TWMX Monday Kickstart: Daytona Edition

Unless you live in a cave, you should already know that Team Honda’s Ricky Carmichael won his fourth consecutive Daytona Supercross by Honda this weekend, tying Jeff Stanton’s record for the most straight wins at the speedway. Stanton won the event in ’89, ’90, ’91 and ’92, and Carmichael has won the event every year since ’00, when he scored his first-ever 250cc Supercross win. “We joked about it a bunch, but I knew he was going to tie the record and next year he’ll beat the record,” said Stanton. “To win four races here is awesome. This is the hardest race ever. It’s so dang tough and it takes a lot to dig down deep and win.” So dominant was RC, that he actually lapped up to third place, in spite of at least two very close calls in the muddy conditions. “I got a little kicked sideways off one of the triples towards the end of the race and was thinking, ‘Uh-oh,'” said RC. “But I held on tight, landed on the side of the jump, clipped a hay bale and pulled it off.” RC’s other close call came on the last lap of the race, when his front wheel washed in the muddy whoop section. If it were anyone else, we’re sure they would have crashed.

The Daytona Supercross by Honda is a unique event. Held in the infield of Daytona International Speedway, the sandy course is longer than a traditional SX track and is certainly a hell of a lot rougher. Supercross-style obstacles are tough enough, but throw in National-style bumps, holes, ruts and acceleration chop, and you’ve got a whole different ball game. Back in the day, even The King of Supercross feared the event. “The Daytona race isn’t a real Supercross,” said McGrath, before he went on to win the prestigious event in ’96, ’98 and ’99. “Get me to a real Supercross track and I’ll show these guys what’s up.” Because the race requires completely different suspension and motor settings, all of the teams spend the week prior to the race practicing and testing in the Florida sand.

Gary Bailey did a great job whipping the Daytona track into race shape, considering the amount of rain that fell on it in the days preceding the event. “We kept the jumps covered with tarps and trucked in a bunch of extra clay,” said Bailey. “There were lakes in between the jumps that were covered and we had to pump water out. Considering all that, I think the track turned out pretty good!”

Super-deep ruts were the order of the day, and riding out of them could spell disaster and several lost positions. “Those ruts out there are bike eaters,” said eventual fourth-place finisher Travis Preston. “It might not have been so bad for those little guys, but I was struggling to keep my long legs and big feet out of the mud!” Preston’s fourth-place finish at Daytona matches the Anaheim III and San Diego finishes of his teammate Michael Byrne. “We joked about it a little,” said Byrne. “As 125 guys, we were waiting to see who did better on a 250 on the opposite coasts. Travis rode well, I am happy for him. Fourth is good, but he still has to do it twice to tie me!”

Speaking of Michael Byrne, the fast Aussie elected to stay home in Southern California, instead of flying to Daytona to watch in the mud. “I’ve still got the cast on my wrist,” said Byrne. “I didn’t want to get it wet in the rain! Of course, I would have rather been out there racing because I don’t mind the mud, but it was fun watching it on television that same night.” When asked if he avoided getting any race results before the event aired on television, Burner replied, “No, I got the results over the phone, and I’m glad, because that coverage wasn’t the greatest.”

Anyone who watched the same-day coverage of the Daytona Supercross by Honda knows thaTeam Yamaha’s David Vuillemin suffered a horrendous crash during his heat race. The Cobra clipped the landing of a double and went over the bars violently, landing head-first in the mud and suffering a fractured C5 vertebrae. DV was spitting up blood and was transported to Halifax Hospital, but he was released at 8:30 p.m. and walked out unassisted. Cobra returned to France to see his personal physician, and will be out for at least six to eight weeks. Check out his Web site for video of the crash. www.dv12.com.

Daytona marked the last race the Vuillemin and his mechanic Craig Monty teamed up for, as Monty has taken a sales job with Fox Racing, managing the San Diego, California, area. Together, the duo won eight Supercrosses. As we reported last week, Jason Haines will fill in as DV’s mechanic.

