Monday Kickstart: Arenacross, Langston and More…

It was a busy weekend for our sport as both Arenacross series—BooKoo and Toyota AMA—kicked of their seasons, riders are getting ready to head to France for the Paris-Bercy Supercross and AMA Supermoto was running the Duel at the Docks in Long Beach, CA.

Speaking of Supermoto, Jeff Ward clinched the 2006 AMA Supermoto Championship in the first moto in Long Beach. Check back here at TWMX later today for more coverage from the weekend’s action.

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The Bercy Supercross is coming up this weekend, and once again it will serve as a preview for the AMA Supercross season as well as mark the first event for several riders with new teams. As usual David Vuillemin will head to his home country for the race, and Mike Alessi who will be making his third run in Bercy will join him. Jason Lawrence will debut his Yamaha of Troy ride, and Tommy Hahn told us he plans to make his second ride aboard his Factory Honda CRF250R in Paris. Also showing off new team colors will be Mike Brown, who is racing European GPs full time next year on the Honda CAS team. Other U.S. riders scheduled to race Bercy include Zach Osborne, Justin Brayton, and Eric Sorby.

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The recently injured Davi Millsaps joined David Izer and the guys on DMXS Radio on Wednesday night to talk about his broken leg and when we can expect to see him back in action. Davi said he went down while practicing a whoop section, when his front end dropped into a whoop and got hung up on a hard edge. Davi said he actually thinks a weird twisting of his handlebars is what broke his femur. Millsaps said he is hoping to be back by Anaheim One, and apparently the nature of his injury—which was a clean break—makes it a possibility. “If I make Anaheim One you know it’s because of dedication and heart, and if I don’t make it it’s because I wasn’t healed up enough. I’m trying my hardest to be healed up by Anaheim One,” said Millsaps.

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Toyota AMA Arenacross — Des Moines, IA

Long-time pro Robbie Reynard made a somewhat unexpected appearance at the Des Moines Arenacross—a series he last rode when he was fifteen. We talked with Robbie on Sunday after he returned home from Des Moines, and he confirmed that he would still be racing in Supercross this season, including possibly racing the World rounds in Canada for the first time. When we asked Robbie why he decided to head down to Des Moines his response was, “I was sitting at home healthy, and I felt like going racing.” Reynard struggled with starts on the first night of racing, but came back to win the Arenacross Main Event on Saturday.

Here are the results from both nights of racing in AMA Arenacross season opener in Des Moines:

Toyota AMA Arenacross Results – Friday
1. Danny Smith, Honda
2. Teddy Maier, Honda
3. Greg Schnell, Suzuki
4. Brock Sellards, Honda
5. Keith Johnson, Yamaha

Toyota AMA Arenacross Lites Results – Friday
1. Gray Davenport, Kawasaki
2. Kody Molitor, Honda
3. Cory Green, Honda
4. Nick Depalo, Honda
5. Robbie Smith, Kawasaki

Toyota AMA Arenacross Main Results – Saturday
1. Robbie Reynard, Honda
2. Greg Schnell, Suzuki
3. Danny Smith, Honda
4. Kody Molitor, Honda
5. Matt Barnes, Honda

Toyota AMA Arenacross Lites Results – Saturday
1. Kody Molitor, Honda
2. Bruce Dehn, Kawasaki
3. Kevin Hoge, Suzuki
4. Beni Williams, Suzuki
5. Patrick Massie, Kawasaki

Toyota AMA Arenacross Points
1. Danny Smith (45)
2. Greg Schnell (42)
3. Brock Sellards (30)
Matt Barnes (30)
5. Keith Johnson (29)
Teddy Maier (29)
Chad Johnson (29)
8. Justin Buckelew (28)
9. Robbie ynard (25)
10. Scott Metz (21)
Travis Sewell (21)

