Frid’Eh Update #16 Presented by FXR Moto
By Jeff McConkey and Billy Rainford
Welcome to week #16 of the DMX Frid’Eh Update this week brought to you by … Jess Pettis was one of those riders we all had our eyes on as he came up through the amateur ranks. In fact, he came up with Dylan Wright and Westen Wrozyna as that era’s very own “Fab 3.”
We’ve all watched as the then small in stature rider from Prince George, BC came into his own as he grew into the position as one of our top MX2 competitors, right before our eyes. Jess’s charge to the front has really gained momentum over the past two seasons.
Jess showed up at the first round of the 2016 season and took a very impressive 3rd in the first moto, letting everyone know he had arrived and meant business. Here’s a look at his Rockstar Energy MX Nationals season:
Jess has been out in Menifee, California, training with Kevin Urqhart and the crew at Bulldog Training all winter. We got in touch with him as the MX101 FXR Yamaha team was finishing up their team photo shoot. Here’s what he had to say:
Direct Motocross: Hello, Jess. Thanks for chatting with us today. We always like to start with a look back at the previous season. You showed up at round 1 in Kamloops and took an impressive 3rd in the first moto. You must have been happy with that. Was that where you expected to be?
Jess Pettis: Yeah, first round was really good an showed where I belong. Podium first was awesome and felt that’s where I belong with the work I put in.
What was your favourite track on the circuit last year?
Be sure to check out the new MX line at FXR.
Battle of the Primes
As much as I both love the Transformers (and loathe/love Michael Bay’s [aka Michael Bassdrop] take on the Hasbro cartoon of my youth), this article has nothing to do with fictional bio-mechanical robots. The focus here, instead, is on the battle that has been waging between two prime numbers since January 7 in the ballparks and football stadiums of North America. Monster Energy AMA Supercross in 2017 has so far been the closest title fight the sport has witnessed in years, and as of last Saturday, it is as close as a championship can get.
This year’s series took an unexpected and scary turn when heir-apparent golden child and Honda’s new ticket to the top, Ken Roczen, had a nasty spill in Round Three of the series. After dominating Round One in Anaheim and winning a close race over Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey in San Diego for Round Two, Roczen seemed poised to go on a win streak that could decimate the hearts of his competition. Instead the German rider, while blasting his way through the pack during the main event and rapidly catching the lead group, got bucked off of his all new factory racing machine and suffered a devastating compound fracture in his arm. The injury and subsequent 10 (yes, 10!) surgeries were gruesome but Roczen will likely make a full recovery, although we probably will not see him racing again this year.
Instead what we have seen is week after week of an ever shrinking lead from the defending champion and a rock-solid competitor whose confidence has the momentum of a locomotive, or dare I say… a Transformer.
The Primes: No. 1 (and No. 5)
Ryan Dungey, the current and three-time champ (hence the Number One plate, but holds permanent Number Five) has been Red Bull KTM’s go-to guy since he came aboard the team back in 2012. Back then, KTM was still an unproven brand in Supercross but with the full commitment of the Austrian manufacturer and U.S. team manager, Roger “The Man” DeCoster at the head of racing redevelopment, the orange machines have gained respect (not to mention wins and championships) among the American Supercross set. Dungey has literally been at the controls during this transformation, and while he’s never been considered the most stylish rider in the field, nor the most dominant, his consistency is almost unparalleled.
However, 2017 has been Dungey’s most inconsistent season in years. That is to say, he’s finished off of the podium top three more than once, yet has still managed to stay within the top five all year…and in 2016…and 2015. Yup, the Dunge has not finished outside of the top five since April of 2014. No other rider, current or retired, even comes close to that record. However, even with his consistency and excellent riding of late, he still has only garnered two wins this season.
When Roczen suffered his injury, Dungey was right there to capitalize and immediately inherited the points lead… a points lead he maintained without interruption. At least, it was uninterrupted until Round 14 in Seattle when another player came into the mix.
Eli Tomac’s (permanent Number Three) transition to Monster Energy Kawasaki at the beginning of 2016 was…well, it was not terrible. Then again it was not exactly what the team or Tomac himself expected either. In Supercross, he struggled to adjust to the new machine after years spent on Hondas (which have vastly different handling characteristics). During the outdoor racing season, the natural terrain on which Tomac tends to excel, the struggles continued as he was out shined by then Suzuki-mounted Roczen in all but two rounds.
