Frid'Eh Update #2
The world is a mess right now (at least that’s what the headlines tell us); so is the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series—and it couldn’t feel any better. Fans couldn’t have asked for a better or more surprising start to the series than what we saw at Anaheim 1. If that drama and display somehow continues through the next 15 rounds, the “supercross economy” will certainly be flourishing.
On the track, we saw Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota/Yamaha’s Josh Grant record his very first 450 supercross victory—in his very first attempt, only one of the big three (Reed, Stewart, Villopoto), Chad Reed, finish on the podium, and Pro Circuit underdogs Jake Weimer and Ryan Morais finish 1-2 in the 250 main event.
The plot thickened off the track when it was discovered that Jason Lawrence would be wearing One Industries gear. Many assumed J-Law would be in Fox on his new Yamaha, but not so. This didn’t sit well with Makita Suzuki’s Ryan Dungey. He had just signed on as a flagship rider for the company, and it’s no secret that he and J-Law aren’t exactly “buddies.” Dungey showed his displeasure of the deal by dropping his sponsorship with One. He’s now part of the Fox family, as you can see in this Racer X Film.
So what the heck was One Industries thinking in this whole deal? I don’t really know, but they certainly generated some press out of it. And any press is good press, right?
Some press has certainly been generated this week in Canadian motocross as well. The week began with talk of Jeremy Medaglia racing for Leading Edge Kawasaki at the final round of the Canadian Arenacross Championships in Chilliwack, BC. That talk has turned into truth when James Lissimore picked up “Jer-Bear” from the Vancouver airport yesterday. Click here to see the “First Photos” of Jeremy on his temporary ride.
Medaglia will no doubt be a welcomed addition to the series, and even though he doesn’t have a vast amount of AX experience, the kid is full of confidence, determination and talent. He’s probably spent more time on a bike in the last three months than anyone else in Canada, and I’m sure he’ll do just fine.
Lissimore sent along this preview to the final Chilliwack race….
Well, we're finally back to racing here on the “left” coast this weekend with the final two rounds of the Nex-Trax Arenacross Championships at Chilliwack, BC's Heritage Center. If things keep going the way they have so far in the series we can expect the unexpected.
The two main contenders for the title both find themselves out of the running now, as the points leader in both classes, Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki's Teddy Maier suffered a broken leg at a local arenacross a couple weeks ago, and Clearbrook turned Blackfoot Yamaha's Kyle Beaton was injured at Round 3, missed Round 4, and is now out of the points chase. Also, Jean Sébastien Roy is not racing this weekend so that takes another contender out of the mix.
|Jeremy Medaglia (14) and Brock Hoyer (22) warm-up for this weekend's racing in Chilliwack, BC.|
|photo: James Lissimore|
There certainly won't be a shortage of action this weekend despite these guys missing. RTR KTM's Ryan Lockhart finds himself in a position to wrap up both titles, which is a welcome change from his season last year, where he had more bad luck than the rest of the field combined. Beaton is also back in action this weekend, now flying the Blackfoot flag for the first time in his career. Behind him is a solid field of pro riders including the Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki duo of Brock Hoyer and Kris Foster, RTR KTM's Ryan Millar, Orca Bay Suzuki's Colton McLean and even Team Faith's Josh Snider managed to pry himself away from the Alberta Oil Patch long enough to get some racing in. Spencer Knowles is also making his debut on a Clearbrook Yamaha for the first time after a long amateur career on KTM's.
Of course, the biggest supprise was probably Monster Energy/Leading Edge Kawasaki's decision to bring in Jeremy Medaglia to replace the injured Maier. I have to say, after watching him practice, he looks really comfortable, and despite it being his first AX, he should be in the mix. Tune into the MXForum.com Pirate Radio broadcast this weekend for all the play-by-play and random highjinks.
|Spencer Knowles is racing for Clearbrook Yamaha after a long and successful career with KTM.|
I also want to thank Canadian Kawasaki for their support of the Nex-Trax Arenacross series. With all of the cutbacks that are going on in our sport right now it's been great to see the initiatives that they've launched with the indoor series. The Factory Rider for a Day program gives a lucky rider a chance to hang out with the Leading Edge Kawasaki team for the day, ride a brand new 2009 Kawasaki and they even get their own mechanic—not to mention a catered dinner and full use of the rig. Hopefully, one day, we'll see one of these kids in the rig as a fully sponsored rider. It definitely gives them a taste of what they can achieve.
