Main Image: Mitch Kendra
Welcome to Racerhead on the eve of the season finale, the 12th and final round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship here at Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana. A new 250 Class Pro Motocross Champion will be crowned tomorrow, and in all likelihood it will be Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s first 250 Pro Motocross title since 2012. Adam Cianciarulo has a 30-point lead on Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis, so he basically needs just 21 points tomorrow to clinch what would be his first title. Remember, these are the same two guys who went into the Las Vegas SX finale with Adam leading by eight points and needing just 17 that night. Unfortunately, he crashed and threw the whole thing away. Now he gets a shot at avenging that defeat.
The 450 Class already crowned its champion, Eli Tomac, giving the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider his third-straight 450 Class #1 plate. A shakeup late in the race at Budds Creek last week put Tomac where he needed to be, and now he’s here just to put a stamp on his season. I have a feeling he’s ready to take a short break, giving some of the criticism he’s received over his team’s decision to sit out the Motocross of Nations. But he will be right back on the bike in no time and starting to prep for the Monster Energy Cup.
Behind Tomac, there are a lot of guys who probably want to end this season on a high note. Team Honda’s Ken Roczen showed flashes of his old self over the summer, but he also struggled with his health at times. Red Bull KTM’s Marvin Musquin could finish this championship in second for the third year in a row, which has to be frustrating. Rockstar Husqvarna riders Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne have the MXoN and Team USA to look forward to, but they would certainly like to end their summers with a 450 Class national win. (And for Anderson, it would be his first outdoor win ever—he’s the only AMA Supercross Champion in history to have not won an outdoor national.)
And then there are guys for whom this season really did not go according to plan. Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing’s Justin Barcia and Aaron Plessinger both probably feel like they should have had better results, and the same goes for Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Joey Savatgy. Plessinger loves this track—it’s like a home race for the Ohio-born rider—but he’s just not recovered as quickly from the injury he suffered at the Daytona SX. For Aaron or Justin or Joey, a podium finish tomorrow would be a great big deal.
When you think back on how the season started, with Barcia winning the Anaheim SX opener, it seemed like he was going to be in the mix all season long, but not staying healthy hurt him as the season went along. Same goes for Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS' Blake Baggett, who won his first AMA Supercross at round two. It didn’t really end up happening for either of the veterans.
But it did for the winner of the third round of SX, Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb, who would go on to win the 450SX AMA Supercross Championship. It took Webb a while to get his outdoor speed up, and he was looking great by the time we reached Spring Creek, where he won his first 450 Class overall. But now he’s home hurt too. Still, one must consider his season a huge success, given what he accomplished indoors.
So now we bring it all to a close here at the Ironman, on a mostly new track design in what looks to be beautiful weather. I hope the fans here get to see something special, no matter who wins the races or that one remaining title. Thanks to all the riders and race teams that have supported Lucas Oil Pro Motocross all summer long, and thanks to the fans who have made it a banner year at the races as well as those watching at home and on TV. See you next summer!
Check out the changes to the track design here:
Multiple Championships (Jason Weigandt)
Eli Tomac has the 450 Class National Championship wrapped up, which is a welcome change from coming down to Ironman without the title wrapped in 2017 and 2018. I talked to Eli quickly before today’s press-day ride, and the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider said he actually did back things down this week at home and only rode on Wednesday. Some riders will tell you they’re already down to one day a week of riding at this stage of the season to try to stay fresh for the weekends, but for Eli, he was still full-on with riding and training until now. He told me that, yes, it’s a weird feeling to finally be at this track without everything on the line.
In contrast, Adam Cianciarulo holds a 30-point lead in the 250 Class, so like Tomac here the last two years, he doesn’t have to win the race, just not blow it. Adam said he rode once this week—but that’s typical of his program this late in the season—and wasn’t really thinking about taking it easy or just trying to stay safe. The goal, for Adam, is to approach this race just like any other. To that end, I asked if he has any extra people here with him this weekend for a potential celebration, and he said no. Same group as always, because he’s treating it like every other race.
