Monday Kickstart: Red Bud

This week’s Kickstart comes to you from the keyboards of Garth Milan and the staff of TWMX.

This week marked the sixth round of U.S. motocross competition for 2003, but it was pretty much business as usual in Buchanan, MI, as 250cc points leader Ricky Carmichael and 125cc wonder boy James Stewart cleaned up their respective classes with relative ease. The one question on most spectators’ minds, however, is whether Stewart can pull off the impossible. After missing four rounds of competition (with a total of 200 points that were up for grabs had he won every moto), Bubba is only 115 points behind series leader Mike Brown and sits in 12th place overall thus far. Behind him are several notable riders like Chris Gosselaar, Andrew Short and Kelly Smith, all of whom have attended each round of competition. What’s our point? The point is that Bubba is closing, and closing fast. Granted, Brown had a tough weekend in Red Bud, but if you consider the fact that he and series rival Grant Langston scored 27 and 33 points respectively while Bubba scored a full 50, you have to wonder if this year could be a repeat for Stewart even after missing an entire third of the series.

[IMAGE 1]

And while we’re on the subject of James, once again the rest of the 125cc class was racing for second place in Michigan. James led 25 of the 28 laps, lapping more than a quarter of the field on the long, two-and-a-half-minute Red Bud course in the process. When asked the now weekly question of whether or not he thinks he has a shot at the title, Bubba played to the crowd and instead let them answer for him. It was pretty obvious that the crowd has some faith in him, as most answered with a resounding “YEAH!”

But don’t forget about RC. Ricky Carmichael and his CR250 demolished the competition for the sixth round in a row in this summer’s 2003 Nationals. Carmichael too led 25 of 28 laps at Red Bud, and the second moto was all his. “I kind of held Windham wide in the first turn,” said RC of his flawless second-moto victory. “I knew I had to get ahead of Kevin from the start, or there would be heck to pay! That first moto those guys made me work for it, so I wasn’t taking any chances the second time.” Though Ricky is probably the most competitive person on the track, he seems to be taking his newfound competition in stride. “It’s good that I’m being challenged a little more this year. It’s good for the sport, and it’s good for me.” According to the champ, the extra speed that the rest of the class is suddenly showing is keeping him on his toes. K-Dub too hinted at the fact, noting that nowadays the rest of the class spends every living moment thinking of how to beat Ricky. “The bar has really been raised,” stated Windham. “Lately, we’ve been doing nothing but eating, sleeping and breathing motocross. Everybody s trying to figure out what it’s going to take to beat Ricky consistently.”

So what happened to K-Dub? He was obviously running Ricky’s pace in the early stages of both motos, but Windham later admitted that he did not prepare hard enough for the steamy Michigan round. “I got a little dehydrated this weekend. I was showering in between motos, and I felt my arm kind of lock up. Right then I knew I was in trouble. It’s really hot a humid out here, so you lose water quickly. During that second moto, I could start feeling my body locking up, and it’s tough to keep that pace when you feel like that.”

[IMAGE 2]

Speaking of the weather, it was one wild and crazy race weekend, meteorology-wise. The week before brought a ton of rain, and the Red Bud course workers had a mess on their hands, to say the least. They pulled it off, though, and despite some of the deepest ruts in competition this year (think this year’s Daytona in some of Red Bud’s corners), the track was excellent. So excellent, in fact, that many riders kept talking about how much they love the legendary Michigan facility in their interviews. Chad Reed even went so far as to say, “I think we should race every round here at Red Bud!”

But back to the weather, throughout the day it changed from being pleasant and somewhat cool to being sunny and blisteringly hot and humid, and by the end it was pouring down rain! Luckily, for the second National weekend in a row, the bad weather narrowly missed the track during competition. The damp track was still a factor in the racing, though. The racecourse received so much rain prior to the weekend that line selection became a huge factor in the racing. As mentioned before, the ruts were deep and nasty, but perhaps the toughest part to deal with for the competitors was the fact that the lines would literally change every lap! Because the dirt was so soft, after forty riders made their way through any given turn the lines would almost always be different, which even led heroes like Stewart to make a couple of mistakes and lay the bike down in a few corners throughout the course of day.

