Monday Kickstart (Updated)

If you’ve been following the news, you already know that thanks to some much-needed rain, things calmed down a lot with the wildfires around Southern California. But it didn’t come soon enough for the CART finale at California Speedway, which was cancelled. Fortunately for the CART competitors (unlike the guys in this year’s AMA 125cc National Championship title chase), their championship title had already been wrapped up at the previous round by Paul Tracy.

But fires and such weren’t enough to stop the AMA’s Red Bull Supermoto Championship event at Irwindale Speedway, which is about 35 miles to the west. There, Doug Henry took the win aboard his Team Motodynamics Yamaha after Red Bull KTM’s Jürgen Künzel crashed on lap 11 of the 20-lap main, erasing the huge lead he’d built. After that, Henry passed Künzel, tripling a section that the German doubled. Mike Metzger finished third, nabbing his first AMA Supermoto podium. That was big news for Metz, after weeks of struggling with a tweaked wrist and some bad starts. “My third place this weekend almost means more to me than my X Games gold,” said Metzger. “Things are finally starting to come around for me in this great new sport, and I’m excited about going to Vegas in a few weeks!” Things weren’t great the entire time for Metz, however, as he got off hard doing over 80 miles per hour in the first turn section of the track earlier in the weekend.

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Besides his second-place finish in the Supermoto class, Künzel took the win in the KTM Supermoto Unlimited class, ahead of Joe Kopp and Ben Carlson.

We asked Troy Lee about the Irwindale course, and he described it as, “Really fun, especially when you were doing around 100 MPH on the half-mile track’s banking.” Doug Henry was also reportedly leaned over so far that he was trailing long streams of sparks.

Supermoto Final

  1. Doug Henry Yamaha
  2. Jurgen Kunzel KTM
  3. Mike Metzger Honda
  4. Benjamin Carlson KTM
  5. Ben Bostrom Honda

Supermoto Unlimited Final

  1. Jurgen Kunzel KTM
  2. Joe Kopp KTM
  3. Benjamin Carlson KTM
  4. Steven Drew Honda
  5. Christopher Fillmore KTM

Now all that’s left for the AMA Red Bull Supermoto series is the season championship on November 21, AKA the Supermoto A Go Go, atThe Rio Casino & Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Meanwhile, about 15 miles to the north of California Speedway, much of the mountains and hills around Glen Helen Raceway had burned during the previous week, but that didn’t stop the 19th Annual White Brothers World Vet MX Championships from happening at Glen Helen Raceway.

Following the Supermoto event at Irwindale, a whole contingent of riders made the trek to Glen Helen. Ryan Hughes had finished seventh in the Supermoto Unlimited class, and Jeff Ward (who has been killing it in the Supermoto class) had suffered a DNF.

Meanwhile, Doug Dubach had won nine of the previous 10 years in the +30 Pro class at the Vet Worlds, but it looked like 2003 would be a lot touer for Doug. A crash a couple weeks prior to the event had left him with a compressed C6 vertebrae, and unsure whether he’d even compete. After grabbing the top spot in Saturday’s +40 Pro race action, it was obvious that Doug still had his speed, even if he had limited ability to turn his head from side-to-side.

For Sunday’s +30 Pro race, Doug’s biggest worries had to be a couple newcomers to the over-30 crowd, Ryan Hughes and Spud Walters. Hughes looked confident on the KTM 450, but claimed that, “Since I got home from the MXdN, I haven’t had much motivation to ride.” Jeff Ward was also ready, saying, “I feel like I’m a lot better prepared this year, but they made the motos longer (to 25 minutes plus one lap), so it kind of evens out.”

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In Sunday’s first +30 Pro moto, Ward grabbed the holeshot, before being passed by Tony Amaradio, and Hughes. Deeper in the pack, Dubach and Spud were both working their way forward.

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By the end of the moto, Hughes was cruising out front, and Dubach had moved into second spot with Walters closing rapidly. Spud took a shot at passing Doug with a couple corners to go, but crashed. He remounted in time to grab third spot ahead of Ward.

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In the second moto, Ward again jumped into the early lead, with Hughes looking like he’d disappear again…but that’s when things got weird. An encounter with a trackside tire bent Hughes’ shifter, and he lost a couple laps while straightening it out and restarting his big thumper. Suddenly, things were looking good for Dubach to repeat as champion. He’d moved into the lead, with Walters in second spot. But then late in the moto, Dubach dropped his Yamaha in a corner. He got back to his feet, and as Walters approached, he reached out with both arms and tried to grab the White Brothers Honda rider. Spud went on to win the moto, and the overall, Dubach hung on for second overall, and Jeff Ward grabbed the third podium spot. But that still left us to try to sort out what happened.

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When we quizzed Doug after the moto, he told us, “I figured I’d block at least a portion of the track to force him wide, and maybe see if he’d bobble. But then he rode right at me, so I just tried to grab him. He was going too fast.”

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We caught up with Spud after the awards, and he was still mystified. “Other than my starts, I had a great day, but I don’t know what’s up with him trying to tackle me. I guess the guy couldn’t handle me beating him.” Laughingly, Spud finished with, “I’ll remember that next time.”

