Moto News Wrap for April 11, 2017 by Darren Smart
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Latest News
  • Troy Bayliss Classic Takes a Year Off
  • Tomac stays Green
  • Craig to fill in for Roczen for AMA Motocross Series
  • Hard weekend for Jett Lawrence at ADAC MX Masters
  • Jeremy Martin injured
  • Austin Forkner injured
  • Cole Seely injured
  • Josh Grant injured
  • Sunderland wins Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
  • New manager for British MXoN team
  • Herlings wins Dutch Masters of Motocross
  • Nichols and Kullas win at Lyng
  • National MX Championships start in France and Switzerland
  • Getteman wins MX Masters of Germany
  • Up and down day for Qld GYTR racers
  • Brisbane Motorcycle Club’s Tri-Track Spectacular
This Week’s Race Reports
  • AMA Supercross – Round 14 – CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Washington
  • GNCC – Round 4 – Steele Creek, Morganton, NC
  • FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup – Gillman Speedway
  • India BAJA 2017  – Jaisalmer, India
  • Trackmasters – Barleigh Ranch Raceway

Troy Bayliss Classic takes a year off

Troy Bayliss Events and the Taree Motorcycle Club have confirmed the Troy Bayliss Classic will not be held in 2018 but may return in 2019 and beyond.

Troy Bayliss Cup 2017
Troy Bayliss Cup 2017

Increasing operating costs combined with reduced income from the 2017 event has put the event under financial strain so it will undergo a one-year hiatus while organisers work on making it sustainable for the future.

Event Organiser Troy Bayliss said while it is disappointing to not be in a position to run the 2018 event he hoped with increased support the Troy Bayliss Classic would return in 2019.

Troy Bayliss presenting Jared Mees with the TBC trophy
Troy Bayliss presenting Jared Mees with the TBC trophy
Troy Bayliss

“Unfortunately the cold hard fact is the Troy Bayliss Classic is an expensive event to put on so without some serious backing it is just not financially viable. While the 2017 event received support from a list of local and national companies it is not enough to deliver the event that commands months of hard work from Troy Bayliss Events and the Taree Motorcycle Club. We could move the event to another state or track and gain significant tourism support, but Taree Motorcycle Club is where I started racing and is the home of the Troy Bayliss Classic. It will be held at the Old Bar circuit, or it won’t take place at all.”

Taree Motorcycle Club President Craig Nelson said while the event has been fantastic for the club reduced spectator numbers impacted the 2017 event.

Craig Nelson

“The event has been fantastic for the club, the town, and the sport. It has put us and dirt track racing on the map again, and we are very disappointed we won’t host the event in 2018.”

Tomac stays Green

Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. has inked a multi-year contract extension with supercross and motocross star Eli Tomac to ride for the Monster Energy Kawasaki race team. The Colorado native is currently in the middle of a title fight with Ryan Dungey in the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championships.

Eli Tomac - Image: Feld Entertainment
Eli Tomac – Image: Feld Entertainment
Eli Tomac

“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to stay with Monster Energy Kawasaki. The team has put a lot of faith in me over the last year, which has given me the confidence I need to win. We have put in a lot of work and it is good to see it paying dividends.”

Tomac joined the team beginning with the 2016 season, where he captured one win and five podium finishes en route to fourth in the final supercross standings. He carried the momentum outdoors, earning a pair of overall victories and 10 podium results in a strong runner-up effort in the AMA Pro Motocross Championship.  Tomac finished off the 2016 season with two MXGP wins and the Monster Energy Cup Championship.

Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac

Tomac’s second season with the team in 2017 has been a breakout one thus far, highlighted by eight race wins including a five-race winning streak. With three races remaining Tomac has earned fastest laps in 10 of the 14 main events and tops the rider point standings.

Yoshi Tamura – Kawasaki Motors Corp., U.S.A. President 

“Eli Tomac is an exceptional rider and athlete, and has successfully carried on the tradition of dominance with his KX450F. Eli epitomises Kawasaki’s commitment to winning and we are very excited to ensure he’ll be part of the Monster Energy Kawasaki team for years to come!”

Craig to fill in for Roczen for AMA Motocross Series

Current GEICO Honda rider Christian Craig will fill in for the injured Ken Roczen throughout the entire 12-round Lucas Oils AMA Pro Motocross series.

Craig will pilot a factory CRF450R alongside Cole Seely beginning with the Hangtown season opener on May 20. Craig is not new to the premier class, having campaigned 450s during the 2009 ’11, ’12 and ’14 Pro Motocross seasons. The Californian has a career-best 450 outdoor finish of seventh and is hoping to improve with help from the factory squad.

Christian Craig will fill in for the injured Ken Roczen in the AMA Motocross
Christian Craig will fill in for the injured Ken Roczen in the AMA Motocross
Christian Craig

“Honestly, when I got the call that factory Honda wanted me to fill in, I couldn’t stop smiling. To have this opportunity is an honour. Obviously, everyone including me is so bummed Kenny got hurt, and I’ll do everything in my power to make the team and Kenny happy they chose me as the guy to ride his bike while he recovers. I’ll be going into the season open-minded and as prepared as I can be. The 450 class is more stacked than ever, but hopefully after the first couple rounds I’ll be able to learn the pace and see where I fit in. Thanks to the entire Team Honda HRC and GEICO Honda crews for allowing this to happen, and to Kenny for letting me borrow his bike for the summer. I’m beyond grateful.”

Dan Betley – Team Honda HRC manager 

“We’re really excited to have Christian riding for us in the AMA Pro Motocross series. He’s shown notable speed in the 450 class in previous years, and I think he has the potential to deliver solid results. GEICO Honda is our extended family; we have a great relationship, so we appreciate them allowing us to have Christian for the season.”