Interesting fact: Now-retired mechanic Craig Monty won the first-ever race he worked at, as he wrenched for Sebastien Tortelli back in 1998 when he won the Los Angeles Coliseum SX. At the time, Seb was testing the waters in the 250cc Supercross class before returning to the World Championships.

The overall attendance at Daytona Bike Week was down almost 40%. Snow in the northeast and pounding rain during the week prior to Bike Week were contributing factors. We’ve always wondered; with all of the Harley goons who transport their Hogs to Daytona via trailer, shouldn’t it be called Daytona Trailer Week?

Mach 1 Yamaha’s Nick Wey and Red Bull KTM’s Joaquim Rodriguez get the big balls award at Daytona. The two were the first to jump the huge triple jumps at Daytona in the muddy conditions.

A red flag at a Supercross? Team Sobe Suzuki’s Sean Hamblin holeshot his heat race but when a multi-rider pileup occurred behind him, he was greeted with a red flag as he completed the first lap. “I was looking at the flag, thinking, ‘What the heck is that?'” said Hamy. “I thought I was back at a CMC Golden State National again!” When was the last time a Supercross or National was red-flagged? The only incidence TWMX can think of was when Rick Johnson got knocked out at the Anaheim SX back in 1987.

That said, we phoned up the seven-time champ to see. “I think that was the only other time a race got red flagged,” agreed Johnson, speaking of his Anaheim KO. “I can’t think of another time.” When we asked him about that crash, RJ spoke about it as if it had happened just yesterday, not 16 years ago. ‘I had just gotten my ankle scoped the week prior,” Said RJ. “I saw that I was gonna case the triple so I lifted my bad ankle off the peg to help lessen the blow, but my other leg buckled and I went over the bars. The worst thing about that crash wasn’t the concussion, either! When I woke up, they had a tube stuck down my throat and I ripped it out. I did more damage to my throat than I suffered in the actual crash itself!” Check out RJ’s excellent columns on www.supercross.com.

Sobe Suzuki’s Sean Hamblin started a strong third in the 250cc main event, crashed, worked his way back up to fifth, and faded to an eventual 10th. “I fell down in the mud and got stuck,” said Hamblin. “It took a lot of energy to get my bike out of the mud, but I worked back up to fifth. I was riding well, but I totally hit the wall and faded back. Not back, considering I am a California boy with hardly any mud experience.”

And what of the bet between Hamy and Branden Jesseman’s mechanic James Coy? “He bet me that I couldn’t finish top five at Daytona,” said Hamblin. “I never really had a bet with Roger DeCoster, like people on the Internet were assuming.” If Hamy had finished inside the top five at Daytona, Coy would have had to jog around the Suzuki Supercross test track for 30 minutes. Since he didn’t, however, Coy is entitled to a full truck detailing by Suzuki’s newest star. “He isn’t gonna make me pay up, though,” said Hamy. “James said I rode good, so I don’t have to pay up.” Hmm… were betting that if Hamy did finish fifth or better, he would have made Coy pay up!

It looks as if Sean Hamblin will remain on a Suzuki RM250 when the Supercross series heads west. “It’s looking like I will stay in the 250cc class,” said Hamblin. “Everyone was pretty stoked with my fifth at Indianapolis, and I am not in title contention in the 125cc class, so it looks like this is where I will finish the Supercross series—in the 250cc class.” When we asked him about which class he’d prefer to race outdoors, Hamblin replied “I don’t care. Put me on a Suzuki and I’ll be good to go!” For now, Hamblin is slated to contest the 125cc National Championship.

David Vuillemin, Timmy Ferry and Chad Reed joined 18 past Yamaha champions in the Yamaha Weekend of Champions autograph signing sessions and ceremonies. Oddly enough, Jeremy McGrath was not on hand…

During the Yamaha Weekend of Champions autograph sessions, David Vuillemin got the chance to sit next to an idol of his own: The Beast From the East, Damon Bradshaw. “Bradshaw was my idol growing up!” said The Cobra. “It was cool signing autographs alongside him!”

