Welcome to Racerhead, and if you’re going to the fifth round of the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, welcome to Oakland. Don’t forget that tomorrow night’s race has an earlier start time than most, as opening ceremonies begin at 5 p.m. West Coast time, and the first gate drop will be 5:30 p.m. (8:30 p.m. East), so get your DVR and/or fantasy lineups set to the right times. And if you want a quick and cool preview of the Oakland race, check out this one from our own Jason Weigandt, via the Weege Show, where he reported from the JGR/Yoshimura Suzuki test track.
The Oakland race marks the fifth round of the series but the first race of the second month of the series, as tomorrow is February 1. Were this the early eighties, this weekend’s race would mark the series opener: before 1985, the series didn’t start until the last Saturday night in January (and in the late seventies it started even later). But nowadays some guys are already out of this championships—especially in the 250SX West Region, where the series will be halfway over after tomorrow night.
If February starts the second month, who won January? Right now, according to the points, it was HRC Honda’s Ken Roczen and Star Racing Yamaha’s Justin Cooper, though it does feel like they’re going in different directions. After a so-so start at the Anaheim opener, where he placed a so-so sixth, Roczen won two of the next three, including a brilliant 1-1-1 in last weekend’s first Triple Crown race. He’s got the red plate on that red bike, and he’s definitely riding forward. The huge emotional win at St. Louis—his first in nearly three years—was immediately followed by a steady runner-up ride at Anaheim 2, and then that emphatic sweep in Glendale, Arizona. It feels like Roczen could go on a roll here….
It feels like Eli Tomac is primed to go with him. Eli had his own so-so Anaheim opener, and then another slightly-below-his-par finish at St. Louis. But then he came from way behind to win A2, and while he did not have the same great starts and finishes as Roczen in Glendale, he was better than everyone else. That leaves him eight points behind Roczen right now (92-84). Coincidentally, at this point last year, Roczen was second in points with 81, Tomac third with 80, while eventual champion Cooper Webb was leading at 83.
While Ken and Eli are doing better than last year, Red Bull KTM’s Webb is not. He’s been sick, but he’s also been a step off the lead pace. He’s got two thirds and a fourth, but that 12th at St. Louis has him nearly a full race behind Roczen now. It’s time to pull himself together and find that 2019 speed and confidence.
Jason Anderson is also doing much better than last year. He got hurt at the fourth round, so he was 12th in points. He had one podium finish in those first three races that he did finish, learning firsthand that the #1 plate really can be heavy when you first start racing with it. But a year on, things are looking much better for Anderson and the #21 Rockstar Husqvarna. (Oh, and at this point in his ’18 championship run, Anderson had 89 points; compared to ’18 champ Anderson and ’19 champ Webb’s 83, current leader Roczen’s doing quite well with that 92 right now.) For what it’s worth, I think Anderson is due for a win—and soon.
Trending the other way, after a red-hot start, is Yamaha’s Justin Barcia. He started with a win and a runner-up finish but then was off the pace the last two weekends—he was fifth at Glendale, but it was courtesy of his consistent 6-8-7 scores. He’s still third in the points with 81, three back from Tomac, three ahead of Anderson. Like Webb, he needs to get things turned around quickly.
As far as the 250SX class goes, it’s too close to call a January winner, as Cooper has had the red plate, his Star Racing teammate Dylan Ferrandis has a win and a lot of headlines, and Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Forkner actually has two wins but a crash-induced 17th at Anaheim 2. They are all within ten points, with TLD KTM’s Brandon Hartranft also in the mix after a consistent month.
Besides those four, the 250SX class out west has been about more disappointments than anything, including GEICO Honda’s misfortune at Anaheim 2 in Christian Craig getting the short end of the stick with Ferrandis, and Jett Lawrence having the best 17.5 laps of his young life. Unfortunately, it was an 18-lap race.
I think the only clear winners so far have been us fans. Sure, the Triple Crown had some problems with red flags and restarts, and Anaheim-to-St. Louis-to-Anaheim was a grind for all of the teams (and especially the privateers), and I know how frustrating it can be to get a TV slot pushed back for ice skating (though usually hockey in the case of Pro Motocross) for both the fans and the promoters. But I do think this whole 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship had a great first month, and I can’t wait for this next one to start tomorrow.