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

Hard weekend for Jett Lawrence at ADAC MX Masters

Jett Lawrence had this to say about his first round at the ADAC MX Masters at Drehna, where he was only able to compete in the second Moto but still took seventh overall.

Jett Lawrence - Image: Suzuki Deutschland Press Service
Jett Lawrence – Image: Suzuki Deutschland Press Service
Jett Lawrence

“I raced the first round of the ADAC at Drehna on the weekend, and it is such a cool series but was not a good weekend for me, so I am pretty disappointed. In the time qualifier another rider and I came together and got our bikes tangled, so it took a long time to pull the bikes apart. I pushed a bit as I wanted to get a fast lap in and hit a kicker, and went straight over the ‘bars pretty good. So I then had to come in and straighten the bike and I only had time for a few laps, and only got third in qualifying. Then the next day we stuffed up, I was down prepping my gate but we were a minute or so late with my bike, before the 10 min cut-off that they have at these races, so I had to sit out the first Moto. I got the race the second Moto and got an alright start and worked up to first place to take the win. I got enough points to finish seventh overall with the one Moto. I made it hard for myself for the series but I’ll take it one race at a time. It just wasn’t my weekend, as I found it hard to get my rythm on this track and with hurting my wrist from my crash, I was just happy to do enough to win in that Moto as I was in a lot of pain. I need to learn from my mistakes this weekend and looking ahead to a good week and a better round at EMX next weekend. My Suzuki 85 was awesome and never missed a beat. Big thanks to everyone that supports me and our team as I wouldn’t be here without your help.”

Jeremy Martin injured

Jeremy Martin was forced to sit out round seven of the 2017 Western Regional 250SX Supercross Championship in Seattle.

AMA SX - Daytona, Rnd 10 - Jeremy Martin
AMA SX – Jeremy Martin
Jeremy Martin

“Unfortunately due to a really bad get off last week on the outdoor track I won’t be lining up at Seattle SX this weekend. I have my eyes set on Salt Lake City SX. I had to jump through the bars and I’m really sore.”

Austin Forkner injured

Due to soreness in his right hip as a result of a crash while practicing, Austin Forkner missed the Seattle round of the 2017 Monster Energy AMA Supercross. Forkner’s return to competition is currently being evaluated on a race by race basis.

Austin Forkner
Austin Forkner

Cole Seely injured

Honda HRC’s Cole Seely missed the main event of the AMA Supercross in Seattle after hurting his knee in practice. According to a press release, Seely has been dealing with a torn adductor muscle in his knee and tore it again on Saturday.

AMA Supercross - Round 12 Detroit - Cole Seely
AMA Supercross – Cole Seely
Cole Seely – On social media

“I’m so bummed that I’m not able to race tonight. I first hurt my groin last weekend in St. Louis when I cased the triple in practice and my legs got ripped off the pegs. It was bothering me all week but I actually felt okay in the beginning of practice. Unfortunately, when I came into the left turn after the mechanics area and put my foot down, it ripped to the side again and I heard it pop. After that, it was instant pain. I went to the mobile medical unit and they think that it’s the adductor muscle in my groin but we won’t know until I get an MRI. ”

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

Josh Grant injured

Josh Grant missed the main event of the AMA Supercross in Seattle after going down in qualifying. According to Grant, doctors told him he wouldn’t be allowed to race.

Josh Grant

Josh Grant

“Not exactly how I planned my weekend in Seattle but after watching the video Doc said I was done for the night. Rang my bell a little. On a good note those Ankles be looking solid! Joining the OTB (Over The Bars) gang.”

Sunderland wins Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team’s Sam Sunderland has opened his account in the race for the 2017 FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship title with a solid overall victory in the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the opening round of the series.

Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderland

Sam Sunderland, who in January became the first British rider to win the Dakar Rally, finished with an overall time of 18:14.32.5 hours on his KTM 450 Rally bike for the five desert stages and the opening Super Special.

Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderland

This gave him an overall winning margin of 6:13.7 minutes on second placed Pablo Quintanilla of Chile. KTM factory teammate Matthias Walkner of Austria finished overall third. The same riders also finished in that order in the fifth and final stage, the Abu Dhabi Aviation, which had a timed special of 234.01 km.

Sam Sunderland

“I’m happy to take the win of course. It’s always good, and that’s the objective. The team was good all week, and I’m pleased to get the job done. It’s almost like a home race for me. I’ve been close to winning it many times before but to get it done this year feels very cool.”

Sam Sunderland
Sam Sunderland

The riders and teams will now move on to contest round two of the world championship at Qatar (April 17-22).

Final Standings Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2017 after 5 of 5 stages
  1. Sunderland, 18:14:32,5 h
  2. Quintanilla, +6:13,7 min
  3. Walkner, +8:16,1
  4. Goncalves, +11:10,3
  5. Renet, +14:50,8

New manager for British MXoN team

The ACU Motocross Committee have announce that Mark Chamberlain has been appointed as the new Team Manager for the 2017 event at Matterley Basin. The Committee have recently had an initial meeting with Mark prior to being appointed and were impressed by his outlook and vision for Team GB moving towards this year’s and future seasons.

Mark Chamberlain  – Newly appointed Team Manager

“I’m extremely proud to be the Team GB manager for 2017 and hopefully beyond. It’s a huge honour and especially being a home event at Matterley. We have a good group of riders to choose from and I hope they all have strong seasons so that the decision on Team selection is a tough one! The job starts now and I’ll be working hard to make sure the Team performance is maximised come October 1st”.

