Five Things I Learned at the Houston Supercross

Five Things I Learned at the Houston Supercross

Last Saturday’s stop on the Monster Energy AMA Supercross tour, an FIM World Championship, marked the opening round of the Supercross Lites East Regional championship, along with Round 6 for the Supercross Class. The racing was as intense as it has been all season. Here are a few things I learned at Saturday’s Supercross event:

1. There is a Definitely a Gap in Speed from the Top Five Guys to the Rest of the Field

American Honda’s Trey Canard brought home his first Supercross class victory, proving to the Supercross world that his success filling in for Andrew Short for several races last season was no fluke. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s reigning Supercross champion Ryan Dungey looked the best he has all season. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Ryan Villopoto continued to show everyone how focused and prepared he is in 2011. Two-Two Motorsports Chad Reed finished a respectable sixth, while San Manuel Yamaha’s James Stewart limped to a 15th place finish after laying it down twice.

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2. The KTM 350 is Competitive

A couple of weeks ago I speculated about the ability of KTM’s 350 machine to be competitive in the AMA Supercross class – with all the other teams running bikes with 100cc more displacement. There is no doubt that the bike is fantastic (Tony Cairoli won the MX 1 World Motocross Championship in it’s first season of existence). And I know for older guys like me, they are lining up at dealerships to buy the 2011 model.

I’m still not convinced that potentially running around an AMA Supercross track with the world’s best supercross riders doesn’t present a different situation. I’m not saying ‘Yes’, and I’m not saying ‘No’. I’m saying I’m still not convinced. It’s too soon to say.

But could it be the riders? Andrew Short and Mike Alessi have both been top ten guys in previous seasons, but, in 2011, neither has appeared impressive leading up to Houston. That fact is what led to my speculation about the bike. Not only did both Alessi and Short pull top ten finishes in Houston, but 16-year-old Ken Roczen used his week off from the Supercross Lites Western Regional series to hop on board the 350 and race it to a seventh-place finish in the premier Supercross class. After working the bugs out, the Red Bull KTM team should not have any problems with their bikes being competitive. They may need to find someone who can get into the Main Events at every race. Andrew Short most likely will return to his usual, consistent self, but ‘Chapter 2’ of Alessi teamed with team leader Roger De Coster hasn’t appeared as promising as ‘Chapter 1’ did in 2009.

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3. Barcia, Barcia, Barcia!

We all knew the kid could flat out fly around a track, but many have openly questioned whether or not his right hand could calm down enough to be a consistent winner. While I still would not describe him as calm, and I would still call him a work in progress. It was pretty obvious to everyone in Reliant Stadium that he possesses the talent. Justin put the Geico PowerSports Honda on the top step at the opening round of the Supercross Lites East Regional championship, finishing ahead of a very capable PC duo in Dean Wilson and Blake Baggett.

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4. Whatever You Think the Rest of the Season Will Look Like – Forget It!

And although I mentioned the five names above with the top speed, speed isn’t everything when it comes to finishing 20 lap Supercross Main Events.

James Stewart proved in Houston that on any given night anything can happen. Who would have expected him to finish 15th? I would not have thought that Stewart, or Villopoto, or Canard or Dungey would have finished outside of the top five.

As the season progresses, you can toss Chad Reed in to that category as well. The only reason I hesitate to put him there now is because this is his first season with his own team. There have been some growing pains already and there will be more along the way. The previous event in Anaheim, Dungey’s chain came off – something no one would have expected. This week, Stewart struggles through two crashes to a 15th place finish and Villopoto has to mount the charge of a crazed man to finish fourth. What is in store next week in San Diego?

Currently, Villopoto sits atop the point standings. He leads defending champion Ryan Dungey in fifth place by a margin of 31 points. That very same margin is what separates Dungey from Andrew Short in sixth place. 31 points seems like a lot of points to make up, especially if Villopoto continues to race his way into the top five every week. But, as James Stewart found out Saturday night, all it takes is one off week for everyone to be right back in the mix. That’s part of what makes motor sports racing exciting!

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5. Wheel to Wheel, Baby!

For the second race this year, the checkered flag dropped on guys who battled literally all the way to the end. Dungey and Canard swapped the lead back and forth several times before Canard surged ahead around the final turn to take the win. We watched the same excitement at Dodger Stadium a couple of weeks ago. The first six rounds of the 2011 Supercross season have been spectacular. If the remaining 11 races follow the pattern established thus far, we should be in for some great excitement all season long!

