This week’s story and photos by GuyB, who had a late flight back from Southwick. Sorry for the delay!
Before we get into last weekend’s news from Southwick, let’s clear up some old business…
You might remember that we told you Grant Langston sprained his wrist at Mt. Morris. Actually, after getting checked it checked out after the race, it was discovered that he’d fractured a bone in his hand. Apparently his doc told him that he wouldn’t do further damage to it just by riding, so he’s still on the bike.
On the road trip back from Hangtown, the BSY team hauler had a front wheel bearing failure, and due to a backordered spindle, they missed the third round of the series in Mt Morris. Luckily, it happened in the desert, rather than the mountains they’d just made it through. Even still, the errant wheel went on a long off-road trek, and the driver had a hard time retrieving it since the tire and wheel, complete with hub and disk, were almost too heavy to lift.
Kyle Lewis was also MIA in High Point, due to a broken pinkie finger that he broke the Thursday before the event. Though still not completely healed, he rode with his two outer fingers taped together. But like he said, “It could be worse, I could be out for the whole season like Pastrana.”
Southwick is another event that’s on list of those being potentially dropped from the national schedule in 2005. It seems a shame that the race might be lost, since there’s a lot of history at the sandy Motocross 338 circuit. The first national was held there in 1976 when Dutchman Pierre Karsmakers was the winner, and “First American” was still part of the moto-lingo.
A couple of the guys who probably remember that race who were at Southwick this time around were Team Yamaha’s Keith McCarty, who was helping out by washing bikes (and reportedly delivering a new contract for David Vuillemin), and photographer Paul Buckley, who has shot some famous bar-dragging photos at the track. In fact, Paul has a corner named in his honor, though he says it’s changed a lot over the years, and since modern bikes are so much taller, the riders don’t get leaned over nearly as far as they used to.
The promoters at Southwick put in quite a few changes to the track for this year’s edition, adding a new section of track where the pits previously resided, and making nearly $300,000 in improvements to the facility. In case you’re wondering, that was all put in place before AMA Pro Racing started sending out letters informing tracks about their potential future status.
If it’s Southwick, you know you’ll find Doug Henry. As usual, the former national champ-turned-full-time farmer made his annual national appearance aboard the number 19 Yamaha, and looked way faster than you’d expect from an occasional rider. We spotted him on Sunday, camped under the Moto Tassanari canopy, and he was busy wrenching on his front brakes. He said he still mows hay, and has some cows and pigs, but this year he’s mostly been busy building a new house. How much preparation did he do before Southwick? About 20 rides worth.
Just when we thought this week’s race was in Southwick, Massachusetts,
Riders were dressed in an assortment of rain gear, including trash bags and hay bale covers. When Pro Circuit Team Manager Alley Semar was asked if they’d learn anything during those practices, he said, “Well, we’ll learn whether our jetting is dialed, but that’s about it.”
During Saturday’s wet practice, Team ECC’s Shane Bess took a detour through the infield to grab a new pair of goggles. As he topped a rise, he realized (but not soon enough) that it was the boundary of a small pond. He landed in the middle of it, effectively filling his RM’s engine with a mixture of mud and sand, which poured out when the top end was later pulled by his mechanic. Luckily, they had a spare to put in its place.
Spotted in the staging area before Saturday’s qualifiers: Austin Squires with a little social commentary. Austin made the Sunday program and finished 32nd.
Ryan Hughes is running some interesting cookie cutters, er…make that footpegs. Made by FRO in England, they’re titanium, and are about as minimal as you can get.
For those of you who enjoyed No Fear’s video The Great Outdoors, you’ll be happy to know that footage is already being gathered for The Great Outdoors 2.
Brian Gray wasn’t riding under the Sobe Suzuki banner this weekend, but only because he was riding a Loretta Lynn’s qualifier. Considering that he hails from Florida, and experienced in the sandy conditions found at Southwick, apparently he would have been there if he’d been available. There’s a chance he may be back with the team at Red Bud, but on a 250, rather than a 125.
Suzuki is in dire need of some help on the 250cc side, because Sean Hamblin must have forgotten the good luck charm he’s been using to stay mostly injury-free. He seriously tweaked a knee in the first moto, and he’s scheduled to have it checked out after returning home. That leaves the Sobe Suzuki squad with no healthy full-time 250cc riders. Will Suzuki park the 250cc truck, or try to find some new recruits to fill in? We’ll have to wait and see.
