Racerhead #36Friday, September 7, 2007 | 11:58 AM
Honda is the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles, and the undisputed leader in motorcycle technology. More motocross riders have won titles on Hondas than on any other bike. When you’re serious about winning, Honda is the machine for you.
In this article…
- Adam Chatfield
- Ricky Carmichael
- Tim Ferry
- Trey Canard
- Broc Hepler
- Ryan Villopoto
- Tommy Hahn
- Andrew Short
- Kyle Chisholm
- Kevin Windham
- Grant Langston
- Michael Byrne
- Austin Stroupe
- Josh Hill
- James Stewart
- Mike LaRocco
- Brett Metcalfe
The end is finally upon us. What seems like the longest, most inconsistent season ever is four motos from its conclusion. Sure, there’s still the Motocross of Nations to be run, as well as the U.S. Open and even the Paris-Bercy SX, but the end is sight at Glen Helen. Two champions will be crowned in AMA Toyota Motocross, joining AMA Supercross Champion James Stewart and World MX Champions Tony Cairoli and Steve Ramon on the stage reserved for the biggest winners.
Looks like RV1 might be adding another 1
photo: Carl Stone
And if Ryan Villopoto beats Ben Townley for the AMA Lites title, which seems like a good bet, he will join Cairoli as being 250F riders who transcended their own division and probably could have beat the 450 class too.
But the real drama is yet to be played out: the AMA Motocross title will go down to the wire, down to four guys on four different brands of bike, all still the hunt. “Bad” Bill Ursic, who apparently almost cleared a set of doubles on Wednesday night, added up all of the points and came up with this Bench Racing Ammo explanation of what it will take for each of the four to win. Smart money is on Grant Langston, but as Stewart and Coppins fans all found out, there’s no such thing as a sure thing in motocross.
Team Yamaha’s Grant Langston is in the driver’s seat
photo: Carl Stone
Unfortunately, I had to cancel my own ticket at the last minute, which means I missed the MotoBowl brouhaha last night, all of the fun at the racetrack, Sunday’s finale, and even Monday’s Dirty Harry’s Lawndog Backyard BBQ and minicycle race, which is Monday night. I really wish I could see in person the monster motocross track that Jody Weisel and his crew always offer up at GH, and I hope the fans are treated to a pair of last-moto title decisions.
By the way, check out Steve “TFS” Bruhn’s Weekend Window for tons of Motobowl 2007 photos.
Travel help from Simon Cudby: If you are going to Glen Helen from Orange County, you might want to take a different route from the OC on Sunday morning—maybe the 57 to 60, the 10, or the 210—because the 91 EASTBOUND, all lanes, will be closed at Green River Road (Santa Ana Canyon) Saturday night, Sept 8th, 11 p.m., until Sunday morning, Sept 9, at 9 a.m.
Team Honda still has a shot at this with Andrew Short
photo: Carl Stone
Last week, Texas held its first AMA Motocross race in 19 years, and I was extremely impressed not only with the effort of Tony Miller and his whole crew at Freestone County Raceway, but all of the fans in the Lone Star State who came early, stayed late, and cheered the whole time. They saw some excellent racing in both classes, including an up-and-down day for Andrew Short that might have cost him the title, a mercurial performance by Josh Hill in his 450 debut, and another Ryan Villopoto runaway.
The Lites class was a Monster performance by Villopoto once again, though Austin Stroupe continues to blow our minds with his ridiculous, right-out-of-Loretta Lynn’s speed. The kid hounded veteran Broc Hepler right to the finish line in the first moto, then made a lighting pass in the whoops at the end for his second runner-up ride in two weeks. Of course, the second moto didn’t go so well, but yet another Monster Energy/Pro Circuit rider was there—Townley—to give chase to Villopoto.
Monster was everywhere at the MotoBowl
Anyway, back to Stroupe: I mentioned after Steel City that his first moto second-place finish was the best professional motocross debut we had ever seen, and I got several emails challenging that assertion. So let me break a few things down here:
Austin Stroupe is the real deal
photo: Carl Stone
Grant Langston, Sebastien Tortelli and Jean-Michel Bayle all won the first nationals they entered (like Stewart), but they were all Grand Prix champions before even coming here.
And finally, there’s this letter from Racer X reader Jim Myerson:
“Regarding our recent exchange pertaining to the best MX national debut by a rider, this missive should make the facts clear. When Marty Smith won the 125cc class at the 1973 Hangtown event, it’s true that there was no AMA sanction (for the 125 class race). But one year later, when 17 year-old Smith swept the 125cc national class again, there was an AMA sanction. It was Smith’s very first national (he swept both motos, I think) and he won in dominating fashion (again). Therefore, along with James Stewart’s 2002 Glen Helen victory (he didn’t win both motos, right?), Smith’s national debut is still the most impressive. Credit where credit is due!”
