Welcome to Racerhead and Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and stay warm out there to all. We’re just one more day away from Santa Claus coming down our chimneys, and two weeks away from Anaheim 1. Needless to say, the supercross tracks have been bustling with activity all over the southern part of the country (weather permitting). We haven’t had any real big December surprises among the title contenders, thankfully, but we have had some others get banged up pretty good, Brandon Hartranft worst of all. Jeremy Martin also had a scare with a big crash, which you can check out further below in “Watch It.” Crashes and injuries are unfortunate nature of this game sometimes.
Meanwhile, everyone else is fine-tuning their bikes and bodies, and also deciding which coasts they’ll be racing. We know that Honda’s Jett Lawrence will ride 250SX West and his brother Hunter 250SX East, but as we saw last year, that can change. Rockstar Husqvarna will have RJ Hampshire in the West and Jalek Swoll in the East; Club MX will have Jeremy Martin in the East and Phil Nicoletti and Enzo Lopes out West. TLD GasGas will be sending Michael Mosiman to the East and Pierce Brown to the West. Not sure on Monster Energy Yamaha Star Racing, and as usual, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki probably won’t commit to who’s riding where until press day at Anaheim!
As for the 450SX class, we know all about the top guys, and the gang will go into all that in the Racer X Supercross Preview Shows that Weege will explain below. I’m curious to see is who will be the first guy to win his first 450 SX: Malcolm Stewart, Christian Craig, Colt Nichols, Adam Cianciarulo, Justin Cooper, or maybe even Jett Lawrence if he moonlights on the opposite coast? And remember, when Stewart does win, he will join his brother James to become the only siblings to each win a 450 SX. When Craig wins, he will join his dad, Mike, as the only father-son duo to have won a premier-class supercross.
Another reminder about a great last-minute Christmas gift: Earlier this week we saw an announcement regarding the domestic viewing packages for the 2023 Monster Energy Supercross Championship, AMA Pro Motocross, and the brand new SuperMotocross World Championship. All 31 rounds will be shown live on Peacock, as well as Race Day Live from all 31 rounds, with the TV package is spread across NBC, CNBC, and USA Network. To get signed up to watch the live stream, which is just $4.99 a month, just click here:
Remember, that’s for U.S. residents only. Everyone outside the United States can get the livestream at on SuperMotocross.tv. According to the press release: “Endeavor Streaming and the SuperMotocross League have launched a new streaming service, SuperMotocross Video Pass, featuring Supercross, Pro Motocross, the SuperMotocross Playoffs and Super Motocross World ChampionshipTM events on one unified platform. This debut marks the first time a combined package has been offered to fans on an international basis.” Read more.
It’s also been announced that Leigh Diffy, Todd Harris, Daniel Blair, and our own Jason Weigandt will share hosting duties throughout the stadium and outdoor seasons, while Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart will be the race analysts, with Blair, Will Christien, and Jason Thomas on the track reporting. It’s a great lineup with a lot of people who really know and love moto!
Merry Christmas again to everyone, and see you at the races in 2023!
Thanks to our friend Claude Giguere for his Pics of the Day emails, we appreciate the daily random MX history!
Click the images below to make them full size.
Videos Everywhere (Jason Weigandt)
Our annual Monster Energy Racer X Supercross season preview shows are back! We shot them last week at Steve Matthes’ high-ceilinged PulpMX estate in Las Vegas (credit to Pulp’s Travis Marx for handling the shooting), and our man Kellen Brauer has handled all the editing, adding clips, graphics, and music to each show. I’m always proud of the production, and these shows have definitely become an annual tradition for fans. Nothing better than a good family argument, and Matthes, Jason Thomas and I won’t let you down when it comes to disagreements! Luckily, we now have Kris Keefer on board to serve as a voice of reason when it comes to riders and bikes.
Thanks to Monster, Maxxis, Maxima, and Fly for their continued support. The first three shows are posted, and we’ll have two more to go. I’ll also grab all the audio and put it on our Racer X Podcast Network in my Exhaust Podcast, backed by Yoshimura and Leatt.
