June 24, 2008

High Point 2008: Fast MoFo Club member Tim Ferry


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The big One Five is definitely on the gas this season, just like he's supposed to be. Timmy Ferry, in my warped mind, should be the current National Champion. The man is FAST... definitely the leader of the pack behind his Monster Kawasaki team mate James. He's got Alessi-handling speed, he's got Milsaps' number, Tedesco apparently can't handle him, Short's got nothing for the Red Dog, Josh Hill is probably afraid of him (kidding!)... so why the 4-4 in Pennsylvania, Timmy? You know you got it in you to podium every single race. Why do I suddenly sound like Steve Matthes?

Killer shot by GuyB

Signs of progress are a very good thing

To me, the best news of the week was this short paragraph in Racerhead 25 where DC wrote:

Looking ahead to next week, we’ve got a big treat for everyone: With David Clabaugh taking the extraordinary step of bringing in world-renowned Musco Lighting to illuminate Thunder Valley Raceway, the second set of motos from Colorado will air live on Speed TV. So with the satellite truck there and the camera crews in place, Racer X and Toyota will be presenting the telecast of the first set of motos as well as the WMA moto live on Motocross.com, beginning at 6 p.m. Mountain Time (8 back east and 5 on the West Coast). It’s free to watch; you just need to sign up over at www.motocross.com, and when you do, we will also hook you up with a free digital edition of the August ’08 digital issue of Racer X Illustrated. What a deal!

This is EXACTLY what American Motocross needs. LIVE coverage free to EVERYBODY, even if just for the first motos (for now...). It is the easiest and most logical way to expand the audience by making the show easily available to the largest pool of fans, including those that don't get certain cable channels or broadcast signals.

I wonder when the advertising creatives are going to catch up to the concept here... Toyota has been hitting it pretty hard with repeating their made-for-tv Tundra ads, but I sure would like to see some motocross-specific spots soon, utilizing some of the cool concepts they've been doing at the races. Heck, they got Joe Gibbs, man..!


And how about WOMEN'S PROFESSIONAL MOTOCROSS LIVE the same night! Gol durn it's 2008 and the ladies have finally made it to the big time. Talk about 'it's about time'...

Earlier this year, I joked about CBS Sports broadcasting this race live, goading them to "wake up that sleepy Saturday night audience with a live network television broadcast of the outdoor motocross championships this summer!" I cannot tell you how glad I am that Racer X and Toyota are really making it happen.

High Point 2008:Thank you Racerhead!

I don't know what it is, but motocross just seems to bring out the best in people. The High Point security here a rather lovely case in point. Cudby photo courtesy of Racer X Online.

June 21, 2008

Style Council: HD-ready riding gear!


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James Stewart and Fox Racing pushing the design envelope once again. I am frankly stunned by the detail in this outfit. That supertrick factory Kawasaki ain't too shabby, either. Look at those forks and that pipe! Another GuyB production.

High Point 2008: This Is Motocross


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Moto 1, another holey for Mikey. Starting technique: the M haz it. And GuyB haz the photo cred.

June 15, 2008

Motocross as Art: The Vintage Machines at HighPoint


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Vintage bikes on display included this gorgeous trio: L-R a German Maico, British Greeves and (then) Swedish Husqvarna. Pic by GuyB.

June 13, 2008

X Games: About to Suck Again?

Someone hijacked the James Stewart/motocross.com video that I embedded here. Has to be a jerk and appears to be employed or contracted by ESPN.

June 10, 2008

Jason LAWrence: Bad Time for Breakdancing


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Sorry Jason, I couldn't resist running this GuyB photo of your misfortune. Glad you weren't seriously hurt sampling the sand whoops in the second moto. Go get 'em in PA.

This is What You Want


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Cool shot by GuyB.

Just admit it. You want to see someone, ANYONE, step up and take the race to James. For at least a few laps, right? You're probably pissed that Chad Reed and Kevin Windham elected to sit this one out, even though those guys can't beat Stewart indoors or out. You might even want to harbor a slight grudge against the GOAT for retiring to race cars, but your heart won't let you (and I certainly don't blame you). I am here to tell you it's okay.