The night before the National, the legendary Red Bud crowd partied hard as usual and enjoyed the holiday weekend. There was even a 50cc race held to kick the weekend off, but unfortunately the mini-bike race had a couple of casualties of its own. Paul Lindsey (Motoworld.com team manager) and Randy from Michelin both blew their knees out, while Cycle News Assistant Editor Steve Cox took a nasty spill and suffered some awful contusions on his arm. Ouch!

Back to the real racing, the two-week break in the National schedule helped several riders get some much-needed time off of the bike. Because of the break, Red Bud witnessed several riders come back to competition. One of the more notables was Ironman Ryan Hughes, who missed but one single round after breaking his leg at Southwick (round 4). Hughes’ leg is still broken and he has quite a limp, but the tough-as-nails veteran of MX saddled up and saved himself considerably in the points battle, scoring a solid 7-6 for fifth overall. This was a significant feat for Hughes, as he held off series rival Mike Brown by one position in both motos.

Another rider back in the saddle at Red Bud was recent 125ccc East Coast SX champ Branden Jesseman, who after missing the first five rounds due to thumb surgery was back in excellent form at Red Bud. Though we’re confident that Jesseman is capable of much more in the weeks to come, Branden did put in an impressive ride the second moto to pull off a fifth in the race. With a 17th the first moto he was relegated back to eight overall on the day, but watch for Branden’s speed to gain considerably in the weeks to come.

[IMAGE 3]

Also back in action was Mach One Yamaha/Answer Racing’s Heath Voss. Voss was returning from a head injury, but was able to put in two solid and consistent rides for 13th overall via a 15-5 moto score. “It’s great to be back on the bike, and I know that I will pick up the pace. I just needed to get back out there and race, and also judge what kind of a pace I need to run,” said Voss.

Josh Woods was yet another returning talent. The factory Red Bull/KTM rider had plenty of support in his hometown state, but had some problems the first moto and finished outside of the top-20. The second moto went better for the Michigan native, though, and a 16th place finish indicated that Woods is on the rebound and will be back towards the front soon.

One more rider back on the line in Michigan was Team Escondido Cycle Center’s Shae Bentley. Bentley was obviously using the race as a warm-up and gauge to see how the 125cc class competition was and rode around in the back of the pack most of the weekend. Look for the injury-riddled but blazing fast former 125cc SX champ to come back stronger at later rounds this year.

The coolest part of the whole weekend (from the crowd’s perspective, anyway) was the infamous LaRocco’s Leap triple jump. If you’ve never seen the massive hit before, we’ll describe it for you: Riders come out of a tight 180-degree left hand turn, pin their bikes and go through the gears, and a few hundred feet past the corner hit a massive lip. The jump is over 120-feet-long, and the lip is so big that the riders end up about 25-30 feet high in the air. Wow! Though close to half of the 250cc class was hucking the Leap, not a single 125cc rider claimed it by the weekend’s end. “I really wanted to try it, since Chad and Ricky were doing it on their 125s, but I cased it pretty hard,” said Bubba of the jump. James tried it just once, and after coming up short decided to call it quits. Though 125s have cleared the Leap successfully in the past, all of the rain that fell on the Red Bud course during the preceding week left the corner before the jump too deep and wet to allow a tiddler the necessary speed.

[IMAGE 4]

Last but not least regarding LaRocco’s leap, RC gets the Crazy Guy Award for doing tricks over the most intimidating jump in U.S. motocross competition. RC celebrated his perfect second-moto victory by doing a huge Double Can over the jump on the last lap.

Now for some silly season rumors and updates: It’s official that holeshot artist and this weekend’s third-place finisher Kelly Smith has signed on to get factory support next year. Smith, who was originally rumored to be heading over to ECC with Mike Craig and the boys, will instead be the first signed racer to debut Kawasaki’s new four-stroke 250cc machine in the 125cc class in ’04. Though it hasn’t been made official yet, most speculate that Smith will ride out of the Pro Circuit tent, Kawasaki’s factory-supported 125cc team.

