KICKSTART: Yamaha of Troy’s main man Phil Anderson heads up the news addition

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Remember those days when 125 professional racing was nothing more than a support class stepping-stone for those trying to make it to the big show? 125 riders were all privateers back in the day, and the elusive factory support wasn’t available until they reached the premier 250cc ranks. Things, however, began to change and take a turn for the better back in the early 90s, thanks to a new breed of team. Factory-supported “satellite” teams have now forever changed our sport and the perception of what 125-class racing is all about. Thanks to the emergence of satellite racing teams, today’s 125 championships are every bit as competitive and illustrious as those in the premier class.

Among the originators of satellite teams is a dealership in Dayton, Ohio, called Troy Racing. Formed in 1990 by Albert Vontz III, Phil Alderton, and Scott Paul, Troy Racing is now amongst the most successful satellite teams in existence. Their involvement in Supercross and motocross began in 1992 when it was decided that the mail-order portion of the business would benefit from the exposure. Known then as Honda of Troy, the dealership provided a Honda CR500 and parts to one-time 125cc Regional Supercross Champion, Todd DeHoop, and thus the Troy Racing team was born. Now beginning their sixth year as Yamaha’s factory-support 125-team, Yamaha of Troy, under the leadership of Phil Alderton, is on a mission to take back what was once theirs… championship glory. Here’s a peek inside the 2004 team with Phil Alderton.

Over the past ten years Troy Racing has evolved into one of the most dominating teams in our sport. Take us back a few years and lead us through the evolution of your racing program.

We originally started back in 1992 helping Todd DeHoop a little bit with his racing efforts. Then in 1993 we stepped it up a bit and sponsored Johnny Omara, Erik Kehoe, and Todd again. We began receiving a little bit of help from Honda for the 1994 season. Honda’s support lasted for a few years, but for whatever reason Honda wasn’t that happy with the situation. That was back when the satellite team thing was still pretty new and they weren’t really into it, so they ended up decreasing their support so much that by 1997 our racing efforts were all personally funded through the dealership. We lost quite a bit of money that year! Then in 1998, which would’ve been our last year, we soldiered on and Keith McCarty from Yamaha contacted me. Soon thereafter, we became Yamaha’s official factory support 125 team, and things have been great since. We were fortunate enough to win a championship our first year out. We brought one home again in our second year, our third year, and again in our fourth year. This past season we narrowly missed our fifth straight title, which was a disappointment, but I think we’ve put a really good team together for ’04. We’re going to give 110% to try and get at least one of those championships back.

Having won a championship each year since the inception of Yamaha of Troy, what was your number-one priority when putting the new team together to try and recapture a title?

The number one priority for us, and for Yamaha, has always been Supercross. Either coast… it doesn’t matter, but it has always been Supercross. So with that in mind, I already had Josh Hanson signed for his second year, but I had only signed Brock Sellards for one year. The first thing we needed to do was take care of Brock. I just did another deal with him for the next two years, which we’re stoked about. Ivan Tedesco left the team, so I replaced him by doing a two-year deal with Danny Smith. Kelly Smith, who was a Yamaha privateer for some time, had a lot of interest from Kawasaki, but in the end he decided to stay with Yamaha. We did a two-year deal wi him as well. That was going to be our team. We were going to have those four guys, placing two of them on the East Coast and two on the West Coast. Shortly thereafter, Keith McCarty called me up and informed me that Yamaha had decided they wanted to push a little harder for that outdoor title. He asked at that point if Mike Brown was still a possibility. I said, “Well yeah… of course he’s still a possibility. We’d love to have him.” So Keith told me to go after him, which we did, and we were able to sign him to a deal. Of course nothing is guaranteed, especially with James Stewart staying in the 125 class, but Browny will be tough. If Bubba stays it’s going to be very hard for Mike to beat him. Stewart is a very dominate rider, but Mike will be a podium guy all the time. He’s very consistent and he’ll be up there.

Browny is obviously a veteran in the sport, and always a contender outdoors. Having seen him ride under Mitch Payton the past couple of years and now having him back in your rig, is there anything that you feel you can do to help push him to that next level?

