Monday Kickstart: San Diego Edition

By the Staff of TWMX. Photos by Donn and GuyB.

Welcome to this week’s Monday Kickstart. We promise not to Glaus over any spelling errors.

Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing rider Ivan Tedesco opted to spectate at San Diego, rather than contest the 250cc class aboard his Larry Alexander-tuned YZ250. “I figured I would watch tonight,” said Tedesco, who will contest the Eastern Region 125cc SX Series that begins next week in Minneapolis. “My bike is awesome and I am ready to go racing for that championship. I figured that there was no reason to risk an injury racing a 250 tonight. I can’t wait for next weekend.”

Tedesco’s teammate Josh Hansen raced to ninth in the 125cc main aboard his Trent Bragg-tuned Yamaha YZ125, complete with a Spiderman sticker on the back of his Thor helmet. Seems his buddy Nick Wey of the Mach 1 Yamaha team saw our video tour of Grant Langston’s house. If you missed it, check out the photos.videos section of our website and watch the clip. Only then, will this paragraph make sense…

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Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Mike LaRocco opted to sit out the San Diego SX, even though the CAT scans he underwent on Friday afternoon showed no serious damage to his severely sore right shoulder. “The tests all came back negative,” said LaRocco, who was visibly relieved. “But even though they gave me a cortisone shot, it still hurts too much to race.” LaRocco could return as early as next weekend’s race in Minneapolis, depending on how he feels this week. “I don’t want to go out there and crash again, because my shoulder is weak, you know?” he said. “Look at the field right now; there are so many guys out for the rest of the season. I don’t want to be one of those guys.”

Speaking of guys out for the season, Rick Johnson reports that Sebastien Tortelli is due to have a complete ACL reconstruction surgery later this week. “He’s basically going to need three to four months to recover,” said RJ. “Unlike you or I, who could probably recover well enough to ride sooner than that, a guy like Sebastien needs to be 100% fit to do the things he does on a bike. A few weeks ago, he cased a jump so hard that he snapped both footpegs off the bike! If that happened to you or I, we would be done! Sebastien got the bike fixed, and kept riding. He’s gnarly!”

The Team Sobe Suzuki pits looked like a ghost town at San Diego, as Stephane Roncada is the only active 250cc class rider at the moment. When asked if he was lonely in there, RonRon’s mechanic Dave Feeney chuckled and replied, “Hell no, this is the way I like it! No one to get in my way…” When we questioned Dave where Mickael Pichon was, he said that they packed his bike up and it was already headed back to France on Friday. Dave said that he thinks Mickael was headed to Sea World before getting on the plane back to France. Maybe he saw Swap there. He and the family went for a Sunday outing after the soldiering out the grueling San Diego event.

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Look for at least one more rider to join Roncada in the 250cc class Sobe Suzuki semi. This week, Danny Smith and Sean Hamblin will both test at the Suzuki track aboard RM250s. The rider who performs the best and shows the most potential aboard the machine will contest the Eastern region 250cc events. For Hamblin, it must feel like déjà  vu…

Speaking of Danny Smith and Sean Hamblin, the Sobe Suzuki teammates had a great battle going in the 125cc main at San Diego. Smith reeled in and passed Hamblin, who ran second early in the race. Both riders were overtaken by Travis Preston, and they were left to battle over the final podium position. Though Smith looked to have it all under control, Hamy caught fire and began to reel him back in. Hamin, in fact, looked set to overtake his teammate, but got a little throttle happy in the corner before the finish-line jump and did a brody that would have made Jay Springsteen proud. Hamy remounted to finish sixth, but he is definitely starting to come around on the unfamiliar SX courses.

Greg Schnell qualified for his first 250cc main event of the season aboard his Fly Racing/Taco Factory-backed Yamaha YZ250. Schnell has had the speed, but not the breaks, to make the main until San Diego. At the checkered flag, Schnell finished 15th. Not bad, considering he’d compressed a vertebra during a hard crash at Anaheim the previous week.

