Moto News Wrap for September 6, 2016 by Darren Smart

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This Week’s News Overview
  • Suzuki USA Sacks Yoshimura Suzuki
  • Ward Off to Glenn Helen
  • Kirk Gibb Breaks Leg
  • Marmont Returns for Supercross
  • GEICO Honda Signs Jeremy Martin
  • Arminas Jasikonis Signs with Suzuki MXGP Team
  • Lawrence Brothers Sign with Stefan Everts Suzuki Team
  • Pichon Signs with Suzuki
  • Thomas Kjer Olsen Signs with Rockstar Husqvarna
  • Sanayei Signs with Dixon Kawasaki
  • Barcia IN for SMX Cup
  • De Dycker Injured Again
  • Doyle Stays with British League Team till 2018
  • Bou Wraps Up 20th FIM Trial Title
This Weeks Racing Overview
  • World Motocross Championships – Round 17 – Charlotte, North Carolina
  • AMA EnduroCross Championship – Round 2 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota
  • Yamaha Queensland Motocross Championship – Round 2 – Hervey Bay
  • FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship – Round 1 – Newcastle
  • Speedway Grand Prix – GP Challenge Qualifying Race – Vetlanda
  • Springfield Mile II – Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield, Illinois
Suzuki USA Sacks Yoshimura Suzuki

The Mike Webb (mis)managed Yoshimura Suzuki team has been the most underperforming team in the AMA paddock for as long as one can remember. Suzuki USA has finally had a gut full and sacked the Yoshimura team and formed what is now called the RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing team run by RCH’s main man in Kyle Bentley (2016 AMA Team Manager of the Year) leaving Webb and his motley crew looking for jobs.

There is no news on the rider line-up yet but the chance of James Stewart getting a gig is remote while Blake Baggett could well line-up alongside RCH’s regular rider Broc Tickle.

“Suzuki has supported RCH Racing since its inception,” said Carey Hart, co-founder of RCH Racing along with 15-time AMA Champion Ricky Carmichael, “and Yoshimura has been an important factor in our success as well. Having just clinched the 2016 AMA Pro Motocross Championship, we have proven that we can win titles. We are excited to bring our strengths to the new RCH/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team.”

“Everyone at RCH is excited about the opportunity ahead of us and the partnerships we’ve created,” added Carmichael. “RCH always strives to be the best team in the paddock and this relationship positions all parties involved to do exactly that. It all starts with hard work, determination and uncompromised support from Yoshimura and Suzuki. With everyone working together focusing on the same goals, we expect to race for wins and championships for years to come.”

Ricky Carmichael pictured here in 2006
Ricky Carmichael pictured here in 2006

The new team will make its debut at the 2017 AMA Supercross opener on January 7, in Anaheim.

Ward Off to Glenn Helen

KTM Racing Australia’s Caleb Ward will be contesting the final round of the World MX2 Motocross Championships at Glenn Helen this weekend and it looks like the Queenslander will be riding with the Troy Lee Designs KTM team.

Kirk Gibbs Breaks Leg

KTM rider Kirk Gibbs has broken his femur in his first day of supercross testing in Queensland and at the time of writing is sitting in a Brisbane hospital getting the injury stabilised.

This is heart breaking news as Gibbs was set to represent Australia for the first time in the Motocross of Nations alongside Dean Ferris and Jed Beaton. Todd Waters has been called up called up to fill in for the South Australian.

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Marmont Returns for Supercross

Multi Australian Motocross and Supercross Champion Jay Marmont will return to competition when the gate drop for the opening round of the Australian Supercross Championship at Jimboomba on September the 17th.

Despite retiring from full time racing in 2014, the former factory Yamaha and KTM star intends doing the whole series on a Husqvarna TC450 with the help of his Brother Ryan’s MXR&D program.

Another former champion in Danny Ham did the whole series in 2015 on a privately entered Suzuki and made it to the final in five of the six rounds and ended the series in 8th overall in the SX1 class.

GEICO Honda Signs Jeremy Martin

GEICO Honda have announced the signing of two-time 250cc AMA Motocross Champion Jeremy Martin for the 2017 and 2018 supercross and motocross seasons. The deal will see Martin ride a Honda CRF250R in the 250 class for the 2017 season before moving to a Honda CRF450R full time in 2018.

Jeremy Martin
Jeremy Martin

“I’m very excited to finally announce I’ve signed a two-year deal with the GEICO Honda team,” says Martin. “They’re a proven, championship winning team and I’m excited to reach a new level on the 250 next year and continue the relationship through the 2018 season as a rookie 450 rider.”

“Everyone at GEICO Honda is happy to have Jeremy Martin coming to our team,” says GEICO Honda Team Manager Mike LaRocco. “He has that burning desire to be great and I look forward to working with him. He’s a great addition to our team.”

Martin will make his racing debut with the team at the Glen Helen MXGP of the USA in the MX2 (250) class this weekend.

Arminas Jasikonis Signs with Suzuki MXGP Team
MXGP 2016 Switzerland Jasikonis
MXGP 2016 Switzerland Jasikonis

After being brought into the Stefan Everts managed Suzuki MXGP team as the replacement for the injured Ben Townley, little know Lithuanian Arminas Jasikonis has signed to race for the team alongside Kevin Strijbos for the 2017 MXGP season.

“We brought Arminas into the team to give him a chance and see how he would develop and work with the guys and we’ve been pleased and surprised,” said Everts. “He is still so young but is very willing to listen, learn and work on his riding from all angles. He is a strong rider and although he lacks experience, this will come.”

