Two down, seven to go. Racerhead is finally coming to you from someplace other than the media tent at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. After a month of Fridays down south, we are all done with LLMX for 2020—we hope. Now we’re on to Ironman Raceway in Crawfordsville, Indiana, for the third round of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. All of the social distancing, mandatory masks, closed paddock, temperature checks, and safety policies are in place, and Indiana is allowing up to 6,000 spectators for tomorrow’s race, though all fans are required to wear a face covering, as are everyone in the pits. It’s not ideal for anyone, but remember, this is 2020. Ironically, the Ironman is the one race since the Daytona SX that will happen on its original date: August 29. But instead of being the series finale of a 12-race series, it’s the third stop on an abbreviated nine-race tour. And the first race not to be held at Loretta Lynn’s.
I would like to begin by thanking everyone at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch and Humphreys County in general for hosting both the 39th Annual AMA Amateur National and the first two Loretta Lynn’s Pro Motocross races, neither of which was planned before summer started (and the latter of which wasn’t planned at all). Also, thanks to the racers, the race teams and the industry for being okay with us even having pro races at what has long been an amateurs-only track. But these are very weird times for everyone, and Tennessee was in much better shape to host the riders and race teams than some other states that are not able to host big sporting events like these races this year. Sure, it rained cats and dogs last weekend, and it was a real mudder by the end, but again, two down, seven to go.
The first back-to-back doubleheader wasn’t without its share of drama. First, there was the situation with 450 points leader Zach Osborne’s bike not firing in time for him to ride in the A group. As you probably know by now, the fuel pump went out on his Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, and by the time the team figured it out, the A practice was over. With only one round of timed qualifying due to the weather conditions, Osborne—who was already seeded in the 40-man finale, as he is in the top ten in points—still needed to get at least one lap in on the clock. Because there was no second practice, nor an LCQ, it was decided that Osborne could go in the B group, where he logged a tenth-fastest lap and went to the gate tenth in the first moto—only to crash off the start. (There was some grumbling, but MX Sports and the AMA have allowed others who missed their chance to practice go into the other group, and we would have done it for #1 or #99 or #999.) Osborne, of course, ended up winning the day’s overall with 5-1 moto scores. He also earned the Ricky Carmichael Hard Charger Award for going from 31st on the first lap to 5th. Been a while since someone won the overall as well as the comeback award.
The next drama that followed involved the other points leader, Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha’s Dylan Ferrandis. He qualified fastest in his one timed qualifier and was set to have first gate pick for the first moto, but about 45 minutes before the race Ferrandis and a member of his team were looking over the starting gate, trying to figure out the best spot for him, and ended up doing a little grooming in front of the starting gate, which is forbidden in the rulebook. This did not go unnoticed by some nearby competitors. It was brought to the AMA’s attention, and a tractor soon went over and scraped the whole starting line, negating whatever advantage may have been gained by the grooming. The race referee also decided to move Ferrandis from first gate pick to 20th, which was costly given the conditions. To his credit, Dylan took it in stride, then scrambled from mid-pack and a first-lap spill to reach second place. It was an impressive ride for the points leader, and he would have won had RJ Hampshire not been out there too.
Coincidentally, the inside gate that Ferrandis wanted ended up with JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki’s Alex Martin for both motos, and he ended up getting great starts in both motos—and gave Suzuki its first 250 Class moto win since another Minnesotan, Ryan Dungey, won a moto at Washougal back in 2009, a race that Alex was in, riding a Honda CRF250 and finishing 13th in the second moto.(And make sure you watch this week’s Troll Train video featuring both Alex and his brother Jeremy, the overall winner at the second round.)
And then there was just the general madness of a mud race, which we will detail a little more down below. But I wanted to point out Justin Hoeft’s 7:09 lap in the first 450 moto that our man Kellen Brauer broke down in his Race Examination video. Kellen wondered aloud how Hoeft could have finished 17th despite that long lap and his infield excursions. I had a front-row seat to it all—that was the section of the track I was trying to help out guys as a course worker—and can explain what more or less happened.
Hoeft was having problems on his Team Magua’s/JGL Husqvarna in the first moto and missed the entrance to the mechanics’ area, then went around the second corner and toward the Ten Commandments, then apparently decided to head into the mechanics’ area again. But a wall of pushed-off mud was there and Justin got stuck, just as Carson Tickle had too. I was there and helped get Carson out, then we helped get Justin out. I pointed him to the opening in the muck that allowed him to cross the track and go into the mechanics’ area, via its exit. (Hey, it’s a mud race, and it would have been impossible for him to get through the mud to entrance from there.) He soon went to get back on the track, and he went around the inside to where he went off the track in the first place, which was the outside of the corner before the Ten Commandments, as seen in the video.
