November 13, 2006

Good Luck in Baja, David Izer!

This HAS to qualify as the "weird news of the week": DMXS Radio's own David Izer is going to join Travis Pastrana's team to contest the Baja 1000... on a quad! Don't believe me? Read if for yourself here at Racer X online.

David Izer racing a couch? For a 1000 miles down the Baja Peninsula? Dude, didn't you see "Dust to Glory"??

I'm not sure whether I should cheer or say a few prayers. Probably both..! And I tell you what: this will turn into the greatest episode of DMXS Radio ever. Of that I'm sure...

November 11, 2006

Tortelli Retires

Some things you just hate to see come to an end, and this news is definitely one of them. Sebastien Tortelli, charismatic former 125 and 250 World Champion, and much-injured fast guy, has called it quits. Here's the full story, courtesy Crash Net (ironically)...

Tortelli was always quick, and I remember when he first started racing in the states, in the winter of '98 I believe. At the fabled Perris Invitation Supercross, he battled Jeff Emig down to the very last lap. Now, back in those days the promoters at Perris would use tricks to make the racing more interesting... on this day, certain turns had "lanes", that is, they ran stakes and track ribbon in the middle of the turn to separate it into distinct "inside" and "outside" lines. One of these turns was set up just a few turns from the finish, and Emig had the advantage going in, choosing to take the faster outside line. But before these two riders reached the corner, another rider had blown through the ribbon, leaving a hole... which Tortelli used to his advantage. Sebastien went inside-outside, blocked Fro, and went on to win the race.

I remember Emig being pissed, but he was still a good sport about it. And "Bashen Telly", as some internet wag once called him, seemed slightly embarrassed... but he wasn't about to give up the $10k winner-takes-all prize money.

And then a few weeks later, "Tortellini" lucked into the win at the opening round of the Supercross series at the L.A. Coliseum, when Doug Henry, after leading from start to the last lap, stalled his works thumper Yamaha and couldn't get restarted in time. The young World Champ from France was on a roll. Too bad it didn't pan out into an AMA title.

Good luck, Sebastien, with whatever you do. And thanks for all the good rides.

November 03, 2006

Sparkplug 56

Don't call it a comeback!

Yes, it has been a little while since the last Sparkplug, but the muse has returned so to speak. My little hiatus was unexpected but apparently much needed and that's all I'll say about that. For now, I'll just ease back into the swing of things... I don't want to pull a mental muscle.

This week's Sparkplug is about Motocross Media, specifically, the recent changes in the game. It looks like this sport may just join the 21st Century yet.

Just tonight I had the pleasure of browsing through my second copy of the new magazine, MOTOCROSS ILLUSTRATED (aka “MXi”), a unique and welcome addition to the pantheon of MX press. What makes MXi unique is the fact that it comes out twice a month, and yet it is as slick and glossy as any of the monthly mags. Led by Editorial Director Steve Cox and Executive Editor Scott Rousseau and published by Access Media, MXi combines the timeliness of Cycle News with the visual excellence of Racer X or TWMX. I'm really glad to see a new publication, and I think they're doing a heckuva job, Brownie.

Also relatively new to the scene is, which is sort of the MySpace of Motocross. Vital MX is an ambitious, web-only undertaking that boasts just about everything one would want in a motocross enthusiast's website. Ably run by Steve Gibberson (former web honcho for TWMX Online and the generous guru behind, VitalMX features the very latest MX news, race reports, and videos as well as a full-on membership area (and it's FREE!) with fan forum and all that jazz. Vital is just picking up speed, but it will probably become one of the primary web destinations for motocross fans in the upcoming year.

And speaking of the upcoming year, some really big news dropped this week regarding race coverage for 2007. Live Nation announced the broadcast schedule for the 2007 Amp'd Mobile Supercross series, and the big news is that the Anaheim I race will be broadcast live on the Speed Channel! This is a historical milestone for the sport and hopefully this will lead to my ultimate dream: seeing the entire season broadcast live on a major broadcast network. As for now, the majority of the races will be shown either next day (for the 450 class) or the following weekend (250F, the “redheaded stepchild” of Supercross), with the Las Vegas finale also getting the benefit of a live broadcast.

With the experience gained from this year's live finale broadcast, I certainly hope Live Nation improves their performance. Here's what I thought about the 2006 show.

Live Nation/CBS/Speed also announced earlier that Jeff Emig will be taking over Denny Stephenson's spot in the broadcast booth, alongside the mediocre Ralph Sheheen and woefully inadequate Krista Voda. (Did I just say mediocre and woefully inadequate? Perhaps I exaggerate.) In any case, I find it not so surprising that they chose to replace the best performing person on the team... that seems to be par for the course for some of these old school organizations. I wish Fro the best of luck with his big broadcast debut; I like Jeff Emig a lot and I hope he does well.

But the biggest media news, to me, was the announcement from Mike Kidd that the BooKoo Arenacross series... the ENTIRE series... will be webcast live each week! Here's the announcement. These are full video webcasts, similar to the live webcasts that I enjoyed for both the 2005 and 2006 Motocross des Nations. The BooKoo Arenacross series has truly stepped into the new media millenium, outfoxing the more established race series by going directly to the fans at $5 per viewing. Outstanding!

Too bad what the fans REALLY want to see online is the Amp'd Mobile Supercross series. I'm sure Live Nation's financial analysts looked at the business model for using the internet versus their current scheme of paying for cable and television time and decided that the old model is better. It's all about the dollars, and I don't blame them for maximizing their profits. But I sure do hope that they are able to get the sponsors to cough up more than one commercial for the entire season. Parts Unlimited's Thor commercials are always well done, but there is no excuse for filming just one spot and expecting us to love seeing it all season long. Don't make us hate you, Thor.