Herlings wins Dutch Masters of Motocross

Round two of the Dutch Masters of Motocross was held in Harfsen last Sunday and Jeffrey Herlings finally got a win with 2-1 finishes ahead of Gautier Paulin and Yentel Martens. Max Anstie beat Herlings by 8 seconds in the opening moto but pulled out while leading the second moto with a flat tyre.

Jeffrey Herlings
Jeffrey Herlings

Brian Bogers won the MX2 class ahead of Thomas K Olsen, Calvin Vlaanderen, Thomas Covington and Aussie Jed Beaton.

Nichols and Kullas win at Lyng

Round two of the Maxxis ACU British Motocross Championship was held at Cadders Hill, Lyng last weekend and it was Jake Nicholls who won the MX1 class from Graeme Irwin and Gert Krestinov while Harri Kullas took out the MX2 class ahead of Ben Watson and Mel Pocock.

National MX Championships start in France and Switzerland

France and Switzerland had the first rounds of their respective national motocross championships last weekend and it was Arnaud Tonus who won the MX1 class in Payerne, Switzerland ahead of Valentin Guillod and Jose Butron while Killian Auberson won the MX2 class ahead of Enzo Steffen and Luca Bruggmann.

Xavier Boog took out the MX1 class in France ahead of Greg Aranda and Nicolas Aubin before Anthony Boissiere won the MX2 class ahead of Henri Giraud and Florent Richier.

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

Getteman wins MX Masters of Germany

Round one of the MX Masters of Germany was held in Luckau last weekend and despite a full field of local guns Jen Getteman won the Pro Class over defending champion Dennis Ullrich, Nikolaj Larsen, Brian Hsu and Henry Jacobi.

Up and down day for Qld GYTR riders

The Queensland GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing duo of Jack Kukas and Levi Rogers won six of their 12 motos at round three of the Airoh Helmets Sunshine State Motocross Series, held at the Chinchilla circuit over the weekend.

Rogers claimed the win in the 13-14 years 250cc division on the back of his 2-1-1 results but things weren’t as smooth on the 125 with 14-5-2 results ending with fifth overall so after three rounds in the series, Levi sits in second place on his 250cc and third in the 125cc class.

Queensland GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing's Levi Rogers - Image: Zhane Dunlop
Queensland GYTR Yamaha Junior Racing’s Levi Rogers – Image: Zhane Dunlop

Kukas was on track for another sensational day, taking the first two moto wins in each of the 15 years 125 and 15 years 250cc classes making it four on the trot.

But in the final 250cc moto, Kukas got a flat rear tyre while leading the race and tried to push on. But on the hard, dry racing surface, Jack’s rear wheel hit a square edge bump on a jump face the catapulted him from his bike in spectacular fashion. Kukas was sore, his bike bent and as a result was unable to finish the race. His 1-1-DNF left him in seventh for the round.

Despite some skin off and general soreness, Kukas rolled up to the start line for the final 15 years 125 moto. With a win in each of the first two races, he needed nothing more than a top three result to secure another round win. And that’s exactly what he did, taking third place and securing top spot on the day.

Round four of the Sunshine State Motocross Series heads to Roma on April 29.

Round Three Results – Chinchilla
15 years 125cc
  1. Jack Kukas – QLD YJR
  2. Connor McNamara
  3. Jayce Cosford
15 years 250cc
  1. Connor McNamara
  2. Joshua Zorbas
  3. Navrin Grothues
  4. Jack Kukas – QLD YJR
13-14 years 125cc
  1. Noah Ferguson
  2. Jake Cuka
  3. Ryan Gaylor
  4. Levi Rogers – QLD YJR
13-14 years 250cc
  1. Rogers – QLD YJR
  2. Jake Cuka
  3. Jai Walker

Series Points after Three rounds

15 years 125cc
  1. Jack Kukas – Yamaha YZ250F
  2. Connor McNamara
  3. Jayce Cosford – Yamaha
15 years 250cc
  1. Connor McNamara
  2. Jack Kukas – Yamaha YZ125
  3. Navrin Grothues

13-14 years 125cc

  1. Noah Ferguson
  2. Ryan Gaylor
  3. Levi Rogers – Yamaha YZ125
13-14 years 250cc
  1. Jake Cuka – Yamaha
  2. Levi Rogers – Yamaha YZ250F
  3. Jai Walker – Yamaha

Brisbane Motorcycle Club’s Tri-Trak Spectacular

The Brisbane Motorcycle Club are hosting the first ever Tri-Trak motocross event at their Harrisville facility which will feature a 900m Grass Track, a 1000m Clubman Track and a 2000m Grand Prix Track for riders with motorcycle that are eligible for Pre1990 classes.

2017 Brisbane Motorcycle Club’s Tri-Trak Spectacular
2017 Brisbane Motorcycle Club’s Tri-Trak Spectacular

The club has put an enormous amount of work into this event and it will be a dead-set cracker so go to the Brisbane Motorcycle Club’s Facebook page or web site for more details – entries close soon so get in now to be part of this unique event.

Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

Smarty’s Race Reports

AMA Supercross – Round 14 – CenturyLink Field | Seattle, Washington

56,063 fans were on hand at the 14th round of the AMA Supercross Championships which was held in Seattle to watch Team Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Marvin Musquin cruise to his second career win, with Chad Reed taking ninth after a rock in his rear brake dropped him from competing with the top five.

Marvin Musqin
Marvin Musqin

Meanwhile the battle for the 450SX Class title intensified even further as Ryan Dungey and Eli Tomac now sit tied atop the championship standings following adventurous races for each rider.

