 15 rounds held on consecutive Saturday nights. In both years Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto managed to be the most successful in the 15-weeks-long march. Villopoto was always the points leader after the 15 consecutive rounds and he won the title in both seasons. Now Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb is the points leader after the 15 consecutive rounds and has a great shot at getting his maiden 450SX title.
KENNY (Steve Matthes)
I really want Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen to win one of these last two races. He seemed to be right there to start the year, had a bit of a mid-season lull but came on strong in Seattle and Nashville would’ve been his if he hadn’t gotten caught up in Joey Savatgy’s crash (at least in my opinion). So he seemed close but then Denver happened and we’re not sure it the 94 can get one of these. I know Roczen’s got to be frustrated with his season and wondering what else could happen to him but I’m interested to see if the week off was able to recharge him. I know we in the media aren’t supposed to cheer for anyone (well, since Tim Ferry retired anyways) but I’m hoping Roczen gets a win here.
PULPMX/RACER X LIVE PODCAST SHOW TONIGHT (Matthes)
If you’re in the greater NY area for the race tomorrow and wondering what to do tonight head to Paterson, New Jersey, for one of our live podcast shows. These are always great fun, we’ll hang out after to chat also. They’ll be plenty to talk about with the title chase in both classes, Stew, Marty, and more. I’m stoked to be able to welcome Barry Carsten (Weege is gonna be a mess) and DC to the stage tonight as our special guests. Tickets start at $20, there will be booze there, so at least there’s that, right?
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.
CONCEPTS UNLIMITED (DC)
Skip Johnson is a Cycle News alumnus who recently found himself with a large collection of seventies and eighties PR kits from the motocross world. He asked via email if Racer X had any interest in the files. Of course we collect just about anything SX/MX-related, and we of course were glad to add the files to our office library. Here is the letter that came with the collection explaining what exactly they were and how Johnson came to have them in the first place.
You will be receiving four boxes of business files from the PR agency Concepts Unlimited in the next few days. These are the files I mentioned to Scott Wallenberg a couple weeks ago. I am sure you are familiar with Concepts Unlimited and its founder, moto matron Penni Nicholai. I met her working in my earliest years at Cycle News, along with her business partner Melissa Mc Laughlin. Together they handled the publicity for many aftermarket companies, and a lot of major motorcycle racing in the west, including the Carlsbad USGP, the iconic ABC Superbikers events and supercross races for Mike Goodwin and PACE Management. CU also placed paid and traded endemic advertising and was quite involved in writing and presenting major pitches for event sponsorships.
We saw a lot of Penni and crew at the Cycle News office, usually on Wednesdays—ad deadline day. In a given year, she was pitching 5-10 major events, all of which were going to get comprehensive coverage because that was core content for Cycle News—a given, if you will. After meeting with me to make sure the correct ads were running, she spent the rest of her visit doing her best to add as much pre-event publicity as possible. New angles, rider special interest stories, sponsor updates were pitched, and a lot of her efforts turned into pre-event PR for her promotor clients. I have worked with many PR advertising agencies over the years, but none with the tenacity of Penni. She was always busy, impatient and hard-nosed when she was negotiating, which turned into convincing, energetic, fact-filled presentations when she was pitching new or expanded business. I worked with Penni and Melissa from the late '70s until we lost Melissa in the early '80s. I continued to work with Penni until I left Cycle News in the early '90s. I reconnected with her and her daughter Tamara around 2010 when I was working on a new digital dirt track project. We lost her soon after that.
I helped Tamora close Penni’s physical estate. She offered me her office files, thinking they may be something of interest of the industry she served so well. Some of the files were in great shape, others still need sorting. Depending on your perspective, the info could be great to keep for posterity’s sake or perhaps the basis for a looking at the origins of professional MX/SX Marketing and PR. Given Penni’s all-women crew was working primarily with another woman powerhouse at Goodwin's Stadium Motosports, Jean Sleeper, it makes their accomplishments that much more impressive.
Coors_Supercross_Media_Kit_img812 1984_Carlsbad_USGP_img804 1983_USGP_Program_Carlsbad_img800 1982_Wrangler_Supercross_Media_Kit_img811 1982_USGP_Program_Carlsbad_img799 1982_Supercross_Track_Map_img814 1981_Castle_Rock_Colorado_Motocross_Program_Cover_img805 1982_San_Diego_Supercross_Program_Cover_img801 1983_The_Super_Bikers_Program_Cover_img802 1978_Supercross_Program_Cover_Superdome_img809 Pontiac_Supercross_Track_Map_img813 1981_Carlsbad_Program_Cover_img810 1981_The_Super_Bikers_Program_img808 Team_Honda_Press_Kit_img803 Coors_Extra_Gold_Super_Challenge_img806 Wheelsmith_Motorcycles_Maico_img807
A WMXer IN EUROPE (Sharon Cox)
(Editor’s note: New Zealand moto journalist Sharon Cox has offered to keep us update on the goings-on in the women’s motocross world, with a series of reports and film edits on women racers.)
