Monday Kickstart: San Francisco 2007

If you already read the our race report or viewed the television coverage of the San Francisco Supercross, you already know that mal weather forced a change in the practice program at round number four of the series over the weekend. As has become the norm at the San Francisco round of the Amp’d Mobile AMA Supercross series, scattered rain and threats of even greater showers traveled through the Bay Area starting late Friday afternoon, finally concluding by late in the day Saturday. Still putting the finishing touches on the circuit within the confines of AT&T Park on Friday, the track crew scrambled to get the track covered upon completion, but some minor rain damage had already been done. By Saturday morning, light scattered showers continued to peruse their way through the area, so AMA officials made the decision to eliminate the first round of practice that normally gets underway at 12:30pm in an attempt to conserve the track. With only one practice session to get a feel for the layout, the first group was unleashed at 3:05pm sharp, and the rest of the afternoon went off without a hitch. Mother Nature spared racers and fans of any additional moisture by about 5:00 local time, and the track shaped up to be nearly perfect, although heavily rutted, by race time. The photo of the covered track is what the scene looked like midway through the day on Saturday.

For more photos click the link to the far right.

Before reading any further, be sure to click on the “Monday Kickstart Photos” link to the right of your screen for an insider’s view on San Francisco that only Swap can provide…

When the gate dropped for the Supercross main event, we all knew that we were in for a treat thanks to a rutted, technical track that helped to even the playing field amongst the top three riders, but what was set to take place was way more bizarre than we could have ever imagined. For those of you who skipped our race report or missed the TV broadcast, here’s a step-by-step recipe of all the various lead changes and crashes that led to this San Francisco treat.

STEP 1: Add one monster holeshot to the track—Chad Reed flew into turn number one with the lead, and continued to hold down the top spot for three laps with Bubba and RC nipping at his heals.

STEP 2: Add pass number one for the lead—Bubba threw down a pass on Reed just before the start of lap four.

STEP 3: Quickly add one pass back to the mix—Reedy wasted no time, quickly repassing Bubba just a few lanes later after a slight bobble by the big number seven

STEP 4: Add one experienced, wily veteran to the dish—RC remained calm and collected (save for a near disaster when he over-jumped the finish line double), and later commented on being content as the hunter for the first half of the race. “I was fine just sitting back and watching James and Chad. I could tell that each of them were making small mistakes here and there, but I had no intentions of making any passes until the second half of the race. The lead came to me early, though, so I took advantage.

STEP 5: Add lapped rider number one—Bubba got by Reed again just before the start of lap seven as the two approached and passed lapped rider Sorby. Reed later commented that Sorby appeared to have intentionally interrupted his flow. “Sorby hooked me up one time pretty good, and we’ll remember that one… He looked right at me and just stopped. And then I thought I could go on to the outside, and he went straight there. I think he got his five seconds of fame on TV, and he’ll be happy tomorrow.

STEP 6: Add crash number one to the mix—With the lead, Bubba went down just a few sections later after hitting a false neutral in the middle of a rhythm section, allowing Reed and RC to pass.

STEP 7: Add even more of youlapped rider concentrate along with another crash—In thick lapped riders and under extreme pressure from RC, Reed made a huge mistake in a small rhythm section, allowing Ricky to takeover the lead.

The rest of the recipe sorted itself out along the way, including another mistake when Bubba stalled his bike in the heart of a rhythm section, and a strong, steady flow by RC. The G.O.A.T. rode a great race to motor on to the win, and the San Francisco crowd was ecstatic to see him on the top of the box. “I felt really good. I struggled with armpump all week long and here tonight, but I got through it. There were a lot of mistakes being made out there, and I just capitalized… I am just really enjoying this. I know it’s coming down to the end, so I am just really thankful for the team, and really enjoying these wins.

Sobe/NoFear/Samsung Mobile/Honda’s Travis Preston returned to action in San Francisco after a gnarly get-off in Anaheim 2’s first practice session a week ago. In the crash, Presto suffered from some severe bruising in his chest area, but fortunately for the likeable SoCal native, no broken bones showed up on the X-Rays. Still, the damage was done, as TP was unable to compete in the night show at A2, ultimately losing valuable series points. Preston finished in fourth place at both of the opening two rounds, and the missed points at A2 consequently dropped him back to eighth place in the championship standings. TP was only able to ride for a few minutes during the week separating A2 and San Francisco, as severe pain ensued when his heart rate elevated and breathing increased. With nothing but time capable of healing his wounds, Preston traveled to San Fran just to ride practice and see where he stood. One thing we did notice when we checked in with TP in the pit area was the addition of a chest protector in his gear bag. After getting an ear full from Dr. Bodnar last weekend in Anaheim about how he may have prevented his chest injury, Presto chose to help protect his beat up chest plate with the devise. Travis, with his new piece of safety equipment onboard, looked a bit out of sorts in his heat race, missing the transfer spot by one. Fortunately, after winning the LCQ, Preston raced a steady main event to finish seventh.

