Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross

Round 12 of Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series, an FIM World Championship, is set to get underway Saturday in Toronto. Last weekend’s race in Jacksonville was run under not just a full moon, but a “super” moon. It was closest the moon had been to the earth in nearly 20 years.

And the night’s activities on the track showed it! The top two in the series point standings at the start of the day had disastrous nights! Series points leader Ryan Villopoto didn’t even qualify for the Main Event, because of two crashes in the LCQ. And number two in points at the time, James Stewart’s Main Event lasted about 10 seconds until a crash, of which he did not re-enter the race.

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 1 of 6

That left the door wide open for other title contenders to put themselves in a prime position.

The 250 East Supercross Lites class was not exempt from the lunacy either. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett, who stood second in points behind GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, failed to qualify for the East Main Event. What a season 2011 has been! After all the excitement to this point, what more can we possibly expect in Toronto?

Here are a few things I see going down at Saturday’s Supercross:

1. The Battle in Supercross Heats Up Even More

Blood is in the water for Chad Reed, Ryan Dungey, James Stewart and Trey Canard. After Villopoto failed to qualify for the Supercross Main Event in Jacksonville, those guys started licking their chops. Reed is within easy striking distance of his third Supercross championship, and Dungey is in a pretty decent position to defend his Supercross title. Stewart and Canard both have a little more work to do, but both have proven themselves more than capable. Canard overcame a huge deficit to Christophe Pourcel in 2010 Outdoor National Motocross Series to take the 250cc MX Championship at the very last race of the year

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 2 of 6

2. A Return to Dominance?

While the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki team has dominated the Lites West region, the results have not been the same in the Lites East region. Dean Wilson won in Atlanta, then fell off the pace for a couple of weeks. He got himself back together with second in Jacksonville, but did so while team mate Blake Baggett could only watch after not qualifying for the Main Event. Both Pro Circuit riders have shown they can win races, but will they make the rest of their season resemble their team’s dominance on the left coast?

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 3 of 6

GEICO Honda’s Justin Barcia, along with MotoConcepts Yamaha’s Ryan Sipes, may have other plans. I look for either Wilson or Baggett, if not both, to be on the podium Saturday night.

3. Bad Blood in the Pits?

Things seemed a bit heated at more than one rig in Jacksonville. No one is certain exactly what happened in any instance, but I’m pretty sure there are some charged up riders ready to hit the track in Toronto. Is it all good now that everyone has had a chance to cool off? Or will what seemed to be isolated incidents play itself out on the track Saturday, or even during the rest of the season? Things could get interesting in Toronto if heads are still hot. It may inject itself into the championship hunt as well.

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 4 of 6

4. Brayton’s Break-through.

I talked to JGR’s Justin Brayton last Saturday before the race, and he seemed pleased with how he was progressing. Who could argue? He was sixth in points going in to Jacksonville and had won a heat race, showing that he can run up front with the “Fast Five”. He said he had been a little banged up all season as a result of some crashes, but he was good with that because he felt he was pushing a lot harder this year.

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 5 of 6

He then went out for his heat race and crashed while running right up front. He was just outside of Villopoto in the LCQ when the Kawasaki rider was pushed wide in the first turn. Both Brayton and Villopoto ended up crashing off the track. Somehow, Brayton managed to race his way into third place, coming up just short of qualifying for the Main Event. Given another quarter of a lap, he could have made the pass for second. Everything he is doing points to a guy who is going to find himself on the top step at any given race. Look for him to keep pushing in Toronto. He came up a little gimpy Saturday night in Jacksonville, but word is that he is fine and riding well. I look for big things from Justin Brayton, and they may just begin at Saturday night’s Supercross.

5. Some Return to Normalcy

… if such a thing exists this Supercross season. I cannot remember another time where two top ten riders did not qualify for the Main Event and a third crashed out after the first turn. The whole season turned upside down for many in one crazy night. There will not be a full moon so maybe we can expect that everyone in the top ten in points will be riding 20 laps.

Of course, one thing returned to normal in Jacksonville – Mike Alessi took the hole shot in both his heat race and the Main Event. He ‘went backwards’ in both races, but he reminded us all why his name became synonymous with the words “hole shot”. Another guy known for nailing hole shots – Andrew Short, had the hole shot in the other Supercross heat race. It was good to see both of them out front in the first turn again. It seems that the Red Bull KTM team is putting the pieces together for these two guys aboard their revolutionary 350cc machine.

Five Things to Look For at the Toronto Supercross - Photo 6 of 6

I can’t wait for another exciting round of AMA Supercross!

FMF 2nd Annual Baja Bonanza – Day 1

FMF 2nd Annual Baja Bonanza – Day 1

The crew at FMF invited friends and colleagues down to Mexico for the 2nd Annual FMF Baja Bonanza – riders such as Jeremy McGrath, Cameron Steele, Jeff ‘Ox’ Kargola and Cuyler Ruskin joined FMF’s Don Emler Jr. (Lil D) on their bikes for some amazing off-road riding, awesome views…and a few spills along the way.

