The Monster Energy AMA Supercross series ended its initial stretch on the West Coast and checked off its final California stop in San Diego this weekend. The action in the premier class continues to be both surprising and inspiring, as Rockstar Energy Racing’s Davi Millsaps clutches to the red plate, and shows no signs of letting up his charge toward Supercross supremacy. Exciting fast-paced bar banging in the heat races has consistently parlayed into the main events, and the fans are reaping the rewards.
In addition to some exciting racing, there was plenty of action away from the track. One-off gear, racers returning from injury, delicious tortas (probably had to be there for that), racer engagements; you name it, it happened. Check out all the stuff you may have missed from watching the telecast.
One of the benefits of riding for the Troy Lee Designs Honda team? Always having the coolest helmet paint jobs! In honor of the San Diego SX venue, all three riders wore San Diego Chargers-inspired helmets.
New Era brought some Chargers headwear to Qualcomm for the TLD team members to wear…
RCH Racing’s Josh Hill made a welcome return to racing at San Diego. Prior to the race, Hill’s mechanic “Longhorn” said that their only goal was to make it through the night without incident, and in one piece. Hill exceeded even his own expectations by winning the LCQ and racing to 17th in the main event. “That was my favorite Supercross ever, even though I was only 17th,” he said. “I was up to 14th but I got passed by dudes I was battling with when I thought I was being lapped by RV or Dungey. Now I know why it’s so gnarly when you’re lapping guys; I was going for it!”
Josh Grant’s son Wyatt was really hoping to watch his dad rip it up in San Diego, but after practice, Grant decided that the sprained ankle he suffered at Anaheim 3 was still to sore to race safely.
Tony Dandrea hand delivered a new Tagger Designs Unit helmet to Josh Grant at San Diego, but it looks like the Shoei VSX-W will have to wait until at least Dallas to get dirty.
Lofty goals. Wonder if any were met?
Dean Wilson and Justin Hill’s Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasakis were on display at Qualcomm Stadium. The Eastern Regional 250 Supercross Championship kicks off next Saturday in Dallas, Texas, and runs for the next eight weeks. Hill was on hand in San Diego to watch his big brother Josh return to action, but Wilson was back at his new home in Florida, pounding laps in preparation for his final 250 SX series.
Heavy rain on the Friday before the race left some sections of the track a little muddy, in spite of the plastic tarps that covered the entire circuit. Ryan Villopoto’s mechanic Mike Williamson busted out the power washer in between practice sessions to get rid of the mud buildup on the champ’s bike.At a normal dry event, a wipedown with a rag will usually suffice.
6D helmets are finally starting to trickle into dealerships across the country, as the first shipment arrived last week. Bob Weber reports that sales of the high-end helmet have been excellent. Geico Honda’s Eli Tomac had nothing but great things to say about the 6D after his horrific Oakland main event crash. “I landed right on my head, but the helmet definitely did its job; I had no concussion or even any head pain,” he said.
James Stewart earned a hard-fought victory in his heat race after battling tooth-in-nail with Davi Millsaps, and he returned to finish fourth in the main event. “I had a good week before San Diego and I was feeling good,” said Stewart. “We’re making progress. I didn’t even know that I was fourth in the main; things were so hectic out there and I had no idea where I was.”
Six-time Supercross and motocross Champion Jeff Stanton has been working with Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Justin Barcia for two seasons now, working with the Phoenix SX winner on the mental and strategic aspect of racing. One of the most textbook-styled riders in our sport’s history, the pairing with the wild, aggressive Barcia seems a bit odd. “I’m not trying to change his style or tell him what to do,” said Stanton. “The kid has a ton of talent, and I just try to help him make the best use of it.” Stay tuned to a Pit Pass Video with Stanton later this week…
While leading his heat race, Justin Barcia had a momentary loss of traction that caused him to lose control of his Honda CRF450R. Silky was nearly flung off his bike, but he pulled off an amazing side-saddle save and was able to remount without crashing. Unfortunately, by the time Barcia got both feet on his pegs, he had ridden off the course and took a detour through the mechanics’ signal area. “I got into trouble for that,” laughed Barcia later on. “But hey, Jason Lawrence isn’t back racing yet, so someone has to be doing all the getting into trouble.”
Speaking of Jason Lawrence, in our interview with the New Jersey rider last week, he told us that he’d been riding with Tim Ferry in Florida. “Yeah, Jason came out to do some motos with us one day,” said Red Dog. “He’s staying in Florida with his grandparents, and he’s been calling to come out. The last time he didn’t make it, though, because the chain and sprocket on his bike were too hammered and he was waiting to get a new set.”
After the failure Ryan Dungey’s air shock suffered on the starting line last weekend in Anaheim, the team opted to equip the former champion’s bike with the traditional mechanical spring shock. “The air shock has great potential,” said Dungey. “We’re not giving up on it by any means, but it does need some more development before we race with it again.”