While they may be older, there’s no doubt that these guys aren’t short on competitive spirit.

WORLD VET UPDATE! We talked with Doug on Monday evening, and after a day to think about it, this is what he told us. “I definitely didn’t want my back to Spud, that’s why I turned to the direction that he’d be coming from. I didn’t realize he’d faded back like he did, otherwise I’d have gone for my bike and tried to get restarted. About that time is when he came around the corner, and he definitely wasn’t slowing down, so I went into defensive mode. It was reactive.”

“After the race I was pretty upset about throwing away the title and probably didn’t do the best job of explaining what had happened. Doing something like that is not what I’m all about.”

In other news, we also learned that Spud Walters won’t be racing full-time in ’04, but will be spending more time testing for Honda R&D. “I got a job in-house, and I’m working full-time for them. I’m a little bit disappointed in that, but I’ve got to start looking towards a career. Also, my kids are getting older, and I’ll get to spend weekends with them.”

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In more civil action, former National Champ Gary Jones was the awarded the Edison Dye Lifetime Achievement Award by Tom White during an intermission between motos. Gary still flies on the track, and judging by his smile, seems to always be having a great time. On vender row, there was a cool display with stories and photos of Gary’s factory days with Yamaha, Honda, Can-Am & Ammex, as well as one of the elusive Ammex bikes that he and his dad Don had worked to develop.

If you saw last week’s Thursday Theater video, you heard Michael Byrne mention that his new mechanic will be Mike Williamson, who wrenched for Grant Langston last year. Jonathan Lower (Ryno’s wrench) told us last weekend that GL’s new mechanic will be Oscar Wirderman, who has wrenched for Marnicq Bervoets, and Mickael Maschio as part of Jan de Groot’s Kawaski MX GP team, and he’s currently working on the Moto GP circuit working on Ohlins suspension components for the Ducati team that’s home to Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss. Whew! That’s enough name dropping, and we promise that’s as close as we’ll get to talking about road racing.

Here’s one more item we spotted while cruising the pits at Glen Helen. It’s a KXF250 pipe and silencer, the first Dr. D gear produced for something other than a Yamaha

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In other race action from last week, here’s a scene we never thought we’d see. It’s Mike Alessi and Jeremy McGrath on the track at the same time. It was at the CMA/Clawson Motorsports California Supercross event in Fresno, CA, and while it was only during practice, it’s still pretty interesting. Want more info from the race? Check here. The format definitely sounded rather interesting for the Bounty Hunter main event, with a single file inverted start.

Kevin Windham landed in SoCal yesterday and will spend the next week testing his CRF450R in preparation for the 2004 Supercross season. “I’ve been spinning a lot of laps on my Supercross track back home, said K-Dub. “I feel really great on the CRF450R and I am more excited about this upcoming season than I have ever been.

The last time K-Dub was in Cali testing (a month ago), he turned in lap times at the private Honda Supercross track that were very comparable with those of Ricky Carmichael. “The way we all do testing nowadays, with lap times and all, it’s easy to see where you stand, he said. “All I can say is that this year in the 250cc class is gonna be good! I just wish that James Stewart would get his butt into the 250cc class and mix it up with us. We second that opinion.

Last week, our friend David Vuillemin posted on MotoTalk that the Red Riders had lights set up at the private Honda Supercross test track. Intrigued by the idea, we stopped by Mike LaRocco‘s California home to see what was up. “The lights were paid for by the guys at Dunlop, said LaRocco. “They wanted to test some new tires for Supercross, and they felt that the only way to get an accurate test was to do it at night, in race conditions. Unfortunately, the lights were a temporary setup.

Mike LaRocco is also going to spend the next week doing extensive Supercross testing on his Honda CR250R. “We’ve got most of the suspension and chassis stuff sorted out already, but this week we will be working on our engine setups for the new unChamp Gary Jones was the awarded the Edison Dye Lifetime Achievement Award by Tom White during an intermission between motos. Gary still flies on the track, and judging by his smile, seems to always be having a great time. On vender row, there was a cool display with stories and photos of Gary’s factory days with Yamaha, Honda, Can-Am & Ammex, as well as one of the elusive Ammex bikes that he and his dad Don had worked to develop.

If you saw last week’s Thursday Theater video, you heard Michael Byrne mention that his new mechanic will be Mike Williamson, who wrenched for Grant Langston last year. Jonathan Lower (Ryno’s wrench) told us last weekend that GL’s new mechanic will be Oscar Wirderman, who has wrenched for Marnicq Bervoets, and Mickael Maschio as part of Jan de Groot’s Kawaski MX GP team, and he’s currently working on the Moto GP circuit working on Ohlins suspension components for the Ducati team that’s home to Loris Capirossi and Troy Bayliss. Whew! That’s enough name dropping, and we promise that’s as close as we’ll get to talking about road racing.