Team Mach 1 Yamaha’s Heath Voss was spotted wearing an open face street helmet, cruising up and down Main Street in Daytona aboard a Yamaha V-Max, one of the fastest and most powerful production street bikes made. We expected at least a wheelie or two out of Voss, but the Daytona PD was in full effect and good ol’ number 28 kept his cool.

Early happy birthday wishes to Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed, who will turn 21 next Saturday, March 15. Coincidentally, the season takes a break next weekend and Chad will be able to celebrate his birthday at home in his new Florida residence.

Team Sobe Suzuki’s Stephane Roncada also has a birthday coming up: he turns 24 this Sunday. RonRon celebrated his birthday with his American friends earlier this week, as he left for France today to see his personal French physician. Roncada underwent surgery to repair the broken fibula and tibula he suffered in Minneapolis. “The surgery went well,” said RonRon. “I am flying home to see my doctor for a check up, and also to visit friends and relatives. I should be able to start training on a bicycle next week.”

Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco returned to action in Daytona after suffering a concussion three weeks earlier at the Atlanta SX. Sadly, Hot Sauce crashed again during Saturday morning’s practice session and suffered some badly bruised ribs. Considered a favorite for the East Coast 125cc SX Championship prior to the season, Tedesco’s has to be looking forward to the 125cc Nationals for a fresh start.

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Both Ricky Carmichael and David Vuillemin showed up at Daytona in some special, one-off riding gear. RC’s familiar yellow or orange Fox Racing Technique gear was replaced with an all-white set, while Cobra’s gear sponsor Fly Racing was like-minded as they made Vuillemin a set of all-white Fly 208 gear. “Daytona is usually hot and humid,” said Cobra, before the race. “We were thinking that the all-white gear would be good in the hot weather, but now it is raining and muddy.” Nonetheless, the all-white outfits that both riders sported were stunning in contrast to the dark Daytona mud.

During Team Chevy Tming.” If Hamy had finished inside the top five at Daytona, Coy would have had to jog around the Suzuki Supercross test track for 30 minutes. Since he didn’t, however, Coy is entitled to a full truck detailing by Suzuki’s newest star. “He isn’t gonna make me pay up, though,” said Hamy. “James said I rode good, so I don’t have to pay up.” Hmm… were betting that if Hamy did finish fifth or better, he would have made Coy pay up!

It looks as if Sean Hamblin will remain on a Suzuki RM250 when the Supercross series heads west. “It’s looking like I will stay in the 250cc class,” said Hamblin. “Everyone was pretty stoked with my fifth at Indianapolis, and I am not in title contention in the 125cc class, so it looks like this is where I will finish the Supercross series—in the 250cc class.” When we asked him about which class he’d prefer to race outdoors, Hamblin replied “I don’t care. Put me on a Suzuki and I’ll be good to go!” For now, Hamblin is slated to contest the 125cc National Championship.

David Vuillemin, Timmy Ferry and Chad Reed joined 18 past Yamaha champions in the Yamaha Weekend of Champions autograph signing sessions and ceremonies. Oddly enough, Jeremy McGrath was not on hand…

During the Yamaha Weekend of Champions autograph sessions, David Vuillemin got the chance to sit next to an idol of his own: The Beast From the East, Damon Bradshaw. “Bradshaw was my idol growing up!” said The Cobra. “It was cool signing autographs alongside him!”

Team Mach 1 Yamaha’s Heath Voss was spotted wearing an open face street helmet, cruising up and down Main Street in Daytona aboard a Yamaha V-Max, one of the fastest and most powerful production street bikes made. We expected at least a wheelie or two out of Voss, but the Daytona PD was in full effect and good ol’ number 28 kept his cool.

