Main Image: Diffy Smooth
Welcome to Racerhead, and happy Fourth of July weekend to all. Lucas Oil Pro Motocross is at RedBud in Buchanan, Michigan, one of the true pillars of American motocross. And it comes as the third leg of what’s been a brutal four-week grind that started with the High Point National, then the new Florida National in Jacksonville, and then last Saturday’s hot and rough Southwick National at The Wick 338. Now it’s RedBud, which means another rough and hot one, as well as the most popular stop on the tour.
Over the course of the last three weeks we’ve seen a topsy-turvy 450 Class that saw Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Eli Tomac begin to edge away from the field, despite dropping the last two overalls to Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin. That’s because Honda’s Ken Roczen was hit hard by the heat in Florida and it seemed to carry over to The Wick. As a result, Ken has gone from sharing the red plate with Tomac to being 32 points down, and now third behind Musquin as well. He needs to dig out right now, if he can. Because Musquin is red hot right now, and Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne is really starting to gel with his 450, and I still think both Cooper Webb and Jason Anderson are about to have some breakout races…
In the 250 Class there was a similar change of fortunes for a Honda rider in the Florida heat, only he wasn’t the points leader. But GEICO Honda’s Chase Sexton paid a dear price in winning that first moto in Florida, as he could not answer the bell for the second moto in either Florida or Southwick. He’s now 102 points behind Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Adam Cianciarulo, who won his fifth race in six starts at Southwick. When both Sexton and Roczen look back on their ’19 summer campaigns, Jacksonville was the turning point, and not in a good direction.
RedBud now marks the first race of the second half of the schedule, and it’s followed by a blessed weekend off, so if anyone wants to build some momentum going into the dog days of summer, now is the time. And I have a feeling there are a few guys that want to get back to RedBud and show a better performance than they did at last October’s Motocross of Nations, and that would include Tomac and Roczen. (And speaking of the MXoN, I wonder what the French are thinking as they again contemplate a team with or without Marvin Musquin as they go for what could be a sixth straight win… I also wonder how different the track will be from the MXoN, though we do know that the start configuration will be the hairpin right from October, not the normal, high-speed 90-degree left that it was for many years before.)
But before we get into the week that was, we bid farewell to German 250cc Grand Prix hero of the seventies and early eighties Rolf Dieffenbach, who was killed in a street-motorcycling accident. He was a Honda of Europe factory rider, the winner of a couple of GP races, and one of the top German riders of his era. Godspeed, Rolf Dieffenbach. He was 69 years old.
We also say goodbye to Carlin Dunne, who tragically died at the very end of what was going to be a record run up Pike’s Peak aboard a prototype Ducati. Dunne, a multi-time winner of the race to the top, lost control in the last corner and flew off the mountainside within the last few yards of the run. He was just 36 years old. Godspeed, Carlin.
Aldon on Recovery (Aaron Hansel)
Last week we fired off questions at several prominent trainers in the industry to learn more about preparation and recovery for tough races like Florida and Southwick.
We also sent some questions to Aldon Baker but he didn't get answers back to us until after the story was published, however, we'd be fools not to show you what Aldon thinks. Here are his thoughts on recovery during a rough stretch of three races like this:
Yes, the Florida race put everyone on the limit. As much as we can prepare and get slightly acclimated to the heat and condition, whenever you go racing you have to push to your limit. Depending on how you get a flow with the racetrack and pick bike setup that helps you as much as possible, it still takes a lot out of you at this level and race pace.
Southwick is always tough as it requires a lot of standing and a little extra strength due to the sand conditions and the track changes a lot during the race, probably more than the usual tracks. Having those two races in the space of one week compounds and we had to make adjustments in training to get the best possible recovery and also not lose sight that we are half way and we need to be still strong for the rest of the races.
I believe it's so important to have a good monitor on each rider’s recovery plan and ratios which is why so much planning details go into balancing the riding and recovery. It's not easy to fully recover in such a short time, but that’s another reason why the guys work so hard at dealing and adjusting to strenuous conditions. Riders may not like Florida, but it sure toughens you up and helps you to adapt better when you are thrown into a tough hot situation!
Also, from the trainer's side, it's important to know your riders and their individual capabilities. Knowing how much to push and how much to have them apply to recovery is always that delicate part. For sure it's not an easy deal for the athlete and trainer, but that’s what makes this sport different and difficult at the same time.
Hope this helps answer the tough questions!
UGLY ‘WICK “FANS” (DC)
After the Southwick National, second 250 Class moto winner Dylan Ferrandis posted a photo of him responding to a group of “fans” that were continually flipping him off and shouting at him when he came past. They also were apparently doing likewise to 450 overall winner Marvin Musquin. Why? Probably because Dylan and Marvin are both French and those people flipping them off are idiots.
