Welcome to another Monday Morning. This week finds us down in Georgia checking to see if the van was broken into last night. You see, I booked a hotel close to the Atlanta Airport so it wouldn’t be far to get Jeff on his way home this morning. How bad could a hotel be that’s a chain and within 10 minutes of the airport, right? Wow.
I booked it from the track yesterday during Amateur Day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. You know when you read the reviews and assume it’s just the negative people that you hear from? Sometimes, I think that’s true, but this time I think I should have listened.
We got to the hotel at 5:30. It was still light outside and the lady behind the counter was behind bullet-proof glass and I had to pass her my ID and credit card through the slot. That should have been a red flag…yellow, at least.
On the way in, we passed a Mexican restaurant at the intersection the hotel is at, so we planned on heading there for dinner. When we headed there after unloading the van, it had turned into some sort of Sunday night biker dance party! There were 50 bikes in the parking lot and people drinking harder than if it were Spring Break on South Padre Island! We decided to look elsewhere.
The next place had a full parking lot, but half of the vehicles were cop cars, so we moved on.
We found another Mexican spot so we decided to try again. As we walked up, there was some seriously loud music being being pumped to the front patio. No bigggie, and we headed in.
Nope, it was even louder inside, and it turned out there was a DJ for some reason on a Sunday night during dinner??? It made no sense to us, but we went in anyway.
The 12-person table beside us was empty except for some dude passed out with his head down on the table. He didn’t move the entire time we were there.
The food was OK at best and we finished and headed back to the hotel.
Jeff decided he was thirsty and walked over to the gas station at the corner. He was ghost white when he got back and said there were basically nothing but cars idling out front with people coming and going after quick visits to the back windows. We’re in a rough area, is what I’m trying to say.
Sometimes, you should listen to the reviews that simply read, “DO NOT STAY HERE!” Oh well, the sun is up and it looks like we made it through the night.
Jeff will fly home and I’ll make my way south to Daytona for this coming week’s Supercross at the famed motor speedway.
I was first at the Daytona Supercross in 1985 with my dad and another racer from London. I’m not going to talk about the race — I don’t actually remember what happened. No, the part I remember is taking our 1984 minivan for a sol drive down the strip.
WE had Canada flags on the sides of the van, and when I pulled up to a red light someone yelled, “Hey, a Canadian!” and proceeded to climb in the unlocked doors with 4 friends.
They seemed like reasonable people so I just let it happen. They said they were going to a party up the road in Ormond Beach and asked if I’d mind driving them. It was only a few miles up the road so I did.
When we got there, they invited me in for a drink. I was still too young, but headed in to see what a Florida party looked like. I took a few steps inside the front door and some dude came up, said, “Hey, man, I’m Vic!” and swallowed a gold fish.
That’s the part of that first trip to the Daytona Supercross I’ll never forget.
Anyway, we’ll see what happens this coming week when I stay with our old buddy, Brendan Goldstein, from Legend Int’l Clothing Co… He usually doesn’t disappoint.
Monster Energy Supercross | Atlanta
I was on the floor shooting photos at the Supercross in Atlanta Saturday night, and it sounds like I missed another crazy night! That’s the thing, it’s cool to be right up next to the action, but you tend to miss the races. Sometimes, I’ll ask another photographer what happened to so-and-so and they’ll act like they don’t really care about what’s happening on the track, as long as they get a few good photos of whoever is paying them. It’s a weird mentality, and one I hope I never find myself subscribing to.
Sure, I want to get as many good shots as I can, but it’s to tell the story of the night, not to cash a cheque at the end of the weekend. When Motocross becomes a 9-5 job for me, it will be time to move on, and that means never.
It’s about having fun at the races and trying to bring the stories to those who couldn’t be there. For example, how else would you know what people look like when they hand-gesture a section during track walk?