Velocity 3 Yamaha’s Kyle Chisholm crashed out of the second practice session of the day and elected to sit out the San Diego Supercross. “I’ll be okay,” he said. “But I hit my head pretty hard and banged up my shoulder.” Get well soon, Chiz!
Last week, we reported of rumors that the new Thor helmet would be offered in a Ryan Villopoto replica. This is our hunch about which design that it will feature. So cool…
One Industries presented every member of the Rockstar Energy Racing team with these gold, laser-etched champagne bottles to commemorate Davi Millsaps’ win at Anaheim 1. After San Diego, it looks like Ian “One-Man Show” Runyon may have some more bottles to have etched!
The team of Steve Westfall and Davi Millsaps has finished off the podium only once thus far in the season with a fourth at Anaheim 2, and have proven to be the most consistent team in the pits. We asked Davi what has made the difference this year, and his answer was, “Preparation. No doubt about it.”
We asked Scuba Steve if Millsaps’ recent performances have resulted in any additional support from Suzuki, and if the new Showa SFF Air forks were a “reward” for his consistency. “No, not at all,” said Westfall. “Suzuki has called to congratulate him, but we are still a privateer team for sure. Davi has actually been testing the air fork for a couple of months, but he only recently came up with a setting that he was comfortable enough to race with.”
Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen reports that he is feeling better than ever on a Supercross track, and that the back-to-back wins he earned at Oakland and Anaheim 3 have boosted his confidence tenfold. Though he finished second to Eli Tomac in the San Diego main, he remained upbeat saying, “I closed in on Tomac and was less than one second behind at the finish. Even though it was not a win, it was a confidence builder because that was the first time this series that I reeled him in.”
We spotted Monster Energy Kawasaki team manager Dan Fahie and Nick Wey exchanging broken hip war stories. Fahie broke his hip around Thanksgiving in a crash at The Ranch, and has been slowly but surely recovering. At Anaheim 1, he was on two crutches, but by San Diego he needed only a cane. Get well, Dan!
Congratulations to Jake Weimer and Nicole Beck, who were engaged last week. Weimer sat out San Diego with a couple broken ribs, but he hopes to return by Dallas.
Kevin Windham reports that he is actually busier in retirement than he was as an active racer. “It’s nuts,” he said. “Now, I have to fly into town on Wednesdays before the race to do TV and sponsor stuff, and my race day is filled with meetings and rehearsals. After opening ceremonies, I have to change out of my gear like Superman and get into the broadcast booth before the first heat race. It’s nuts!”
Earlier, we showed you the special San Diego Chargers helmet paint jobs that the Troy Lee Designs Honda team sported at Qualcomm. But here’s a better look at the limited-edition adidas collaboration TLD gear that Christian Craig, Jessy Nelson and Cole Seely wore. The gear will be available in limited quantities in March. Stay tuned to www.troyleedesigns.com for details!
One guess who “photo bombed” our photo of Christian Craig…
We spotted Cole Seely wearing his lucky Dale Earnhardt T-shirt at San Diego during autograph signing. Sadly, it didn’t work, as Seely was forced to race the LCQ and suffered a first-lap crash in the main.
After winning the LCQ and qualifying for the 450 main event, Dodge/Sycuan Casino/RCH Racing/Bel-Ray/Suzuki's Josh Hill felt inspired and optimistic."It's a great shot in the arm," said Hill. "Finally, something went right. There were so many tough days the last few years. To overcome all the stuff that I have the last two or three years, this feels really, really good."Hill returned to racing action after missing the first five rounds of SX competition this season with a broken right hand. The Oregon native has missed the last 39 main events due to injuries over the last two years. Saturday night's effort came after only two days of practice on the bike earlier in the week."It's been a real, real rough couple of years," Hill added. "And then I get to Anaheim 1 this year thinking that everything was going to go good and I break my hand. For me to come back with only two days on the bike and make the main event, it feels good. And the way that I did it, I did it the hardest way possible by having to go to the LCQ and then win it. It feels great. I never felt that finishing 18th would feel so good, but that did."
Broc Tickle (pictured at right with Malcolm Stewart) finished in 11th in the main event, a result that had much more potential early in the race. He had his best start of the season, breaking from the gate aggressively to grab second behind series point leader Davi Millsaps, but he would advance no further. Instead, Tickle faded from the lead pack and missed a top 10 for the first time in three races. He ended up 11th. With his finish, the Michigan native still managed to jump up one position to 10th in the 450SX point standings and is only 10 markers out of ninth.
"Broc got a great start and then I saw his body language change a bit," said Tickle's veteran crew chief Tony Berluti. "He peeked behind him a couple of times and usually that's a sign of nerves. It was a bit of a defensive ride; he just tightened up. He blew up a bit early in the race and never really recovered. It happens. It's just mental and he pumped up a bit. Broc really rode well all day, except for the main. He was fast in practice and had a really solid Heat race. This track was really tricky and it had a whoop section that was gnarly. Just not our night in the main event."