Yeah… Mike rode for us in ’94, ’95, and ’96, and then went to Europe in ’97. He came back in 1998 and rode for us again, and then again went back to Europe. When he came back over to the States he joined up and rode for Mitch. You know, Pro Circuit has a great team and I have a ton of respect for those guys, but I think the atmosphere over there is a little bit different than ours. I don’t mean any disrespect by this at all, but I think Mitch may give his guys some negative reinforcement. He’s pretty hard on his guys. Where as here, we always try to give positive reinforcement and we’re pretty easy on our guys. That’s not to say that we take not doing well lightly, but at the same time you’ve got to give these guys room to be human. We try to work with them and realize that they are human beings and sometimes they need special attention.

Tell us about your decision to go with an all four-stroke team for 2004.

That was actually Yamaha’s decision, initially. I think the reason behind that is that all the other manufacturers now have four-strokes, and as we’ve seen here in Las Vegas, some of those other bikes have failed. This is Yamaha’s fourth year with the 250 four-stroke. We really feel like we have it dialed in, and we feel like the 250F is a definite advantage over the 125 two-stroke. Combine that with the fact that we have so much experience with the 250F, and the other teams have so little experience, and I think that we’re going to have an advantage.

A couple of the guys on the team, like Browny and Hanson, have little experience with the four-stroke. How are they adapting to the YZ250F, and are they pleased about the change?

Everybody loves their bikes! I was talking with Mike Brown yesterday and he made a comment to me. He said that sometimes as a racer you wake up in the morning and don’t really feel like going riding that day, but this motorcycle is so much fun to ride that he looks forward to it every day. He loves it! I think that goes for all the guys.

As you mentioned, Yamaha of Troy is Yamaha’s factory support 125 team. How much factory support does your team actually get?

We get full factory support from Yamaha. We work very, very closely with them. They supply us with x number of dollars worth of special parts; x number of dollars worth of standard parts; x number of motorcycles, which I think is going to end up being around 27 this year, and they also kick down some cash. They’re definitely our number one sponsor. Our relationship is great, and it’s healthy. We have one more year on this contract, and I think everybody involved is excited about renewing again for another two years. That’s how we’ve been doing it, two years at a time, and I think we’ll be with Yamaha forever. At least that’s my plan.

Speaking of sponsors… you guys were the first team to bring Boost Mobile aboard as a title sponsor in the States. How does your relationship with Boost work?

Those guys… I’ll tell ya… Those guys from Boost couldn’t be better. Both Peter Aderton, the CEO, and Adrian Hunter, the marketing guy, are avid enthusiasts. They actually contacted me initially. Originally they sponsored the Yamaha team in Australia–that’s where they’re from–as a concept to go after the youth market. Craig Dack, who has worked with me for the last couple of years, approached Yamaha about sponsoring them. Yamaha, in turn, guided Boost over to us. I got a call from Adrian one day and the conversation went something like, “Hey mate, we’d like to sponsor your team. How much is it going to cost?” I told him and he said, “Alright mate, that sounds great! We’ll get the paperwork going.” It was seriously like a four-minute conversation and the deal was done. I hung up the phone and was like, “Hey, you ain’t gonna believe what just happened,” and it went through! I am telling you; those guys from Boost have helped us out a bunch. They’ve helped get some other outside sponsorship, they support us financially, and they’re the co-title sponsor along with Yamaha. We couldn’t do this without those guys at Boost, and I can’t thank them enough. They’re great guys! If anybody out there is looking to get a phone, buy a Boost phone and support the people that support the sport.

Have you guys decided on who’s going to ride what coast at this point?