While we’re on the subject, when is someone going to say enough already with the same haircut? Riders are starting to look a little like sheep with all of them going to the standard cut. I guess it was the same when you weren’t cool unless you ran a big, dirty mullet back in the day, so I shouldn’t complain too much. But, come on, guys, it’s starting to look like the required uniform out there. Remember when Jason Thomas showed up with is a couple years ago? Sure, he was copying something he’d seen, but at least he was ahead of the curve when it came to the moto crowd. Let’s wait and see what he does next… #avantegarde
OK, yes, there was racing going on Saturday, too, but I don’t have strong enough internet to upload too many photos so I went with some track walk pics, here. I’ll get to some race photos a little later.
Let’s have a look at what happened:
250 Triple Crown
So, now we head a little farther south and back into Florida. The Daytona Supercross is definitely a jewel in the Supercross season’s crown. It’s a one-off race that falls under the Daytona International Motor Speedway’s umbrella, but as a fan, why would it matter. It’s a little different for us, behind the scenes, but the gates will drop and the races will be run. It’s a historic facility where riders get their chance to become legends. Win at Daytona and your street cred is set for the rest of your career. You can always say you won Daytona.
Jeff made the trip south to Atlanta, but he’s already on a flight home. Watch for his ‘McThoughts’ column later and also Hammertime’s column, if he does one. I’ll check in with him and give him a little prodding. He has a hard time toning his thoughts down to a more PG level, but I think he walked the line pretty well last week. We want him to be himself but…you know.
Anyway, we checked out some amateur racing Sunday back at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There weren’t many Canadians racing, but there were some young hotshots on the gate.
You can check out our Photo Report HERE, if you haven’t yet.
The riders that impressed me most were these guys:
2018 MXGP Round 1 | Argentina
NEUQUEN (Patagonia Argentina), 04 March 2018 – The 2018 FIM Motocross World Championship season is running in dramatic fashion setting the stage for yet another year of epic racing. The MXGP of Patagonia Argentina served as host for the first round of the new season and provided racing right off of the MXGP fan wish list. With the surroundings nothing short of serene and peaceful, the roar of MXGP and MX2 bikes brought the Neuquen region to life.
Both of the 2017 Champions returned to action amongst a field of competitors both new and old all looking to make a statement and build confidence for the remaining 18 races. Seeing the first success of 2018 was Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings and Pauls Jonass.
The MXGP field is a stacked one without doubt but one thing on everyone’s mind coming into this season was how the speed of a healthy Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings would compare to that of the reigning MXGP champion Antonio Cairoli.
When the gate finally dropped after months of training and preparation, Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Antonio Cairoli took the FOX Holeshot and led the way for every lap of the 19 recorded.
Behind Cairoli was at first the newest recruit to the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team, Julien Lieber, but he was eventually shuffled back to 8th in what would be his first MXGP Championship race. First to pass Lieber was Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Romain Febvre who appears to have a successful bike setting at the start of the new year.
After the first laps of race one Herlings moved his way up from 4th to second passing both Lieber and Febvre. Herlings continued in pursuit of his teammate Cairoli who was out front. Herlings was able to catch up to Cairoli but unable to make an attempt at a pass as he crossed the finish line just barely over a second later than the #222.
Coming from 6th and putting in a strong race to move his way up to 3rd was Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle.
Race two started identical for Cairoli again taking the FOX Holeshot with a Monster Energy Kawasaki on his heels but it was the #25 of Clement Desalle the second time around as Lieber fell in the first turn along with Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s Max Anstie and Bike IT DRT Kawasaki’s Tommy Searle.
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings came across the first complete lap in 5th place and seemed to struggle to find his rhythm early. Meanwhile Cairoli pulled away from Desalle up front as the two Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP bikes of Jeremy Van Horebeek and Romain Febvre battled in 3rd and 4th. Herlings split the Yamaha’s for 6 laps before finally finding his way past Van Horebeek and a lap later Desalle.
With 9 minutes remaining in race 2 Herlings was near 9 seconds of the lead of Cairoli. Herlings is known not to give up easy and as he found his groove he began chipping away at the lead. In the remaining laps the #84 inched his way forward and each second he gained his confidence doubled. In an amazing effort Herlings caught Cairoli with only one lap remaining and as the approached the first corner Herlings charged to the inside of the #222 much to the Sicilian’s surprise.
