Wonder Warthog Racing: 2005 — The Hog Thrives — and That’s No Jive!

( 2/17/2005) From deep inside their secret lair, two creatures formed from the primordial ooze that is the Internet and MX, the Wonder Warthog himself and his odd but sometimes likeable partner, the man simply known as “Bauer”, have reemerged from their self-imposed months of reflective contemplation (not counting the occasional begging and groveling for sponsors). Their purpose?? To advance the greatest sport in the world by supporting its very soul — the noble privateers.

Read on for a quick trip down rabbit hole . . . (and yeah, we’ll try to shorten subsequent press releases but it sure is fun to write about the privateers!!)

And the fact we’ve been so busy setting up new programs have spared all of you from the weekly dose verbosity and pomposity of the relentless nattering head hog (or is that hedge hog?). Instead, you’re getting the hex-weekly version – tastes great but less filling!! (although I had a cool title for a solo A1 press release — Slopping the Hogs in Anaheim — but that’s as far as I got and of course I was going to use cliché “as slick as pig snot” to describe the mud and guts on display in the House of Mouse – version 1.0).

I must warn you, this hog is prone to writing for one animal – me, myself, and Irene. So if you don’t get some of the inside jokes or are befuddled by the babble, I say – scram before I get medieval on you!! That is the power of the pen (or in the decadent decade of naught we might be more precise to say keyboard). In this world as writer, editor, comedian, provocateur, and noble laureate poet, I am judge, jury, and executioner!!! Muwahahahahaha!!!

Team Warthog, the non-profit privateer support program being managed by Wonder Warthog Racing (WWR), jumped snout first into the 2005 season. Reinvigorated after the off-season, WWR made good on its commitment to support the sport by tending to the privateers in sunny Phoenix, AZ and the schizo that was Anaheim 1, 2, & 3 — both a tempest in an oversize teapot and heaven on earth (with a sun-burned warthog to prove it – I won’t go into the story of when I was fed roasted warthog on the spit, but it did happen) right in Mickey’s own backyard. And then the city by the bay (Ohh, my, my, my – my, my, my Ohhhhh, when the lights . . .), and Indy, the home of the 500 and much, much more??

First, a shout out to Bubba Stewart, a leader in supporting the Team Warthog cause – Here’s to an ultra fast recovery!!! May your arm heal stronger than a warthog’s tusk. And may you and RC resume the battle royalé (with cheese) soon.

. . . EYE ON THE PRIZE(S)

Before we go to on to places far, far away, how are the actual 2005 privateers fairing??

Well, to begin with, the elixir of life (money and recognition) started flowing immediately to the deserving young lads of Team Warthog.

To date, there are 146 privateers signed up for Team Warthog and over 90 have broken open the piggy bank (OK, it was a horribly bad pun – it means the swashbucklers received checks). The cash paid out to the privateers total $36,310 through round six of the SX series.

The Privateer Evening Payout Program (a.k.a. The PEPP, a.k.a. PEPPy, a.k.a. PEPPY le Pew – for all our French privateers, of which there are a lot this year) is a mainstay of the program. This program alone has paid out over $28,310 to the high-flying but generally slim-walleted SX buccaneers.

The weekly Most Improved Privateer Program (“The MIPP” — it’s all explained later in this novella) was won by:

Erick Vallejo (A1 to Phoenix) – the man that blazed a trail for the flying of the WW cape (connect those dots and go to the head of the class!!) also proved to be quite fast on the track and very articulate whilst chatting on the ekly WWR radio shows, generously hosted by http://www.PitpassRadio.comand http://www.DMXSradio.com. He scored 24 MIPP points on the WWR scale of privateer progression, crushing all others in his path.