“The most exciting thing for us is that he represents a great project for next season and the future and we are looking forward to seeing where we can go together in 2017. I also like the line-up of the team now with Kevin and all those seasons and podiums in Grand Prix and then Arminas who is the next generation.”

“Even from these few races I have taken so much experience already,” comments the 18 year old Jasikonis. “I’m a big rookie with not much experience at all, sometimes I am too ‘goon’ in many places on the bike! We will work in the winter on that and of course to be with the best you cannot ask for any more. I will be nineteen and it is time and I will learn fast.”

Jasikonis impressed the team with a solid 7th in the second moto in the MXGP of The Netherlands recently.

Lawrence Brothers Sign with Stefan Everts Suzuki Team

Hunter and Jet Lawrence have signed with the Stefan Everts owner Suzuki team for 2017 and beyond with Hunter slated to join Jeremy Seewer and Bas Vaessen in the 2017 World MX2 Motocross Championship while Jet will go under the guidance of Stefan and Harry Everts in preparation for European championships dutues.

“We had a great opportunity to work together and thinking about the future and what I have seen of Hunter so far, he will fit in perfectly to our programme,” said Stefan Everts. “After one-or-two years I feel that he can be a really strong contender in the world championship. He was really strong in his first races in the European Championship and he adapted very fast to Euro tracks. So I’m very pleased to have this kid on-board and also his brother [Jet]. We have changed quite a lot with how we are working with the riders and it has already started to pay off in some respects and results; Bas is showing good things and Jeremy is improving a lot. For the Lawrence family I think it was important the trust and resources we could provide and they are really happy to come on-board. I hope this is the next step for us in building up the whole Team Suzuki structure.”

Hunter Lawrence
Hunter Lawrence
Pichon Signs with Suzuki

The son of two-time World Champion Mickael Pichon, Zach has signed with Suzuki to compete in the EMX 250 class, the ADAC Youngster Cup races and several Dutch Masters rounds in 2017. Pichon had ridden the EMX 125 series in 2016 and finished 8th overall.

“This is a quite a big deal for my family because my father was two-time world champion with Suzuki,” Pichon says. “I like the bike and I feel great on the Suzuki. It was an easy and quick decision to join the team. I am doing more riding and cycling and running this year and working with my Dad he knows how I feel…so we are improving.”

Here’s the kicker, is now under the guidance of his father’s arch rival Stefan Everts and it is no secret that back in the day Mickael and Stefan were not great mates. Perhaps time has healed old wounds.

“We meet again after some years!” the Belgian smiles. “And now in a completely different position. I saw Zach when he was a little kid and Mickael and I were racing each other and now I am taking care of his son. It is a really cool story and it is nice to join up like this again. I always had a lot of respect for Mickael; he is a special personality and we have a lot of stories! Zach is a completely different rider and character. I think all the experience around him – with Mickael and I and my father – he will have the help he needs to become a champion. Who knows? Maybe in a couple of years we will see another generation of Everts-Pichon battling on the track!”

Hunter Lawrence with Stefan Everts and Zach Pichon
Hunter Lawrence with Stefan Everts and Zach Pichon
Thomas Kjer Olsen Signs with Rockstar Husqvarna

Husqvarna Motorcycles have announced the signing of 19-year-old Thomas Kjer Olsen to compete in the MX2 Motocross World Championship alongside team riders Thomas Covington and Conrad Mewse.

The Husqvarna FC 250 mounted rider from Denmark completed a nearly perfect 2016 season in the EMX250 class of the European Motocross Championship, collecting three overall victories and never finishing off the podium in any of the races he competed in.

Olsen recently stepped up to the MX2 class of the World Championship where he earned eighth overall at the GP in Switzerland before finishing fifth overall at the GP of the Netherlands, missing the podium by just one point.

Thomas Kjer Olsen: “I can’t thank Husqvarna enough for giving me this incredible opportunity to join their official MX2 team. It’s been a great year for me and I can’t wait to enter my first full season in MX2 as part of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team in 2017. MX2 is the future of motocross for young riders like myself and it’s always where I wanted to be. Working with such a strong team means I’ll have the best support and equipment to reach the top. My goal is to continue working hard to improve my results and get closer to the top in MX2.”

Sanayei Signs with Dixon

American sensation Darian Sanayei has signed to race for the Steve Dixon run Kawasaki team in the 2017 MX2 World Championships. “I was pretty close to sealing a deal with the CLS factory Kawasaki team, but my buddy Aaron Nixon at Monster helped me with Steve Dixon and we went that route. I ended up signing with Monster Energy DRT Kawasaki to ride the 250 World Championship.”

Sanayei will race the last two rounds of the 250 World Championships at Charlotte and Glen Helen. Darian Sanayei, Vsevolod Brylyakov and Tommy Searle make up the Dixon team in 2017.

MXGP 2016 Switzerland Darian Sanayei
MXGP 2016 Switzerland Darian Sanayei
Barcia IN for SMX Cup

Yamaha have confirmed that Justin Barcia will join Romain Febvre, Benoit Paturel and Brent Van doninck to compete in the Monster Energy SMX Riders’ and Manufacturers’ Cup on October 8.

“It’s an honor to be selected to represent Yamaha at the first SMX Cup. I’m pumped to return to Europe and I’m really looking forward to racing next to my Yamaha teammates Febvre, Paturel and Van doninck,” Barcia said in a statement. “The race has a totally new format, which makes things even more exciting for us. Many of the world’s best motocross and supercross riders will be there, so competition will be fierce. I’ll do all I can to get Yamaha to the top.”

