More hype around the upcoming MX of Nations, a rundown of who may end up where for 2013, the announcement of the 2013 Transworld Slam Festival, the 2013 Honda CRF450R in action, and more fill this week’s Kickstart.
With the Monster Energy MX of Nations less than two weeks away, the industry is buzzing with news on the battles that are set to take place in the sands of Lommel. Everyone is ready to defend their respective country’s honor and are taking impressive measures to get their colors on every detail.
We headed to Racetown 395 in Adelanto, CA, with Rich Taylor to break in the production model of Honda’s all-new CRF450R. With “RT” at the helm, the bike was put through its paces while we filmed this video.
Team Search 2013
The off-season is in full swing and many riders are deep in the talks of finding a team for next year. The lucky ones have locked down multi-years deals, but others are not fairing as well. Take a glance at what we have heard so far for 2013.
Ryan Villopoto - Villopoto and Monster Energy Kawasaki have agreed on a three-year deal for the defending Supercross champion, which is expected to close out Villopoto's career. The team also negotiated with Monster Energy for a contract extension as title sponsor during the summer. With both deals signed, the team will look the same for next year.
Ryan Dungey - Newly crowned National champion Dungey enters his second year with Red Bull KTM, and has proven that he, the team, and the bike are contenders for race wins and titles.
James Stewart - After running a handful of races with the Yoshimura Suzuki team over the summer, Stewart starts his actual contract in the new year.
Ivan Tedesco - We are hearing rumors that Tedesco will not be with Hart & Huntington for next year, but have not learned anything about where he will wind up.
Justin Brayton - After a year with factory Honda, Justin Brayton heads back to the JGR/Toyota/ Yamaha team.
Kyle Chisholm - As it stands, Chisholm may land at one of three teams: Jeff Ward Kawasaki, Hart & Huntington Suzuki, and JGR/Toyota/Yamaha. His future depends on who else lands rides at these teams.
Blake Baggett - Baggett is back with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki to defend his 250 National championship.
Kevin Windham - Windham will have his designated spot at GEICO Powersports Honda in what may be his next-to-last year on the circuit.
Dean Wilson - Wilson broke the news just a few weeks back that he will start his 450 career with Jeff Ward Kawasaki.
Eli Tomac - 2013 should be Eli Tomac's final year in the 250 class with GEICO Powersports Honda. After he defends his 250 West SX championship, Tomac may bump up to the 450 for the summer.
Davi Millsaps - Millsaps will find himself back on Suzuki, as the first 450 racer for the Rockstar Energy Suzuki team.
Kyle Cunningham - This has been a rough year for Cunningham, but luckily, he is locked in for another year at Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha.
Justin Barcia – Justin Barcia will continue his tenure with Honda, as he makes the jump to the factory team after racing with the brand since his amateur years. Barcia will make his debut for Team Honda Muscle Milk at the MXoN in Lommel at the end of the month.
Jake Weimer - With one full year under his belt in the 450 ranks, Jake Weimer will be back with Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Chad Reed - Reed has begun to put the 2013 Honda CRF450R through its paces testing after injury clipped his season short. Talks of a second rider under TwoTwo Motorsports banner have gone quiet with Reed on the mend and Dean Wilson locked to JWR.
Gareth Swanepoel - A busted leg ended Swanepoel's season, and as of now, no one has mentioned the South African in their 2013 plans.
Brett Metcalfe - Metcalfe's future is in limbo, as he is not confirmed to any team. Coming back to Yoshimura Suzuki looks to be his strongest option, as he and the team may work out an extension. Metcalfe was in talks with Langston/Witt KTM, but rumor is that deal and the team have both ended.
Broc Tickle - Tickle to Hart & Huntington Suzuki is just missing a press release and photo of him with the bike.
Michael Byrne - Byrne is healing after crashing at Unadilla. He and the BTO.com Sports/Butler Brothers team should be together for next year on KTM.
Nick Wey - When Wey comes back from the list of injures he sustained in Millville, expect him to be back with the Foremost Insurance/Motosport/Mafia privateer team.
Tyla Rattray - Better suited for the 450, Rattray may be the new rider on the expanded L&Mc Chaparral Honda team.
Andrew Short - With one extremely successful year in the books, Short and L&Mc will be back together.
Alex Martin - Despite his best efforts, Martin will be a privateer again next year with Eleven10 Mods.