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In other Arenacross news, Makita Suzuki Lites rider Ryan Dungey got some early season practice by racing the BooKoo Arenacross in Fresno this weekend. Continuing to show that he has the speed and skills to run up front, Dungey took second place in the 250 Pro class on Friday and first place on Saturday. Here are the top-five finishers from the opening round of the 2007 BooKoo Arenacross series in Fresno:

250 Pro Friday Results
1. Darcy Lange (Kaw)
2. Ryan Dungey (Suz)
3. Tiger Lacey (Hon)
4. Josh Woods (Suz)
5. Michael Blose (Suz)

450 Pro Friday Results
1. Darcy Lange (Kaw)
2. Tyler Bowers (Hon)
3. Michael Blose (Suz)
4. Zach Ames (Hon)
5. Josh Woods (Suz)

250 Pro Saturday Results
1. Ryan Dungey (Suz)
2. Darcy Lange (Kaw)
3. Eric McCrummen (Hon)
4. Michael Blose (Suz)
5. Josh Woods (Suz)

450 Pro Saturday Results
1. Darcy Lange (Kaw)
2. Michael Blose (Suz)
3. Brad Ripple (Hon)
4. Tiger Lacey (Hon)
5. Jeff Northrop (Kaw)

Bookoo Arenacross Championship Standings
1. Darcy Lange (78)
2. Michael Blose (63)
3. Josh Woods (54)
4. Jeff Northrop (47)
5. Tiger Lacey (45)

This weekend the BooKoo Arenacross series will head to The Pavilion in Salem, Oregon.

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It’s always encouraging to see the mainstream media take more interest in moto. In the current edition of ESPN The Magazine there is a sidebar about Ricky Carmichael’s plans to move to NASCAR as well as a photo from England’s Weston Beach race in the “Zoom” section of the mag—similar to our Scan section.

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Kawasaki has officially announced their 2007 racing teams, and while most of the new teams and riders announced have already been known for some time, here is quick run-down of the four Kawasaki teams that will be running in Supercross and the Outdoors in 2007:

Factory Kawasaki
– James Stewart (SX/MX)
– Tim Ferry (SX/MX)

Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki
– Ryan Villopoto (Lites)
– Ben Townley (Lites)
– Chris Gosselaar (Lites)
– Brett Metcalfe (Lites)

Team Motorsport Kawasaki
– Steven Boniface (Lites)
– Kyle Chisholm (Lites)
– Matt Boni (Lites)
– Bobby Kiniry (Lites)

Cernic’s Kawasaki
– Paul Carpenter (SX/MX)
– Jeff Gibson (SX/MX)

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It was a sight for sore eyes to see Grant Langston throw huge whips over a big Lake Elsinore double last week, as he put in his first practice laps aboard his new Factory Yamaha YZ450F. With GL making the move to the Supercross class this season, RC running a part-time schedule, and lots of other riders looking competitive in the big-bike class, we’re looking forward to a competitive Supercross season.

Most of you caught part of our interview with Langston, as part of last week’s Thursday Theater, but Grant had a lot more to say than we were able to fit into a short three-minute video, so below is a transcript of Swap’s full interview with Yamaha’s new factory Supercross rider. If you missed our Langston Thursday Theater video, check it out by clicking the link on the right side of this screen.

We’re here at Lake Elsinore Motocross Park on November one, which coincidentally is the same day my buddy Grant Langston gets to ride his new blue bike. So how’s it feeling, you have one moto under your belt?

It’s great, you know it’s been a little frustrating waiting, but I’ve been doing some riding prior to this on the Kawasaki. But when you know you’re going to be running a new bike, you’re just real eager to get on it, and so I’m finally glad that today arrived. It seemed like it was taking forever.

I’m just really excited, you know from when I’ve been on the bike so far it’s been great. I’ve tested the bike once before a few months back and it’s just been really enjoyable. Fortunately my favorite color is blue, and I’m going to be wearing a lot of it for the next few years, so it’s a good thing I like it (laughs).