Milestones (Andras Hegyi)
At the Glendale Triple Crown, Ken Roczen became the first foreign rider, as well as the first Honda rider, to win a Triple Crown, which have been in existence since 2018. The German also became the first rider to win all three motos of a Triple Crown race in 450SX. The win marked his 13th victory in the 450SX Class, which means he's overtaken Honda legend David Bailey, the 1983 AMA Supercross Champion, who had 12 career SX wins.
As for Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Forkner, this marked his second win of the season and his ninth career victory in 250SX. He is ninth on the all-time list for most wins by a Kawasaki rider, behind James Stewart, Ricky Carmichael, Christophe Pourcel, Ryan Villopoto, Jeff Matiasevich, Mickael Pichon, Ivan Tedesco, and Adam Cianciarulo. Forkner also became the fifth Kawasaki rider to get at least two wins in three different 125/250SX seasons. But unlike Roczen, Forkner is not the current points leader. Rather, the red plate is still on the motorcycle of the first-round winner, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha's Justin Cooper.
PULPMX SHOW #412 (Steve Matthes)
We had a good time this past Monday with Eric Peronnard in-studio along with Ryan “The Newf” Lockhart. The 722 debuted his new song "It Has a Bog," which is hilarious, and you can listen to it on the PulpMX App exclusively for the next month or so. Or you can go watch the full PulpMX Show, and it's around three hours in. Amazing stuff from Adam.
Justin Brayton talked about his thoughts on the Triple Crown, his teammate Ken Roczen's dominating win in Glendale (Roczen was texting me during Brayton's spot, which was weird), and working with Eric on all the overseas races. Eric hinted that there have been some talks on making Paris, Geneva, and the two Australian races part of a series next year, which would be cool. I tried to get Eric to take Newf to Hawaii for the SX there after SLC in whatever capacity Eric could; Newf said he would be a flagger if needed. Or drive the Monster Truck they had there last year.
Dean Wilson came on, and he's always a great interview. Dean talked about his comeback from his MEC injury and how close he is to being 100% (he put it currently at 85%) and how he didn't hit a set of whoops until a week before Anaheim 1. Crazy!
Watch the Brayton interview here:
New Bike Season? (Keefer)
That's right, my favorite time of year is almost upon us again! You might sitting at your computer asking yourself, "How could this be? It's only the beginning of February!" Well, fortunately for us moto fanatics, we don't have to wait too far in the year to get our new-testing information. Why? Because KTM and Husqvarna will have their Factory and Rockstar Edition 450 introductions in a couple weeks at Glen Helen, and Racer X Films will be there to give you the scoop on how these two bikes compare to the 2020 models. These two bikes are set to hit dealer floors in early March, so stay tuned to here to get the on-track testing breakdown.
Marvin on the Mend (DC)
Wondering what Marvin Musquin is up to? He posted this shot of him walking on the very historic beach in Normandy, France, where he's been healing up from his knee surgery, with the caption, "Enjoyed my last walk on the Normandy D-Day beach before it’s time to head back home overseas."
This week he also posted a photo of himself doing rehab work on his knee. Even time off is still filled with work for the racers.
Jack Rhodes, RIP (DC)
Got a note from our longtime friend Shand Garcia about the loss this week of a Texas moto legend:
"Sad Day in Texas Motocross... Jack Rhodes 'The Father of Texas Motocross/Motorcycle Announcing' has passed away. If you raced anywhere in Texas over the past 50 years, chances are Jack called your name. He was the First, he was greatness on a Mic... He helped Lynn Nickerson hone his skills, giving Lynn his first opportunity at a National (Lake Whitney). Jack retired from announcing about five years ago. Simply put, there was Jack Rhodes atop the ladder--all others came after him. Jack has now reunited with Lynn Nickerson calling the shots upstairs!" Rhodes passed away at his home in Oklahoma City. He was 81 years old.
According to Terry Courdray, "Jack called the opening weekends of Lake Whitney and Mosier Valley one week apart in 1971. His passion was flat track racing and his years announcing the Ross Downs flat track were legendary. I can still hear him saying 'If you can win a main event at Ross Downs—you can win anywhere in the world.' And he always signed off with 'Good night everybody.'