Isaiah Johnson (Phoenix to A2) – The teammate of Mr. Vallejo decided to go for the gold. He finished 3rd in the LCQ at Phoenix and improved to 18th in the Main at A2, a 7 position improvement by the simple yet complicated WWR-inspired and Chris Lantz-developed scoring system (Chris also won the coveted WWR volunteer of the year award. Chris is a man of few words but many actions, the perfect complement to WW and Bauer – men of many words and often fewer actions)

Ryan Clark(A2 to San Fran and San Fran to A3) – Ding. Ding. Ding, We have our first two time winner of the MIPP. And that’s hard to do, as the rider must improve from his highest placing finish in order to win a second time. Ryan went from 5th in the LCQ at Anaheim 2, to 13th in the Main at San Fran. Ryan the Flyin’ Hawaiian (oh sorry that was John Desoto, wasn’t it?) then improved from 13th in the Main at SF to 10th in the main at A3, an improvement of 6 positions by our super secret yet perfectly calibrated scoring system.

The Privateer of the Week (POTW) honors so far were won by:

Ryan Abrigo (A1)

Steve Mertens(Phoenix)

Vincent Blair (A2)

Brian Johnson (San Fran)

Tim Weigand(A3 – and long lost brother of Jason Weigandt??)

Brad (The Nipple) Ripple (Indy – and his home town race)

All had outstanding races, with Brian and Tim finishing their best ever in the 125 (250F??) mains at 6 th and 7 th place respectively. Ryan and Brad also reached rarefied air by finishing at heretofore unseen heights by placing 3 rd and 5 th in their heat races.

Although a honorary award only, with the flying of the WW cape on the 125 parade lap as well as the chance to impress their fans with wit and charm on the radio as the main, the roll-off-the-tongue POTW seems to be a coveted spot in the pantheon of SX Americana.

Brett Downey Safety Foundation Awards of Excellence have gone to Tyler Evans (three times!! and Ryan Clark (once). This award pays $1000 simoleons for each win.

Sorry to say, no Team Warthog privateer has yet to pillage our coffers for the $100k Winner Bonus booty. Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant and ProClean 1000 dropped this check into Bauer’s very spacious lap and it’s burning a hole in our pockets. We know the supreme ruler known on earth as RC is making it hard to win but hey, Roma wasn’t built in a day (either was Romulus, but that is a whole other story . . .)

. . . WHAT’S GOIN’ ON

Consistent with the philosophy that bigger is always better, WWR is targeting a tripling of cash awards to the privateers this season. Although ambitious in scope, the Compassionate Coalition of Privateer Progress (the gag-me-with-a spoon CCPP) has come through to make the privateers’ 2005 SX series a wee more lucrative at least and, with some luck, 2005 will be remembered as a seminal year for the privateers (and no, there is no pun intended – or is there?? Only the Shadow knows – and probably personality #8 of the Warthog).

To the founders delight, all SX programs that were on the stretch goal list have been funded in some way, shape, or form (And no, don’t think that lets the members of the “not yet but soon-to-be Team Warthog sponsors” club off the hook. We still have an insane amount of programs for the AMA Nationals and WMA series to underwrite).

So what is in store for the modern day pirates of the moto world?? (A WWR True Factoid: Did you know the word privateer comes from the term that was given to freelance pirates back in the day?? – I believe it was during the reign of the young but already cantankerous yet surprisingly philanthropic prince Bauer).

Privateer Evening Payout Program (PEPP ).This program reimburses all qualified privateers (125 and 250 class) that make the evening show the equivalent of their entry fees. The program typically pays out ~$5000 per week to over 35 riders every week!!

Most Improved Privateer Program (MIPP ). This program pays the 250 class privateer that improves the most (based on a not so secret formula) from one week to the next a $1000 cash award.

The Brett Downey Safety Foundation Awards of Excellence. Beginning with Anaheim 3, 250 class Team Warthog Privateers will be given $1000 for each top ten main finish. This award is given in memory to the celebration of the life of Brett Downey. The Brett Downey Safety Foundation is focused on positive safety reform in the sport, with a goal of reducing preventable injuries.

Wonder Warthog Winner Bonus (WWW.$100k.Bonus). This program was a gift to WWR by Cyclelogic Products, alchemists of Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant, and Proclean 1000, both long-time supporters of Team Warthog privateer programs. They paid a wad of hard earned cash to a big insurance company to create this unique program. The bonus pays any Team Warthog 250 class privateer $100,000 for winning a main event(and it has happened before – privateer Ricky Ryan won the Daytona SX in 1987!!).

