Moto News for Oct 7, 2014 – With Darren Smart

Well, it is finally official. Ryan Villopoto will be racing in the MXGP class in the 2015 World Motocross Championships for the Euro Monster Energy Kawasaki team alongside long-time friend and former World Motocross Champion Tyla Rattray.

Villopoto has announced that this will be his final year of racing and simply wants to add a World Motocross Championships to his list of accomplishments. “I am ready for the final chapter of my career, and in my final year of racing I am looking to accomplish something no one else has achieved,” said Villopoto. “I’ve never been one to look at the record books so when an opportunity like this comes around, to race against the best in the world and represent the U.S.A., I have to see it through. It will be a major change of pace, but I am extremely excited about the opportunity and also to be joined by a former champion like Tyla. He knows what is needed to succeed on the world championship stage and I know I can learn a lot from him.”

The back story to RV going to Europe is that his knee injury was a lot more serious than initially thought and there was no-way that he would have been ready for the 2015 AMA Supercross Championships so with the World Motocross Championships not starting till March the idea was thrown around after a lot of soul searching the decision was made.

The fact that Tyla Rattray was already signed helped seal the deal and even though they will be based on opposite sides of the planet, RV will retain Aldon Baker as his trainer.

Speaking of Aldon Baker, he now has RV, Ken Roczen, Adam Cianciarulo, Marvin Musquin, Jason Anderson, and Ryan Dungey under his guidance as far as training goes.

Ken Roczen has already been out busting laps on his RCH Suzuki as has Blake Baggett on his factory Yoshimura Suzuki. October the 1st is THE date when riders can be seen on their new rides so it is no surprise that we are getting to see Roczen and Baggett on their new rigs.

As a side note, the fact that Broc Tickle was out testing with Roczen and the RCH Suzuki squad all of last week is a fair indication that Tickle will stay on the team for 2015.

On the back of a sensational performance in the 450 class at the MXoN, Scottish rider Dean Wilson has inked a two-year deal with Red Bull KTM for the AMA Motocross and Supercross Championships alongside team mate Ryan Dungey.

Former Pro-Circuit Kawasaki team rider Darryn Durham will compete in the 2015 AMA West Coast Supercross and AMA Motocross Championships in the 250 class alongside TLD / Lucas Oil / Red Bull / KTM teammates Jessy Nelson and Shane McElrath.

No-one was surprised when Smartop MotoConcepts Racing announced the re-signing of Mike Alessi and Vince Friese for the 2015 race season. Alessi will race in the 450 class in the AMA Supercross as well as any motocross series that will have him while Friese will participate in the 250 East Championship and where ever Alessi end up for motocross.

OK, I have never heard of any of these riders or the team but this info was released during the week. RSR (Rick Schugel Racing) has signed Zack Williams, Jesse Wentland and Blake Dungey to race Honda machinery for the 2015 season. Williams and Wentland will compete in the 250SX East Region while Dungey (Ryan’s brother) will contest the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a CRF450R. Williams is also confirmed for the Nationals on a CRF250R.

To be honest, I didn’t even know Ryan Dungey had a brother but it will be interesting to see how Blake goes.

The inaugural Red Bull Straight Rhythm has been run and won. A whole day of the world’s best supercross riders battling tooth and nail had the fans in a frenzy but what REALLY got the crowd to their feet and screaming was Travis Pastrana’s back flip of the finish line double jump as he won his opening heat against Josh Hansen. See full report and results below.

The Red Bull City Trial was held in a place called Deansgate which is Manchester’s longest and most famous shopping precinct. Reigning FIM Trial World Champion Toni Bou absolutely dominated the third running of the event to take the win ahead of the British duo of James Dabill and Michael Brown.

Could you imagine having World Class Trials event in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane or down at The Rocks in Sydney???? Hmmm….

Assomotor and Honda Red Moto (the Italian off-road distributor for Honda) have signed Italian Alessandro Lupino to race a CRF450 in the 2015 World Motocross Championships. Interestingly, 1999 World 500cc Motocross Champion, Andrea Bartolini will be the technical manager and coordinator of rider activities while Roland Solva will be in charge of the suspension department and Tomasini R&D will develop and prepare the engines for the season. This is a 100% Italian team for sure……

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing has announced that Tony Cairoli, Ken De Dycker and Tommy Searle will contest the MXGP class in the 2015 World Motocross Championships. Heading KTM’s MX2 campaign will be two-time World Champion Jeffrey Herlings who will have 17 year old Latvia rider Pauls Jonass as his team mate.