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
De Dycker Injured Again

Ken De Dycker will miss both American rounds of the World Championships with a knee injury. After missing the whole season with injury the Belgian returned to action at Assen last weekend and didn’t crack the top 20 in either moto.

DeDycker posted this on social media: ‘Assen will be my first and last race of this season. Had a big crash today. My bike broke while jumping and I hurt my knee very bad. Saturday I will know more… Only good thing is that I know I have one super strong upper leg! I want to thank the team, sponsors, friends and family. But especially My girlfriend Katrien Geerts because she has to live with me’.

Doyle Stays with British League Team till 2018

FIM Speedway World Championship contender Jason Doyle has confirmed he’ll be staying at British Elite League club Swindon Robins for the next two years.

Doyle, fresh from a sensational win in the MIB Nordic Gorzow SGP on Saturday, revealed to a packed Blunsdon crowd after their 57-33 win over Leicester that he will be with the club in 2017 and 2018.

And he says the Robins fans played a major part in his decision as he plans to celebrate his British speedway testimonial next year. “The Swindon fans have backed us through thick and thin, and this feels the right thing to do,” said Doyle. “When something feels 100 percent right, there’s no point hanging around and I’m pleased to have a contract in place for British racing in September. Maybe I can have a testimonial next year too – but I’m not the kind of guy who has a testimonial and then disappears, which is why I’ve agreed a two-year deal. I’m really pleased.”

FIM Speedway GP - Gorzow, Poland - Jason Doyle (1s), Tai Woffinden (2nd), Chris Holder (3rd)
FIM Speedway GP – Gorzow, Poland – Jason Doyle (1s), Tai Woffinden (2nd), Chris Holder (3rd)
GNCC Fires Back To Life

After what seems like an eternity the GNCC series kicks back into life this weekend with the first of the final four rounds being held at the famous Unadilla motocross facility and all eyes are on the battle between championship leader Kailub Russell and Josh Strang as there are only 15 points separating the two champions with Strang looking to emulate his 2015 performance where he won three of the last four rounds.

Bou Wraps Up 20th FIM Trial Title
Toni Bou
Toni Bou

Repsol Honda’s Toni Bou stormed to an incredible tenth consecutive FIM Trial World Championship with a crushing victory on day one of the final round of the 2016 season staged at Chiampo in North-East Italy last Saturday. The title exactly matches the Barcelona star’s ten consecutive FIM X-Trial World Championships to make a grand total of twenty FIM individual World titles.

“Today went super-well,” said Bou. “I’m thrilled because we suffered such a lot – it was a really complicated trial. In the final, not only did Adam pressure me, but also Albert Cabestany was there throughout to complicate the evening. I should remind you that Adam Raga has been really competitive all season, really piling the pressure on. When you come up against a rival of this quality, the titles have much more merit. I’m really pleased. Now it’s time to carry on living this dream.”

Needless to say Bou went on to win the final day of the championship in Italy on the Sunday.

Toni Bou
Toni Bou
Smarty’s Race Reports
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
World Motocross Championships – Round 17 – North Carolina

The inaugural USGP at the Charlotte Motor Speedway will go down in history as a complete success with the venue not only withstanding ‘Hurricane Hermine’ but bringing in a more than healthy crowd to watch round 17 of the World Motocross Championships where Tim Gajser and Jeffrey Herlings were crowned the 2016 MXGP and MX2 World Championship respectively while Eli Tomac and Cooper Webb took the honours on the day.

The man made track inside the banked speedway was completely soaked by the tail end of the hurricane on Thursday and it was wisely decided to cancel the usual Friday qualifying and qualifying races so all of the action went down on Saturday with a timed qualifying session allocating the riders starting grid positions.

[youtube id=”pTJRygYbYjw” width=”560" height=”315"]

MXGP

Somewhat overshadowed by the event itself was the fact that Gajser came into Charlotte with a 65 point lead in the series over Antonio Cairoli and needed to be 75 points clear at the end of the opening moto to wrap up the World Championship but when the gate dropped in the opening MXGP moto it was Justin Barcia who took the holeshot from Tomac, Jeremy Van Horebeek, Gajser, Max Nagl, Evgeny Bobryshev, Jorid Tixier and Glenn Coldenhoff while Cairoli, who wasn’t well all weekend, was buried in the pack.

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte

Tomac made quick work of Barcia half way through the opening lap and instantly opened a gap over the field while the battle between Barcia, Van Horebeek, Gajser, Coldenhoff and eventually Desalle was thrilling with each rider looking for different lines to try and close the gap between each other, in fact, all four riders five riders posted almost identical 1 minute, 50 second laps times during this battle.

But, after 19 hard fought laps with the sun sitting low behind the grand stands Tomac took the win by over 22 seconds from Barcia, Van Horebeek, Gajser, Desalle and Coldenhoff while Cairoli struggled throughout to finish a distant 13th place, handing Gajser an unassailable lead in the series and the 2016 MXGP Championship.

Moto two was now under lights and saw the newly crowned Gajser take the holeshot from Coldenhoff, Bobryshev, Van Horebeek and Tomac but by lap three Tomac had moved to second place and over the next three laps Gajser was keeping a good pace out front while Tomac gapped the battle between Coldenhoff, Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Desalle, Romain Febvre and Tixier.

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Eli Tomac
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Eli Tomac

On lap six Gajser dropped his Honda in the left hander before the ‘dragon-back’ jump handing the lead to Tomac who went on to take another very comfortable win ahead of Gajser who in turn had a sizable gap back to the pack of riders who battled all of the way to the line only to be eventually led by an impressive Coldenhoff who held off Bobryshev, Van Horebeek, Febvre, Desalle and Tixier while Barcia dropped out of moto two after a poor start – he obviously didn’t watch the Webb ride.

