Monday Kickstart (Part 1)

Compiled by the staff of TWMX

(This week’s Kickstart is so massive that we’ve broken it into two chunks. This is the first part….)

Well, we thought about taking Martin Luther King’s birthday off (for about two seconds), except that would leave you all high and dry on a Monday…and who wants a Monday without Kickstart? So take a deep breath, settle back, and dig into a rather epic version of Monday Kickstart. It begins with some Friday pit activity and practice highlights from Edison International Field, and the third round of the 2004 THQ/AMA Supercross series…

While teams were busy on parking their rigs, unloading bikes, and setting up canopies, the TransWorld Motocross crew was hard at work in the Edison Field parking lot. No…we weren’t directing traffic or picking up trash. We were knee deep into a photo shoot with the lovely Breanne for the Hook Up product section, plus one side of the free pull-out poster in the May 2004 issue of TWMX. If you don’t remember Breanne, dig into your TWMX archives and review the October 2003 issue, or check out the photo below. Remember her now? We thought you would!

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Once inside the pits, we decided to find a Kawasaki race bike to shoot Breanne with, since the bikini that our buddy Nate Hawley from Roxy/Quiksilver hooked us up with was bright green with polka dots. Sorry guys, no sneak peek photos of Bre in the suit; you’ll have to wait for the April issue to see what Dave Osterman, Timmy Tyler and Bones Bacon were gawking at from inside the Pro Circuit Kawasaki pits. Yep, we chose to shoot with the number 29 Kawasaki KX250F of Ivan Tedesco, and to say that the PC guys were happy to oblige would be an understatement!

The best part of the shoot, however, was seeing Hot Sauce himself stroll into the Pro Circuit Kawasaki pits, Thor roller bag in tow. Ivan stopped dead in his tracks, glanced at Breanne, and said, “What the…? It was a classic moment, and Cooley got it all on video for an upcoming installment of Thursday Theater. What Cooley almost got on tape as well, was Garth nearly punching out a kooky French photographer who strolled up and decided to poach some shots, even though he was warned not to. Fortunately, Big Girth is a calmer, gentler version of himself now that he doesn’t eat meat…

Breanne came all the way from Georgia to do the shoot with us at the “Big A, and to see some more of our favorite Georgia Peach (next to Jennifer Lusk, of course), check out www.breanne-ashley.com.

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During our parade lap through the Anaheim pit area on Friday morning we couldn’t help but notice a strange, dusty fog in the air. Upon further examination we also noticed a bunch of broom-handed mechanics partaking in a little bit of house cleaning. Apparently after the series kickoff (Anaheim 1) and the monster truck event that took place on the following weekend, the pit area at Edison International Field was in dire need of a good sweeping. When the dust finally settled and each team’s pit began taking shape, the common theme among most seemed to be that of “final touches, and a little R&R. The week leading up to a Supercross event can be quite hectic and stressful for mecnics and team members as they scramble to move haulers, make bike changes, and maintain whatever small bit of a personal life they have time to lead, so Friday morning prior to practice is a great opportunity to take a deep breath and refocus. Once the rig’s been unloaded, every bolt on the bike’s been checked over for the tenth time, and all of the decals are perfectly in-place, most mechanics get a few minutes to themselves before their riders show up and the first practices session heads into the tunnel.

What’s the rider’s responsibility on Friday morning? Well…that varies depending upon your status. If you’re a privateer who does it all on your own, then you’re the one checking over those bolts and polishing up those graphics. If you’re skilled and fortunate enough to have obtained factory status, however; waking up, getting yourself to the stadium, and preparing yourself mentally are your chief responsibilities. Everything else is left for the team to handle. So what type of activity does the common factory rider partake in to prepare for their day? A quick phone call to our friend Travis Preston, and we had the answer. “I am just laying in my bus watching some TV. What time is it anyway? (Friday, 10:56am) Like many of the top riders who travel the circuit, TP has a bus-style motorhome that he takes to all of the local events. “It’s nice to have some separate space from everyone else. I can relax when I have the time for that, and it gives me a place to get away from the crowd and focus on the race. Plus, they look really cool. (laughs)

After the photo shoot with our girl Breanne at the Pro Circuit Kawasaki semi, we had the opportunity to sit down for a quick chat with the 125 West Coast points leader, Ivan Tedesco. Here’s what IT had to say about his season thus far…

To those of us that watched you win the first two rounds of the series, it’s looked as though you’ve had a relatively easy go at it. How’s it been from your vantage point?

It’s been great! I’ve been getting really good starts and riding well. Hopefully I can keep that going. I want to win as many races as I can. I am determined, and I am prepared!

Having won the first two rounds fairly convincingly, it seems that your preparation coming into the season was right on target. Have you had to make any changes to your routine now that the series is underway, or has your program remained the same?

I am staying with the same program. My schedule’s slightly different now that we have travel involved, but I am sticking with what works. I want to win races and that’s what my routine’s built around. I’ve got a lot of great people surrounding me, which has really boosted my confidence. Derin Stockton has been training me and Dr. G has been keeping me 100% out there.