In the return of the Western Regional 250SX Class Championship, Aaron Plessinger broke through for his first win of the season, with Hayden Mellross sevenths and Dan Reardon 11th.

450SX Class Main Event

While Davi Millsaps scored a rare holeshot the drama in the 450SX Class Main Event started when Dungey was involved in a first-turn crash with Justin Bogle and Justin Barcia. Dungey remounted at the tail end of the field in 22nd place.

Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac

Millsaps was quickly passed by Jason Anderson and Musquin with Anderson taking control of the race briefly, but then gave way to Musquin and settled into second ahead of Millsaps. Tomac had a tough start of his own and completed the opening lap in 10th place, one position ahead of Chad Reed while Dungey moved up a couple spots to officially start 19th.

Marvin Musquin
Marvin Musquin

A deteriorating track surface allowed Musquin to move out to a comfortable lead in the opening laps while Anderson asserted himself into second and Cooper Webb moved past Millsaps into third. While the leaders settled in all eyes were on both Dungey and Tomac, with each fighting their way through the field quickly despite the conditions.

Tomac put himself into podium contention on Lap 4 when he gained three positions to move from seventh to fourth, just behind Webb. The pace of the Kawasaki rider ultimately forced Webb to increase his pace, which allowed both riders to close in on Anderson.

Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac

Tomac was able to pass Webb for third briefly, but the rookie responded and ultimately took second away from Anderson a short time later on Lap 9. Tomac followed into third but crashed out of the spot the following lap, dropping to fourth just ahead of Millsaps in fifth. As this unfolded Dungey broke into the top 10 in his continued move through the field.

Webb held onto second firmly for a handful of laps but started to lose ground to Anderson. Behind them Tomac was overcoming a deficit of more than six seconds to get both riders back within reach.

Jason Anderson
Jason Anderson

On Lap 16 Anderson dove to the inside of Webb coming out of a corner, forcing the rookie to alter his line slightly and make a mistake that would take him to the ground and out of contention. Tomac slipped by unscathed to get back into a podium spot in third. Webb’s misfortune also benefitted Dungey, who moved into fifth.

Tomac’s forward progression culminated on Lap 18 when he passed Anderson for second, which also put him into the points lead as time ran out on the Main Event clock, leading to the final lap of competition.

Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac
Marvin Musquin and Eli Tomac

Musquin handily controlled the Main Event to lead every lap and cross the line 4.7 seconds ahead of the field.

Marvin Musqin

“It means a lot to get this win. We’ve been working hard and today was a good day. The track was really tough and technical, and you could easily make mistakes. I didn’t have the greatest start so I don’t know how I pulled it off, but I got into the lead pretty quick and just tried to ride consistent.”

Eli Tomac
Eli Tomac

Tomac enjoyed an unlikely runner-up effort, while Anderson completed the podium in third. Dungey’s resiliency carried him to a last-lap pass for fourth, and earned him a pair of invaluable championship points.

Eli Tomac

“That was some chaos. I didn’t get the greatest start, but I ended up finding some rhythm combinations early on that were huge in getting me to the front. Once I got up to about Cooper [Webb] I hit a wall [in my performance speed]. Then I ended up making a mistake and went down. Luckily the bike was ok and I ultimately was able to get by Jason [Anderson]. It’s not something I expected after everything that happened.”

Chad Reed was in for a top five finish until a rock wedged in his back break – here is what he said in the post-race press conference.

Chad Reed

“Tonight, it was tough, but I enjoyed it. I like those conditions. Main event was good, to be honest. Not a great start. I didn’t see exactly what happened, but the crash in the first turn started pretty early. I rolled out of the gas and tried to avoid that. I want to say that, of all the times that I’ve been here, that’s maybe the second time I’ve made it through the first turn not on the ground. So when I seen those guys crash I’m like, “Not again.” I thought I was going to get tangled up. Then obviously you guys listened to Eli [Tomac], and I had all the same plans. I was lining up that triple onto the table all day long. Pretty much gave up second in my semi just to feel it out. Pulled the trigger same time he did. I was bumming. Like, damn it, he did it at the same time I did! So actually the plan was to latch onto him [Tomac]. As soon as we started doing that, we started blowing by some guys pretty quickly. I was making good progress and then unfortunately maybe four laps in or something like that I got a rock in the rear brake on that section. Luckily the mechanics’ area was right there, so then I kind of had to roll all the way through that section and then I pulled into the mechanics’ area and try to dig the rock out and release the rear brake and go back out. I don’t know where I came back out, but I was obviously not where I was. And then yeah, I had some good laps. I think way too much track maintenance. I just think that maybe they need to do the triple and the finish and that’s it. The race is too fast at the beginning. The skill level, everyone’s just pinning it, and then suddenly the track changes quickly and then it’s like everyone’s going everywhere. Then it’s really difficult. Kind of like what Eli said. It was really fast going in the back of the guys and then suddenly you start getting messed up in their rhythm. But I had fun tonight. It was good.”

With their respective finishes Dungey and Tomac now sit tied atop the 450SX Class standings, with Tomac successfully erasing a 29-point deficit that dated back to the sixth round of the season.

Marvin Musquin
Marvin Musquin

Since then the Kawasaki rider has won six of eight races, earning 194 of a possible 200 points over that span. Dungey, on the other hand, has earned just one win and 165 points over that same stretch. Musquin’s victory solidified his hold on third, 42 points behind the leaders.