The bike feels solid, I know we’re going to keep working on it and getting it more to my liking. It was kind of strange to roll up and see this blue bike on the back of my mechanic’s blue truck…

Is it strange to look at that blue fender?

Blue fender, blue truck, I put on my blue M2R gear, and just a whole lot of new things. It’s a little overwhelming, but at the same time I’m just really excited about the new prospect.

So you have a whole new look this year with M2R gear. What does the M2R stand for?

The original meeting was pretty weird, but one day I told Tony (Oliver) to just tell everyone it stands for made to race, so he said ‘good idea,’ and me and my dad convinced him that it was his new slogan. This is just some of the lower-end line, but in the next few days we’ll be getting some of the new gear that I’ll be racing in. I’ve seen some of the designs that they’ve emailed me and it’s great looking stuff. I’m looking forward to wearing it and helping to promote and design their product, and being heavily involved.

And you know, working with Yamaha, it’s going to be exciting being the main guy in the factor rig, and looking forward to what I’m hoping is going to be one of the most competitive years in the Supercross class, ever.

So getting back to the whole M2R thing, I have a better idea. Tell me what you think about it?

Ok.

Maeda’s too rad (laughs).

Ok, yeah, that’s what it stands for. Yeah, good idea. (laughs)

No, I think we’ll stick with M2R and maybe just tell people it’s abbreviated for Maeda’s too rad.

So, like we said, you’ve done one moto so far. What’s the biggest thing about the bike that feels different to you?

The bike feels real solid underneath me. When I had the opportunity to ride Chad’s (Reed) Supercross bike, I remember thinking, ‘now I know why he looks that good in the whoops,’ because the bike is really solid underneath you. I don’t know if it’s the frame or suspension, or a combination of everything, it just feels very solid, very plush. I know that people have given it really good ratings in the magazine shootout tests and stuff. I felt really comfortable straight away, that was one thing I noticed. I just hopped on it and felt comfortable from the get go. That’s always good, you know? Like I said, this is our first time out here and we’re obviously always going to continue to keep working.

I mean everything is different. We’re using the Pro Taper handlebars, so I am just trying to find a set of bars to my liking. The suspension’s different to what we’ve used before. The frame, geometry, everything’s different, but it still has a real comfortable feel from the get-go. So first we’re going to tweak on the little things, just for the comfort side of things, and then in the next few days here I’m sure were going to head up to the Supercross track and start doing some testing. I think the bike has a really awesome base setup; I don’t think it’s going to require a whole lot to get the bike to racing standards.

2007 will mark your return to the 450 class, or the Motocross/Supercross class. Having been there once and having a few exciting rides on the KTM 250, what are your thoughts and expectations going into ’07?

I think maybe some people have the idea that I don’t ride as well on a 450, or a bigger bike, which obviously I want to try and prove them wrong because I think ire just real eager to get on it, and so I’m finally glad that today arrived. It seemed like it was taking forever.

I’m just really excited, you know from when I’ve been on the bike so far it’s been great. I’ve tested the bike once before a few months back and it’s just been really enjoyable. Fortunately my favorite color is blue, and I’m going to be wearing a lot of it for the next few years, so it’s a good thing I like it (laughs).

The bike feels solid, I know we’re going to keep working on it and getting it more to my liking. It was kind of strange to roll up and see this blue bike on the back of my mechanic’s blue truck…

Is it strange to look at that blue fender?

Blue fender, blue truck, I put on my blue M2R gear, and just a whole lot of new things. It’s a little overwhelming, but at the same time I’m just really excited about the new prospect.

So you have a whole new look this year with M2R gear. What does the M2R stand for?

The original meeting was pretty weird, but one day I told Tony (Oliver) to just tell everyone it stands for made to race, so he said ‘good idea,’ and me and my dad convinced him that it was his new slogan. This is just some of the lower-end line, but in the next few days we’ll be getting some of the new gear that I’ll be racing in. I’ve seen some of the designs that they’ve emailed me and it’s great looking stuff. I’m looking forward to wearing it and helping to promote and design their product, and being heavily involved.

