Moto News Weekly Update
AMA Pro Motocross
The Pro Motocross schedule remains under revision pending confirmation of state re-opening guidelines. The opening round is tentatively set for July 4th with the series concluding on October 3rd. The organisers hope to announce final dates and locations by May 15th.
GNCC Racing will tentatively resume May 16/17 at Aonia Pass MX in Washington, GA (same location as round 3) and then on May 30/31 at a location in South Carolina.
Manjiump 15,000 Cancelled
With no set date to work towards and many many other deciding factors against them, organisers Dirt High Promotions have chosen to cancel the 2020 running of the iconic Manjimup 15,000 event in the south-west of Western Australia.
Racebike Research – Levi Rogers YZ250F
Let’s take a closer look at will be the YZ250F of Levi Rogers. Rogers will make his debut in the MXD class for 2020 after progressing through the Yamaha Junior Racing program. The majority of his junior racing saw Rogers on basically standard bikes and things won’t change a lot for the 2020 season as he learns more about racing and his needs from the bike.
Starting from the Top
Rogers is a man child. Despite just turning 17, he is over 180cm tall and weighs in at 80kilos so a lot of the ergonomic changes made to his bike are to suit his tall frame. He uses Pro Taper SX High bend handlebars with Pro Taper diamond pattern grips. They are mounted on stock triple clamps with the mounts in the forward / forward position, again to give him more room.
The team use standard levers and controls that are greased and lubes regularly to keep them light and airy. He also favours a gripper seat cover to help stay in position on the bike. Since the inception of the 2019 model, the sub frame and general chassis remains standard.
The 2020 motor on the YZ250F is a great starting point. In fact, since the reverse cylinder was introduced to the YZ250F in 2014, it has been a class leader as far as power placement and output is concerned and has the championship success around the world to prove it.
The head is flowed by Kevin Marshall. Kev is the brains behind the Yamaha Road Racing team bikes and has years of experience both in the road and off road field. He does each head by hand after hours of studying them and working out the angles he needs for the style of power requested. Kev is never about the peak number, he is about rideability and his attention to detail is second to none. The standard cams and standard piston are used with no modifications.
A Rush O2 airfilter is used for better air flow as clean air to the YZ250F motor produces more power. Add to that an Akrapovic exhaust, some ETS MA-3 100 fuel and some mapping via the OEM Yamaha power tuner app and you have all the performance gains you need. GYTR engine covers are fitted to the clutch and the ignition side of the bike for that factory bike look. The final piece of the puzzle is the gearing where Rogers bounces between 13-49 or 13-50 depending on the track.
Levi has worked with Michael Marty of Brisbane Dirt Bike services in recent times and instead of just wasting that relationship, Rogers has continued with Michael and has fine-tuned his suspension to his needs. The valving has been altered, as has the spring rates and oil heights. The forks are coated and use SFK fork seals to reduce as much stiction and increase a smoother action.
Working off a static ride height of around 35mm and a rider sag of 105mm, Marty changes the spring to suit on the rear and then tunes the front similarly to ensure balance remains in the bike and the basic geometry is right.
Odds and Ends
Rogers is a huge fan of the Dunlop MX33 and uses it almost everywhere apart from the sandy based tracks where he might match the MX33 front with the paddle like MX12 rear. Wheels are mounted to OEM hubs, spokes and rims apart from supercross, where are stronger Excel rim is used to handle the big impacts. He also adjusting to running mousse tubes for the first time in his career as flat tyres often don’t lead to championship success.
The team add a second starter button and position it on the frame to be used as a back up in case of a crash. Learning from experience, a crash can often damage what’s mounted to the handlebars, including the start button, so a spare is made and mounted to the frame.
A GYTR holeshot button is on the bike and apart from a concrete start, you wouldn’t race without one. Most mounts come with a template for heights starting at 65, 85 and 100mm but most riders now go lower than that and often the start button height is anywhere between 115 and 145mm down the fork guard.