50 of the top players/riders in the industry headed down to Baja, Mexico for a few days of off-road fun. Welcome to the 2nd annual FMF Baja Bonanza Day 1 video.

Courtesy FMF

FMF 2nd Annual Baja Bonanza - Day 1 - Photo 1 of 1

Interview with Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s World MX1 Rider Clement Desalle

Interview with Rockstar Energy Suzuki’s World MX1 Rider Clement Desalle

Third place in 2009 and runner-up in 2010, Clement Desalle is hoping that his career trajectory continues rising for 2011 when the young Belgian faces his sixth season in the FIM MX1 World Championship and just his second as a works Rockstar Energy Suzuki World MX1 rider.

Interview with Rockstar Energy Suzuki's World MX1 Rider Clement Desalle - Photo 1 of 1

The 21 year old signed off an impressive – if at times painful – first campaign on the RM-Z450WS in 2010 with victory at Fermo in Italy for the Championship curtain-closer and will be hoping for two in a row when the ’11 series launches at Sevlievo in Bulgaria on April 10th. Here Desalle talks about his winter of work, impressions of Supercross and confirmation he will be chasing a second Belgian national title.

You spent the winter off-season traveling around a lot …

“Yeah, it was pretty busy. I went to Spain, the same as I do every winter but had bad luck with the weather. I had to go back to Malaga again later to find the sun. I was also in Portugal for two weeks just doing physical work. I then went to California, with the idea to do some Supercross, but again had some bad luck because I was sick before travelling.”

You did the bulk of your training at home though?

“Yes, I did my physical training at home with some friends who ride Enduro; so that was pretty cool. For the rest I always work with my father and it has been that way for quite a few years now. He knows me better than anyone! I get some important information and advice from Yves Demeulemeester – the team’s trainer – and make a programme.”

No holiday before that?

“In October I took a rest because I had a few crashes towards the end of 2010 and started working again in November. I went on holiday to Egypt with my girlfriend Andrea; nice weather but I struggled with the food!”

Will you take a steady approach to your fitness as in 2010?

“Yes, I don’t really like to be totally 100% at the first Grand Prix. What I am aiming for is to be in good shape come the start of the season but careful not to push the body too much because it is a long year. I have to be smart with the programme. The work in the winter is different to that during the season, which is about maintaining fitness. When I am riding I like to be able to have something in reserve and not pushing 100% all the time.”

So your trip to the USA didn’t go so well…

“I was only going for 10 days and I felt bad the day before I flew. I then had jet-lag which made it worse. Finally when I got on the bike I tried to ride but couldn’t do what I normally can. It was a bit of a sad experience actually.”

You’ve said in the past that you wanted to try some Supercross. Has that view changed at all in the last months?

“I wanted to do some tests when I was out there but it is dangerous to ride motocross when you don’t feel well so Supercross was even more of a risk; not a good idea! I went to Anaheim 1 to watch the race and honestly I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would in terms of atmosphere. The level and skill of the riders is incredible but it was strange to see how much of the show came first, especially in the stands where I was sitting. To go to America to live and race would be a different world for me.”

You had a great first year with the team. What did you take away from 2010?

“I think a lot about my riding and now I don’t want to make the mistakes I did in 2010 because I learnt that crashing proves to be so costly. It is never good to crash but there are moments in a race when it is really stupid to go down and I have to take care about this.”

How have you evolved the RM-Z450WS for 2011?

“With the team we have worked to change some parts in the engine and also some adjustments on the suspension. The pre-season races are all about testing for me; to find a good feeling on the bike and also use the starts to make sure we are good in that area. I like to have strong power on the bike; I like to feel I have a 450.”

You made a couple of races in the Belgian Championship last year. Will try to win back the title you earned in 2009?

“I think so. I will do a full series. The races are all quite close and there are benefits from being able to race one day of a week.”

People tipped you to do well in 2010 but now you are looked at as a World Championship contender. Is it tricky to handle that pressure?

“I just want to stay myself and that’s it. The extra attention is part of the sport and it is good, but I want to show people that I’m the same guy.”

Courtesy Suzuki

Big MX season for Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing in 2011 World Motocross

Big MX season for Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing in 2011 World Motocross

In 2010 the Red Bull Factory Racing team gave KTM their best ever MX World Championship season with titles in MX1, MX2 and WMX. That looks like a hard act to follow but all indications are that this team of top talented riders is “Ready to Race” and read to deliver a stunning line-up of results in 2011.

Big MX season for Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing in 2011 World Motocross - Photo 1 of 2

Any KTM factory rider is quick to point out that riding for this racing stable means being much more than a team member; it is a true family affair. That is why an essential part of the pre-season preparation was the joint training session at Benicasim in Spain at the MX training facility owned and run by team boss Stefan Everts and his father Harry, both multiple MX champions. This was an occasion for the entire KTM offroad factory contingent to get together when KTM’s Enduro riders joined Tony Cairoli, Max Nagl, Jeffrey Herlings, Jeremy van Horebeek, Stefan Everts, Pit Beirer, head of the KTM Racing Department and selected media representatives. Ken Roczen, the final member of the factory squad has been competing in the AMA SX West Lites series with the US Red Bull KTM Factory Team and rejoins the team in time for the first GP in Bulgaria.

