Racerhead #3Friday, January 18, 2008 | 2:13 PM
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…
- Austin Stroupe
- Gavin Gracyk
- Ryan Dungey
- Grant Langston
- Tim Ferry
- Andrew Short
- Jake Moss
- Josh Hill
- Mike Alessi
- Josh Demuth
- Ricky Carmichael
- Heath Voss
- Nick Wey
- Josh Grant
- Broc Hepler
- James Stewart
- Josh Hansen
- Ryan Villopoto
- Jake Weimer
- Chad Reed
- Jeff Alessi
- Michael Willard
- Kevin Windham
- Ivan Tedesco
- Davi Millsaps
- Matt Lemoine
“I’m wearing Oakley Blades as we speak. I pulled out my old Bad Boy jackets and HRC jackets. I’m trying to get my wife and my daughter to do big hair. I’m trimming my oldest son’s hair into a mullet … a little against his own will. You know what? Screw it. I don’t get many weeks so I’m taking this one. So both of my kids are wearing my Bad Boy Club jackets and we’re going back to 1986.”
So forgive Racerhead if we’re a little all over the map, because I am typing this on a Smith Corona typewriter, sans Spellcheck, Microsoft Word, Instant Messager, iPhone (though I do have my big brother’s old bag phone here on my desk) or energy drink, unless you count the yellow squeeze bottle of Pripps Plus I’ve got here on my desk next to my Rubik’s Cube.
Ping had an excellent chat with both RJ and David Bailey this week and posted it as our Wednesday Between the Motos feature. If you missed it, check it out.
To get in the mood right here, we’re going to give away some of the sano MSR retro riding gear Dave Casella’s boys stitched up for Nick Wey and Grant Langston. Here's how you can enter: Send an e-mail to [email protected] and guess the finishes of Nick and Grant in Saturday's main event. If you really want to win, do it in this format:
We'll pick winners for each set of gear randomly from all correct guesses. Of course you don't have to pick first and second, but you get the idea. Also be sure to enter your full name, address, and phone number. (People who enter more than once from the same address will be DQed.) Keep in mind that this is one-off gear -- only two sets of each were made, and the boys will be using the first pair. The jerseys, which will be autographed, are size L and the pants are 32. This is really cool, rare moto memorabilia, thanks to the great folks at MSR. Don't miss out on your chance to win.
Yesterday, Steve Cox stopped by the track to check out press day and to see how things were shaping up in the time warp. ’08 series co-points leader Chad Reed went out on the retro track and immediately made a mockery of some of the obstacles that were so rad 22 years ago. But that was the point, as Live Nation and Dirt Wurx can now make some tweaks to make it a little more difficult for modern equipment and the much-evolved SX riding technique.
If you forget what it all looked like back in the day, please check out the Racer X Film that Vurbmoto’s Wes Williams put together after he and I went around the Anaheim 1 pits talking to some of the key players from Anaheim ’86: RJ, David Bailey, Honda mechanics Brian Lunniss and Cliff White, Bevo Forti, Mitch Payton, Troy Lee and more: www.racerxfilms.com. The movie includes lots of footage of Anaheim ’86, and you will be amazed not only by how many times David and Ricky went back and forth, but how often they almost crashed. As for the riding style, it’s as different now as basketball has become compared to back in the days.
Jimmy Button spotted the film and wrote on the reenergized Mototalk message board, “’86 Anaheim was the first SX I ever saw in person and I was in the nosebleed section. It was the very best race I have ever seen. The video was awesome. The crowd is going to go crazy in opening ceremonies this weekend! Wouldn't it be great if we had another ‘86 A on Saturday night? (Then) our kids will talk about the '08 race 20 years from now!”
There’s a special guest coming tomorrow night who will really get the place hopping and feeling just like 1986, and I’m not talking about Ricky Carmichael out there on a two-stroke (which may happen during opening ceremonies). This one will be cooler than the other side of the pillow!
If you can’t make it to Angel Stadium, make sure you listen to the live webcast tomorrow night, beginning at around 6:30 p.m. local time, 9:30 back East, on www.supercrossonline.com. And click back here just before race-time to see a photo report of some of the cool get-ups we spot tomorrow in the pits.
As for Speed TV, they will be showing the race at 6 p.m. EST on Sunday. Check your local listings for your time.
Racer X Canada contributor Steve Matthes has been posting some excellent podcasts, where he chats with interesting SX people. This week’s guest is one of those guys who was also at Anaheim ’86, though not in the up-front mix. It was Team Kawasaki’s Ron Lechien, making his first start in an AMA Supercross race on a green machine. Check out Matthes and the Dogger right here.
Chris “Fluffer” Honnold from O’Neal sent over this picture of some retro gear that Tim Ferry will be rocking on Saturday night.