[IMAGE 5]

The next hot rumor is Mike Brown. After sitting in the number one position in points at the halfway round of National competition, it’s obvious that Brown is still competitive and a threat to win titles. With that in mind, Mike’s undoubtedly had plenty of offers come his way, but the most solid rumor at this point is Suzuki. Brown has reportedly been talking to Roger DeCoster about possible support, but again keep in mind that these all are rumors and no ink has dried yet.

[IMAGE 6]

Back to the weekend’s racing, the once dominant Yamaha of Troy team has finally been consistently returning to the podium after a tough year indoors. The first 125cc moto saw teammates Brock Sellards and Ivan Tedesco grab an early lead. The two have apparently become best of friends, and Tedesco has been staying back East in Ohio with Brock training for the heat and humidity that is found at most Nationals in the summer. Sellards ended the weekend with a solid 2-4 for second overall, while last weekend’s podium finisher Tedesco had problems the second moto and went 3-38 for ninth overall.

The legendary chant of “RREDD BBUDD” was heard throughout the weekend, and plenty of spectators were on hand to help the track celebrate its 30th birthday. Red Bud has been running National races at its facility rider had plenty of support in his hometown state, but had some problems the first moto and finished outside of the top-20. The second moto went better for the Michigan native, though, and a 16th place finish indicated that Woods is on the rebound and will be back towards the front soon.

One more rider back on the line in Michigan was Team Escondido Cycle Center’s Shae Bentley. Bentley was obviously using the race as a warm-up and gauge to see how the 125cc class competition was and rode around in the back of the pack most of the weekend. Look for the injury-riddled but blazing fast former 125cc SX champ to come back stronger at later rounds this year.

The coolest part of the whole weekend (from the crowd’s perspective, anyway) was the infamous LaRocco’s Leap triple jump. If you’ve never seen the massive hit before, we’ll describe it for you: Riders come out of a tight 180-degree left hand turn, pin their bikes and go through the gears, and a few hundred feet past the corner hit a massive lip. The jump is over 120-feet-long, and the lip is so big that the riders end up about 25-30 feet high in the air. Wow! Though close to half of the 250cc class was hucking the Leap, not a single 125cc rider claimed it by the weekend’s end. “I really wanted to try it, since Chad and Ricky were doing it on their 125s, but I cased it pretty hard,” said Bubba of the jump. James tried it just once, and after coming up short decided to call it quits. Though 125s have cleared the Leap successfully in the past, all of the rain that fell on the Red Bud course during the preceding week left the corner before the jump too deep and wet to allow a tiddler the necessary speed.

[IMAGE 4]

Last but not least regarding LaRocco’s leap, RC gets the Crazy Guy Award for doing tricks over the most intimidating jump in U.S. motocross competition. RC celebrated his perfect second-moto victory by doing a huge Double Can over the jump on the last lap.

Now for some silly season rumors and updates: It’s official that holeshot artist and this weekend’s third-place finisher Kelly Smith has signed on to get factory support next year. Smith, who was originally rumored to be heading over to ECC with Mike Craig and the boys, will instead be the first signed racer to debut Kawasaki’s new four-stroke 250cc machine in the 125cc class in ’04. Though it hasn’t been made official yet, most speculate that Smith will ride out of the Pro Circuit tent, Kawasaki’s factory-supported 125cc team.

[IMAGE 5]

The next hot rumor is Mike Brown. After sitting in the number one position in points at the halfway round of National competition, it’s obvious that Brown is still competitive and a threat to win titles. With that in mind, Mike’s undoubtedly had plenty of offers come his way, but the most solid rumor at this point is Suzuki. Brown has reportedly been talking to Roger DeCoster about possible support, but again keep in mind that these all are rumors and no ink has dried yet.

