Monday Kickstart – Anaheim I SX 2012

Throughout the day, James Stewart and the JGR Yamaha crew were as serious as a heart attack, using every practice session to gain valuable testing feedback. Stewart's suspension was changed each and every time he came off the track. Here, he downloads to the crew about his his Yamaha YZ450F felt out on the track.

 

The handmade aluminum fuel cell on James Stewart's Yamaha is larger in capacity than stock, and should be adequate for the long National Championship MX motos. The flatter tank permits a longer seat, which Stewart says allows him to move around on the bike much better.

 

Paired with the trick fuel tank are some tighter-fitting shrouds and some slimmer radiators, all which add up to a thinner bike. At its widest point, Stewart's bike is 2" narrower than his teammate Davi Millsaps' bike, which runs the standard setup, plus Cycra Powerflow shrouds.

 

Here is a top view of Stewart's slimmer rider cockpit...

 

...and for comparison's sake, here is Davi Millsaps'.
We heard rumors that JGR would be offering a more affordable version of the kit for sale, but haven''t been able to confirm. Stay tuned...

 

A close look at the JRI Shock JGR has custom built for its race machines.

 

Stewart's Bell Moto 9 sported an extra-special Red Bull paint job, courtesy of Airtrix. Note the gold-plated, engraved visor hardware.

 

The Red Bull logos were actually a jeweled mosaic.

 

The Jeff Ward Racing team uses Power Lift bike stands, which are battery powered and lift and lower the bike with the push of a button. Here, Josh Grant tried to figure the contraption out.

 

Nick Wey is back for his second stint with the Motosport TiLube Kawasaki team. NYK started the season with the team back in 2010, but was drafted up to the Monster Energy Kawasaki squad to fill in for injured riders. Sadly, Wey failed to qualify for the Anaheim 1 main event.

 

Dodge Motorsports/Sycuan Casino/Hart and Huntington rider Josh Hill was a site for sore eyes at Anaheim 1, and fans were glad to see him return to racing after spending the past year-and-a-half struggling with injuries. Unfortunately, Hill banged his left ankle up in a first-turn crash in his heat, and failed to qualify for the main. You can read all about Hill's return to racing in the February issue!

 

KTM Red Bull rider Kenny Roczen broke his wrist in a practice crash the day after Christmas, and had surgery to repair the damage in time to make the February 18 Dallas SX East Coast kickoff. "I'm bummed because I wanted to race Anaheim and I was ready, but it's ok, East will be fun, too," said Roczen, who brought his new dog, Rocky, to the races with him.

 

Toyota of Escondido has long been involved in motocross, as they currently back 250 National Champion Dean Wilson, and have sponsored riders like Jake Weimer, Jeremy Stenberg, James Stewart, Marrtin Davalos, and Davi Millaps in the past. Now, its sister dealership, Scion of Escondido, is getting involved, too, and have signed on to support the new Jeff Ward Racing team. Hmmm...wonder if a bumper rack could be outfifted to the back of that XB?

 

Malcolm Stewart was on hand to support his JDR KTM teammates at Anaheim 1. Though this "team transporter," supplied by J-Star Motors, wasn't Mookie's personal ride, he joked that once the race wins start rolling in, big brother James wouldn't be the only Stewart ballin'.'

 

The Bell Moto 9 helmets worn by JDR KTM teammates Matt Moss and Ryan Marmont were bad ass! We were shocked to learn that sans the logos, the new design in the new production Moto 9 lineup for 2012.

 

Malcolm Stewart's KTM 250SX-F was on display at Anaheim, and his mechanic Craig Behl worked on it routinely, throughout the day. "Seriously, it's the best bike I have ever ridden," said Stewart.

 

Though the JDR KTM team enjoys full support from the KTM factory in 2012, the team tunes and builds its race engines independently. Also, if you closely, and you'll notice that all of the hardware on the JDR KTM's is anodized black for some extra bling.

 

Social networking, it seems, has completely infiltrated the Supercross pits. Check out the facebook logos on the JDR KTM graphics. We also spotted twitter and instagram account names plastered on rider posters, semi awnings, and graphics throughout the paddock.

 

Tyla Rattray rode a solid race at Anaheim, coming home second in spite of race-long pressure from his teammate Dean Wilson. This year, the Pro Circuit bikes are some of the hands-down best-looking in the pits.

