Monday Kickstart – April 9, 2012

The Supercross tour took its lone break from the 17 rounds of action this weekend, but the racing world was still very active as many have begun testing for the coming Nationals while the Bryce Vallee Benefit Day took place to aid the fallen racer. 

Glen Helen April 5th

With the outdoors kicking off in just a few short weeks, the Southern California tracks have been packed with racers preparing for the longer, rougher motos. There is an unwritten schedule of what tracks to go to when, such as Comp Edge Tuesday, Milestone Wednesday, and Glen Helen on Thursday. We made our way to San Bernardino to shoot photos and video of the racers of all disciplines, including WMA, WORCS, and the amateur scene, shaking down their settings.

Rock River Yamaha's Amanda Maihu was one of the first riders to take to the track on Thursday morning.

Marvin Musquin's time aboard the KTM 350 has come to an end, but the Frenchman has begun to prepare for the outdoors. Musquin says he feels much more comfortable and prepared for this summer when compared to last year.

After this Supercross season, Blake Baggett is ready for the Nationals. The Pro Circuit rider said that while his finishes have improved, he feels they should have been stronger from the start.

Darryn Durham, Blake Baggett, and Broc Tickle were on hand to test their outdoor settings.

Josh Grant pounded out lap after lap on Thursday aboard his DNA/Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki. His father, Mike, was on hand to watch his son's progress.

Fresh off his first win of 2012, Ken Roczen looks ready for the summer and his first time racing the Nationals.

Jake Canada looked comfortable aboard his MCR 250. He and teammate Jeff Alessi hit the track around 11AM, when the long circuit was its busiest.

Jessica Patterson looked comfortable aboard her new Rockstar Energy Suzuki. Patterson will pit beside Blake Wharton, Jason Anderson, Hunter Hewitt, and Martin Davalos during the summer.

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Bryce Vallee Ride Day

Pro racer Bryce Vallee suffered a list of injures after a vicious crash during the second round of the Muscle Milk TWMX Spring Cup, and the industry came together this past Saturday to raise money for the number “90’s” staggering hospital bills. The ride day was held at Riverside, CA’s Milestone MX Park and brought out both casual rider and professional alike. Our friend Steve Emter was on hand to document the thoughtful event.

The setup for the Bryce Vallee ride day started early before the crowds started to arrive at Milestone MX for the benefit.

The Brett Downey Foundation had a booth set up selling food as well as raffle tickets to help raise money.

Raffle tickets sold well throughout the day, and went alongside the silent auction that took place later in the afternoon.

A stack of items to be given away for the raffle.

More of the items which were up for auction and raffle.

A full set of helmets from the Troy Lee Designs race team were part of the silent auction.

A poster was blown up for everyone to wish Vallee well during his recovery.

There were Bryce Vallee jerseys all over the facility during the benefit.

A load of Spy product was donated for the drawings.

The raffle tickets were selling all day with many items up for the cause.

A fully healed Ryan Sipes made an appearance at the Vallee benefit.

Travis Baker took to the track later in the day.

There were plenty of fast riders on the Riverside track.

Josh Grant displaced a lot of soil when he got aboard his Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki.

Rich Taylor of EKS Brand goggles came to show his support of Vallee.

Several fellow privateer riders came out to show support for Bryce as well, including Parker Eckman on his Slaton Racing Kawasaki.

Darryn Durham put in long motos throughout the day in preparation for the upcoming outdoor races.

Marvin Musquin displayed his smooth style.

Musquin, like Durham, put in numerous long motos.

Retired pro Charles Castloo also put in laps.

Josh Grant brought his son out to enjoy the day at the track.

Travis Baker and Marvin Musquin were two of the pro riders that came to show support for Vallee.

There were riders of various skill levels on the track all day. The track was very busy all day and even with the crowds it was a very clean day of riding.

Catching Up With Jessy Nelson

Jessy Nelson

Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda's Jessy Nelson has begun his final season as an amateur racer the way one would hope: by winning numerous titles and being at the head of the pack on any given day. While at Glen Helen, Nelson chased after a handful of professional riders and kept the pace lap after lap, a sure indication of the teenager's speed. Nelson will sit out this week's World Mini Grand Prix, but will run both Mammoth Mountain and Loretta Lynn's before making his debut as a professional racer. We spoke with Nelson on what the coming months hold after he finished one of his many Thursday motos.

This is set to be your last year as an amateur, correct?

Yeah, I am coming up on Loretta's and Mammoth, and those will be my last two. From there, we will go on to join the pros at Unadilla.

How did the Texas and Alabama Nationals go for you this year?

Texas went alright, I just struggled with the way I was riding and didn't feel like I was flowing right. I tightened up on some of the stuff, but I came away with three titles and a bunch of seconds. Overall, it was a good two weeks and I am happy with it.

As the only amateur on the Troy Lee Designs team and having Travis Baker and Cole Seely there testing alongside you, is it the learning tool one would assume?

Yeah, it is. Cole is a phenomenal rider and so is Travis, and they are great to be around. I can go watch the things that Cole is doing, sections were he is faster than Travis is, and then see the sections were Travis is faster than Cole. From there, I just take what each of them are doing and mix what I do in, and it has been helping out a lot. I am glad to have everyone on the team around.

With your professional debut coming in August, does coming to the track and keeping pace with racers like Josh Grant or Cole and Travis set your expectations?

As far as expectations go, I do not know yet. I want to do the best that I can do, and the main goal is to top-10 every race that I am in. But I am never happy with a top-10, no matter what race I am in, even if it is the best guys in the world. I want to be up near the front, and that probably won't happen for a while, but if I keep pushing it will happen eventually.

Is it confidence boost for Loretta's, knowing that you have the speed already?

It could be a confidence boost, because riding with these guys is a big help. These are National guys who have been doing it for a while, and they know all the tricks of the trade. I am just trying to learn from it for my main goal of going professional.

ON THE WEB

If you haven’t had the chance to check out the new TWMX mobile site, be sure whip out your smartphone and see the easy to navigate layout. For those of you  getting the message “Too Many Redirects,” simply clear your cache and reload the site.

Many in Southern California have had the pleasure to ride in the scenic Beaumont Hills. The area, though illegal to ride in, has been added to the list of possible sites to be used as a future OHV park in Riverside County. There is currently a petition in the works to help aid the process at http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/beaumonthillsohv/. If you would like to have your voice heard, sign the petition or contact the county officials at http://www.rivcoparks.org/about-us/ohvr-commission/commission-roster/.