[IMAGE 6]

Back to the weekend’s racing, the once dominant Yamaha of Troy team has finally been consistently returning to the podium after a tough year indoors. The first 125cc moto saw teammates Brock Sellards and Ivan Tedesco grab an early lead. The two have apparently become best of friends, and Tedesco has been staying back East in Ohio with Brock training for the heat and humidity that is found at most Nationals in the summer. Sellards ended the weekend with a solid 2-4 for second overall, while last weekend’s podium finisher Tedesco had problems the second moto and went 3-38 for ninth overall.

The legendary chant of “RREDD BBUDD” was heard throughout the weekend, and plenty of spectators were on hand to help the track celebrate its 30th birthday. Red Bud has been running National races at its facility for nearly three decades, since 1974 when Kenny Zahrt won the 250cc class aboard a Bultaco!

Poor Nathan Ramsey just can’t get a break in 2003. The popular Team Honda rider is just getting over the broken femur he suffered earlier in the year, and was actually coming back strong with amazing starts and some respectable top-10 finishes in prior weeks. N8-Dawg was sidelined once again this weekend, however, after putting his hand out in a fall and tweaking his wrist. “I was out riding practice yesterday and made a mistake. When I went down, I put my arm out to break the fall. It must have hit the ground funny and jammed something, because it hurt right away. I got it X-rayed here at the races and it seemed to look fine, but sometimes it’s tough for them to see tiny little fractures and things in the mobile medical unit. I think that there’s a possibility of a small fracture or bad sprain, so I’m going to get it looked at again this week,” said Ramsey of his left wrist. Nathan had it all taped up during Sunday’s competition, where he was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Another rider on the injured list for Red Bud was Team Sobe Suzuki’s Stephane Roncada. RonRon, who was fresh off of his amazing second-place finish in last week’s 250cc class, was looking forward to the loamy dirt of Red Bud and was also hoping to prove that the last round was no fluke. Unfortunately for Steph, he was never able to prove that point. He and John Dowd hit the mat hard during the start of the first 250cc moto, and RonRon definitely got the worst end of the stick. Something hit Roncada in the mouth during the pileup, and when he finally walked away his lips/mouth were swollen and bleeding profusely. Stephane was also grabbing his shoulder/collarbone, but after a thorough examination it was found that neither bone was indeed broken. Still, Roncada was understandably shaken up from the incident and also in a lot of pain, so he elected to sit out the rest of the day’s competition.

Up north in the CMRC’s Canadian National Series, Damon Huffman took his second 250cc win in a row with 2-1 moto finishes, beating out Jean Sebastien Roy’s 1-2 score. On the 125cc side, Evan Laughridge took the overall top spot again, after trading moto wins with Jimmy Nelson.

2003 CRMC Extreme Sports National Series
Moto Valley Raceway – Sunday, July 6, 2003

125 Pro

  1. Evan Laughridge 2-1
  2. Jimmy Nelson 1-3
  3. Bart Stephenson 3-2
  4. Kyle Beaton 4-6
  5. Colton Facciotti 5-5
  6. Ty Lacey 8-4
  7. Tracy Johnson 6-7
  8. Dusty Klatt 7-11
  9. Ryan Mitchell 11-9
  10. Brad Mclean 10-10

250 Pro

  1. Damon Huffman 2-1
  2. Jean Sébastien Roy 1-2
  3. Greg Schnell 5-3
  4. Darcy Lange 3-9
  5. Marco Dubé 6-5
  6. Craig Decker 9-6
  7. Doug De Haan 4-13
  8. Chuck Mesley 7-10
  9. Evan Laughridge 13-7
  10. Mike Treadwell 12-8

Across the pond, the GP competitors were in Uddevalla, Sweden. Stefan Everts doubled again, taking the 125cc and MotocrossGP wins. The other dual-class ironman, Joel Smets, finished second in MotocrossGP, and topped the 650cc class.