The five-round Women MX World Championship has attracted a line-up of women ranging in ages from 17 years to 28 years, from nine different countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand and of course several in Europe. The American is Washougal, Washington’s Avrie Berry, who is racing WMX abroad for a second season. Avrie achieved a long-term goal to race in Europe's Women MX World Championship in 2017, then completed the full WMX season '18 and now stands 16th overall on the points table after one round. The 18-year-old has been riding from 50cc right up to racing Loretta Lynn's in 2017, finishing top five in both of her classes. With the WMX in America no longer part of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship circuit, Avrie made the decision to go race abroad.
"For several years, I had a desire to see what it was like to race in Europe," says Avrie. "I was able to share that wish with Roger DeCoster. Some phone calls were made on my behalf that helped open some doors and I was put in contact with the team owner of KTM Diga Jr Racing. They were able to provide a bike and parts for the final two WMX rounds in 2017."
You can read all about Avrie's European motocross adventure right here.
Jimmy Button on The Whiskey Throttle Show (Ping)
The Whiskey Throttle Show featured former factory Yamaha rider and industry icon Jimmy Button this week. I grew up riding with Jimmy in Arizona so we had a great time going through some of his old photos and memories of the good old days. JB is a great story teller and he spun a few good yarns, including my favorite about one time in Milan when he and his friends were dancing with a really pretty girl who turned out to be neither pretty, nor a girl. We also covered his crash at Qualcomm Stadium and the subsequent injury in detail that I'd never heard before. It's pretty heavy stuff and I think we all choked up at times as we walked through it. If you are a fan of his, you'll love this. If you didn't know him back then, this show will turn you into a fan. It's live now so check it out on YouTube or listen on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or SoundCloud.
Also, new Whiskey Throttle Show hats went up on our merchandise site this week so pick one up here!
Thank you for your support of the show! Our next LIVE event is Friday night, May 10 and it's going to be dope. Our featured guest will be announced next week. And for all of you who keep sending me emails about having David Bailey on, keep June 5th open on your calendars.
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!
Privateer Jeff Walker posted a cool video of the new outdoor layout at Florida Tracks & Trails and the perspective from his mouthpiece-mounted camera is pretty cool to see:
Some highlights of Tomac and Webb battling at Denver:
Dirt Shark - 2019 Denver Supercross:
Red Bull Moto Spy | Roczen Regroups and Factory KTM's Unique Success Problem
50mm X Dean Wilson | uniformco.online
Racer X Films: 1991 Honda CR250R Build
LISTEN TO THIS
This week’s Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with two-time 250SX champion Ernesto Fonseca joining host Steve Matthes to talk about what he’s up to now, getting the call from Factory Honda, the series this year, and much more. Check it out here.
This week’s episode of Exhaust podcast comes in with part two of a two-part series of interviews with Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. This time around, Savatgy talks about the fans reacting to his fall in front of Ken Roczen in Nashville and the news that he had signed with Monster Energy Kawasaki, what went down at the Monster Energy Cup, and more. Listen to part two here.
Here's a good listen, Guy B's Vital MX podcast with former Monster Energy Kawasaki mechanic Mike Williamson, who talks about his gig, his riders (including Ryan Villopoto, James Stewart and Eli Tomac) and more. Our own Steve Matthes also talked with Williamson in late March. You can read about it here or listen to his appearance on the PulpMX Show 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
“Florida man pretending to be a deputy tried to pull over a real detective and got arrested”—CNN
“Maisie Williams thought her big 'Game of Thrones' sex scene was a prank”—CNN
“Austrian prison escapee returns, fed up of life in the sun”—AP News
“McCall pilot rescued after plane gets stuck at top of 60-foot tree”—Idaho Statesman
“The giant bird that killed its owner is now up for sale”—CNN
“Harley-Davidson Is Now A Sponsor Of A Formula E Team”—Exhaust
"A Parrot Got Detained for Yelling 'Police' to Warn Its Owners About a Drug Raid"-Vice
"Magic Johnson Reportedly Resigned Because He Was Accidentally CC'd On E-mails About How Bad Of A Job He Was Doing"—Barstool Sports
"Irony Level Maximum: Guy Breaks the Law by Watching 'Law & Order' While Driving"—Barstool Sports
"Steve Kerr Roasts Reporter Questioning The Warriors, Tells Him Their Identity Is 'Hanging Banners And Being Really Good'"—Barstool Sports
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.
Longtime friend and reader Rick Conley sent us a note telling us how stoked he was on the new Ricky Carmichael poster in the magazine, then shared some of the posters he's collected over the years, including these three gems from 1974. The Marty Smith (522) poster came from the old newspaper Motorcycle Weekly while the two Gaylon Mosier (206) posters were available at your local Honda dealer back then. Good stuff!
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid'EH Update #17.
Finally, a get well soon goes out to Barry Weiss from Storage Wars. He's a longtime motocross and supercross enthusiast who was riding motorcycles with a friend this past week when a car pulled out of a parking spot right in front of them. Both crashed, and Barry ended up in the hospital with broken ribs. He should make a full recovery and be back at the races soon.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!