Welcome to Racerhead. Hopefully, you and your family and friends are doing well in these strange, chaotic, and even scary times. Stay positive, stay informed, and keep washing those hands! I don’t really have to tell you what’s going on around the world. Just turn on any news channel. They all paint the same picture, some with darker shades, others with rosier hues. Regardless of the channel, we’re in a real mess right now. No matter, I have faith we will get through it—whatever “it” is. I also have no doubt that it will get worse before it starts to get better.
As far as dirt bike races go, we’re all on hold there. I told you the plans for Lucas Oil Pro Motocross last week—the cancellation of Hangtown for 2020, the pushback of Fox Raceway at Pala and Thunder Valley, and even the new opener at WW Ranch pushing back to June 13. Now we have a better understanding of what’s happening with Monster Energy AMA Supercross. They have postponed Las Vegas (April 2) and Salt Lake City (May 2) and announced that they will resume the championship later this year. It’s safe to say “later” means September and October. And MXGP has pushed back to at least June 7 in Russia right now as they deal with the same challenges that Feld Entertainment and MX Sports Pro Racing are up against. We’re also watching the Loretta Lynn’s Area Qualifiers slowly get pushed back, as well as the GNCC Series events. (I spoke at length about all of this earlier this week with DMXS Radio’s David Izer and Kevin Kelly for an extended show. If you’re interested in my take on how this will hopefully all work out in the end, you can list to this week’s DMXS Radio episode.)
So we wait, we work on our social distancing, and we try to entertain ourselves as best we can. Some guys are still out riding and posting things, others have shut down their riding or their race teams. I applaud the Captain himself, French MX legend Gautier Paulin, for being the first to announce he would park his dirt bikes so as not to risk crashing and having to go to a hospital and take up bed space or hospital supplies. And here in the States I saw Blake Baggett make a similar announcement. Nothing wrong with riding a motorcycle on the trails or cautiously around a track, but please be careful—the health-care system is working at overload capacity already and doesn’t need one of us in there too.
Here at Racer X Online and next door at MX Sports we’re working on lots of “what-if” models. Events manager Tim Cotter has been working double overtimes, as have Roy Janson, Derek Garcia, Dan Rhinehart, Griff Cotter, has my sister, Carrie, and everyone else. And so have Jason Weigandt, Steve Matthes, and Jason Thomas as they come up with new programming ideas to show on Racer X Online and RacerTV.com. And we have been strongly suggesting to NBC Sports Gold that it would be cool if they opened up Gold to everyone who wanted to watch the backlog of races, and it sounds like they’re about to. (More on that below.)
On a personal level, I must say I haven’t spent this much time at home since the one time I got really sick with the flu—just the flu, not the monster coronavirus we have flying around now—about four years ago. During that downtime I got a chance to finish reading some long-overdue books, including Rick Atkinson’s “Liberation Trilogy” about the U.S. Army in World War II: An Army at Dawn, The Day of the Battle, The Guns at Last Light. Best war books I ever read—and I have read a lot of them!
Now I’m not home alone, so I alone don’t get to choose what we watch. As a result, I’m not exactly devouring the Pulitzer Prize-winning literature but rather all four Hunger Games with my daughter, Sloane; am all caught up on Practical Jokers, Black-ish, and Modern Family, and everyone is all-in on Tiger King. Don’t ask, just go to Netflix and prepare to be, well, wow, hard to describe!
Again, take care, pay attention, enjoy the downtime however you can, and wash those hands!
Live Weekend Anyway (Jason Weigandt)
This will be our third weekend without Monster Energy Supercross to cover, and folks are getting pretty good at filling in the gaps. For the second weekend in a row, MX Sports Pro Racing will host a Watch Party on Facebook Live with a classic race. Tomorrow at 3 p.m. Eastern, watch both 450 motos from the 2013 Spring Creek National. I’ll be in the chat room along with some others who watched the race in person. We did this last weekend with the 2014 High Point National, with myself and Jason Thomas bench-racing with you folks. It was really fun, so we’ll keep doing it each weekend. Trey Canard played a big role in the race we watched last week and again in Spring Creek 2013, so he and I will jump on Instagram Live tonight at 9 p.m. Eastern to give you a preview of this weekend’s race, and a review from High Point last weekend. Be following @racerxonline to watch that.
Also, Jake Vanada, the motocross and supercross chaplain, will host chapel service live on his website tomorrow at 11 a.m. Pacific (the same time chapel service would have taken place at the Seattle Supercross).