450SX Class Results
  1. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM
  2. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki
  3. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna
  4. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM
  5. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM
  6. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki
  7. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM
  8. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha
  9. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha
  10. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
450SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 294
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 294
  3. Marvin Musquin, Corona, Calif., KTM – 252
  4. Cole Seely, Sherman Oaks, Calif., Honda – 211
  5. Jason Anderson, Rio Rancho, N.M., Husqvarna – 208
  6. Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, Calif., KTM – 177
  7. Davi Millsaps, Cairo, Ga., KTM – 176
  8. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 158
  9. Dean Wilson, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna – 147
  10. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Yamaha – 143
Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event

The first Western Regional 250SX Class Main Event since early February initially saw an impressive run to the front by Plessinger, who raced his way from fourth to first over the opening laps. However, a red flag brought the Main Event to a halt and forced a restart.

Martin Davalos
Martin Davalos

When the field roared out of the gate for the second time it was Martin Davalos who claimed the holeshot ahead of Jimmy Decotis and Shane McElrath. Championship leader Justin Hill started fourth while Plessinger slotted into fifth.

Davalos sprinted out to an early lead as Decotis and McElrath battled for second, which allowed Hill to join the fight from fourth. Hill eventually found his way into third on Lap 1 and wasted little time attacking Decotis for second, taking control of the position on the same lap.

Justin Hill
Justin Hill

As Hill made his march forward so did Plessinger. After making a pass for fourth, he moved into podium position by passing Decotis on Lap 1 and quickly reached Hill’s rear fender for second. Plessinger fought his way past his championship rival on Lap 2 and then blew past Davalos for the lead on Lap 3. Hill would also pass Davalos a take-over second just after the start of Lap 4.

Once he put himself out front for the first time in 2017 Plessinger never looked back, while Hill continued unchallenged in second. Davalos lost even more ground and gave up third to Decotis on Lap 6 and fourth to Mitchell Oldenburg on Lap 8. Oldenburg and Decotis then engaged in a battle for third, with the KTM rider prevailing on Lap 11.

Justin Hill
Justin Hill

Plessinger maintained a multi-second lead over Hill and easily took his second career win by 6.3 seconds.

Aaron Plessinger

“I got out front the first time and then they red flagged it. I thought to myself ‘I can’t catch a break.’ But I did it again and put my Yamalube/Star Racing Yamaha out front, and it was amazing. I haven’t won a race this year and it feels great to finally get back on top of the box.”

Justin Hill
Justin Hill

Hill’s runner-up finish ended a four-race winning streak for the championship leader, who has finished off the podium just once in seven Western Regional races. Oldenburg enjoyed his first trip to the podium in third after starting seventh.

Justin Hill

“I could have been better. But we had seven weeks off and I have a little rust on me. All things considered, I can’t really complain. I still have the points lead and I’ve been on the podium in every race but one. I think I can learn a lot from this and be better [at the next race].”

Mitchell Oldenburg was wrapped to be returning from injury with a podium.

Mitchell Oldenburg

“It was real unfortunate to go down in San Diego in practice and to be sitting here watching everybody. I’ve put in a lot of work and I feel like I had my best off-season of the year. I was feeling good. I was feeling ready. In Anaheim 1 I feel like I kind of played it a little safe just to get the first one out of the way. From ten minutes after the crash in San Diego until now I’ve been mad, honestly. I’ve been ready to go. I’ve been watching everyone racing and getting these podiums, and my teammates and everyone. I’ve just been ready to go. So Monday morning waking up and knowing it’s race week I was just excited all week and just pumped to be back here.”

Plessinger was able to take three points out of his deficit to Hill in the Western Regional standings, but 18 points separate the pair with two races remaining while the Aussie duo of Hayden Mellross and Dan Reardon managed 7th and 11th respectively in the final with Reardon holding a more than credible 7th in the series and Mellross back in 14th after missing a round earlier in the year.

Justin Hill
Justin Hill

The 2017 Monster Energy Supercross season will observe it’s lone off weekend before returning to action on Saturday, April 22, for the 15th round of the championship and an anticipated return to Salt Lake City’s Rice Eccles Stadium for the first time since 2013.

Western Regional 250SX Class Results
  1. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha
  2. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki
  3. Mitchell Oldenburg, Alvord, Texas, KTM
  4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna
  5. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM
  6. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda
  7. Hayden Mellross, Australia, Yamaha
  8. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda
  9. Cole Martinez, Rimrock, Ariz., Yamaha
  10. Justin Hoeft, Castaic, Calif., Yamaha
  11. Dan Reardon, Queensland, Australia, Yamaha
Western Regional 250SX Class Championship Standings
  1. Justin Hill, Yoncalla, Ore., Kawasaki – 160
  2. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 142
  3. Shane McElrath, Canton, N.C., KTM – 129
  4. Martin Davalos, Clermont, Fla., Husqvarna – 124
  5. Jimmy Decotis, Peabody, Mass., Honda – 106
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 90
  7. Dan Reardon, Menifee, Calif., Yamaha – 82
  8. Kyle Chisholm, Valrico, Fla., Honda – 73
  9. Cole Martinez, Rimrock, Ariz., Yamaha – 64
  10. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Honda – 55
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

GNCC – Round 4 – Steele Creek, Morganton, NC

The fourth round of the 2017 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) Series took place at the scenic Steele Creek Campground in Morganton, North Carolina last weekend with the 18th Annual FMF Steele Creek GNCC.

With a mix of sun and warm temperatures the groundwork was laid for one of the best races thus far in the season but at the end of the gruelling three-hour race it was defending champion and series point’s leader Kailub Russell who claimed the overall win.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - Josh Strang grabbed the holeshot - Image: Darin Chapman
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – Josh Strang grabbed the holeshot – Image: Darin Chapman

As the green flag dropped it was Husqvarna Racing’s Josh Strang who headed into the woods first earning himself the $250 All Balls Racing Holeshot Award. Strang felt immediate pressure from Russell who was on his back tire as they headed into the woods.

