RJ Says: Give me a break in between supercross and motocross

RJ Says: Give me a break in between supercross and motocross

Is the combined supercross / motocross season of today’s era too long?

As a former supercross and motocross racer, I don’t think the season is too long. Racers want to race.

But I would like to see a couple of changes that I think will make it better for the riders, teams, and most importantly, the fans.

First, I’d like to see a much longer break in between the end of the Supercross season, and the start of the MX season.

I think it would be great if the riders could have at least a couple off weekends off after the supercross season ends. One of the reasons is they could do more ‘outdoor’ testing at that time, instead of during supercross season.

A good example is Trey Canard. I believe when Trey got hurt earlier this year, during supercross season, he was testing for outdoor nationals. There is a big difference in the speed and timing required of a rider racing supercross compared to motocross. It really is completely different. Supercross is more timing, precision, and smoothness, while MX is more high speed and you let the bike move around underneath you more.

You might think it would be the same – it’s a motorcycle, and there are bumps and jumps. But it’s not. The bike set up is different. The speeds are different. Your training is different. Your rhythm is different.

So, I think at least two weekends off minimum … three if somehow it could be squeezed in, at the end of supercross, would be great for the riders before they start their motocross season.

For guys that have done well in supercross, it would give them time to enjoy their success. For riders that didn’t have a great supercross season, it gives them an opportunity to regroup. For all riders, it gives them a physical and mental break to get as close to 100% healthy as possible.

Some people have commented that the season is too long, or that they have to run too many races in a row without a break, especially in supercross. I agree somewhat … but as a racer, it’s just status quo – you want to race. So I can see how it’s difficult if you have a small injury during the supercross season and you have to keep going every week, but racing motor sports isn’t for the weak.

At the end of the season, the best guy will be champion. And that factors in everything – including health, team, fitness, speed – everything. Again, racers just want to race. It’s business as usual. If you are not racing, you are training. And if you are not training you are racing. So I wouldn’t say the season is too long, or there are too many races in a row.

No doubt it’s difficult for a rider if you get hurt during the start or middle of supercross. I can tell you firsthand it’s very difficult to get healthy during the season. That’s part of why I say the guy that is crowned supercross champion has earned it, deserves it, and is the best. It’s not just who is the fastest guy, but the guy (and his team) that puts all aspects of it together for the season.

Looking at the World MX Championships, one guy I really admire is World Champion Tony Cairoli. That dude is incredibly smart, and, he doesn’t get the recognition in the USA for how good he really is. Not only is he very smart, he’s super-smart on and about the motorcycle and racing. Add on top of that, this guy is truly a world class athlete. He’s in position to claim his fifth world title this season should he win the MX1 World Championship. That doesn’t happen by accident. And he has the right team of people around him.

Tony has been able to continue at a top level, even though he’s not 100% physically fit this season. Dude is smart, world class physically (even racing this season at less than 100% so far) and very savvy on the bike.

This season in supercross, the top four guys – Supercross Champion Ryan Villopoto, former two-time Supercross Champion Chad Reed, 2010 AMA Supercross Series Champion Ryan Dungey, and former two-time Supercross Champion James Stewart stayed relatively healthy, and brought the Supercross series right down to the wire. It was great for us fans!

Was that an aberration that the top four guys stayed (relatively) healthy the entire supercross series?

I don’t think so. I think the bikes are getting better. The suspension is better. The tracks are safer. And, most importantly, I think the top guys are taking their physical training to a higher level than ever before.

Feld Motor Sports is putting on a new event in October. It’s called the Monster Energy Cup. It’s going to be a hybrid supercross / motocross track at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. There will be three ‘ main events ‘. If a rider can win all three main events, he can pocket a million dollars.

Some people have asked me if I’m coming out of retirement to race this race. (That’s a dumb question. I’d get smoked. I’ve been retired for over 20 years now.) But there is something I’d like to see there – a ‘competition yellow flag’.

Let’s say each race is 10 laps. Maybe at the six lap mark you put out the yellow flag, and all the riders have to be bunched back together. If a guy gets a bad start, or falls down, he gets an opportunity to catch up – maybe even win. It would be a mad sprint to the finish.

I race off-road trucks now, and I can say it works awesome, and it’s something I’m a big fan of. If introduced into supercross and motocross, I think it would ultimately be very. very popular for the fans. Not only the fans there, but fans watching on the Internet or on TV.

When we first started doing it in truck racing, I hated it. If you got out front, why would you want to let someone close up the gap on you? I didn’t like it. I worked hard to build a lead, and was not happy about letting second place restart right on my tail.

But after a while, I’ve learned to love it. It makes for closer racing, and that’s what fans want to see. No one really wants to see a guy run away with a race and make it a cakewalk.

Until next time …


Rick Johnson has won seven AMA Supercross and MX National Championships, along with multiple Grand Prix victories, and multiple Motocross and Trophee des Nations wins for Team USA.

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Rick at 2010 A Day In The Dirt at Pala Raceway in southern California


Wil Hahn has something to prove in return to GEICO Honda team

BUCHANAN, Mich. – Wil Hahn made it through one practice session in the first race of the 2011 season before wrecking his GEICO Honda CRF250R hard enough to break his back. It wasn’t exactly the debut he was hoping for with one of the top teams in the sport.