Eli Tomac: “It was an awesome day. Already in practice I got some clean laps in, and did what I needed to in both motos. The race track was a kind of mixture between motocross and the Monster Cup, and it was a different challenge to be racing the guys I normally only see once a year at the Nations. Conditions weren’t easy in either race; we had the sun in our eyes in the first race and it was tough to see the ruts under the floodlights in race two. I almost tipped over on two laps in race two; it was a tough track to stay on.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Eli Tomac
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Eli Tomac

Tim Gajser: “It feels amazing. It’s unbelievable to have won this title – I still cannot really take it all in. Last weekend in Assen we had a horrible weekend and two horrible races, and I was getting down. I had to regroup in these last few days and keep really believing in myself. We have had an amazing season, and I was saying to myself ‘we cannot finish the season like this.’ We had to finish it like we have been for most of the season – get back on track, and to win the title here and stand back on the podium again here in Charlotte is just perfect. I want to thank so much Honda, HRC, the team, my family, my Dad – we’ve been working so hard for this for all our lives, and now for the second year in a row we’ve achieved the best possible result – the highest possible win – the World Championship crown. All the fans have been incredible this year – already last year was amazing because we had so much support, but this year it’s been even bigger. We make something with the popularity of this sport in Slovenia, and I’m very proud to be that person who is helping the sport to grow. It’s an honour and a pleasure. Starting the season with two wins in Qatar was of course an amazing start, but it was just the beginning and the season was still very long at that point. Around the time of the Spanish GP was the point where I really thought this could happen this year. From Spain to Mantova we won seven of the eight motos, and I knew then that this was possible – I knew that if I ride like that for the rest of the season we would again be World Champions.  I wanted this so much this year, and I’ve been training harder than ever and we’ve been working as a team harder than ever, and less than a year after our MX2 victory we’re again champions. I must thank Honda and the team so much for everything they’ve done and given me this year. The bike has really been fantastic. It becomes so much a part of you that you really have to click with it and have a good relationship with it. We call our bikes our babies – they’re like second girlfriends! And this year the Honda CRF has just been perfect. I couldn’t ask for better or for more. We believed so hard that we could do it again this year, and I feel so privileged and so fortunate to be in this situation, and after this year I feel better as a rider and better as a person. It hasn’t really sunk in yet all of this. It’s not easy to realise now, but even tomorrow morning when I wake it will already feel more real. Every dream can come true if you really believe in it and really work for it, and today another dream has come true for me.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Tim Gajser
MXGP 2016 Americas – Tim Gajser

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “It’s been a long time, and I’ve worked hard for this together with the team. They’ve done an awesome job to get the bike ready, and the puzzle pieces are coming together. The starts are better and better after all the things they try, and I’m really happy. This one is for the team.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Jeremy Van Horebeek
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Jeremy Van Horebeek

Antonio Cairoli: “It as been a difficult week, since Monday after the Grand Prix in Assen I started having throat problems and fatigue, then flying to America I did not felt well. Upon my arrival in Charlotte I took drugs which unfortunately have not had the desired effect. Yesterday I realized that my conditions were more serious than expected and this morning I got on the track debilitated with slight fever. In the first free practice, things went well and I thought I could do it, but it did not happen. After a difficult qualifying round of practice, I had problems to get two good starts and that, on a track so fast did not helped me. In race one a crash made me loose some positions that I have not managed to recover, while in race two I just tried to get to the finish. I grate the teeth to end the moto and to make the most points possible and safeguard the second position in the standings, but the fever slowed me and I thought that I had to give up. Luckily I did it to the finish line and it is now important to try to recover during this week before the Grand Prix of Glen Helen. I want to congratulate Tim Gajser for having deservedly won the World MXGP 2016.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Tony Cairoli
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Tony Cairoli
MXGP Race 1 Top Ten
  1. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), 35:10.508
  2. Justin Barcia (USA, Yamaha), +0:22.813
  3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:24.273
  4. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:25.080
  5. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:27.325
  6. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:29.443
  7. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:30.239
  8. Gautier Paulin (FRA, Honda), +0:31.620
  9. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:40.857
  10. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:43.983.
MXGP Race 2 Top Ten
  1. Eli Tomac (USA, Kawasaki), 35:21.042
  2. Tim Gajser (SLO, Honda), +0:05.984
  3. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), +0:08.704
  4. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, Honda), +0:11.509
  5. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, Yamaha), +0:12.470
  6. Romain Febvre (FRA, Yamaha), +0:19.778
  7. Clement Desalle (BEL, Kawasaki), +0:24.690
  8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, Kawasaki), +0:33.097
  9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, Husqvarna), +0:47.876
  10. Kevin Strijbos (BEL, Suzuki), +0:52.519.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte
MXGP Overall Top Ten
  1. Eli Tomac (USA, KAW), 50 points
  2. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 40 p.
  3. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 36 p.
  4. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 35 p.
  5. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 30 p.
  6. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 28 p.
  7. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 27 p.
  8. Jordi Tixier (FRA, KAW), 27 p.
  9. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 23 p.
  10. Justin Barcia (USA, YAM), 22 p.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - 450 Podium
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – 450 Podium
MXGP Championship Top Ten
  1. Tim Gajser (SLO, HON), 693 points
  2. Antonio Cairoli (ITA, KTM), 603 p.
  3. Maximilian Nagl (GER, HUS), 565 p.
  4. Romain Febvre (FRA, YAM), 549 p.
  5. Evgeny Bobryshev (RUS, HON), 522 p.
  6. Jeremy Van Horebeek (BEL, YAM), 513 p.
  7. Glenn Coldenhoff (NED, KTM), 382 p.
  8. Clement Desalle (BEL, KAW), 372 p.
  9. Valentin Guillod (SUI, YAM), 335 p.
  10. Shaun Simpson (GBR, KTM), 322 p.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Tim Gajser
MXGP 2016 Americas – Tim Gajser
MXGP Manufacturers
  1. Honda, 729 points
  2. Yamaha, 666 p.
  3. KTM, 652 p.
  4. Husqvarna, 580 p.
  5. Kawasaki, 503 p.
  6. Suzuki, 357 p.
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
MX2