Our primary battles this year? The world wants to rank Chase Sexton above Cooper Webb as a favorite coming into the season, but I put Webb in Show 1 along with Eli Tomac and Jason Anderson (the three who have won the AMA Supercross title before, twice for Tomac (’20, ’22) and Webb (’19, ’21) and one for Anderson (’18). Matthes was not amused to see Sexton only in Show 2. Is Webb done? Is Sexton ready to make the final leap? Big bench-racing topics there. Also, the raging battle of Ken Roczen on a Suzuki. Is the bike new enough and good enough for Kenny to win again? Is the 2023 Yamaha YZ450F a good thing for Tomac and Dylan Ferrandis? Will Adam Cianciarulo start to build a foundation? Could Jason Anderson, who is not changing anything, actually be the biggest favorite of all?
So much to talk about. But wait, there’s more! Daniel Blair and I have launched another new video show called SMX Insider. Episode 3 launched yesterday, and we interview Honda HRC team manager Lars Lindstrom. Lars says they’ve now scrapped plans to have Jett Lawrence race some 450SX races in the East. He also talks about Colt Nichols complimenting Chase Sexton from a testing and bike setup perspective, and how he tries to keep the team loose even though teammates are often battling each other—and when Honda is still pursuing its first 450 championship in nearly 20 years.
We’re just getting started with this SMX Insider show, and I think it will really develop once the racing season begins and we’ve got weekly gossip and drama. We’re almost there!
Away From The Office (Keefer)
There is not a lot to put here this week for me. The holidays are the one time that the moto industry gets to unplug before the big show starts back up again. Out on the West Coast I have nice enough weather where we can actually get to ride and not have to type/talk or video what I’m riding. I can just ride with my friends and family and not think about the bike at all! It's a strange feeling that only comes around this time, but every year I seem to enjoy it more and more. We’re going to be getting some weather here in the dez during this time off, so the dirt will be prime, and the turn tracks will be plentiful. There will be some tire changing going on and I am not mad at that. Here's to a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to each of you out there and we will see you in 2023! —The Keefers
More British Bike stuff (DC)
In last week's Racerhead, on the heels of the Triumph-to-race-in-2024 news, I wrote out some history from the Racer X Online Vault about the history of British-made motorcycles in AMA Pro Motocross and Supercross, and how there are four brands—AJS, BSA, Greeves, and Rickman—that raced in the early 1970s. Longtime reader Jack Martin from Austin, Texas, picked up on the thread and added a very cool note and some added info for us about his past with British bikes that I wanted to share:
I am thrilled to learn that the Triumph motocross project is in such credible hands and is proceeding at a rapid pace. I've been a fan of Triumph motorcycles since I rode my ’69 Bonneville while I was in high school in Houston in the early '70s. More recently, I had a 2018 Bonneville before I moved on to my current ’20 KTM 790 Duke. Jason Weigandt seems to be a little bit confused about the history of the marque, apparently believing that Triumph motorcycles have been produced continuously by one company since the early 1900s. (Note: That's what they told us about the family-owned business at Triumph's Anaheim press conference.-- Weigandt) That is not the case. Triumph Engineering began producing motorcycles in Meriden in 1902 and enjoyed great success for more than 60 years. That company failed to survive the Japanese onslaught and the British labor strife of the '60s and '70s and ceased production in the early '80s. John Bloor, a British homebuilder and real estate developer, purchased the Triumph name and manufacturing rights in ‘83 and embarked upon a plan to produce a new range of street motorcycles that incorporated cutting-edge technology. Production of the new line of street bikes began at Triumph’s new manufacturing facility in Hinckley in 1991 and the company has met with great success in the street and adventure categories. Let’s hope that they find equal success with their efforts to produce off-road bikes. Given the team that Triumph has assembled to undertake the design and development effort, it seems their chances of success are quite good.