What else is on the line? Marvin Musquin holds a five-point lead on Ken Roczen for second in the 450 Class championship. I asked Marvin if second matters, and he said it absolutely does. Not only does second sound better than third, but he admitted he does have bonus money on the line for second compared to third. I’ve also heard that Roczen might have second-place bonus money on the line as well (a few top riders have had title-only bonuses over the years, but 1-2 bonuses are also common). So they’re going to be going for it! Don’t expect anyone to wreck anyone, but don’t expect either rider to mail it in this weekend either. This stuff happens. Last year, Justin Barcia went 1-1 at this race but still ended up one point behind Roczen for third in the series. I heard Barcia had a very large bonus for third, but he was denied it by a single point. Sometimes at the finale, there’s more on the line than we all realize.
ELI TOMAC IN NUMBERS (Andras Hegyi)
3: Eli Tomac is the first Kawasaki rider to get three titles in the history of the 250/450 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, in existence since 1972.
4: Tomac is the fourth motocrosser to take at least three consecutive MX titles in the history of the class. Gary Jones got three straight titles between 1972 and '74, Tony DiStefano took three in a row between 1975 and '77, while the record-holder Carmichael collected seven straight titles between 2000-’06.
4: Besides Carmichael (Honda), DiStefano (Suzuki), and Jeff Stanton (Honda), Tomac is also the fourth man to be a three-time champion riding with a same brand.
37: As far as podiums go, Tomac is the most successful Kawasaki motocrosser in the 250/450 MX. Last Saturday was his 37th Kawi podium.
19:Regarding wins, Tomac is also the most successful Kawasaki rider, as Budds Creek was his 19th outdoor national victory.
ADAM’S SEASONS (Jason Weigandt)
Here's some stats I had the MXResearchdept work on this week: Cianciarulo's missed races. He will make every scheduled round this calendar year.
2013 - Missed first 4 races - started rounds 5 through 12 - total started: 8, total missed 4
2014 - Supercross - was racing 250 East - got hurt at Toronto, missed rest of the season.. Total Started: 6, total missed: 3
2014 - Motocross - missed entire season. Total Started: 0. Total missed 12.
2015 - Supercross - was hurt and missed entire season - would have raced 250’s. Total Started 0, total missed 8
2015 - Motocross - started first 6 races, then got hurt and missed rest of year. Total Started 6, total missed 6.
2016 - Supercross - missed entire season. Total Started: 0. Total Missed: 9.
2016 - Motocross - started all 12 races. Total Started: 12. Total Missed: 0
2017 - Supercross - ran 250 East. Total started: 9. Total Missed: 0
2017 - Motocross - started all 12 races. Total Started: 12. Total missed: 0
2018 - Supercross - Ran 250 West. Total started: 10. Total Missed: 0
2018 - Motocross - missed entire season. Total Started: 0. Total missed: 12.
2019 - Supercross - Ran 250 West. Total started: 10. Total missed: 0.
2019 - Motocross - ran 250 MX. Total Started: 12. Total Missed: 0
TOTAL POTENTIAL MX STARTS: 84. Total starts: 46 (54.8%) . Total races missed: 38 (45.2%)
TOTAL POTENTIAL SX STARTS: 55. Total Starts: 35 (63.7%). Total races missed: 20 (36.3%)
TOTAL POTENTIAL STARTS: 139. TOTAL STARTS 81 (58.3%). TOTAL RACES MISSED: 58 (41.7%)
(He also missed the 2014 and 2015 East/West Showdowns which were not points races, and not included in these totals)
MXoN UPDATES (DC)
Team USA just did a press-day photo shoot here at the Ironman. Number 13 in the MXGP slot will be Anderson, #14 in MX2 will be Justin Cooper, and Zach is #15 in the Open division. As I wrote last weekend, I like their chances—they have three guys from a couple of teams that are really into it. And the sands of Assen will make every moto count for every team. If they go over early as planned, get as comfortable as they can with the whole area, and work together as a team, maybe they will get some of the breaks they haven’t gotten the last five years, where guys have crashed, gotten injured, or just don’t ride well.