As well as working out on and off the track, the team took care of media presentations and photo and video shooting activities. But a major part of this now traditional pre-season get-together was team building and solidarity, elements that lay the groundwork for good cooperation and dedication during the season.  There was also time for some pursuit of personal interests – Tony and Jeremy went fishing and Jeremy took a swim in the ice cold sea water, illustrating perhaps the same courage as he shows on the track!

Looking ahead to the World Championship GP season

In MX1, reigning champion Tony Cairoli of Italy will be out to capture yet another award to boost his trophy collection and if he succeeds in securing another title, it will be his fifth at world championship level. Tony is very much at home on the 2011 edition KTM 350 SX-F, the revolutionary and agile MX machine developed and launched in 2010 on which he stole the world title against the bigger 450 ccm bikes in its debut year. Tony has been training in the USA, Spain and Italy in the winter and got down some impressive pre-GP track practice at the Italian MX championships.

Tony is again joined in MX1 by Max Nagl of Germany, a rider who is well known for his attacking style and brilliant starts. This year Max swaps his 450 SX-F for the 350 SX-F[mh1] . A seasoned member of the Orange factory team Max picked up his first GP win in Italy in 2008, was MX1 vice world champion in 2009 and in 2010 finished a very creditable fourth after being forced to miss two races in France in the middle of the season.

Meanwhile in MX2 all indications are that there will be some amazing track action from the two most junior members of the factory lineup, Ken Roczen and Jeffrey Herlings. Since joining the KTM family in January 2011, Ken has captured a lot of attention by delivering some thrilling performances on the AMA SX Lites track. He has also had two rides in the SX Open class on the 350 SX-F proving he can more than hold his own in both classes. Ken turns 17 in April and that means 16-year-old Jeffrey Herlings is the youngest of the lineup. The Dutch teenager is fit and ready to race after shoulder surgery that corrected the injury from the Czech GP that sidelined him for the final races in the 2010 season. But as a mere 15-year-old, he also turned many heads last year with his performance on the track in the first half of last season. Now a year older and physically more developed, he is an absolute podium contender. Ken and Jeffrey are joined in the team by Belgian ride r Jeremy van Horebeek, also new to the full factory team in 2011. Jeremy is no stranger to KTM after having raced with the Jackie Martens KTM-supported team in 2009.

Big MX season for Red Bull Teka KTM Factory Racing in 2011 World Motocross - Photo 2 of 2

In the women’s competition, WMX world champion Steffi Laier continues as a full factory rider for Red Bull Teka KTM and in pre-season races looks the favorite to retain her honors.  Steffi had two stunning wins in the opening races of the Dutch WMX Championship in Gemert, taking the second moto by well in excess of a minute. As Steffi wants to up her game, she has opted for another pre-season ride in Genk, Belgium this time together with the MX2 riders. She has been testing on a range of tracks and surfaces in the pre-season period and reports that she feels 100% in tune with her KTM factory bike.  This year the women’s GP season opens in Bulgaria with the men’s but then follows the MX3 competition schedule.

All the Red Bull Teka KTM team are primed, fit and ready for the 2011 season but as Pit Beirer says, striving for perfection means there’s always plenty of work to do. “We had a sensational season last year but that has set the bar very high. No doubt we have a lot of work to do to maintain that high standard. We’re fortunate that we have plenty of talent in the team and we are working with excellent bikes. Now all we have to do is to go out and win races,” he said.

MX GP Calendar 2011

10 Apr 2011 GP Bulgaria – Sevlievo

25 Apr 2011 GP Netherlands – Valkenswaard

15 May 2011 GP USA – Glen Helen

22 May 2011 GP Brazil – Indaiatuba

05 Jun 2011 GP France – Saint Jean d’Angely

12 Jun 2011 GP Portugal – Agueda

19 Jun 2011 GP Spain – TBA

03 Jul 2011 GP Sweden – Uddevalla

10 Jul 2011 GP Germany – Teutschenthal

17 Jul 2011 GP Latvia – Kegums

31 Jul 2011 GP Limburg (BEL) – Lommel

07 Aug 2011 GP Czech Republic – Loket

21 Aug 2011 GP Britain – Matterley Basin, Winchester

04 Sep 2011 TBA

11 Sep 2011 GP Italy – Fermo

18 Sep, 2011 Motocross of Nations – France – Saint Jean d’Angely

TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Travis Baker is Back!

TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda’s Travis Baker is Back!

Travis Baker is back! Recovering well from a broken finger at Anaheim 2, Travis is finally back on the bike doing some outdoor testing and getting ready for his return to Supercross racing in Seattle.

TLD videographer Masayuki Shirotani caught up with Travis Baker and his mechanic Clint Backlund out at Perris Raceway.

Courtesy Troy Lee Designs

TLD/Lucas Oil/Honda's Travis Baker is Back! - Photo 1 of 1

Free Shipping!!! Dismiss


Your Cart