 

Thor MX's Jim Gallagher and Mitch Payton have a chat before the day's festivies get underway. This year's PC Thor kit is the best-ever that the team has sported.

 

Pro Circuit's triple clamps maintain the highly adjustable design of the OEM clamps, offering four totally different handlebar mounting locations. As opposed to stock, however, the mounts are solid and not dampened with rubber grommets. Many top professionals prefer the more precise - albeit left forgiving - ride that is provided by a solid mount.

 

Check out the cool carbon fiber roost guard that protects the throttle position sensor on the Pro Circuit Kawasakis.

 

Just in case you were wondering where Showa SFF forks were made...

 

Who says the riders get all the cool stuff? Custom Mechanixwear gloves? Sano...

 

Reknowned trainer Aldon Baker continues to work with Tyla Rattray in 2012, as well as Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto and his Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate Jake Weimer.

 

What do you think of the look of the new Monster Energy Kawasaki? At first, we were reminded of the nlong-defunct J-Law Racing team, but the look definitely grew on us as the day wore on. It's nice to see such a radical departure from the tradtional. Well done, One Industries!
New to the factory Kawasakis for 2012 are the Moto Tassinari Air Force airbox boot. Weimer reported that it gave his bike a noticable gain in the low-end power.
After a one-year stint with FMF, the Monster Energy Kawasaki team showed up with the new Pro Circuit Ti-5 exhaust systems bolted on the race bikes of Jake Weimer and Ryan Villopoto. We like the custom name badges on the end caps!

 

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer is the first top-level rider to choose the new Atlas Neck Brace.

 

"It's really copmfortable and the range of motion you have with it is unbeatable," said Weimer. "And I have already crashed big in it, so I know that I'm ok in it."

 

Here's a closer look at the Thor helmets worn by Jake Weimer and Ryan Villopoto. RV's lid incorporated a lot more red than is normally allowed by Monster, but it was to better match his new Volcom/Thor collaboration gear.

 

Kyle Chisholm's Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki is tuned by Chris Rohde. This is actually the second time that the two have been paired up, as Rohde wrenched for the Chiz during his first stint on the team in the San Manuel Yamaha days.

 

Speaking of Kyle Chisholm, he enjoys a sleeker look on the track in 2012, as he finally ditched his old chest protector in favor of the Leatt Brace Adventure Lite protector, which fits underneath your jersey and features special shoulder straps to keep the neck brace secured. Lookin' good, Chiz Nuts.

 

We spotted a familiar face in t he Dodge Motorsports/Sycuan Casino/Hart and Huntington pits, as Kenny Germain has returned to racing and will spin the wrenches for Josh Hansen in 2012. Kenny G was Ernesto Fonseca's long-time mechanic and friend, but spent the past few years running a motocross track.

 

Hansen rode well in his return to the Supercross class, in spite struggling with a cold in the days leading up to Anaheim 1. Lil' Hanny finished 10th.

 

Gratuitous Rockstar girls photo. You're welcome.

 

Geico Honda's Eli Tomac discusses line strategy with his dad, John "The General" Tomac. Eli is noticeably more aggressive in 2012, and admits that he's, "back to win the championship that he was robbed of in 2011."

 

Tomac and his Geico Honda teammate Wil Hahn gave the new Alias MX gear its competition debut. Hahn and Tomac were definitely easy to spot from the stands, and the Geico-themed yellow-and-black gear was quite bold.

 

Once again, Kevin WIndham's Geico Honda is reported to be an absolute fire-breather, pumping out a powerband that would make mortal men cry.

 

The coating on Windham's factory Showa suspension is a unique whitish color, similar to that of the magnesium engine cases.

 

All of the Geico Hondas utilize a Brembo front brake master cylinder, which comes OEM on KTMs. The Brembo component is said to provide much-improved power and a better feel at the lever.

 

Pick Up Kits were out in full force at Angels Stadium!

 

JWR's Josh Grant is also wearing the new Alias MX riding gear.

 

Jeremy "Twitch" Stenberg dropped by the JWR pits to check in on his friend Josh Grant. The two discussed JG's new Alias gear for a bit; perhaps Twitch was looking for feedback as he is launching his own line of gear, DBK, later this year.