Other teams are having some turmoil too. The heavily favored Dutch home team just saw Glen Coldenhoff, star of last year’s MXoN, win his first MXGP race in several years. And read this press-release quote closely—it’s not good news for anyone but the Dutch. From Jeffrey Herlings:
Here we go again! I’ve been riding for a couple of weeks now and feel ready to try Uddevalla (Sweden, this weekend). As I’ve said, 2019 is only really about the Motocross of Nations for me at Assen next month and by trying the motos in Sweden we are making another step towards that goal. There is no target for this weekend other than to finish the races and find some good feeling on the bike.”
The Dutch also announced that they have two MX2 riders lined up and will choose at a later time. They are Calvin Vlaanderen and Roan van de Moosdijk. Of course Vlaanderen is actually from South Africa, but he transplanted to the Netherlands and rode for them last year.
The British team was just announced, only to have two of their three riders get hurt. Ben Watson was to be their MX2 rider, but he went down injured, and then it was discovered that Max Anstie punctured his long when he crashed en route to a win in the second moto at the Lommel MXGP.
Max posted this update on social media:
Hey guys, not a very good update to be giving you guys - the doctors say I can’t fly for 4 weeks because my lung could collapse fully. So that’s my MXGP season over ? As far as the Nations, I’m not out just yet! I have to see how my healing goes in the next 2/3 weeks and the docs are keeping a close eye on me and will make a decision after my next few scans…. (When I crashed) I just thought I got winded really bad but this was when I damaged my lung. I honestly thought my injuries there were nowhere near as bad as they have ended up being. That’s why I didn’t get properly checked, I genuinely thought I was just a bit stiff.
And then there’s Team Canada, which I will let Steve Matthes tell you about here soon.
Team USA (Mitch Kendra)
For the last few years, the riders representing Team USA at the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations have participated in a press conference at the season-finale Ironman National. Earlier today, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne joined Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper to talk about the upcoming event—which will take place on September 28 and 29 in Assen, Netherlands.
One of the biggest takeaways from the press conference is the team functioning as one. Osborne says the team is making arrangements with both their manufacturers and event promoter Youthstream to make sure the team pits together and works closely throughout the event. Plus, Anderson is going over to the event September 1 and Osborne is going over a few days later, so the Husqvarna teammates will have nearly a month to get ready, with Cooper coming over two weeks in advance.
“These guys have been on board from the get-go,” Osborne said on his enthusiastic teammates. “That’s the biggest thing: finding guys that are enthusiastic about it and want to be there.”
The event is totaled with team scores, and all three riders understand the importance on working together. “Our goal is to get everyone as close to possible with one another,” said Osborne, who was named team captain. “It’s a massive team effort.”
Anderson was asked if it will actually take some pressure off the team to come into the race as sort of an underdog. He doesn’t think that matters, because regardless of expectations he feels the American team always draws a lot of attention, which brings pressure anyway.
“We’ve been the underdog for years but we’ve had a big presence there,” Anderson said referring to Team USA’s struggles recently, especially last year on home soil. “Yeah, we’re underdogs but we still have a lot of attention on us.” Cooper added, “It’s USA against the world.”
Read More on the 2019 Motocross of Nations
Cooper mentioned as an amateur rider he didn’t even know if he would make it to the professional level. Now, the 21-year-old understands he will be competing at the top level against world champions.
“It’s the biggest honor you can have as a rider,” he said. “I’m pretty speechless about it.” Although he will be making his MXoN debut, Cooper is paired up with two veteran riders who have experience racing the event. Osborne has voiced his opinion about his opportunity to represent the country but while the other two haven’t been as out-going with their thoughts on the race, both riders are excited the opportunity and the task ahead of them.
Anderson, who raced for team USA at the 2016 MXoN, said he’s passionate about the event as well.
“I love the event. The event is fun,” Anderson said. “Obviously, we have pride for the country. It’s gonna be a good time…All three of us are ready to go over early and prepare the best we can.”
Anderson has experienced both the highs and lows of the event. He won a moto when he competed at in Maggiora, Italy, only to be landed on by a lapper as he rolled the finish-line jump. He said he also experienced a broken foot at the event as well.
“I hope it’s a little less dramatic,” Anderson said.
Osborne, who raced in Europe for several years, said the team will have to become adapted to more than just the build of the track.