Russell made quick work on the open trail and took over the lead before the shortened first lap was complete, with Thad Duvall and Russell Bobbitt in tow while Trevor Bollinger got off to a top-five start at his home race, and made quick work to pass for fourth and set his eyes on closing the gap for a podium position early on.

Ryan Sipes wasn’t ready to hand over the position where he raced wheel-to-wheel with Bollinger. The duo had a rather large gap on Steward Baylor who was in fifth. Much like the previous round, Baylor challenged himself and charged through the pack and began gaining valuable time and positions.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - Steward Baylor - Image: Ken Hill
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – Steward Baylor – Image: Ken Hill

Russell came in contact with a banner midway through the race, but the conflict wasn’t enough for Duvall to be able to make the pass. It wouldn’t be until pit strategies came into place that a change-up in the lead would occur. Both Russell and Duvall elected to pit on the same lap, but Duvall’s pit was just a bit quicker than Russell. Russell pulled back onto Pro Row as Duvall squeezed by to take command of the lead. Duvall’s success quickly came to an end when Russell took back the first-place position as they re-entered the woods.

The mid-way point of the race also served as the turning point for Baylor’s race where he focused in on Bollinger in third. The two riders swapped the final podium position multiple times, until Baylor was finally able to take if for good on the fifth lap.

It wouldn’t be until the last lap when Russell had a little bit of breathing room, much like Russell, Baylor also found himself with a small gap over Bollinger. As they raced to the finish line, Russell would earn his third win of the season, with Duvall and Baylor rounding out the overall podium. Bollinger made a last minute strive, but finished just off the overall podium in fourth.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - Kailub Russell - Image: Ken Hill
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – Kailub Russell – Image: Ken Hill
Kailub Russell

“It was a tough day out there, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought the track would have more moisture. In some places you would have good traction, and other places it would just go away. I laid down a good pace on the first lap and Thad hung on there all the way to the end.”

Strang oppressed his ankle injury and had a season-best finish with fifth overall. Beta USA’s Jordan Ashburn followed behind in sixth and N-Fab/AmPro Yamaha’s Ricky Russell crossed the line seventh overall. Bobbitt maintained his speed to earn ninth overall.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - XC2 250 Pro Podium - Image: Ken Hill
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – XC2 250 Pro Podium – Image: Ken Hill

Josh Toth came out with the XC2 250 Pro win, extending his win streak to four-in-a-row. Following behind him was Craig Delong in second while Mike Witkowski returned to the podium in third.

JCR Honda’s Austin Lee showed great improvement this weekend finishing fourth. After being involved in first turn crash, Layne Michael eventually came back to lead the race, but had to settle for a respectable top-five finish.

Jack Edmondson continued his domination in the FMF XC3 125 Pro-Am class where he returned to the centre of the box while fellow Husqvarna pilots in Jason Thomas and Hunter Neuwirth crossed the line in second and third.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - Tayla Jones - Image: Ken Hill
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – Tayla Jones – Image: Ken Hill

Husqvarna Team’s Tayla Jones took home the WMX Pro overall win ahead of Rachel Gutish, Becca Sheets and fellow Aussie Mackenzie Tricker.

The 2017 AMSOIL Grand National Cross Country Series resumes April 22 and 23 with the CST Tires Camp Coker Bullet GNCC in Society Hill, South Carolina.

2017 GNCC - Steele Creek - (2) Thad Duvall, (1) Kailub Russell, (3) Steward Baylor - Image: Ken Hill
2017 GNCC – Steele Creek – (2) Thad Duvall, (1) Kailub Russell, (3) Steward Baylor – Image: Ken Hill
XC1 Open Pro Event Results
  1. Kailub Russell (KTM)
  2. Thad Duvall (HSQ)
  3. Steward Baylor (KTM)
  4. Trevor Bollinger (HON)
  5. Josh Strang (HSQ)
  6. Jordan Ashburn (BET)
  7. Ricky Russell (YAM)
  8. Russell Bobbitt (KTM)
  9. Grant Baylor (HSQ)
  10. Scott Grills (HSQ)
Overall National Championship Standings
  1. Kailub Russell (115)
  2. Steward Baylor (93)
  3. Thad Duvall (75)
  4. Josh Toth (61)
  5. Ricky Russell (57)
  6. Trevor Bollinger (50)
  7. Russell Bobbitt (43)
  8. Jordan Ashburn (41)
  9. Mike Witkowski (40)
  10. Grant Baylor (39)
XC2 250 Pro Event Results
  1. Josh Toth (YAM)
  2. Craig Delong (HSQ)
  3. Michael Witkowski (KTM)
  4. Austin Lee (HON)
  5. Layne Michael (HSQ)
  6. Jesse Groemm (KTM)
  7. Drew Higgins (BET)
  8. Nick Davis (BET)
  9. Ben Kelley (KTM)
  10. Trevor Barrett (YAM)
XC2 250 Pro Series Standings
  1. Josh Toth (120)
  2. Craig Delong (86)
  3. Mike Witkowski (79)
  4. Layne Michael (74)
  5. Jesse Groemm (52)
  6. Austin Lee (59)
  7. Zack Hayes (53)
  8. Ben Kelley (48)
  9. Trevor Barrett (36)
  10. Jesper Borjessen (35)
XC3 125 Pro Event Results
  1. Jack Edmondson (Husq)
  2. Jason Thomas (Husq)
  3. Hunter Neuwirth (Husq)
  4. Mark Heresco Jr.
  5. William Gilleland
XC3 Championship Standings
  1. Jack Edmondson – 120
  2. Jason Thomas – 96
  3. Mark Heresco Jr. – 70
  4. Hunter Neuwirth – 70
  5. Paul Whibley – 67
WXC Pro Event Results
  1. Tayla Jones (Husq)
  2. Rachel Gutish (KTM)
  3. Becca Sheets (KTM)
  4. Mackenzie Tricker
  5. Brooke Cosner
WXC Championship Standings
  1. Tayla Jones – 80
  2. Becca Sheets – 74
  3. Mackenzie Tricker – 72
  4. Rachel Gutish – 66
  5. Kendall LaFollette – 48

FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup – Gillman Speedway

Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes won the 2017 FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup at Gillman Speedway on April 8.