Ezra Lusk was not happy with his 10th-place finish. “I felt pretty good all day and night,” said Yogi. “But on the first lap, I got taken out by Stephane Roncada in the third turn. After that, it was a struggle to get back into my groove. I almost crashed again big, but I saved it and figured that I’d better take my licks this weekend and regroup for next weekend.” When asked if he, like his rival RC, is glad to be heading back to the East Coast, Lusk replied, “Heck yeah! It’s not even that the tracks are so different, either. I mean, the dirt is a little tackier, but more than anything it is getting rid of the cross-country plane flights each and every weekend. The California and Phoenix rounds are definitely a pain for us East Coast guys.”

When the series heads to Atlanta, Georgia, in two weeks, expect Ezra Lusk to be on fire and extra determined to win at his hometown venue. “I haven’t been myself these past two weekends,” said Lusk. “Last weekend I was really sick, and even though I was better at San Diego, I was still not at the pace I have been. I will definitely be on the pace at Atlanta, though. My wife Jennifer and my new baby boy Hayden will be there for the first time. I would like nothing better than to win at his first race!”

Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki test rider Craig Decker had a night he’d rather forget in San Diego. As he has at the previous Anaheim II and Anaheim III rounds, Decker showed up to compete aboard a works bike, tuned by Dan Worley. In his heat race, Decker came up short—in traffic—on a large triple jump that preceded the finish-line jump. “Craig cased the landing and slammed his face on the handlebars so hard, that it bent the crossbar down to the bar clamps,” said Worley. “He also hit his ribs on the bars really hard and knocked the wind out of himself. He was in too much pain to race, but I think he’ll be okay in a couple days.”

Team Yamaha’s David Vuillemin flew to France last Monday to have his shoulder worked on by his regular doctor, after aggravating it in his Anaheim III heat race crash. “I was there for only 10 hours,” said the Cobra. “I got off the plane, saw my doctor, and flew right back home.” In order to protect his tender shoulder, Vuillemin drove up the street to Troy Lee Designs, where he paid for a Body Guard chest protector. The Cobra tried it in practice, but looked a little bit stiff wearing it. When we questioned him to see if he was going to race in it he said, “No, I don’t have my number and name for the back of it.” Maybe he just wants to protect himself while he does his goon riding freestyle tricks at the end of each practice session. Hopefully as the series moves east, Vuillemin will continue his practice antics. DV’s trick show is worthy to be seen by the folks back east as well.

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Because they have an in-house heat-transfer machine, Fly Racing has been changing the look of David Vuillemin’s jersey lettering each and every week. “We’ve got the equipment, so why not mix it up?” said Fly Racing’s Alan Picard. “This week, the design was David’s idea.” At San Diego, DV’s jersey featured the number 12 on top, with “Vuillemin” spelled out on the lower back in Olde English. Brian Deegan’s lower-back tattoo came to mind when we saw the Cobra’s new jersey. Siiick!

And what about the special DV12 line of Fly Racing David Vuillemin riding gear? According to Picard, the limited-edition gear is still at least a month away. When asked what the delay was, Picard reported that, ever the perfectionist, Vuillemin kept changing the design. Keep your eyes on www.flyracingproducts.com for availability info.

Tim Ferry showed up at San Diego mounted aboard his trusty Yamaha YZ450F four-stroke race bike. After a not-so-spectacular outing on a two-stroke YZ250 at last weekend’s Anaheim III event, Red Dog decided it was time to return to his familiar thumper. As we reported last week, Red Dog was unable to ride after his A III crash, so privateer Kelly Smith was hired to work out some jetting bugs on Ferry’s YZ450F. At San Diego, it looked like Ferry’s race bike was outfitted with a carburetor from his ’02 race bike. Check out the wires holding the carburetor securely in the manifold: guess you can never be too safe!