With Preston’s week off from riding and racing, his mechanic Shawn Ulikowski apparently had TP’s CRF450R in tip-top shape by the time they got to San Francisco. With plenty of spare time on his hands before practice, Shawny decided to rebuild his ailing watch to pass some time. “Yeah, I am a pretty talented guy, he told us. “I can rebuild a dirt bike, fix watches… Heck, I even put a new set of shocks on my truck this week, he said laughing. Our guess is that if Shawn can prepare a race bike and keep Preston in line as well as he does, that’s going to be one badass watch when all is said and done!

Other big news developing from round number three in Anaheim last weekend were the fuel penalties assessed to Nick Wey, Josh Hill, and Jason Thomas. Similar penalties have haunted riders and teams in the past, so why, you ask, are teams still getting caught with illegal, or out of tolerance fuels? Without getting too detailed and specific, it shakes down something like this. When it comes to the fuel crisis, there are three main parties involved—the fuel manufacturer, the AMA, and the teams. The manufacturer develops and produces fuels that must meet specific guidelines. The AMA sets said guidelines, and the teams are required to stay within the parameters of said guidelines. Things like lead and oxygen have specific levels that are allowable, and when they’re exceeded, the rule has been broken. For 2007, to help reduce the chances of exceeding the set levels of various fuel components, the AMA raised the ceiling. As the story goes, the fuel manufacturer, in an attempt to push the envelope and gain additional performance, developed fuels that creep back up toward the AMA’s new and allowable numbers. There are many discussions and arguments taking place that discuss each teams fuel testing efforts, the quality control from the manufacturer, and the possibility that a fuel once in compliance may become altered once utilized. Whatever the cause of the “out of tolerance fuels found in the machines last weekend, however, the rule as written will stand, and riders will continue to lose points if those levels are not met. Okay, that’s a lot to swallow, and it probably doesn’t answer all of your questions. And perhaps you have your own theories of how to sole the problem, but for now, lets turn to Nick Wey’s Xyience/MDK/MSR/Honda Team Manager Steve Lamson for his take on the situation.

“We just get the fuel from VP, obviously. They [BRACKET “the AMA”] raised the fuel standards a little bit to give us a little room, but then VP went and upped the levels to push the limit a little bit. When they test it they say it’s fine, so we’ve been running it with Nick since Anaheim 1. We got tested in Phoenix, but we never heard anything, so we went ahead and ran it again at Anaheim 2. Next thing we know, Nick’s getting a call on Thursday saying we’ve been disqualified. I then heard rumors from a few people that we had had issues at Phoenix as well, but nobody told us. In a two hour meeting with the AMA I found out that we did, in fact, fail the test in Phoenix. I asked why they didn’t say anything before Anaheim, and they said they need to do additional testing. So it kills me that they didn’t give us the heads up that there may have been a problem. So I don’t know at this point. There is obviously a problem, but I am not sure of the solution. For the time being, we’ve gone back to the same fuel we used last year that should be well within the limits. Unfortunately for Wey, Hill, and Thomas, the points will not be refunded.

Speaking of Steve Lamson, rumors have recently floated around regarding the possibility of him racing a two-stroke 125cc Honda at the Hangtown National in May. Those of you who have been around for a few years remember when Lamson won a 125cc National Championship on one of them two-stroke things, so like you, we just had to know the truth. “Yeah, that’s true, Lamy told us. “Our truck driver Danny Carlson said, “Hey, you’ve got to break out a 125cc for Hangtown. I wasn’t even planning on riding because I wasn’t going to get on a 450cc after not riding for a longtime, so I called Honda to ask what they thought about it. Because it’s the last year that Honda will make a production 125cc, they were into it, so I think it will be cool. I am not going out there to prove anything; I am just looking for a good time. We’re going to try to do the bike like the year that I won my championship—graphic-wise—so it should be cool. I also kept a few sets of gear from each year, so I’ll break into that stuff as well. So, if you’re at Hangtown, and you hear a wide-open screech coming from the track, do not be alarmed! You’re only hearing Lamy hauling the mail on a good old trusty two-banger.

Chad Reed had a new mechanic wrenching for him in San Francisco. Team San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Yamaha Crew Chief Oscar Wierdeman filled in for the weekend for Reed’s regular wrench Paul DeLaurier. Apparently, DeLaurier had some personal business to attend to that trumped his duties with Reedy, but we hope all is well with the friendly wrench and that we see him back at the races soon.