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This happened last weekend at Southwick, this group of guys was doing that every laps of every practices and motos, so when I could I answered them. In 3 years racing in the US, I never had any issues with fan or people here (except 1 journalist ?), this was the first time, but to be honest I really don’t care I’m not riding to get fan, I hope you guys enjoyed the second moto ?? ? @125_photography
Musquin and Ferrandis are among the best motocross racers in the world. Both chose to leave their homes in France and come to America to compete. They have sacrificed a great deal in their respective bids to win in America, and both have succeeded time and again. We owe them so much more than to flip them off just because they came from another country. And as you may recall, some elements of Southwick have a reputation for this going back to the days that James Stewart and his family were harassed there. It’s been my experience over the years that the vast majority of Southwick fans are great, hard-core enthusiasts that live, love and breathe motocross, and respect all of the riders. Don’t let these idiots ruin that track’s reputation as a great motocross track. And next year, if this happens again, let’s throw the bums out.
FAST FREDDIE (MATTHES)
Okay, forget anything I said last week in this column about Fredrik Noren being able to do as well on the JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team after getting the fill-in ride. Obviously, I meant to say that with the support of a team, with no worries about having to work on his bike, with past experience on a Suzuki in Sweden and with expenses paid, Noren would have his best race of the year. That's what I meant to say. I'm happy to be wrong with this one because Noren is a cool story.
We had JGRMX manager Jeremy Albrecht on the PulpMX Show earlier this week and he was, as usual, his brutally honest self. Said that he was getting some heat from Suzuki for the team’s finishes, he said he's always been the good guy and not taken risks in riders. Hence, Kyle Chisholm out and Noren in. It was a great interview, get it over on Pulpmxshow.com.
Adam’s 5-for-6 (Andras Hegyi)
For the first time since 2008, a Kawasaki rider has five wins and six podiums in the first six rounds of a 125/250 Class season. Last Saturday, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo celebrated that fifth victory and sixth podium at Southwick. Prior to him, the last Kawasaki rider to do it was Ryan Villopoto. Thanks to his outstanding performance, Cianciarulo has joined three Kawasaki elite clubs. He is the fourth Kawasaki rider to get five wins in the first six rounds of a season in the 125/250 Class. Cianciarulo, who entered Kawasaki's Team Green Amateur Motocross program way back in 2004, is also following in the footsteps of Ricky Carmichael, James Stewart, and Ryan Villopoto as long-term Team Green prospects who stayed with the brand as they transitioned into the pro ranks and then delivered pro motocross wins for Kawasaki.
Kawasaki riders to get five wins in the first six rounds of a 125/250 Class championship
Ricky Carmichael: Both in 1997 and '99 the GOAT got five wins in the first six rounds. In both seasons he was 125cc class champion. He was with Kawasaki from 1989 on KX60s to 2001, when he was a champion in both the 250 supercross and motocross.
James Stewart: Bubba took the first five wins in 2004, the got involved in a massive first-turn pileup at RedBud that cost him what would have likely been a perfect season, as it was the only moto and overall he lost all summer on his way to the title. He was with Kawasaki from 1993 on KX60s (and also still riding YZinger Yamahas in the 51cc class) until 2008, when he had a perfect 24-0 record outdoors in the 450 Class.
Ryan Villopoto: RV2 collected five victories in the first six rounds in 2008, and he earned a third straight 250 Class title. He was a Team Green rider beginning in 2003 when he raced Kawasaki's in the 85cc and 105cc Supermini class until he retired in 2015 after winning four straight AMA Supercross Championships.
Adam Cianciarulo: Last Saturday he got his fifth win in the sixth round of the 2019 season. He hopes that he will finally get his maiden championship title this year. He's been with Team Green since 2004, when he was also racing Cobras in the 51cc class, as Kawasaki does not make bikes that small.
Last weekend Blake Baggett pulled me aside in the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM WPS truck and asked me about PulpMX Fantasy saying that we should add another part in the game where we guess his finishes. And I agreed, I mean this is a guy who just won a moto at High Point out of nowhere and got 15th in moto two. Florida and Southwick weren't any good for him and, hey, that would be a good game to play: Guess Baggett's Finishes! Could be first, could be 20th… Baggett, as is his usual self, laughed at my idea.
But seriously, what's up with it? Baggett did his usual slow start to the outdoors but was fine at Fox Raceway at Pala until he ate poop. That hurt his thumb a bit but again, he won a moto, so he's got to be semi-feeling well, right? He's the most confusing rider of the summer so congrats on that, Blake!