Yesterday, Steve Matthes, Jason Thomas, and I hosted a live podcast where we took real calls from real listeners. We revealed everything we know about the rest of the 2020 racing season—Lucas Oil Pro Motocross in June, Monster Energy Supercross later (likely in September and/or October) and how that will impact everything: riding, training, contracts, other fall races, etc. We also broke down Tiger King on Netflix. If you know, you know. Listen to the podcast archive if you missed it.
We also dove heavy into the world of motocross and supercross gaming. Our man Kellen Brauer put together a simulated version of the did-not-happen Detroit Supercross via Monster Energy Supercross the Game 3. I announced it. Kind of a surprise podium!
Then on Wednesday night Kellen hosted a live simulation of the upcoming Seattle Supercross using the MX Simulator game. Kellen’s been doing this for years, but we moved it to our Racer X Illustrated YouTube channel for the first time. Be sure to subscribe to Kellen’s Start Your Systems YouTube channel also for more on these games and to watch the Seattle archive.
Yeah, gaming is getting its closeup right now. Kellen and I talked about it all in the latest Racer X Exhaust Podcast this morning.
Also, getting really desperate, I asked fans to send me clips of them doing things, and I announced them! Look for a lot more where this came from, and credit to Fox Sports’ Joe Buck for the idea.
So, lots to watch this weekend even without a race. We’ll keep this going for as long as we have to!
NBC Sports Gold! (Press release)
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.—NBC Sports Gold, the direct-to-consumer streaming service from NBC Sports, has announced it is providing FREE access to nine different sports passes, including the popular "Pro Motocross Pass," for a limited time through the month of April. With this access, viewers receive commercial-free and on-demand content, including full event replays and exclusive qualifying shows, from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing.
NBC Sports Gold can be accessed via the NBC Sports app, which is available in the United States through the Apple App Store (iOS), Apple TV (tvOS), Google Play (Android), Microsoft Store, PlayStation Store, Android TV, Amazon Fire (TV & Tablet), Amazon Echo Show, Roku, Chromecast, Xfinity X1, Xfinity Flex and Smart TV.
Access can also be found at NBCSports.com/Gold.
- Duration: Through May 1
- Available content includes:
- All races from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons
- All qualifying shows from the 2017, 2018, and 2019 seasons
- Pro Motocross highlights
In addition to the "Pro Motocross Pass," NBC Sports Gold is also providing complementary access for a limited time to its "IndyCar Pass," "TrackPass," "Cycling Pass," "Snow Pass," "Rugby Pass," "Premier League Pass," "PGA Tour Live," "Premier Lacrosse League Pass," and "Track & Field Pass."
For information about the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, please visit:
Chad Reed Yard Sale? (jason Thomas)
The internet was stirring this week as Chad Reed's 2020 450s went up for sale. I reached out to Chad himself to get more info, but it sounds as if he, like many of us, is hoping to be as flexible as possible during this difficult time.
Chad is at an interesting crossroads. He was originally headed into his final month of Monster Energy Supercross while also working in more Super Trofeo Lamborghini events. In fact, he was going to miss two of the final SX rounds in favor of his four-wheel venture. All of that is on pause for now, though, as is the rest of the sporting world.
So where does that leave him for the rest of 2020 and beyond? That is where this flexibility comes in. If the series does indeed resume this fall, Reed would have the ability to pivot. With rumors of an all-new 2021 CRF450, he could upgrade his equipment. He could also switch brands entirely, throwing a curveball into the mix. All options are put back onto the table now. The silver lining of this is that we could see a fully healthy and prepared Chad Reed when Monster Energy Supercross picks back up. His rib injury in November really curtailed any preparation. That led to disappointing results and a frustrated rider. If the world heals and we ramp back up, this summer could give Reed that chance he lives for.
As for his career, I fully expect to see Reed back in 2021, albeit in a limited capacity. I believe his love for racing will drag him back, hand-picking events that make sense for him. His legend is still being written, and his autograph lines have never been longer. We are facing an uncertain future both on and off the track. Our sport will need all hands on deck. Now more than ever, Chad Reed should be invited back with open arms anytime he decides to line up behind a starting gate.