Early happy birthday wishes to Team Yamaha’s Chad Reed, who will turn 21 next Saturday, March 15. Coincidentally, the season takes a break next weekend and Chad will be able to celebrate his birthday at home in his new Florida residence.

Team Sobe Suzuki’s Stephane Roncada also has a birthday coming up: he turns 24 this Sunday. RonRon celebrated his birthday with his American friends earlier this week, as he left for France today to see his personal French physician. Roncada underwent surgery to repair the broken fibula and tibula he suffered in Minneapolis. “The surgery went well,” said RonRon. “I am flying home to see my doctor for a check up, and also to visit friends and relatives. I should be able to start training on a bicycle next week.”

Boost Mobile/Yamaha/Troy Racing’s Ivan Tedesco returned to action in Daytona after suffering a concussion three weeks earlier at the Atlanta SX. Sadly, Hot Sauce crashed again during Saturday morning’s practice session and suffered some badly bruised ribs. Considered a favorite for the East Coast 125cc SX Championship prior to the season, Tedesco’s has to be looking forward to the 125cc Nationals for a fresh start.

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Both Ricky Carmichael and David Vuillemin showed up at Daytona in some special, one-off riding gear. RC’s familiar yellow or orange Fox Racing Technique gear was replaced with an all-white set, while Cobra’s gear sponsor Fly Racing was like-minded as they made Vuillemin a set of all-white Fly 208 gear. “Daytona is usually hot and humid,” said Cobra, before the race. “We were thinking that the all-white gear would be good in the hot weather, but now it is raining and muddy.” Nonetheless, the all-white outfits that both riders sported were stunning in contrast to the dark Daytona mud.

During Team Chevy Trucks Kawasaki’s week-long stay in the Florida/Georgia area for pre-Daytona testing, Bainbridge local Ezra Lusk took the crew to one of his favorite “down home” eateries for some home-style cooking. Apparently, the vittles and fixin’s didn’t agree with team mechanic Dan Worley, as he spent the next several days “roosting” out of both ends.

With the conditions at Daytona being as muddy as they were, we couldn’t help but wonder if 125cc class winner Mike Brown has an advantage. “All of those mud races I did in Europe in the 125cc World Championships helped, that’s for sure,” said Brown. “Though I must say that the mud in Daytona didn’t compare to some of the mud bogs I raced in Europe!” Congratulations, Mike.

Sidelined Red Bull KTM rider Grant Langston phoned the TransWorld Motocross offices, just as we were wrapping up this weekend’s edition of Monday Kickstart. Seems LL Cool G just moved into a new home in Temecula, California, after selling his Tuscany Hills residence in a mere four days. “It was funny, I listed it on Monday and had signed the papers already by Friday,” said Cool G. When we asked him if the want ad said, “For more details about the house, see www.transworldmx.com and click ‘Touring Grant Langston’s House,'” Grant replied, “Ha! It should have! I have heard nothing but compliments about how funny that video was!” Still haven’t seen it? Check it out here. (It’s a big file, so it’s best for broadband users). Also, be sure to check out the photos.videos section for new goodies.

Langston also said that because he doesn’t have cable television in his new house set up yet, he was unable to watch the same-day broadcast of the Daytona Supercross by Honda. “I actually had it better!” he said. “I had Matt Chapman from Etnies giving me live reports on his cel phone!”

And the phone calls continue… Team Honda’s Erik Kehoe just phoned in from Ricky Carmichael’s home in Tallahassee, Florida, where all of the uninjured Honda riders are starting their testing for the upcoming National Championships. “Ricky is an animal,” said Kehoe. “He just won the gnarliest race on the planet on Saturday, and he’s out there hammering it on his outdoor bike.” While we spoke, we heard a four-stroke CRF450R thunder past and we asked if it was Travis Preston riding the bike. “Yeah, that’s him,” said Kehoe. When we asked if Honda was planning on keeping the Western Region 125cc SX Champ on the big 450 for the 250cc Nationals, Hog replied, “Maybe. I mean, it’s all up in the air right now. For now, he is helping us out with testing on that bike, since Nathan Ramsey still isn’t riding yet.” Us? We’d love to see Preston move up for the outdoor series…