And you know, working with Yamaha, it’s going to be exciting being the main guy in the factor rig, and looking forward to what I’m hoping is going to be one of the most competitive years in the Supercross class, ever.

So getting back to the whole M2R thing, I have a better idea. Tell me what you think about it?

Ok.

Maeda’s too rad (laughs).

Ok, yeah, that’s what it stands for. Yeah, good idea. (laughs)

No, I think we’ll stick with M2R and maybe just tell people it’s abbreviated for Maeda’s too rad.

So, like we said, you’ve done one moto so far. What’s the biggest thing about the bike that feels different to you?

The bike feels real solid underneath me. When I had the opportunity to ride Chad’s (Reed) Supercross bike, I remember thinking, ‘now I know why he looks that good in the whoops,’ because the bike is really solid underneath you. I don’t know if it’s the frame or suspension, or a combination of everything, it just feels very solid, very plush. I know that people have given it really good ratings in the magazine shootout tests and stuff. I felt really comfortable straight away, that was one thing I noticed. I just hopped on it and felt comfortable from the get go. That’s always good, you know? Like I said, this is our first time out here and we’re obviously always going to continue to keep working.

I mean everything is different. We’re using the Pro Taper handlebars, so I am just trying to find a set of bars to my liking. The suspension’s different to what we’ve used before. The frame, geometry, everything’s different, but it still has a real comfortable feel from the get-go. So first we’re going to tweak on the little things, just for the comfort side of things, and then in the next few days here I’m sure were going to head up to the Supercross track and start doing some testing. I think the bike has a really awesome base setup; I don’t think it’s going to require a whole lot to get the bike to racing standards.

2007 will mark your return to the 450 class, or the Motocross/Supercross class. Having been there once and having a few exciting rides on the KTM 250, what are your thoughts and expectations going into ’07?

I think maybe some people have the idea that I don’t ride as well on a 450, or a bigger bike, which obviously I want to try and prove them wrong because I think if anything I ride the bigger bike better anyway. Because of my weight, my strength I always ride the bike in taller gears and stuff, so 450s feel like a great fit for me.

In the first year you see a lot of guys that come in and try too hard, and try to live up to some expectation and get hurt. So for the first season I just want to be there every weekend; challenging for podium positions and being in the top five. I’m not going to go out there and kill myself, that’s the most important thing. I think being on a really good bike this time, I don’t think I’m going to crash nearly as often, so that will be a big difference there. Just take it as it comes. I want to ease my way into the season, get stronger, be there for both series, and maybe in 2008 see where we’re at and start pushing to get wins.

How’s the body right now? Are you all healthy and healed up?

Yeah, my ankle’s doing really well. I’m happy with the progress my ankle has made. Then all of a sudden I get back riding and my wrist starts bothering me one day. So I’ve been taping it up but nothing severe, just precautionary.

I feel great. I’ve been working with a new trainer, John Emerson, he worked with Billy Laninovich this past year, and he used to be a professional cyclist. He’s been kinda whipping my butt into shape by climbing that stupid La Cresta hill day-in, day-out, sucking wind. But I feel stronger, fitter than ever before, so now it’s just a matter of getting riding fit. I think physically I’m strong, but it’s going to be a lot of long days.

But you know we did that last year, I came back from that little arthroscopic surgery on my dislocated ankle and I just cycled for six to eight weeks pretty hard, and then came back to the test track and did a lot of riding. When we came to Anaheim one I felt ready to go and I think it showed because I was fitter and stronger, and a little faster than I was the year before. I’ve got to keep the momentum going.

So it looks like Dyno’s coming with you?