Though Herlings over shot the racing line allowing Cairoli to hold the position a slight bobble from the 9-time champ helped Herlings make a move stick only a few turns later. While Cairoli led every other lap of the weekend none proved more important than the very last which Herlings snatched.
Herlings in the press conference said: “I had some battles going on for the 5th, 4th, and 3rd so by the time I got into second there was only 10 minutes left in the race and Tony had a good gap of like 10 seconds, he was riding great so to close the gap was very difficult but I luckily made it happen. I am blessed to have won the first GP, the opening GP of the year, it is really good to know all the hard work we put in during the winter is showing.”
Antonio Cairoli later said: “I am really happy to be on the podium, we almost made it the first perfect weekend. In the second race I had a good start and a good gap, I was trying to pull away a little bit and when I hit the lappers I tried to change some lines and made some mistakes. I went off the berm in a few corners and then also hit some kickers so I had to slow down a little bit. When we are riding on the limit like we were in the second race if you slow down a little bit you loose time quickly. Jeffrey was able to come closer and he was stronger in the end, the last 2 or 3 laps I was making too many mistakes, I was a little tired and he had the chance to go around me and he took it, it was a good move.”
While the top two spots were swapped between Cairoli and Herlings the final podium spot was secured by the consecutive 3-3 finishes of Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team’s Clement Desalle. Desalle in the press conference: “I feel good, I had a strong weekend and I see some good things… we worked a lot on the bike with the team this winter and I can see that it is working, we still have a couple of small things to improve which is good for the future but already we had a really strong weekend.”
It was the first taste of the spectacular 19 course meal which lies on the table for 2018. In 2-week time MXGP will be back in action at the home track of Herlings in Valkenswaard, Netherlands for the 2018 MXGP of Europe.
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 34:23.907; 2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:01.075; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:30.101; 4. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:32.081; 5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:34.491; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:39.338; 7. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Yamaha), +0:44.786; 8. Julien Lieber (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:51.977; 9. Tommy Searle (GBR, Kawasaki), +0:55.538; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:56.248.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 34:56.319; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), +0:02.051; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:23.027; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:26.080; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:34.539; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Husqvarna), +0:45.838; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:58.958; 8. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), +1:01.409; 9. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Suzuki), +1:15.786; 10. Alessandro Lupino (ITA, Kawasaki), +1:17.858.
MXGP Overall Top Ten: 1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 47 points; 2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 47 p.; 3. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 40 p.; 4. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 34 p.; 5. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 34 p.; 6. Gautier Paulin (FRA, HUS), 30 p.; 7. Shaun Simpson (GBR, YAM), 24 p.; 8. Julien Lieber (BEL, KAW), 22 p.; 9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, TM), 21 p.; 10. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 21 p.
MXGP Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 50 points; 2. Kawasaki, 40 p.; 3. Yamaha, 36 p.; 4. Husqvarna, 30 p.; 5. TM, 21 p.; 6. Suzuki, 19 p.; 7. Honda, 13 p.
MX2’s first race of the new season was reminiscent of the 2017 season and had the perfect start for Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Pauls Jonass. The defending MX2 World Champion ran his red number 1 plate with pride and did it justice as he won every race of the weekend from qualifying through to race 2. Jonass on the weekend said: “I felt really good all weekend and especially on the new KTM, the bike is really good, you can see that all the testing and work we put in during the off season is paying off.”
In race one the new Honda 114 Motorsports rider Hunter Lawrence took the Fox Holeshot but it was the Bike IT DRT Kawasaki of Darian Sanayei that took the early lead, and on the third complete lap Lawrence, seen as a title contender took the premier position and set himself up well for success.
Sanayei held second for another 2 laps before Jonass moved his way forward and set his sights on the bright yellow and black gear of Lawrence. After 7 laps in second Jonass chased down the #96 and made pass for the lead finishing just under 2 seconds ahead of the Aussie.
Team HRC’s Calvin Vlaanderen came together with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jorge Prado early in the race costing both time and positions for each. Vlaanderen was able to salvage an 18th while Prado recovered to 16th.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Thomas Kjer Olsen started the race around 5th position and after battling with Kemea Yamaha Official MX2 Team’s Ben Watson he would move to 4th. At the finish Olsen took 3rd with Watson 4th as Sanayei suffered a bike issue forcing him to pull out of the race.