Yamalube oils and lubes are ran throughout the bike, from RS4GP in the motor to S1 Suspension fluid in the fork.
The last remaining bits to be added is a skid plate, that the team use from the FX model, as well as the clean and corporate looking sticker kit from Serco.
Spec Check- Levi Rogers YZ250F – #44
- Mechanic – Nash Ilhe
- Cylinder head: OEM with YRD flow
- Piston: OEM
- Cams: OEM
- Clutch: OEM
- Throttle body: OEM
- ECU: Yamaha Power Tuner – mapped to suit engine mods
- Exhaust: Akrapovic
- Airfilter: Rush o2
- Fuel: ETS MA-3 100
- Gearing: 13-50
- Engine Covers: GYTR
- Fork: KYB with coatings and revalved to suit rider
- Shock: KYB
- Handlebars: Pro Taper SX High bend
- Grips: Pro TaperClamps: OEM in forward / forward
- Chain: DID ERT3 520Sprockets: JT
- Tyres: Dunlop MX 33 with Dunlop Mousse
- Seat Cover: Gripper from Top Line
- Decals: Serco
Wilson Todd has ACL surgery
Wilson Todd is recovering from recent ACL surgery, the Aussie taking the opportunity that the break in racing has afforded him to get in, get it done and get on the road to recovery.
View this post on Instagram
Got a new ACL put in last night, went smoothly and on the road to recovery. In my first turn crash in Valkenswaard I managed to do a full ACL tear and a small tibia fracture. I flew home to get this surgery done ASAP but the government brought in new rules that has delayed it to now! Keen to be 100% again.
AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Marty Smith dies in crash
Marty Smith, a 2000 inductee into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, died Monday, April 27, from injuries sustained in a dune buggy crash in Southern California. He was 63.
Also killed in the crash was Smith’s wife, Nancy Smith.
A three-time AMA Motocross National Champion, Smith won the inaugural AMA 125cc Motocross Championship in 1974. He successfully defended his title in 1975, and also won the 1977 AMA 500cc Motocross Championship and the 1975 and 1976 125cc U.S. Motocross Grand Prix events. Smith also competed in AMA Supercross for four seasons (1978-1981).
Born in San Diego, Calif., on Nov. 26, 1956, Smith started riding with his father, Al, on a step-through Honda 50 in the California desert. He took part in his first motocross race at age 14. Smith became a regular at Southern California tracks and started winning races on a regular basis. During his formative racing years, he had no professional trainers and learned by carefully observing the fast guys, then applying what he saw.
Smith became known as one of the most precise riders in motocross history. His riding style remained smooth throughout his races and he rarely crashed.
Smith won all of his championships with Honda, and the company featured him in its advertising, using his long hair and youthful good looks as a selling point. He was on dozens of magazine covers riding the legendary Honda Elsinore, donning the famous red, white and blue racing colors. Smith became the first teen idol in motocross and legions of young fans followed his every move.
He retired from racing in 1981 and developed a motocross school called the Marty Smith Motocross Clinic.
Yamaha backed Motocross Coaching Clinics
Yamaha Motor Australia has a vast bank of knowledge when it comes to motocross coaching. Most states have their own coach in place to cater for riders of all levels and across all off road disciplines and Yamaha continue to work with them to ensure they offer the best possible advice and tuition.
What started out nearly 40 years ago with Stephen Gall running his local MX schools in NSW before taking it national and his University of Motocross programs, Yamaha are still actively involved in rider coaching and still want riders to enjoy riding dirt bikes in a safe manner.
Cameron Taylor, Shane Metcalfe, Jay Wilson, Jades Oates and Brody Jennings all run Yamaha supported and endorsed riding schools in various regions across Australia. Each of these guys have years of knowledge under their belts, collectively they are close to 100 years, and are more than happy to pass it on to the next generation. Each of these guys run riding schools all over the place and are passionate about safe dirt bike riding.