 

Jeff Ward Racing's Kyle Chisholm has enlisted David Vuillemin top help him at the races with line selection and race strategies. Combine that with the knowledge and experience that Jeff Ward brings to the table, and Chiz is set for a great 2012!

The Jeff Ward Racing team made its debut at Anaheim 1, and team owner Jeff Ward was quite popular with the fans. Heck, he even had his own autograph stock and signed for the fans alongside his riders Josh Grant and Kyle Chisholm. Here, The Flying Freckle is interviewed by a journalist from a local California newspaper.

 

Sean Bell is building Josh Hill's Hart and Huntington race bikes. Also known as "Longhorn," Sean was previously James Stewart's personal practice bike mechanic back in Haines City, Florida.

 

Donnie Bales, David Pingree's partner in the Motocross101.com project, was sporting this old-school T-Shirt, dating back to swap's days at MXracer Magazine. It's hard to believe it's been 12 years already. R.I.P. MXracer...

 

In 2012, Pro Taper is producing special bar pads for some of its riders. While the entire Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha team sports Metal Mulisha logos on their pads, Nick Wey and Chris Blose have this MAFIA logo on theirs.

 

Chad Reed's butt patch echoed the sentiments shared by the sold out crowd at Angels Stadium...

 

A long-time Alpinestars rider, Chad Reed made the switch to the new Fox Racing Instinct boot, which is scheduled to become available next month. Featuring a hinged-ankle design and unique sole and shank construction, the Instint is quite a piece of equipment. We've been riding in a prototype pair for months now and have been quite impressed...

 

 

Chad Reed also wears the new Fox Racing V4 helmet.

 

Remember what we said about social networking?

 

Earthmoving company in the 909?

KTM Red Bull rider Marvin Musquin finished fourth at Anaheim 1, and was arguably the smoothest rider on the track. Expect the personable Frenchman to reach the podium in no time at all.
VMS/Star Racing's Austin Stroupe was looking good going into Anaheim I. He had been riding and training hard and wasn't hindered by an injury like he had been in years past. Unfortunately for the Yamaha rider, he was unable to make the main event, but be that as it may, he still showed flashes of speed throughout the day, especially during practice and qualifying.
Monster Energy never disappoints with their pit presence. This year the Monster Energy station in the center of the pits was bigger than ever with a roughly 30-minute wait to get in and a hot tub complete with Monster girls.
This year's season opener was easily one of the best-attended events in recent memory. The sold out crowd showed up early to enjoy the festivities in the pits and remained until the checkered flag flew at the end of the night.
The JWR/DNA/Kawasaki pits were well stocked with not only DNA Shred Stix, but Jeff Ward's old Factory Kawasaki KX250 was on display for people to check out. We stared at it while grabbing a bite to eat and couldn't believe how much motocross technology has changed over the years.
JWR/DNA/Kawasaki's Kyle Chisholm was sporting these cool custom Tagger Designs painted helmets at A1. It's also worth mentioning that Kyle just signed with HJC Helmets for the new year.
Throughout the day Nick Wey was seen sporting this custom Michigan Mafia vest. NYK is one of the most colorful guys in the pits, and to be honest, we weren't that surprised to see him having a little fun at the pressure-filled season opener.
After losing their main sponsors Rockstar and Makita, Brett Metcalfe was the lone man left standing on the team. With Yoshimura as the team's title sponsor, Metty is looking to run at the front for the year. At Anaheim, he turned in a 11th place finish.
Opening ceremonies were much the same as they have always been, however, every rider from the top-10 in points from last season was introduced. As the season goes on, the top-10 in points will be the ones introduced during opening ceremonies. For Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey, A1 was only his second race aboard the all-new KTM 450SX-F, and in spite of the doubters, Dungey finished a very strong third in the main event after fighting off challenges from James Sterwart.

As the reigning champion, Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto entered the stadium down a green carpet lined by his team. He then got into the Kawasaki Terex that was given to him earlier in the week at the Kawasaki team intro. It's good to be the champ…
Gratuitous Monster Girl photo…

 

Geico Honda's Wil Hahn was all smiles after his heat race win early on in the evening. Last year, Wil missed the majority of the season after crashing in the first practice at A1 and breaking his back. Since then, he returned back to action during the Nationals, but missed the entire SX season. In the main event, he finished eighth, but broke his nose after in a crash.

