WWR Privateer Update: Houston

The Wonder Warthog Racing band of privateers rolled into Houston last weekend and continued to improve on what many already consider a successful season. O’Neal-sponsored Chris Blose, Ryan Grantom, and Vernon McKiddie made it into the Lites main event with strong rides in their heat races and LCQ, and all eleven WWR riders qualified for the evening program.

Unfortunately a bad start in the Lites LCQ for Adam Chatfield left him just one position shy of the main, and made him the winner of the Asterisk Medic Card.

Another highlight for the WWR team recently, is the hiring of two of the Motorcycle Mechanics Institute interns. Hog Haven riders Ramon Guzman and Bryan White were both impressed enough with the help they were getting from the MMI mechanics that they hired them on for the rest of the season.

WWR riders who qualified for the evening program in Houston:

  • Antonio Balbi
  • Chris Blose
  • Ted Campbell
  • Charles Castloo
  • Adam Chatfield
  • Ryan Grantom
  • Ramon Guzman
  • Clay Higgins
  • Vernon McKiddie
  • Jacob Saylor
  • Bryan White

Houston marked the hometown race for Vernon McKiddie, and he lived up to the expectations of local fans by making the main event—the second main for McKiddie this year. We talked with Vernon, as he was getting ready for the San Diego Supercross this weekend…

TWMX: Hey Vernon, thanks for taking some time with us. Why don’t you start by just recapping how the 2007 Supercross season has gone for you so far?
Vernon McKiddie: I only had about three weeks of riding before the first round, because I didn’t have any bikes. But Rex Bomar helped me out with some bikes, so I showed up at Anaheim 1. I had pretty good times in practice and qualified for the night race, but in my heat race I got a bad start and had to run the LCQ. I got a good start there but messed up on the first lap and fell back to ninth. I was able to get back up to fifth, and I was right there almost in qualifying position, but then on the last lap I stalled the bike, and didn’t end up making the main.

In the second round in Phoenix, had some problem in the qualifiers and didn’t do much. Then when we came back for Anaheim 2, I was riding good and felt great, but I got a bad start in the heat, and in the LCQ I went over the bars.

TWMX: Did you go down pretty hard?
VM: I went through a whoop section that other guys were tripling out of, but I doubled out and clipped the top of the double and went down. So that was the end of my night.

In 2006 I qualified for the main in San Francisco, so people have been giving my trouble, saying I’m just a mud racer and stuff like that. When we went back there this year, I qualified for the main right out of my heat race, so that was good. In the main I was running like 16th, but I landed on someone and fell back to 19th. I still felt good about it though. I got a couple of points out of it.

When we went back to Anaheim, I holeshot my heat race and I was like ‘wait a minute, what’s going on here?’ [BRACKET “Laughs”] So the first lap everything felt kind hectic. I messed up in the whoops and fell back to fourth place, then I went to the outside over the finish line jump and Boniface cleaned out me and a couple other guys. It was kinda cool though, because I got some TV time from it; they kept showing it in slow motion. [BRACKET “Laughs”]

Then we came here last weekend to Houston; my hometown. I got caught in a pileup in my heat race, and then rode good in the LCQ and got into the main. During the main I felt good, but my bike was losing power and finally jusst blew up. So I ended up 21st.

TWMX: So you’ve made the evening program at every race?
VM: Yeah, I’ve made all the night programs, and I’ve made two main events. I haven’t gotten the results I think I can, yet. I feel like I can run at least top fifteen.

TWMX: Yeah, it sounds like you’ve run into some problems at each round.
VM: Yeah, but you make your own luck, so I’ve got to start doing something better.

TWMX: What was your goal coming into the season?
VM: Really I just wanted to make as many mains as I could. I’m doing okay. I wish I could’ve made more mains, but like I said, we didn’t have much time to get ready. I had a separated shoulder and almost had to run the east coast, but Rex Bomar with Superfly racing has helped me a lot. Then Dana and the Wonder Warthog team just pulled everything together.

TWMX: We have San Diego this weekend and then the West Coast series takes a break. What will you be doing during the break?
VM: During the break I’ll start testing for outdoors. I actually rode outdoors yesterday because it’s kind of wet down here. I can’t wait, because I’ve always wanted to get back on Yamaha’s in the outdoors. So, I’ll be getting ready for that, and looking for a ride for outdoors as well.

TWMX: Obviously the Wonder Warthog team has been a big help to you during Supercross.
VM: Oh yeah, for sure! Everyone is so laid-back; it’s just cool. Each week Dana puts something out there to motivate us guys even more. At Anaheim he said if anyone gets the holeshot in any race, they get $500. That’s when I ended up going out and getting the holeshot in my heat race. Stuff like that is a big help.

TWMX: Before we go, give us the quick shout outs to your sponsors.
VM: Yeah, there are a lot of people I want to thank. Dana K, Wonder Warthog, DeCal Works, Superfly Racing, Tejas Motorsports; they’ve helped me out a lot. JM Racing got my bike done in like two weeks, right before the season started. O’Neal’s been a big help. Oxtar, Dragon, Pirelli tires, Two Brothers Racing, Volition Clothing, EVS, Engine Ice, Pro Kleen, Roll On throttles, ICW stands, Vortex sprockets, Lucas Oils, RPM Science Race Gas, Pro Wheels, Mechanix Wear, and Tamer. I also want to thank my brother, my family, and my girlfriend Connie. And Tony and Clayton Miller; they help me get to a lot of the races. Also Darkness for all his help during the week; and Dan Shesler, and Nicky Pizacola. Finally Adam Chatfield for loaning me a bike for San Diego, and letting me stay in his house in California.

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