Martin Davalos - Mitch Payton sees the potential in Davalos, and has brought him to Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki for another stint in the 250 class.
Tommy Hahn - Injuries didn't allow Tommy Hahn to fill his short time at Team Honda Muscle Milk over the summer, but his few finishes were impressive. Alas, Hahn will more than likely go the privateer route again next year.
Josh Grant - Grant has another confirmed year with Jeff Ward Racing Kawasaki, but has the option to leave. That said, there is a chance Grant may also be back to JGR/Toyota/Yamaha.
Cole Seely - Seely is back again with Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda, racing the 250 West Coast Supercross and hopping up to the 450 outdoors.
Darryn Durham - An injured shoulder kept Durham from lining up outdoors, but he will be with Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki for '13.
Kyle Regal - Fill-in rides at H&H and JGR over the year were not enough to land Regal a spot for next year, as he was back on a Merge Racing privateer Yamaha by the middle of the summer.
Malcolm Stewart - Mookie is back with JDR/J-Star/KTM.
Marvin Musquin - Musquin will continue to be a Red Bull KTM rider, despite Mitch Payton's attempts to bring him to Pro Circuit.
Gannon Audette - Audette's pro career has been rocky, to say the least. An injury filled rookie year at Star Yamaha led to Munn Racing KTM for 2012. Audette was quick over the summer and should be back with the team.
Trey Canard – A statement to the relationship between he and the brand, Canard got an extension on his Team Honda Muscle Milk contract despite his gnarly injuries this year.
Christian Craig - It has been a rough go for Craig, as he missed all of Supercross and the start of the Nationals with a wrist injury. He turned down an offer by Langston/Witt KTM to stay with Troy Lee Designs/Lucas Oil/Honda.
Continued on next page.
Team Search Continued…
Jason Anderson - After a successful rebuilding season, Anderson will be with Rockstar Energy Suzuki for the new year.
Nick Paluzzi - Paluzzi went the privateer route midway through the Supercross season, suffered an injury, and then raced the Lake Elsinore National. Paluzzi is not linked to any team for 2013.
Les Smith - Smith landed a long-term ride with Langston/Witt KTM, but there is talk that the team may be no more.
Chris Blose - Injuries hampered Blose's season, and he will be a privateer again next year.
Jimmy Albertson - With a top-20 finish in the standings, Albertson may go a few routes for next year, but has stayed tight-lipped on where.
Justin Bogle - Bogle will be with GEICO Powersports Honda for his sophomore season.
Nico Izzi - Izzi is back to his roots with Suzuki, as he will be aboard a Rockstar Energy 250 indoors and a 450 outdoors.
Travis Baker - Baker will not be back with TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda.
Ben Lamay - A long-time privateer, Lamay turned in a solid summer with Rock River Yamaha. He should be back for next year.
Ryan Sipes - Sipes' program mimics Izzi's: Rockstar Energy Suzuki 250 inside, 450 outside.
Weston Peick - A full-on privateer, Peick shocked the field at Lake Elsinore. Still, it was not enough to land a ride as of now for next year.
Jake Canada - Canada resigned to MotoConcepts for another year in the spring, and the team is expected to be with fewer riders for 2013.
Wil Hahn - Hahn is back to GEICO Honda for next year, with intentions to avoid injury and improve on his Supercross standings.
Vince Friese - Even though he has been with MotoConcepts for years, it looks like the relationship between the two may end for 2013, at least in its current form. Friese has kept support from them while running an independent program.
Matt Lemonie - Lemonie was solid on his Hansen Racing privateer Kawasaki over the year, and if the team is back for next year, expect him to be as well.
Ryan Morais - Morais has come back to the Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha outfit as team manager.
Jimmy Decotis - 2012 was brutal to Decotis, as he spent the entire year out with injury. His term with GEICO Powersports Honda was said to only be for Supercross, and has been left out of any mentions of next year.
Ken Roczen - Ken Roczen is back to Red Bull KTM for another stint.
Josh Hill - Hill is another rider that has been dropped from the new Hart & Huntington line-up, but not much has been heard on what may come for next year.
Kyle Partridge - Same goes for Partridge.
Kyle Peters - With his eventful rookie year complete, Kyle Peters is on the search for a ride for next year. There is a slight chance he may be back with Star/Valli.
Josh Hansen - News of Hansen's departure from the team spread quickly, but he has more than a few options for next year, thanks to support from Monster Energy.