Finally, though, at Round 4 this year in Phoenix, the Kawasaki and Tomac combo found the magic sauce and collected their first win indoors. Then they did it again the following weekend in Oakland. In fact, they’ve managed to keep their mojo flowing to the top step of the podium an additional six times this season and if it was not for a crash and mechanical in Dallas, Tomac would be firmly in control of this championship chase right now. There is certainly no denying his riding of late.
Making things even more exciting and and unpredictable are the other players in the field. First there is Marvin Musquin, who is firmly in third place in the standings and the only other rider with a mathematical shot at the title. Further complicating the picture is the fact that the Frenchman is both Dungey’s Red Bull KTM teammate and training partner, and also just netted the second win of his 450 Class career in Seattle last weekend.
Then there is Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson (currently fifth in points), who is also a training partner of Dungey and Musquin. Where is the mire in this picture? Husqvarna is a subsidiary of KTM. Sitting in sixth and seventh in points are Rocky Mountain ATVMC/KTM teammates Blake Baggett and Davi Millsaps respectively. Yup, both also KTM supported riders.
I will not implying that team tactics will come into play in this title fight, but I also would not say it is completely out of the question. Every single one of these riders are not only capable of winning on any given weekend, they all also firmly believe they will win every time they get behind the gate. If they didn’t, they probably would not show up to race. There is a reason why any time a surprise winner is interviewed after taking the checkers, they usually say something to the effect of “I just knew this was my weekend.” Even if they have never won a race in 100 tries, that belief in themselves never diminishes.
My reason for illustrating this point is that no rider will give up a win if given a chance. That is not to say it has not happened before, but team orders that could drastically change up a points battle are rare. Beyond this there are still too many rounds left and far too many variables for anyone rider other than Tomac or Dungey to change the points landscape.
Even when Monster Energy Yamaha’s Chad Reed decided to block Dungey for a few laps while being lapped, the effect of his actions were negligible other than a fine passed down to the Australian by the AMA. While Dungey was slowly catching up to Tomac, who went onto win that controversial St. Louis main event, Dungey’s actual chances of passing the No. 3 at the time are debatable. One might speculate that Reed could have blocked Dungey due to orders coming from Monster Energy itself, but that would be a far-fetched speculation. Conspiracy theorists would like to connect the dots, pointing out that not only is Monster Energy the title sponsor of Tomac’s and Reed’s teams (Monster Energy Kawasaki and Monster Energy Yamaha, respectively) but also the main series sponsor as well. However that speculation should end there.
Primed and Ready
As I mentioned before, there are far too many variables in the championship and just in Supercross racing in general for anyone to be able to manufacture a title hunt. Instead, what we have here, ladies and gents, is a good old-fashioned championship battle and SX fans the world over are frothing to see the action unfold. And just like any good story, we have come to the dramatic pause just before the climax.
We are now in two-week break just after the two lead riders came to a dead-even tie with three rounds remaining. Eli Tomac and Ryan Dungey both have 194 points with another 75 points up for grabs. The prime numbers will duke it out three more times in 2017, and I cannot wait to see the action unfold.
The series resumes on April 22 in Salt Lake City, then heads to the penultimate round in East Rutherford, NJ on April 29 (tickets are on sale here). MetLife Stadium, located just quick train ride away from New York City, has been one of the highest attended races of the series since its introduction in 2014 and will set the stage for the final showdown in Las Vegas one week later on May 6.
For for all of you SX fans looking for things to do in NYC before or after the race, take a look the guide I put together a few years ago: 5 Things for Motocross Racers to Do In NYC. And give me a follow on Instagram while you’re at it: @bayodome.
For more information, be sure to visit www.SupercrossLive.com.
Tyler Medaglia and Nathan Bles Find a New Home for the 2017 MX Season
Tyler Medaglia and Mitch Cooke Launch Callus Gloves
We mentioned it last week, but now it looks like the two motocross racers taking over the Greater Truro Metropolitan Area have officially launched their Callus Gloves website.