I enjoyed your piece in your Racerhead column on the limited success of British built bikes in the early days of the AMA Pro Motocross and the AMA Supercross. However, you missed one fascinating story about the actual high watermark of Rickman motorcycles in America. In the summer of ’71, Marty Tripes gave a hint of his coming greatness by being one of the first Americans to beat the European at an Inter-AMA race near Denver, Colorado. Amazingly, he was only 15 years old at the time and was disqualified when this fact was brought to the attention of the AMA... Jim Wicks, a rider from Colorado who enjoyed some success in the inaugural year of the U.S. series in 1972, was declared the winner that day, though he did not learn of his success until the following race. While you can glean this information from Larry Lawrence’s writings Cycle News and Marty Tripes’ appearance on the Whiskey Throttle podcast, I had the pleasure of learning it directly from Jim Wicks following his retirement from national-level racing and move to Houston. In Houston, he ran a successful painting and paperhanging business where I served as his assistant in the summer of ’77, greatly enjoying his tales of gypsy life on the road following the early professional motocross circuit in the U.S. He confided in me that he won that Inter-AMA race in Colorado because the track was basically across the street from his house and he knew every rut and bump intimately. That summer, Jim and I attended the 125 National in San Antonio, where Keith McCarty informed Bob Hannah to "Let Brock Bye” after Glover had successfully run a gauntlet of Karsmakers, Burgett and Bell on their unfamiliar Yamaha tiddlers, handing him the 125 series championship.
Thanks for the note and the moto history, Jim! I did not realize Tripes was on a Rickman when he lost that race due to protest. And the reason it's not mentioned is because we don't have the Inter-Ams or Trans-AMA/USA races in the Vault—but that’s definitely a project for our future!
Monster Energy: 'CROSSOVER' feat. Josh Hill & Jackson Strong
Tom Cruise on a dirt bike! Mission: Impossible - Dead Reckoning Part One | The Biggest Stunt in Cinema History
Here’s Kellen Brauer’s video report on the Troy Lee Designs/GasGas team intro:
And finally, the long-awaited, wildly interesting Bubba’s World Podcast with none other than Ricky Carmichael as James’ in-studio guest, and they go deep… It’s worth watching the whole two-plus hours!
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“Jett Lawrence - Could Become The GOAT”—MXLarge.com
“Ohio Thief Steals Baby Jesus, Opens New Front In War On Christmas”—TheSmokingGun.com
“Neymar Wins World Cup’s Golden Tears Award For Most Faked Injuries”—TheOnion.com
“'Yellowstone's' first gay kiss...”—Drudge Report
“Twitter users voted in a poll for Elon Musk to step down. Then Snoop Dogg made his own poll.”—CNN.com
“Man's pet turtle of 24 years sparkles as flower girl in his wedding”—Foxweather.com
“Lionel Messi's World Cup Celebration Passes Egg As Most-Liked Instagram Post”—TMZ Sports
The Story of “The Flying Dutchman”
The Dutch motocross rider who fearlessly and with dedication won one prize after another and in the 70’s took the courageous step to go to America where he made the sport great. His contribution and achievements in this “American dream” earned him a cult status which resulted in his induction in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2014.
This is the story of Pierre Karsmakers: a sportsman pur sang who has always been riding out of passion and for whom his motorcycle has become an extension of himself. A story about the fragility of success and the vulnerability of an ‘icon status’. He is now over 75 and the urge to win has tempered somewhat, but his love for riding his motorcycle remains. Not surprisingly his motto is: “You don’t stop riding when you get old, you get old when you stop riding."
About the film
The year 2023 will mark 50 years ago that Pierre started his successful American motocross career. From this common thread the film looks back on his achievements. Through his own eyes, but also through those of various people who played a role in his racing career. Including big names as Broc Glover, Brad Lackey, Chuck Sun, Joel Smets and Marc Velkeneers. The expected release date of the film is late 2023. The teaser gives a sneak preview and can be viewed on the website https://www.pierrekarsmakers.com, where all information about the film can also be found.
Call for archival photos and videos
The makers are also appealing to people who have visual material of Pierre and would like to donate it to the project. Please contact Monique Fuchs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the teaser at the following link: https://www.pierrekarsmakers.com/teaser/.
For the latest from Canada, check out DMX Frid’EH Update #51.
Thanks for reading Racerhead. See you at the races!