Monday Kickstart: Unadilla

This week’s Kickstart is by Internet bandit Steve Bauer, who was making his first trip back to Unadilla since racing there in 1978.

Kevin Windham’s magnificent sweep of both motos at Unadilla was a fitting end to Ricky Carmichael’s historic winning streak, since it was Windham who was the last rider to beat RC outdoors, nearly two years ago at Washougal, Washington. In between the K-Dub bookends, Carmichael put together a record of twenty-one straight national wins.

K-Dub wasn’t taking any chances of a flat tire stopping him from putting a halt to the RC steamroller. Michelin rep Randy Richardson said, “Kevin loves our Michelin bib mousse and insists on running it every weekend, not just on rocky tracks, so he has zero chance of a flat tire.” Richardson also commented that K-Dub went to a different rubber compound for the second moto, desiring, “More traction in the off-camber turns. Since the track had dried out a lot we went to an intermediate to hard terrain tire.”

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Windham’s fortunes were inadvertently enhanced when Moto XXX rider Kyle Lewis almost took out Carmichael on the penultimate lap, taking out the champ’s front wheel in the high-speed off-camber straightaway section below the “Hill People.” Carmichael was gracious in defeat, stating, “Yeah, did you see that? I thought I was going down! That scared the sh*t outta me! It would have been closer, but Kevin was the man today for sure!”

An exuberant fan, “Crashed harder than any one of the riders did all weekend” while leaning over the fence cheering him on, stated Windham, adding “I had to totally change my line to avoid running him over! I remember wondering if he’d messed Ricky up also…we were just laughing about it a minute ago.” Kevin added that he resisted the temptation to roost the guy’s hat, which was left laying in the racing line for the next few laps.

Michael Byrne has signed a two-year deal with Kawasaki to compete in the 250 Nationals and Supercross series. The Australian indicated that Honda had offered him only a 125 ride, prior to their re-signing of Nate Ramsey and Ernesto Fonseca. About his Unadilla results, Byrne added that he struggled with a spinning mousse in his Bridgestone rear tire, sapping power during the second 125 moto, in which he placed ninth.

Tim Ferry was one of many competitors who had strong opinions about the surface of the famed Unadilla track. “I remember racing here back in ’91 when I first turned pro and the track was really soft and loamy. Now it just seems to have gotten rockier and harder for some reason. It used to be one of my favorite tracks, and I still do well here.”

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Promoter Ward Robinson offered some insight during an interview on Saturday: “The original grand prix track is pretty much intact. We work on it every year, throw dirt in on it, fill it, seed it and put it to rest for another year.” When pressed further, Ward said, “We groom it back, smooth it up…of course we have what we call (long pause)…rocks, and we rake ’em and pick ’em and we fill some with topsoil, then we go over it and seed it as we go…we do a section and seed it, then do another section and seed it. This helps hold the dirt from washing away in the winter. This is one of the reasons we don’t ld any other events on this course during the year. Unadilla will always be Unadilla, and the track will always be grass.”

TWMX ran into freestyler Brian Deegan at the local 909 airport, where he also was returning from a trip to New York…he had this to say:

TWMX: Brian, what were you doing in NY?

Brian Deegan: I had to qualify for the X Games at Randall’s Island. All the top guys were there and they had a T-Mobile Big Air Contest. Basically it’s $25,000 to win so everyone was pretty much throwin’ down.

TWMX: Yea that’s a pretty big purse, especially for an LXD event, right?

BD: Well, that’s the funny thing, LXD tried to piggy-back onto T-Mobile, so it looked like it was their event, but it wasn’t. It’s still T-Mobile, and it’s still their money. I think LXD ended up paying $1,900 for first place in their Big Air.

TWMX: That sounds more like it. So how’d you do?

BD: I did pretty good. I cruised through all the qualifiers just to make sure I was in The X Games. Then the finals came, I was the third guy to go and I saw this guy, Dave, before me do a no-footed backflip to a no-hander lander, which is what I was gonna try. So I had to do something different…so I jumped, went into a backflip, no-legged, one-handed, and did a one-handed backflip (laugh). It was pretty gnarly though.

TWMX: So you nailed it?

BD: Yeah, I pulled it.

TWMX: Awesome.

BD: And then Kenny Bartram did a backflip heel-clicker.

TWMX: How many guys are flippin’ now?

BD: There are five guys. Ronnie Faisst flipped…it ended up just the scoring was a little weird, but I still got ten Gs.

TWMX: That famous video of you augering the backflip in Bakersfield, how do you get past something like that, just the mental thing?

BD: It’s commitment. It’s being fully committed. Don’t even try it if you don’t know that you’re gonna make it. That night I under-committed, I don’t know what I was thinking…I just had a brain fade off the ramp. You know, one second of doubt, you’re done.

TWMX: You can see in the video that you’re jerking on the bars immediately thinking there’s no way I’m gonna make this.

BD: Yeah, I mean I knew I was gonna eat crap, but I tried to pull it off anyway.

TWMX: So do you do a standard “panic rev” to bring it back?