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Our favorite South African Grant Langston was on hand as a spectator at San Diego. Having undergone orthoscopic knee surgery to repair a tear in his meniscus on Monday, Grant was looking remarkably healthy as he walked with only a slight limp. “I’ve been undergoing extensive therapy at Dr. G’s place,” said Grant. “On Tuesday, I could barely flex my knee at all. By Thursday, I could touch my heel to my butt!” Ah yes, a miracle worker that H. Rey is…

LL Cool G also reported that he will be contesting the Eastern Region 125cc SX Championship for Red Bull/KTM. “I am not going to ride the bike until Thursday,” said Langston. “I want to give my knee the maximum amount of time to heal. I am very excited about the thought of winning the East Coast 125cc title. I don’t think it will be hard to jump on the bike and feel comfortable; it was only a few months ago that I won the King of Bercy championship on it in France.” Given his track record, Langston has to be considered the favorite for the title. His biggest opposition will come from Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Michael Byrne, Sobe Suzuki’s Branden Jesseman, Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco and Brock Sellards and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Mike Brown.

While we’re on the whole Langston kick, we have to mention that Grant’s dad Gerald sent us a Doma Racing exhaust system for our Yamaha YZ250F test bike last week, and thus far it is very, very impressive. Langston Sr. imports a full range of Doma Racing exhaust systems, as well as some other neat Euro knick-nacs. Check ’em out at www.langstonracing.com.

Jack McGrath was not seen at San Diego’s Qualcomm roasting a pig.

After Jeremy McGrath’s exciting fast lap at Anaheim III, we were hoping that his slow, helmetless farewell lap would be a thing of the past, but it returned this week during San Diego’s opening ceremonies. C’mon, MC: bust out that nac-nac instead of the slow lap!

Even without MC doing nac-nacs on his farewell lap, there has certainly been no shortage of them thanks to 125cc hero James Stewart. Each weekend, Bubba busts out several of the tricks in practice and during the race. Though he doesn’t get the extension McGrath has become known for, the crowd doesn’t seem to mind. Us? We’d rather see that Bubba victory dance!

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Caption Contest!

An anonymous Yamaha employee sent us this wonderful photo of former World Supercross Champion Jim Holley. Better known nowadays as half of the on-line SX broadcast team, Holl out on the lower back in Olde English. Brian Deegan’s lower-back tattoo came to mind when we saw the Cobra’s new jersey. Siiick!

And what about the special DV12 line of Fly Racing David Vuillemin riding gear? According to Picard, the limited-edition gear is still at least a month away. When asked what the delay was, Picard reported that, ever the perfectionist, Vuillemin kept changing the design. Keep your eyes on www.flyracingproducts.com for availability info.

Tim Ferry showed up at San Diego mounted aboard his trusty Yamaha YZ450F four-stroke race bike. After a not-so-spectacular outing on a two-stroke YZ250 at last weekend’s Anaheim III event, Red Dog decided it was time to return to his familiar thumper. As we reported last week, Red Dog was unable to ride after his A III crash, so privateer Kelly Smith was hired to work out some jetting bugs on Ferry’s YZ450F. At San Diego, it looked like Ferry’s race bike was outfitted with a carburetor from his ’02 race bike. Check out the wires holding the carburetor securely in the manifold: guess you can never be too safe!

[IMAGE 4]

Our favorite South African Grant Langston was on hand as a spectator at San Diego. Having undergone orthoscopic knee surgery to repair a tear in his meniscus on Monday, Grant was looking remarkably healthy as he walked with only a slight limp. “I’ve been undergoing extensive therapy at Dr. G’s place,” said Grant. “On Tuesday, I could barely flex my knee at all. By Thursday, I could touch my heel to my butt!” Ah yes, a miracle worker that H. Rey is…

LL Cool G also reported that he will be contesting the Eastern Region 125cc SX Championship for Red Bull/KTM. “I am not going to ride the bike until Thursday,” said Langston. “I want to give my knee the maximum amount of time to heal. I am very excited about the thought of winning the East Coast 125cc title. I don’t think it will be hard to jump on the bike and feel comfortable; it was only a few months ago that I won the King of Bercy championship on it in France.” Given his track record, Langston has to be considered the favorite for the title. His biggest opposition will come from Amsoil/Chaparral/Honda’s Michael Byrne, Sobe Suzuki’s Branden Jesseman, Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco and Brock Sellards and Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Mike Brown.

While we’re on the whole Langston kick, we have to mention that Grant’s dad Gerald sent us a Doma Racing exhaust system for our Yamaha YZ250F test bike last week, and thus far it is very, very impressive. Langston Sr. imports a full range of Doma Racing exhaust systems, as well as some other neat Euro knick-nacs. Check ’em out at www.langstonracing.com.