Alessi Weekly mentioned that Jeff Alessi will likely be out until after Daytona with his broken hand.
The winner of the Anaheim ’86 125 SX was none other than Tyson Vohland, older brother to Tallon Vohland, a 125 SX winner in his own right. Tallon will be there, working the pits for longtime employer Acerbis.
Here’s another must-see video: Josh Coppins performing his best Wile E. Coyote impression and losing the 2007 MX1 World title in spectacular fashion.
Over at www.amateurmx.com you can check out this year’s first iMPOUND column, with a huge bonus: Eric Johnson found a piece he had written back in 2002 for the old Motocross West newspaper about the rivalry of a couple of kids named Mike Alessi and Ryan Villopoto.
2007-’08 Toyota AMA Arenacross Class Point Standings
1. Chad Johnson (Hon) 210
2. Kelly Smith (Kaw) 202
3. Brock Sellards (Kaw) 194
4. Teddy Maier (Hon) 177
5. Keith Johnson (Yam) 163
5. Kevin Johnson (Yam) 163 (tie)
7. Danny Smith (Hon) 149
8. Jim Neese (Suz) 135
9. Josh Demuth (Hon) 127
10. Tom Hofmaster (???) 126
Racer X Inter-Am series update.
Boyesen Engineering has joined as a sponsor of the Racer X Inter-Am series. For more info click here.
“Peeping Tom” posted on Mototalk this video that says Georges Jobe is doing well after he back injury in Dubai a few weeks back.
The # 86 Michael Willard/CYCRA race bike will be retro’d out by Roland Sands Designs.
Check out the new Moto Verte cover, featuring a Frank Hoppen photo of James “Bubbalicious” Stewart!
Next, our old friend Shad Reed (no relation) went to Phoenix and offered up these notes:
Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s Mike Alessi’s day started on a less than optimal note. During the early practice sessions he went down hard through a rhythm section preceding the triple. To make matters worse, Honda-mounted Heath Voss tried to jump over the fallen rider and just clipped Alessi’s head in the process. Although visibly shaken, Alessi was able to rebound and lay claim to the 10th-fastest qualifying position.
During the race, Alessi continued to have his share of problems as he nearly went down again in the same rhythm section that claimed him earlier in the day.
His mistake forced both Monster Kawasaki’s Tim Ferry and Red Bull Honda’s Davi Millsaps to careen off the track, which inevitably ended their chances of podium finishes. Alessi also ended up dragging a Makita Tools Tough Block cover around for the rest of the race.
Yamaha’s Josh Hill appears close to getting that breakthrough race that he desperately needs. The speedy teen was sixth fastest during qualifying, and finished a strong second in his heat race Team San Manuel Yamaha’s Chad Reed (the man he got into a scrap with while practicing earlier in the week). But another poor start during the main event killed his chances of a solid finish. When he finally gets a start in the main, he will be fighting for a podium position—bank on it!
Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki’s David Vuillemin is obviously still recovering from his late-season/preseason injuries. Le Cobra was running mid-pack until he threw anchor out during the final stages of the race. It was a horrible night for a solid rider (though better than last year’s knockout crash he had off the start). Hopefully he can find himself in the top five once he recovers from his issues.
What’s up with K-Dub? Torco Racing Fuels/Honda’s Kevin Windham seems to have a chip on his shoulder after feeling what it’s like to not be considered a threat in supercross. After being left out of the preseason press conference in Anaheim, Windham has answered his critics with his elusive speed. K-Dub fended off the relentless attacks from Red Bull Honda’s Andrew Short and Ivan Tedesco to secure a solid third place finish. Well-done Kevin!
And speaking of the team, check out Eric Johnson’s conversation with team owner Coy Gibbs right here.
Monster/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Austin Stroupe had a night that he would probably rather forget. During his heat race he couldn’t stay off the ground! One of his gnarliest crashes was through the rhythm section before the finish line, where he got all out of shape and augured himself into the phoenix soil. He stayed down for quite awhile, but he somehow found the strength to line up for the LCQ!
Star Racing Yamaha’s Matt Lemoine and TLD/Red Bull Honda’s Gavin Gracyk, who had been battling hard for the final transfer spot, came together through a rhythm section and went down hard. Stroupe was already committed and couldn’t avoid the carnage that was presented in front of him. Another trip off the track ended the rookie’s hope for a trip to the main, as well as Gracyk’s and Lemoine’s.
With all of the things that happened to Gavin last week, there were a lot of people pulling for him, as well as very sad that it turned into a short night.
Torco Racing Fuels/Honda’s Daniel Reardon had yet another strong showing in the Lites class. The start of the main event had to be held up because he couldn’t get his bike to fire, but once he got it going, he hauled. He has the speed, he just needs to hang it out during the early stages of the race and stay with the leaders. He definitely has the fitness, because he was still charging hard at the end of the race.
