Ahhhhh… Millville! The scenic Minnesota track is a good stop for round seven of the AMA motocross championships as it's one of the best tracks on the circuit, it's got great soil and even elevation. The fans in Minnesota are into it and passionate about the sport and all in all, if RedBud is the crown jewel of the series as I wrote two weeks ago, then Millville would be the jewels right next to the crown jewels.
I've been coming to this track for a long time, my first national was as a fan in 1988 and I think I've been to the national every year (save for one or two) since to either watch, race, work as a mechanic or cover it as a writer. So in short, I've seen the facility transform over the years, some good and some not-so-good in my opinion. The infamous sand whoop section has gotten easier since I first started going there and I'm not sure that's for the better, the new up and downhill added was awesome but I do like the old finish line switchback even though it was one-lined. It just adds to the flair of the track.
Last year when Ryan Dungey was battling neck and neck with Christophe Pourcel for the 250 title, the two riders showed up at Millville and the Minnesota native Dungey smoked both motos in going 1-1 on the day. He was unbeatable so with the way that he's been laying wood to the 450 class lately, did anyone really believe that The Dunge wasn't going to smoke everyone on his home track in front of his home fans? The only thing that was going to stop him was a hand cramp from signing so many autographs.
It was a bit surprising that the returning-to-the-nationals Kevin Windham managed to hold off the Suzuki kid for so long in the first moto but that's more of a credit to KW than to the discredit of Ryan. Once Windham ran out of steam, Dungey was by and it was all she wrote. Josh Grant and Andrew Short kept him honest but in the end, Dungey won again. Second moto, he was checked out early and put the hammer down to complete his sweep.
I really think that Ryan's biggest strength is his fitness. He's not blazing fast like a James Stewart or even RC, he just wears the rest of the guys down in the course of a moto. He doesn't have a trainer that follows him around mixing drinks like other guys but I'm sure his buddy RC gave him the map and said "Follow this son.." and Dungey went and did exactly that. His lap times are right there the whole moto and the rest of the class is dropping off the pace. This is his greatest strength and the reason why he's going to be clinching this outdoor title with a couple rounds to go. The last guy we saw that came out and won both indoors and outdoors title in out of nowhere fashion like RD is going to do was Jeff Stanton in 1989. Everyone knew Stanton was going to be good but once Rick Johnson went out with an injury, it was now the beginning of the not flashy but really fast Stanton era.
That about sums up Ryan Dungey as well, not flashy but very, very fast.
Trey Canard made some changes in his program a little while back, he parted ways with Jeff Spencer and hired Tim Ferry to be his riding coach. Now obviously everyone reading this knows that I'm an unabashed supporter of all things Tim Ferry but I'm not going to go and seriously give Red Dog all the credit for Trey's recent turnaround. But you would have to at least admit that Ferry deserves a little bit of credit for Canard's recent turnaround. They talk during the week and when you've been racing for 182 years like Ferry, you've obviously picked up a thing or two along the way in regards to training, riding, line selection, resting during the day, etc, etc.
So whatever it is, Canard has been on a roll after some (by his standards) mediocre rides at Texas, Mt Morris and Budds Creek and has now won two races in a row by virtue of his 2-1 ride this weekend. In the first moto he chased down Pourcel and made the pass on the Frenchman. He then made a couple of silly moves that Master Ferry would not have approved by going down the first downhill on the outside and trying to rail the turn. Pourcel made an attempt on the lead by sticking in tighter and making time up the next hill. It didn't work but the next lap, it did. Canard admitted to me afterwards that he wasn't sure what he was thinking either by using that line two laps in a row but nevertheless, Pourcel regained the lead late in the moto and sped off for the win.
Second moto out the skies opened up early on but that didn't really affect Ice Trey. He led the entire moto in a pretty dominating performance and showed everyone what was up. With the win, Canard moved into third in the points and Dean Wilson? That sound you hear is the Canard train coming for second. If Pourcel keeps struggling along as it gets hotter and the season gets longer, this thing could get interesting.