This is interesting. American Chris Plouffe has had a massive fall out with the Boardstix Motorsport team a week before the opening round of the Australian Supercross Championships at Bathurst. I spoke to both parties regarding the issues at hand and right now there is a lot of finger pointing going on from both sides and despite the best efforts of some of our industries heavy weights Plouffe was left with no choice but to return home.

All I can say right now is that this is a real pity, I was looking forward to seeing Chris in action but stay tuned, I am thinking there will be more controversy relating to the Boardstix Motorsports team.

Taylor Potter will now be the lone rider on the Boardstix Motorsport team and by all accounts is training hard and looking forward to throwing himself into action.

Former Thumper Nationals legend Lyndon Heffernan has won the Vet class at the inaugural KTM Conondale Classic held on the Sunshine Coast Hinterland last weekend. Kirk Gibbs won the Open Class while Jay Wilson took out the 250cc Class. See report and results below.

For the 2015 season and beyond, multiple National Motocross and Supercross Champion Lee Hogan will lead Honda’s junior development with a new team under the title of BCP Pro Circuit Honda.

Moto News for the weekend of October 4/5

  • – Round 12 of the Amsoil GNCC at Powerline Park, St Clairsville, OH
  • – Round 8 of the All-Japan Motocross Championships at Hiroshima
  • – Round 6 of the AMA WMX Championships at KROC Raceway Park – Englishtown, NJ
  • – Round 5 of the Geico Enduro Cross Championship in Denver, Colorado
  • – Red Bull Straight Rhythm in Pomona, California
  • – 2014 Conondale Cup on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland
  • – Australian Junior Motocross Championships at Appin, NSW

Amsoil GNCC – Round 12 – Powerline Park, St Clairsville, OH

It had to come sooner or later but Josh Strang has overcome a 15 second penalty for an infringement on the start line to earn his first Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) round win of the 2014 season and he did it at the 12th round of the GNCC held at Powerline Park in Ohio last Sunday.

“I started falling on the starter before the flag flew and the bike just started,” Strang said. “I knew I was in trouble so I tried to make as many passes as I could because I knew I was going to get a penalty.”

Strang took the win over newly-crowned champion Kailub Russell who was riding a KTM150SX two-stroke at the event while Strang’s arch rival Jordan Ashburn completed the podium ahead of Charlie Mullins who was having his first ride back from injury.

“It’s been a really long time since my last win so it feels good to get up here,” Strang added. “Kailub was obviously on a 150 today, so yeah he was riding awesome considering it was such a little bike. I’m happy I won either way. It’s good to be up here, it’s a relief.”

“It was really rough, especially in the open stuff and not having enough power to go up some of the hills and through the bumps,” Russell said. “But I saw Josh [Strang] coming and he was riding well. We kind of came together over by pro pits, but I wasn’t going to let up, this is racing.”

Daniel Milner competed for the first time in a GNCC with Am the Pro Yamaha team and finished a more than credible eighth overall, one spot in front of former champion and fellow ANZAC Paul Whibley.

In the XC2 class Grant Baylor continued his dominance and has wrapped up the title with one round remaining.

Round 12 XC1 Overall Results: 1. Josh Strang. 2. Kailub Russell. 3. Jordan Ashburn. 4. Charlie Mullins. 5. Steward Baylor. 6. Christopher Bach. 7. Grant Baylor. 8. Daniel Milner. 9. Paul Whibley. 10. Takeshi Koikeda.

XC1 Championship Standings: 1. Kailub Russell 318. 2. Josh Strang 216. 3. Jordan Ashburn 208. 4. Charlie Mullins 198. 5. Grant Baylor 191. 6. Paul Whibley 164. 7. Andrew Delong 160. 8. Christopher Bach 123. 9. Steward Baylor 118. 10. Ricky Russell 117.

Round 12 XC2 Overall Results: 1. Grant Baylor. 2. Layne Michael. 3. Nick Davis. 4. Scott Grills. 5. Trevor Bollinger. 6. Craig Delong. 7. Callan May. 8. Michael McGinnis. 9. Ian Blythe. 10. Justin Sode.

