RJ Says – Supercross Safety 2012

RJ Says – Supercross Safety 2012

Anyone who saw what happened with Trey Canard and Ryan Morais at Dodger Stadium Saturday night knows that it was a horrendous crash. Nobody likes to see that. Unfortunately that’s part of our sport, and crashes do happen.

I’ve heard opinions from everybody about how it could have been prevented. What it comes down to is that two guys were trying to occupy the same space at the same time and wound up going down very hard. It was a scary crash – it affected a lot of people in addition to the two riders.

What I would like to talk about is how Feld Motorsports, the AMA, track personnel, and the Asterisk medical crew handled the whole situation.

I was on the second level of the stadium, so I could see pretty much everything that happened right in front of us – from the impact, to how the flaggers, medical crew, and even the announcers responded.

Going down that list, some of the mechanics came and got the bikes out of the way. Flaggers put up the tuff blocks to protect the riders. Medics were on site almost before the riders had stopped rolling around. Dr. Bodnar and his crew assessed the situation and split duties between the two riders. It looked like Morais seemed to be a bit more of a concern because of the blood and the problem with his jaw. When they got both of the riders off the track, one of the things that’s difficult is maintaining the crowd.

Some people thought that it was cold of the announcers to get the crowd doing the wave and other things like that. But what needs to be understood, and what I’m so impressed with, is that Feld and the announcers were able to keep the crowd in control with two hurt riders down on the field. My hat is off to the great job the announcers, the track crew, the medical crew, and Feld management handled the situation.

Thank God that Trey and Ryan are OK. It was one of the scariest crashes I have ever seen. They are both broken and beaten up, but they are going to be able to “walk and talk”, and that is the important thing.

Many people have been talking about the tuff blocks and suggesting that they need to go away. However, it’s a very unlikely chance that one of the covers gets caught on a footpeg, but it does happen once in a while. But the truth is, tuff blocks are the best way of protecting the riders at this time. Yes, there are some flaws in the design. Are they the ultimate solution? No. But someone would be out of their mind to think that Feld would put something out there that could endanger a rider. In fact, they have continued to invest and use the best safety equipment and standards available. Safety is very important.

Feld has spent a lot of money to come up with the best design for the tuff blocks and hold them down as best they can for the safety of the rider. The cover getting hooked in Trey’s footpeg was a freak situation, and that is the reason why he decided not to jump all the way on a triple jump.

Unfortunately there is only so much you can do in such a dangerous sport, but we still need to protect our riders. I will always err on the side of the rider, but I’m also sympathetic to an organizer who needs to put on a show and does the best they can to keep a rider safe. The truth is, there is no way that you can take the danger completely out of Supercross. It will never happen. Motorcycling racing is dangerous.

Another aspect of safety, the emergency/medical side of things has come a long way. Having a doctor on site that can handle trauma and just about any situation, as well as assess injuries at the track is very important. They have it dialed in quite well. There is even the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit, which is the closest thing to a hospital on wheels.

When I was racing in the ’80s, there were times when I was knocked out in practice with a concussion, and then went on to race the main event later that night. Outdoors, there were times when I would crash out of the first moto, and then line up for the second moto and not even know which direction the track went. But we didn’t know any better back then, and the mentality was that you couldn’t be a puss and you just needed to push through it. I took some big chances that I probably shouldn’t have.

I can compare it a bit to what I’m seeing in the NFL. Back in the day, players used to continue to play on with concussions, injury, etc. It was both that they didn’t know any better back then, and, players didn’t want to be perceived as being a puss.

Today, in both the NFL, and in Supercross, the speed with how quickly the medics can assess a situation and determine what is best for the athlete is so much better than it used to be. In MX and Supercross, today the medics and doctors are around the riders enough that they know them personally and they know the medical game better than anybody.

So again, my hat is off to Feld Motorsports, the AMA, track personnel, and the Asterisk medical crew on how they handled the whole situation. And thank God that both Trey and Ryan are OK.


Ricky Johnson is a seven time AMA Supercross / Motocross Champion. This is his blog.

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RJ Says - Supercross Safety 2012 - Photo 1 of 2

Ryan Morais

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Trey Canard

Points Leader Eli Tomac Leads GEICO Honda Team into 2012 Oakland Supercross

Eli Tomac has a bright new addition to his GEICO Honda CRF250R motorcycle for this Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross race at O.co Coliseum – the coveted red number plate.

After capturing the points lead following his win in last week’s Supercross Lites West race down the coast in Los Angeles, Tomac earned the right to use the special plate on his bike, which signifies the current points leader. It’s an add-on Tomac would like make a permanent fixture of his bike.

“It’s definitely going to be cool to run that red number plate,” Tomac said. “I wanted it, and now I have it and I want to hold onto it. I really feel like I should have been in this position all season but I wasn’t getting the starts. Now we’ve got that part figured out and we can move forward.”

