Monday Kickstart: Viva Las Vegas

By the staff of TWMX. Photos by GuyB.

Here’s all the latest from last weekend in Las Vegas. Dig in…

Just when we were looking forward to starting the outdoor season with a round of recently healed riders, there’s been a whole new crop of injuries. James Stewart will undergo surgery this coming Tuesday to repair a broken collarbone Stewart had a spectacular crash during the 125 main on Saturday that knocked him out and broke his collarbone in two places. (Look for an interview with James near the bottom of this page).

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As much as we can appreciate Bubba giving props to Tony Haines (who was in Las Vegas to spectate) by running Tony’s number 259 on his bike, it was awfully cool to see the 1w on Bubba’s Chevy Trucks Kawasaki in Vegas.

Travis Preston is also scheduled for knee surgery this week (pending background checks of the donor ligaments he’ll need), and we’ll possibly see him back in action later in the season. He’s also starring on this month’s cover of TWMX, which will hit the newsstands soon.

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Danny Smith has already had two surgeries on his injured knee, and may miss the rest of 2003. Danny’s usual mechanic, Billy Felts, will fill in some of the time that Danny’s sidelined by spinning wrenches for Greg Albertyn at Glen Helen, and for Akira Narita at a couple of the nationals following the season-opener. Billy’s already looking forward to hunting up sushi with Akira.

Some familiar faces made their return to racing last weekend. Moto XXX’s Kyle Lewis returned after sitting out almost the entire season with a broken wrist. Aussie Michael Byrne also returned after sitting out most of the 125 East series with a broken thumb. Bynre ended up making the podium in the 125 Shootout, taking third.

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The weather was quite unusual for Las Vegas with high winds and low temperatures. The Las Vegas finale is usually in the 90s. The high was 68 degrees on Saturday and a low of 48 by the 125 main. Wind gusts shot through the stadium throughout the night and looked somewhat like a mini tornado at times. During the “hot lap” Chad Reed whipped it and the wind carried him so far he almost didn’t get the bike back around and had to stop and get his balance. He said it scared him pretty good!

The Las Vegas Supercross aired on Sunday on ABC. A lot of the industry personnel including Ricky Carmichael watched poolside at the Bud Light party at the Hard Rock hotel.

The 125 Shootout features top riders from the East and West series. Missing from action were 125 champ Branden Jesseman who had surgery to repair ligaments in his left thumb, 2002 125 West champ Travis Preston (with the injured kneed mentioned above) and 125 East rider Matt Walker who suffered a dislocated knee in Salt Lake.

Lots of special riding gear was in place for the finals in Vegas. Besides the gold lamé Fly Racing outfit that was set aside for Branden Jesseman before he got hurt, Matthieu Lalloz had a similar set (but in silver), the Team Subway MX riders had all-white Fly gear.

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Not to be outdone, Thor did up jerseys for the Yamaha of Troy guys with their state flag in the numbers.

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And finally, Ricky Carmichael anJames Stewart wore some pretty awesome gear made for them by Fox Racing. It was a tan “digital camouflage” that the troops are wearing in Iraq. Stewart also had some special boots that matched the gear with tan and green colors.

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Carmichael and Fonseca were sporting black armbands, as was all of Team Honda, in remembrance of Telfonica MoviStar Honda rider Daijiro Kato, who passed away on April 19 as a result of injuries suffered in the season-opening Japanese Grand Prix. The 27-year-old former 250 road racing champion left behind a wife and two children, one of which was born just prior to the fateful race.

A lot of press turned out for the Las Vegas finale to witness Chad Reed and Ricky Carmichael battle it out for the title. Sports Illustrated, The Los Angeles Times, ABC TV and The Greek Press were just a few who showed up. Tag Studios, the Producers of Supercross: The Movie, were also filming all weekend getting last minute “reality shots” as the season came to an end.

The finish line in Vegas featured a very different section. Rather than the typical tabletop, Dirt Wurx made a section of rollers. Some riders would triple, double out of it; others would double, double, single. The last set of doubles is where Stewart crashed in the main.