If you're Dean Wilson, you're probably thinking that you're sitting in a pretty good place right now regardless if Canard gets you in the points or not. The only thing that Mr Wilson is going to have to worry about in 2011 is some kid named Dennis that lives next door because let's remember Canard, Pourcel and Weimer are all moving out of the class next year. Dean-o and Justin Barcia (and I'm sure there will be some dudes that step up. Like Blake Bagget or Wil Hahn) are setting themselves up to be the guys to beat. Maybe Rattray outdoors but on pure speed (which always wins out in the end) Wilson and JB have these guys covered in my opinion.
I spoke to Mitch Payton in a wide-ranging interview that will be on my Pulpmx site and he really couldn't stop talking about Wilson and how much he loves the kid. He's a big fan. And as far as the MXDN controversy following Dean around, I spoke to him and he hadn't decided what country he was going to ride for yet but then later on I heard some not so good things about the Canadian effort and how strong it was going to be. So better get that kilt ready Dean!
As far as Pourcel is concerned, I hear conflicting things about his sub-par second moto performances. At this point, it's a definite pattern and not something that happens to be just random. Check this out, out of the 7 first motos this year, Pourcel has won six of them and averages 24 points per moto so he's pretty much perfect. Second motos he has averaged 18 points and has won only 2 out of the 7 motos so like I said, there's a pattern there.
David Vuillemin said on the Pulpmx Show (HERE) that CP, because of his injury a few years ago, can't eat all day when it gets hot and therefore struggles in the second go around when his energy is low. His mechanic told me that he was banged up a bit and wasn't capable of pushing in the second moto. Another theory out there has to do with his lack of sweating from his injury and he simply overheats as the day goes on. Whatever it is, Pourcel needs to figure it out for 2011 when he's in the big boys class. As far as right now goes, he still has a comfortable 32 point lead on Wilson.
Privateer Kyle Regal had a great day with a third overall on the day. Yeah sure, it was with some unorthodox moto scores (8-2) but he earned that second when he crashed a couple of times and still got on the box. He's eighth in the points and that's with missing one round. He's in great shape and when he's on and near the front, he's awesome. Other times, you don't really notice him all that much. He needs to get consistently inside the top five every moto but he's still been doing pretty good for a guy in a van in the back of the pits.
And yes, this has all been documented.
With Davi Millsaps on the sidelines for probably the rest of the year, Honda needed to get someone to fill in on the bike and to my surprise they reached out to the veteran Kevin Windham to see if he would be into it and he was. I say to my surprise because I really didn't think that KW would ever come back to the outdoor series because:
A- He's Kevin Windham, he lives in a castle and has 8 bajillion dollars in the bank.
B- The outdoors are hard work and every year you miss them, it gets harder and harder to do the work to get ready for them.
C- Last year he came out halfway through the series and got worked. He got worked so bad that I swore it was actually a fan who won a contest to come ride KW's bike at a national.
But there he was, the ever-popular one at Millville and riding hard both motos. In fact, he led the first moto for over half the race! He had the fans freaking out and it was good to see him eventually end up with a fourth overall via 5-4 scores.
I was speaking with Carlos Rivera, Davi's regular mechanic (and the mechanic that has no doubt been thanked the most on the podium over the years. Millsaps gets much respect for this) and he said the settings that KW ran are remarkably similar to Davi. The bar mounts were 3mm higher, same motor set-up, same bars, grips, levers, etc, etc. I imagine the suspension was changed a little bit but really, it was about the best a mechanic could hope for in terms of a mid-season rider change.
Man with Washougal and Unadilla coming up, KW could really do some damage at the upcoming races. I'm calling it right now. KW will finish second in New York. You're welcome.