Pro Perspective (Jason Thomas)
RedBud is an American tradition. Centered around America's birthday, this round attracts fans from far and wide. It also hosted last year's Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations event, though I have effectively removed that race from my memory. RedBud's track is one that is generally liked by the riders. There is good traction, fun jumps, and a touch of elevation change. Some tracks are more "work" than others. This one brings a smile to most riders' faces.
The sneakiest part of RedBud is the humidity. Even if the thermometer says it's in the mid 80s tomorrow, chances are it will feel much hotter. I don't expect anything absurd like Florida gave us a couple of weeks ago, but there will still be a few guys suffering on Saturday afternoon. The series has just had two brutal events back-to-back and now RedBud will cap a three-race stretch. The same ideas of recovery that applied for Southwick should have been in effect for RedBud. With a weekend off upcoming, the smart approach would have been to go easy this week, allowing for full recovery for Saturday's race. If there is work to be done, next week is the time for it, not this past week. As I have mentioned many times recently, the #1 absolute goal of every racer should be to be at their absolute strongest on Saturdays. There is nothing that can surpass that importance when it comes to preparation. Working hard is wonderful but if your body is worn down on Saturday, what's the point?
I hope everyone has a safe and fun RedBud. I also hope everyone leaves in a better mood than I did last October.
NEW BIKES (PING)
New bike season is upon us and this week we got our first ride on the new Husqvarna models, as well as the KTM 450 SX-F. KTM continued their trend of bringing the changes from their Factory Edition model to the next year's production model as the 2020 is essentially the same as the 2019.5 FE. The changes were focused on making the bike hit a little harder, which was surprising to me. They explained that there was a demand, particularly from US consumers, to have more hit out of the bike. Who are these masochistic folks and why didn't their parents love them more? Between a one-tooth-taller sprocket, a vented airbox and a new aggressive map to go with it, they achieved what they were going after.
Interesting on the Husqvarna that they went a completely different direction on suspension settings than their orange cousins. It seems a bit soft at first, but with a few clicker changes it's better than last year's model. Keep an eye out for the introduction videos soon.
I'm in RedBud for a live edition of The Whiskey Throttle Show with local legend Mike LaRocco. If you're at the track, get a ticket and come check out the show. Nick Wey is going to stop by as well later in the evening. The "Rock" was pretty quiet during his 18-season tenure on the professional racing circuit, but we'll see if we can get him to open up a bit tonight and get to know him. Maybe three, or 14, LaRocco's Leap Light beers will help?
I'm also entered in the 125 All Star Series race on Saturday, along with local boys Nick Wey and Todd DeHoop. The trash talk started a couple weeks ago, but I'm pretty sure there will be a fast local kid, or three, that will hand all of us our hats. I've always loved the RedBud track, even though I've never done well there. It looks like the track is in pristine condition and the weather should be good. Big thanks to Shawn Julian for letting me borrow his Yamaha YZ125 for this weekend. First round of LaRocco's Leap Lights are on me!
Stats at the halfway-mark (Mitch Kendra)
With six rounds down and six more to go in the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship, we decided to take a look at some stats through the halfway mark.
Motocross 450 Standings - 2019
|1||Eli Tomac||Cortez, CO||521|
|2||Ken Roczen||Mattstedt, Germany||463|
|3||Marvin Musquin||La Reole, France||451|
|4||Jason Anderson||Edgewood, NM||407|
|5||Zach Osborne||Abingdon, VA||403|
|6||Cooper Webb||Newport, NC||324|
|7||Justin Barcia||Monroe, NY||315|
|9||Justin Bogle||Cushing, OK||222|
|10||Blake Baggett||Grand Terrace, CA||175|
Motocross 250 Standings - 2019
|1||Adam Cianciarulo||Port Orange, FL||519|
|2||Dylan Ferrandis||Avignon, France||499|
|3||Justin Cooper||Cold Spring Harbor, NY||461|
|4||R.J. Hampshire||Hudson, FL||337|
|5||Chase Sexton||La Moille, IL||316|
|6||Alex Martin||Millville, MN||305|
|7||Colt Nichols||Muskogee, OK||292|
|8||Michael Mosiman||Sebastopol, CA||290|
|9||Shane McElrath||Canton, NC||285|
450 Class Lap Leaders
|Rider||# of Laps Led|
250 Class Lap Leaders
|Rider||# of Laps Led|
450 Class Overall Wins
|Rider||# of Overall Wins|
250 Class Overall Wins
|Rider||# of Overall Wins|
450 Class Overall Podiums
|Rider||# of Overall Podiums|
250 Class Overall Podiums
|Rider||# of Overall Podiums|
The August 2019 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The August 2019 issue of Racer X magazine is now out. Sign up now for the print and/or award-winning digital edition. And if you're already a digital subscriber head to digital.racerxonline.com to login. In this issue we check out how Lucas Oil Pro Motocross offers a second chance at titles for riders in both classes. No Fear MX exploded onto the motocross scene in the nineties, and we detail their rise and fall. Get to know new champions Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis. For over 50 years, the Oxley family has made Costa Mesa Speedway America’s prime destination for speedway racing, and we find out why. All these features and much more inside the August issue. Print subscribers can also open up the issue and unfold a collectible poster of Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Adam Cianciarulo. Here are the feature articles you’ll find inside:
“Clean Start” by Davey Coombs
The opening rounds of the 2019 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship offered a second chance at a title for top riders in both classes.