Justin Hoeft didn’t do anything wrong, but the conditions on the infield made it difficult for him to just get off and then back on the track. He never stopped trying, and got his bike to the finish, albeit two laps down. But only eight riders actually made all 14 laps, six riders completed 13 laps, and Hoeft was the third of five riders across the line to complete 12 laps. Only 23 riders finished the race at all. It was good enough for 17th place, despite his 7:09 lap, and he and everyone else who finished deserve credit for not giving up or breaking down.
One Lap Down (DC)
So, when was the last time a rider was lapped in a moto by the leader and still managed to finish on the overall podium? Not sure what the answer to that one is, but I do know it happened at Loretta Lynn's 2 to JGRMX/Yoshimura Suzuki's Alex Martin. In the first moto, A-Mart had the lead early on the first lap, only to crash after the Ten Commandments. (Don't get me started on how they came to be known as the “Ten Pack” on the TV shows.) Martin got up and completed the first lap in 23rd place, and then slowly but surely worked his way up to fifth place by lap 12. But then he fell down and ended up getting lapped by both RJ Hampshire and Dylan Ferrandis. Martin would not be lapped by anyone else in the 15-lap moto. Of the 40 riders in the race, just six—Hampshire, Ferrandis, Jeremy Martin, Cameron Mcadoo, Carson Mumford, and Mitchell Harrison—completed all 15 laps. Alex Martin was the first rider on the track to complete 14 laps, and thus finished seventh in the moto.
In the second moto, Martin got the early lead and led every one of the 15 laps (which raises the question, how good he might have done had he not fallen twice in the first moto?). That gave him 7-1 moto scores and third overall, good enough for the podium behind little brother Jeremy (3-2) and Monster Energy/Star Racing Yamaha's Dylan Ferrandis (2-4).
I don't recall anyone else going from being lapped in one moto to an overall podium, at least not since the obvious one: Millville 2006 (and, coincidentally, the Martin family's racetrack). That was another mud race, as well as the year that Ricky Carmichael lapped everyone in the second moto on his Suzuki RM-Z450. So not one but two lappers in the second moto still managed to finish on the podium. Yamaha rider David Vuillemin went 7-2 for second overall, and Factory Connection Honda rider Kevin Windham went 9-3 for third.
MAD MAX (Matthes)
Round three of the championship this weekend, and let's all hope for good weather, yeah? We might end up with some good rain on Friday night, but we've seen the Crawfordsville track be able to take some water. I can't do another mudder, but then again, it's 2020. Expect the worst.
We had Max Anstie on the PulpMX Show on Monday night, and as anyone who's dealt with Max, either here for Star Yamaha or the last number of years over in Europe, knows that he's a good interview. Anstie told us he's not just here to ride around—he does think he can start getting closer to the front (as we saw in the second moto this past weekend) and that at one point, he was on his honeymoon this off-season and was deciding to either go to Europe and find a ride or head to California. Thankfully for the HEP Suzuki team, he headed to the USA.
Anstie mentioned that when he was here the first time, his dad, Mervyn, controlled everything in his life. As in, he didn't control his money (or even his own Facebook page), he said he didn't have a phone and all he did was ride. His dad handled everything. In fact, he said he barely talked to anyone back then! But as he mentioned to us, he's now married, his dad is not controlling his career anymore, and he's been on his own making a go of it as a pro. And at times, as we've seen, he's been very fast. He's a great sand rider, so when we come to WW Ranch Motocross Park, I think we could see some podium rides from Mad Max. Or who knows, maybe even before then! (And yes, Anstie also confirmed that the 722 is different from any other teammate he's ever had before!)
So keep an eye on Anstie this summer. He's a real wild card, I think, in the 450 Class. Certainly going to be interesting for him and his team. Does anyone else get flashbacks to Sebastien Tortelli on the #103 Suzuki out there?
Best Ever Finishes (DC)
Mud races have long been known to even out the playing field. Whether you’re a veteran factory rider or a privateer, rain is often the great equalizer. And when it's as bad as it was last Saturday at Loretta Lynn's, it can really shake up the results. Sure, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's Zach Osborne won both the mostly dry Loretta Lynn's opener on August 15 and the mudder that was last Saturday, others notched much better finishes this time than they've ever had before.
In the 250 Class there was Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki's Cameron Mcadoo, who went 4-5 for a best-ever fourth overall, young Caron Mumford's fifth in the opening moto aboard his GEICO Honda—and he started out sixth in the second moto before an early exit when his motor seized—and Rockstar Husqvarna rookie Stilez Robertson, who rebounded from a lousy debut to finish 12-7 for eighth overall. Lance Kobusch got his first national points with 16-8 finishes for tenth on the day. And the privateer Gared Steinke had a first-ever top ten finish with tenth in the first moto. Hardy Munoz got his first national points with a 17-12 for 14th overall. South Carolina KTM rider Austin Root scored a 13th, Zach Williams posted a 15th, Josh Varize a 16th, and Max Sanford a 17th—all career-best moto finishes.