Like in the MXGP class, the location of the event and the inclusion of the American riders overshadowed the fact that Herlings had to finish ahead of Jeremy Seewer in the opening moto to wrap up his third World MX2 Motocross Championship but all eyes were on the Pro-Circuit Kawasaki pairing Austin Forkner and Adam Cianciarulo who swept through the mega fast sweeping first corner side-by-side at the start of the opening moto but it all went pear shaped for Cianciarulo who lost the front end going into the second corner and spectacularly cartwheeled off the track.

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Adam Cianciarulo
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Adam Cianciarulo

Thankfully Forkner missed the carnage and moved into the lead over Webb, Herlings, Thomas Covington, Max Anstie, Calvin Vlaandersen, Seewer and Darian Sanayei. Anstie crashed early in the lap and over the next nine laps the order remained otherwise unchanged with Forkner doing a great job of holding the two hottest riders on the planet right now in Webb and Herlings at bay but on lap 10 Forkner dropped his Kawasaki in a tight right hander causing Webb to take evasive action and handing the lead to Herlings.

Herlings saw his chance and put the hammer down for the next five laps and succeeded to put a four second gap back to Webb, a gap the Dutchman would manage all of the way to the line to take the race and his third World MX2 Motocross Championship.

Webb came home in second ahead of Forkner, Covington, Vlaanderen, Anstie, Sanayei, Brian Bogers, Mitchell Harrison and Jeremey Seewer.

As good as moto one was, moto two under the lights was the best race of the round, if not the championship!

Sanayei swept across from the outside to pull the holeshot ahead of Forkner, Herlings, Seewer, Samuele, Bernadini and Covington while Webb almost went down on the start straight and was 19th place going through the first corner.

Forkner, Herlings, Seewer, Bernardini and Covington made short work of Sanayei and for the next three laps the top five held their positions with Herlings unable to make any serious ground on the small lead that Forkner had etched out but on lap four the flying number 17 Yamaha of Cooper Webb came storming into the picture and by the start of lap five Webb had gone from 19th place to 3rd and each and every lap was looking like a qualifying lap BUT was it good enough to catch the Forkner/Herlings freight-train who were 12 seconds further up the track?

Over the next nine laps Webb dug deep and continually put down the fastest lap times of the top three hitting a 1:49 second lap time on lap 14 where he passed Herlings and a lap later Webb passed Forkner for the lead – an incredible feat considering the riders who Webb was forced to pass on the way to the lead and to add salt into the wounds Webb would go on to win by almost 4 seconds.

Herlings had a crack at second place but the 18 year old Forkner held him at bay while Covington, Seewer, Benoit Paturel, Mitchell Harrison, Mitchell, Vlaanderen, Bernardini and Anstie rounded out the top ten.

“After the first one I was a little bit disappointed, I think I didn’t ride as I should have ridden,” Webb told RacerX. “Obviously I felt I rode ok, but Jeffrey capitalized on a couple of things, I knew what I needed to work on and I knew I needed a start, but that didn’t happen, I almost went down in the start. I knew it was going to be a tough race, and I actually just hoping to get on the podium after being nearly last. To come through the pack like that and I saw I was catching and catching them. The track was a little hard to pass, but once I caught them I knew passing them would be hard. I was able to do that and I was pretty stoked on that and I was right on Austin and was able to pass him. In the end it was a really bad ass race and I think that was the best I have ever ridden. To end my 250 career with that result and in front of my home crowd was really awesome.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Cooper Webb
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Cooper Webb

Jeffrey Herlings: “I am super, super happy, especially after everything we’ve been going through with a broken femur, a dislocated hip, two broken collarbones and almost losing my little finger. It’s number three and hopefully many more to come.” Asked to comment about racing against leading Americans, he added: “The two strongest guys from America Webb and Forkner were here. Webb is the national champion and I beat him straight up in the first race and then he beat me in the second. I think the competition is stronger in the US, but we won the championship and that’s what it’s all about.” Speaking about the final round next weekend: “I like the track at Glenn Helen and it should be better than this track. Like always, we will do our best to make it happen.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Jeffrey Herlings
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Jeffrey Herlings

Austin Forkner: “I even surprised myself today. I really didn’t know what to expect and even the start was different as we had to prepare our own gate. I set fastest time in practice and took the lead on the opening lap in each moto. That mistake in race one cost me the win and I just handed it to them, but they were inching me in in race two. We Americans go for it from the beginning of the motos, while the GP riders are stronger at the end. I was getting pretty tired at the end, but it was pretty special today.”

MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Austin Forkner
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Austin Forkner

Thomas Covington: “It was a really good GP and I’m happy with fourth overall. It feels nice to race in front of friends and family and the fans were awesome too. The track was really high speed without many things to slow you down, so passing wasn’t easy. I got a bad start in moto one but made some quick passes. I got fourth pretty quickly and rode the rest of the race by myself. I got a better start in moto two and was battling with Seewer for third, before settling for fourth again. Overall, the bike was working great and my riding was smooth throughout the day. I’m now looking forward to the final GP in Glen Helen. I know this track really well, so hopefully I can run up with the top three.”