On top of that, Kawasaki has been offering a $1500 credit towards the purchase of a new bike for the winner of a certain class every round. Plus, I just saw the press release today stating that Kawasaki is offering free oil changes this weekend. We all know how hard things are right now, and most manufacturers are scaling back, so this is a huge step in giving back to the sport. I hope they get enough value out of these programs to bring them back for next season.
That's it for now, stay tuned to directmotocross.com for plenty of updates on the action at Chilliwack this weekend!
Thanks, Liss. I agree with you. It’s definitely great to see Kawasaki backing the series and amateur racers in these tough times. The Hellam’s do a great job of promoting it, and the riders remain loyal, so they deserve it.
Colton Facciotti isn’t racing in Chilliwack this weekend. Instead, he’s racing in Dortmund, Germany. You can follow his progress here.
The 15th Annual Alberta Arenacross Championships kick off on February 6-7 at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge. I had the opportunity to attend this event last year and had a great time, on and off the track. The Alberta Dirt Riders put together a good show with amateur and pro racing, build a challenging track, and treat the featured pros really well. (The top three from last year’s race are given free entry fees and hotel rooms and local dealerships normally support guys like Mesley, Lockhart, Nye or Montes.) The town really gets behind the event, and they probably bring in around 2,000 to 3,000 fans. You’ll find all of the details at albertadirtriders.com.
|The Alberta AX Championships take place on February 6-7 at the Enmax Centre in Lethbridge, AB. I believe the promoters even open the doors a day early for riders to get some extra practice in. Sign up now!|
|photo: Danny Brault|
I received some good news from OTSFF’s team owner Andre Laurin this morning. He wrote in an email that things are coming together well with sponsors, and confirmed that he will be supporting another national effort. “Tyler [Medaglia] for sure [will be on the team],” says Laurin. “Jeremy is … well, Jeremy [laughs]. He has our equipment and is riding a 450 and living in Georgia at my house. So, yes, he is also 450 rider. So it will be a three-man 450 team at this time. Stand by for the few new sponsors. They are humanitarian to say the least.”
The third rider on the team will be Kyle Keast. Laurin’s deal isn’t without some sacrifice to the original deal (before Suzuki pulled out), but it’s better than Keast has received yet and I think he’s more relieved than anything to have a deal done. “I’m happy, for sure,” said Keast. “I might have to look after some of my flights, but I will be pitted with the rig and have bikes, gear and everything at the races. Suzuki offers some really good contingency, too, and I really liked the Suzuki 450 that I rode in the fall.”
I bet right now that John Nelson is putting #25 on a Honda 450 for Chuck Mesley….
We checked in with one of Atlantic Canada’s finest, Mitch Cooke, earlier this week. I was surprised to learn that Cooke isn’t returning to Dubai. I know he gets paid very, very well to ride a motorcycle over there, they treat him well and he has a great place to stay. I heard he even has his own monkey that can tighten spokes, clean filters and change tires. Okay, I made up that last part, but Mitch is ready to give up the luxuries and start getting back to his old self. In fact, he’s already scheduled to drive the bread van down to Florida in a week. “I’m looking forward to being a privateer this year,” says Cooke. “I don’t even want to be on a team; I want to be my own boss.”
Cooke was supposed to call me back and confirm which brand he is riding for (it’s between a Kawasaki from Freedom Cycle or Honda), but he must have got tied up baking some sugar cookies or Charlie cakes. Despite a lackluster performance in 2008, I really think Cooke can still win some races and be a contender. He was dealt a hard blow last spring when a close friend passed away in a boating accident, and it really affected his riding and lifestyle. Some time has passed, however, and he seems in much better spirits.