In the 450 Class, Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing rider Broc Tickle got second in the first moto, equaling his highest moto finish in a career that dates back to 2006. Privateer Max Anstie, on the Twisted Tea/HEP Motorsports Suzuki, nearly won the second moto and enjoyed an AMA career-best third in the moto and fifth overall. Maryland's Justin Rodbell went 12-12 for tenth overall (read the full-time HVAC worker's thoughts on the day), and Swedish rider Fredrik Noren ended up a career-best fourth in the first moto. Texas privateer Jake Masterpool was a solid seventh in the first moto, and California's Chase Felong earned his first national points with a 13th in the second moto, matching Coty Shock's best-ever 13th in the first moto. New Jersey's Jeremy Smith (16th), California's Matthew Hubert (17th), Barry Carsten's son Cory (18th) and Pennsylvania's Jared Lesher (19th) all posted their best motos ever in the Tennessee mud.
WON AND NONE (DC)
When was the last time the winners of the first motos in each class failed to finish the second moto? It happened last Saturday when Rockstar Energy Husqvarna's RJ Hampshire and Monster Energy Yamaha Factory Racing's Justin Barcia both looked fantastic in leading the way home in their respective first motos, then disappeared from the screens altogether in the second. In RJ's case, he went down on the first lap in the second moto and completed the first lap way back in 30th place. But he never stopped charging, picking off riders everywhere. He made it all the way up to seventh and would have been on the podium had his bike not quit with three laps to go. Coincidentally, I was helping push RJ's bike off the infield when, over my headset, the TV spotter asked that we make sure to send him to the podium, as it looked like he was going to be third overall. I turned around and told RJ, who was pushing from the back, and he just shook his head and kept on pushing. And despite not completing the last two laps, Hampshire still ended up 18th in the final tally. By that point there were only 26 bikes still running out on the track.
Barcia was in a class by himself in the first 450 moto, clearing out quickly and then topping his Yamaha teammate Broc Tickle by 48 seconds. He started out up front in the second moto and seemed ready to pounce again, but a crash on the second lap pushed him back to 20th. He clawed his way back up to 12th by the tenth lap and would have salvaged a top-five overall finish at that point, only to have his YZ450F's engine go out on him.
Double Wins to Start (Andras Hegyi)
After winning the season opener, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Zach Osborne repeated by also winning the second round last Saturday at Loretta Lynn's 2, joining a long list of riders who have won the first two rounds of the 250/450 Pro Motocross Championship, in existence since 1972, as well as the old 500cc championship, which ran from 1972 to 1993. And besides Kent Howerton, Osborne is only the second Husqvarna crosser to take two consecutive wins in the history of the 250/450 motocross. After winning the last round in 1974, Howerton would then win the season opener round in 1975. Howerton also won the first two 500 rounds of the 1976 season.
Riders to win the first two rounds in a 250/450 or 500 motocross season and then win the championship
Kent Howerton (1976) 500 Husqvarna
Bob Hannah (1978) 250 Yamaha
Bob Hannah (1979) 250 Yamaha
Danny Laporte (1979) 250 Suzuki
Kent Howerton (1980) 250 Suzuki
Broc Glover (1981) 500 Yamaha
David Bailey (1984) 500 Honda
Jeff Ward (1985) 250 Kawasaki
Broc Glover (1985) 500 Yamaha
Ricky Johnson (1986) 250 Honda
Ricky Johnson (1987) 250 Honda
Ricky Johnson (1987) 500 Honda
Jeff Ward (1989) 500 Kawasaki
Jeff Stanton (1992) 250 Honda
Mike Kiedrowski (1993) 250 Kawasaki
Ricky Carmichael (2002) 250 Honda
Ricky Carmichael (2003) 250 Honda
Ricky Carmichael (2004) 450 Honda
Ricky Carmichael (2005) 450 Suzuki
James Stewart (2008) 450 Kawasaki
Ryan Villopoto (2013) 450 Kawasaki
Eli Tomac (2018) 450 Kawasaki
Riders to win the first two rounds in a 250/450 or 500 motocross season and then NOT win the championship
Sonny DeFeo (1972) 250 CZ
Barry Higgins (1972) 500 CZ
Bob Hannah (1983) 250 Honda
Danny Chandler (1983) 500 Honda
Jeff Stanton (1990) 500 Honda
Jeremy McGrath (1996) 250 Honda
Ricky Carmichael (2007) 450 Suzuki
Chad Reed (2011) 450 Honda
James Stewart (2012) 450 Suzuki
Eli Tomac (2015) 450 Honda
Ryder D Jumps to the 250 (Mitch Kendra)
Longtime Team Green Kawasaki amateur Ryder Difrancesco officially made the jump to 250F model earlier this week. On Monday, the 15-year-old posted a photo of himself aboard a Kawasaki KX250 (no, not a two-stroke—Kawasaki dropped the “F” back in 2019) with the caption “LETS GO!! 250 time” with a fire emoji.