MX2 Race 1 Top Ten
  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 35:14.964
  2. Cooper Webb (USA, Yamaha), +0:04.489
  3. Austin Forkner (USA, Kawasaki), +0:29.218
  4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:51.237
  5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +1:01.275
  6. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:03.744
  7. Darian Sanayei (USA, Kawasaki), +1:08.623
  8. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), +1:11.395
  9. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +1:12.303
  10. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +1:13.538.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte
MX2 Race 2 Top Ten
  1. Cooper Webb (USA, Yamaha), 35:23.073
  2. Austin Forkner (USA, Kawasaki), +0:03.876
  3. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), +0:05.424
  4. Thomas Covington (USA, Husqvarna), +0:50.870
  5. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, Suzuki), +0:54.056
  6. Benoit Paturel (FRA, Yamaha), +0:55.139
  7. Mitchell Harrison (USA, Yamaha), +0:55.639
  8. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), +1:07.971
  9. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), +1:18.235
  10. Max Anstie (GBR, Husqvarna), +1:22.544
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte
MX2 Overall Top Ten
  1. Cooper Webb (USA, YAM), 47 points
  2. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 45 p.
  3. Austin Forkner (USA, KAW), 42 p.
  4. Thomas Covington (USA, HUS), 36 p.
  5. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 29 p.
  6. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 27 p.
  7. Mitchell Harrison (USA, YAM), 26 p.
  8. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 26 p.
  9. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 25 p.
  10. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 23 p.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - 250 Podium
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – 250 Podium
MX2 Championship Top Ten
  1. Jeffrey Herlings (NED, KTM), 689 points
  2. Jeremy Seewer (SUI, SUZ), 595 p.
  3. Benoit Paturel (FRA, YAM), 485 p.
  4. Max Anstie (GBR, HUS), 473 p.
  5. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 403 p.
  6. Dylan Ferrandis (FRA, KAW), 378 p.
  7. Brian Bogers (NED, KTM), 372 p.
  8. Samuele Bernardini (ITA, TM), 358 p.
  9. Petar Petrov (BUL, KAW), 351 p.
  10. Aleksandr Tonkov (RUS, YAM), 320 p.
MXGP 2016 Americas - Charlotte - Jeffrey Herlings
MXGP 2016 Americas – Charlotte – Jeffrey Herlings
MX2 Manufacturers
  1. KTM, 785 points
  2. Kawasaki, 611 p.
  3. Suzuki, 606 p.
  4. Yamaha, 599 p.
  5. Husqvarna, 585 p.
  6. TM, 358 p.
  7. Honda, 297 p.
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
AMA EnduroCross Championship – Round 2 – Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Colton Haaker proved that his opening-round win last week in Atlanta was no fluke and that he is serious about wanting to win this year’s AMA EnduroCross Championship. In Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at Badlands Speedway, Haaker again came away with the victory at what was the first outdoor event of the championship.

Haaker didn’t get the holeshot and just run away with it, either. He passed his way up from a fifth-place start, getting around some of the sport’s heaviest hitters along the way, like defending champ Cody Webb and multi-time EX winner Mike Brown. He also had to get around a very pesky Ty Tremaine before finding his way to the front and pulling away for the win.

“I didn’t get the best jump off the start but I stayed calm in fifth or sixth and tried to stay calm and not make dumb mistakes like I did in the Heat race,” said Haaker. “A couple laps in, I was in a good position in second when Cody went down. From there I felt solid, ran out a few laps that were fast and kept it together to cruise out for the win.”

Once again, Webb took second, but he did it the hard way. He bounced back from tip-overs and made two passes on the last lap to get the silver. Still, he had a good night overall after winning his Heat race and Hot Lap, earning two points toward the championship, so he minimized the damage when all was said and done. He trails Haaker by just four points after two rounds.

Brown, on the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna, took third and moved up to third in the championship. He trails Webb by 10 points while RPM KTM Team Maxxis’ Tremaine took an impressive fourth ahead of KTM rider Noah Kepple rounded out the top five.

And what about five-time EX Champion Taddy Blazusiak? His bid for a sixth championship took a big hit in South Dakota. After winning his Heat race, the Red Bull KTM rider suffered a thumb injury during the first lap of the Main and had to withdraw from the race.

EX PRO Feature Race: 1. Colton Haaker (KTM); 2. Cody Webb (KTM); 3. Mike Brown (Hus); 4. Ty Tremaine (KTM); 5. Noah Kepple (KTM); 6. Trystan Hart (Hus); 7. Cory Graffunder (KTM); 8. Nick Thompson (KTM); 9. Max Gerston (Beta); 10. Ty Cullins (Beta); 11. Geoff Aaron (GG); 12. Kevin Rookstool (Suz); 13. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM).

Pro Series Standings: 1. Colton Haaker – 51pts. 2. Cody Webb – 47pts. 3. Mike Brown – 37pts. 4. Ty Tremaine – 32pts. 5. Max Gerston – 31pts. 6. Taddy Blazusiak – 30pts.

Yamaha Queensland Motocross Championship – Round 2 – Hervey Bay

The second and final round of the Yamaha Queensland Motocross Championship was held in the deep sand of the Hervey Motorcycle Club’s facility last weekend and it was Zak Small and Richie Evans who took out the MX1 and MX2 classes respectively while young Jake Williams continued his stellar season by adding two more championships to his already long list of accomplishments for 2016.

