Kick (starting) It In Oakland

The fourth round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series made its way north to the O.co Coliseum in Oakland, California, over the weekend. The thought of rain in the forecast was on the mind of most riders coming into Saturday, but the northern storm made its way down to the south after Thurdsday night. Once the track was uncovered Friday morning, a technical, perfectly manicured track was unveiled. Saturday night’s racing was filled with drama as Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac suffered from a disastrous crash that caused him to DNF, and a first turn pileup in the 450 class cleaned out half of the riders. In the next 17 pages of this edition of Monday Kickstart, you’ll get updates on riders, plenty of pit photos, and as always, gratuitous promo girl photos. So, get to clicking, and enjoy!

Other links from Oakland Supercross 2013:

Race Report – Oakland Supercross 2013
"How Was Your Weekend?" - Oakland SX 2013
Pit Pass Video – "Safety First" - Justin Barcia

 

The O.co Coliseum served as the venue for the fourth round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series over the weekend, and the track was one of the most technical ones we've seen so far this season. Sand turns, technical rhythms, and two sets of whoops--one set immediately after the start, and one before the first triple--tested the riders' ability on every level.

In the wake of the recent announcement that the JDR KTM team would be shutting down operations at the end of the Monster Energy Supercross Series, the three-man squad of Malcolm Stewart, Joey Savatgy, and Josh Cachia turned in their collective best finishes of the season. Stewart was 5th, Savatgy 6th, and Cachia 16th. Crew Chief Rene Zapata hinted that if the squad were to find a title sponsor before the series' end, that the team might survive.

While SoCal was pounded with rain and foul weather, fans in Oakland were treated to a burst of sunshine in the afternoon hours. Though the wind did pick up and the temperatures did drop in the evening, the daytime scenery was amazing.

After Rockstar Energy Racing's Davi Millsaps finished off the podium in fourth last weekend at Anaheim 2, Big Bear's wife Brittney was finally allowed to leave her "lucky" checkered flag pants at home. "After Davi won Anaheim 1, they all made me wear them at Phoenix and Anaheim 2," said the former Miss Supercross. "I was worried that people would think that I only owned one pair of pants!" Since Millsaps finished in the runner-up position at Oakland, we wonder if we'll see these jeans again next week...

This is a whole new breed of pickupkit. Certain that it was gonna score him some race day action, this fella decided to pack his own protection.

The traditional pickupkit, however, never fails. "Yeah man, I wore my jersey to the race and chicks were all over me."

Geico Honda's Zach Osborne debuted a new colorway (left) for the all-new 6D helmet at Oakland. As we reported last week, 6D helmets will become available shortly, as they are scheduled to ship to customers in early March. Visit www.6dhelmets.com for more information.

Kevin Windham fans rejoice: it appears as if K-Dub will attend every remaining round of the Monster Energy Supercross Series to participate in the opening ceremonies. In spite of being "retired," the fan favorite still performed a pair of crowd-pleasing transfers at Oakland.

Chad Reed wore these custom Fox Instinct boots in O-Town in commemoration of his home country's holiday, Australia Day. "We actually made them for him to wear at the Motocross of Nations last year, but then he got injured and didn't get to use them," said Fox Racing's Chris Onstott. "We figured Australia Day would be a good reason this year." No matter where Reedy was on the track, you could pick him out, thanks to his amazing footwear.

TwoTwo Motorsport's Doug Bennett suffered a broken foot on Friday at the stadium. Try as we might, we were unable to confirm rumors that the injury was the result of a confrontation with some unsavory Oakland locals, looking to sneak into the TwoTwo pits...

No matter the results he's getting, Chad Reed attracts some of the most dedicated fans in the pits. TwoTwo Motorsports support wear must be flying off the shelves at Fox Racing.

Don't want to order the same Chad Reed support gear as everyone else? Nothing wrong with taking the custom route.

A new face in the TwoTwo Motorsports camp is Oscar Wirdeman, formerly of the Jeff Ward Racing Team that was known as San Manuel Yamaha before that. During Reedy's stint on the San Manuel Yamaha squad, Wirdeman and Paul DeLaurier shared the mechanic duties on Reed's Yamaha. Now, at TwoTwo Motorsports, Wirdeman is one of the supporting technicians that helps Reed's mechanic Lars Lindstrom look after the number 22 Honda CRF450R.

Honda Muscle Milk's Trey Canard had what he described as an "off day" at Oakland, but was able to turn it around in the main event. "I don't know, I just wasn't feeling it all day," he said. "Even in the main, where we got a relatively good result with fourth, I still don't feel like I rode that well." Canard was held up in the massive turn-two pileup, then crashed again several laps later, but still caught up to fourth at the finish.