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Josh Grant Injury Update – February 16, 2011

Josh Grant Injury Update – February 16, 2011

Following further medical consultation, American Honda Racing’s Josh Grant underwent additional surgery to his right knee today to repair his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), the result of an injury he sustained at round two in the Supercross series in Phoenix. With the full support of the American Honda Racing team, Josh is expected to make a full recovery and it’s anticipated he will make a return to racing early in the summer.

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“The team fully supports Josh’s decision to undergo surgery to repair his ACL,” said American Honda Racing Team Manager, Erik Kehoe. “Instead of trying to struggle along and continue racing at less than 100 percent capacity, he’s made a smart decision to have the corrective surgery done now so he can make a full return to racing later this year.”

Nitro Circus Live to tour the world

Nitro Circus Live, the live spectacle of the world famous Nitro Circus DVDs and the hit MTV series, will soon announce details about a World Tour set to launch in North America later this year.

The World Tour will respond to international audience demand and follows last year’s highly-successful Australian tour, the first ever live tour which smashed box office records for previous action sports events.  Australia has set the stage for this year’s tour of New Zealand, which kicked off February 5th in Auckland and is currently demolishing all previous New Zealand box office records in front of sellout crowds in New Zealand’s premiere stadiums.

Details about the tour dates, line up, ticketing information and more will be announced in the weeks to come. Visit often for up-to-date information.

Headed up by the world’s greatest action sports star Travis Pastrana, each show combines the biggest and best freestyle motocross (FMX) stunts with insane action on BMX and skateboard as well as the famous Nitro Circus crew performing outrageous stunts on crazy contraptions launched off the 50 foot high Nitro Gigant-A-Ramp.

“I am so stoked to be able to bring our insane Nitro Circus Live experience to so many places across the globe. The whole Nitro crew can’t wait to have fans come out and watch us really push the boundaries in our action packed show,” said Pastrana who will participate in all shows on the tour during breaks in his NASCAR schedule.

The global tour will coincide with the first 3D Nitro Circus feature film, which starts production in April and is due for release in early 2012. The movie, which will contain ground breaking stunts in 3D, is set to follow in the footsteps of the Jackass 3D movie, which has grossed over $170 million in ticket sales worldwide.  International Creative Management represents Nitro Circus Live and the world wide distribution of the feature film.

Nitro Circus Live will premiere its global tour with an exclusive, one-time-only, star studded event in Las Vegas, USA in June, 2011 which will be filmed in 3D for the upcoming feature film.

The Nitro Circus brand founded by Travis Pastrana, Gregg Godfrey and Jeremy Rawle has enjoyed a rapid rise to popularity, beginning with the innovative DVD series.

In 2009, they partnered with MTV to create a new smash hit TV series produced by Godfrey Entertainment and Jackass’ Dickhouse productions, which has aired to huge ratings in over 60 countries over two seasons.

Nitro Circus Live was created through a partnership between Godfrey Entertainment and Australian based sports marketing & events company, Global Action Sports which used its extensive experience in producing and promoting large scale theatrical action sports spectacles to create the Nitro Circus Live show.

The Nitro Circus Live Tour is being presented via a new partnership between Nitro Circus Live and one of the world’s preeminent producers and promoters of live entertainment, S2BN Entertainment.  

S2BN Entertainment has a long history of promoting a diverse range of incredibly successful shows on a Global scale. Headed by Michael Cohl, S2BN has been responsible for producing and overseeing tours with many of the most successful artists in the world including the Rolling Stones and Barbra Streisand, several blockbuster Broadway musicals and various live sporting events, from monster trucks to MMA.

The promoter of Nitro Circus Live, Michael Porra, said he has big expectations in partnering with S2BN to achieve the global touring objectives of Nitro Circus Live. 

“S2BN Entertainment is one of the leading players in the international entertainment industry and I am excited that they have seen the huge potential of Nitro Circus Live,” said Porra.

“If you’ve ever seen Nitro Circus, you don’t have to ask why I’m excited to be involved. If you’re looking for action with a touch of madness, nothing else comes close. It’s a spectacle like nothing on the planet,” said Cohl.

Windham sore, but ready to soar in San Diego

A little tumble off his Honda isn’t going to keep GEICO rider Kevin Windham from racing at this Saturday’s Monster Energy Supercross Series event in San Diego.

“I’m gonna need to nurse my injuries and just fight through it,” Windham said. “I want to get back to the level I was in Houston as soon as I can. The life of a motocross rider involves dealing with injuries and at this point in the year there isn’t anyone out there that isn’t banged up somehow.

“When you have all the races in a row there just isn’t adequate time to recover. We’ll do the best we can.”

Last week at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Windham crashed while leading the Supercross Main Event, injuring his ribs and suffering a slight concussion.

