Welcome to Racerhead, coming to you as we head into the stretch run for Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Houston is happening this weekend and it will give us all another chance to see Red Bull KTM’s Cooper Webb continue to somehow always land butter-side up. One week after nearly impaling himself on some Tuff Blox and still making a pass on Eli Tomac, #2 had one of his lesser nights in Seattle and still managed not to lose any ground, scoring as many points for a fourth-place finish as the winner Marvin Musquin, his teammate and nearest rival in the points.
What should have been a seven-point swing that would have cut Cooper’s points lead in half instead became a push after race officials decided to penalize Musquin two positions worth of points plus two points for jumping through a rhythm section while the wheels-on-the-ground flags were out—although he was still credited with the win. More on that later. Things have just been going Webb’s way, even when it seems like they are actually going Marv’s way, and now he just needs to keep it up for five more rounds and we will have a brand-new AMA Supercross Champion for the second year in a row.
None of this has happened in a vacuum for Cooper Webb. He has obviously put in the work, turning his career around with the change from blue to orange as well as joining forces with Aldon Baker. He’s also seized every opportunity that is presented to him on the race track, scrapping for wins until the very last second, as well as not leaving any points out on the track with the same kind of mistakes and misfortune that his prime rivals have been making. The myriad of minor little things that have cost the red-hot Musquin, the inconsistent Eli Tomac or the recently-ill Ken Roczen from making up any major ground have certainly benefitted Webb’s title run, but he’s got to be there to capitalize on those moments, and that takes work, speed and talent, and sometimes just plain luck. Think about how different this whole picture would be if Webb had gotten a bad start and gotten caught up in that early traffic crash that took down Chad Reed, Justin Brayton, and Kyle Chisholm, and of course led to the WOG flags that led to Marvin’s penalty…
Speaking of that crash, it was a big one, and spectacular. It’s hard to watch Chisholm come down on Reed, and then the bounce/launch of Brayton was thankfully not nearly as bad as it looked like it could have been. Reed was having a resurgent season up to that point, but now when and where he returns is up in the air. He’s at 349 on the all-time starts list and has mentioned wanting to be at the Vegas finale and try for 350, but that all depends on how quickly he heals up from all of his wounds.
The comedians came out only after it was obvious that Chad and Justin and Kyle were all not more seriously injured, and after Brayton posted an amazing sequence of Ryne Swanberg photos of himself flying through the air...
I really laughed at that last one, someone at Fly has got to get that on his butt patch for his return. Get well soon to Chad, Justin, and Kyle.
THE ANNOUNCEMENT? (DC)
James Stewart’s highly anticipated “announcement” dropped today in the form of a 34-minute video where he talks about life, his career, and a few memorable moments. It’s been a while since we really heard much from one of the sport’s all-time greats, and it’s definitely worth watching. What Stewart doesn’t mention is what we all assume to be his retirement, finally making it official. Maybe he will do that in Part 2. No matter, thank you James Stewart for giving us some of the most memorable moments in AMA Supercross/Pro Motocross history, and congratulations on getting to raise a family and enjoy the benefits of all your successes as a professional athlete. We miss seeing you out there on the race track!
If Musquin loses this year’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship by, say, five points, he will forever regret jumping through the red cross flags at Seattle, which led to a seven-point penalty. As of now, though, he can’t be too bummed. For racers at this level, life is about a search for a certain feeling on Saturday, the feeling when bike/riding/training come together and you feel you can beat anyone on the starting gate. Musquin has won plenty of races before, but I believe his Seattle performance might have been his best race ever. Also, for the first time, I think you can make an argument that, right now, Musquin is the best supercross racer out there. When a rider feels like this, it’s hard to leave a race unhappy.
Marvin has been great for a long time, but “best” is only applied to a few. Even while winning back-to-back MX2 World Championships, he raced under the specter that the younger Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings were getting close. He might have been the best 250 racer in the U.S in 2015, as he dominated 250SX East Region and had a shot at Jeremy Martin’s 250 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, but his bike broke in the final round—and somehow he and Martin never really had a solid one-on-one duel to settle anything in the previous 22 motos.
Since then, Marvin has had lots of 450 success, but Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, and Roczen were the headliners, and Jason Anderson capitalized brilliantly last year to capture the supercross title. The story would usually go like this: If Tomac messed up, Marvin would win, and then we’d talk about Tomac messing up as much as we would Marvin winning. Did, at any point in 2017 or 2018, someone think, “Yup, Marvin won because he’s faster than Eli?” I’m not so sure.