Race 2 started with a FOX Holeshot from LRT KTM’s Davy Pootjes but by the end of the first lap Jonass was into the lead. Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Thomas Covington was third after the first lap but he made a mistake two corners before the finish line causing him to drop to 7th immediately before eventually finishing 18th.
Covington’s teammate, Thomas Kjer Olsen put another stellar ride together in race two to finish second place in both the race and the overall. Olsen said: “I felt really good this weekend, I started off a little bit slow in practice but it was okay, I was just trying to learn the track. I was pretty pumped coming into this weekend because I knew we had good speed from the winter. To get on the podium is amazing.”
Sanayei came back to racing with a point to prove after his race one DNF. Starting in 4th Sanayei made his way to third by the end of the race followed by Ben Watson who took his second 4th of the day.
Calvin Vlaanderen also bounced back from his race 1 mishap charging forward from a 10th place start to take 5th ahead of Hunter Lawrence who reached the overall podium in 3rd with 2-6 finishes. Lawrence said: “It is a lot better start than last year. For the team’s first race and being on a new bike this year it is cool and I look forward to what the rest of the season holds.”
MX2 Race 1 Top Ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 34:44.373; 2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:01.993; 3. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:12.509; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:21.540; 5. Henry Jacobi (GER, Husqvarna), +0:39.686; 6. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), +0:40.184; 7. Jed Beaton (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:41.891; 8. Michele Cervellin (ITA, Honda), +0:43.238; 9. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:44.951; ; 10. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:52.725.
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 34:00.087; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, Husqvarna), +0:05.260; 3. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +0:10.726; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, Yamaha), +0:13.864; 5. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, Honda), +0:13.993; 6. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, Honda), +0:14.909; 7. Jorge Prado (ESP, KTM), +0:33.086; 8. Jed Beaton (AUS, Kawasaki), +0:34.461; 9. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, Yamaha), +0:40.040; 10. Jago Geerts (BEL, Yamaha), +0:41.654.
MX2 Overall Top Ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 50 points; 2. Thomas Kjer Olsen (DEN, HUS), 42 p.; 3. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, HON), 37 p.; 4. Ben Watson (GBR, YAM), 36 p.; 5. Jed Beaton (AUS, KAW), 27 p.; 6. Vsevolod Brylyakov (RUS, YAM), 24 p.; 7. Henry Jacobi (GER, HUS), 21 p.; 8. Darian Sanayei (USA, KAW), 20 p.; 9. Jago Geerts (BEL, YAM), 20 p.; 10. Calvin Vlaanderen (RSA, HON), 19 p.
MX2 Manufacturers: 1. KTM, 50 points; 2. Husqvarna, 42 p.; 3. Honda, 38 p.; 4. Yamaha, 36 p.; 5. Kawasaki, 34 p.; 6. TM, 10 p.
Team Canada ‘Fan Packages’ Available Now
2018 Team Canada Fan Packages are now available for purchase! Head over to the site and get yours as soon as possible! Link is in our bio or head over to our Facebook and twitter pages and follow it from there! https://team-canada-motocross-of-nations.myshopify.com @directmotocross @guaranteedmx @kthomps160 @brett991 @mxpmag
Team Canada Numbers:
The question is, who will be on the team? We’re going to Red Bud in Buchana, Michigan, so it’s about as close as we’ll ever get to home, and there should be more Canadian fans at this one than any before. Go, Canada, go!
The clock is about to strike noon, and that means Coffee Time is over. Thanks for reading, and have a great week. It’s not exactly hot where I am, but I’m wearing shorts so it can’t be that bad. We’re heading to Daytona where we’ll have Westen Wrozyna, Colton Facciotti, and Dylan Wright to cheer for. Tyler Medaglia will not be racing. We’ll also have Kaven Benoit racing round 2 of the GNCC series in Palatka, Florida, so I’ll try to make the drive over there to catch all the acion.