Farewell Saporiti (Andras Hegyi)
The international motocross community, and specifically the Italian motocross family, lost a legend last week. On March 19, Giorgio Saporiti passed away at the age of 82. The Capo, or "chief" in Italian, was a very passionate motocross fan. He was the inventor and the organizer of the FastCross race, held in Italy between 1984 and 2000 and the most prestigious motocross event in the European off-season in the 1980s and ’90s. He was also a world-renowned architect, furniture designer, textile maker, and more.
"With a sad heart I have to say goodbye to Giorgio Saporiti Sr., AKA 'Capo,'" wrote Ricky Johnson, a frequent participant in the FastCross races. "I talked to Paolo and Giorgio Jr. this morning. He went in his sleep this morning. The Saporiti’s are my Italian family. I had so many great days in Besnate and at @fastcross_official . RIP Capo. You treated us all like champions."
The FastCross was held in Arsago Seprio, a small town in Northern Italy near the city of Varese. (Arsago Seprio also was famous for hosting the Italian Grand Prix in 1985 and '88.) The race became legendary. The FastCross was a duel between the top U.S.-based riders and the FIM World Championship contenders. The biggest stars of the era took part, with Johnson taking three wins. (And as you can see above, the Saporitis and Johnson were close friends.) Other American stars like Larry Ward (3 wins), Jeremy McGrath, Damon Bradshaw, Trampas Parker, Bob Moore, and Bader Manneh (all one win each) conquered the FastCross. Among the world championship stars, the Belgian Stefan Everts had two victories at the FastCross, while South Africa’s Greg Albertyn, France’s Sebastien Tortelli, and two Italians, Maurizio Dolce and Franco Perfini, had one win each.
The FastCross lived to see 17 editions. After 2000, the race ceased because of some disagreements between Saporiti and the Italian Motorcycling Federation (FMI). But it is possible that the FastCross might be reborn in the future, as Giorgio’s son, Paolo Saporiti, and Fabio Tognella, an Italian businessman—he has bought the motocross track of Arsago Seprio recently—are hoping to bring it back. For more, go here: www.giorgiosaporiti.com.
Trivial Games (DC)
A user by the name of "TDeath21" posted an interesting question on the Vital MX Forum, asking "What’s the longest amount of riding years we can get using only two riders, given that they have competed directly against each other in the premier division (250 2 stroke, 450 4 stroke)? Another way of wording it is what’s the longest bridge we can make with only two riders?"
I'm still trying to figure that one out, but I did recall this gem of motocross history:
Rocket Rex's last race was the 1990 Spring Creek 500 National—yes, he scored points, finishing 25th on a Honda.
Ryno's last race was the 2012 Hangtown in the 450 class. He qualified but crashed out on the first lap.
So from 1972 through 1990 is the arc of Staten's career; 1990 through 2012 is Hughes... That one will be tough to beat! But it wasn’t TDeath21’s original question. Anyone on here want to make a guess in the comments below?
An Excerpt from We Went Fast (Mitch Kendra)
We Went Fast is known for long, in-depth pieces of history and story telling but recently covered more topical news. He asked six riders the same six questions on the current pause in racing. Here are some of the responses:
What have you done during this downtime that you wouldn’t normally have time to do?
"Adam Cianciarulo (10th in 450SX points): Florida isn’t on lockdown (March 25) so we’re still training. But we’re doing an off season version of what we would normally be doing. Lots of golf, too. Getting in a many rounds as I can. I moved to a new house recently and I’m on a golf course. In fact, I’m lining up a putt right now for birdie… [long pause, the ‘tap’ sound of a club making contact with a ball, long pause] go, go, Go, GO, GO, GO! IT’S A BIRDE! A 35 footer while I’m on the phone with you."
Where were you and what were you doing when you found out they cancelled Indianapolis?
Zach Osborne: I was just at home. I came back from California and I knew things were about to get crazy. I saw it on Instagram. Obviously, at first I was skeptical, but then I saw it on Racer X and knew it was legit.
How many rolls of toilet paper are you down to?
Justin Brayton: [Laughs] We’ve got about a week or two left and then we’ll have to get creative.
Check out the full post on www.wewentfast.com.