Grand Prix of Sweden
Uddevalla

125cc

  1. Stefan Everts
  2. Marc DeReuver
  3. Steve Ramon
  4. Erik Eggens
  5. Mickael Maschio
  6. Tyla Rattray
  7. Stephen Sword
  8. Andrea Bartolini
  9. Christian Stevanini

MotocrossGP

  1. Stefan Everts
  2. Joel Smets
  3. Mickael Pichon
  4. Gordon Crockard
  5. Marnicq Bervoets
  6. Andrew McFFarlane
  7. Brian Jorgensen
  8. Yoitaka Atsuta
  9. Kenneth Gundersen
  10. Josh Coppins

650cc

  1. Joel Smets
  2. Cedric Melotte
  3. Javier Garcia Vico
  4. Trampas Parker
  5. Juha Salminen
  6. Jonas Edberg
  7. Bernd Eckenbach
  8. Thierry Bethys
  9. Danny Theybers
  10. Antti Olavi Pyrhonen

World Championship Point Standings

125cc

  1. Steve Ramon 138
  2. Marc De Reuver 136
  3. Andrea Bartolini 128

MotocrossGP

  1. Michael Pichon 153
  2. Stefan Everts 150
  3. Joel Smets 146

650cc

  1. Joel Smets 175
  2. Javier Garcia Vico 150
  3. Cedric Melotte 140

Well, that about wraps it up for this edition of Monday Kickstart, but before we go there’s one shameless plug that must be thrown in. Much thanks goes to Asterisk’s Tom Carson, who provided our crippled staff member Garth with a pit bike to ride around in and cover the races with. Since G-Diddy busted his foot and separated two of his ribs from his sternum, walking around the hills of Red Bud was uncomfortable to say the least, and Carson’s KLX110 made things much easier on the Milan Rouge. Props also go to Pat Schutte for hooking the whole arrangement up. That’s it for this week, we’ll see you at Troy next Monday.

 

nearly three decades, since 1974 when Kenny Zahrt won the 250cc class aboard a Bultaco!

Poor Nathan Ramsey just can’t get a break in 2003. The popular Team Honda rider is just getting over the broken femur he suffered earlier in the year, and was actually coming back strong with amazing starts and some respectable top-10 finishes in prior weeks. N8-Dawg was sidelined once again this weekend, however, after putting his hand out in a fall and tweaking his wrist. “I was out riding practice yesterday and made a mistake. When I went down, I put my arm out to break the fall. It must have hit the ground funny and jammed something, because it hurt right away. I got it X-rayed here at the races and it seemed to look fine, but sometimes it’s tough for them to see tiny little fractures and things in the mobile medical unit. I think that there’s a possibility of a small fracture or bad sprain, so I’m going to get it looked at again this week,” said Ramsey of his left wrist. Nathan had it all taped up during Sunday’s competition, where he was forced to watch from the sidelines.

Another rider on the injured list for Red Bud was Team Sobe Suzuki’s Stephane Roncada. RonRon, who was fresh off of his amazing second-place finish in last week’s 250cc class, was looking forward to the loamy dirt of Red Bud and was also hoping to prove that the last round was no fluke. Unfortunately for Steph, he was never able to prove that point. He and John Dowd hit the mat hard during the start of the first 250cc moto, and RonRon definitely got the worst end of the stick. Something hit Roncada in the mouth during the pileup, and when he finally walked away his lips/mouth were swollen and bleeding profusely. Stephane was also grabbing his shoulder/collarbone, but after a thorough examination it was found that neither bone was indeed broken. Still, Roncada was understandably shaken up from the incident and also in a lot of pain, so he elected to sit out the rest of the day’s competition.

Up north in the CMRC’s Canadian National Series, Damon Huffman took his second 250cc win in a row with 2-1 moto finishes, beating out Jean Sebastien Roy’s 1-2 score. On the 125cc side, Evan Laughridge took the overall top spot again, after trading moto wins with Jimmy Nelson.