“Adapting to the time change, the food, everything…just getting used to it,” Osborne said.
Cooper, the youngest of the three by far, said it’s easy to put pressure on himself but he’s just going to live in the moment and do the best he can. He’ll have two pretty great teammates by his sides to soak up as much information as he can from.
We got our first glimpse of Team USA during press day today, as the riders showed off their gear, number, and plastics for the MXoN. Jason Anderson is #13, Justin Cooper is #14, and Zach Osborne is #15, take a look below:
IMG_0911ec Mitch Kendra IMG_0951cc Mitch Kendra IMG_0937cc Mitch Kendra IMG_0982 Mitch Kendra IMG_1228 Mitch Kendra IMG_1203 Mitch Kendra 19_Ironman_Export-3527 Derek Garcia 19_Ironman_Export-3529 Derek Garcia 19_Ironman_Export-3571 Derek Garcia 19_Ironman_Export-3567 Derek Garcia 19_Ironman_Export-3526 Derek Garcia 19_Ironman_Export-3564 Derek Garcia
OH NO CANADA (Matthes)
My country’s MXoN effort over the years, if it were a Facebook relationship status, would be "It's complicated." The news dropped this week, to no one's surprise, that there will be no Team Canada in Assen. Yep, coming off the team’s best performance in years at RedBud (and might've been top-ten had Tyler Medaglia's bike not blown in the last moto with ten minutes to go), they’re not going back.
The Canadian Motorcycle Association is the official sanctioning body in Canada according to the FIM, and even though they haven't run the national MX series in Canada for over 25 years and barely run ANY races at all anymore, the FIM won't look at anyone else when it comes to Canadian motocross. Which, when you look at how the FIM has treated Cade Clason, Brock Tickle, and Christian Craig, fits right into their motto, which seems to be "The FIM-We're Screwed Up!" Add this to the list.
Marilynn Bastedo, the ruler of the CMA for forty-ish years, decided that she didn't want the MXoN manager of the last few years, Kourtney Lloyd, doing the job anymore. Maybe because the team did so well, maybe because Lloyd raised more money than ever before in Canadian MXoN history, maybe because of the first-class operation she ran with bikes being shipped—I'm not sure. Maybe Marilynn just doesn't like people being happy with the team’s effort the last few years—that's really the only thing I can think of. She also didn't like the good job the manager before Lloyd did, because she fired Ryan Gauld as well.
The riders and teams in Canada, upon getting the news that Lloyd was out, decided that enough was enough and they wouldn't support the CMA's choice for manager for 2019, who just happens to be … related to Marilynn! The effort to go to the MXoN is huge, and the money raised by Lloyd and Gauld over the years was instrumental in the team putting together a great effort. Not sure if Marilynn was going to have a bake sale or what, but yeah, even if the teams and riders went, the CMA's effort would've been laughable.
The CMA's press release just reeked of pettiness, and I had to laugh when it said "a small amount of people" worked against the CMA's MXoN effort. All the riders and all the teams in the pits plus 2,500 signatures on a petition I guess is a "small amount of people."
So once again my country’s MXoN effort is back to being a joke. The CMA and Marilynn Bastedo are relics of a bygone era, and the sooner the FIM drops the CMA, the better. They can't be bringing any money to the FIM—they don't race anything! Attention, Rob Dingman, the VP of the FIM: Can you help my country, please? It's a disgusting situation, and the losers are the Canadian fans and riders. Again.
ORANGE WEEKEND (Andras Hegyi)
On the both sides of the Atlantic, KTM won again after long periods. In the FIM Motocross World Championship, the Austrians put an end to their winless series in the premier MXGP class that lasted since May 12, since the GP of Lombardia in Italy, Tony Cairoli's last win before his injury. That was a wait of three months and nine GPs. And in America, in the 250 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, KTM won again after 14 months and 17 rounds.
Last Sunday the Dutchman Glen Coldenhoff, star of the 2018 Motocross of Nations, where he swept both his motos, took the third GP win of his career, and his first since 2015. Coldenhoff also swept both motos of a Grand Prix for the first time. However, Honda's Tim Gajser still clinched the 2019 MXGP world title.