View this post on Instagram
NEW POST: I asked AC and Justin Cooper (and others) how many rolls of toilet paper they were down to. Click the direct link in my bio or go to wewentfast.com to read the rest of the latest post, "Coronavirus Chronicles".⠀ ⠀ I don’t normally cover breaking news or current events in racing but I wanted to document this extraordinary period in our lives. I asked a handful of riders six questions (some serious, some irreverent) related to the coronavirus pandemic.⠀ ⠀ We Went Fast is free of advertising. Keep the stories coming by joining the team on Patreon (patreon.com/wewentfast) or buy merchandise at wewentfast.com/shop. ⠀ ⠀ #coronavirussucks #adamcianciarulo #justincooper #supercross #wewentfast
High Dez Quarantine (kris Keefer)
While the races are on hold for the foreseeable future and the local tracks shut down because of COVID-19, my neck of the woods has been a popular destination for some riders to get some outdoor riding in. I always like it when I get to ride with faster riders because I learn a lot by watching them tackle my test tracks I have close to the house. I know how I ride them, but when you watch really good riders, you can learn where you can go faster. I know I’m old, but I love learning about technique and how I can possible get faster. Maybe I’m crazy because I want to get better at the old age of 42, but to me it's just fun riding with these younger faster dudes!
Zach Bell came up Monday and we did a couple motos on a large turn track. Once that was completed, we went on a trail ride that involved finding some new hillclimbs and the occasional cliff jump. Some people forget how good Zach Bell was when he was on GEICO Honda, but that 2013 Dallas Supercross heat race really set him back in his motocross career. After some time off with injuries, he transitioned into more of an off-road racer and has been one of the top riders in the WORCS and AMA National Grand Prix Championship. In fact, if not for a DNF at the last round of the NGPC in Taft, he would be your points leader. When watching Zach ride on the rough desert tracks, you can immediately tell he hasn't lost his motocross speed. He scrubs, has excellent roll corner speed, and isn't very hard on the machine. I also like that he doesn't blow out berms and is one of those riders who re-form corners after they're blown out. He thinks ahead and knows when to straighten out switchbacks as well as cut down from fluffy berms. His riding IQ is very high, but to me it was amazing how fast he could go on that 450 being that small!
Tuesday, I went out to Carson Mumford's compound to ride with him, Christian Craig, Cameron Mcadoo, and Garrett Marchbanks. When I showed up in the morning, Carson was in the water truck making sure the track was good to go for the day's motos. Carson works his ass off in the tractor/water truck and then motos down all day. I love to see a young kid work hard for what he wants! Up at Camp Mumford there is literally nothing around, and it kind of reminds you of somewhere you wouldn't want to be when nightfall hits. However, when you're a professional motocross rider, having three to four tracks to ride as well as being secluded is literally like heaven on earth. The boys did their motos, pushed each other, and were in full race mode. Per usual, Christian looked like he was barely riding but was hauling ass, McAdoo sounded like he never shut off the throttle, Marchbanks literally used his long legs to manual/pump his way through each roller without losing traction, and Mumford looked more and more like CC62 with each passing week. Carson has been riding with Christian a lot, and you can definitely see a change in Carson's riding style as of late. If there is a style you want to emulate, Christian Craig's is one of them.
Wednesday, I went back out to my local dez tracks by the house with none other than Alex Ray and his classic over-rev style. To me, A-Ray has to be one of the most improved riders of the 2020 supercross series, even though he can get catawampus from time to time. A-Ray needs more desert experience, but from what I was told he will be back up here for some preseason outdoor testing. You can check out his vlog from the high dez right here:
Home, Sweet Home... in Belgium? (Andras Hegyi)
Belgium is a very important country in motocross, and Lommel is the de facto capital of Belgian motocross. And for the two factory KTM teammates, Antonio Cairoli and Jorge Prado, Belgium and Lommel are a home away from home. Both the nine-time world champion Cairoli and the two-time MX2 champ Prado have lived and trained in Lommel for a long time outside their own homelands of Italy and Spain. Both own houses in Lommel where both of them found refuge during this horror coronavirus pandemic.
The headquarters of the Italian De Carli Team, the team of Cairoli and Prado, are in Rome, the capital of Italy. Unfortunately, right now Italy is the epicenter of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic in Europe. Because of that pandemic crisis in Italy, both Cairoli and Prado figured they better remain in Belgium after racing the first two rounds in the 2020 FIM Motocross World Championship, the MXGPs of Great Britain and the Netherlands. Belgium is also being struck by the horror of the coronavirus, but the situation there is less critical than in Italy, and also the quarantine and the isolation laws and regulations are less strict than in Italy. Riding motorcycles is also forbidden in Belgium—the motocross tracks are all closed—but unlike in Italy, there is the possibility to leave home and practice outdoor activities like running and cycling. Cairoli usually trains at the MX Center in Lommel, a motocross building complex opened in 2019. He lives in Lommel with his wife, Jill Cox, and his six-month-old son, Chase Ben. As for Prado, he lives with his parents and his sister.