BD: Yeah, pinning it actually brings the front end back around so it’s kinda like dirt bike technical skills.

TWMX: Dirt bike 101. So are you in the the X Games?

BD: Yeah, Big Air, Step-Up and Freestyle.

TWMX: Alright, good luck Brian.

BD: Thanks a lot.

Sunflower seeds are a staple snack item among members of the TWMX staff, so we were psyched to see a Honda CR (and to a slightly lesser degree, one of their quads) on packs of David Sunflower Seeds as prizes for a Incredible Hulk movie promo. While Universal Studios hasn’t hooked up any one-off graphics or uniforms for the Honda team this season, some of the riders in the 250 class probably wouldn’t think that Ricky Carmichael would look much different if he were hyping the summer flick.

Cahuilla Creek MX has been busy lately, hosting new model intros for various manufacturers. There was Yamaha (for the YZ 250) on Monday, KTM on Tuesday, and a Suzuki RM 125 and RM 250 intro today. Look for a first impression of the new RMs tomorrow.

While we were at Cahuilla Creek MX last weekend, putting in some test laps on a couple new ’04 models, we ran across a couple riders who are on the mend. Justin Buckelew is working his way back from a pair of knee surgeries aboard a Pro Circuit Kawasaki that he’s yet to race this season. Also on hand was Josh Hansen, who broke his collarbone at Southwick. They’re both looking forward to returning to action by Millville. With riders returning from injury, and a crop of post-Loretta’s rookie pros (like Broc Hepler) making their jump to the national scene, Millville might be the toughest national to qualify for since Glen Helen.

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While talking with Hany he also confirmed something we’d heard previously…that he’d been a potential passenger in the Corvette with Travis Pastrana and Matt Bigos when they went out on their ill-fated late night drive. He and Travis’ roomate also arrived on the scene of the accident about the same time as the ambulance, after setting out to find out what was taking the pair so long to return home. Let’s be careful out there.

Across the pond, round eight (of 12) on the 2003 Grand Prix circuit went off last weekend in front of 15,000 spectators at the Grand Prix of Belgium. Held at the famed Namur circuit, it was an all Belgian sweep, as Stefan Everts scored yet another double (125 and MXGP), while Cédric Melotte took the 650cc class. Everts also moved into the points lead in the MXGP class, after Mickael Pichon finished third behind Stefan and yet another Belgian, Joel Smets.

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Completing the Belgian scoreboard is Steve Ramon, who’s leading the 125cc class. Unfortunately, the small-bore class lost one of its top competitors for the season last week when Marc de Reuver crashed at a Dutch national championship event, breaking his collarbone and suffering a dislocated hip.

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Namur 125cc Results

  1. Stefan Everts (Bel)
  2. Steve Ramon (Bel)
  3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita)
  4. Tyla Rattray (RSA)
  5. Mickael Maschio (Fra)
  6. Stephen Sword (Eng)
  7. Antoine Letelier (Fra)
  8. Nicolas Charlier (Fra)
  9. Erik Eggens (Ned)
  10. Luigi Seguy (Fra)

[IMAGE 6]

125cc GP standings

  1. Steve Ramon (Bel) 160 points
  2. Andrea Bartolini (Ita) 148 points
  3. Mickaà«l Maschio (Fra) 139 points
  4. Marc de Reuver (Ned) 136 points
  5. Stefan Everts (Bel) 118 points
  6. Erik Eggens (Ned) 106 points
  7. Tyla Rattray (Rsa) 96 points
  8. Stephen Sword (Eng) 88 points
  9. Rodrig Thain (Fra) 58 points
  10. Alessio Chiodi (Ita) 57 points

Namur 650cc Results

  1. Cédric Melotte (Bel)
  2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa)
  3. Joel Smets (Bel)
  4. Gordon Crockard (Bel)
  5. Avo Leok (Est)
  6. Thierry Bethys (Fra)
  7. Joakim Karlsson (Zwe)
  8. Roman Jelen (Slo)
  9. Jonas Edberg (Swe)
  10. Danny Theybers (Bel)

650cc GP standings

  1. Joel Smets (Bel) 195 points
  2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa) 172 points
  3. Cedric Melotte (Bel) 165 points
  4. Danny Theybers (Bel) 85 points
  5. Trampas Parker (Usa) 83 points
  6. Michal Kadlecek 80 points
  7. Roman Jelen (Slo) 79 points
  8. Bernd Eckenbach (Ger) 77 points
  9. Fabrizio Dini 75 points
  10. Thierry Bethys (Fra) 69 points

Namur MXGP Results

  1. Stefan Everts (Bel)
  2. Joel Smets (Bel)
  3. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra)
  4. Marnicq Bervoets (Bel)
  5. James Dobb (Eng)
  6. Andrew McFarlane (Aus)
  7. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor)
  8. Brian Jöers who are on the mend. Justin Buckelew is working his way back from a pair of knee surgeries aboard a Pro Circuit Kawasaki that he’s yet to race this season. Also on hand was Josh Hansen, who broke his collarbone at Southwick. They’re both looking forward to returning to action by Millville. With riders returning from injury, and a crop of post-Loretta’s rookie pros (like Broc Hepler) making their jump to the national scene, Millville might be the toughest national to qualify for since Glen Helen.