“It was something I needed to get out of my system,” he says. “Now I’m over that whole scene. Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom before reflecting and saying, ‘what the heck am I doing?’ I’ve never been a big partyer, but I got it out of my system last summer. I’m over that scene; I want to buckle down and do well.”
To read the full interview, click here.
Oh, and if you want to see just how cool Dubai is, or how “H.A.F.” Mitch is, check out these Youtube videos.
Brady Sheren joined the supercross fray last weekend in Anaheim. The Fun Center Suzuki rider missed making the night show by three-tenths of a second, but looks forward to clicking off a second or two now that his wrist is feeling better. “My wrist was still pretty sore, and it prevented me from jumping one of the triples consistently,” says Sheren. “I taped it a different way this week, however, and it feels a hundred times better—I can actually ride this way, so hopefully it stays this way.”
Stay tuned Sheren and everyone’s lap times from Round 2 in Phoenix right here. You can watch the action on Sunday beginning at 5 PM EST on SPEED.
There’s been a lot of talk lately regarding the possibility of 250 two-strokes racing against 250F four-strokes in the MX2 class. I have yet to hear any real negative feedback on this topic (other than some debates on which is more competitive, a 250 or 250F); everyone seems to think it would be a welcomed change to the series. Even CMRC president Mark Stallybrass is eager to bring back the bark, but it’s not a simple black and white decision.
“I, personally, think it’s a great idea,” says Stallybrass. “Who wouldn’t want to race a 250 two-stroke against a 250F? Not only do they have more power, I think, but as far as maintenance goes, they are cheaper to maintain. It needs to be thought about more, the pros and cons, but ultimately, it comes down to the manufacturers. I had enough of a fight trying to make 144’s legal in the 250F class. It took a year for me to get that.”
It’s probably too late in the game to change the ruling, but I do know that the CMRC is investigating the possibility. Man, how cool would it be to see a mixture of two and four-strokes in the MX2 class? I think it would be interesting to see how many racers would choose the bark instead of the thump. If you’d like to have your say on this topic, then “Speak Up” and vote on our DMX Poll.
Looking to eat like a world champion? Then try out this new dinner plate from Stefan everts.
The Women’s National Series remains on the schedule for 2009. Unfortunately, it’s uncertain if Suzuki Canada will continue to sponsor the $10,000 purse, but Stallybrass assures us that someone will step up. “We’re still finalizing things with the purse, but the series will go on. We’re going to run five rounds as well: Kamloops, Calgary, Gopher Dunes, Quebec, and Sand Del Lee.”
|Jacqueline Ross was featured on the cover of an issue of Florida MX. She's hoping to make a debut into snocross shortly with the Royal Distributing Polaris Team.|
Royal Distributing KTM Canada is not letting go of their Women’s champion, Jacqueline Ross, and the Floridian is set to enjoy another Canadian summer. But first, however, Ross is going to enjoy her first Canadian winter. I caught up with KTM’s race director, Andy White, Royal Distributing’s Mark Fries and Ross last weekend at the International Motorcycle Show, and all three are excited to have Ross trying her hand at snocross.
“She’s just been amazing to work with,” said Fries. “She’s ridden ATVs and jet-skiis before and obviously has a lot of talent on a bike. She’ll be testing with us over the next couple of weeks before racing in Owen Sound [Ontario].”
It also doesn't hurt Royal that Ross is working part-time while she's staying in Canada. "She wasn't sure about spending that much time up here, because she would have to miss work, so we asked her if she was interested in doing some work at Royal and she said 'Sure!'" added Fries.