Well, that’s kind of going to depend on what Stewart does. Our initial thoughts were to have Danny Smith on the West Coast as our A rider, and Josh Hanson on the West as kind of our B rider because he’s still on a learning curve. We were planning to put Brock and Kelly Smith on the East Coast. I kind of always figured that Bubba was going to move up to the 250 class because it’s kind of ridiculous right now. He kills everybody by a half to three quarters of a lap, and I am not really sure what he gets out of that. You know, I can’t speak for him. He’s a very talented rider and he’s basically unbeatable. If there is such a thing as unbeatable, he’s it. The only person that can beat Bubba is himself, and if he does decide to race the East Coast 125, which I’ve heard he’s going to do, then we’re going to put our two strongest guys on the West Coast, which will be Brock and Danny Smith, so that we can go after that Championship. With Kelly and Josh on the East Coast we’ll go after podiums. Then of course we’ll run all five guys outdoors on 250Fs. And let me add in there that we hate to concede a series to anybody. You know, you don’t want to go into a series thinking that the best you can do is second, but unfortunately Stewart is such an anomaly that we realistically feel that this is the only way we can approach it. We have to be realistic about it.

Well, right on Phil… thanks so much for your time. Everybody at TransWorld wishes all your guys the best of luck in ‘04.

Thanks… and thanks for all of the great support you guys have given us over the years. It’s always appreciated, through the good times and bad.

 

RC Wins the Battle, but Belgium Wins the War

Story and photos by Bart de Jong

When you go to the Motocross Des Nations, you pick the country’s fastest riders to bring home the cup. Ryan Hughes, Tim Ferry and Ricky Carmichael were selected by Rogerout renewing again for another two years. That’s how we’ve been doing it, two years at a time, and I think we’ll be with Yamaha forever. At least that’s my plan.

Speaking of sponsors… you guys were the first team to bring Boost Mobile aboard as a title sponsor in the States. How does your relationship with Boost work?

Those guys… I’ll tell ya… Those guys from Boost couldn’t be better. Both Peter Aderton, the CEO, and Adrian Hunter, the marketing guy, are avid enthusiasts. They actually contacted me initially. Originally they sponsored the Yamaha team in Australia–that’s where they’re from–as a concept to go after the youth market. Craig Dack, who has worked with me for the last couple of years, approached Yamaha about sponsoring them. Yamaha, in turn, guided Boost over to us. I got a call from Adrian one day and the conversation went something like, “Hey mate, we’d like to sponsor your team. How much is it going to cost?” I told him and he said, “Alright mate, that sounds great! We’ll get the paperwork going.” It was seriously like a four-minute conversation and the deal was done. I hung up the phone and was like, “Hey, you ain’t gonna believe what just happened,” and it went through! I am telling you; those guys from Boost have helped us out a bunch. They’ve helped get some other outside sponsorship, they support us financially, and they’re the co-title sponsor along with Yamaha. We couldn’t do this without those guys at Boost, and I can’t thank them enough. They’re great guys! If anybody out there is looking to get a phone, buy a Boost phone and support the people that support the sport.

Have you guys decided on who’s going to ride what coast at this point?

Well, that’s kind of going to depend on what Stewart does. Our initial thoughts were to have Danny Smith on the West Coast as our A rider, and Josh Hanson on the West as kind of our B rider because he’s still on a learning curve. We were planning to put Brock and Kelly Smith on the East Coast. I kind of always figured that Bubba was going to move up to the 250 class because it’s kind of ridiculous right now. He kills everybody by a half to three quarters of a lap, and I am not really sure what he gets out of that. You know, I can’t speak for him. He’s a very talented rider and he’s basically unbeatable. If there is such a thing as unbeatable, he’s it. The only person that can beat Bubba is himself, and if he does decide to race the East Coast 125, which I’ve heard he’s going to do, then we’re going to put our two strongest guys on the West Coast, which will be Brock and Danny Smith, so that we can go after that Championship. With Kelly and Josh on the East Coast we’ll go after podiums. Then of course we’ll run all five guys outdoors on 250Fs. And let me add in there that we hate to concede a series to anybody. You know, you don’t want to go into a series thinking that the best you can do is second, but unfortunately Stewart is such an anomaly that we realistically feel that this is the only way we can approach it. We have to be realistic about it.

Well, right on Phil… thanks so much for your time. Everybody at TransWorld wishes all your guys the best of luck in ‘04.

Thanks… and thanks for all of the great support you guys have given us over the years. It’s always appreciated, through the good times and bad.