Let's take a look at the results from Millville:
1 38 Trey Canard Shawnee, OK Honda CRF250R 2 1 47
2 108 Dean Wilson Menifee Kawasaki KX 250F 6 2 37
3 28 Tyla Rattray Wildomar, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 4 4 36- Rattray is a modern version of Mike Larocco. Bad starts but he just keeps coming on. He's in very good shape.
4 12 Jake Weimer Rupert, ID Kawasaki KX 250F 3 5 36- Great for Weimer to grab that podium in the first moto and in the second one, he charged hard to the end. Weimer needed this result like Whitney needs another "I Wanna Dance with Somebody."
5 377 Christophe Pourcel Groveland Kawasaki KX 250F 1 10 36
6 21 Blake Wharton Aubrey, TX Honda CRF250R 5 7 30-Does anyone get talked about less than Blake Wharton?
7 20 Broc Tickle Holly, MI Yamaha YZ 250F 7 6 29- Yeah, actually Broc Tickle does.
8 17 Justin Barcia Ochlocknee, GA Honda CRF250R 16 3 25
9 19 Tommy Searle Murrieta, CA KTM 250 SXF 11 9 22- Tommy Tu-tone makes his return to the series and sticks it in there for a top ten.
10 50 Alex Martin Millville, MN Honda CRF250R 8 15 19- The hometrack advantage pays off for Martin. He's been riding well lately and his tenth is well deserved.
11 243 Eli Tomac Cortez, CO Honda CRF250R 13 11 18- Eli was finally up front again in the second moto but I'm not sure what happened as he eventually ended up in 11th.
12 585 Travis Baker Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 9 16 17-Baker's ninth was great for him but his charge in the pouring rain from outside the top twenty to sixteenth was pretty good also.
13 577 Martin Davalos Cairo, GA Yamaha YZ 250F 15 12 15
14 36 Darryn Durham Butler, PA Honda CRF250R 39 8 13
15 341 Nico Izzi Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 10 38 11- Izzi was up there in the second moto when he had bike problems and was forced out. When it rains, it pours sometimes.
16 31 Matthew Lemoine Collinsville, TX Suzuki RM Z250 12 35 9
17 48 Max Anstie Hemet, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 31 13 8
18 185 Killy Rusk Aztec, NM KTM 250 SX-F 17 17 8
19 200 Cole Seely Newbury Park, CA Honda CRF250R 33 14 7
20 61 Vince Friese Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 250F 14 26 7
21 613 James DeCotis Peabody, MA Honda CRF250R 21 18 3
22 211 Tevin Tapia Federal Way, WA KTM 250 SXF 20 19 3
23 87 Les Smith York, SC Honda CRF250R 18 39 3- I was told by a racer who wished to remain anonymous that Les's girlfriend was now the hottest girl in the pits and that Nicole Wey has lost her crown. This is the kind of reporting that I'm out there doing for you guys.
24 354 Christopher Johnson Ramona, CA Suzuki RM Z250 19 36 2
25 92 Michael Willard Newark, OH Honda CRF250R 37 20 1
26 370 Drew Yenerich New Lenox, IL Yamaha YZ 250F 23 21 0
27 374 Cody Gilmore Spencer, IA Kawasaki KX 250F 26 22 0
28 175 Phillip Nicoletti Bethal, NY KTM 250 SXF 22 29 0
29 521 Kyle Gills Wiggins, MS Kawasaki KX 250F 30 23 0
30 520 Tony Gallo Valley City, OH Honda CRF250R 27 27 0
31 918 Michael Akaydin Louisville, KY Kawasaki KX 250F 29 28 0
32 991 Branden Miller Fisherville, TN Kawasaki KX 250F 25 33 0
33 731 Steve Roman Apollo, PA Yamaha YZ 250F 28 31 0
34 160 Corey Pennington Santa Cruz, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 36 24 0
35 90 Willy Browning Pleasantville, OH KTM 250 SX-F 24 37 0
36 133 Myles Martin Tedder Surfside, CA Kawasaki KX 250F 32 30 0
37 140 Johnny Moore Madison, MS Honda CRF250R 38 25 0
38 673 Jonathan Six Ottawa, IL Honda CRF250R 35 32 0
39 394 Tanner Moore Auburn, KS KTM 250 SX-F 34 34 0
40 834 Hunter Clements Weston, MO Honda CRF250R 40 40 0
1 5 Ryan Dungey Belle Plaine, MN Suzuki RMZ 450 1 1 50 -Listen, and understand. That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop, ever, until you are dead (or in second place). Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you…the Dungenator!