It's okay to want to see some racing for the win when you attend a professional motor sports event. Just as it should be okay for the pros to do what they can to put on a show that pleases their fans. Yes, a show. A production involving a cast of thousands, most of whom pay dearly just to be in the audience. That's what all the super-successful professional sports deliver, consistently and at a high level.

The James Stewart show, like anything else, has changed over the years since the young man turned pro. Forgetting supercross for a moment, the Outdoor Stewart story went from "Holy cow he's fast!" to "He's winning too much, why won't he move up already?" in the lightweight class to "FINALLY, someone to race with Ricky" to "Why is he crashing so much racing with Ricky?" to "Wow, 2007 was more exciting without him."

Ouch, that must have hurt, reading those stories in the motocross press last summer. I am just assuming that James feels that he has some unfinished business in the 450 class, and that the only thing that matters is winning that elusive heavyweight national championship to complete his collection of titles. And after watching him ride at the Glen Helen opener and seeing the videos from Hangtown and hearing the webcast from Freestone, it seems to me that James started this season on a mission to quickly establish dominance. If the field was hopeful that Stewart needed more time to heal from knee surgery, those hopes were sorely dashed by the time the tour left California. And that is the James Stewart show right now: utter domination, lightly mixed with "yeah, but he might crash his brains out, so stay close as you can."

Would you be okay if James decided to put on a different show? No, I'm not talking about stunts like the one he clowned Chad Reed with at Unadilla (that maybe pissed you off), but something more subtle... like somehow not setting fast lap in qualifying, or getting an abysmally bad start and taking all moto to come back. I think some of you would settle for what happened at Freestone: falling in the first moto and then instead of going nuts in the second to pass Alessi as quickly as possible, James took a few laps to go around. Right?

I can tell you that I am looking forward to the next chapter of the James Stewart show, as the young man becomes an old pro at this motocross game, giving the fans the show they paid good money for. Not faking, still racing with class and dignity, still showing the same growing respect for his competition as well as his fans and still amazing us all with his speed, guts, style and bike handling.

June 08, 2008

Style Council: Stewart wins 3 in a row


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Does this look easy to you? It looks cool as heck to me, but never easy. James Stewart shredded his competition in qualifying and during both motos to stretch his National-winning streak to three. GuyB caught the roost on Saturday.

National Number 2 rockstar Mike Alessi


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Mike Alessi returned to form and showed off his conditioning in the 103-degree heat by clocking second overall at Freestone MX in Texas. Mike actually broke James Stewart's laps lead streak by holeshotting and leading moto 2 for a few. GuyB caught Alessi putting it down here in practice.

Freestone scenery: real or fake?


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I mean the cowboy hats, of course. Texas steps up and GuyB mows 'em down.

Freestone? More like Fire and Brimstone...

Early in June in Texas... who knew it would get so hot for the third round of the National Motocross Championship? I listened to the second motos, and guys were literally collapsing off their bikes, and I couldn't help but think that maybe summer isn't such a great time for racing motocross in the Southern U.S. Either that, or maybe those guys in Colorado are starting to look like geniuses for planning a night race...

June 06, 2008

Breaking News: AMA Follows Own Rulebook

Heard the story about Paul Lima, the privateer that the AMA wouldn't let race at Glen Helen because his bike, an off-the-floor Husqvarna TC450, wasn't "legal" for AMA Pro Racing? No? Well, you can read a shortened version that hits the facts at Racerhead today. DC wrote,

Okay, the strangest thing I’ve seen all week is the beating one or two folks on Motodrive are giving the AMA for not letting privateer Paul Lima enter his Husqvarna 450TC at Glen Helen. It began when the bike had not been homologated by the AMA because the paperwork had not been sent in, and there are less than the mandatory 400 units in the country to be able to race them right now in AMA Motocross. One critic called the AMA “retarded.”

