RJ SAYS: AMA National Motocross update starting in June
Can you believe it’s already June? This year has already been crazy! And it’s not even half over!
January 6 I started my new adventure as a promoter of an off road truck series – TORC – The Off Road Championship. It’s a new concept for me, as I’ve never been a promoter, only a racer (along with being a husband and father) with my TORC. It’s at http://www.torcseries.com
Mitch Convington and I have been doing every thing from coming up with TV packages, making arrangements with race tracks, dealing with sponsors and potential sponsors, … and on top of that be ready each weekend to race my truck!
So far this year I’ve put in my ‘Red Bull Bosch Power Tools Kumho Tires Fox Shox Fortin Transmission Ford F-150‘ in the winner’s circle three times, and one second place.
What’s cool about my series is that it’s ‘down and dirty’ racing. We bump and bang and jump and get pretty nasty. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of doing or wanted to do in a race truck! And the top guys are packing 900 horsepower in their race trucks. I always say “It’s like supercross, only with four wheels!”
How about the AMA National Motocross Serieis so far? I hate to see Ryan Villopoto sit this season out with the knee surgery since he had such a strong start. You could see he was really starting to get comfortable on a 450 – especially with his dominant win at the Las Vegas Supercross, and then winning at Glen Helen for the opening round of Motocross. Who knows – he could of been the 450 Motocross champion.
With that being said, Mike Alessi has risen to the occasion. Mike was a worthy opponent anyway – so I don’t want to put him down in any way. After watching the Texas AMA Motocross round, it was great to see Mike ride with so much confidence out front, and continue to pull away.
Mike is one of the few riders that thrives on being in front. He’s been that way since he rode minis. As a mini rider, he always got great starts, and won a lot by being out front. Now as a professional motocross rider, you can see he’s still getting holeshots – so it must be normal for him!
I think most riders are like I was – when you get out front you start to think too much. You start to think too much about the outcome of the race, instead of thinking about process of riding and choosing your lines and doing what you have to do to win. Mike is one of those guys that can hang it out lap after lap in front, and get stronger as the race goes on, rather than letting his mind wonder and worry about the outcome.
To me, it’s really interesting to watch this year’s transformation of most of the riders going from supercross to motocross. There is a real dichotomy. Mike Alessi is doing to Chad Reed in motocross what Chad did to Mike in the supercross series. Have they changed their skill sets? Are they that different of riders now? I’d say it’s more about confidence …
It’s great to see another rider (Alessi) step into the spotlight and gain his confidence, and from that what he needs to do to win. Everything Mike is showing right now, the way he communicates, the way he rides, and the way he interacts with his team, is showing a lot of confidence. Again, I think back to when Mike rode minis – he rode with tremendous confidence, and that’s how I see him riding now in the premier class in American Motocross.
You know who deserves some props in the 450 Motocross class as well? He comes form the ‘off road’ motorcycling world. Ricky Dietrich. What a great story he is! And he’s putting a lot of other full-time motocrossers to shame : ) And racing motocross is going to help him in his off road quests as well.
The 250 MX class – there is a very deep talent field in the 250 class. Right now, if I had to give each of the top two guys their strengths, I’d say Ryan Dungey is doing it by ‘charging’. He seems to get stronger as the race goes on. Always pushing. Christophe Pourcel’s strength seems to be his smoothness and line selection. He’s even said he rides a bit conservative because of previous injury, but you wouldn’t know it by watching him. He style and line selection allow him to expend less energy that maybe a lot of other riders do.
Dungey reminds me of me when I raced – never gives up, never gives in, always charning. Pourcel reminds me of David Bailey – very smooth, very calculated.
Like I said, it’s a very deep class – I don’t want to count anyone out in this class. For example, I’m super impressed with Justin Barcia. He has the speed to run with anyone. What he needs is strength, and the strength part will come over time.
You know who else deserves some props, and I seem to hear in his voice and see in his body language that level of confidence I was talking about – Trey Canard. I like his ability to always be near the front so far, his consistency (important in winning a championship), his speed is great, and even more importantly, he has the endurance and desire.
I’m heading to Crandon Wisconsin on Wednesday with PDG (Professional Drivers Group) to test for gearing, some changes to the Crandon Raceway track, and I’m looking forward to burning some laps at the ‘Tallegdega of Off Road’ there at Crandon Raceway. Our next race is June 20 and 21. You’ll see drivers like Jeremy McGrath, Johnny Grieves, Steve Barlow, the Leduk family, and me in what I like to call ‘The Supercross of Off Road Racing’. It’s racing like you’ve never seen before!
Mike Alessi (Send Mike a get well message)
Ryan Villopoto (Send Ryan a get well message)