That’s it from Phoenix. Round 3 takes place this weekend in Anaheim with the highly anticipated Retro night. So grab your 80’s threads and head on out for what will undoubtedly be yet another epic night of racing.
Thanks to Shad, nice work!
I also missed the big Youthstream dinner party in Beverly Hills for select journalists to come have dinner with Giuseppe Luongo (I think my old friend Mario Marini lost my email address, or maybe he thought Steve Cox was me, since he kept calling the 2007 FIM/Youthstream Journalist of the Year “Davey”). So I will let Mr. Cox tell you about it here:
Giuseppe Luongo of Youthstream held a dinner meeting in Beverly Hills, California, on Wednesday night, January 16, to announce Youthstream’s plans to run a FIM Grand Prix on U.S. Soil in 2009 and beyond.
The plan is that in 2009, a GP will be run at an undisclosed racetrack (although Luongo did indicate it’s east of the Mississippi) that, for clarity’s sake, we will refer to as “Track A.” In addition to the 2009 GP, Track A will be the location for the 2010 FIM Motocross of Nations and FIM Supermoto of Nations on the same weekend, while another track, referred to here as “Track B” will host the U.S. GP.
From 2011 and on, both Track A and Track B will have a Grand Prix one week apart from one another in the USA. In 2013 and 2016, the Motocross of Nations will return to the USA at Track A, in addition to the US GP at Tracks A and B.
Another part of the announcement was that Youthstream will be opening a U.S. office in the Los Angeles area within a couple of months. Although Luongo wouldn’t say who would be heading up the U.S. office, he did indicate that some of the people there are well-known in the U.S. MX industry.
I do not know what to make of this, other than the fact I am stoked to hear that the MXoN will be coming back every three years. This is something I brought up repeatedly when I was trying to rally support for Team USA for the past few years and sponsoring the team through Loretta Lynn’s.
As for the two GPs in America, that one I am not so sure about. We already have a packed schedule, Live Nation is talking about more overseas SX races, ESPN now has two events, and there’s the U.S. Open and possibly the return to Jeremy McGrath’s Invitational Supercross race. A lack of U.S. rider and team participation was what doomed the ’99 Budds Creek GP, but maybe this time things will be different now that Youthstream USA is setting up shop in California.
As for the mysterious non-national tracks these events will take place at, I am guessing a purpose-built track at a place like Barber Motorsports in Alabama, but that’s really just a guess. Seems like they should be AMA tracks though, given Youthstream’s sudden interest in taking everything over here.
Mark Rodgers sent us this unfortunate note:
“My bother Chris, who some of you know as the person that works with Jake Moss, was hurt pretty bad while riding. He has broken his back, fracturing the L1 vertebrae and puncturing his spinal column. He has feeling in his legs and can moves his feet/toes and his arms, which are all very good signs. My dad spoke with David Bailey right away and also spent some time talking with Ricky James and they have all been a huge help. As of right now everything looks good for a full recovery, however, as of late last night when I left the hospital my parents were still waiting to talk to the spinal surgeon who had been in surgery all day and into the night. He is at Riverside County, the same hospital Ernesto was at and we are told they have one of the best spinal surgeons. All thoughts and prayers are much appreciated and thanx in advance for those. Feel free to pass this on to anyone you know that might know Chris.”
Carl Stone was at the Honda test track yesterday with K-Dub and Jake Weimer: “Jake Weimer has had a helluva week. After going from his DNQ at Anaheim 1 to #1 at Phoenix, he got his name in the AMA record books with his first-ever Lites SX win.”
Then Stone found out this: “After we left the Honda track Weimer said to follow him down to the gas station in town because his dad was meeting him there with his new truck and to check it out. It is a 208 Denali with 24” KMC wheels and all blacked out! He had ordered it in Idaho and when it came in his dad flew home and drove it to CA for him…..pretty sweet, huh?”
If you're near Lake Elsinore tomorrow (Saturday) around noon, be sure to stop in the O'Neill outlet store grand opening for the autograph session with the boys from the Metal Mulisha. There's a framed and autographed Brian Deegan jersey up for grabs. Learn more about it here.
If you've not yet voted in the etnies Racer X Photo Contest, here's your last chance. Voting ends Monday, so head on over to Etnies and pick a winner.
Okay, that’s it for Racerhead. I’ve got to get over to the stadium to make sure my white KTM 125 is ready for the weekend. Here’s hoping everyone who makes it over to Angel Stadium has a great time and gets into the spirit of ’86. Thanks for reading Racerhead, and see you at the races. Ciao!
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Check out MY LIFE IN MOTORCYCLE RACINGin our Latest issue of Racer X available now.
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.