2 29 Andrew Short Smithville, TX Honda CRF450R 3 3 40
3 41 Kyle Regal Kemp, TX Honda CRF450R 8 2 35
4 14 Kevin Windham Centerville, MS Honda CRF450R 5 4 34
5 101 Ben Townley Corona, CA Honda CRF450R 4 5 34
6 33 Josh Grant Riverside, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 2 10 33- Grant rode amazing in the first moto in coming from fourth to second. Second moto out his inconsistency continued but he did work his way up to fifth (and would've been on the box) but with three laps left he started getting goofy from the heat and lost five spots.
7 46 Ryan Sipes Flaherty, KY Yamaha YZ 450F 9 7 26- Sipes holeshot the second moto and rode well all day. He told me afterwards that he wasn't used to that pace of those guys but if he gets another chance, he'll know what's up. Motoconcepts definitely wants him back next year.
8 55 Kyle Chisholm Valrico, FL Yamaha YZ 450F 7 9 26- The Chiz rode strong as well but suffered late in the second moto with heat stroke problems. He dropped a few spots in the second moto while he overheated and he had to visit the Asterisk Center for some hydration. Sipes and Chisholm are pretty much the same speed.
9 24 Brett Metcalfe Lake Elsinore, CA Honda CRF450R 16 6 20
10 27 Nicholas Wey DeWitt, MI Kawasaki KX 450F 11 11 20- Wey rode hard both motos in coming from the back.
11 800 Mike Alessi Victorville, CA KTM 350 SXF 15 8 19- Mike went down in the second turn and came up from dead last. Second moto out, he did what he's been doing. Which is fill in that 5th to 10th spot. Weird.
12 32 Kyle Cunningham Ft. Worth, TX Yamaha YZ 450F 10 13 19- Did you know that, even though Kyle sits a distant 13th in the points, he qualifies for each race with an 8th place average. Which tells us that Kyle is super talented and major fast but he can't always put it together. Which I suppose we all knew anyways. You can't teach speed though.
13 23 Justin Brayton Cornelius, NC Yamaha YZ 450F 14 12 16- I spoke to Brayton after the race and he made no excuses. In what is usually a strong track for him, he struggled all day. When I asked him if he crashed, he said "I wish."
14 10 Thomas Hahn Decatur, TX Suzuki RMZ 450 6 28 15- Hahn was in podium position in the second moto when he suffered a flat front tire and was forced into the pit for repairs.
15 43 Steven Clarke England Suzuki RMZ450 12 19 11- Scuba Steve is riding better lately.
16 134 Travis Sewell Westville, IN Yamaha YZ 450F 17 17 8- Great ride for Sewell and while he sits in 24th in the standings, he's the first guy doing it out of a van.
17 122 Daniel Reardon Menifee, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 13 34 8
18 58 Weston Peick Wildomar, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 34 14 7
19 42 Ben Evans Boise, ID Kawasaki KX 450F 20 15 7
20 57 Jarred Browne Nuevo, CA Suzuki RMZ450 40 16 5
21 712 Matt Moss Temecula, CA Suzuki RMZ 450 29 18 3- A conversation I imagine happens quite a bit. Matt-"Roger, hey I was wondering what time the autograph signing is?" Roger-" Who are you?"