Ricky Honored (DC)
Five-time Daytona Supercross winner, five-time AMA Supercross Champion, and ten-time AMA Pro Motocross Champion Ricky Carmichael is being honored by the folks at Daytona International Speedway, but not as part of the upcoming 50th Daytona SX. Rather, he will serve as an Honorary Race Official for the 62nd annual Daytona 500 NASCAR race, which will take place on Sunday, February 16. As the annual opener, it is the most prestigious race of the NASCAR Cup Series season. According to the press release, “As part of his Honorary Race Official duties, Carmichael will be introduced at the drivers’ meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies, ride in one of the parade cars and take part in question-and-answer sessions in fan hospitality areas and the UNOH Fanzone.”
Of course Ricky will also be there in March for the big 50th birthday party of the Daytona SX. He’s been designing the course for that race for the past dozen years or so and he’s the host of the Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross, as well as the Daytona Vintage Supercross on the Tuesday after the amateurs finish up. Heck, he’s even the TV color commentator for NBC Sports’ coverage of the Daytona SX, so he’s going to be very busy for the 50th!
“I’m really excited to be part of NASCAR’s most prestigious event,” Carmichael said. “Daytona International Speedway is very special me and I’m honored to have a place in its history. I’m looking forward to returning in March to celebrate the 50th running of the DAYTONA Supercross.”
Here’s the full press release.
And speaking of that Daytona Vintage Supercross, grand marshal Jeff Stanton is bringing another fast Michigander down with him for the race. Todd DeHoop, who won the 125 class at the 1988 Daytona Supercross, is getting his retro on for the big race, and he’s packing some amazing old JT Racing gear for his homage to ’84 Daytona SX winner David Bailey, with help from our good friend Johnny O’Hannah. (Like Scott Burnworth, DeHoop goes all-in when it comes to vintage racing!)
DeHoop posted on his Instagram: “In motocross there are Holy Grail’s, David Bailey is one of the most iconic Riders in the History of our sport. I have the privilege of having some Holy Grail JT racing gear. I will wearing this at the 2nd annual Daytona vintage Supercross in March. Thank you so much @davidbaileymx@johnnyohannah #kidinacandystore#christmasmorning “
For more on the Daytona Vintage Supercross, go here.
Mosiman the Fourth (Andras Hegyi)
In the last few years, Husqvarna, owned by KTM, has risen to new heights in Monster Energy AMA Supercross. In the history of the 125/250F Class, in existence since 1985, there have been only four riders to reach the podium on a Husqvarna. The first was Travis Preston, who took Husqvarna’s maiden small-bore supercross podium in 2001 when he won the Houston Supercross on a Fast by Ferracci CR125.
That was just before Husqvarna would go into a steep decline. Eventually the Italian motorcycle company Cagiva MV Agusta would end up selling it off to BMW of Germany, who in turn sold it off to the Austrian holding company known as Pierer Industrie AG, run by investor Stefan Pierer, who owned the majority of KTM. That was in 2013, and the Austrians immediately started rebuilding the brand and its racing fortunes.
Zach Osborne quickly became the most successful Husqvarna rider ever in the 125/250SX class, with 18 podiums and 7 main event wins as well as back-to-back 250SX East Championships aboard his FC 250.
Martin Davalos from Ecuador also had success on the Husqvarna. In 2016-'17, Davalos took six podiums and two wins with Husky.
In 2019, no Husqvarna riders reached the supercross podium, but last Saturday night in Glendale, Michael Mosiman finished third on his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna. That made Mosiman just the fourth Husqvarna rider to reach a podium result in the 125/250SX Class.
Husqvarna 125/250SX Class podiums:
Zach Osborne (18 podiums)
Martin Davalos (6)
Travis Preston (1)
Michael Mosiman (1)
988 Scholarship (DC)
Former Racer X employee Jason “Wheels” Todd has created a unique opportunity for one lucky St. Louis/Central/Southern Illinois motocross racer—the 988 Scholarship.
In an effort to give back to the community that has helped shape my career, and continues to provide outstanding support, I have decided to create a scholarship for ONE youth class rider who qualifies for the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC Amateur National Motocross Championship at Loretta Lynn’s. Upon being selected, the rider of choice will be granted an undisclosed donation to help with the cost of attending the amateur national. The idea behind this scholarship is to help families achieve their goal of attending the “World’s Greatest Motocross Vacation” with a little less damage to their wallets.
-Open to all youth participants competing in the Schoolboy 2 and under classes.
-Must have a GPA of a B or higher.
-A positive and contributing member of his/her motocross community. -Help other riders? -Positively promotes him/herself
-In a professional manner -contributes to miscellaneous tasks around the track such as, cleaning up after themselves.