Privateer of the Week (POTW ) . This is a 125 class rider selected by the founders of WWR to wear the Wonder Warthog Jersey and Cape during the parade lap before the main event. The cape has come to symbolize the celebration of the privateer’s contribution to the sport and includes appearances by the privateer on radio shows and other channels to publicize the rider’s story and accomplishments.

. . . AND THOSE THAT MAKE IT REAL

The enlightened (and no, we’re not just referring to their wallets!!) Primary Sponsors to date include:

Clear Channel Entertainment (CCE) (www.supercross.cc.com)

CCE has been very good to us. This year they have been incredible so far in helping us get the program to the next level. Resources, money, support, access – you name it, they’ve given it. If you are a CCE naysayer, you’ve got it all wrong. They care deeply about our sport and are constantly looking for ways to improve it. To Roy, Ken, Todd, Dave, Cliff and the rest of the gang at CChEers (how’s that for a stretch just to tie in an obscure 1980s reference?), we salute you!!!

Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant (www.engineice.cc). The man known as simple EIDave is the kind of industry sponsor that is a joy to do business with. He’s innovative, risk taking, and most importantly really does put his money where his mouth is. He was the first primary sponsor we ever had – He signed up on a wing and a prayer and hasn’t backed off since. Look around and see all the privateers Engine Ice helps – it’s truly impressive. And we’d be remiss in highlighting the $100k Wonder Warthog Winner Bonus that Engine Ice and ProClean 1000 bestowed as a gift upon our program. Will anybody win it this year?? We sure hope so and besides, it’s the thought that counts!!!

Dana K Business Parks. What can you say about Dana Kellstrom?? A self-made man with a big heart and a love for our great sport. One quick phone call to Bauer, a 15 Did you know the word privateer comes from the term that was given to freelance pirates back in the day?? – I believe it was during the reign of the young but already cantankerous yet surprisingly philanthropic prince Bauer).

Privateer Evening Payout Program (PEPP ).This program reimburses all qualified privateers (125 and 250 class) that make the evening show the equivalent of their entry fees. The program typically pays out ~$5000 per week to over 35 riders every week!!

Most Improved Privateer Program (MIPP ). This program pays the 250 class privateer that improves the most (based on a not so secret formula) from one week to the next a $1000 cash award.

The Brett Downey Safety Foundation Awards of Excellence. Beginning with Anaheim 3, 250 class Team Warthog Privateers will be given $1000 for each top ten main finish. This award is given in memory to the celebration of the life of Brett Downey. The Brett Downey Safety Foundation is focused on positive safety reform in the sport, with a goal of reducing preventable injuries.

Wonder Warthog Winner Bonus (WWW.$100k.Bonus). This program was a gift to WWR by Cyclelogic Products, alchemists of Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant, and Proclean 1000, both long-time supporters of Team Warthog privateer programs. They paid a wad of hard earned cash to a big insurance company to create this unique program. The bonus pays any Team Warthog 250 class privateer $100,000 for winning a main event(and it has happened before – privateer Ricky Ryan won the Daytona SX in 1987!!).

Privateer of the Week (POTW ) . This is a 125 class rider selected by the founders of WWR to wear the Wonder Warthog Jersey and Cape during the parade lap before the main event. The cape has come to symbolize the celebration of the privateer’s contribution to the sport and includes appearances by the privateer on radio shows and other channels to publicize the rider’s story and accomplishments.

. . . AND THOSE THAT MAKE IT REAL

The enlightened (and no, we’re not just referring to their wallets!!) Primary Sponsors to date include:

Clear Channel Entertainment (CCE) (www.supercross.cc.com)

CCE has been very good to us. This year they have been incredible so far in helping us get the program to the next level. Resources, money, support, access – you name it, they’ve given it. If you are a CCE naysayer, you’ve got it all wrong. They care deeply about our sport and are constantly looking for ways to improve it. To Roy, Ken, Todd, Dave, Cliff and the rest of the gang at CChEers (how’s that for a stretch just to tie in an obscure 1980s reference?), we salute you!!!