Tim Ferry’s title hopes have been slipping in recent motos
photo: Carl Stone
Looks like a new Kawasaki Lites team is coming on board. Details are still sketchy, but we’re hearing it will include Tommy Hahn, Andrew McFarlane and Kyle Chisholm. Pro Circuit will be involved. Stay tuned.
Let me have Ping take over here:
It looks like the Rockstar Energy Drink curse has struck again. In two years, two teams have started and failed that were backed by the drink maker. While Suzuki has retained the services of Michael Byrne (who has not been assigned to a team yet) the rest of the guys are looking for jobs.
Who will run Suzuki’s new support program? I got word this week from the guys at Richardson’s RV that they will be Suzuki’s West Coast supercross effort this year with Michael LaPaglia, Adam Chatfield and possibly Tarah Gieger. The WMA star would compete in the women’s series and possibly even a few AMA national motocross rounds. The new team would be backed by Jayco Trailers, Suzuki, Answer/Yoshimura and ECC. There will be another dealer-based team running Suzuki’s support on the east coast. Richardson’s is still undecided if they will go to the outdoor nationals or not.
Ryan Villopoto is big in Texas
photo: Carl Stone
One of the biggest announcements was the introduction of a side-by-side vehicle dubbed Big Red which is similar to the Yamaha Rhino. Daniel Reardon was also there wearing his Samsung/No Fear Honda shirt for the first time. The newest Australian to land here said he has been on the bike about a week and he is loving it.
“I’ve been to about four different tracks here so far,” he told us. “Man, the tracks are heaps better than what we have back at home. I’ve been having a lot of fun. The bike is also a good deal better than what I’m used to racing. I’m really excited to race the thing.”
Reardon will be on hand at Glen Helen this weekend watching the action but will not compete until the U.S. Open in October.
Reardon’s thick “Down Under” accent got me thinking about something and, in a nod to my pal with the oversized ankles, Steve Mathes—read his in-depth Texas Observations here—I want to make a few observations of my own…
Brett lets his riding do the talking
photo: Carl Stone
Just as curious is the disappearance of Zach Osborne’s belly roll. He used to be called Snac Pak but that nickname just doesn’t work anymore. He’s a svelte version of his former self, and that can’t hurt things in the holeshot department or in the pick-up-chicks-at-the-beach department. Nice work, Zach.
Another thing that has disappeared is the first moto in the AMA Toyota Motocross national broadcast. What the eff? It’s never been a problem to show both motos in the past, so I’m a little confused by the change. There are still 25 points up for grabs in the first moto and that makes it just as important.
That’s it from “four-in-row” Pingree.
Someone gets to drive the Fuel Limo home after the Mini Os
Fuel’s Great Limo Give Away
118 Arrow Rd.
Hilton Head, SC 29928
The winner can either drive the Fuel Limo home or pick it up later on. Either way, count us in Shane for ten tickets—we could use a new ride to the races for Fubar!
A couple weeks ago, we posted a note about Factory Effex’s new installation demo videos, and inadvertently linked Chris Williams back with the company. Chris sent us a note letting us know he recently started his own company, Entity Media, and Factory Effex is just one of the new company’s clients. Entity Media is a full-service video production and marketing company, focused on helping companies in the MX industry improve their websites.
Miss Cline sends out a wishful “shocker” to her #1 fan Hammertime while Li’l D runs a faux Blue Steel look
Some props to the very nice and extremely fast Cody Cooper—our Racer X Rider of the Week. I caught up to Cody before he made his AMA Motocross debut for this short interview. He’s a quiet, super-nice guy and really, really fast!
And what the hell is going on with all of the track cutting? By that, I mean guys using those yellow Acerbis markers as “suggestions” rather than actual, official course markers. Josh Hill was riding a different track (literally) in one corner, and everyone from Villopoto to Trey Canard was skipping off the side of some of the big jumps. Time for a new rule on this … or maybe just a rule?
Finally, anyone who knows Al Cordner knows what a sweet guy the New England moto enthusiast is. He has long been instrumental in working with that area’s best riders through Manchester Honda, and he also had a big hand in Damon Bradshaw’s last AMA National win back in 1997 at High Point.
Cordner is now in the battle of his life. Earlier this week, while riding a street bike, a moose walked out in front of him. He nearly died in the resulting accident, and he’s still in a coma as I write this. Please think of Al—a motocross man through and through—in your thought and prayers this weekend.
Thanks for reading Racerhead, see you at the races.
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Jean-Michel Bayle, the iconic superstar of yesteryear, raced motocross for the first time in twenty-one years at the Vets MXdN in England. Page 126.