Mitch (Payton) and I are still really good friends. I just said to him one day, I’m like, ‘man I asked Dyno to go with me.’ I told him it’s his fault. When I went to Pro Circuit I didn’t know Dan (Rambert), and Mitch said to me, ‘I’m going to give you my best mechanic,’ which he did, and the guy’s been awesome. So when I took him with me I think Mitch was a little bummed at first and I said, ‘Well, it’s your fault. You gave me your best mechanic, what do you think I’m going to do?’ So he’s cool, he understands, Mitch is a great guy. He told Dan, ‘I wish you all the best, you’re always welcome back,’ and Mitch and I are still good friends; we were gambling together at the U.S. Open.

I just want to thank him and the whole Monster Pro Circuit team for everything they did for me for the past two years, and for helping me with that stepping stone. That was my goal; to have two good years in the Lites and move up. Mitch and I spoke about that a few years ago. It was nice that it happened that way and got me onto a great team like Yamaha, and coming up with some momentum and a few more championships. So the relationship’s good there, and I’ve always had a good relationship with Dan, so it was only fitting that I was going to try and take him with me.

Alright, well we’re looking forward to watching you spin some fast laps.

nk if anything I ride the bigger bike better anyway. Because of my weight, my strength I always ride the bike in taller gears and stuff, so 450s feel like a great fit for me.

In the first year you see a lot of guys that come in and try too hard, and try to live up to some expectation and get hurt. So for the first season I just want to be there every weekend; challenging for podium positions and being in the top five. I’m not going to go out there and kill myself, that’s the most important thing. I think being on a reeally good bike this time, I don’t think I’m going to crash nearly as often, so that will be a big difference there. Just take it as it comes. I want to ease my way into the season, get stronger, be there for both series, and maybe in 2008 see where we’re at and start pushing to get wins.

How’s the body right now? Are you all healthy and healed up?

Yeah, my ankle’s doing really well. I’m happy with the progress my ankle has made. Then all of a sudden I get back riding and my wrist starts bothering me one day. So I’ve been taping it up but nothing severe, just precautionary.

I feel great. I’ve been working with a new trainer, John Emerson, he worked with Billy Laninovich this past year, and he used to be a professional cyclist. He’s been kinda whipping my butt into shape by climbing that stupid La Cresta hill day-in, day-out, sucking wind. But I feel stronger, fitter than ever before, so now it’s just a matter of getting riding fit. I think physically I’m strong, but it’s going to be a lot of long days.

But you know we did that last year, I came back from that little arthroscopic surgery on my dislocated ankle and I just cycled for six to eight weeks pretty hard, and then came back to the test track and did a lot of riding. When we came to Anaheim one I felt ready to go and I think it showed because I was fitter and stronger, and a little faster than I was the year before. I’ve got to keep the momentum going.

So it looks like Dyno’s coming with you?

Mitch (Payton) and I are still really good friends. I just said to him one day, I’m like, ‘man I asked Dyno to go with me.’ I told him it’s his fault. When I went to Pro Circuit I didn’t know Dan (Rambert), and Mitch said to me, ‘I’m going to give you my best mechanic,’ which he did, and the guy’s been awesome. So when I took him with me I think Mitch was a little bummed at first and I said, ‘Well, it’s your fault. You gave me your best mechanic, what do you think I’m going to do?’ So he’s cool, he understands, Mitch is a great guy. He told Dan, ‘I wish you all the best, you’re always welcome back,’ and Mitch and I are still good friends; we were gambling together at the U.S. Open.

I just want to thank him and the whole Monster Pro Circuit team for everything they did for me for the past two years, and for helping me with that stepping stone. That was my goal; to have two good years in the Lites and move up. Mitch and I spoke about that a few years ago. It was nice that it happened that way and got me onto a great team like Yamaha, and coming up with some momentum and a few more championships. So the relationship’s good there, and I’ve always had a good relationship with Dan, so it was only fitting that I was going to try and take him with me.

Alright, well we’re looking forward to watching you spin some fast laps.