Monday Kickstart: Binghamton

 

Grant Langston 345
Ryan Hughes 335
James Stewart 300

That’s where the top three riders in the 125cc class stand with two races remaining. Now that Mike Brown is sidelined for the season with a separated shoulder, it’s a three-rider battle between the front trio. Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s James “Bubba” Stewart knocked off another 19 points between himself and the two Red Bull KTM riders in front of him, an now trails by only 45. Ryan Hughes also subtracted nine points from Grant Langston’s lead, so things are getting tighter, and the tension is growing.

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After missing the first four races of the season, Bubba has been doing exactly what he needs to, winning 12 motos in a row. There’s not much doubt in anyone’s minds that if it weren’t for the broken collarbone suffered in Las Vegas before the start of the nationals, that he’d be 20-20 right now, and looking at the possibility of a perfect season like Ricky Carmichael’s 2002 250cc campaign.

Over at MotoTalk, helle253 had a funny comment. “If I was J-Bone (Bubba’s mechanic, Jeremy Albrecht), I’d leave my pit board & marker in the semi; bring a lawn chair, an umbrella, and a nice cold cocktail to the mechanics area and just wave at Bubba every time he goes by. I mean really, what do you tell someone who’s got an 8-10 second lead after a few laps every weekend.”

Spinner108 had a slightly different take. “Agreed, that would make a hilarious ad picture as Bubba comes flying by, J-bone in a lounge chair snoozing with a piña colada umbrella drink in his hand and a Hawaiian shirt on.”

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While that does sound funny, but our only argument is that anyone who can sleep while Bubba is on the track is definitely suffering a beer-induced DNF, or isn’t a real motocross fan. Watching him ride is as good as it gets.

A couple weeks ago we reported that there was a possibility of a huge deal in the works involving Boost Mobile and Yamaha for Bubba’s services. That rumor took its fair share of abuse, but wouldn’t die. Now it seems like it might be even bigger than we reported, with even more corporate giants involved. There’s no doubt that Bubba has amazing appeal, even garnering interviews from media stars like Tom Brokaw. Unfazed, Bubba apparently didn’t know who Tom Brokaw was, except that the interview would be seen by 11,000,000 people, and that he had to wear a button-up shirt.

But enough of the rumor-mongering, it’s back to the racing. One of the most buzzworthy moments of the weekend was the contact between Bubba and Langston in the second turn of the first moto. Bubba apologized afterward, but when later told that Grant wasn’t happy about the contact he commented something to the effect of, “I thought I was racing a World Champion.” Bubba isn’t afraid to lay the smack down—on tape, or on the track.

It looks like the next time you see Mike Brown, it’ll be in a Yamaha of Troy uniform. Look for him to be on a 250 during the SX season (since he’s pointed out in 125 supercross), and on a 125cc-caliber bike (possibly a 250F) during the outdooseason.

His future teammate, Kelly Smith, is already running YOT graphics on his own 250F, but is still getting to races on his own. His excellent 5-2 moto scores were good for second overall, top privateer honors and the cash that goes with it. Kelly’s really looking forward to suspension testing with the factory guys to get ready for next season.

Ivan Tedesco came to Broome-Tioga with a serious case of the flu that required him to seek treatment at a local hospital on Saturday, and an IV to help him replace fluids. He rode the first moto, but dropped out before the midway point. He passed on riding the second moto.

After a weird couple of weeks at the Red Bull KTM team where Steve Boniface got parked after a verbal duel with team manager Larry Brooks, the Frenchman was released from his contract and showed up at Binghamton aboard a Motoworldracing.com Suzuki. He’ll be on board the yellow bike for all of ’04.

Considering all the rumors of team orders within the KTM team, it almost seemed odd that Josh Woods (who put in a pair of great motos at Binghamton with 4-4 finishes) let Langston by in the second moto, but didn’t also wait around to give up his spot to Hughes (who was behind Michael Byrne at the time). With Bubba charging hard, those two points could come in handy at the end of the season.

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Rocks may not have been quite the same caliber of lethal projectiles they were at Unadilla (like when Chris Gosselaar caught one right between the eyes), but they did take their toll on a few bike parts over the weekend. One of the solid projectiles poked a hole in Tim Ferry’s GYT-R header pipe in the first moto, which gave his bike an off-song exhaust note. Nick Wey also had problems, with a digne dignition cover in moto one; and in the second moto, another rock mortally wounded his front brake line. Nick wasn’t entirely unprepared for the rocks, though. He was running a double-gauge exhaust on his Yamaha in an effort to ward off dings.

In case you haven’t heard, it sounds like Nick is all but locked up with a Sobe Suzuki ride for next year, and may end up in MSR gear.

Kevin Windham had a great weekend, walking away with the first moto after keeping the pressure on RC until Ricky made an uncharacteristic mistake. K-Dub had some pressure of his own in the second moto, when a last-minute wheel change in the staging area almost cost him his parade lap. The mechanics got things cinched up just in time for him to make his lap. He then grabbed the lead which he held for a lap until Ricky got by, and then slowly inched away from the big 450.

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This week’s injury list was tough, with Shae Bentley sitting out after taking a handlebar to the ribs. (He’s okay). Craig Decker was going to be riding out of the Pro Circuit Kawasaki truck, but instead reportedly tweaked a knee. However, both of those pale in comparison to the news that Corona Suzuki’s Mickael Pichon torqued his left knee in a crash at the German Grand Prix at Gaildorf, resulting in torn ligaments and effectively ending his season.

Stefan Everts took his fifth double (125cc and MotocrossGP), while Joel Smets took the 650cc class win. Everts has also taken over the points lead in the MotocrossGP class and looks good for that title with three races remaining, while also sitting in third spot in the 125cc division.

While visiting our old pal Big E at Answer Racing last week (click here for more), we spotted this new pair of prototype Gaerne SG10 boots. They don’t use a booty, but have gel inserts around that foot area that are reputed to be extremely comfortable. The inside of the upper is also lined with Bio-Foam, but the most interesting part has to be the hinged ankle and quantity of plastic surrounding the upper portion of the boot. They also have rubber gripper sections on the inside of the calves for traction.

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And the last few items for today…

One of the interesting rumors floating around is that Jeremy McGrath might show up at Steel City to try and earn enough points to keep his number two plate. It makes sense…especially if he has future plans for racing besides the Supermoto series.

Look for Broc Hepler to be wearing O’Neal gear in ’04 and beyond.

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KTM-mounted Stefi Laier took both moto wins, after Sara Whitmore grabbed both holeshots in WML action at Binghamton.

That’s about it for this week, so thanks for checking it out, and keep checking back throughout the week for more at www.transworldmx.com.

tted this new pair of prototype Gaerne SG10 boots. They don’t use a booty, but have gel inserts around that foot area that are reputed to be extremely comfortable. The inside of the upper is also lined with Bio-Foam, but the most interesting part has to be the hinged ankle and quantity of plastic surrounding the upper portion of the boot. They also have rubber gripper sections on the inside of the calves for traction.

[IMAGE 5]

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And the last few items for today…

One of the interesting rumors floating around is that Jeremy McGrath might show up at Steel City to try and earn enough points to keep his number two plate. It makes sense…especially if he has future plans for racing besides the Supermoto series.

Look for Broc Hepler to be wearing O’Neal gear in ’04 and beyond.

[IMAGE 7]

KTM-mounted Stefi Laier took both moto wins, after Sara Whitmore grabbed both holeshots in WML action at Binghamton.

That’s about it for this week, so thanks for checking it out, and keep checking back throughout the week for more at www.transworldmx.com.