Star Yamaha's Kyle Cunningham has started to find a groove. He finished just off the podium in fourth last weekend in Anaheim, and he rode that momentum into a holeshot and first-place finish in his heat race in San Diego. He credits his team manager Ryan Morais and the supporting staff for improvements to the bike as well as an elevated personal effort with his dad at his side during the week.
Pro Circuit's Martin Davalos was the clear favorite to steal the win in the 250 class Saturday night, especially after logging the fastest qualifying lap of the day in the first practice, then ripping a holeshot which led to a heat race win. Davalos' main event stigma returned to haunt him. After getting a solid start, he stacked it up in a rhythm section on the first lap.
Unlike teammate Broc Tickle's black seat, Josh Hill chooses to run the color-matched seat that matches up to his RM-Z450's shroud graphics.
Ryan Dungey's newest sponsor, Skullcandy, melds perfectly with his longtime sponsor, Target.
Speaking of Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey, he finished 3rd inside Qualcomm Stadium on Saturday. Dungey qualified sixth fastest from the day's practice sessions to earn a spot in heat race number one. When the gate dropped for the heat, Dungey rounded the opening turn in 8th and went on to work his way back into the top five, moving up to 4th place before the completion of the race. He had a decent gate pick for the main event and elected to start from the third gate to the left of the start box. Shuffling a few spots during the race, he successfully got around Justin Brayton to move into podium contention with six laps to go. Dungey's third-place result is good enough to retain second overall in the championship points with 113.
"I'm actually pretty happy with my ride tonight," said Dungey. "It was a tough track to pass on and as I didn't get a great start, I think I rode pretty strong to come through the pack and finish on the box. It would definitely make my life a little easier if I could keep getting a start like I did last week! But that's just something I have to work on."
Team Honda Muscle Milk's Justin Barcia continues to justify the preseason hype that surrounded him. Other than Trey Canard, who remained largely in the shadows, Barcia was the lone racer to experience the same press as the seasoned former champions of Stewart, Villopoto, Reed, and Dungey. To date, he has been one of the fastest guys on the track each and every weekend in the main events. Short of a few rookie mishaps, he is the guy running with Millsaps most consistently. He pressured the points leader this weekend and scored a solid second place.
Justin Barcia spent the vast majority of his amateur breeding at Millsaps Training Facility, so he has quite the fond history with points leader Davi Millsaps. He seemed quite content with finishing second to his camp elder, and said on the podium that he was pretty pumped to joust with the guy he looked up to as a young buck at MTF.
"Someone just got kicked off ‘The Bachelor.’" –Dano Legere
Mophie, the kings of in the field iPhone recharging, introduced the Outride action kit in late 2012, and are also an enthusiastic sponsors of Chad Reed and TwoTwo Motorsports. The Outride system turns your iPhone into a waterproof POV action cam, allowing you to shoot and upload straight to the intergalactic web.
With six rounds down and a 10-week break scheduled before the next round in West Coast series resumes in Seattle, Ken Roczen holds an 18-point lead in the championship standings. "I'm actually really happy with the way I rode tonight," said Roczen. "I was kind of uncomfortable on this track all day but I think I put together a good race come the main event. I guess my focus at this point in time is just to stay healthy and to keep things going the way they have been going at the races while our series is on a break and come out blazing again in Seattle."
Andrew Short continues to impress. His team folded just a few races in, and he was left without a bike. It hasn't stopped the veteran, however, from continuing to race alongside the sport's elite. With a production bike with enzo Racing suspension, Shorty is sitting seventh in points. After scoring a second in his heat race, he went on to finish inside the top-ten in the main event on Saturday. Let's get some logos on that guys race truck!
Unit's Tony Dandrea and Tagger Designs make sure Kyle Chisholm is looking fresh, on and off the track. On Saturday, The Fabulous Chiz made his presence known with this latest paint scheme.
Despite winning the best dressed award, TLD’s Cole Seely and Jessy Nelson found themselves in the LCQ after the heat races. Luckily, the guys went 1-2, scoring the final two transfer spots and securing spots in the 250 main event.
PGA golfer and Red Bull athlete Rickie Fowler was on hand to take in the action. An avid MXer himself, he attends as many races as he can around his schedule.
After his friend Eli Tomac took the win in the 250 main event, Rickie Fowler did his best to get the podium shot, along with help from Kathy Tomac.
Three of the GoPro Bomb Squad literally descended into Qualcomm Stadium before the first gates dropped for racing. Upon landing, the third Bomber delivered the checkered flag to race officials.