And last Saturday in Maryland, at the GEICO 250 National at Budds Creek, KTM took their first victory in this class since June 23, 2018, the fifth round of last year's Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, held at Muddy Creek, Tennessee. The winner both times was Troy Lee Designs' KTM's Shane McElrath. The North Carolinian has now taken podium results with KTM in four different seasons, going back to 2016. Besides the French rider Marvin Musquin, McElrath is only the second KTM rider to get podiums in at least four seasons in the 250 AMA Pro Motocross. Musquin actually did it in five seasons between 2011 and '15. Finally, there have been 16 crossers to get podiums with KTM in the 125/250 AMA Pro Motocross Series.
The october 2019 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The October 2019 issue of Racer X magazine is out now. 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.
Inside the October issue of Racer X Illustrated: How top riders deal with heat in Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, behind the scenes of the film Bennett’s War, exploring Unadilla history, and a trip to Wheels & Waves in the south of France. All these features and much more inside the October issue.
“Triathlon” by Jason Weigandt
A brutally hot summer took its toll during a three-race stretch spanning the 2019 Florida, Southwick, and RedBud Nationals.
“Hollywood Moto” by Davey Coombs
Go behind the scenes of Bennett’s War and how it hopes to change the way motocross is presented on the silver screen.
“Unadilla Established 1969 - Part 2” by Davey Coombs
We explore the fabled New York track’s decades on the AMA Motocross circuit.
“French Dressing” by David Langran
What better place to visit in the summer than the south of France—especially during the arts-and-motorcycles party known as Wheels & Waves.
Poster Info (Print Edition Only)
Our pull-out collectible poster features Rockstar Energy Husqvarna riders Jason Anderson and Zach Osborne blasting around the Southwick National.
Hey, Watch It!
The first-ever FIM E-Xbike World Cup Race from Imola. Gate drop at the eight-minute mark.
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Review Podcast comes in with the Jasons joining host Steve Matthes to talk about the Budds Creek National. The trio does their usual gig, talking about the highlights from the weekend and whatever else weird stuff comes up. Check it out.
In the latest edition of The Racer X Exhaust Podcast, Jason Weigandt sits down with his fellow American Flat Track series broadcaster AJ Allmendinger—a race winner in IndyCar, NASCAR Cup, and sports car racing, and one of the most dynamic personalities in racing—to compare and contrast motorcycle racing and car racing. It's a fascinating look into the economics, schedules, technology and pressure of racing at all levels. Weege says this is one of his favorite podcasts ever!
Daniel Blair and Producer Joe bring in Episode #130 of the Main Event Moto Podcast. This week, DB and Producer Joe are joined in the Batcave by Vince "V$" Blair. This week, the trio talks about the 2019 Budds Creek National. Hang out with them as Daniel focuses on the headlines in the sport and sometimes it goes off the rails. Listen to Episode #130 of the Main Event Moto Podcast below.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“Mexican court says cocaine use is legal -- for two people”—CNN
“Fidel Castro's crocodile bites man at aquarium party”—CNN
“Huge alligator in Florida spotted scaling fence at Navy base: 'They don't respect our security measures'”—Fox News
“Cardi B Tells NYPD to 'Suck a Fart' After They Shut Down Back-to-School Charity Event”—Complex
“Trophy Hunter’s Bones ‘Turned To Mush’ As 11ft Alligator Savages Him”—International Business Times
“Harley-Davidson unveils upcoming electric bicycle lineup”—Yahoo News
Since we're in Indiana, Happy Birthday to Indiana Pacers great and vintage Maico motocrosser Rik Smits, the Flying Dutchman himself.
And we are already looking forward to hitting the Maine Event in two weeks up in New England!
ironman NATIONAL RACER X ALL-DAY PIT PASSES | LIMITED QUANTITIES LEFT
Going to the Ironman 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 $100*.
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.
*Purchase of this Racer X Pit Pass includes a general admission ticket.
SUBSCRIBE AT Ironman AND GET ALL 12 EVENT STICKERS
Are you headed to the Ironman 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!
Marty Tripes' 2019 $60,000 Big 3 Two-Stroke MX Event