Prior to Seattle, our man Mitch Kendra pointed out that, as great as Cooper Webb’s season has been, Musquin actually had a faster lap time in 12 out of 15 main events (including Triple Crowns). Seattle now makes it 13 of 16. The faster lap doesn’t equate to wins, points, or championships, of course, and while Marvin had a batter lap then Webb in Seattle, Tomac, who finished third, had the best lap of anyone. In Seattle, it was Marvin who executed best, which is what he was lacking earlier in the season. This time he got the start, this time he avoided the mistake, this time he managed the race. Marvin came into the season with a knee injury, and he’s been building ever since. Yes, he gained time with the red cross situation, but I watched the final ten laps of that race from the press box very closely (a view from above allows you to compare riders in different sections better than TV, which can only show one rider). When it was winning time, Marvin simply rode better than Roczen, Tomac, Webb, and everyone else, staying in the 46 second range late in the race consistently, while everyone else drifted into the 47s. Everything is clicking for him right now, and he was the best on Saturday night, full stop.
Jeff Emig, who scored two AMA National Motocross Championships in come-from-behind fashion, famously said he’d take momentum over points any day. The Seattle penalty means Marvin didn’t gain points on Webb, but he knows how well he rode, and that means a lot.
Is Marvin about to go on a run? In baseball they say momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. I like to say that in supercross, momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s start. Marvin needs to keep executing the way he did in Indianapolis and Seattle, and he can make up 14 points. That makes this a pivotal weekend, probably the 13th-consecutive pivotal round of Monster Energy AMA Supercross this year. I can think of few seasons like this one, where the intrigue has not let up since Anaheim. For a while it was Webb’s season to grab. Every few weeks, we think maybe Tomac is about to surge. Roczen’s inevitable win continues to tantalize. Right now, it’s Marvin’s turn to grab the momentum. Can he keep doing it?
So what exactly prompted Fox Racing and Ken Roczen to go with that homage to the late, great Seattle Supersonics, the NBA team that moved on from Seattle to Oklahoma City in 2008 and became the Thunder? Is Kenny more a fan of old-school NBA than he is the current NFL contenders in the Seahawks or even MLS Seattle Sounders FC soccer club?
There may be something a little more deeper here. In the early ‘90s German basketball legend Detlef Schrempf was traded from the Indiana Pacers to the Seattle Supersonics, becoming the NBA's first Germany-born All-Star (three times). He helped lead the team to the NBA Finals in 1996, where they lost to the Michael Jordan-led Chicago Bulls in six games. He would later go on to play for the Portland Trailblazers before retiring in 2001.
Of course Roczen may actually know nothing about Detlef Schrempf since he was only born in 1994 when Detlef was at the height of his career. Still, it a random tie-in that may explain the very cool kit on Kenny last Saturday night.
Dylan Ferrandis has a reputation as a very fast motocross rider. He earned four national motocross titles in his homeland, and he is also a two-time winner at the Motocross of Nations with Team France. He was one of the fastest in the chase pack that followed Jeffrey Herlings in the MX2 World Championship, as well as a two-time Grand Prix winner. And in the U.S. he has two wins in the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship. But finally, last Saturday night in Seattle, Ferrandis took his maiden AMA 250 Supercross win. This happened in his third season in U.S., in his 19th main event start. It's the first time since 2015 that a French rider has been able to win in the 250SX. Before Ferrandis the last French winner was Musquin, Saturday night's 450SX winner, who won the Las Vegas Showdown in 2015.
Ferrandis is now the sixth French winner in the history of 125/250 supercross. Mickael Pichon was the first, winning the 1993 San Diego 125 SX on a Pro Circuit Honda. He was followed by David Vuillemin, Stephane Roncada, Christophe Pourcel, and Musquin. And by getting his maiden SX win, Ferrandis joins other elite company: He is the 12th rider to win in all three of major small-bore series of worldwide fame: the MX2 FIM Motocross World Championship, 250 AMA Pro Motocross, and 250 AMA Supercross.
Riders to win in each MX2, AMA 250 Pro Motocross, and AMA 250 Supercross
Donny Schmit (USA)Tallon Vohland (USA)Mike Kiedrowski (USA)Mike Brown (USA)Grant Langston (South Africa)Christophe Pourcel (France)Ben Townley (New Zealand)Ken Roczen (Germany)Marvin Musquin (France)Cooper Webb (USA)Zach Osborne (USA)
Dylan Ferrandis (France)
You might recall the incident with Calvin Vlaanderen of Team Netherlands being unable to race the second MX2 moto at last year's FIM Motocross of Nations at RedBud after injuring his eyes. Vlaanderen had tossed his goggles in the first moto and got so much roost in his face that he couldn't see. Afterwards my friend Michael "Rock" Rigdon wrote an op-ed about the need to implement a rule that would require riders to stop for goggles if they tossed them off mid-moto. Well, the FIM agrees with Rock. They have added a rule that states that riders in MXGP must have goggles on during the race, and if they lose them they have one lap to come in and get a new pair on. They also added a Goggle Lane near the mechanics' area so that riders can come in and get a fresh pair, should they lose their first pair during the race. According to On Track Off Road, the rule is being loosely followed this year as riders become acclimated to the idea of stopping for goggles. Next year, there could be a penalty, and some riders see that as a problem.