And all of them are heavily involved in Yamaha Junior Racing program’s and can often be seen working closely with riders on race day but are open to any level rider on any brand of bike.
With the slow-down in activity due to COVID-19, we got some advice from these guys to get their take on the coaching game and what they can do to assist you to become a better rider.
What’s the most important thing you can teach a rider new to dirt bikes?
SM: The basic techniques of controlling your dirt bike which in turn will make you a safer rider. Learning to use your brakes, clutch and throttle are never ending and the better you are at them, the safer rider you will be.
JO: Above all else, a solid foundation in riding technique is essential to becoming a competent and safe rider and also listening to them and understanding their goals so I can help them achieve them.
BJ: Safety and key fundamentals are the two things I think every rider needs to learn and be aware of. Be skilled at riding your bike and be aware that it can be dangerous, and you need to be smart about how you approach things.
JW: The biggest thing we focus on at our school is the basics of riding a motorcycle and teaching the correct technique, to make sure we are creating safer and smarter riders. When a rider is wanting to take the next step forward with their riding we want to give them the correct tools to do it safely, so that when their speed increases they know how to manage it properly.
CT: Body position is key. Starting with a good position on the bike enables everything else to fall in place. Like anything, if the initial set up is wrong, it makes it hard to correct and keep your entire technique in place.
What do you offer at your riding schools?
SM: I try to cover as much as possible so everyone from the beginner to the advanced rider will learn something. We start as the basics from body position and bike control through to jumping and scrubbing to help every rider.
JO: I offer a wide range of coaching that covers everything from private one on one tuition through to a full and comprehensive live in style program that covers everything from on and off bike training, nutrition and mental conditioning.
BJ: I cover everything from beginner to advanced and we have a wide variety of riders in Tasmania so is something I constantly monitor. I can share my years of knowledge on riding and racing as well as being part of the industry to hopefully make someone’s motorcycle journey a fun and safe one.
JW: Being a current racer, I’m progressing with the techniques and skills that are currently being used and won with now. When I run a school I’m able to translate what I’m using myself while racing, I believe this is a massive benefit.
CT: I think the platform for any successful athlete is doing the basics well and training them so they become second nature to the rider. So, we work hard on things like body position and bike control at the start of our schools. I also enjoy working with a range of riders as it’s just as rewarding seeing a rider master something basic as it is to see a pro improve a lap time. With my years of experience, I can offer advice and mentoring for juniors to vets, club guys to pros.
What has been the biggest change in the way we ride our bikes?
SM: Now days, I see a lot of riders overlook technique for speed. A good technique will allow you to rider faster and also much safer instead of just holding it on and hope it all works out. I see a lot of technique missing from modern riders these days.
JO: For me, it’s been the progression in the way we use our body in riding the bike and the dynamic effect it has. We see riders now ride on the toes more frequently than their heels and we see riders using a far more aggressive technique in clutch and rpm as well as things like scrubbing.
BJ: I think the bikes themselves have played a huge part in how we ride these days. The performance level of the bike and then the amount of knowledge around it – from suspension to motor and then to coaching means riders can access it all easily and make gains quickly.
JW: I think the influence the US has on our riders. Australians have always looked to America and mimicked the way they ride. Honestly our tracks don’t allow us to ride that aggressively, so you are seeing riders looking more to Europe now and trying to mimic that style of riding. Standing on the pegs, lower RPMs and roll speed, allows us to be more efficient in the bike. Especially having raced Supercross in the US now, the way we need to ride here in Australia is completely different.
CT: Riding on the balls of our feet has changed the way we ride. When we were growing up, there was never any discussion about how to place your feet, only about grabbing the bike with your knees. Riding on your toes gives you a light and agile feel on the bike and allows more freedom as you work with the bike.
Can you see a young rider who has ‘it’?