As strange as it may sound, this involuntary break has a silver lining for both Cairoli and Prado. Each started the world championship season injured. Cairoli has shoulder and knee injuries to heal from, while Prado broke his femur in December. Both missed valuable training time, and now they need to make up for that by doing more physical training during this hiatus to improve their physical fitness. But no doubt like the rest of the world, they would certainly prefer racing right now to what is actually happening in the world.
The may 2020 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
The May 2020 issue of Racer X magazine is out. 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 the issue in full right now.
Inside the May issue of Racer X magazine
- As Monster Energy Supercross departs the West Coast, the 250SX East Region takes the spotlight.
- Ricky Brabec is the first American motorcyclist to win the Dakar Rally.
- Former GP racer Rob Andrews on what makes Belgium’s Namur one of the world’s great tracks.
- Arenacross is making a comeback—again—with AMA Kicker Arenacross.
Subscribe or renew to receive your choice of two exclusive BeeG Creations rider stickers!
Hey, Watch It!
Life Lessons in Online Video Conferencing...
Highlights of the 1990 FastCross, one of the famous races organized by the late Giorgio Saporiti
Denny Hamlin: "Win a race. Hang a banner. Right @JoeGibbsRacing?"
The legendary racer Mike Brown posted some highlight reel video of his son Brandon's basketball skills. The kid is an extremely talented athlete in his own right!
And you can never go wrong watching "On Any Sunday" again, in any language (thanks to Rick Doughty of Vintage Iron for grabbing me this remarkable original Spanish-language movie poster)
RC and Fro take on the Coronavirus in this week's Real Talk 447.
LISTEN TO THIS
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast comes in with a chat with Weege and JT joining host Steve Matthes to talk about what we’ve been doing on this shutdown, what we think about in terms of what’s coming up in racing. We also took your live calls and talked Tiger King.
This week on The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast, Steve Matthes called up Adam Cianciarulo to talk about what he’s doing now, his recovery from injury, thoughts on the 450SX class, some old races he will watch on this break, and more.
This week on the Main Event Moto Podcast, Daniel Blair, super-agent Lucas Mirtl, and Producer Joe talk 2020 Monster Energy AMA Supercross.
“Professional motocross rider four times over cocaine limit when he crashed van during West Yorkshire Police chase”—Wakefield.co.uk
“Thousands of Liberty students expected to return to campus amid coronavirus outbreak”—Richmond Times-Dispatch
“Join today. Earn 1,000 bonus miles just for shopping”—American Airlines email header
"Shopper Desperate, But Not Desperate Enough, To Go Vegan..."—Drudge Report
“Andi on Disney's 'Motocrossed' 'Memba Her?!”—TMZ.com
“'TIGER KING' STAR JOHN FINLAYI GOT NEW CHOMPERS!!!Got Some Issues With Netflix, Too”—TMZ.com
Fresno Smooth viewing party and live chat with Jeff Emig, Seth Enslow, director Adam Barker and more...
Together We Can Support the Industry
Press release from USWE:
Support U.S. Sports Events With Our "Ride It Out Foundation"
Our community is full of active people, and we understand just how impactful recent events have been for sports all around the globe. All of us at USWE are disheartened by the sudden and rapid spread of Covid-19, which has brought a lot of saddening news across the world and has also, put MTB, Trail Running, Motorsports, and Winter Sports - expectations, dreams, and goals for the coming season… on hold.
Events support our way of living - they’re where we meet, hang out, and get to know each other. But most importantly, these events are where we set goals for the future - and inspire ourselves to reach new heights at the next event.
So, we put our heads together and asked ourselves:
“What can we do right now, to support the event organizations of the sports we hold dear?
A Foundation To Support Sports Events
We can’t meet you guys at the events right now, but we can still provide you with our “kick-ass” products via online-delivery. Hopefully, the more support we show to the event organizers, the sooner we will be able to reunite and continue business as usual.
The proceeds will be distributed to the approved event organizers in June.
With your help, we can support a few event organizers and if the rest of the industry follows suit, we could make a massive difference!
So if you want to play your part in keeping our beloved local events alive, consider joining athletes and weekend warriors everywhere in support of this initiative.
As always, thank you for your continued support.
For now, stay safe and take care of each other.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!