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You’ve obviously found yourself a nice home on the KX250F. Have you made any major changes to the bike now that it’s been race tested, or was your preseason testing on the money?

No, I haven’t had to make any major changes. We did tweak a few minor things after Anaheim 1 just to fine-tune the setup, but for the most part our preseason testing went really well, and my bike’s working great! I love the four-stroke!

The vibe at the stadium on Fridays generally feels a bit more mellow than race day. How do you approach Friday’s practice sessions out on the track? Do they generally follow that same mellow vibe, or do you go out there to put in a serious moto? Fridays are actually the most fun day of the week for me. It’s always cool to go out and ride a new track, and there’s not a lot of pressure. I just go out, learn the track, and try to have some fun. Once I am comfortable and get everything dialed in for Saturday I am usually satisfied.

Has anything different been happening since you started winning?

Well, when you win, your confidence gets much better. I’ve been doing a bunch of interviews for TV and my phone has been ringing a lot. I had to turn my phone off during the week because everyone is calling me. It’s a little more stressful now with all the TV and stuff but I don’t mind. It comes with winning so I’ll take it! Other than that, everything else has stayed the same, my training, my bike. We’re just sticking with what works.

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How do you like riding for Mitch Payton?

Good. We’ve gotten along really well. They are really professional and the bikes are good. Actually, I haven’t seen the bad side of him yet. Everyone says he’s mean but I haven’t seen it yet! He’s mellow and doesn’t say much to me (after a win).

Since you’re on a four-stroke, what do you think is the difference between a four-stroke track and a two-stroke track?

I don’t know. We were in the press conference last weekend and Chad said it was four-stroke track and Windham said every time he wins it seems to be a four-stroke track. I think four-strokes are good on starts and on the slick stuff but we all have to ride the same track. I think it may be a little bit of an advantage on the slick dirt. It’s definitely an advantage on the starts.

All right, now for the important stuff… This morning when you cruised up to your semi we were right in the middle of a photo shoot with your bike and Breanne. Was that a nice visual to start your day, or were you bummed to see someone getting that close to your ride?

No…not bummed at all! It’s always good to have a hot chick hanging out and taking pictures with your bike, so I didn’t mind checking it out. Hopefully she’s good luck for tomorrow night (laughs)…

We ran into another familiar face on Friday while tooling around the Anaheim pit area. James “Bubba Stewart was on hand at Anaheim to watch his first race of the ’04 season. Bubba’s been hard at work preparing for the upcoming 125cc East Coast series, which kicks off on February 14th (Valentines Day) in Houston, TX. Here’s a quick scoop on what the defending 125 West Coast champ, and arguably the most talented person on two wheels, has been up to.

This is the first event we’ve seen you at this season. Were you already on the West Coast, or did you make a special trip just for the race?

I came out just for the race actually. I was thinking that it was about time to check one out, so I bought a plane ticket on Thursday, and here I am. It was a last second deal, but I am stoked to be here.

We’ve heard that you may do some commentating for the TV broadcast of the race while you’re here. Are you going to tell it like it is, or will you go easy on those guys?

Yeah… I am gonna tell it like it is for sure (laughs). It should be a lot of fun though! I’ve got to do something while I am out here. I am kind of bummed that I am not racing, but I’ve only got a few more weeks to go until it’s my turn. This will do for now.

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This is the first year since you turned pro in 2002 that you haven’t raced here at Anaheim. Is it difficult to watch as a spectator, or are you having a good time?

So far I’ve been ok. It’s definitely tough to just watch, but I am trying to stay pretty mellow about the whole thing. I am just hanging out enjoying myself, and it actually hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. It’s definitely time though. I need to see a race, so I am glad to be here.

Did you tune in to either of the first two rounds on the web or TV broadcasts?

Not really… I’ve seen a little bit online, but not too much. I ride eve>Has anything different been happening since you started winning?

Well, when you win, your confidence gets much better. I’ve been doing a bunch of interviews for TV and my phone has been ringing a lot. I had to turn my phone off during the week because everyone is calling me. It’s a little more stressful now with all the TV and stuff but I don’t mind. It comes with winning so I’ll take it! Other than that, everything else has stayed the same, my training, my bike. We’re just sticking with what works.

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How do you like riding for Mitch Payton?

Good. We’ve gotten along really well. They are really professional and the bikes are good. Actually, I haven’t seen the bad side of him yet. Everyone says he’s mean but I haven’t seen it yet! He’s mellow and doesn’t say much to me (after a win).

Since you’re on a four-stroke, what do you think is the difference between a four-stroke track and a two-stroke track?

I don’t know. We were in the press conference last weekend and Chad said it was four-stroke track and Windham said every time he wins it seems to be a four-stroke track. I think four-strokes are good on starts and on the slick stuff but we all have to ride the same track. I think it may be a little bit of an advantage on the slick dirt. It’s definitely an advantage on the starts.

All right, now for the important stuff… This morning when you cruised up to your semi we were right in the middle of a photo shoot with your bike and Breanne. Was that a nice visual to start your day, or were you bummed to see someone getting that close to your ride?