“At the start of the year it was my goal to win the state championships for YJR so it’s awesome I was able to achieve that,” Williams explains. “I don’t know if I’m a great sand rider but I always seem to do well at Hervey Bay and my starts were much better this weekend, making my job so much easier.”

“It’s good to be riding well heading into the Australian Junior Nationals starting at the end of the month and the bikes I raced over the weekend will be the ones I use at Renmark in a few weeks and I’m so happy with how they run. Thank you to MQ and the promoting clubs for this years’ series as well as Yamaha Junior Racing for their support. It’s a great team to be a part of,” Williams ends.

“I had a pretty good weekend although I made it pretty tough on myself with a few first lap crashes in almost every race.” Small said. “On the Saturday I crashed off the start, and winning that would have taken the pressure off my shoulders. I had to come from dead last back to second, I was three or four seconds a lap quicker than anyone else out there. Then I won the last two races and wrapped it up. I felt really good on the bike at Hervey Bay and got from sixth back up into third in the Lites as well.”

“My 350 was unreal,” Small continues. “Paul from MPE had my suspension working so well and I felt awesome all weekend on it. I can’t wait to get a ’17 and get back on the gas. I’m really keen to step up from MXD to MX1 – I’d love to consistently be the first privateer home next year.”

Below is a full list of championship winners

MX1 Championship (Open)
  1. Zak SMALL
  2. Luke WEAVER
  3. Brad POLSONI
MX2 Championship (Lites)
  1. Richie EVANS
  2. Luke WEAVER
  3. Zak SMALL
JUNIOR LITES 4/- 15YRS POINTS
  1. Jake WILLIAMS
  2. Mitchell DARK
  3. Jono CORDWELL
Junior Lites 4/- 13-14yrs
  1. Joshua LIVSEY
  2. Paris RODE
  3. Connor MCNAMARA
Junior Lites 2/- 13-15yrs
  1. Jake WILLIAMS
  2. Mitchell DARK
  3. Connor MCNAMARA
Min Lites 14-15yrs
  1. Dylan GOOK
  2. Joshua ZORBAS
  3. Jacob SHIELDS
Mini Lites 9-11yrs
  1. Deegan MANCINELLI
  2. Brad WEST
  3. Noah SMERDON
Mini Lites 12-13yrs
  1. Noah FERGUSON
  2. Tye JONES
  3. Jai WALKER
65cc 7-9yrs
  1. Jet ALSOP
  2. Kobe DREW
  3. Liam OWENS
65cc 10-11yrs
  1. Zachary WATSON
  2. Noah SMERDON
  3. Jackson CAMILLERI
50cc Auto
  1. Jake CANNON
  2. Jett WILLIAMS
  3. Jake LANE
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship – Round 1 – Newcastle

The opening round of the FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship was held in front of a record crowd along Newcastle’s foreshore as Graeme Boyd Motorcycles presented the Watson Demolition Newcastle City SuperMoto and it was Australia’s Luke George who earned the overall win ahead of Malaysia’s Muhammad Habibullah and the multi-talented Michael Kirkness.

FIM Asia Supermoto 2016 Newcastle
FIM Asia Supermoto 2016 Newcastle

George also took a clean sweep of the Pro class and praised organisers for a well-run event. “I had an awesome weekend,” George said. “Coming into this event I had no idea where I would sit in the mix. To be honest I was just hoping to make the top five. To race against a class field like this and come out in front is a real surprise. This is a fantastic event and I will definitely be back to defend my title next year.”

Michael Kirkness also claimed dual podiums, finishing third in the Open class. “It has been such a long time since I raced SuperMoto it is certainly not my forte so I was stoked to be on the podium in both classes today. This is an incredible event, hats off to the organisers, I will be back next year.”

Finishing second behind George in the final 30 minute FIM Asia SuperMoto race, Muhd Habibullah said he capitalised when a few riders made mistakes. “I was at an advantage when a few riders made mistakes in beginning of the race. That promoted me to third spot since the start. Andy (McLiesh) attempted to overtake me a few times but I managed to hold him at bay. I am really proud with my performance today and hope for the same in Malang.”

Local riders swept the Open class with Scott Saul claiming the top step of the dais ahead Lee Stevens and Brett Rowe while Paul Caslick dominated the Vets class while Karina Baillie won the Women’s class.

The Australian round of the FIM Asia SuperMoto Championship has been secured for Newcastle for the next three years, through the NSW Government’s tourism and major events agency, Destination NSW.

Luke George
Luke George
Springfield Mile II – Illinois State Fairgrounds – Springfield, Illinois

The Springfield Mile never fails to disappoint and this year’s second running of the legendary Mile race at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield, Ill. was no exception with Kenny Coolbeth, Jr. coming out on top in a last-lap thriller, taking the win by .009 of a second to end Bryan Smith’s win streak at Springfield and shake up the Harley-Davidson GNC1 Championship.

It also marked the No. 2 Zanotti Racing Harley-Davidson XR750 rider’s first win of the season, and Coolbeth, Jr. was overjoyed to get that win at Springfield. “Harley won Springfield [Woo[Woohoo] Coolbeth, Jr. said. “It’s good. It’s been up and down. It’s not due to lack of effort, that’s for sure. It’s just racing. We just keep striving and it’s paying off and you know we can carry this momentum to Santa Rosa.”

Smith may have been the man to beat at the Springfield Mile II, as the No. 42 Crosley/Howerton Kawasaki Ninja 650 rider topped every session except the final one, but Coolbeth, Jr. knows a thing or two about the Miles himself.