The Bakersfield, California, native won all six of his motos at the 2020 Monster Energy AMA Amateur National Motocross Championship, as he swept both the Supermini 1 (12-15) and Supermini 2 (13-16) classes. With his performance at the event, DiFrancesco received the 2020 Youth Rider of the Year award. DiFrancesco said at the Loretta Lynn’s Ranch his next move would be to go right to the 250 model. The eight-time minicycle amateur champion will look to add to his total title count next year at the Loretta Lynn's Ranch as he transitions to the big bikes.
Here's a clip of DiFrancesco on the KX250:
Six for 6 (Andras Hegyi)
The two-time 250 Pro Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin has always been more of a motocross specialist than a supercross expert. After his severe back injury that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season, the GEICO Honda rider returned to racing this year. He raced in the 250SX East Region with some podium results but no wins. He pulled out of that championship with three rounds remaining to be eligible in the 250 class also in 2021. The younger Martin brother (he’s 27, three years younger than Alex) has been much faster since motocross started. He was on the podium in both of the first two rounds and last Saturday he won. It’s been since June 2, 2018, when he was last victorious (Thunder Valley). So it’s took 812 days for Jeremy Martin to win again.
By getting both podiums and a win, Martin entered some elite clubs. He is only the third racer to win in six different seasons in the history of the 125/250 Pro Motocross Championship, in existence since 1974. The only other two are legends Mark “The Bomber” Barnett and Steve Lamson.
Jeremy Martin is also only the seventh rider to get podium results in at least seven different seasons in the 125/250 motocross.
Erik Kehoe: 9 seasons (1984, ‘85, ‘86, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89, ‘91, ‘92, ‘93)
Steve Lamson: 8 (1991, ‘92, ‘94, ‘95, ‘96, ‘97, ‘98, 2000)
Larry Ward: 8 (1988, ‘89, ‘90, ‘91, ‘92, ‘93, ‘01, ‘02)
Mark Barnett: 7 (1978, ‘79, ‘80, ‘81, ‘82, ‘83, ‘85)
Guy Cooper: 7 (1986, ‘87, ‘88, ‘89, ‘90, ‘91, ‘92)
Mike Brown: 7 (1995, ‘96, ‘98, ‘01, ‘03, ‘04, ‘05)
Jeremy Martin: 7 (2013, ‘14, ‘15, ‘16, ‘17, ‘18, ‘20)
The october 2020 ISSUE OFRACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
@octaneco’s video of Ryder D's last Supermini race
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Ricky Carmichael's relationship with American Suzuki has ended. In the fall of 2004 I traveled down to The Goat Farm to watch him practice on the Suzuki RM250. Here's some raw footage and interview clips from the day. The interview is a bit all over the place because this wasn't taken from the final edit. Congratulations to @rickycarmichael on a successful 15 year run with Suzuki and good luck on your new adventures. #rickycarmichael #Suzuki #twostroke #motocross #supercross #wewentfast
Ben Townley rip a two-stroke around his property.
Listen To This
Jason Weigandt, Jason Thomas, and host Steve Mattes got together to talk about what we saw at the Loretta Lynn's National 2, what they can take from the mud, why Alex Martin is a title threat, is this it for ET’s chances, Weege denying Max Anstie’s TV interview [Editor's note: this is NOT true], and more.
Adam Cianciarulo really did say "Honestly, my first initial thought was Anderson has been riding like an a-hole kinda all year, running me off the track and stuff,“ during a Monday-night press conference. When he got run into by a Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, those were his thoughts—until he found out it was actually Zach Osborne running into him, to which Adam said, “I saw the 16, and we’ve run into each other so many times, I almost just laugh it off at this point. I didn’t have the pace he had, so I did my best not to be too emotional and get crazy mad try to do something stupid.”
It was an enjoyable Monday-night Zoom press conference after a wild round two of the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Marvin Musquin, Cianciarulo, RJ Hampshire, and Cameron Mcadoo met with the media to discuss the season thus far.
This week on the Main Event Moto Podcast, Daniel Blair, Chris Cooksey, Coach Robb Beams, and Producer Joe talk about the first two rounds of the 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. Hang out with them as Daniel focuses on the headlines in the sport and sometimes it goes off the rails.
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Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!