“The race was going so well and I was pulling away from second place,” said Windham, who stumbled in the 11th of 20 laps. “I probably could have quit doing the obstacle that tripped me up and still won the race. I mean, it’s never over until it’s over but I liked my chances from that point on.

“The track was deteriorating and a lot of the top riders had quit trying that maneuver where I wrecked. By the end of the race none of them were trying it. Man, it just breaks your heart.”

Despite some initial Internet rumors to the contrary, Windham said the No. 14 plate will be at Qualcomm Stadium.

“Fortunately nothing’s broken,” Windham said. “I’m in a pretty good amount of pain in my ribs and there is definitely some cartilage popping when I move around, but it’s a manageable pain and we’ll be racing in San Diego.”

GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac is gunning for his fourth straight Lites West podium and his first win of the season. Tomac said because this weekend is his last chance to race for two months, getting the victory is goal No. 1.

“I’m really ready to go racing,” Tomac said. “I really don’t like watching it on TV. I wish I was out there myself. I really want to get my first-ever win in Supercross. With this big break coming, I don’t want anything to dwell on. I’ll be going for this win for sure.”

This is the last Lites West race until mid-April and Tomac said he’s so much more confident than when the season started back in January.

“We’re on the same program as every week,” Tomac said. “Things are going pretty good. The biggest thing for me has been my starts, but I think I’m also getting more comfortable on the tracks. You have to attack more when you are racing, which is something I wasn’t doing at Anaheim 1. I’ve got it figured out now so things are going better.”

Tomac is in third place in the Lites West standings, 22 points behind leader Josh Hansen.

Tomac’s Lites West teammate Jimmy DeCotis was pleased to have the week off because he banged up his ankle at the last race and really needed to catch his breath after being thrown into service following Wil Hahn’s season ending injury at Anaheim 1.

“My heat races have been pretty good,” DeCotis said. “For the main, I just have to put it all together in my head, my form and on the bike. The team is working awesome for me, now I just need to put my head down and do a little more work.”

Practice and qualifying for Saturday night’s Monster Energy Supercross Series race starts at 12:30 p.m. PST from Qualcomm Stadium. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. The race will be broadcast live on SPEED starting at 10:30 p.m. EST.

KTM confirms company’s factory teams look forward to US MX GP at Glen Helen

KTM confirms company’s factory teams look forward to US MX GP at Glen Helen

With the opening of the MX World Championship season in Bulgaria just around the corner, the Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Team is busy preparing to defend the MX1 and MX2 titles won in 2010 during the team’s most successful ever championships. One of the highlights of the current season will be the US GP in Glen Helen, they confirm.

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KTM Racing Department chief – Pit Beirer

Speaking from the company headquarters in Mattighofen, Austria, KTM Racing Department chief Pit Beirer underlined that the company intended to launch its best riders and efforts into securing the titles again in 2011. This also included having a strong lineup for the US GP in Glenn Helen, scheduled for May 15, 2011. The US GP was re-introduced into the program last season and given the importance of Motocross in the USA, is welcomed by the teams.

Pit Beirer: “Of course the US GP at Glen Helen is a great addition to the World Championship calendar and one that we expect to be a highlight in 2011. We will be there with a very strong lineup of our top riders because the event helps to reflect to increasingly global aspect of the championships and because the USA plays a pivotal role in our sport.”

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Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing Rider – Antonio Cairoli

KTM made a firm commitment to be directly involved in racing in the US domestic competitions from 2011 and is currently fielding a strong lineup of riders in the Red Bull KTM Factory Team contesting the 2011 AMA SX and MX outdoor series under the leadership of MX legend Roger De Coster.

Pit Beirer and Roger De Coster have both confirmed that one of the highlights of Glenn Helen will be the expected return to the track of MX2 World Champion, Marvin Musquin. The French rider is in the USA working on his post-surgery rehabilitation after knee surgery. He incurred ligament damage in November riding at the Paris Bercy Supercross.

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Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Rider Ken Roczen snaps his first podium

Currently racing in the USA for Red Bull KTM are Andrew Short, Mike Alessi and after his return to the track in the outdoor season, Marvin Musquin. The 16-year-old MX2 vice world champion Ken Roczen is racing selected events in the US SX season before returning to Europe for the World Championship series.

The Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing Team for the World Championships continues under the expert leadership of 10-times World Champion Stefan Everts and Claudio De Carli. Riders for 2011 are: MX 1: World Champion Tony Cairoli of Italy and Max Nagl of Germany; MX2: Roczen, 16-year-old Dutch talent Jeffrey Herlings and Jeremy van Horebeek of Belgium.


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