When the summer series made its annual return to the sands of Southwick, Massachusetts, the guys at Dunlop brought out their newest soft terrain weapon, the MX12. Although RedBud and Millville are also plenty sandy these days, The Wick 338 is the ultimate stop on the National schedule to test out the all-new tire. We wanted to get the full scoop on this new product, and luckily we were able to talk to "The Golden Boy," Broc Glover, about what makes the MX12 the ideal tire for soft, sandy conditions.
What has changed from the previous MX11 to the new MX12?
The new tire is a progression from the MX11 tire, it's a little bit narrower side-to-side, but it has a longer footprint on the ground with a different circumference. There's also the incorporation of the progressive cornering block technology on the side knobs so it should give a little more hold in the corners. It was primarily developed in the European MXGP's and the sand tracks of Belgium and Holland. We've had a lot of success with our MX11 tire here in the United States, including last weekend at RedBud where we swept the podium in the 250 class with a paddle style tire. We have a long history of paddle style tires that work in a variety of conditions as opposed to just purely sand. The front tire has a carcass that's a little bit larger than the old model, it doesn't tend to knife as much. Some of the guys felt that the older tire had a little too much bite and pulled too easily. A lot more guys are trying it out today at Southwick so it's exciting for us. We know it's a smaller market, but we know people that have tried the paddle style tires and are surprised how well they do work in a wider variety of conditions. A lot of people that go out in the desert and play ride in Southern California like it too. If you haven't tried it before, we think you'd certainly be surprised.
Being at Southwick, do you feel like these are the ideal conditions to do some testing and get feedback?
Yeah, I think so, no question about it. Some of the riders in our stables like the Martin brothers and Zach Osborne ride them a lot and are more used to them. The guys that don't ride with them as often take some time to get used to them, and they might have to modify their riding style slightly. They might have to ride the berm a little more than they're used to, and they don't cut down as easily as a regular knobby in some conditions. It's pretty hard to argue against them though. I know last year at this particular race, Ken Roczen opted to run a traditional tire and Tomac won by 30 seconds I believe. In the second moto, Roczen switched to the paddle style tire, the same that Tomac was running, and they battled all of the way to the finish and it was a very close race. Even though sometimes the rider doesn't necessarily feel the difference in performance, it's there and you can't argue with a stopwatch and a lap time. As a rider learns to adapt his style to the different feel and optimize the performance of the paddle tire, there's no question that it's a faster way around a race track when there are loose conditions. Last weekend at RedBud we saw it was the fastest way around the track even in the 250's, and that's at a track that's known for its optimum soil conditions. Granted they brought some more sand in last week and created some extra sand sections, so it did lend itself to people trying a tire like that. A couple of the riders were savvy enough to give it a shot and they ended up standing on top of the podium.
As far as this year goes, do you know of anybody who has chosen not to use the paddle style tire at Southwick?
There are a couple of riders testing both the traditional knobby and the paddle style tire. If they're asking for our recommendation we're certainly giving them our honest opinion and telling them that they're putting themselves at a deficit with the traditional tire and you don't want to take that chance. It doesn't happen that many times a year, maybe two or three times a year, but you certainly have to look at what the reality is. The reality is that at this track, I can guarantee you that the people that are at the top of the podium are going to be running a sand tire.
Are there any other tracks this year that the guys will use this track on?
As I mentioned earlier the guys that weren't afraid to try it last weekend were first, second, and third in the 250 class, so the answer is yes. A couple of years ago when we had that real muddy race at Indiana, it was the same situation there. I think in the first corner I looked at the start of the race and the first non-paddle style tire I could find was outside the top 20. There’s always a possibility of conditions like that where you get into sloppier mud or you have sand. Whatever mother nature throws at us, we make the adjustment for that day. I can see it being used again if the weather turns that way and depending on what happens, possibly Millville. We're always ready for it.