"For safety it is better but from the other side nobody will want to lose time by throwing the goggles away and might persist with muddy ones or try to look with one eye to try and not stop," said HRC Honda factory rider Tim Gajser to OTOR last weekend at Matterley Basin in England. "It has a positive and some bad to it."
THE NUMBER: 7 (Andras Hegyi)
Nine-time FIM Motocross World Champion Antonio Cairoli got himself another win in Great Britain. Last Sunday the Italian legend won in the United Kingdom for the first time since 2015. Cairoli is the most successful rider in the history of the British GP. Last Sunday, by getting his 87th Grand Prix win, Cairoli collected his seventh British GP win, which is more than anyone in the nation where motocross was born back in 1924.
Prior to this year Cairoli won on British soil in 2007, '08, '11, '12, '14, and '15. Over the course of his career Cairoli has won in 23 different countries: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Great Britain, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Russia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Turkey, Qatar, Thailand, South Africa, USA, Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina. And with the series headed to China later this year, that number could go up.
In all, there are only four countries where Cairoli has won in at least seven different seasons (some countries have more than one GP in a season): Italy, Cairoli’s homeland, has seen him win in ten seasons. In Germany he has won in eight seasons. Belgium, where he has lived for a long while, Cairoli has won in seven different seasons, just like he has now done in Great Britain.
The race in England marked Antonio Cairoli's 87th Grand Prix win, 14 less than Stefan Everts' record.
Husqvarna’s MX2 frontrunner Thomas Kjer Olsen is the most successful Danish motocrosser in the history of the FIM Motocross World Championship. At the GP of Great Britain last weekend, he set another standard for Danish motocrossers, winning the GP and becoming the first rider from Denmark to lead a world championship series, taking the red plate from the reigning MX2 World Champion Jorge Prado of Spain, who was injured and absent from the race.
Olsen was able to join Brian Jörgensen as the only Danish rider to get a GP win. He also became the maiden Danish racer to take overall podium in the final series classification, finishing third in the MX2 points standing. Last year he was third again in the final classification of MX2 and added his second GP win. And now, by getting his third GP win last Sunday in the second round of this series, Olsen became the first Dane to be points leader in the history of the championship, in existence since 1957.
Prado will be back this weekend for the Dutch GP in Valkenswaard, but he is already 44 points behind Olsen after missing the British GP.
Also, out of seemingly nowhere, Husqvarna announced that they would not to be working with Jacky Martens Racing, which is Thomas Kjer Olsen’s team. They will work with a different partner, to be announced at a later date. Strange.
GODSPEED, HERBERT SCHMITZ (DC)
We were saddened to see the report by our friend Dave King over in Great Britain that German motocross hero Herbert Schmitz had passed away. Schmitz was a renowned Maico and Such rider in the mid- to late-1970s. His best finish in the FIM 500cc World Championship was a fourth overall in 1978, the same year he very nearly won the U.S. Grand Prix of Motocross at Carlsbad Raceway. Herbert went 1-3 in the two motos, tying defending 500cc World Champion Heikki Mikkola for the win, though Mikkola won on a tie-breaker by having the better combined time between the two motos. Schmitz other claim to fame in America was the fact that he once appeared on the cover of Motocross Action while racing at the Swiss 500cc Grand Prix at Payerne. The photo was shot by none other that Geoff Fox, the co-founder of Fox Racing, while on a tour of Europe and a visit with then-Moto-X-Fox rider Brad Lackey. Godspeed, Herbert Schmitz.
We got this note from our friend and contributor Sharon Cox down in New Zealand:
Just thought I would share some info. NZ's Dylan Walsh racing in the FIM Motocross World Championship MX2 class and his team (Revo Husqvarna UK) paid tribute to recent shooting of many people in place of worship in NZ—Dylan's home city, Christchurch. The team chose to run new colors and graphics on bikes of the region in which the shooting took place, Canterbury.
Dylan spent a number of years living, breathing, racing in U.S., at Millsaps Training Facility, before heading to Europe for past three seasons. Now racing MX2, Walsh is NZ's first rider in class since Ben Townley won MX2 in 2004.
