Main Image: Casey Cochran, photo by Cole Beach Photography
Welcome to Racerhead on this post-Thanksgiving Friday. Of course it’s “Black Friday,” that unofficial holiday of department store–crowding, online-shopping, wallet-emptying retail sales, which is really more like a penalty than a play date. My inbox is full of sales pitches, virtual bargains, and scanner coupons, as always, though it seems much different this year, because this has maybe been the blackest Friday of all. We are still dealing with the pandemic, and while there is hope on the horizon with multiple vaccines, this Thanksgiving weekend did not see a return to normal for anyone. At least not yet. But the fact that it’s almost within reach is one big thing we can all be thankful for, and people trying to go about their shopping routine—my son Vance was up and out the door at 5 a.m., mandatory mask on per state orders—it all just seems to still be surreal.
Another thing to be really thankful for right now can be seen streaming live on www.racertv.com. It’s the 49th THOR Mini O’s from Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainesville, Florida, and it’s been one gigantic and positive motocross race for minicycles, amateurs, vets, and even a few pros. Even in a pandemic, a mind-blowing 5,200+ entries smashed records, making it in all likelihood the single biggest dirt bike event of all time, and that’s without the usual contingent from the West Coast making the trip to Florida. Still, it’s the most positive sign I’ve seen all year that we are going to be okay—we just need to be smart and patient and get to the other side of this horrible virus. We’ve said many times before that motorcycle industry sales are way, way up, and previous races we’ve seen, like the season-ending Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship National at Fox Raceway at Pala, which had a shockingly large crowd, have shown that people really can’t wait to get back out to the races.
The Mini O’s is showing this trend in real time. Seemingly every fast kid in the country is there, and it’s been fun and interesting to catch some glimpses of the future. And because Feld Entertainment and the AMA are counting this event for SX Futures points, a few riders there will very soon be racing in Monster Energy AMA Supercross—including Red Bull KTM’s new signee Max Vohland and the free agent Ty Masterpool. (How no one has picked this guy up yet is a mystery to me.) And top amateur prospects for 2021 like Levi Kitchen, Nick Romano, Matt LeBlanc, Cullen Park, Kaeden Amerine, Evan Ferry, Gage Linville, Gavin Towers, Talon Hawkins.… Just too many impressive kids to name.
Kade Johnson Cole Beach Photography Daxton Bennick Cole Beach Photography Levi Kitchen Cole Beach Photography Gage Linville's new ride: Rock River Yamaha YZ250F. Cole Beach Photography Haiden Deegan Cole Beach Photography Jack Chambers' KTM Cole Beach Photography Nick Romano taking a supercross checkered flag. Cole Beach Photography Casey Cochran likes the taste of gold. Cole Beach Photography Who will take home the #1 plate in their respective classes? Cole Beach Photography Haiden Deegan pre-race. Cole Beach Photography Gavin Towers fresh onto the Kawasaki KX250. Cole Beach Photography Casey Cochran was on the GasGas both figuratively and literally, after a switch from Suzuki. Cole Beach Photography Evan Ferry giving some champagne showers. Cole Beach Photography More sites from Gatorback Cycle Park. Cole Beach Photography The gate has dropped! Cole Beach Photography Brandmates Nate Thrasher and Levi Kitchen battling on the supercross track. Cole Beach Photography Krystian Janik Cole Beach Photography Talon_Hawkins_2020_Mini_Os_CBP_-_SXPractice-49 Cole Beach Photography
One thing I did notice yesterday were the viewing numbers on RacerTV.com and also the RacerTV YouTube page. They were noticeably higher in the heat races when Haiden Deegan was out there than in the other heat, which featured his very fast rival Casey Cochran on the GasGas, having finally climbed off his Suzuki RM80s. Both of these kids will be fun to watch in the next couple years. It will also be interesting to see how Deegan’s growing popularity and media-savvy family will help him transition into the bubble of being a pro motocrosser someday. And if you want to see a sign of the times in how things are going in the minicycle market, scroll down on the bike brands of all the kids in one of these classes:
Of course the Mini O’s are the bright spot right now in a time of year that’s seen a lot of other major events unable to run. The Monster Energy Cup was canceled, along with all of the major European SX races like Paris and Geneva. And looking ahead at 2021 it’s looking doubtful that there will be any Monster Energy AMA Supercross races in California, the state the series has visited the most over the years. It will be strange not to see or hear anything “Anaheim” unless it pops up at the very end of the schedule in April…
Another thing that would have been fun and interesting that we missed in 2020 was the Motocross of Nations, of course. It was set to be held in September, then got postponed, and ultimately scrapped altogether by Infront Moto Racing. It will return in 2021, scheduled for Imola in Italy, and it should be a huge global celebration of motocross, especially after we missed it in 2020. But if they had run it, who would have gone? Who would have won? Those are questions our own Keller Brauer asked with his feature “The MXoN That Wasn’t,” is a fun and interesting read for this holiday weekend.
