Monday Madness: Phoenix Supercross

By Erick “Big E” Bartoldus and Steve “Guy B” Giberson. Photos by Guy B.

Check out this Better Business Bureau billboard that we spotted in Phoenix…complete with a guy busting a Superman on an old RM.

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Is Honda hiding something, or just always secretive? In Phoenix the way the pits were laid out, the side window of Yamaha’s hauler had a clear view into the Honda pits. The Honda guys set up a ladder next to the trailer, and put up a cardboard box to obstruct the view.

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The supercross season hasn’t exactly been kind to the GP competitors who came over to the U.S. for early season training on the supercross circuit. KTM 125cc ace Ben Townley got injured before Anaheim, but will be on his way home soon to recuperate. 125cc World Champ Mickael Maschio tweaked a knee at Anaheim and didn’t show up in Phoenix, while CAS Honda’s Josh Coppins broke bones in his left ankle and right foot in Phoenix.

Bubba Stewart did some starting practice in the week before Phoenix with Jeff Emig. Asked if it helped, James said, “I wasn’t dead last into the first turn, so I guess it helped some.”

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There’s no word on a release date yet, but fans of the Motocross Madness video game will be psyched to hear that an X Box and PS2 version of the game are in the works. People who have seen early versions of the game say that it’s really cool, and Stephane Roncada says they’re dialing in the ability to whip the bike over jumps.

David Vuillemin was spotted eating food “acquired” from the catering area at the Parts Unlimited rig. Fly reportedly has a new bus for Le Cobra to hang out in that will be ready for next weekend, so he won’t have to rely on handouts. He’s also supposed to have his new Fly DV12 gear by Anaheim 2.

Here is an interesting note; within a five-week period, Supercross will travels to both of last year’s World Series venues AND the Super Bowl venue. Do what you want with it, I just thought it was worth noting. When does that ever happen?

Damon Huffman (rather than Jean-Sebastien Roy) will replace the injured Kyle Lewis during the duration of the 2003 supercross season. Damon was wearing O’Neal Moto XXX team gear, rather than the Skin Industries gear that he was sporting at Anaheim 1.

Big news this past week saw Jeremy McGrath’s main sponsor Bud Light pull out of Jeremy’s farewell tour. That left MC with his #2 machine under the KTM tent (with Hot Wheels Graphics on it), and him signing autographs over at the Parts Unlimited tent. He also signed at KTM as well. All this and he still has the longest lines for an autograph!

In a weird twist, Bud Light ran last year’s commercial on the Jumbotron in Phoenix. It was the one with McGrath in it. It stated how proud Bud Light was to sponsor the seven-time SX Champ. How ironic.

Grant Langston is using a custom-made aluminum gas tank for his KTM250SX. Grant says he wants a wider tank where the seat meets the tank in order to grip the bike better.

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Ernesto Fonseca is not cutting his hair until he gets on the podium in SX. Already looking a little on the shaggy side, let’s hope the small-framed Fonseca steps it up.

In the press conference, Ezra Lusk kept the jokes flowing about his baby that is due any day now coming out looking like Bubba. “Bubba’s betting me that my baby is black. He won’t be at the next race if that’s true.” said Lusk.


Mini-View: Travis Pastrana

We caught up with Travis Pastrana, and got a few question in, in-between him icing his knees after a practice session and looking over video of practice with Gary Bailey.

TransWorld Motocross: So how are the knees?

Travis Pastrana: That’s a good question. The knees are really good. Obviously it’s not bad for the races, it’s just hard ’cause we’re not getting the amount of time I’d prefer before the race. But you can’t just take off a couple rounds to get healthy at the beginning of the season. It just won’t work.

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TWMX: How is your stamina, considering the amount of training you’ve had?

TP: I would have liked to have had a little bit more, but I can make 15 (laps) strong. Obviously you want to make more than 15, but I feel like if I can get out there in the beginning, it should be good.

TWMX: Can you explain the Village Idiot thing on the back of your pants?

TP: (Laughs) I was kind of joking. Actually, if you’ve ever seen in Motocross Action, they had a whole bunch of people that wrote in. I have it framed in my workout room where all the guys said my career’s done…that I don’t want it, I’m not training, and I’m not tough enough to be up there. I find it funny because they say the truth hurts, but when it’s not it doesn’t affect you too much. I mean, it could kind of backfire on me if the season goes down the drain. So hopefully this year I’ll just go out there and prove everyone wrong. That’s the goal anyway.

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A lot guys have asked me, “What are you doing?” I said Roncada should have Computer Geek on his butt, then we’d been the cool stupid team.

TWMX: It looked like you were really tiptoeing around Mike LaRocco in the main at Anaheim.

TP: LaRocco’s a great guy. All my best friends are best friends with Mike. I’m scared to death of him. I saw Reed taking off and I was thinking, “He’s gone.” I’m in the top three, Carmichael’s way back, Vuillemin’s way back and I can just cruise to a second. I won’t have to worry about crashing, I’m not going to be a moron, and then boom! LaRocco goes down. I come over a blind jump and nail him. So that strategy didn’t work at all. I think I’m just going to go pin it this weekend.

I feel really confident. I know my speed’s there. Speed hasn’t really been a big issue for me, ever. When James steps up, then speed’s going to be another issue. James is the man. But I feel like I can run with anyone out there, for sure. Especially Reed, he’s perfect, he’s smooth, he does everything every lap the exact same, but I know in my heart I can go faster. That doesn’t win races, but it’s good to know.

[IMAGE 7] On an internet bulletin board or two, people have asked what kind of knee protection Travis Pastrana is using. Here’s your answer.