    [IMAGE 3]

    While talking with Hany he also confirmed something we’d heard previously…that he’d been a potential passenger in the Corvette with Travis Pastrana and Matt Bigos when they went out on their ill-fated late night drive. He and Travis’ roomate also arrived on the scene of the accident about the same time as the ambulance, after setting out to find out what was taking the pair so long to return home. Let’s be careful out there.

    Across the pond, round eight (of 12) on the 2003 Grand Prix circuit went off last weekend in front of 15,000 spectators at the Grand Prix of Belgium. Held at the famed Namur circuit, it was an all Belgian sweep, as Stefan Everts scored yet another double (125 and MXGP), while Cédric Melotte took the 650cc class. Everts also moved into the points lead in the MXGP class, after Mickael Pichon finished third behind Stefan and yet another Belgian, Joel Smets.

    [IMAGE 4]

    Completing the Belgian scoreboard is Steve Ramon, who’s leading the 125cc class. Unfortunately, the small-bore class lost one of its top competitors for the season last week when Marc de Reuver crashed at a Dutch national championship event, breaking his collarbone and suffering a dislocated hip.

    [IMAGE 5]

    Namur 125cc Results

    1. Stefan Everts (Bel)
    2. Steve Ramon (Bel)
    3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita)
    4. Tyla Rattray (RSA)
    5. Mickael Maschio (Fra)
    6. Stephen Sword (Eng)
    7. Antoine Letelier (Fra)
    8. Nicolas Charlier (Fra)
    9. Erik Eggens (Ned)
    10. Luigi Seguy (Fra)

    [IMAGE 6]

    125cc GP standings

    1. Steve Ramon (Bel) 160 points
    2. Andrea Bartolini (Ita) 148 points
    3. Mickaà«l Maschio (Fra) 139 points
    4. Marc de Reuver (Ned) 136 points
    5. Stefan Everts (Bel) 118 points
    6. Erik Eggens (Ned) 106 points
    7. Tyla Rattray (Rsa) 96 points
    8. Stephen Sword (Eng) 88 points
    9. Rodrig Thain (Fra) 58 points
    10. Alessio Chiodi (Ita) 57 points

    Namur 650cc Results

    1. Cédric Melotte (Bel)
    2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa)
    3. Joel Smets (Bel)
    4. Gordon Crockard (Bel)
    5. Avo Leok (Est)
    6. Thierry Bethys (Fra)
    7. Joakim Karlsson (Zwe)
    8. Roman Jelen (Slo)
    9. Jonas Edberg (Swe)
    10. Danny Theybers (Bel)

    650cc GP standings

    1. Joel Smets (Bel) 195 points
    2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa) 172 points
    3. Cedric Melotte (Bel) 165 points
    4. Danny Theybers (Bel) 85 points
    5. Trampas Parker (Usa) 83 points
    6. Michal Kadlecek 80 points
    7. Roman Jelen (Slo) 79 points
    8. Bernd Eckenbach (Ger) 77 points
    9. Fabrizio Dini 75 points
    10. Thierry Bethys (Fra) 69 points

    Namur MXGP Results

    1. Stefan Everts (Bel)
    2. Joel Smets (Bel)
    3. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra)
    4. Marnicq Bervoets (Bel)
    5. James Dobb (Eng)
    6. Andrew McFarlane (Aus)
    7. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor)
    8. Brian Jörgensen (Den)
    9. Joshua Coppins (Nzl)
    10. Claudio Federici (Ita)

    MXGP Standings

    1. Stefan Everts (Bel) 175 points
    2. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra) 173 points
    3. Joel Smets (Bel) 168 points
    4. Brian Jörgensen (Den) 112 points
    5. Claudio Federici (Ita) 95 points
    6. Andrew McFarlane (Aus) 94 points
    7. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor) 93 points
    8. Yoshitaka Atsuta (Jap) 80 points
    9. Gordon Crockard (Irl) 78 points
    10. Marnicq Bervoets 78 points

    Next Monday you can look for coverage from Washougal (GuyB will be there), and the Canadian Nationals, where Craig Decker will be racing and reporting. See you then!

    n Jörgensen (Den)

  9. Joshua Coppins (Nzl)
  10. Claudio Federici (Ita)

MXGP Standings

  1. Stefan Everts (Bel) 175 points
  2. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra) 173 points
  3. Joel Smets (Bel) 168 points
  4. Brian Jörgensen (Den) 112 points
  5. Claudio Federici (Ita) 95 points
  6. Andrew McFarlane (Aus) 94 points
  7. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor) 93 points
  8. Yoshitaka Atsuta (Jap) 80 points
  9. Gordon Crockard (Irl) 78 points
  10. Marnicq Bervoets 78 points

Next Monday you can look for coverage from Washougal (GuyB will be there), and the Canadian Nationals, where Craig Decker will be racing and reporting. See you then!