“I tried a little bit (to pass Bryan Smith before the final lap),” said Coolbeth, Jr. “But I knew I wouldn’t get all the way around him going down the straightaway like a legit draft pass, so I just buried it off in there just like I did when I beat him the other time and it worked out. I kind of screwed up coming out; kind of a little high and spun up, but it worked out.”

Smith knew it was coming too, and he’s kicking himself for it. “He was right there the whole race,” Smith said. “When you get beat by somebody you think you’re better than it makes you mad. But Kenny is so good and is like a legend at doing stuff like that. You’re mad because you didn’t beat him, and pumped when you do beat him but when he beats you, he’s one of a kind on a flat track bike, so it’s kind of alright.”

Also taking the sting out of not getting that coveted Springfield Mile win was the gains Smith made in the Championship battle with Jared Mees on the No. 1 Rogers Racing Harley-Davidson XR750. Unfortunately, for the defending GNC1 Champion, Mees suffered his second mechanical of the year at Springfield, moving Smith within 17 points of Mees going into the final round at Santa Rosa.

Taking the third and final spot on the podium was Cory Texter on the No. 65 Cory Texter Racing/Cycle World Kawasaki Ninja 650. “I felt good all day,” Texter said. “This is the best leg we’ve ever had at Springfield. And we really liked our chances. It feels good. I thought towards the end there I had a shot at the win. I creeped up on those guys, so it feels great. It actually feels a little better than my first one (GNC1 podium) I did earlier in the year. Springfield is the most historic and the track that everyone wants to win a podium at. Another podium feels good but there’s two steps left: trying to get that first win.”

The AMA Pro Flat Track heads to Santa Rosa, Calif. for the season finale at the Ramspur Winery Santa Rosa Mile on Sunday, September 25.

GNC1 Class Results
  1. Kenny Coolbeth (H-D)
  2. Bryan Smith (Kaw)
  3. Cory Texter (Kaw)
  4. Brandon Robinson (Kaw)
  5. Brad Baker (H-D)
  6. Johnathan Addison (Kaw)
  7. Doug Lawrence (Kaw)
  8. Jake Shoemaker (Tri)
  9. Sammy Halbert (Duc)
  10. Zakk Palmer (Kaw)
  11. Henry Wiles (Kaw)
  12. Jeremy Higgins (Kaw)
  13. Jake Johnson (H-D)
  14. Nick Armstrong (Yam)
  15. Chad Cose (Kaw)
  16. Jarod Vanderkooi (Kaw)
  17. Jared Mees (H-D)
  18. Jeffrey Carver Jr. (Kaw)
  19. Michael LaBelle (Kaw)
FIM Speedway Grand Prix – GP Challenge Qualifying Race – Vetlanda

GP Challenge winner Patryk Dudek insists he doesn’t fear the step up to the FIM Speedway Grand Prix elite after qualifying for the 2017 World Championship in Vetlanda last Saturday.

Dudek capped an unforgettable year by triumphing in the GP Challenge with a 15-point maximum ahead of Martin Vaculik, who scored 14, and third-placed Fredrik Lindgren, who won a run-off with Kenneth Bjerre to qualify after they tied on 11.

Dudek was in unstoppable form in one of the most intense meetings on the world speedway calendar. “I felt a little pressure before the first heat, but when I took a few laps, I felt better and I felt very good on the bike and on this track. It was a perfect day. We didn’t change the sprocket on the bike. I stayed with the same one all the time and it was brilliant.”

“I think next year will be very good. Maybe the tracks won’t be the same, but all the riders are the same because I race them all the time in the Swedish and Polish leagues. I think it will be good next year. It’s four laps, five heats … hopefully seven if I make the final! It’s just the same. It’s normal. I’m happy. It’ll be my first time in the GP and I hope I can start in the GP all the time now.”

Dudek went into the meeting having won his first Polish Championship and his second Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup this year so adding SGP qualification to the list was a special moment. He said: “I have done it all this year – Polish champ, SWC winner and I’ve qualified to the Grand Prix for next year. Now I hope I can get a good result in the Polish league and the Swedish league. We’re fighting in the play-offs, so I hope it will be very good.”

Elated runner-up Martin Vaculik can’t wait to be an FIM Speedway Grand Prix rider for the first time since 2013. “It’s unbelievable! It’s fantastic! I’m very pleased with this result. First I want to thank the organisers for giving me a wild card for this meeting. They trusted me and I got this chance.”

Third-placed Lindgren has served as this season’s SGP first reserve, but his place in every round is guaranteed for 2017 after he held his nerve in a titanic run-off with Bjerre. “I’m very pleased,” he said. “It has been one of the very big goals for me all year. It hasn’t been one of my favourite tracks, so I am really proud of what I have achieved – making it into the top three. I gave it everything I could. I rode Kenneth pretty tough a few times, but he kept coming back and coming back. We swapped positions a few times, but I managed to make a pretty smart manoeuvre on the last lap and stay in front.”
After talking it up ealr yin the week Aussie Sam Masters failed to fire to end the night in 11th place with just 5 points.

Speedway GP Challenge Scores
  1. Patryk Dudek 15
  2. Martin Vaculik 14
  3. Fredrik Lindgren 11+3
  4. Kenneth Bjerre 11+2
  5. Martin Smolinski 10
  6. Peter Ljung 9
  7. Krzysztof Kasprzak 7
  8. Nicolas Covatti 7
  9. Piotr Pawlicki 6
  10. Max Fricke 6
  11. Sam Masters 5
  12. Mikkel Bech Jensen 5
  13. Brady Kurtz 5
  14. Krzysztof Buczkowski 5
  15. Max Fricke 3
  16. Robert Lambert 1
  17. Vaclav Milik DNR.
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S