Engine Ice Hi-Performance Coolant (www.engineice.cc). The man known as simple EIDave is the kind of industry sponsor that is a joy to do business with. He’s innovative, risk taking, and most importantly really does put his money where his mouth is. He was the first primary sponsor we ever had – He signed up on a wing and a prayer and hasn’t backed off since. Look around and see all the privateers Engine Ice helps – it’s truly impressive. And we’d be remiss in highlighting the $100k Wonder Warthog Winner Bonus that Engine Ice and ProClean 1000 bestowed as a gift upon our program. Will anybody win it this year?? We sure hope so and besides, it’s the thought that counts!!!

Dana K Business Parks. What can you say about Dana Kellstrom?? A self-made man with a big heart and a love for our great sport. One quick phone call to Bauer, a 15 minute meeting at Denny’s, and Dana says, “The program sounds great – Here’s a check.” And that was only the beginning. Dana put together and funded the very generous Brett Downey Safety Foundation Awards of Excellence. In addition, Dana helps dozens of privateers in a bunch of different ways. Dana K. does indeed prove the axiom that one person can make a difference.

DeCal Works (www.decalmx.com). Ron Joynt and his band of merry men and women have been supporters of the Team Warthog programs since before day one. Davey Coombs drafted them to produce the first Flying Warthog fender decals and the rest is SX/MX history. DeCal Works single-handedly lifted our program up 10 notches in professionalism when they agreed to underwrite the most splendid of graphics wraps on the Team Warthog/TFS motorcoach/trailer combo. DeCal Works is currently offering FREE preprinted number plate decals to all Team Warthog privateers. And Eric Bleed, the Director of Rider Support, is gonna help us round up more sponsors for the Nationals and WMA series at the Indy trade show next week. Are these guys cool or what??

Shift Racing (www.shiftracing.com) Brian Price got involved with our privateer programs in a very low key way last year. Low key, yet so supportive we knew they were special over at Shift. This year they picked it up several decibels and now they’ve joined the Pantheon of Primary Sponsors (the here-to-now little known PPS). They also helped us get our 2005 Team Warthog t-shirts made lickety-split. And we won’t even mention all the goodies they’ve given us for Team Warthog auctions (ooopps, I guess I just did). Thanks Shift!!!

Rocket Exhaust (www.rocketexhaust.com) Dana Kellstrom hooked us up with Don Leib, honcho over at Rocket. And boy, we couldn’t be happier. Not only does Rocket have a great business model that will substantially lower the prices for consumers, but Don and friends are fighting the good fight as part of the push to reduce preventable injuries in the sport.

In the interest of time, we’ll acknowledge our remaining sponsors right here and now but shower them with kudos in the next press release, which I understand to be highly anticipated.

Allsport Dynamics (www.allsportdynamics.com),

ProClean 1000 (www.proclean1000.com)

OGIO (www.ogio.com)

Blue Virtual Internet Hosting (www.bluevirtual.com)

And let’s not forget our good friend TFS (www.motonews.com), without whom we wouldn’t be half of what we are today (just what we are today I don’t know but whatever it is we’d be half without the big fella). Thanks Steve Bruhn!!!

. . . WARTHOG ZEN PHILOSOPHY 101

Right up there with the question of “What is the meaning of life?” comes the question of the ages: “What is a Team Warthog privateer?” Well it ain’t that simple, says the Warthog himself.

First , a basic principle that all must internalize: There is no way to define a privateer in a manner which is acceptable to every living creature. So although we will evolve the criteria, it will never be perfect.

Second , assessment against the criteria is based on the honor system, as we could never audit all the application responses for the largest motocross team ever assembled in this or any parallel universe (yes Kawasaki, Team Warthog is a TEAM, it’s just not cut from the same cloth as any other – we’re more like a wild plaid, you