Suzuki isn’t the only team to get hit with injuries. The Boost Mobile/Yamaha of Troy team had some bad news as well. Josh Hansen broke a collarbone, and Ivan Tedesco separated a shoulder.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2003 outdoor season has been Eric Sorby, who currently sits in third in the 125cc standings. Eric tweaked his knee last Monday, but was riding with it taped up. He’s looking forward to an upcoming two-week break-not for some relaxation, but so he can put in some hard training.
Jeff Spencer has about a month left of tending to the training needs of Chad Reed and Brock Sellards before he heads to France on July 2nd to play, “Mr. Everything” for Lance Armstrong as he defends his Tour de France titles. Among Jeff’s duties are handling Lance’s physical preparations, and supporting his physical recovery during the Tour. Yes, some of the same stuff applies to motocross.
Jonathan Lowther, international man of mystery (and Ryan Hughes’ mechanic) proving the O’gio does indeed have a million and one uses for nylon material. Here he’s sporting their new mechanic’s vest.
If you have any doubt how much support Kevin Windham’s getting from Honda, just check out where his bike visits on occasion.
CCE’s Todd Jendro was on hand, passing out checks for the overall of the World Supercross series…and we’d guess, making a pitch for more team participation in next season’s international rounds.
David Vuillemin from Corona will be David from Murrieta soon. He just purchased a new house. Sean Hamblin is also another new homeowner, scoring a new house south of Sun City.
Ricky Carmichael rode the first 250cc moto in some Fall ’03 Fox Racing Team Honda gear, including the Team Honda 360 pant, and SFX jersey.
The 125cc class at Southwick produced some of the wildest results in a while, with nearly all the points contenders having trouble at one point or another.
Mike Brown and Grant Langston tangled in the first turn in moto one, and their bikes were stuck together for an extended period of time. They were eventually pulled apart, but Brownie lost his left grip in the process. He rode the entire moto without it, but still finished just outside the points.
On the fourth lap of the first moto, Ryan Hughes smacked his leg and fractured his fibia. Did that stop Ryno? No way. He went for x-rays, but not before telling his mechanic to, “Get my bike ready for the second moto.” After soaking his leg in the cooler full of ice and elevating it, he went back out in moto two and finished in the points. He’ll visit a doctor to find out his future status, but if we know Ryno, he’ll be back for Budd’s Creek.
Eric Sorby DNF’d the second moto with mechanical troubles.
All of this proved to be a goldmine for a variety of riders. Michael Byrne won his first-ever U.S. national moto, followed by fellow Aussie Craig Anderson, who’d holeshot the first moto. New Yorker Ryan Mills also made his first trip to the podium.
During the second moto, Anderson grabbed the holeshot again, and he, Byrne and Brock Sellards put on a stellar show, swapping positions repeatedly. Anderson repeated Byrne’s effort from the first moto, grabbing his first moto win. He also grabbed the overall win for the day.
It’s only a guess, but Bubba Stewart’s probably still wishing he’d been able to ride last weekend. Broadband users (and really patient modem users) will want to check out the video in the photos.video section of the transworldmx.com site to see how Bubba’s recovery is progressing.
Action in the 250cc class was slightly more predictable, with Ricky Carmichael still perfect after four races, with the exception of the first moto at Hangtown.
John Dowd and Doug Henry both showed their considerable sand prowess. Henry got off the gate behind Nate Ramsey in moto 1, and ran in the top five for most of the race before slipping to sixth. In moto two he got another good start, but crashed out on the first lap. As he was riding out on the Asterisk Medic Mule, he had a smile and thumbs-up for his considerable quantity of fans.
Dowd grabbed second overall for the day on his KTM with 2-3 moto scores, which had to take out some of the sting of missing the second moto at High Point due to a bad stator. Dowd passed Tim Ferry after for second on the last lap of the first moto after Red Dog bobbled, and then gave Kevin Windham fits in both motos.
Okay, that’s enough Kickstart for this week. Be sure to check back for daily updates on www.transworldmx.com.