Jack McGrath was not seen at San Diego’s Qualcomm roasting a pig.

After Jeremy McGrath’s exciting fast lap at Anaheim III, we were hoping that his slow, helmetless farewell lap would be a thing of the past, but it returned this week during San Diego’s opening ceremonies. C’mon, MC: bust out that nac-nac instead of the slow lap!

Even without MC doing nac-nacs on his farewell lap, there has certainly been no shortage of them thanks to 125cc hero James Stewart. Each weekend, Bubba busts out several of the tricks in practice and during the race. Though he doesn’t get the extension McGrath has become known for, the crowd doesn’t seem to mind. Us? We’d rather see that Bubba victory dance!

[IMAGE 5]

Caption Contest!

An anonymous Yamaha employee sent us this wonderful photo of former World Supercross Champion Jim Holley. Better known nowadays as half of the on-line SX broadcast team, Holley still hauls some serious butt on a motocross bike. We’re not even gonna touch this one, though. Post your best caption for this photo on the TransWorld MX general message board (see link at above left) and we will award the author of the funniest caption with a bunch of free swag from Yamaha’s GYT-R line of accessory products. Be sure to include your e-mail addy with your post!

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Yamaha privateer Tiger Lacey continues to impress in the Western Region 125cc class. For the second week in a row, the teen from Oregon holeshot the main event aboard his YZ250F, and he walked away with the $1000 sxgp.com holeshot award. Though a couple crashes held him to 14th, he still sits 11th in the series point standings and is the first privateer. Not bad, considering he leads MotoworldRacing.com’s David Pingree, Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Craig Anderson and Red Bull KTM’s Josh Woods! We’ve heard rumors of Lacey joining team Moto XXX, but have yet to substantiate them. Stay tuned…

Speaking of Josh Woods and Craig Anderson, neither of them was able to compete at San Diego. Woods crashed at Anaheim III while running a strong third and bruised his abdomen, and crashed again in Fridays practice, landing on his head. He was still too sore to compete this weekend. The Michigan rider reported that he may try his hand at some of the East Coast 250cc races aboard a KTM 250SX. Anderson, meanwhile, crashed during the week at the Yamaha test track and also bruised his insides. He should be healthy by the time the West Coast series resumes in Houston, Texas.

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The Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit finally arrived in San Diego. It is loaded with everything you would need to diagnose an injury. Look for a tour of the rig this Thursday in our Thursday Theater vid section. This thing is sano!

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Although Ricky Carmichael did not have a mechanical problem in San Diego, one has to wonder if Ricky Carmichael losing Chad Watts was in the back if his mind. Though Chad’s substitute Mike Gosselaar is more than qualified, he has not been with RC for the last six years. In the pits, more than one mechanic was talking about how they had never seen RC pull in during a practice and adjust his suspension.

Speaking of geese, if you noticed, Chris Gosselaar was missing from the San Diego Supercross. Chris is out for at least three weeks with a broken ankle. Last week at Anaheim Craig Anderson landed on little Goose and caused the injury. Goose elected to put a cast on so it would stop him from riding while he is resting his ankle. Chris told us that although it’s broken in two spots he plans on being back at the next round in the 125 Western region title chase.

Troy Lee Designs just bought a new building in Corona, California. It’s on four acres in an old Ganahl Lumber store. This should give TLD the room they need for the growth spurt they are experiencing. We are hearing with the extra room they have in the back, that there’s room for a 50cc track. Don’t be surprised when the Troy Lee Designs 50cc nationals becomes a Southern California classic.

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While on the subject of new head quarters, KTM unveiled the plans on their new digs in Temecula, California. The 28,000 square foot building will be built on nine acres and will primarily be used for R&D and dealer orientations. It will also have a Supercross track and a Super Motored track in order to have year-round testing. The new facility will incorporate a museum into the plans. KTM will keep the test track they currently have in Corona in order to have some variety. Man, it must be nice to have a choice in test tracks.

Speaking of KTM, their 250cc semi was missing in San Diego. With not one 250 rider why bring it? Com