Trey Canard debuted a new set of orange Fly Racing riding gear at Oakland. Because they are early versions of the pant, the white leather dye in the knees was rubbing off on his machine. "It's crazy," said Canard's long-time mechanic Brent Presnell. "I found some white marks up on the fork tunes! That's when you know he's feeling it; scrubbing like a mad man!"

One of the first riders we checked in with in Oakland was Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Barcia. Last weekend in Anaheim, Silky cased a big triple and slammed his face into the handlebars. In obvious pain, he pulled off the track on the next straight and was immediately attended to by the Asterisk medical staff on hand. "I thought I was okay at first, but then I could feel the warm blood just flowing down my face, and my goggles filled up with blood," he said. "In the end, I just got a cut above my eye and one on my nose, and I broke my nose a little bit." Barcia was quick to point out that in spite of the horrific impact his ankles and wrists sustained, he was barely even sore the next day. The only top rider to wear a pair of AllSport Dynamics wrist braces for preventative measures, he said, "They were easy to get used to. I don't know why everyone doesn't wear them. They saved me again at Anaheim!"

We noticed that Justin Barcia was wearing yet another new version of the Alpinestars Bionic Neck Brace. Made of carbon fiber and boasting all-new padding, the brace was feather light and a huge improvement over the original Bionic Neck Brace.

Another angle of Silky's brace. No word yet when this version will be available from Alpinestars.

Last week, DC Shoes debuted its “Moto: Defined” video that features all of the team riders at play and practice. Tyler Bereman was showcased as he hit a natural lip in Ocotillo Wells at sunset, and also featured predominantly in our behind-the-scenes photo gallery. Taken by the photo, Rockstar Energy Racing's motocross team manager decided to put paint to canvas, using our photo as inspiration. At Oakland, Hanson presented Bereman with the painting. "It's rad when someone gives you a photo they shot of you, but I've never been painted before," said Bereman. "This is insane!"

As we expected, there was plenty of Oakland Raiders apparel in the pits in honor of round four's locale. Cole Seely's personal assistant and overall bad dude, Mikey Ojeda, blended in with the locals...

Thanks in part to his Monster Energy Cup and Phoenix Supercross wins, Justin Barcia is developing quite a fan base. This loyal fan was first in the Honda autograph line, over an hour before autograph signing started.

The Monster Energy Cup trophy, and a Barcia spare bike, is on display at the back of the Honda Muscle Milk rig at every round.

Ben Lamay's new race bike isn't that great off the line, but it really tracks on hardpack.

Although Matrix has made a name for itself by producing plastic MX accessories, the Valencia, California-based company has expanded its line to include aluminum parts. Monster Energy Kawasaki is the first Matrix team to run the new products. Notice how Weimer's stand is customized with feet to add even more stability.

Matrix also has a new plastic/aluminum stand in the works, as evidenced by the stand used by Andrew Short this weekend. The new stand looks a bit taller, and more stable at the same time.

Although rain had haunted the surrounding areas on Saturday, blue skies and crisp weather greeted the fans in Oakland. 

The JGR Yamahas had a slightly different look this weekend, as their new order of upper fork tubes came in last week, Though the silver coating resembles that of the factory Showa SFF Air fork on the Monster Energy Kawasakis, the works suspenders on the front of the Gibbs bike are of the traditional variety. "We've stayed with the traditional design Showa fork," said Brayton's mechanic Patrick Barker. "We plan to start testing some of the new SFF Air stuff for possible use in the Nationals."

Ryan Dungey raced to third in Oakland with the works WP Air Shock mounted on his bike. Early in the day, a traditional mechanical spring shock adorned his Carlos Rivera-tuned 450SX-F, but before the first practice session the exotic component was re-mounted. "It's exciting to be racing with something like the air shock," said Dungey. "At first, when I learned about it, I thought, 'Man, that thing might blow me off the track or something,' but once I rode with it I was excited to use it. The performance in the whoops is what impressed me the most. Obviously, there is a lot of work to be done with it, but I am comfortable enough with it to race, and it gets better every week."

Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson earned the second podium appearance of his young career at Oakland. Anderson was feeling it all day long, as he set the fastest lap time in the first afternoon 250 qualifying session. "I'm finally starting to race more like I ride at the practice track," said Anderson, who was third in Oakland behind Ken Roczen and Cole Seely. "I get a little nervous at the races and tend to tense up. But it's getting better!"

Anderson's Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Ryan Sipes was sidelined this weekend, as he suffered a couple broken fingers in a crash at Anaheim 2. He passed the time in Oakland, however, by helping with some color commentary down on the track. In casual conversation with Sipes, we asked him about the super light Italian Airoh helmet that he and the rest of the Rockstar Energy 250 team wear. "I love it," he said. "It's super comfortable and light. The other day, I picked up one of my old helmets from a previous season and couldn't believe how heavy it felt. I think a light helmet really does help reduce rider fatigue."