“The King's New Clothes” by Steve Matthes
Jeremy McGrath, Travis Pastrana, and more spoke with us for this oral history of No Fear MX gear and how it came and went.
“Alternative Methods” by Jason Weigandt
When Austin Forkner and Adam Cianciarulo faltered at the end of supercross, Chase Sexton and Dylan Ferrandis took their star turns. Get to know two new champions.
“A Night At The Speedway” by Mike Emery
For over 50 years, the Oxley family has made Costa Mesa Speedway America’s prime destination for speedway racing.
"10 Minutes With... Ryan Villopoto" by Steve Matthes
Check in with Ryan Villopoto about his summer plans.
Moto trainers going head to head in 2 Tribes, Diamond Don’s Riverport International Vintage Motocross race in Texas, how to attack sweeping corners, proper hand-control lubrication, rules for starting-gate movement, and much more.
All this—and more—exclusively in the August 2019 Issue of Racer X magazine. Not a subscriber? Sign up now for the print and/or digital edition.
Hey, Watch It!
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Review Podcast comes in with the Jasons joining host Steve Matthes to talk about the Southwick National. The trio does their usual gig—talking about the highlights from the weekend. Check it out.
Jason Weigandt’s Exhaust Podcast has made its return! Last weekend prior to the Southwick National, Weigandt sat down with Jordan Bailey—and others, including his 450 Class teammate Zach Osborne, good friend Chase Sexton of GEICO Honda, and team owner Bobby Hewitt—to see what life under the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna tent is like. You'd be surprised how fun and friendly the riders are with each other the day before a race. Hey, it's just like you bench racing with your buds, only at the professional level.
Matthes also caught up with Cade Clason, who’s suspension from FIM racing is finally over. Matthes called the privateer to ask about his plans, as well as his take on racing in Canada, if he can beat A-Ray in supercross next week, and more.
Daniel Blair and Producer Joe bring in Episode #125 of the Main Event Moto Podcast. This week, the duo talks about the 2019 Southwick National in Southwick, Massachusetts. Daniel focuses on the headlines in the sport and sometimes it goes off the rails. Listen to Episode #125 of the Main Event Moto Podcast below.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“Highway patrol pulled over a hearse in the HOV lane. The driver pointed to the back and asked, 'He doesn't count?'”—CNN
“Anchorage was 90 degrees on July 4. That's not a typo”—CNN
“Oh, the Places You'll Go (on Your Electric Bike)!”—Exhaust
Axell Hodges was supposed to try to break the long-distance jumping record on Sunday’s “Evel Live 2" shows on HISTORY Channel on Sunday, but instead he suffered a couple of busted ankles when he couldn’t land a practice launch. Check it out right here.
RedBud NATIONAL RACER X ALL-DAY PIT PASSES | LIMITED QUANTITIES LEFT
Going to the RedBud National this weekend? Want to be able to get into the pits all day?
The only way to cruise the pits whenever you’d like is with the Racer X All-Day Pit Pass, but quantities are limited! Get yours today while they’re still available and get all-day pit access plus a one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated for $50.
If you preorder online for this event, you’ll need to pick your Racer X Pit Pass up at Will Call, where you’ll also receive an extra copy of Racer X, the official event sticker, and Racer X stickers.
SUBSCRIBE AT REDBUD AND GET ALL 12 EVENT STICKERS
Are you headed to the RedBud National this weekend? Make sure you stop by the Racer X booth, located in Sponsor Village, and subscribe for as low as $15 and receive ALL TWELVE Official 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Racer X event stickers. You will also receive a complimentary magazine and free Racer X stickers. Be sure to check out our Racer X Brand items on display and grab some gear. See you at the races!
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #27.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!