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The top privateer battle came down to a ten-point difference heading into Las Vegas. Keith Johnson had the lead but Ryan Clark was ready to do battle. Unfortunately, Clark missed the main after crashing twice in the LCQ. Johnson took home the U.S. Tobacco bonus of $25,000, plus a brand new Nissan Frontier. Johnson was given the keys following the 250 main and drove the truck out of stadium.

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Chad Reed had a nice surprise last weekend. His parents flew in from Australia to see him take his sixth straight victory. Chad said, “My parents have only flown to New Zealand which is a two-hour flight. I haven’t seen them since last October.” Chad mentioned multiple times over the weekend how happy he was that his family was there to see him racing in America.

TheSupercross season ended with a bang Sunday night as the annual Clear Channel banquet went off. Some notable award winners were Team Yamaha for top team, Ryan Clark for the 100% award, Chad Reed was finally given his number one plate for winning the THQ World GP title, Jim Perry of Yamaha took the Top Team Manager award and Steve Bruhn of Motonews took the Motor Racing Outreach Humanitarian award. The top 20 250 riders were given their bonuses as well as the four champions. Congratulations everyone on a wonderful season! Andrew Short was given a $5,000 check for winning the 125 shootout and the Coombs family threw in an extra $5,000 cash on top of it. The 125 shootout was created and named after Dave Coombs Sr.

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Clear Channel’s Charlie Mancuso announced that the legacy of Jeremy McGrath will live on. Beginning next year, the 250 trophy will be called the “Jeremy McGrath” trophy. Also, a statue will be erected of MC in the AMA Museum and with cooperation, it may be placed at Edison International Field in Anaheim. Also, a scholarship fund will be set up in Jeremy McGrath’s name and he will decide how the money will be spent.

At the 3D Racing trailer, they were showing off an electric MX bike that attracted lots of attention. Riders who tried it were surprised at the power and and speed. Of course, it was also really quiet, and you guessed it…the powerband was described as electric. Want more info? Check out www.electricmoto.com.

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Tiger Lacey silently (and effortlessly) lofts the front end. Everyone who rode the bike said that they were surprised how powerful it was.

Blair Morgan was making his first two-wheeled start of the season after a successful winter season aboard the sleds. Look for Blair at a couple of the early U.S. nationals before he heads back home to Canada for the Canadian national season with teammate Craig Decker. Blair’s night in Vegas was all about getting acclimated to two wheels again.

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Last Thursday at Glen Helen was the last day for testing for the traveling pros before heading out to Las Vegas for the final round of supercross, and plenty of teams were there getting ready for action. ECC, KTM, Motoworldracing.com, Speedy Cycles (Steve Mertens), and a full slate of Sobe Suzuki riders were in attendance. Some of the most interesting tidbits were Casey Johnson getting acclimated to a 125 Suzuki after riding several of the 4-Stroke Nationals. He picked up a last-minute ride after Branden Jesseman’s injury. Also, Stephane Roncada will spend the summer aboard the tiddlers after getting clearance from his doctor after his recent leg surgery. Now he’s just working on his stamina. When we talked to him there, he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready in time for Glen Helen.

Travis Pastrana was putting in laps and looked strong and smooth. Also back in action was Steve Lamson, who rode well into the afternoon.

Got a European-flavored moto-fascination? Here’s the results from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Europe held in Teutschenthal, Germany

125cc Results

  1. Mark De Reuver (Ned),
  2. Mickael Maschio (Fra)
  3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita)
  4. Steve Ramon (Bel)
  5. Tyla Rattray (RSA)
  6. Rodrig Thain (Fra)
  7. Luigi Seguy (Fra)
  8. Stephen Sword (Eng)
  9. Erik Eggens (Ned)
  10. Davide Guarnieri (Ita)

125cc Standings (after three rounds)

  1. Mark De Reuver (Ned), 60 points
  2. Steve Ramon (Bel), 59 points
  3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita), 55 points
  4. Mickaà«l Maschio (Fra), 47 points
  5. Alessio Chiodi (Ita), 38 points
  6. Tyla Rattray (RSA), 38 points
  7. Stephen Sword (Eng), 37 points
  8. Rodrig Thain (Fra), 37 points
  9. Erik Eggens (Ned), 34 points
  10. Luigi Seguy (Fra)