This just in from our FMX expert Garth: This week’s IFMA freestyle tours stopped at Dayton, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and regular tour winners took the cake on both nights of both contests. Dayton’s showdown saw Adam Jones win both nights, ahead of Jesse Olsen and Myles Richmond on Friday and Drake McElroy and Beau Bamburg on Saturday. Cowboy Kenny Bartram cleaned house in Michigan, ahead of Dustin Miller and Derek Burlew on Friday night and Matt Buyten and Brian Foster on Saturday.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for daily updates and news throughout the week¿

vy Trucks Kawasaki’s week-long stay in the Florida/Georgia area for pre-Daytona testing, Bainbridge local Ezra Lusk took the crew to one of his favorite “down home” eateries for some home-style cooking. Apparently, the vittles and fixin’s didn’t agree with team mechanic Dan Worley, as he spent the next several days “roosting” out of both ends.

With the conditions at Daytona being as muddy as they were, we couldn’t help but wonder if 125cc class winner Mike Brown has an advantage. “All of those mud races I did in Europe in the 125cc World Championships helped, that’s for sure,” said Brown. “Though I must say that the mud in Daytona didn’t compare to some of the mud bogs I raced in Europe!” Congratulations, Mike.

Sidelined Red Bull KTM rider Grant Langston phoned the TransWorld Motocross offices, just as we were wrapping up this weekend’s edition of Monday Kickstart. Seems LL Cool G just moved into a new home in Temecula, California, after selling his Tuscany Hills residence in a mere four days. “It was funny, I listed it on Monday and had signed the papers already by Friday,” said Cool G. When we asked him if the want ad said, “For more details about the house, see www.transworldmx.com and click ‘Touring Grant Langston’s House,'” Grant replied, “Ha! It should have! I have heard nothing but compliments about how funny that video was!” Still haven’t seen it? Check it out here. (It’s a big file, so it’s best for broadband users). Also, be sure to check out the photos.videos section for new goodies.

Langston also said that because he doesn’t have cable television in his new house set up yet, he was unable to watch the same-day broadcast of the Daytona Supercross by Honda. “I actually had it better!” he said. “I had Matt Chapman from Etnies giving me live reports on his cel phone!”

And the phone calls continue… Team Honda’s Erik Kehoe just phoned in from Ricky Carmichael’s home in Tallahassee, Florida, where all of the uninjured Honda riders are starting their testing for the upcoming National Championships. “Ricky is an animal,” said Kehoe. “He just won the gnarliest race on the planet on Saturday, and he’s out there hammering it on his outdoor bike.” While we spoke, we heard a four-stroke CRF450R thunder past and we asked if it was Travis Preston riding the bike. “Yeah, that’s him,” said Kehoe. When we asked if Honda was planning on keeping the Western Region 125cc SX Champ on the big 450 for the 250cc Nationals, Hog replied, “Maybe. I mean, it’s all up in the air right now. For now, he is helping us out with testing on that bike, since Nathan Ramsey still isn’t riding yet.” Us? We’d love to see Preston move up for the outdoor series…

This just in from our FMX expert Garth: This week’s IFMA freestyle tours stopped at Dayton, Ohio and Grand Rapids, Michigan, and regular tour winners took the cake on both nights of both contests. Dayton’s showdown saw Adam Jones win both nights, ahead of Jesse Olsen and Myles Richmond on Friday and Drake McElroy and Beau Bamburg on Saturday. Cowboy Kenny Bartram cleaned house in Michigan, ahead of Dustin Miller and Derek Burlew on Friday night and Matt Buyten and Brian Foster on Saturday.

That’s it for now! Stay tuned for daily updates and news throughout the week¿