 

RC Wins the Battle, but Belgium Wins the War

Story and photos by Bart de Jong

When you go to the Motocross Des Nations, you pick the country’s fastest riders to bring home the cup. Ryan Hughes, Tim Ferry and Ricky Carmichael were selected by Roger DeCoster to represent the stars and stripes of the United States of America. Was this the fastest team Roger could come up with? Yes it was. All three riders were honored to represent their country in the 57th MXDN and they were ready to give their all.

Over 23,000 fans showed up to see the best riders in the world compete on the track that RC would later describe as “the roughest track I have ever raced on.” The Zolder track featured elevation changes, a whoop section, some doubles, and some big tabletop jumps that were rather spectacular by European standards. The mix of sand and clay turned out to be a tricky one, as there were soft parts and harder parts on different sections of the temporary MX track.

There were actually two battles going on in Zolder. Belgium had the strongest team, with three World Champions in Steve Ramon, Stefan Everts and Joel Smets. The other battle was between Ricky Carmichael and Stefan Everts. Both of those guys have a long list of titles and accomplishments, and the crowd was ready to see who was going to win.

In the preliminary semi final, the crowd got the first taste of the RC vs. Everts battle. Everts took over the lead early on, but Ricky moved towards the front quickly. Carmichael passed Everts for the lead, but Stefan took it back. Then it was Ricky again, then Stefan. This went on for a few laps and everyone loved it, including Carmichael and Everts themselves. The semi was just a qualifying event for the main and with Ramon sitting in a solid position there was no need for Everts to take many risks. On top of that, he started to get some arm pump as he could not match Ricky’s pace. Ricky won the semi and Hughes had passed both Everts and Ramon to finish second. Ferry finished a solid sixth, in spite of a nasty thumb injury.

Come main event time, there was no way to play it safe or take it easy. With the scores of the best two team members counting for the final score, it was all or nothing. Smets grabbed a huge holeshot with Everts in second, followed by no fewer than five riders ahead of RC, who was in seventh. Everts took over the lead on the opening lap and started to pull away while Ricky was passing riders left and right to get up front. Hughes tangled up with a Finnish rider and was out of the race with a broken chain, and this put a ton of pressure on Ferry, as his score together with Ricky’s would determine the final placing of Team USA. Once Ricky neared Everts, the Belgian had no answer and let him go. With Smets riding in a safe third place, things started to look good for the home team. Ferry started in the back of the field but worked his way up to an eventual ninth, even with a couple crashes and his injured thumb, and this–combined with Ricky’s victory–gave team USA 10 points. Smets’ third and Everts’ second gave Belgium a total of only five for the win.

The Belgian King was present to watch the race and hand out the trophy to the winning team in front of thousands of Belgian fans. After the race, Everts thanked the Americans for coming over. Team USA brought a lot of excitement and prestige to the Acerbis MXDN event. To win next year, Roger had better look into selecting some fast sand riders as the MXDN will be held on the sandy track of Lierop in the Netherlands.

2003 MXDN Overall results:

1. Belgium 2. United States 3. Finland 4. New Zealand 5. Great Britain 6. Japan 7. Ireland 8. Estonia 9. France 10. Czech Republic

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LIE DETECTOR

Here at TransWorld Motocross lunch hours on Mondays are often filled with bench racing tales from our previous weekend’s jaunts at the track, and there are two things that you can almost always count on: Swap sporting a new limp, and Fiore spewing tales of being “wide open” in this or that section of the track. Well, if there was one piece of works equipment we wish we could snag off of Ricky Carmichael’s Honda, it’s this data acquisition equipment that helps track RC’s on-track throttle settings. For us mere mortals, the amount of time that we actually spend with the throttle cracked “wide open” is virtually non-existent. According to the fellas at Honda, however, testing with this device at a fast outdoor track revealed the RC was wide open over 90% of the time! There’s a reason he has won a National Championship every year since he turned pro, it seems… On second thought, we need no such exotic equipment to know that our pal Faropey isn’t really that wide open; the stone spray on the front of his numberplate and helmet facemask are proof of that!

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