-Parents present themselves in an upstanding manner.
-Respectful on/off the track.
How to enter:
Submit a well-written letter explaining why you feel deserving of this scholarship. If submitting for a 50cc rider, parents are encouraged to assist applicant with his/her submission.
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email subject: 988 Scholarship *Entrants must be from the St Louis/Central/Southern Illinois area*
“Wheels” asks for all submissions by July 12, 2020, and no submissions after that date will be accepted. Again, entrantsmust be from the St. Louis/Central/Southern Illinois area in order to receive the 988 Scholarship.
The march 2020 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The March 2020 issue of Racer X magazine is coming to newsstands and mailboxes soon. Subscribe to the print and/or award-winning digital edition today. And if you're already a digital subscriber head to digital.racerxonline.com to login and read now.
Inside the March issue of Racer X magazine
- Honda is expanding its support—technical, material, and more—to anyone who races one of their bikes.
- Jason Weigandt hit up supercrosses in Australia and New Zealand to watch U.S. rivals relax and have a good time together.
- Brand ambassadors are all over the sport now, but these retired legends don’t always wind up with the brands that helped make them great.
- The Mini O’s in November act as a bridge between racing seasons past and future.
All these features and much more inside the March issue.
Subscribe or renew your subscription to Racer X magazine and receive 12 issues, plus a free bag of Racer X Deadline Blend Evil Coffee and a $10 Rocky Mountain ATV/MC gift card.
Hey, Watch It!
The Mungenast Honda Museum in St. Louis is an amazing collection of Honda cars and motorcycles that was put together by the late Dave Mungenast Sr. and his family and co-workers in the Mungenast Automotive Family. One of the first Honda motorcycle dealerships in America, they somehow managed to keep one of just about everything that was ever stocked or sold at their dealership. Dave was also an accomplished racer and an early pioneer of adventure riding. Dave lived a rich and extraordinary life, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer passed away in 2006. The museum carries on his legacy and we would highly recommend a visit to it the next time you're in St. Louis. In the meantime, check out these two videos of a walking, talking tour through the museum, called "Dave's Dream."
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with JT and Weege joining me to talk about all the things that happened at the Glendale Supercross. Triple Crown fever, ET and KR, Austin Forkner’s win, Marty versus Hill talk, and a cameo from Zacho!
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with legendary moto media guy Dennis “Ketchup” Cox. We talk about his early years in Texas, moving to SoCal to work at MXA, starting Motocross Magazine, riding a works Honda, and he shares other great stories from over the years.
This week on the Main Event Moto Podcast, Daniel Blair brings you track side reports while he's down in the dirt for round four of supercross 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. You get an inside line into how the NBCSN TV broadcast works, as well as some deep analysis as the night unfolds during the Glendale Triple Crown.
“BILLY JOEL12 MOTORCYCLES TRASHED BY BURGLAR... You May Be Right, He's Pissed!!!”—TMZ
“A dog owner bought a $6 million Super Bowl ad for the veterinary school that saved his beloved pet's life”—CNN
"Florida man mistakenly pumps gas onto the deck of his boat"—ABC News
"POLICE BEAT: Apparent clean break for man who defecates in car wash" - Wicked Local
Our friends at Cycle News reported on Wednesday that the Catalina Grand Prix is coming back to Catalina Island in November 2020. Once one of the most anticipated races on the west coast, the race had it's heyday in the 1950s. It returned briefly with help from Red Bull in 2010, and many thought it would never come back. Here's the full report.
Here is a story from New Zealand on WXC contender Rachel Archer, who is returning in 2020 to go after an AMA Grand National Cross Country title.
Congratulations to Don Emde, author of the remarkable book The Speed Kings—a history of the rise and fall of board-track motorcycle racing in America early in the last century—which was nominated and selected as one of the three finalists in the "Best Book" division of the 2019 Motor Press Guild / Dean Batchelor Awards for Journalistic Excellence. The winning title will be announced at the MPG awards dinner on Sunday, February 23rd at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles. The Speed Kings is available online at EmdeBooks.com as well as Autobooks (Burbank, CA); Barbers Motorsport Park (Birmingham, AL); Motorcyclepedia Museum (Newburgh, NY); National Motorcycle Museum (Anamosa, IA); SBK Corse (Laguna Hills, CA) and Wheels Through Time (Maggie Valley, NC).
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!