SM: I think you can, if you know what you are looking for. You can identify talent and ability but that is only a small part of the equation. I saw Alex Larwood when he was on a 50 and thought he was talented but that didn’t mean he would be successful and still doesn’t. But I could see he had an ability to ride a bike well at a young age.
JO: 100% you can. That never means the rider is a sure thing and will have along and successful career and so many other factors come into it, but you can definitely see talent at a young age. I think the 15-18 year bracket is the hardest for a motocross rider and if they can maintain focus and work ethic through that period, changes are they will enjoy a good career.
BJ: Tough question. The answer is yes but you are never 100% sure. There are a few I work with that I think have the ability to go a long way in motocross but there are so many elements that make a champion.
JW: I think you can see as a rider develops they go through stages. Generally, under the age of 12, the rider who does well is often the one that rides the most and has access to land. From 12- 16 you can identify the talent and ability a rider has and how natural their technique is. Over the age of 17, it comes down to combining that talent with dedication and hard work as there is no-where to hide in a 30 minute moto.
CT: For sure you can. Not just in the way they ride but how they approach their riding and how they dissect a track. Not only to do they have a smooth and fluid style, they clearly think about their racing both on and off the track.
How do you deal with parents who think they have the next Chad Reed on their hands?
SM: Firstly, you remind them that everyone can be as good as Chad Reed if they have the work ethic, determination and are willing to make the sacrifices that he and his family did. But you also point out that while there has been a few guys that have come close, there has only been one Chad Reed in our sports history.
JO: I think an honest discussion between myself and the parent is vital here, so we are laying out realistic goals for the rider and the family. I’m massive for confidence in a rider and their supporters but their needs to be a realistic approach and reduce the pressure on the rider to live up to them. And also ensure the fun factor remains with both the rider and family.
BJ: Generally, these are the most passionate parents, just their energies are a little misplaced. I would go for a gentle conversation to bring them back down to earth and try and direct their energy in a positive fashion. If that doesn’t happen, generally the sport tends to weed them out.
JW: Everyone wants to be the next Chad Reed, don’t they? I encourage them to have those goals and dreams but also know that Chad is a once in a lifetime rider who devoted everything he had to become what he did. So, chase those goals, but never lose sight of why you started, the enjoyment and fun factor should always stay with you.
CT: Carefully! I have been a bit too brutal and honest at times and you never want to crush anyone’s dreams or hopes so you have to get a good understanding of what it is they want for the child or from the sport.
Can an over 40 year old with a Dad bod and five year old bike still gain something from going to a riding school?
SM: They sure can! Everyone can learn something from a riding school and in fact I continue to learn more from a lot of the schools I do. If you have an open mind and are willing to take on advice, then there is always something to gain.
JO; 100% they can. We have had riders from all ages and skill level say they have gained something from our schools.
BJ: Yes. No question things can be learned and for a lot of those 40 year old’s, it can also be a good time to spend with your child in a shared passion. Riding with my son is amazing and be at a school together would be a great way to spend time with each other.
JW: Absolutely, in fact we have done schools in regional and rural areas where farmers have come along. Riding bikes on properties is part of their day and if they can do it better, then of course it’s worth it. I’m just as happy to work with a guy on his AG bike rounding up the cows if my advice can make his life a little safer and easier.
CT: I have had 60 year old riders at our riding days and they have as got much from it as the younger guys. Most of the older riders grew up when there was very little coaching, so they have years of bad habits and dated techniques. By the end of the day, they have adapted and found a better way to ride and general are both safer and faster.
How can people contact you regarding coaching?
SM: Via my website is the best way; https://sm25coaching.com/
JO: I can be contacted via my social media or website; https://oatesmx.com.au/
BJ: Social media channels work best for me; Facebook and Instagram.
JW: I’m available through social media- both personal and Hastie Co.
CT: Call me, hit me up on social media or : http://www.camerontaylormx.com/