650cc Results

  1. Joel Smets (Bel)
  2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa)
  3. Cédric Melotte (Bel)
  4. Stuart Flockhart (Eng)
  5. Bernd Eckenbach (Dui)
  6. Michal Kadlecek (Cze)
  7. Thierry Bethys (Fra)
  8. Mark Eastwood (Eng)
  9. Danny Theybers (Bel)
  10. Fabrizio Dini (Ita)

650cc Standings (after three rounds)

  1. Joel Smets (Bel), 75 points
  2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa), 66 points
  3. Cedric Melotte (Bel), 58 points
  4. Danny Theybers (Bel), 37 points
  5. Mark Eastwood (Eng), 34 points
  6. Stuart Flockhart (Eng), 29 points
  7. Michal Kadlecek, (28 points)
  8. Trampas Parker (USA), 28 points
  9. Bernd Eckenbach (Ger), 27 points
  10. Pierrick Paget (Fra), 26 points

MXGP Results

  1. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra)
  2. Gordon Crockard (Irl)
  3. Joel Smets (Bel)
  4. Stefan Everts (Bel)
  5. Marnicq Bervoets (Bel)
  6. Brian Jörgensen (Den)
  7. Claudio Federici (Ita)
  8. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor)
  9. Paul Cooper (Eng)
  10. Marc Ristori (Swi)

MXGP Standings (after three rounds)

  1. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra), 75 points
  2. Joel Smets (Bel), 64 points
  3. Stefan Everts (Bel), 50 points
  4. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor), 48 points
  5. Brian Jörgensen (strong>Blair Morgan was making his first two-wheeled start of the season after a successful winter season aboard the sleds. Look for Blair at a couple of the early U.S. nationals before he heads back home to Canada for the Canadian national season with teammate Craig Decker. Blair’s night in Vegas was all about getting acclimated to two wheels again.

    [IMAGE 11]

    Last Thursday at Glen Helen was the last day for testing for the traveling pros before heading out to Las Vegas for the final round of supercross, and plenty of teams were there getting ready for action. ECC, KTM, Motoworldracing.com, Speedy Cycles (Steve Mertens), and a full slate of Sobe Suzuki riders were in attendance. Some of the most interesting tidbits were Casey Johnson getting acclimated to a 125 Suzuki after riding several of the 4-Stroke Nationals. He picked up a last-minute ride after Branden Jesseman’s injury. Also, Stephane Roncada will spend the summer aboard the tiddlers after getting clearance from his doctor after his recent leg surgery. Now he’s just working on his stamina. When we talked to him there, he wasn’t sure if he’d be ready in time for Glen Helen.

    Travis Pastrana was putting in laps and looked strong and smooth. Also back in action was Steve Lamson, who rode well into the afternoon.

    Got a European-flavored moto-fascination? Here’s the results from last weekend’s Grand Prix of Europe held in Teutschenthal, Germany

    125cc Results

    1. Mark De Reuver (Ned),
    2. Mickael Maschio (Fra)
    3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita)
    4. Steve Ramon (Bel)
    5. Tyla Rattray (RSA)
    6. Rodrig Thain (Fra)
    7. Luigi Seguy (Fra)
    8. Stephen Sword (Eng)
    9. Erik Eggens (Ned)
    10. Davide Guarnieri (Ita)

    125cc Standings (after three rounds)

    1. Mark De Reuver (Ned), 60 points
    2. Steve Ramon (Bel), 59 points
    3. Andrea Bartolini (Ita), 55 points
    4. Mickaà«l Maschio (Fra), 47 points
    5. Alessio Chiodi (Ita), 38 points
    6. Tyla Rattray (RSA), 38 points
    7. Stephen Sword (Eng), 37 points
    8. Rodrig Thain (Fra), 37 points
    9. Erik Eggens (Ned), 34 points
    10. Luigi Seguy (Fra)