 

Wil's teammate Eli Tomac was a heavy favorite heading into Anaheim I, but his night didn't go exactly as planned. He had a horrible heat race where he crashed right off the start and was forced to climb his way back through the field to a qualifying position. Then on the last lap, his bike quit running. In the LCQ, Tomac pulled a massive holeshot from the very outside gate and proceeded to run away with the win. Then in the main event, he finished a very solid third.

 

In the weeks leading up to Anaheim I, TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda's Cole Seely wasn't on many people's radar. Yes he won two races last year, but after a less than impressive outdoor season, not many people saw him as a true contender in the new SX season. How wrong must those people feel now? Seely was easily the most dominant rider in the main event, as he caught and passed Monster/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki's Dean Wilson and Tyla Rattray and maintained the front position for the remainder of the race.

 

It goes without saying that Seely couldn't have done it without his trainer Charles Dao and his mechanic Rich Simmonds.

 

Villopoto was sporting this new Volcom Thor gear throughout the day at Anaheim.

 

Only the most diehard fans stay until the champagne is popped. Here, RV sprays down the last remaining superfans as everyone else clears out of the stadium.

 

The track at Anaheim was totally different than any Supercross track that we've seen in a long time. It featured a tone of turns, not many rhythm sections, and huge bowl turns. Many of the riders stated that it was nothing like what they were used to practicing on. Be that as it may, though, all of the top contenders in both classes left A1 injury free.

Here's a close-up shot of the vertical wall jump that riders had to negotiate in the middle of the track. These have been on many tracks throughout the years, but not in combination with the obstacles and turns that were found on the A1 track.

 

Sponsored by Adidas, the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team had these very cool Adidas inspired seats on all three team riders' bikes.

 

Heading into the 2012 season, Christian Craig was battling with a nagging wrist injury that he sustained during the Southwick round of the outdoor Nationals. Only a few weeks before A1, Craig got his cast removed and showed up ready to race. In the main event, Craig finished a disappointing 20th and was seen exiting the track holding his freshly healed wrist.

 

New year equals new sponsors and GoPro in one of the newest sponsors of the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team. We happened to be inside the team's rig while the new cameras were being installed on the team helmets.

 

We couldn't go through Monday Kickstart without showing off the Steve McQueen helmet sported by the TLD riders. One word: rad.

 

The 2012 season marked the beginning of the new sound regulations. Reportedly many of the teams were struggling to get their bikes through sound on Friday afternoon, but after several attempts, everyone got through. Here's a shot of all the spare exhaust systems that the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team had available in their rig.

 

Villopoto had this sweet custom Pro Circuit sticker on his PC exhaust can. It's also worth noting that the Monster Energy Kawasaki team is once again using Pro Circuit exhausts after running FMF systems during the 2011 season.

 

Ricky Carmichael was on hand to take in the action and provide some color commentary for the live broadcast. As always, RC did an exceptional job during the TV show, bringing some very good insight to the broadcast.

 

Asterisk and Doc Bodnar are doing even more this year to make the sport of Supercross safer for the racers. During the press conference on Thursday and again during the rider's meeting on Saturday morning, Bodnar spoke about the new impact testing that they will be doing. The testing will help set up a baseline for each rider that will help the doctors to know when they are able to return to riding following a serious blow to the head.

 

The Two Two Motorsports/Honda crew had the brightest pit uniforms in the pits with these red pants. What'd you guys say? We can't hear you; your pants are too loud.

 

Following the main event, Reed was very pleased with his second place finish. Even after going down in a turn while running second in the main event, Reed was able to hold off charges from both Stewart and Dungey. As was the case for many of the riders, Reed struggled with set up on the difficult track, but thanks to his new Factory Honda support, he was able to make some changes before the main event.

Check out these very sharp titanium footpegs on the TLD team bikes.

