Monday Kickstart: Spring Creek 2012

Hungover from a weekend at RedBud, the outdoor series hit Minnesota for the Spring Creek classic and seventh round of the year. There is nothing else witty to say for this introduction, so start scrolling.

We have hit the point in the year when negotiations between riders and teams start to gain momentum (Although we can say with a down economy, they never really end). We chatted with more than a few team managers regarding acquisitions for next year, and the progress is mixed for all. Some riders are locked in for 2013, others have letters of intention, and the rest are counting their bargaining chips.

After sitting out the first half of the season, Justin Bogle returned to action at Millville. The GEICO Powersports Honda rider claimed eight overall with 10-8 scores, despite a case of arm pump he stated was the worst he ever had.

Nick Wey suffered a horrendous get-off in the first moto that sent the Michigan Mafia leader's bike into the creek next to the sand whoops. Wey was placed on a backboard and taken to the nearby Mayo Clinic, where he underwent an operation to repair his broken hip. Wey's mechanic, Big Nasty of Mandingo Pickle fame, tweeted that Wey was in good spirits and his normal, quick witted self. Heal up, NYK!

With his hometown only a handful of hours away, Justin Brayton had a good chunk of family and friends in attendance. Brayton's 4-4 finishes gave him fourth overall, his second top-five in two weeks.

The sand based soil had many riders searching for the right tire setup. Widely spaced lugs were de rigueur ("required" for the layfolk), but some opted for a pattern with a slight paddle to it, shown here.

Marvin Musquin took the paddle to its legal limits without diving into Jimmy Weinert territory.

After running out of fuel in the first moto at RedBud and then having issues with the gas spraying Jake Canada during the second moto, MotoConcepts grabbed this larger tank for Millville. GEICO Honda's tank is very similar to the unit on the MCR bike, but is made of aluminum.

With Tommy Hahn and Justin Brayton both racing, the factory Honda rig was busy at Millville. Hahn's seventh place in the first moto managed to override his non-point earning second outing for 11th overall.

Wonder if we are allowed to say "Ricky Carmullet" again after all these years...

Still high off a medal finish at the X Games, Mike Brown lined up for Millville. The 2001 125 National champion will need 13 more points to hold on to the number 3 for another year.

Justin Barcia and Mike Tomlin have claimed two Lites championships in their time together, but there is a chance it may end this year as Barcia moves to the Team Honda Muscle Milk rig. It's common for riders and mechanics to part when one heads to another team, but it would be odd not the see Barcia and "Schnikey" together.

Tyla Rattray stayed strong in his second full race aboard the Monster Energy Kawasaki 450, as he skated into sixth place in qualifying and finished the same in the first moto. A first lap crash made the second moto a tall task but as he clawed through the pack, he damaged his front wheel and pulled off before the final flag. Rattray still took ninth for the day.

Rain moved through the area in the days preceding the race and a storm dumped on the track the night before. This created a muddy staging area (shown here) and first practice session, but helped the track develop into a racy circuit.

The Cole Thompson bandwagon is starting to fill up, all due to the Canadian privateer's solid finishs as of late. We trekked the pits to chat him up for "HWYW," but couldn't find his area after the race.

Christian Craig is another rider coming off injury, but his top-10 finish wouldn't indicate it.

To combat the more brutal roost of the outdoors, teams are beefing up protection around vulnerable components like water pumps and pipes.

After parting ways with the Langston Witt Racing KTM team, AJ Catanzaro has gotten together with the Reed & Reese effort. His kit looks no different than it did in the first rounds, as he is still with Fly Racing and on KTMs.

Many teams, such as Rockstar Suzuki, outfitted their bikes with pre-filter skins to keep sand from building up on the air intakes.

Considered the "home race" for Ryan Dungey, as well as his sponsor Target, there was a constant mass of fans around the Red Bull KTM set-up. This was the crowd at 9:05AM, only minutes after the gates opened to the public.

This Wisconsin Waterfall acts as a camouflage during the white northern winters.

The wet morning, coupled with the sand made another obstacle the mechanics were forced to overcome. The paddock hummed from the power washers and cleaning solutions in-between each session.

After all these years, John Dowd is still at it. "The Junkyard Dog" scored 10 total points in his second race of the year, which is 15 shy of the 25 needed to keep his number for yet another year. Dowdy intends to race Unadilla and of course Southwick to end his season.

Dowd and family have taken to the road in this motorhome so that their son could contest the amateur days at Spring Creek and RedBud.

With Tyla Rattray back on the scene, Mike Williamson is busy again. Check back later this week as Williamson breaks down the factory Kawi in this week's "Behind Bars."

With Minneapolis dropped from the schedule for a handful of years, fans in the Northern Midwest take it all in at Millville. Minneapolis is back on the SX tour for 2013.

After a successful season, where Mike Alessi sits second in points outdoors after finishing sixth overall in Supercross, MotoConcepts Racing is looking to grow in 2013 while remaining independently funded. Team owner Mike Genova mentioned going after another high-level 450 racer for next year, but stated no particular names.

Wonder who this belongs to?

Kyle Peters is one of the few riders who run a mouthguard while riding, as well as one under glove to prevent blisters. The guard inhibits breathing for some, but Peters said that his slim version actually helps by keeping his mouth open.

Derek Anderson gained notoriety after a video of his engine failing when viral, but the Colorado native is earning his keep by staying on the road all summer and turning in top-20 finishes like his performance at Spring Creek.

Always fans of custom painted helmets, we dug Kyle Chisholm's new Unit themed HJC lid.

The starting pad was still a sloppy mess in areas when the first moto of the day lined up. Mechanics and riders kicked around to bring dry dirt to the surface and increase their chances at a successful start.

Every racer has a preferred pre-race method to ward off the heat and humidity of the summer stretch. Some run cooling vests, but Andrew Short keeps it simple.

SOL REPUBLIC is starting to creep onto the ears of the sport's fastest riders as they wait for their motos to kick off. More than a few of our staff have SOL units tucked into their travel bags.

We thought we spotted DEFT Gloves on Josh Grant back at High Point, and confirmed it this week at Millville. JG and Tommy Hahn are just two of the pros keeping their hands tucked in the minimalistic units.

Nico Izzi and Tommy Weeck's bikes were wheeled out into the daylight, even though both riders were MIA at round seven. Battered after his crash in RedBud, Izzi sat out in order to heal up while Weeck's season ended again with a broken leg after just one round.

Subtle differences make each GEICO Honda rider's helmet distinguishable from the rest. Bogle's has an Asterisk decal, Hahn a Skullcandy sticker, and Tomac continues to run a small Subway logo after so many years of doing so as an amateur.

In order to seat the clutch on Jessy Nelson's Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda, Rich Simmons pulls up to a solid object, such as a fence post, and releases the clutch just enough for it to push forward.

See you next week at Washougal...