From their site:
Where we come from…
Who better to create a glove than a professional who uses it. That was our philosophy here at Callus Gloves. We are two professional Motocross riders who know exactly what we want in a glove. We spent the last year developing these gloves; testing samples and working out design details to bring you the best glove possible.
As a result of the hours spent, we are able to bring our customers not only a great Motocross glove; but one that works in almost any situation where you would get a callus. So from cutting wood, mountain biking, paddling, to Motocross we have the glove for you.
Gatorback to be the Site of the 2017 MXGP of USA
(PIETRAMURATA) Trentino, Italy, 13 April 2017 – Youthstream and MX Sports Pro Racing are very proud to announce that the Monster Energy MXGP of USA scheduled on September, the 3rd will be held at Gatorback Cycle Park in Gainesville, Florida.
Gatorback Cycle Park has already hosted professional motocross racing in the past as a stop on the AMA Pro Motocross schedule from 1983 to 1997. Throughout those years Gatorback saw some very historic moments, including 1989, when two-time FIM Motocross World Champion Jean-Michel Bayle won his first race in US in dramatic fashion. That win was a sign of things to come as he would later claim both the AMA Motocross and Supercross Championships.
In 1993 Jeremy McGrath won his first national at Gatorback, topping the 125cc Class, while in the middle of his march to the first of his many AMA Supercross Championships.
Another remarkable moment was when Florida’s own Ricky Carmichael won his first of what would grow to an all-time record 102 AMA Motocross Nationals here in 1997. Like most aspiring young motocross riders in the U.S, Carmichael visited Gatorback Cycle Park often for the annual THOR Winter Olympics, one of the biggest and longest running motocross amateur events in the world.
Now, 20 years later, Gatorback Cycle Park is set to make history once again being the 17th stop of 2017 FIM World Motocross Championship. Both Youthstream and Gatorback Cycle Park are excited for the spectacular racing this event and venue will provide and look forward to the Monster Energy MXGP of USA on September 3rd, 2017.
David Luongo, Youthstream Vice-President and Head of Operations, stated: “We are very excited to come back in the United States of America for the Monster Energy MXGP of USA. Gatorback is one of the most historical track out there, the venue is beautiful and the MXGP fans in America will have the opportunity to watch the best Motocross Riders in the World to race on a classic US Track which will be very exciting for everybody. I really want to thank MX Sports and the AMA that helped a lot to make this event to happen and also Mr. Kern, the owner of Gatorback facility, to take this opportunity to bring back the MXGP World Championship in USA.”
Wyn Kern, Unlimited Sports MX, stated: “We are excited that Youthstream and MX Sports are working together to bring the Monster Energy MXGP of the USA to Gatorback Cycle Park this fall. We are going to give motocross fans the rare opportunity to see the best racers from AMA Pro Motocross line up against the best riders from the FIM’s MXGP World Championships, on a classic American motocross track. Add the fact that Unlimited Sports MX will host national-caliber amateur racing on this same Labor Day Weekend and Gatorback Cycle Park is going to be the capitol of the entire motocross world come the first of September.”
Davey Coombs, President of MX Sports Pro Racing, stated: “This is very exciting for American motocross, and also for MX Sports, finally having a chance to work with Youthstream to build a successful new race together here in the U.S. Our fans, not to mention most of the top riders, have long been familiar with what a great motocross track Wyn Kern and the Unlimited Sports MX crew has at Gatorback Cycle Park, so there is a lot of buzz already building about bringing the best professional motocross riders in the world here once again for a new MXGP in the USA.”