The Whiskey Throttle Show focusing on the career of Grant Langston:
In the Seattle Supercross, Dean Wilson was one of the riders doing a line with a quad in it. He was also one of the faster riders through the whoops. Check out some of Wilson's main event here:
Check out Adam Cianciarulo's start to the 250SX main event and then his battle with Dylan Ferrandis late in the race:
The latest Dirt Shark video Star West Coast featuring Colt Nichols and Dylan Ferrandis dropped the other day:
Take a tour of Jeremy McGrath's trophy room with the King of Supercross himself:
Here's a testimonial/highlight film from the first eMTB GNCC in Georgia, looks like the guy had a blast!
The Fly Racing Racer X Podcast talks about the Seattle Supercross, the French sweep of Marvin Musquin and Dylan Ferrandis, and more.
Jason Weigandt spoke with David Vuillemin following the Seattle Supercross, where his athletes Musquin and Ferrandis both won their respective class. Vuillemin, who isn’t afraid to speak what’s on his mind, also joined Weege for a podcast to talk about the most important factor in the sport: simply riding the bike. Listen to the full podcast here.
Head-Scratching Headline/s of the Week
“British Air flight to Germany mistakenly lands in Scotland”—CNN.com
“Man shoves 4-foot python named Pasta in his pants to steal from pet store, video shows”—Breaking911.com
“Cardi B, Rita Ora, Marshmello & More Star in New Palms Las Vegas 'Unstatus Quo' Ad”—Billboard.com
(More includes Ken Block, Marshmello, Emily Ratajkowski, and Ryan Sheckler—watch the video here)
“Jason Anderson Is Now Driving Lamborghinis Too”—Exhaust
“Dean Wilson And Beast Mode Are Friends And That’s Pretty Awesome”—Exhaust
“Chef Gordon Ramsay, The Latest Fly Athlete”—Exhaust
During last Saturday night’s 250SX Last Chance Qualifier, there was a moment of controversy on the next-to-last lap when fourth-place rider Mathias Jorgensen got bumped off the track by Chris Howell, who was running in fifth. The two were side-by-side but the get-together redirected Jorgensen outside of the Tuff Blox. He went around the triple, then entered the track halfway through the turn following the landing and proceeded to return to his position in front of Howell. He was met by FIM race director John Gallagher quickly after crossing the finish line. If you missed it, it’s worth a read this weekend.
We got this email from the Nitro Circus and the HISTORY channel:
HISTORY and Nitro Circus announce the return of the unprecedented live television event “Evel Live 2” premiering Sunday, July 7 at 8PM ET. As part of the network’s third annual Car Week, the live broadcast produced in partnership with Nitro Circus will follow athletes, including champion freestyle motocross athlete Axell Hodges and female freestyle motocross athlete Vicki Golden as they set out to break world records with three jaw-dropping motorcycle stunts. Professional motorsports icon, Travis Pastrana, will return to co-host the special.
In “Evel Live 2”, viewers will watch as Golden aims to shatter the motorcycle firewall record where she will speed through a series of flaming wooden boards. Golden will be the first female to attempt to break the current record which was set back in 2006. Next fans will witness as Hodges attempts to soar over more than 24 beverage trucks to break Evel Knievel’s 1971 attempt and Evel’s son Robbie’s 2003 record. The television event will culminate with a stunt so daring few would even think of trying: Hodges will put his life on the line by attempting to jump farther than anyone ever has on a motorcycle, a distance that was set in 2011 at 379’9” feet.
Ken Roczen graces the cover of Cross Magazin this month.
Starting this weekend Temecula Motorsports is going to have a trackside support store open at Fox Raceway in order to keep riders stocked up with the essentials. They'll have tires, tubes, oils, grips, levers, air filters, etc right there at the track and will continue to be open each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in the future. During the year they'll also be giving away a number of services, like free tire changes, on special weekends. Follow their instagram @temeculamotorsports for more on that, and look for our guy Trent Lopez, stationed right next to them in the Racer X booth handing out fresh copies of your favorite motocross mag. See ya there!
ENTER TO WIN A 2019 YAMAHA YZ450F AT Houston SUPERCROSS
Want to win a brand-new 2019 Yamaha YZ450F? Here is your chance. If you are attending the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross this weekend in Houston, all you need to do is stop by the Racer X booth—located in the party in the pits—and enter into the drawing to win a new 2019 Yamaha YZ450F.
The winner will be picked at the end of the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season and announced on Racer X Online.
The Racer X Digital Edition has been completely rebuilt, allowing readers to scroll vertically from the beginning of the issue to the end on any digital device. Gone are apps, downloads, and third-party domains in favor of a single interactive document with dynamic motion and embedded video content. A “clickable” Table of Contents is accessible with one press for immediate, frictionless access to any part of the magazine. Test ride the issue.
GIVEAWAY! Ten lucky subscribers who purchase or renew either a print or digital subscription to Racer X Illustrated in the next week will be randomly selected to win one of these signed @kenroczen94 May 2019 issues! Subscribe now to enter!