XC2 Championship Standings: 1. Grant Baylor 322. 2. Trevor Bollinger 251. 3. Ricky Russell 233. 4. Layne Michael 152. 5. Calllan May 142. 6. Nick Davis 132. 7. Samuel Evans 125. 8. Jessie Groemm 119. 9. Shane Hufford Jr. 114. 10. Jedediah Haines 105pts

Josh Strang has overcome a 15 second penalty for an infringement on the start line to earn his first Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) round win of the 2014 season and he did it at the 12th round of the GNCC held at Powerline Park in Ohio last Sunday.
Josh Strang has overcome a 15 second penalty for an infringement on the start line to earn his first Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) round win of the 2014 season and he did it at the 12th round of the GNCC held at Powerline Park in Ohio last Sunday.
Strang took the win over newly-crowned champion Kailub Russell who was riding a KTM150SX two-stroke at the event
Strang took the win over newly-crowned champion Kailub Russell who was riding a KTM150SX two-stroke at the event

All-Japan Motocross Championships – Round 8 – Hiroshima

For the second round in a row Yamaha’s Yu Hirata has taken the win over Japanese moto legend Akira Narita at round 8 of the All-Japan Motocross Championship held in Hiroshima last weekend. Narita’s second place was good enough to wrap up the 450 title but the 250 class is still up for grabs with factory Honda’s Toshiki Tomita beating championship leader Takeshi Katsuya in Hiroshima bringing the point’s gap down to 20 points with one round remaining.

450 Class: 1. Hirata. 2. Narita. 3. Atsutu. 4. Arai. 5. Mihara.

450 Points: 1. NARITA Akira – 364. 2. OGATA Makoto – 291. 3. ATSUTA Yoshitaka – 270. 4. ARAI Hiroaki – 268. 5. HIRATA Yu – 237.

250 Class: 1. Tomita. 2. Katsuya. 3. Takenaka. 4. Nohtsuka. 5. Tanaka.

250 Points: 1. KATSUYA Takeshi – 355. 2. TOMITA Toshiki – 335. 3. TAKENAKA Jun’ya – 267. 4. NOHTSUKA Chihiro – 245. 5. YASUHARA Nozomu – 222.

Sugo will host the final round of the All-Japan Motocross Championships on the 26th of October.

Akira Narita’s second place was good enough to wrap up the 450 title
Akira Narita’s second place was good enough to wrap up the 450 title
Takeshi Katsuya
Takeshi Katsuya

Geico Enduro Cross Championship – Round 5 – Denver, Colorado

JCR Honda rider Colton Haaker scored his second win of the season at round five of the AMA GEICO EnduroCross Series in Denver, Colorado. After an exciting main event, which saw Colton going bar-to-bar with defending champion Taddy Blazusiak for several laps, Haaker was able to secure the lead and take it to the finish. Beta’s Cody Webb rounded out the podium with third overall at the National Western Complex.

Coming in to Denver, it was Red Bull KTM’s Blazusiak and Beta’s Cody Webb who were tied for the points lead with Haaker two points behind in third. But after another close main event, Haaker was able to mix things up just enough to boost himself to the front, though the championship still remains in a tie with Blazusiak.

“I’m excited,” Haaker said. “I haven’t had the red plate in two years now and I only had it for one round. I’m riding well beyond anything I have before and putting in a lot of work at home. It shows when it comes down to the race. I really had it tonight. I’m really stoked!”

Haaker started the main event off with a holeshot, but quickly found himself side-by-side with Blazusiak. The two duked it out for the lead with Blazusiak grabbing the point in the early laps. Haaker kept the leader in his sights, and then capitalized on a mistake when Blazusiak lost his front end coming out of a rock turn. From that point, Haaker held on to the lead and never looked back, leaving Blazusiak to collect second.

Blazusiak also admitted that an extreme close call during the evening hot laps shook him up just before the main event. Blazusiak found himself nearly doing a superman over the tire jump, and looked like he was heading for an epic crash. Though he technically landed off the bike, he miraculously somehow kept it upright and didn’t hit the ground. “I don’t want to say that it affected me in the main, but actually it did,” Blazusiak said. “I was taking that step up super easy. I thought I could hit it as hard as I can but… oh man.”

Webb got out to a mediocre start and had his hands full with Taylor Robert in the early laps. The two pushed each other hard, ending up off the track at one point, and going down in a heap at another point. After their tangle, it was Webb who was able to rebound quicker, and advance into the top-three. Webb was able to reel in Haaker and Blazusiak, and nearly got close enough to challenge Blazusiak for second, but ran out of time and had to settle for third.