Monson/Summerhayes finished the 20 qualifying heats as equal top point scorers with defending Cup holders Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox, and last season’s runners-up, Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone on 13 points, then led the final from start to finish to win ahead of Treloar/Cox and Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox. Headland got “filled-in” in turn two and with no vision had to pull off the track.


Buchanan/Cox were the fourth highest scorers with 11 points, then won a closely fought semi-final from Grant Bond/Glenn Cox (9 pts), Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin (10) and Derek Ramsay/Matthew Ramsay (10).

Ramsay/Ramsay sealed a place in the semi-final with a good win over Gates/O’Loughin, Aiden Thwaites/Shane Twiss and Grant Bond/Glenn Cox in heat 17, but was unfortunate to get knocked off balance in a turn one bingle in the semi which deprived him of any chance of progressing to the final.

Hard luck story of the night was Mark Mitchell/Sam Harrison, who were in slashing form in their opening rides, including a win over Monson/Summerhayes, Treloar/Cox and Grant Bond/Cox in heat 7, but finished the race with a blown engine and were not in contention from that point riding Buchanan’s #2 bike, although they only finished a point shy of a semi-final place, as did Jamie Moohan/Bayley Ogilvie.

Trent Headland, Darryl Whetstone, Warren Monson, Andrew Summerhayes, Andrew Buchanan, Denny Cox, Darrin Treloar, Blake Cox
Trent Headland, Darryl Whetstone, Warren Monson, Andrew Summerhayes, Andrew Buchanan, Denny Cox, Darrin Treloar, Blake Cox
FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup Heat points
  1. Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox (Aus) 13 (3-1-3-3-3)
  2. Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone (Aus/GB) 13 (3-3-2-3-2)
  3. Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes (Aus) 13 (2-2-3-3-3)
  4. Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox (NZ/Aus) 11 (2-3-1-2-3)
  5. Derek Ramsay/Matthew Ramsay (NZ) 10 (1-2-2-2-3)
  6. Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin (Aus) 10 (3-2-2-1-2)
  7. Grant Bond/Glenn Cox (Aus) 9 (3-0-3-3-0)
FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup Final
  1. Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone (Aus/GB)
  2. Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox (Aus)
  3. Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox (NZ/Aus)
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S

India BAJA 2017 – Jaisalmer, India

In his first rally on the Indian soil, Joaquim Rodrigues blazed through the second leg of the India BAJA rally to finish in the first place in the overall general classifications, thus handing over their first win to the Hero MotoSports Team Rally.

Joaquim Rodrigues on his way to victory at the India BAJA 2017 rally
Joaquim Rodrigues on his way to victory at the India BAJA 2017 rally

This is a special win for two reasons – this is the first ever win for both Joaquim Rodrigues and the Hero MotoSports Team Rally  in the rally sport and it comes at a time when the team completes one year since the its formation in April, 2016.

The final leg of India BAJA comprised of a shorter run of about 286 kms, out of which 140 kms made up the timed sections. The two specials of the day ran for 88 and 52 kms respectively, around the famous “Turkon ki Basti” in San region of Jaisalmer, that offers a fast yet difficult track to the riders with undulating terrain, habitation and thick bushes all along.

Joaquim Rodrigues and his team
Joaquim Rodrigues and his team

Joaquim Rodrigues made light of the opening stage of the day to complete the 88-km fifth special in quick time. He followed it up by continuing his winning run in the final stage as well to bring his first win home.

Second place was claimed by the Dakar campaigner Aravind K P of the Sherco TVS team, followed by Tanveer Abdul Wahid from TVS Racing who won the Dakar Challenge, giving him a free entry into the Merzouga and the Dakar rallies.

Joaquim Rodrigues

Joaquim Rodrigues

“Today was a perfect day for me with no mistakes. I opened the stage today so no dust and that helped me do my own race. It’s really good to go to the end and win the race. I have to thank my Hero MotoSports Team rally for giving me the best bike and I am really happy for me and my team that I could win this. We now looking forward to Merzouga. It is always nice to win especially because I am new in this rally world. So it’s good to have my first win but I still have a lot to learn and we are on the right track.”

Overall 2017 India BAJA Rally classifications
  1. Joaquim Rodrigues – Hero MotoSports Team Rally
  2. Arvind K P – Sherco TVS
  3. Tanveer Abdul Wahid – TVS Racing

Trackmasters – Barleigh Ranch Raceway

The 28th staging of the Trackmasters meeting at the Barleigh Ranch Raceway on the weekend provided some superb action as some of Australia’s best riders fought it out for honours.

Staged by the Hunter Motor Cycle Club, and sponsored by Chris Watson Motorcycles and Honda Australia, the meeting attracted riders from as far away as Townsville and Melbourne.

The feature event, the first staging of the Rod Allen Memorial Pro Open Trophy, was as an exciting race as fans could hope for with teenager Jarred Brook passing Damien Koppe on the last corner. The Queensland 1-2 was followed by local teenager Mackenzie Childs in third and Luke Richards fourth.