No…not bummed at all! It’s always good to have a hot chick hanging out and taking pictures with your bike, so I didn’t mind checking it out. Hopefully she’s good luck for tomorrow night (laughs)…

We ran into another familiar face on Friday while tooling around the Anaheim pit area. James “Bubba Stewart was on hand at Anaheim to watch his first race of the ’04 season. Bubba’s been hard at work preparing for the upcoming 125cc East Coast series, which kicks off on February 14th (Valentines Day) in Houston, TX. Here’s a quick scoop on what the defending 125 West Coast champ, and arguably the most talented person on two wheels, has been up to.

This is the first event we’ve seen you at this season. Were you already on the West Coast, or did you make a special trip just for the race?

I came out just for the race actually. I was thinking that it was about time to check one out, so I bought a plane ticket on Thursday, and here I am. It was a last second deal, but I am stoked to be here.

We’ve heard that you may do some commentating for the TV broadcast of the race while you’re here. Are you going to tell it like it is, or will you go easy on those guys?

Yeah… I am gonna tell it like it is for sure (laughs). It should be a lot of fun though! I’ve got to do something while I am out here. I am kind of bummed that I am not racing, but I’ve only got a few more weeks to go until it’s my turn. This will do for now.

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This is the first year since you turned pro in 2002 that you haven’t raced here at Anaheim. Is it difficult to watch as a spectator, or are you having a good time?

So far I’ve been ok. It’s definitely tough to just watch, but I am trying to stay pretty mellow about the whole thing. I am just hanging out enjoying myself, and it actually hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. It’s definitely time though. I need to see a race, so I am glad to be here.

Did you tune in to either of the first two rounds on the web or TV broadcasts?

Not really… I’ve seen a little bit online, but not too much. I ride every day of the week, and Sunday’s just another day at the office, so I typically miss the TV stuff.

Are you doing any testing while you’re here in California, or is this simply a pleasure trip?

No, I am just going to head back home after the race. I’ll be back out here for the third Anaheim round, and I’ll get to ride my race bike on that trip. Our testing should be complete at that point, so I’ll be all set for Houston.

Has J-Bone (Jeremy Albrecht) been going out to your place in Florida at all, or are you guys able to get your work done from opposite coasts?

Yeah… Actually he was just in Florida this past week. I beat him back out here (laughs). He came out to do some testing with me. The bike’s really good this year, so I think we’re pretty much dialed.

Speaking of the bike… Is your decision to ride the KX125, as opposed to the KX250F, finalized at this point? We heard that you were going back and forth with your decision for a while.

Yeah, I am definitely riding the KX125. Actually, I think my two-stroke’s even faster than it was last year. Rick does a hell of a job on it, so there’s no concern about the power differences being a factor. The four-stroke’s a great bike, but I just felt more at home on my 125 in Supercross. There’s a good chance you may see me on the four-stroke at the Nationals though.

With the East Coast series coming to an end a couple weeks prior to the east/west shootout in Vegas, is there any chance we may see you aboard a 250 for the closing two West Coast rounds?

Probably not…actually…that’s a for sure no! We haven’t tested anything, and I’ll be focused solely on the 125 between now and then, so I plan to wait until next year. I do look forward to it though (laughs).

Once again, Yamaha had the Toyota Tundra Yamaha Concept Truck on display in the pits, and we paused for a moment to drool over it. For Yamaha lovers, the truck is 100% Yamahauler! That “Y cutout grille up front has got to go, though. Here, Yamaha’s PR Guru Extraordinaire World Famous Terry Beal strikes a DUB Magazine pose for Swap’s Canon.

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Team Escondido Cycle Center’s Mike Craig was back in action at Anaheim 2. Just prior to the season opener, Stingray had a collision with another rider at El Cajon MX Park and lost part of his toe. “It got smashed in my boot and it popped like a grape, said Craig. “The doctors had to cut part of it off, and it turned black like Adam Sandler’s foot in Mr. Deeds! Since he missed the first two events, it looks like Craig will contest the Eastern Regional 125cc SX Series, and is warming up on a Suzuki RM250. Craig looked good in his daytime qualifiers, but crashed out while leading. “I went down in my qualifier, and it’s just such a distraction. It’s hard to concentrate on the track when my toe is just throbbing, said Craig. How bad is it, you ask? Let’s just say that where his toe used to be is now a little black stub that is only about a third of the size of the phalange that used to reside there. Ouch! “I am still pretty rusty because I can’t train yet, he said. “I barely got off crutches, but I feel okay on the bike. I hope to be better by next weekend, because San Diego is my hometown race!

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Team Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Eric Sorby showed up at Anaheim all bulked up and aboard a full-sized Kawasaki KX250. In an effort to get some race saddle time under his belt before the Houston Eastern Region 125cc Series opener, Sorby threw his hat into the 250cc-class ring, just for fun. When we asked him what his goals for the evening were, Sorby replied, “To win! What else? After a couple seconds of chuckling, Sorby admitted that he was shooting for a crash-free evening and a top-10 finish in the main. Sadly, we never got