    650cc Results

    1. Joel Smets (Bel)
    2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa)
    3. Cédric Melotte (Bel)
    4. Stuart Flockhart (Eng)
    5. Bernd Eckenbach (Dui)
    6. Michal Kadlecek (Cze)
    7. Thierry Bethys (Fra)
    8. Mark Eastwood (Eng)
    9. Danny Theybers (Bel)
    10. Fabrizio Dini (Ita)

    650cc Standings (after three rounds)

    1. Joel Smets (Bel), 75 points
    2. Garcia Vico Javier (Spa), 66 points
    3. Cedric Melotte (Bel), 58 points
    4. Danny Theybers (Bel), 37 points
    5. Mark Eastwood (Eng), 34 points
    6. Stuart Flockhart (Eng), 29 points
    7. Michal Kadlecek, (28 points)
    8. Trampas Parker (USA), 28 points
    9. Bernd Eckenbach (Ger), 27 points
    10. Pierrick Paget (Fra), 26 points

    MXGP Results

    1. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra)
    2. Gordon Crockard (Irl)
    3. Joel Smets (Bel)
    4. Stefan Everts (Bel)
    5. Marnicq Bervoets (Bel)
    6. Brian Jörgensen (Den)
    7. Claudio Federici (Ita)
    8. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor)
    9. Paul Cooper (Eng)
    10. Marc Ristori (Swi)

    MXGP Standings (after three rounds)

    1. Mickaà«l Pichon (Fra), 75 points
    2. Joel Smets (Bel), 64 points
    3. Stefan Everts (Bel), 50 points
    4. Kenneth Gundersen (Nor), 48 points
    5. Brian Jörgensen (Den), 47 points
    6. Gordon Crockard (Irl) 40 points
    7. Kevin Strijbos (Bel), 32 points
    8. Claudio Federici (Ita), 29 points
    9. Andrew McFarlane (Aus), 29 points
    10. Yoshitaka Atsuta (Jap), 25 points

    Bonus Interview with James Stewart from the Supercross Banquet

    TransWorld Motocross: James, were so happy to see you here. What exactly is your injury?

    James Stewart: I broke my collarbone in two places. I’m going to San Diego on Tuesday to have surgery. I should be out a couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll be back for Mt. Morris.

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    TWMX: You think you’ll be ready that soon?

    JS: Well, we’re going to see what happens. If someone is out there winning all of the races I might wait until a little longer in the season but if different people are winning every race, I’ll probably come back for Mt. Morris.

    TWMX: What did you think today when you saw your crash on ABC for the first time?

    JS: You know, it brought back a couple bad memories. I really didn’t want to watch it but I wanted to see it so I never make that mistake again. I really didn’t remember the crash until I saw it on TV.

    TWMX: How did you feel when you found out how concerned everyone was for you?

    JS: It made me feel so good. The AMA and Clear Channel did a great job of keeping me safe out there. I can’t thank them enough. I just want to congratulate Andrew Short on winning the East/West shootout. If it wasn’t me, I’m glad he won it. He rode an awesome race and I wish we could have done battle. I also wish Branden Jesseman a speedy recovery.

    TWMX: Despite the pain you enduring right now, are you happy to came out to the banquet tonight?

    JS: Oh year, I’m so pumped. Clear Channel puts on the greatest banquet and I can’t wait to go to the AMA banquet after the outdoors. Clear Channel and Charlie Mancuso and ESPN, you know I have to thank all of them for doing a great job here in Vegas.

    TWMX: Thanks James and we all wish you a quick recovery!

    JS: Thanks, Jamie.


    Q&A with Keith Johnson

    TWMX: Has becoming the “Top Privateer” sunk in yet?

    Keith Johnson: Yeah, I think it sunk in when I went up there on stage (at the banquet) and tried to talk in front of everyone. It’s pretty emotional tonight with everything going on and it’s finally sunk in.

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    TWMX: Your winnings total $81,000! Did that surprise you?

    KJ: Yeah. I haven’t really been keeping track of it, but hopefully the IRS hasn’t been tracking it either!