Here’s one more item we spotted while cruising the pits at Glen Helen. It’s a KXF250 pipe and silencer, the first Dr. D gear produced for something other than a Yamaha

[IMAGE 9]

In other race action from last week, here’s a scene we never thought we’d see. It’s Mike Alessi and Jeremy McGrath on the track at the same time. It was at the CMA/Clawson Motorsports California Supercross event in Fresno, CA, and while it was only during practice, it’s still pretty interesting. Want more info from the race? Check here. The format definitely sounded rather interesting for the Bounty Hunter main event, with a single file inverted start.

Kevin Windham landed in SoCal yesterday and will spend the next week testing his CRF450R in preparation for the 2004 Supercross season. “I’ve been spinning a lot of laps on my Supercross track back home, said K-Dub. “I feel really great on the CRF450R and I am more excited about this upcoming season than I have ever been.

The last time K-Dub was in Cali testing (a month ago), he turned in lap times at the private Honda Supercross track that were very comparable with those of Ricky Carmichael. “The way we all do testing nowadays, with lap times and all, it’s easy to see where you stand, he said. “All I can say is that this year in the 250cc class is gonna be good! I just wish that James Stewart would get his butt into the 250cc class and mix it up with us. We second that opinion.

Last week, our friend David Vuillemin posted on MotoTalk that the Red Riders had lights set up at the private Honda Supercross test track. Intrigued by the idea, we stopped by Mike LaRocco‘s California home to see what was up. “The lights were paid for by the guys at Dunlop, said LaRocco. “They wanted to test some new tires for Supercross, and they felt that the only way to get an accurate test was to do it at night, in race conditions. Unfortunately, the lights were a temporary setup.

Mike LaRocco is also going to spend the next week doing extensive Supercross testing on his Honda CR250R. “We’ve got most of the suspension and chassis stuff sorted out already, but this week we will be working on our engine setups for the new unleaded gas rule, said The Rock. “For me, the unleaded gas is a real bummer because I am real sensitive about jetting and how my bike runs. For 250cc two-strokes, the unleaded gas is not as big a deal as it is for the 125 guys, but it is hard to get the bike to run the same all race long on unleaded fuel. Plus, it makes the bike not run as clean up top.

When we asked Mike LaRocco why he didn’t just switch to a four-stroke to solve the problem, he replied, “That is the easy fix for a lot of guys, but I have been racing a 250cc two-stroke in Supercross my whole life. Changing and trying to learn how to race a four-stroke in Supercross at this point in my career would be difficult.

While on the subject of the twilight years of his career, we asked LaRocco if this, indeed, was a Supercross-only season for him. “Yeah, I finally got it all worked out, he said. “I’ll still do a few selected Nationals, but for me, I just didn’t feel competitive enough outdoors to do a full season. LaRocco will, however, race Supercross until at least 2005.

Team Mach 1 Yamaha’s Ezra Lusk was camped out at Kevin Windham and Alley Semar’s Corona homestead. Yogi is also in town to begin his 2004 Supercross testing. “I’ve only ridden a stock bike thus far, said Lusk. “I will get to ride my race bike, starting this week. So far, I really like the bike, and I think that 2004 will be a great season for me. Lusk will be in town for at least a couple weeks, so stay tuned to www.transworldmx.com for pics and a video of him in action aboard his new Yamaha YZ250.

In addition to being on an all-new bike in 2004, Ezra Lusk will also have a new look. Alongside K-Dub and the entire Metal Mulisha, Yogi will be decked out in No Fear.

[IMAGE 10] MOTO MP3

Swap was astounded when he took a trip to his local Target store last Thursday to buy a Halloween pumpkin and saw that the staff was already putting up Christmas decorations. Seems that the marketing for the December holiday starts earlier and earlier every year. Along those lines, we thought we would offer up a cool Christmas gift idea. Our buddy Brian Staben and the rest of the guys at Sound Factory make a trick helmet-mounted MotoMP3 player that is a breeze to install and operate. All of us at TWMX have had the chance to spin some motos with tunes in full effect, and Cooley and Garth swear by it. At $199.95, the MotoMP3 makes a great gift for the MXer on your list. For more info, check out www.motomp3.com.

[IMAGE 11] ICAT

While we¿re plugging products, we have to mention the iCAT, a product that we’ve been testing extensively over the past couple weeks. What is it? In plain English, the iCAT is an electrornic device that is installed in between your bike’s ignition coil and spark plug cap. The iCAT intensifies the energy of the spark, thus improving throttle response and the overall power of your bike. Thus far, we’ve installed it on a 2004 Honda CR125R, Honda CR250R, Honda CRF450R, Suzuki RM250, Yamaha YZ250F, Yamaha YZ250 and Kawasaki KX250F. Each time, the result has been very impressive. Stay tuned for a more detailed product report later this week. At $200, though, the iCAT is likely the best couple of bills you can spend on your bike to gain more performance. For more info, check out www.icatusa.com.

Of all the unique Halloween costumes we saw last weekend, the funniest had to be the dude dressed up like Metal Mulisha’s Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg. The Twitch wannabe, complete with Magic Marker neck tats, got us thinking…what’s Twitch been up to lately? We called Jeremy to see what he had crackin’ and this is what Stenberg had to say: “I’ve been getting ready, cuz’ this year I’m going to wi