Retarded, lol. Okay, I wouldn't go THAT far. I concede that following the actual rules are a refreshing change for the AMA. We certainly wouldn't want a privateer racing a super-secret, one-off factory rocket ship in the National Championship, would we? The very last thing we would want is Paul Lima getting a huge holeshot and and running away from James Stewart because of his AMA-illegal, non-homo(logated) Husky. I mean, that would be bad for... business? What?

Frankly, the strangest thing I'VE seen all week was this single sentence,

But what if Kawasaki pulled out a handful of ’09 bikes with a nuclear power plant, titanium frame, electric start, cup-holders, the works? Would the AMA have treated them any differently? No way.

I read Racerhead for stuff just like that. Warm irony.

I happened to see the renegade Husky in person at Glen Helen, and it stood out simply because it was different. Certainly the Husky-classic red tank/white fenders look was attractive enough, and the bike seemed to have a stance that was both aggressive and exotic, but you can see it at any Husky dealer, if you can find one. Everyone knows Husky is a low-volume manufacturer... how the heck is it fair to hold them to the same homolo-whatever count as the huge ones? Sure, the AMA stuck to its guns at Glen Helen, but in a weird way they wound up dissing the marque that arguably brought motocross to America.

As far as AMA "rules" go, I've had more than a few thoughts about them, mostly unpleasant, as recorded here in a look at ten rules from the 2006 AMA rulebook. Ironically enough, that rulebook banned supercharging and turbocharging, and limited engines to single cylinders, but never ruled out nuclear power plants, so... I guess it makes sense that Kawasaki would first be required to make an even 400 such bikes available for sale in the U.S. before a single one could take a starting gate drop at a National. Oh, progress... must you always be stymied by the "rules?"

Free! It's Free, I tell you...!

Funny, but sometimes the best news of the day comes at the end of the day, and when it comes to motocross news, Friday's Racerhead at Racer X Online has long been the best source of the latest happenings. Today's edition, #23 (subliminal Jordan message, no doubt), features the great news that Motocross.com will "be posting every round of the series free one week after it airs in the U.S." Great idea and great news for MX fans.

June 04, 2008

Four for Four: Stewart Storms to Hangtown Win


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Remember back when Stephane Roncada ran with James for all of 3 laps during Stewart's last season in the then 125/250F class? Well, Davi Millsaps was the guy this year, but he made it last only a half a lap or so before succumbing to the pace and giving up the fight.

With RC retired and Chad Reed on the sidelines, the motocross industry appears to be in a tizzy, worrying about the effect of this Summer of Stewart. It won't be too long before some people will start talking about rule changes or making 250 riders move up... anything to somehow stop the James Juggernaut. Guys relax, we're only two rounds in and nothing is guaranteed.

Snazzy snaps by GuyB.

June 01, 2008

Hangtown Saturday revisited: Don't Forget the Ladies


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Well well, look's who's at the back of the pack in turn two... Ashley Fiolek. Ashley went down at the start of the first Women's Motocross Association moto, which was run on Saturday at Hangtown. But don't fret for Ashley... she ran down THE ENTIRE PACK and won the moto! GuyB caught the action.

Hangtown: Tim Ferry is the story

Tim Ferry put his Kawasaki solidly in second place at Hangtown, AND had the grace and presence of mind to acknowledge "everyone listening on the internet." I listened or "earwitnessed" the second 450 moto, using the Supercross Live broadcast and the AMA's live timing website, and Ferry came from mid-pack to chase down and pass rabbits like Mike Alessi, Davi Millsaps, and a surprisingly quick Ivan Tedesco (who took third overall with 3-3 finishes... the sauce is getting warmer?).

Ferry's Monster Energy Kawasaki team mate, James Stewart, should have been the story as he obliterated (to borrow a term from Hillary) the rest of the field in both motos. But it seemed that once he got past holeshot winner Millsaps on the first lap, the webcast announcers rarely mentioned him, other than to call out the gap he had over second. No mention of lines, riding style, crowd reaction, nothing. I guess he was riding well. I guess I'll find out after the photojournalists weigh in.