Nick Wey has been killing it as the on-track color commentator, but San Diego marked the final race for NYK’s insight on the microphone. He will not be making the trip to the East Coast, and we are going to miss him.
For the second time in history, Supercross saw a staggered mid-race restart. The second 450 heat race was red flagged after Jared “Jet” Browne stacked it up and needed proper Asterisk Medical Unit attention (more info on that as we know more). The red flag, however, came out after the half of the designated laps had been completed which dictates the staggered restart in the running order established when the red flag waved. Historic: maybe. Memorable: no. More importantly, we hope Jet is doing okay and has a speedy recovery.
Earlier, we pointed out the fact that Broc Tickle’s RCH bike had a black seat. The exclamation point sticker on the tank is for THINK, a closed-cell seat foam company that’s been around for a few years now. The seat foam is SUPER light and knocks well over a pound off the overall weight of the bike. Chad Reed also runs the superlight part.
BTOSports.com KTM’s Matt Goerke has quietly been turning in some great performances aboard his KTM 450SX-F. Beef was 12th in San Diego, but he’s been finishing inside the top-10 pretty regularly. We are hoping to score a test ride on his machine when the team switches to MX suspension for the Nationals.
Matt Goerke’s bike started the season equipped with Xtrig triple clamps, but at San Diego both his and Les Smith’s KTMs has RG3’s excellent dual-post triple clamps mounted up. The ODI CFT bars also offer a firm, precise ride, with some added forgiveness thanks to an elastomer in the crossbar.
As he has at all of the West Coast rounds, Steve Hong took a break from his normal job at Sam Woo BBQ and cooked up hundreds of Bubba Burgers at the BTOSports.com rig. Bubba Burger is a pretty significant outside sponsor for the BTO team.
Now that Ivan Tedesco isn’t a regular site in the Supercross pits, Doc G’s bodyguard services have been retained by Carey Hart and the RCH Racing team.
UFC hero Jake “The Juggernaut” Ellenberger and two of his training partners were on hand at San Diego. Rumor has it that Ellenberger was trying to convince Doc G into returning to the sport that he dominated years ago before launching his personal security firm.
At the end of the RCH Racing rig, New Era had its new Artist’s Series hats on display. The collection is a collaboration between Hart and
Huntington and New Era Cap .
http://www.hartandhuntington.com/newera/ for more info.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the Artist’s Series New Era hats. Check out NewEra.com for more information.
We chatted with Zach Osborne a bit at San Diego about the impending return of Jason Lawrence at the 450 Nationals this summer. “Oh, you mean the guy who is going to be running number 339?” he joked.
Brady Sheren from Atlas Brace reports that the new high-end carbon fiber version of the brace will be available for sale any day now. He also told us that the signing of Ryan Villopoto has made a huge impact on Atlas sales. “I think that RV, being a long-time brace user, switching to the Atlas, gave us a lot of credibility,” he said. “That, and the introduction of our kid’s sized brace has really made an impact.”
Engine Ice Dave was on hand at San Diego, showing off his new Engine Ice bottle that is made of a much more durable material that can be crushed, left in the sun, and thrown around without cracking, leaking, or fading. Engine Ice is an amazing coolant that we’ve run in many of our test bikes over the years, and unlike the radiator fluid you buy at the grocery store, it is 100% non toxic. Hell, we even made Dave take a sip of the stuff once to prove it to us!
Ironman made a guest appearance at the Thor Podium…
Icon Sports Alliance’s Charles Dao was on hand at San Diego to look after some of the riders he trains, and we bumped into him as he chatted with Cole Seely’s mechanic Rich Simmonds. Like the Troy Lee Designs Honda team, Dao is sponsored by Adidas, and he was especially pumped on the team’s special adidas gear.
We know that we showed you the TLD adidas gear already, but here’s another look at the stuff…
At San Diego, the Troy Lee Designs Honda team had a one-off event sponsor, FanShout. Still in the development stages, FanShout will be a service that allows customers to purchase a 30-second video clip of their favorite celebrity, giving a custom “shout out” to them or their friends. Imagine giving your pal, who’s obsessed with Kim Kardashian, a short video clip of her wishing him happy birthday…that’s what FanShout is going to provide. Word is that the company is signing up our sport’s top racers as potential selections for the service. Pretty interesting!
We spotted our former video editor Mike “D.O.C.” Wood, hard at work with the Dirt Shark himself, as they lurked in the pits with a pair of new “Sharklets.” See more at DirtShark.com
Josh Hansen was at Qualcomm Stadium early in the day hanging out in the DBK/Kranyak Racing pits with his crew chief Chris McAvoy, but he is reportedly struggling with a case of mono that has him too weak to race. McAvoy indicated that Hansen will be back in action when the series returns to the west coast in Seattle, and will also participate in several disciplines at the X Games.
See you next week! (Rated G version)
See you next week! (Rated PG version)