I also caught up with Schrader’s Yamaha’s Denaye Giroux this week to see how cold it really is in Saskatchewan. It’s turn out that it’s really cold, like – 32 cold. Denaye and her father, Roland, a former national pro in the 70’s, just got home from a long road trip that included a stay at the Georgia Practice Facility, the Mini Olympics and the Women’s Cup in Wortham, Texas. Giroux qualified for the supercross and motocross classes at Gatorback, but her best results came in Texas, where she finished third and fifth in the College Girl and Women’s B classes. She’s now planning a trip to SoCal to train with Todd Schumlick and fellow Flatlander, Shawn Maffenbeier, before the Canadian season begins.
Dawn McClintock sent along this update on Borhog Powersports….
Talk about simply refusing to take part in this "recession!”
I was driving by Borhog Power Sports today just outside of Aylmer, Ontario and noticed their sign said they were moving on Feb. 1, so I went in and had a little chat with Denise Borremans, the owner of the family run business, to find out what was going on.
She explained that they'd simply run out of space, and judging from their showroom you can see why. They've got it jam packed with parts, gear, helmets, casual wear, bags, you name it, it's shoved in there. To have a showroom where they can display bikes, quads and UTVs would be a dream after almost three months of brushing snow off the models in the front lot and dragging them in and out of the shop every day.
Denise is very upbeat about how business has been going and has some great plans for the future. They got their keys three days ago and are moving into the vacant space that once housed Lightning Power Sports next to the St. Thomas airport. Here's the official new address:
45025 Talbot Line, St. Thomas, ON. You can find them on the web at http://bor-hog.com/. Good on you guys, and it's great to hear some positive news coming out of the industry!
Thanks, Dawn. For any of you dealers out there, feel free to send along any updates on your shop and racers—we’ll get them posted!
|Now ... which Allison brother is this one? I think it's Jared. Regardless, Jared and Parker will both be riding Yamaha's with support from Blackfoot.|
We received some pretty encouraging and positive feedback from readers since we launched last week, one of which was from Lori Allison, the mother of national pros (and twins) Jared and Parker. Both of her boys have been showing some serious speed against the factory riders over the last two years, and I was curious to know if anyone has stepped up to support them—and if they’ve been out on the ice yet. Lori sent this:
“The wimps haven’t studded up yet! -36 degrees here. They are finishing off grade 12; two more weeks and they are done. Thanks to Dean Thompson, we will do the whole series again. He is putting the boys on a "B" team. Not a lot of support but better than nothing. They will ride Yamahas for the first time. I think we figured out we have bought 46 Kawasakis over the years! I guess change is good. I still can’t tell you how thankful we are for your new website. I’m sure we all check it 10 times a day!”
Keep an eye on Parker (36) and Jared (21) this summer. It’s pretty entertaining watching these two race, somehow, they always manage to find each other on the track. I can’t imagine what their parents must be going through. How do they decide who to cheer for? Or do they each flip a coin and pick one?
When the Toronto Supercross returns on March 28, so does the MX for Children charity. For the past three years, Live Nation (now Feld Entertainment) and MX for Children have run a program to help raise donations for Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto. (The organization runs programs in Seattle and Houston too.)
|Some Canadian kids enjoy a day with James Stewart, Tim Ferry and Chad Reed during an Inside Line Experience.|
|photo: Rex Bkacman|
The charity began after Paul Gross’ son, William, was diagnosed with hydrocephalus in 2005, an illness that causes excessive accumulation of fluids in the brain. It's the #1 cause of pediatric brain surgeries. Gross, a motocrosser himself, began this program to help give back to the hospital that saved his son’s life. Anyone can download a pledgeform right here and start raising funds for the Toronto SX ASAP. Top fundraisers are rewarded with the Inside Line Experience. “They basically get a VIP weekend,” says co-organizer, Rex Backman. “Each person receives two tickets with pit passes, a tour of the race teams rigs, a track walk, and access to a private practice and press conference.”
If you’re interested in supporting a good cause, and having an even better time at the Toronto SX, visit www.mxforchildren.org for details.
Okay, that’s it for this week, folks. Thanks for reading, and feel free to send along any comments, questions or feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.