Please find here below the updated 2017 Calendar
|2017 FIM MXGP / MX2 MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP CALENDAR|
|DATE||GRAND PRIX||VENUE||ADDITIONAL RACES|
|25 February (Sat)||QATAR||Losail|
|5 March||INDONESIA||Pangkal Pinang||Women|
|19 March||PATAGONIA – ARGENTINA||Neuquen|
|2 April||LEON – MEXICO||Leon|
|16 April||TRENTINO (I)||Pietramurata||EMX250, Women|
|23 April||EUROPE (NL)||Valkenswaard||EMX125, EMX250|
|7 May||LATVIA||Kegums||EMX125, EMX250|
|21 May||GERMANY||Teutschenthal||Honda EMX150, EMX300|
|28 May||FRANCE||Ernée||EMX125, EMX250, Women|
|11 June||RUSSIA||Orlyonok||EMX250, EMX300|
|25 June||ITALY||Ottobiano||EMX125, EMX250, EMX300|
|2 July||PORTUGAL||Agueda||EMX125, EMX250, Honda EMX150|
|23 July||CZECH REP.||Loket||EMX65, EMX85, Women|
|6 August||BELGIUM||Lommel||EMX125, Honda EMX150, EMX300|
|13 August||SWITZERLAND||Frauenfeld/Gachnang||EMX125, EMX250, EMX300|
|20 August||SWEDEN||Uddevalla||EMX125, Honda EMX150|
|3 September||Monster Energy MXGP of USA||Gatorback Cycle Park|
|10 September||THE NETHERLANDS||Assen||Honda EMX150, Women, Veteran|
|17 September||PAYS DE MONTBELIARD (F)||Villars sous Ecot||EMX250, Women|
|1 October – Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations – GREAT BRITAIN, Matterley Basin|
|30 July – FIM Junior Motocross World Championship – ESTONIA – Lange Motokeskus|
2017 Rockstar Energy MX Nationals on TSN and Fox Sports Racing
Stouffville, ON — April 11, 2017 – Stallybrass Promotions Inc., the promoter of the 25th Annual Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals presented by Motovan, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Canadian television broadcaster TSN (The Sports Network). This national broadcast deal, along with the continuing relationship with Fox Sports Racing (FSR), brings the fast-paced, exhilarating sport of Canadian motocross to more fans across the country.
TSN will air 10 – 30 minute shows of the premiere MX1 class throughout the summer months, with the initial national broadcast on TSN1 followed by repeats on TSN2, TSN3, TSN4 and TSN5. This national coverage of the most intense motocross racing in the history of the sport in Canada will add to the multiple platforms available to follow each round of the series.
FSR will air 30 minutes of coverage for the 10 rounds of the MX2 class of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals that will also be available from July to September.
“This is excellent news for our fans, riders, teams and sponsors,” says Mark Stallybrass, President, CMRC/SPI. “An enhanced TV package with both TSN and FSR brings the intensity of our sport to more Canadians and it’s a great way to celebrate our 25th anniversary with both seasoned and new fans across the country.”
The opening round of the series at Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops, British Columbia kicks off on Sunday, June 4th in only eight weeks.
2017 ROCKSTAR ENERGY DRINK MOTOCROSS NATIONALS – SERIES SCHEDULE
Sunday, June 4 Whispering Pines Raceway, Kamloops, British Columbia
Sunday, June 11 Blackwater MX Track, Prince George, British Columbia
Sunday, June 18 Wild Rose MX Park, Calgary, Alberta
Sunday, June 25 Moto Valley Raceway, Regina, Saskatchewan
Sunday, July 9 Gopher Dunes, Courtland, Ontario
Sunday, July 16 Motocross Ulverton, Ulverton, Quebec
Sunday, July 23 Pleasant Valley Motorsport Park, Truro, Nova Scotia
Sunday, July 30 Riverglade MX Park, Moncton, New Brunswick
Sunday, August 6 Motocross Deschambault, Deschambault, Quebec
Sunday, August 13 RJ Motosport Park, Barrie, Ontario
About Rockstar Energy Drink: Rockstar Energy Drink is designed for those who lead active lifestyles – from Athletes to Rockstars. Available in over 20 flavors at convenience and grocery outlets in over 30 countries, Rockstar supports the active Rockstar lifestyle across the globe through Action Sports, Motor Sports, and Live Music. For more information visit: www.RockstarEnergy.com
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Podcast | CMRC President – Mark Stallybrass
With all the news about the series this year and in the future, we felt it was the perfect time to get CMRC President, Mark Stallybrass, on the phone for a PODCAST. We had planned on doing this a while ago, but new announcements kept happening and we wanted to wait to be sure we could talk about all of them.
‘Tailgating’ Episodes from Gopher Dunes
Practice Day at Gopher Dunes
OK, everyone, that will do it for this week. I’ve left my parents unattended sitting on chairs in the front yard. I’ll go make sure they’re still there. Thanks for your support of Direct Motocross. Have a great long weekend and be careful out there.