Heading into the 2007 racing season, Corey Shea was all set with his new gig as Nick Wey’s race mechanic on the Xyience/MDK/MSR/Honda team, but after a conflict of differences, Shea and the team dec, in an attempt to push the envelope and gain additional performance, developed fuels that creep back up toward the AMA’s new and allowable numbers. There are many discussions and arguments taking place that discuss each teams fuel testing efforts, the quality control from the manufacturer, and the possibility that a fuel once in compliance may become altered once utilized. Whatever the cause of the “out of tolerance fuels found in the machines last weekend, however, the rule as written will stand, and riders will continue to lose points if those levels are not met. Okay, that’s a lot to swallow, and it probably doesn’t answer all of your questions. And perhaps you have your own theories of how to sole the problem, but for now, lets turn to Nick Wey’s Xyience/MDK/MSR/Honda Team Manager Steve Lamson for his take on the situation.

“We just get the fuel from VP, obviously. They [BRACKET “the AMA”] raised the fuel standards a little bit to give us a little room, but then VP went and upped the levels to push the limit a little bit. When they test it they say it’s fine, so we’ve been running it with Nick since Anaheim 1. We got tested in Phoenix, but we never heard anything, so we went ahead and ran it again at Anaheim 2. Next thing we know, Nick’s getting a call on Thursday saying we’ve been disqualified. I then heard rumors from a few people that we had had issues at Phoenix as well, but nobody told us. In a two hour meeting with the AMA I found out that we did, in fact, fail the test in Phoenix. I asked why they didn’t say anything before Anaheim, and they said they need to do additional testing. So it kills me that they didn’t give us the heads up that there may have been a problem. So I don’t know at this point. There is obviously a problem, but I am not sure of the solution. For the time being, we’ve gone back to the same fuel we used last year that should be well within the limits. Unfortunately for Wey, Hill, and Thomas, the points will not be refunded.

Speaking of Steve Lamson, rumors have recently floated around regarding the possibility of him racing a two-stroke 125cc Honda at the Hangtown National in May. Those of you who have been around for a few years remember when Lamson won a 125cc National Championship on one of them two-stroke things, so like you, we just had to know the truth. “Yeah, that’s true, Lamy told us. “Our truck driver Danny Carlson said, “Hey, you’ve got to break out a 125cc for Hangtown. I wasn’t even planning on riding because I wasn’t going to get on a 450cc after not riding for a longtime, so I called Honda to ask what they thought about it. Because it’s the last year that Honda will make a production 125cc, they were into it, so I think it will be cool. I am not going out there to prove anything; I am just looking for a good time. We’re going to try to do the bike like the year that I won my championship—graphic-wise—so it should be cool. I also kept a few sets of gear from each year, so I’ll break into that stuff as well. So, if you’re at Hangtown, and you hear a wide-open screech coming from the track, do not be alarmed! You’re only hearing Lamy hauling the mail on a good old trusty two-banger.

Chad Reed had a new mechanic wrenching for him in San Francisco. Team San Manuel Band of Mission Indians Yamaha Crew Chief Oscar Wierdeman filled in for the weekend for Reed’s regular wrench Paul DeLaurier. Apparently, DeLaurier had some personal business to attend to that trumped his duties with Reedy, but we hope all is well with the friendly wrench and that we see him back at the races soon.

Heading into the 2007 racing season, Corey Shea was all set with his new gig as Nick Wey’s race mechanic on the Xyience/MDK/MSR/Honda team, but after a conflict of differences, Shea and the team decided to part ways. Waiting in the wings, however, was a position on the Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Yamaha of Troy team to wrench for young gun Jason Lawrence. Shea and Lawrence were both a part of the Rockstar Energy/Bill’s Pipes/Suzuki team last year, so the two were stoked to have the chance to work with each other again in ’07. After a solid second place ride last weekend in Anaheim, we decided to check in with Shea to see how the two are working together, and how things are going with the new team.

It’s strange to see you in blue. How are things going?
So far things have been great. I can’t tell you how nice it is to work with a team that has things together. Last year was pretty frustrating. The team was brand new, and it was so far from organized that it was nearly impossible to do a good job. Here with Troy, we have everything we need and a very solid group of people working together.

In the past, some may have said that you probably have your hands full with Jason, but he appears to be a completely different, focused rider in ’07.
Yeah, he’s not messing around. He’s serious about racing, and things have been really good so far. We worked together a little bit last year on the other team, so I knew what I was getting in to. Jason is actually really good at taking advice and working through issues, so I think we’re working pretty well together.