22 88 Ricky Renner Lakeland, FL KTM 450SXF 18 31 3
23 241 Derek Anderson Arvada, CO Kawasaki KX 450F 19 21 2
24 958 Aden de Jager Liberty, SC Kawasaki KX 450F 25 20 1
25 687 Garret Toth Carlisle, PA Honda CRF450R 23 22 0
26 707 Alexander Millican Rockwall, TX Yamaha YZ 450F 24 24 0
27 635 Travis Stichter Thornton, CO Kawasaki KX 450F 26 26 0
28 251 Joshua Clark North Franklin, CT Kawasaki KX 450F 22 30 0
29 351 Shane Sewell Westville, IN Yamaha YZ 450F 21 33 0
30 862 Ozzy Barbaree White Hall, AR Suzuki RMZ 450 27 29 0
31 482 Cory Green Nowata, OK Kawasaki KX 450F 32 25 0
32 606 Ronnie Stewart Easton, PA Suzuki RMZ 450 31 27 0
33 771 Terren ODell Siloam Springs, AR Yamaha YZ 450F 36 23 0
34 1 Chad Reed Tampa, FL Kawasaki KX 450F 28 38 0- Not a good day for the defending champion and if he wasn't out of it before, he most certainly is now. A tweaking of the neck in practice made it tough for Chad to race and he dropped out of both motos.
35 718 Matt Schneider Fort Wayne, IN Yamaha YZ 450F 35 32 0
36 257 John Dehn Dayton, MN Kawasaki KX 450F 30 37 0
37 9 Ivan Tedesco Murrieta, CA Yamaha YZ 450F 37 35 0- hey, check this out! IT9 came back from his St Louis supercross crash and didn't exactly have a comeback worthy of Ali in '74. Tedesco will be better if he decides to try again this weekend in Washougal.
38 864 Austin Haught St. Johns, MI Honda CRF450R 33 40 0
39 167 Ryan Mills Clintondale, NY Honda CRF450R 39 36 0
40 309 Spencer Dally Taylors Falls, MN Suzuki RMZ 450 38 39 0
Andrew Short may get ragged on for his inability to win some motos but he's been better than 37 other riders lately. After starting in a huge hole at the beginning of the season, Shorty's now second in the points and looking pretty good. In speaking to him after the race, he said he's never been good with the heat and when Kyle Regal caught and passed him, he was just pacing himself out and didn't want to up his speed as that would lower his energy level.
I spoke to Andrew about his ridiculous starting skills lately and he insists he hasn’t changed a thing. He practices starts on Thursdays after he grooms his starting pad, discs and waters the soil in front of it. And he does a precise number of starts but I can’t remember how many. Whatever he’s doing, keep it up.
A few notes from Millville:
-You know it's bad when the riders are asking me what I hear in regards to silly season. Yes, it's starting to be that time again.
-One thing I did not like about the media tent at Millville was the tiny ant colony that it was situated over. I had ants on my computer, in my bag and crawling on me whenever I sat down.
-Jason Lawrence has been in North Carolina, working hard and riding well. He tweaked his ankle/foot the other day but is trying to get everything straight there in North Carolina. And no, he still won't do an interview with me despite Coy Gibbs asking him. I bet if you replaced the name "Steve Matthes" with "Donn Maeda", he'd be all over it.
-I really enjoyed the JGR guys granting me permission to eat lunch with them on Saturday and the chicken pasta with sauce was fantastic as was the frozen Snicker bar.
-I walked by the impound area after the race to talk to my buddy Gothic Jay (Short's wrench) and once there I had a conversation with Mike Gosselaar, Dungey's mechanic. This led me to think that why doesn't the AMA just set up a recliner and a little cooler with Goose's favorite beer in it inside the impound area? After all, he's going to be there after every race whether it's Dungey, Carmichael, Reed, Lusk, Lamson or even Alessi. I remember the few times I got to go there it was a very special place.
Thanks for reading, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can continue this little chat we have going. See you next week from Washougal!