During the afternoon practice session, Troy Lee Designs Honda rider Jessy Nelson over-jumped one of the triple so badly, that it broke the rivets on his carbon fiber prosthetic thumb. Nelson's mechanic Eric Gass sprung into action and repaired Nelson's artificial digit with some glue, tape, and good old fashioned ingenuity.

Though the details of the dissolution of the L&MC Chaparral Honda team are not public knowledge, Andrew Short sprung into damage control mode immediately, and put together a makeshift race effort for himself in a matter of two days. Bikes were provided by a Honda dealership in Texas, and Short enlisted the help of the Kranyak/Dirt Bike Kids Racing team to get them set up and to the races. With team rider Josh Hansen sidelined with the flu, the team agreed. That said, Paul Delaurier and Chris Rhode watched over Short's machine as he turned in the best performance of his season. Short's sixth-place showing was impressive, not only because he had less than an hour on the CRF450R prior to the race, but because the largely stock bike was worlds different than the factory bike his former team leased from Honda. "It might as well have been a different brand, it felt so different than what I was racing," said Short of his new bike. "Everything about it was different, and I was adapting to it more with every lap I raced." Shorty's bike had a high compression piston, a Hinson clutch, FMF exhaust, ODI bars, Xtrig clamps, and an enzo racing-tuned KYB PSF fork and shock.

Aside from two small Dunlop stickers on the rear fender, the only sticker that could be found on Short's "Team 29" bike was from Maas Brothers Powder Coating. We assume that the company offered some sort of financial support for the Oakland round.

Andrew’s Honda had special outer tubes on his otherwise stock KYB PSF forks, which were modified by enzo racing. He was pumped on the performance of his front end.

During the last practice session, James Stewart tried to ride with a set of Renthal hand guards mounted on his Yoshimura Suzuki to keep his hands warm in the cold NorCal temperatures. They lasted only one session, though, as he found them visually distracting out on the track.

At Oakland, we spotted a hump in James Stewart's seat. To the best of our recollection, this is the first time he's run anything but a flat seat foam.

As a "Welcome to Suzuki" gift, James Stewart was presented this custom, Yoshimura-built Suzuki Hayabusa back in November. If you're a street-bike fan, you'll want to check this thing out at one of the rounds.

You can purchase Eli Tomac's oversized front brake rotor and master cylinder adapter from CRFStuff.com, but the works Nissin caliper and Brian Kranz polish job are unobtainable.

Ryan Dungey doesn't need his pickup kit any longer, so it looks like he gave it away!

After a racing career that spanned well over a decade, Ryan Morais has made a successful transition into his new role as Team Manager of the Star Racing Yamaha team. Ryan was joined by his wife Hannah and son Krue in Oakland.

With the temperatures hovering around in the 50-degree mark all day on Saturday, warm up was key to keep the muscles loose before heading out on the track.

As we mentioned earlier, Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson was on it all day. However, the expectations weren't high for the New Mexican native going into the night show. "I've been battling a cold all week, but we'll see what happens tonight," responded Anderson when we asked how he felt going into the night show.

The commemorate the stop at the O.co Coliseum, the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda team sported the Raiders logo on their SE3 Piston helmets.

Headed into the night show Saturday, Geico Honda's Eli Tomac seemed off the pace in all his qualifying sessions. Once the racing began, things continued to not play in Tomac's favor as bobbles and crashes constantly set him back in his heat race. The Honda rider tried to turn things around in the main event, however, disaster struck halfway through the race when he lost control of his bike through the whoops.

Tomac was unable to stand up on his own free will at first, and it looked as if the season might have been done for the champion...

After a couple minutes, though, Tomac was able to get his legs functioning again, and was able to walk off the track. In a text exchange with Eli yesterday he said, "I'm all good. I had a massive dead leg after the crash, but I'm out at the golf course loosening it up right now [laughs]."

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer had been battling with pneumonia all week, but he still attempted to line up behind the gate in Oakland. After his qualifying sessions, though, he decided to rest up and prepare for Anaheim III.

After making the main event for the first time this season at Anaheim II, the Epstein camp was on a high coming into Oakland. Things were off to a good start for Dillan as his qualifying times put him straight into the night show, but things took a turn for the worst in his heat race. While battling with the rest of the pack, Epstein's shifter was bent down, and he was unable to move freely throughout his gears. When he finally managed to get his bike to shift up, it shifted back down on the face of the triple. Consequently, he came up considerably short on the triple, and busted his face open on his handlebars. "I look like a got in a fight with a UFC fighter and lost," laughed Dillan "but I'm all good, and I'll be back for redemption at Anaheim III!"