After everything the two of you went through last year, it must have been pretty amazing to get up on the podium last weekend.
For sure. We put a lot of hard work into what we do, so it was such a great feeling last weekend. Jason is confident, and you can see that in his riding right now. I expect to see a lot of great things to come as the season progresses.

As the Marketing Manager for FMF Racing and the Lifestyle Motorsports Marketing Aficionado for Spy Optics, our man Donnie “Little D Emler has his hands full these days. We caught him juggling boxes of sunglasses, header pipes, and random TV interviews in San Francisco in an attempt to cover all of his bases. Life’s rough when you’re an industry rockstar. But, ahh… Donnie. A little news flash for you, buddy. Cut back to two hours a day with your flat iron, and you’ll have plenty of time to handle all your business.

With some rain already on the track, and the threat of even more in the air, protection against possible mud build up was a common sight in the San Francisco pit area. Many mechanics stuff foam in all the critical undercarriage areas of the bike that are known to trap the heavy mud in order to prevent excess weight build up. Lars Lindstrom was busy at work when we cruised by the Sobe/NoFear/Samsung Mobile/Honda semi stuffing black foam in all of Kevin Windham’s crevices. Wait! That didn’t come out right. The foam went in K-Dub’s CRF450F’s cracks and openings, not his own.

Answer Racing/Pro Taper’s Erick “Big E Bartoldus is a familiar face in the pit area of any AMA pro event, and in San Francisco we caught him admiring Pro Taper’s soon-to-be-released sprockets on the Rockstar Energy/WBR/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s. The new sprockets look great, and “E tells us that we’ll be able to share details of the new line with you very soon.

For more photos click the link to the far right.

Before reading any further, be sure to click on the “Monday Kickstart Photos” link to the right of your screen for an insider’s view on San Francisco that only Swap can provide…

decided to part ways. Waiting in the wings, however, was a position on the Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Yamaha of Troy team to wrench for young gun Jason Lawrence. Shea and Lawrence were both a part of the Rockstar Energy/Bill’s Pipes/Suzuki team last year, so the two were stoked to have the chance to work with each other again in ’07. After a solid second place ride last weekend in Anaheim, we decided to check in with Shea to see how the two are working together, and how things are going with the new team.

It’s strange to see you in blue. How are things going?
So far things have been great. I can’t tell you how nice it is to work with a team that has things together. Last year was pretty frustrating. The team was brand new, and it was so far from organized that it was nearly impossible to do a good job. Here with Troy, we have everything we need and a very solid group of people working together.

In the past, some may have said that you probably have your hands full with Jason, but he appears to be a completely different, focused rider in ’07.
Yeah, he’s not messing around. He’s serious about racing, and things have been really good so far. We worked together a little bit last year on the other team, so I knew what I was getting in to. Jason is actually really good at taking advice and working through issues, so I think we’re working pretty well together.

After everything the two of you went through last year, it must have been pretty amazing to get up on the podium last weekend.
For sure. We put a lot of hard work into what we do, so it was such a great feeling last weekend. Jason is confident, and you can see that in his riding right now. I expect to see a lot of great things to come as the season progresses.

As the Marketing Manager for FMF Racing and the Lifestyle Motorsports Marketing Aficionado for Spy Optics, our man Donnie “Little D Emler has his hands full these days. We caught him juggling boxes of sunglasses, header pipes, and random TV interviews in San Francisco in an attempt to cover all of his bases. Life’s rough when you’re an industry rockstar. But, ahh… Donnie. A little news flash for you, buddy. Cut back to two hours a day with your flat iron, and you’ll have plenty of time to handle all your business.

With some rain already on the track, and the threat of even more in the air, protection against possible mud build up was a common sight in the San Francisco pit area. Many mechanics stuff foam in all the critical undercarriage areas of the bike that are known to trap the heavy mud in order to prevent excess weight build up. Lars Lindstrom was busy at work when we cruised by the Sobe/NoFear/Samsung Mobile/Honda semi stuffing black foam in all of Kevin Windham’s crevices. Wait! That didn’t come out right. The foam went in K-Dub’s CRF450F’s cracks and openings, not his own.

Answer Racing/Pro Taper’s Erick “Big E Bartoldus is a familiar face in the pit area of any AMA pro event, and in San Francisco we caught him admiring Pro Taper’s soon-to-be-released sprockets on the Rockstar Energy/WBR/Yoshimura/Suzuki’s. The new sprockets look great, and “E tells us that we’ll be able to share details of the new line with you very soon.

For more photos click the link to the far right.

Before reading any further, be sure to click on the “Monday Kickstart Photos” link to the right of your screen for an insider’s view on San Francisco that only Swap can provide…