Mike Alessi - Alessi seems to have found all the missing pieces to his career at MCR, most importantly his father, and will be back with owner Mike Genova.
Zach Bell - Once he heals from his back injuries, Bell will make his Supercross debut with GEICO Powersports Honda.
Zach Osborne - Years on the GP scene, along with an impressive showing at the opening rounds of the Supercross season earned Osborne a ticket home and a ride with GEICO Powersports Honda.
Cole Thompson - Thompson's name first appeared during the Supecross season, as the Canadian privateer fared well on the East Coast. He was even more impressive on his Honda 450 outdoors, and got a temporary role at Star/Valli. With the team shrinking next year, Thompson may not be back.
Jessy Nelson - TLD Honda's move to bring Nelson up from the amateurs paid off, and he is with them again for his first full year in 2013.
Jeremy Martin - Martin faired well in his few professional races, but had already earned his place on Star/Valli for 2013.
The TransWorld SLAM is back for 2012 with a new date and a new location. Set to take place Saturday, October 13th, at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park, the event will welcome fans to a free day of riding, a massive vendors row, prizes and giveaways, and finally the head-to-head SLAM race. Dean Wilson, Wil Hahn, and Justin Bogle have outlasted the competition in the bracket-style format to claim the SLAM Belt, cash prize, and the cover of our December issue.
For more information, head to http://motocross.transworld.net/2012-transworld-slam-festival/ and stay up to date on the latest news.
Join the event by using the #TWSLAM tag on Instagram and Twitter.
Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha And The Metal Mulisha Land Scott Champion A Ride At Lake Elsinore
Long before Brian Deegan became the anti-hero of the motocross world, he was a struggling privateer from Nebraska, racing across the country in the 125 class aboard a Kenny Watson tuned Moto XXX Suzuki. A fixture at the front of the pack in the mid-90's, Deegan earned his place in history by ghost riding his bike over the finish line double after winning the Los Angeles Supercross main event in 1997. Despite this and other impressive runs, he was passed over for lucrative rides numerous times before ultimately turning his back on the racing circuit and developing the Metal Mulisha with Larry Linkogle.
The rise of the Mulisha and its widespread reach is worthy of a book in itself, as the DGAF attitude reaches every corner of the country with shelf space in mall stores, but racing in some way is still part of "The General's" program. By sponsoring Josh Grant for a handful of years, the skull logo showed up on the gear of a Factory Honda racer, just below the iconic wing. During the 2011 season, rumors began to circulate that a team created and run by the Metal Mulisha would hit the circuit for the following year. Over the of season, talk of the team died down and was more or less forgotten until it was announced they would be a major sponsor to the Star/Valli/Rockstar/Yamaha group.
While at Deegan's house the week before the X Games, we spotted a full Star/Valli race bike in the garage. The bike was part of the team sponsorship and many expected Deegan to use it in his final X Games as a motocross rider, but the lack of time necessary to get comfortable forced it to be pushed aside in the garage.
Scott Champion is a privateer in every meaning of the word. His sparse yet very dedicated list of supporters helped the California native hit every round of the West Coast Supercross Lites series, where he finished as high as ninth (Las Vegas) and ranked 17th overall in the point standings. But as the Nationals approached along with the daunting costs of traveling to the East Coast for the majority of the summer, it was clear that Champion's season was over. While in Southern California over the summer, Champion and members of the Mulisha began riding together and discussed the idea of pulling the bike out of storage for the final round of the year at Lake Elsinore.
"I know where he is coming from, because no one helped me," said Deegan. "I wanted to help him out." The lengths that Deegan and the team went through to prepare both rider machine was impressive, as there was only a small window available to mesh. With the majority of his career taking place aboard a 250, Champion spent the weeks leading up to the event familiarizing himself with the increased power of the big-bore Yamaha.
His plans to run the final round were kept relatively quiet and on the day of the race, many wondered who was racing the extra bike under the Star/Valli tent, a realization of how quickly a racer can be forgotten. As Deegan's long-time mechanic, Craig Koback, tended to the bike, Champion once again got in the flow of a race day program. By the end of the two qualifying sessions, Champion was ranked 33rd overall and then lined up for the motos.
After taking the summer off from racing, Champion's 26-21 moto scores were enough to claim 28th overall. Coming into the off-season, these finishes and one-off support may not be enough to land a full-time ride, but are a reflection to what a rider can do when given any type of help.