Factory Husqvarna’s Mike Brown was also able to slip past Robert after he and Webb went down, but Robert wasn’t about to yield his position so easily. He and Brown duked it out for fourth with Robert ultimately taking the point. Brown held on for fifth place, his best finish of the season.

The finishing order, in combination with the single points given for the heat race win and quickest hot lap, there is now only one point separating the top-three with Haaker and Blazusiak tied at 117 points each and Webb with 116 points.

Denver EnduroCross Main Event Results: 1. Colton Haaker (Hon). 2. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM). 3.  Cody Webb (Bet). 4. Taylor Robert (KTM). 5. Mike Brown (Hus). 6. Max Gerston (Bet). 7. Cory Graffunder (KTM). 8. Nick Thompson (KTM). 9. Ty Tremaine (KTM). 10. Bobby Prochnau (KTM). 11. Wally Palmer (Chr). 12. Destry Abbott (Kaw). 13. Eric Rhoten (Bet).

JCR Honda rider Colton Haaker scored his second win of the season at round five of the AMA GEICO EnduroCross Series in Denver, Colorado.
JCR Honda rider Colton Haaker scored his second win of the season at round five of the AMA GEICO EnduroCross Series in Denver, Colorado.

Red Bull Straight Rhythm – Pomona, California

What an event! The inaugural Red Bull Straight Rhythm event was run in California last weekend with 14000 people in the stands to witnessed the event while there were almost ten times that many watching the event on-line for free on the Red Bull TV web site.

As predicted James Stewart came away with the win in the 450 class over Justin Brayton while his brother Malcolm Stewart rounded out the podium.

Marvin Musquin likewise dominated the 250 class and easily won the final over his new Red Bull KTM team mate Justin Hill with Jessy Nelson in third place.

I would have loved to have seen Musquin V Stewart as a Grand Final.

2014 Red Bull Straight Rhythm – Final Results

Open Class: 1. James Stewart. 2. Justin Brayton. 3. Malcolm Stewart. 4. Dean Wilson

250 Class: 1. Marvin Musquin. 2. Justin Hill. 3. Jessy Nelson. 4. Justin Bogle

Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 - Open Podium
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 – Open Podium
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 - 250cc Podium
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 – 250cc Podium
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 250 Results
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 250 Results
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 Open Results
Red Bull Straight Rhythm 2014 Open Results

KTM Conondale Cup – Sunshine Coast, Queensland

The inaugural KTM Conondale Classic was held at Green Park, Conondale on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland on the weekend and it was a dead-set cracker of an event with a full field of racers in every class but it was KTM’s Kirk Gibbs and Serco Yamaha’s Jay Wilson who took the lion’s share of the $10,000.00 prize money.

Open 250cc: 1. Jay Wilson. 2. Zak Small. 3. Brad Polsoni. 4. Michael Fehlhaber. 5. Zane Keleher.

Open Class: 1. Kirk Gibbs. 2. Jay Wilson. 3. Jesse Dobson. 4. Zak Small. 5. Jesse O’Farrell.

All Powers Feature Race: 1. Kirk Gibbs. 2. Jay Wilson. 3. Jesse Dobson. 4. Jesse O’Farrell. 5. Zak Small.

Australian Junior Motocross Championships – Appin, NSW

This is one of the biggest weeks in the life of a junior motocrossers and by all accounts the pace was red-hot at the 2014 KTM Australian Junior Motocross Championships held at Appin from the 27th of September to the 4th of October.

Former World Junior Motocross Champion Caleb Grothues made light work of the 85cc 2ST/150cc 4ST 12-14 class by winning every race but crashed out of the 125 class. “I was quite chuffed with this one, KTM made it a really good event and I enjoyed it. I felt really good on the bike this year. A was comfortable the whole time on the 85 and won every race,” Grothues said. “I had good first moto in the 125, but in the second I had a big get off and hurt myself a bit. It would have been nice to win on the 125 as well, but I had a bit of bad luck and I’ve still got next year. I have plenty of time yet to make stuff happen.”

The 85cc 14-U16 class saw Cooper Pozniak take his first national championship by beating Hugh McKay and Cody McMahon in a hard fought series of finals. “I’m speechless, it feels so good to win my first national title.” Pozniak said. “I’ve been training so hard lately and it means so much to me to win this.”