2003 CRMC Extreme Sports National Series
Moto Valley Raceway – Sunday, July 6, 2003

125 Pro

  1. Evan Laughridge 2-1
  2. Jimmy Nelson 1-3
  3. Bart Stephenson 3-2
  4. Kyle Beaton 4-6
  5. Colton Facciotti 5-5
  6. Ty Lacey 8-4
  7. Tracy Johnson 6-7
  8. Dusty Klatt 7-11
  9. Ryan Mitchell 11-9
  10. Brad Mclean 10-10

250 Pro

  1. Damon Huffman 2-1
  2. Jean Sébastien Roy 1-2
  3. Greg Schnell 5-3
  4. Darcy Lange 3-9
  5. Marco Dubé 6-5
  6. Craig Decker 9-6
  7. Doug De Haan 4-13
  8. Chuck Mesley 7-10
  9. Evan Laughridge 13-7
  10. Mike Treadwell 12-8

Across the pond, the GP competitors were in Uddevalla, Sweden. Stefan Everts doubled again, taking the 125cc and MotocrossGP wins. The other dual-class ironman, Joel Smets, finished second in MotocrossGP, and topped the 650cc class.

Grand Prix of Sweden
Uddevalla

125cc

  1. Stefan Everts
  2. Marc DeReuver
  3. Steve Ramon
  4. Erik Eggens
  5. Mickael Maschio
  6. Tyla Rattray
  7. Stephen Sword
  8. Andrea Bartolini
  9. Christian Stevanini

MotocrossGP

  1. Stefan Everts
  2. Joel Smets
  3. Mickael Pichon
  4. Gordon Crockard
  5. Marnicq Bervoets
  6. Andrew McFarlane
  7. Brian Jorgensen
  8. Yoitaka Atsuta
  9. Kenneth Gundersen
  10. Josh Coppins

650cc

  1. Joel Smets
  2. Cedric Melotte
  3. Javier Garcia Vico
  4. Trampas Parker
  5. Juha Salminen
  6. Jonas Edberg
  7. Bernd Eckenbach
  8. Thierry Bethys
  9. Danny Theybers
  10. Antti Olavi Pyrhonen

World Championship Point Standings

125cc

  1. Steve Ramon 138
  2. Marc De Reuver 136
  3. Andrea Bartolini 128

MotocrossGP

  1. Michael Pichon 153
  2. Stefan Everts 150
  3. Joel Smets 146

650cc

  1. Joel Smets 175
  2. Javier Garcia Vico 150
  3. Cedric Melotte 140

Well, that about wraps it up for this edition of Monday Kickstart, but before we go there’s one shameless plug that must be thrown in. Much thanks goes to Asterisk’s Tom Carson, who provided our crippled staff member Garth with a pit bike to ride around in and cover the races with. Since G-Diddy busted his foot and separated two of his ribs from his sternum, walking around the hills of Red Bud was uncomfortable to say the least, and Carson’s KLX110 made things much easier on the Milan Rouge. Props also go to Pat Schutte for hooking the whole arrangement up. That’s it for this week, we’ll see you at Troy next Monday.

 

drew McFarlane

  • Brian Jorgensen
  • Yoitaka Atsuta
  • Kenneth Gundersen
  • Josh Coppins
  • 650cc

    1. Joel Smets
    2. Cedric Melotte
    3. Javier Garcia Vico
    4. Trampas Parker
    5. Juha Salminen
    6. Jonas Edberg
    7. Bernd Eckenbach
    8. Thierry Bethys
    9. Danny Theybers
    10. Antti Olavi Pyrhonen

    World Championship Point Standings

    125cc

    1. Steve Ramon 138
    2. Marc De Reuver 136
    3. Andrea Bartolini 128

    MotocrossGP

    1. Michael Pichon 153
    2. Stefan Everts 150
    3. Joel Smets 146

    650cc

    1. Joel Smets 175
    2. Javier Garcia Vico 150
    3. Cedric Melotte 140

    Well, that about wraps it up for this edition of Monday Kickstart, but before we go there’s one shameless plug that must be thrown in. Much thanks goes to Asterisk’s Tom Carson, who provided our crippled staff member Garth with a pit bike to ride around in and cover the races with. Since G-Diddy busted his foot and separated two of his ribs from his sternum, walking around the hills of Red Bud was uncomfortable to say the least, and Carson’s KLX110 made things much easier on the Milan Rouge. Props also go to Pat Schutte for hooking the whole arrangement up. That’s it for this week, we’ll see you at Troy next Monday.