The straightaway immediately after the finish line jump may have not been the hardest obstacle on the track, but with the riders accelerating out of the corner at a high rate of speed, the possibility of high-siding was elevated. While going for a hot lap, Travis Baker found this out first-hand, and was ejected off of his Valli Motorsports Yamaha machine. It took some time before he was able to remount, but besides some bumps and scrapes, he was all good.

Kevin Windham's retirement tour has officially started, and the fans are still grieving. K-Dub's autograph line was one of the longest in the pits, and this fan had a sign that read, "K-Dub and retirement don't mix."

Many riders were the recipients of an Element Case over the weekend. The Sector 5, featured here, is machined out of 6061 aluminum, and sports a suede backing, which is customizable. Eli Tomac opted for "ET" on the back of his. For more info, head to elementcase.com

Happy birthday, Troy!

A crash at Anaheim I left Josh Hill with a concussion and sidelined for a few weeks. Hill expects to start riding this week, though, and come back into the series at San Diego.

We announced in last week's Monday Kickstart Kyle Chisholm's new sponsorship with Von Zipper goggles, and saw Chizzy showing off these VZ Bushwick goggles in Oakland. If you like them, you can get them too at Vonzipper.com

It's always cool to find out the meaning behind a rider's butt-patch. On Saturday, Trey Canard's butt-patch read, "Soli Deo Gloria," Latin for "Glory to God alone."

K-Dub may not be racing anymore, but you can expect to see him at each round performing his signature transfers.

In his rookie Supercross season, Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda's Jessy Nelson is proving that he has the skill and speed to run with the best. In Oakland, he claimed his first heat race victory, which was a big step for the young rider. "It was awesome running up front like that, and it definitely gave me some confidence headed into tonight," commented Nelson.

Swap has a way with making nicknames stick with people. It seems like Matt "Beef" Goerke stuck with him...

Weston Peick has stepped up his program for 2013, and has enlisted the help of Buddy Antunez as his riding coach. In a stacked 450 class, Weston has narrowly missed the top-10 in the mains each week. Unfortunately, though, he was unable to make the main in Oakland.

The sand section inside the O.co Coliseum tested the riders' skills lap after lap, but for Monster Energy Kawasaki's Ryan Villopoto, he continuously blasted through the fine sand with ease.

With his numerous restaurants spread out around the Northern California region, Guy Fieri, host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, is somewhat of a local to the O.co Coliseum. Not only did he come to watch the race, but he also cooked up some food for the Yoshimura Suzuki team.

Being only 40-miles away from Oakland, California, the fourth round of the AMA Supercross Series served as GoPro's hometown race, and they celebrated the event in a big way by having their "Bomb Squad" team sky-dive into the venue after the heat races came to close. "You fans are amazing! We could hear you from all the way up at 2,000 feet," excitedly said one of the team members after he landed inside the stadium.

Many remember Kyle Partridge from the gruesome photo of his foot split wide-open after his crash in St. Louis last year. Although that injury did set him back a little, it was nothing compared to the broken vertebra he suffered from in the same crash. "Coming back from this injury has been the hardest thing I've ever had to overcome, but I'm getting better each week," commented Partridge. The privateer rider was forced into the LCQ and barely missed the final transfer spot with a third place finish.

When Ken Roczen clipped a pole at the top of the finish line jump in the main event, it looked as if Seely was going to walk away with the win. However, with only three laps left in the 15-lap main, Roczen clawed his way back to the top, and overtook the Troy Lee Designs rider for the win.

After finishing runner-up for the past three rounds, Roczen secured his first win inside the O.co Coliseum. Not only that, he is now the point's leader in the 250 class, and will be showcasing the red backgrounds on his Red Bull KTM at Anaheim next weekend.

Another rookie that has been turning some heads lately is Joey Savatgy. The JDR KTM rider broke the Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda holeshot streak by rocketing out front on his Richard Machette tuned machine, and he finished the night with a season best six place.

After taking the coveted Loretta Lynn's AMA Horizon award back in 2011, it's taken some time for Rockstar Energy Racing's Jason Anderson to make a name for himself in the pro ranks. Despite battling a cold on Saturday night, Anderson capped the night with his first podium finish. So, did he celebrate after the race? We asked, and he said, "No way! I was so sick that I passed out when I got back to the hotel [laughs]!"

Ryan Villopoto is now on a two-win win streak after Saturday night's event, and now sits in third place, eight points behind the leader, Davi Millsaps.

After four rounds, Rockstar Energy Racing's Davi Millsaps still holds onto the red plate, and the points lead, headed into Anaheim III.

After the massive first turn pileup, Muscle Milk Honda’s Justin Barcia was unable to complete the race, and headed back to his rig. All is well with Bam Bam, though, as he commented that he’s just nice and sore.

James Stewart showcased some new, all-black JS7 gear in the 450 main event to commemorate the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately for Stewart, he was victim to the first turn pileup, which resulted with a broken throttle and a DNF.