The factory KTM rider Hunter Lawrence dominated the 128cc-150cc 2ST & 200cc-250cc 4ST 13-15 class. “The track was rough which probably helped me, and it’s great to ride on a prepped track every day. I carried some good Mojo into the finals and didn’t have to push super hard to get the win.” Lawrence commented. “Four days ago I couldn’t move my wrist and had no strength at all so I’m pretty pumped to come away with a win. We’ve been pumping the Nurofen into me and I’ve had my wrist in the ice every two hours, but it was worth it.”

Teammate Mitch Evans was in a class of his own in his final junior nationals, dominating both the 128-150 2ST & 200-250cc 4ST 15 years class and the 100-125cc 2ST category. “It was definitely a great finish for my junior career, winning all my races except one.” Evans commented. “I’ve won four Australian titles now, and these two rank as my best, since they were on the bigger, and faster bikes.”

“Now I can focus on seniors, and going into 2015 with a bit of confidence after winning two Australian titles. Hopefully I can race all the under 19’s rounds, and land on the podium in that.” Evans concluded.

  • 50cc Div2: 1. Jett Burgess Stevens. 2. Braden Plath. 3. Jasper Moon. 4. Luke Robertson. 5. Seth Burchell
  • 65cc 7-U9: 1. Noah Smerdon. 2. Senna Agius. 3. Ryder Kingsford. 4. Johnathon Weber. 5. Cody Bischo.
  • 65cc 9-U11: 1. Jett Lawrence. 2. Billy Payne. 3. Alex Larwood. 4. Reid Taylor. 5. Brock Lasiter.
  • 65cc 11-U12: 1. Regan Duffy. 2. Liam Andrews. 3. Noah Ferguson. 4. Tye Jones. 5. Jesse Pearce-Smith.
  • 85cc 2ST/150cc 4ST 9-U12: 1. Jett Lawrence. 2. Regan Duffy. 3. Brodie Connolly. 4. Alex Larwood. 5. Liam Andrews.
  • 85cc 2ST/150cc 4ST 12-14: 1. Caleb Grothues. 2. Riley Dukes. 3. Rhys Budd. 4. Bailey Malkiewicz. 5. Brodie Ellis.
  • 85cc 2ST/150cc 4ST 14-U16: 1. Cooper Pozniak. 2. Hugh Mckay. 3. Cody Mcmahon. 4. Thomas Mclachlan. 5. Jye Dickson.
  • 128cc-150cc 2ST & 200cc-250cc 4ST 13-U15: 1. Hunter Lawrence. 2. Wade Kirkland. 3. Cody Dyce. 4. Taj Marshall. 5. Isaac Ferguson.
  • 128-150 2ST & 200cc-250cc 4ST 15yrs: 1. Mitchell Evans. 2. Jordan Hill. 3. Ryan Eden. 4. Kaleb Barham. 5. Jimmy Griffin.
  • 100cc-125cc 2ST 13-U15: 1. Cody Dyce. 2. Wade Kirkland. 3. Cody Mcmahon. 4. Wyatt Chase. 5. Michael Driscoll.
  • 100cc-125cc 2ST 15yrs: 1. Mitchell Evans. 2. Jordan Hill. 3. Dylan Dukes. 4. Benjamin Broad. 5. Jimmy Griffin.
  • 85cc 2ST/150cc 4ST GIRLS 12-U16: 1. Danielle Foot. 2. Taylah Haidley. 3. Kara Cats. 4. Tanesha Harnett. 5. Tenayah Mcleod.
  • 100cc-125cc 2ST/200cc-250cc 4ST Girls: 1. Ashleigh Mccormick. 2. Danielle Foot. 3. Chelsea Carter. 4. Cheyenne Taylor. 5. Jamie Sanders.
Australian Junior MX Nationals 2014
Australian Junior MX Nationals 2014

Moto Wrap for the weekend of October 11/12

  • – Round 12 of the FIM Speedway Grand Prix in Torun, Poland
  • – Round 6 of the Geico Enduro Cross Championship in Salt Lake City, UT
  • – Rounds 1 and 2 of the Australian Supercross Championship at Bathurst (Same Weekend as Bathurst 1000)
  • – 2014 OiLibya Rally of Morocco – Oct 4 to 9