    TWMX: So, how did it feel Saturday night getting in that brand new track and driving off the track?

    KJ: I didn’t know what I should do…if I should jump around or laugh or cry. I’ve never been in this situation before. I feel really good, I’m happy.

    TWMX: Are you going to buy anything special with your winnings?

    KJ: I’d like to but I don’t want to be a dumbass and blow it. I’m going to try and invest it so when I’m 50 and old and can’t do anything I’ll have some money still.

    TWMX: So, what’s the plan for your team for next year?

    KJ: After I won the Frontier they told me they’re giving out a Nissan Titan next year. So, I said, “Damn I’m staying a privateer, the factories are overrated. I’m gonna stay and back the privateer thing and win that Titan!”

    TWMX: Great job, Keith, and good luck getting that Titan next year!

    KJ: Thank you!

    And finally…

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    ), 47 points

  6. Gordon Crockard (Irl) 40 points
  7. Kevin Strijbos (Bel), 32 points
  8. Claudio Federici (Ita), 29 points
  9. Andrew McFarlane (Aus), 29 points
  10. Yoshitaka Atsuta (Jap), 25 points

Bonus Interview with James Stewart from the Supercross Banquet

TransWorld Motocross: James, were so happy to see you here. What exactly is your injury?

James Stewart: I broke my collarbone in two places. I’m going to San Diego on Tuesday to have surgery. I should be out a couple of weeks and hopefully I’ll be back for Mt. Morris.

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TWMX: You think you’ll be ready that soon?

JS: Well, we’re going to see what happens. If someone is out there winning all of the races I might wait until a little longer in the season but if different people are winning every race, I’ll probably come back for Mt. Morris.

TWMX: What did you think today when you saw your crash on ABC for the first time?

JS: You know, it brought back a couple bad memories. I really didn’t want to watch it but I wanted to see it so I never make that mistake again. I really didn’t remember the crash until I saw it on TV.

TWMX: How did you feel when you found out how concerned everyone was for you?

JS: It made me feel so good. The AMA and Clear Channel did a great job of keeping me safe out there. I can’t thank them enough. I just want to congratulate Andrew Short on winning the East/West shootout. If it wasn’t me, I’m glad he won it. He rode an awesome race and I wish we could have done battle. I also wish Branden Jesseman a speedy recovery.

TWMX: Despite the pain you enduring right now, are you happy to came out to the banquet tonight?

JS: Oh year, I’m so pumped. Clear Channel puts on the greatest banquet and I can’t wait to go to the AMA banquet after the outdoors. Clear Channel and Charlie Mancuso and ESPN, you know I have to thank all of them for doing a great job here in Vegas.

TWMX: Thanks James and we all wish you a quick recovery!

JS: Thanks, Jamie.


Q&A with Keith Johnson

TWMX: Has becoming the “Top Privateer” sunk in yet?

Keith Johnson: Yeah, I think it sunk in when I went up there on stage (at the banquet) and tried to talk in front of everyone. It’s pretty emotional tonight with everything going on and it’s finally sunk in.

[IMAGE 13]

TWMX: Your winnings total $81,000! Did that surprise you?

KJ: Yeah. I haven’t really been keeping track of it, but hopefully the IRS hasn’t been tracking it either!

TWMX: So, how did it feel Saturday night getting in that brand new track and driving off the track?

KJ: I didn’t know what I should do…if I should jump around or laugh or cry. I’ve never been in this situation before. I feel really good, I’m happy.

TWMX: Are you going to buy anything special with your winnings?

KJ: I’d like to but I don’t want to be a dumbass and blow it. I’m going to try and invest it so when I’m 50 and old and can’t do anything I’ll have some money still.

TWMX: So, what’s the plan for your team for next year?

KJ: After I won the Frontier they told me they’re giving out a Nissan Titan next year. So, I said, “Damn I’m staying a privateer, the factories are overrated. I’m gonna stay and back the privateer thing and win that Titan!”

TWMX: Great job, Keith, and good luck getting that Titan next year!

KJ: Thank you!

And finally…

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