Jarred Brook
Jarred Brook

Brook actually scored a clean-sweep of his three classes leading home Childs, Richards and Koppe in the Pro 450 final, while in the Pro 250 class Brook beat Boyd Hollis, Bayley James and Bailey Spencer.

Jarred Brook

“The team and I are stoked with the outcome of this weekend, a trifecta for the second year in a row at the Barleigh Ranch Trackmasters, winning the Pro 450, Pro Open and the Pro 250. I’m also honoured to be the inaugural winner of the Rod Allen Memorial Trophy. Shout out to my dad, sister, KTM Australia and all my sponsors for their ongoing support.”

Meeting organisers added a Shoot-out to the program with the top 12 riders who had qualified for the Pro Open final engaged in a series of match races where the winner stayed on the track to take on his next opponent.

Damien Koppe won an exciting finale to the Shoot-out beating Paul Caslick – significantly the two oldest riders in the competition outdoing the entire younger brigade.

Other 2-wheel winners in the seniors were Paul Caslick (Over 35s), Jake Farnsworth (Pre ’90 machines) and the very impressive Sally Smith who beat Kelly Brown and Bree-Anna Etheridge in the Pro Womens Open.

The first staging of the George Watson Memorial Trophy for dirt track sidecars resulted in a 1-2 finish for two teams from Gunnedah – with debutants Jim Jobling and passenger Nathan Damir outpointing Brett Pearce and passenger Andy Harrison.

Junior racing again showed that the future of the sport is in good hands as many talented youngsters provided their share of exciting racing.

Billy Van Eerde from Singleton was again the standout in the older age brackets winning two classes and beaten by Harry Maxwell from Proserpine in the other, while Kye Andrews of Taree was also prominent.

Interstate riders won six of the ten junior classes with Gold Coast duo Jett Kubelka and Harrison Voight each claiming two class wins and Brisbane rider Glenn Nelson also a winner.

Luke Bush from Kurri Kurri and Jayden Holder from Kempsey scored class wins.

A special mention must be made of Damien Koppe and Kayden Downing from Townville who undertook the long drive south for the meeting. They picked up Harry Maxwell and his bike in Proserpine and then had to detour inland to get around the Rockhampton floodwaters.

Rord Allen Memorial Pro Open
  1. Jarred Brook (North Brisbane)
  2. Damien Koppe (Townsville)
  3. Mackenzie Childs (Kurri Kurri)
Pro 450
  1. Jarred Brook (North Brisbane)
  2. Mackenzie Childs (Kurri Kurri)
  3. Luke Richards (Singleton)
  1. Jarred Brook (North Brisbane)
  2. Boyd Hollis (Kurri Kurri)
  3. Bayley James (Hunter)
  1. Damien Koppe (Townsville)
Over 35s
  1. Paul Caslick (Hunter)
  2. Peter Knight (Central Coast)
  3. Darryl Mallam (Maitland)
  1. Jake Farnsworth (Penrith)
  2. Darren Saxon (Hunter)
  3. Eric Smaller (Kurri Kurri)
Women’s Pro Open
  1. Sally Smith (Hunter)
  2. Kelly Brown (Tamworth)
  3. Bree-Anna Etheridge (Cessnock)
George Watson Memorial Dirt Track Sidecar
  1. Jim Jobling / Nathan Damir (Gunnedah)
  2. Brett Pearce / Andy Harrison (Gunnedah)
  3. Sean Griffiths / Paul Cooper (Cowra)
50cc Auto Div.2: 7 – U/9
  1. Jett Kubelka (Gold Coast)
  2. Hugh Dilley (Kurri Kurri)
  3. Kurtis Jackson (Kurri Kurri)
65cc: 7 – U/9
  1. Jett Kubelka (Gold Coast)
  2. Jayden Holder (Kempsey)
  3. Hugh Dilley (Kurri Kurri)
65cc: 9 – U/13
  1. Glenn Nelson (North Brisbane)
  2. Zane Kinna (Harley, Vic)
  3. Harrison Voight (Gold Coast)
85cc Four-stroke Modified: 7- U/10
  1. Jayden Holder (Kempsey)
  2. Cameron Dunker (Kurri Kurri)
  3. Glenn Nelson (North Brisbane)
85cc Four-stroke Modified: 10- U/14
  1. Harrison Voight (Gold Coast)
  2. Jet Wynands (Kurri Kurri)
  3. Dekotah Wynands (Kurri Kurri)
85cc Two-stroke / 150cc Four-stroke: 9 – U/12
  1. Harrison Voight (Gold Coast)
  2. Jack Joel (Central Coast)
  3. Glenn Nelson (North Brisbane)
85cc Two-stroke / 150cc Four-stroke: 12 – U/16
  1. Luke Bush (Kurri Kurri)
  2. Andrew Jordan (Kempsey)
  3. Zane Kinna (Harley, Vic)
100-150 Two-stroke: 13 – U/16
  1. Billy Van Eerde (Singleton)
  2. Kye Andrews (Taree)
  3. Jayden Rodgers (Kurri Kurri)
200-250 Four-stroke: 13 – U/16
  1. Billy Van Eerde (Singleton)
  2. Harry Maxwell (Whitsunday)
  3. Caleb Browne (Gold Coast)
Two-stroke and Four-stroke: 13 – U/16
  1. Harry Maxwell (Whitsunday)
  2. Billy Van Eerde (Singleton)
  3. Kye Andrews (Taree)
Dunlop Geomax MX3S
Dunlop Geomax MX3S