 

Hart and Huntington's Kyle Partridge had a tough night. He was forced to the LCQ, and after holding the trasnfer position until the final lap, he tipped over in a turn when he caught his front wheel on a tuff block.
Do you blame him? It is a down economy. We do wonder, however, how much he might have saved if he didn't have these patches made.
Geico Honda's Justin Barcia came out to support his fellow teammates. There were murmurs of JB possibly racing Trey Canard's 450 while Trey recovers, but no such luck.
Tyla Rattray and Cole Seely were definitely on a different pace than the rest of the 250cc field. Both put on a great charge, but Seely took control after a short battle that climaxed on the equalizer wall.
The real 338, Zach Osborne made an appearance at A1 and put in a strong showing. Aboard his Bike-It Yamaha, Osborne finished 9th in the Lites main event.
Kevin Windham added a touch of flair to his track-walk kit. Thanks to DVS, K-Dub had a Saints-adorned hat and gold shoes.
Check out Cycra's new skid plate on the TLD Hondas.
After a long partnership with Alpinestars, Chad Reed made the switch to Fox boots to complete the head-to-toe Fox/Shift kit. His matching boots at A1 were pretty dope.

 

Constant work in the pits keeps a lot of the team members away from the inside of the stadium. To improvise, Rockstar Suzuki has this setup on their rig that keeps them informed on who's setting the fast lap times on the track.

It was a tropical paradise inside the Valli Motorsports/Star Yamaha pits.
"Hide your gold chains, Debo is coming!"

 

It was announced on Thursday that GoPro will be the official sports camera of the 2012-14 Monster Energy AMA Supercross series. GoPro really made its presence in the sport of motocross last year with all of their unique helmet cam views, and awesome race edits.

 

Marvin Musquin was scheduled to race the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series back in 2011, but an injury at Bercy Supercross kept him out of the whole series. So, until the Monster Energy Cup, no one had really seen what the young Frenchman was capable of. During the first timed qualifier of the day at A1, Musquin had a lot of people turning their heads when he topped the leader boards with a 1:03.035 lap time.

 

Every fan has his or her way of showing their devotion.
Virus Action Sport Performance sells a long list of under wear for numerous sports and fitness needs. For Josh Hill, the Virus compression leggings help circulate blood flow in his left leg so he perform better on his dirt bike.

 

Preston Tilford made his rookie debut at A1, but he unfortunately didn't make the night show on his 51 Fifty Energy Drink Honda.
#PickUpKit
The Dodge/Hart and Huntington/Sycuan/Bel-Ray team had one of the biggest setups in the Anaheim pit. With two semis parked back to back with each other, they took up quite the spread of asphalt. They also split up the riders that way and had Josh Hill and Kyle Partridge pitting out of one semi, and Josh Hansen and Ivan Tedesco pitting out of the other.
The first round of the Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series exploded at Perris Raceway this weekend with an insane turn-out. Check out the complete series information at TWMXRS.com

After losing a bet with Bob Walker, WMG's Steve Astephen was forced to run this shirt.
Deep in the privateer pit area, the area for the mandatory sound test is set up. This year's maximum pre-race limit is 115dB/A, 116dB/A post race. The consequences of a failed test are intense and could result in the loss of a qualifying lap in practice and the loss of three positions in a race. The major exhaust companies had support crews surrounding the area to assist those endorsing their products in case of an issue.
The starting gate received a makeover for the New Year and is now outfitted with the flags of many rider's nations. Where the previous gate shot colored flames during each main event start, the new edition is lit throughout the night.
The early morning temperature had many donning their team jackets but as the day continued on the weather became more favorable and reached the low 70's.
GoPro has stepped up yet again and used these trick rigs to get the best footage possible. The smooth action minimizes shake and the small screen allows the shooter to view what the camera sees.
Running the well-known number of Jason Lawrence caused Zach Osborne and team headaches all day. Many spotted the number and inquired if Lawrence was racing and even debated with the crew as to who the bike belonged to. The team's spin bike let everyone know the truth. Osborne will contest the next three Supercross races before returning to Europe to chase after the MX2 GP title.
Martin Honda, one of the top teams on the GP tour, had a small presence at the opener, as Lites rider Max Anstie competed in his first Supercross since his days at Star Yamaha in 2010.
After chatting with Anstie's mechanic, we learned the Honda CRF 250F they ran is much different than what he will use on the GP tour. The AMA rules require the bike to stay mostly production and many of the parts used are obtainable by a commoner. The bike that the Brit will use for the remainder of the year will be more "one off," as the FIM rules are much more lax.
The carbon fiber tank and recessed cap is a common site on the GP tour, but not so much stateside.
While walking back in the tunnel to the stadium, we spotted the injured Jimmy Decotis wheeling around the pits. Decotis was his usual animated self and said that the possibility of racing the East Coast looks promising.
See you next week!