When the 2020 THOR Mini O’s come to a conclusion this weekend (as well as A Day in the Dirt, which is a fun race that happens on this weekend every year out at Glen Helen), it will mark both the end of this racing season and an optimistic start to 2021. Monster Energy AMA Supercross is set to start in mid-January in Texas, and the AMA Kicker Arenacross Series (with new title contender Mike Alessijoining the Babbetts Kawasaki team) in Missouri on January 8, and MXGP set to begin again in Oman on April 3 (126 days, 10 hours, 51 minutes, 32 seconds at the very moment I looked on MXGP.com and saw their Tag Heuer Countdown Clock) and the Ricky Carmichael Amateur Supercross coming up in March, there’s lots to look forward to. But for right now, we motocross fans should be thankful that the sport and the industry in general have made it this far. The price has been steep in lives lost, jobs lost, experiences lost—my son, Vance, is in the Class of 2020. Not only was the end of his senior year of high school mostly wiped out, but so was his freshman year of college, and we’re still not out of it.
Twenty twenty-one can’t get here soon enough. I think we’re all thankful that 2020 is almost over.
Driver #222 (Andras Hegyi)
No moto, but still racing. Nine-time world champion Antonio Cairoli, who finished third in the 2020 MXGP overall standings, rarely takes a break. Last Saturday, two weeks after the FIM Motocross World Championship ended, the 35-year-old went racing again, but he went from racing on two wheels to four, channeling his inner Ken Block to have some rally racing fun. #222 often uses the off-season from MXGP to jump into rally car racing (except for those years for when he's rehabbing injuries). Last Saturday, Cairoli participated in the last round of the Italian Rally Championship, which was the 11th Tuscan Rewind Rally, held in Tuscany, near the city of Siena. Cairoli also raced in this event last year, finishing 11th in a Czech-made Skoda Fabia R5. This time around he finished sixth in the gravel driving a South Korea-made Hyundai i20 R5 with co-driver was Anna Tomasi, one of the most successful female co-drivers from Italy.
The 2020 one-day Tuscan Rally consisted of a shakedown and nine special stages. The total length of the special
Stages was 92.13 kilometers, while the total distance was 341.8 kilometers. Cairoli’s worst special stage result was a 12th in the third stage, while his best result was a third in the eighth. The field included some racers who usually race in the World Rally Championship or the European Rally Championship. The field had 91 participants in all, so Cairoli finishing sixth is an excellent result for a part-timer!
The Corrections (DC)
Here's a letter I got this week from my longtime friend and loyal Racer X reader Rick Conley:
Hope all is well... Just wanted to drop you a note and say "Thank You" for the new 2021 calendar, looks absolutely incredible. Question: In the month of Jan 2022, you have a picture of Broc Glover leading the 125 class. The caption states Hangtown National, but I really think it's the national at Sears Point, same year: 1980... The hill and track layout, does not look like anything at Prairie City Hangtown.
Hope you have a great holiday season, and hopefully we can catch up at Hangtown this upcoming season.
Oh man, Rick is right, and that's my bad. I did not realize there was a 125/500 National held at Sears Point in 1980, and I just assumed that's what Hangtown would look like with the old layout. But after looking a little closer at how baked the grass and landscape is, that looks a lot more like Sears Point on June 29, 1980, than Hangtown did on March 23 at Prairie City OHV Park. Yamaha's Broc Glover ended up winning that day over Suzuki's Mark Barnett, with Barnett's teammates Brian Myerscough and Scott Burnworth running third and fourth. Here are the results from that day at Sears Point International Raceway in June 1980.
Thanks for helping us out, Rick. I was still racing RM80s back then and had never even been to California!
Road 2 Recovery's Annual Black Friday eBay Auction is Now LIVE (PR)
Over 50 Highly-Sought After Items Available!
From Road 2 Recovery:
Just in time for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping craze, the Road 2 Recovery Foundation (R2R) is bringing back its annual Black Friday eBay auction. Complete with highly-sought-after autographed and race-worn jerseys from top champion riders and 18 autographed red-number plates from all nine rounds of the historical 2020 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship.
This jam-packed auction begins on Friday, November 27 at 9 a.m. PST and participants will have the chance to bid through Thursday, December 3. Back by popular demand, the BUY IT NOW’ option will be available on some items.
Bid or Buy Now on over fifty items that go to support R2R and other great causes like Tevin Tapia, Brian Moreau, and The Nicky Hayden Memorial Fund. You’ll be able to get some major holiday shopping done and feel good knowing each item makes a profound impact on R2R and the causes they support. With the funds raised from eBay auctions like this, R2R is happy to say that they have never turned down help to an injured Pro athlete.
From autographed Ken Roczen, Eli Tomac, Ryan Villopoto, and Ricky Carmichael jerseys to limited edition newly released Nicky Hayden 69 memorial snapback hats and a Polar Grit X watch, this auction will have something for everyone on your list.
The Road 2 Recovery Foundation would like to thank the Pro Motocross Championship, Alpinestars, Thor, Answer, Troy Lee Designs, WPS, Fox, Shift, Mini Moto Bikes, Polar, and all the athletes for their contributions to this auction.
Here is the complete list of items in the auction, to place a bid or to ‘BUY IT NOW.’ For more information on Road 2 Recovery, upcoming events, and athlete updates, visit road2recovery.com or make a donation.
The january 2021 ISSUE OF RACER X MAGAZINE IS NOW AVAILABLE
Here's a glimpse at Milestone's new Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 4, which will be coming out in the spring.
HEAD-SCRATCHING HEADLINE/S OF THE WEEK
“In-N-Out in 14 HOURS! Burger chain opens its first two Colorado outlets leading to fights and epic lines as people joke it's quicker to drive to California”—The Daily Mail Online
A couple of important events at Glen Helen next weekend, both for very good causes.
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #47.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!