Half a year later, Hahn has returned, and he’s ready to show his team owners, sponsors, and fellow riders that he hasn’t lost his desire to win and dominate in professional motocross competition. He’ll take to the track for the first time this Saturday at the RedBud National, alongside teammates Kevin Windham, Eli Tomac, Justin Barcia, and Lance Vincent.

“It’s been a long six months,” Hahn said. “It’s tough to just sit there and watch everyone else have all the fun, but there wasn’t much I could do. You have to recover and heal, listen to what the doctors tell you, and just wait for your turn. Now it’s my turn.”

Despite the long layoff, Hahn, a runner-up in the 2010 Supercross Lites West standings, said he’s ready to contend for race titles beginning in RedBud.

“I feel as though I’m completely prepared,” he said. “Physically, I’m 100 percent healthy. I’ve been riding a lot and I feel good on the bike. My conditioning is good. I want to go after the win. In my mind I’ll be a contender the moment the gate drops. Besides, I’m pretty anxious to show these guys they made the right choice in hiring me.”

Coming off a season-best, third-place overall result at the last tour stop in his home state of Colorado, Tomac is anxious for another big weekend on his GEICO Honda CRF250R that will lift him higher than his current fourth-place ranking in the Lucas Oil AMA Motocross Championship Series.

“RedBud is actually my favorite track,” Tomac said. “Everyone thinks because I’m from Colorado that Thunder Valley would be my favorite place, and I definitely like it there because I’m in very familiar surroundings, but to me nothing beats RedBud. I love the fans there and the track is just awesome. I feel like I’m riding well right now but I have room to improve. I was a solid third in both motos in Denver and had to ride through some traffic to get up there, but (Dean) Wilson and (Blake) Baggett were just on it. I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch those two guys, but I can definitely improve.”

Also fourth in the points, 450cc pro Windham had so much fun in Denver that he immediately decided to race this weekend in Michigan. Windham is filling in for injured rider Trey Canard on the American Honda Racing team, a sister operation to the GEICO Honda group.

“It’s tough on the sponsors and the teams when you’re indecisive on whether you’re going to ride or not so I told everyone last weekend that I’d ride RedBud,” Windham said. “I’ve had good results at the last two races and I feel really strong and in shape. I’ve able to hold my own and not get tired so hopefully we can get a podium finish soon. I need to work on speed now but I’m mostly happy to be racing for all the fans out there. It gets harder to race every year at my age (33), but its also hard to stay away and miss out on this and the fans. Every time the gate drops and you’re not apart of it, it feels like you are missing a piece of yourself.”

Barcia has been steaming mad since his accident-plagued outing in the Mile High City and he’s anxious to put that memory behind him with a big weekend in Michigan on his 250cc Honda.

“I’ve been riding hard this week,” Barcia said. “I wasn’t happy with anything that happened last weekend. All I can do at this point is direct my energy to RedBud and fight for a podium finish. That’s really the only thing that’s going to make me feel better.”

Rookie Lance Vincent also will compete in RedBud, giving the team four 250cc riders.

“I rode up there with the top guys for a long time in Denver until my bike stopped working,” Vincent said. “It showed me I have the speed to run with anyone. My confidence is growing each race.”

Photo Feature: Thunder Valley 2011

Photo Feature: Thunder Valley 2011

Check out more photos from the 2011 AMA Motocross series from Thunder Valley in Lakewood, CO. Ryan Dungey wins the overall in the Motocross class, while Blake Baggett continues the Monster Pro Circuit Kawasaki domination in the 250 class. It was also round 3 of the WMX series where Jessica Patterson dominates with another 1/1 victory on the day.

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Local boy, Eli Tomac gets third overall at Thunder Valley

Check out more photos below:

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James Stewart to race in Monster Energy Cup – Hybrid Supercross / Motocross race in Las Vegas

James Stewart to race in Monster Energy Cup – Hybrid Supercross / Motocross race in Las Vegas

Feld Motor Sports announced today that James Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., will race the inaugural Monster Energy Cup at Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium on October 15. The San Manuel Yamaha rider has his sights set on $1 million paycheck.

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Stewart, a former two-time Supercross class champion, racing for San Manuel Yamaha, is a heavy favorite to claim the $1 Million that will be paid to any rider that wins all three main events.

“I definitely look forward to a new look and feel,” said Stewart. “That’s a lot of money for one night, and the chances of being able to win it is, of course, very appealing, but there will be a lot of guys with this same thought so we need to just focus on the race.”

Third on the all-time Supercross class win list, Stewart owns 42 main event wins since moving to the premier class in 2004. Stewart is no stranger to winning at Sam Boyd Stadium, posting two premier class wins and a Lites class win.

“Although it’s in the same stadium it’s a new night and a new race format and I am glad to just have the opportunity to be a part of it,” Stewart added.

With supercross / MX icons Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael as the race’s official track designers, Stewart looks forward to the unique design they develop.

“I believe they will put together a great track, but I also wonder how crazy it will be,” said Stewart. “These guys know what (tough) obstacles are, the ones that are very demanding. I’m sure they will want to put us through the ringer, but I would do the same if I were in their position, so bring it on.”

The unique hybrid track will consist of supercross / motocross terrain and will have a tremendous MX style influence, making it unlike any other stadium race in the world. This track will be the perfect blend of supercross and MX combined and created into the ultimate battleground. The Monster Energy Cup posts a $250,000 purse with the winner walking away with a $100,000 check, and for the first time ever $1 Million will be paid to a rider that wins all three main events.

More from Supercross.com:

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