With three of nine Lites West races in the books, the title chase is developing into a three-man race with Tomac leading Dean Wilson by one point and Tyla Rattray by three. The two riders sharing fourth place are 13 points out of third.

Tomac said following the formula that led to success at Dodger Stadium is still the best course of action for Oakland and beyond.

“I’ll stick with the same program I’ve had all season,” Tomac said. “We’ve had the fastest bike in all three races. If I can get the starts and limit my mistakes on the track, just clean it up a little bit, we can stay out front. I like being in the lead. I worked hard to get here; I’m going to work even harder to stay here.”

GEICO Honda’s Supercross rider Kevin Windham is looking to rally from a down finish at Dodger Stadium last week.

“I doesn’t get any easier out there,” said Windham, who is currently in sixth place in the season standings, but is only five points out of fourth. “The competition is as tough as it gets, so the key is to be as flawless as you can on every lap. The slightest mistake will give the other guy an opportunity to close the gap or pass you.

“We did a pretty good job of riding that way in Phoenix when we finished fourth, so we’ll try to use that template in Oakland.”

Windham also expressed relief that American Honda rider and good friend Trey Canard wasn’t injured more seriously in a scary crash during the first lap of last weekend’s race. Another rider landed on Canard causing both to fall hard from their bikes. Canard suffered a broken back and is scheduled for surgery this week.

“Trey was a member of this GEICO Honda team when he was starting out,” Windham said. “It’s always terrible to see another rider go down like that, but when it’s someone who was a teammate, it hits you like a punch in the gut.

“Myself and everyone on the GEICO Honda team are praying for Trey to make a quick recovery.”

The team’s other Lites West rider, Gavin Faith, is looking to make another step forward in his progression as a rider. Faith’s first Supercross experience last weekend was long on education but short on results when he finished 18th in his first race filling in for injured rider Wil Hahn.

“Things really didn’t go like I wanted so I’m more determined than ever before to pick it up,” Faith said. “I can do this for sure. I felt pretty good all night in L.A. I got little tight in the middle of the main but got through it. I actually learned a lot in one race and having some time to think about it will be good for me.”

Faith got limited practice time leading up to his debut last week, and he said the extra time aboard the bike this week is going to make a world of difference.

“I need to get more comfortable on the bike,” Faith said. “Having a full week of practice will help. I know what I want to work on. I learned from my teammates that the starts are crucial. I have to get better there. I also plan to be a lot more aggressive. I let people get by me that I shouldn’t have let by, but I learned from that.”

Practice for Saturday’s Monster Energy AMA Supercross Race at O.co Coliseum begins at 12:30 p.m. PST with opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m. The Supercross race will be televised on CBS affiliates nationwide at noon EST on Sunday. The Lites West race will air at 5 p.m. Sunday on SPEED.

Honda Riders Win 2012 Supercross and Lites Classes at Dodger Stadium

The Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship series made its way to Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California this weekend for round three. Honda was on the top of the podium with TwoTwo Motorsport’s Chad Reed winning the Supercross class and GEICO Honda’s Eli Tomac winning the Lites class.

It was a tough night for Team Honda Muscle Milk. After getting a bad start in his heat race Justin Brayton missed transferring to the main by one position. In the LCQ he got the holeshot and led for the first few laps but crashed in the whoops, sending him to sixth place, out of contention for the main. Right after the main began, fellow Team Honda Muscle Milk rider Trey Canard got tangled up with a tuff block in the first corner, dragging the cover with him. As a result, he was hindered through the triple jump and was unfortunate enough to have another rider land on him. Canard was knocked unconscious and taken off the track by the Asterisk medical team, where he was then transferred to the hospital for further evaluation.

Canard injured his back in the accident, but has 100-percent movement of his legs. American Honda will release additional information on his condition as it becomes available.

Following a less-than-desirable start in the main, TwoTwo Motorsports Honda rider Chad Reed was given a second chance after the race was red flagged due to the first-lap pileup. Reed got a third-place start the second time around and battled his way to the front of the pack, where he rode consistently to a first-place podium finish. “It feels awesome to get a win, especially at the third round. We are early in the series so I am trying to stay consistent to hopefully get more wins,” said Reed.

Lites rider Eli Tomac was setting remarkable lap times during both his practice and heat race, showing that he was going to be the guy to beat that night. In the main event the GEICO Honda rider took the holeshot and never looked back. He quickly gapped the rest of the pack by several seconds, riding a solid 15 laps to the checkered flag. “I am excited for the win tonight and am happy to be leading the points into round four,” said Tomac. “If I can get consistently good starts, I believe I can win like I did tonight. I am comfortable out front and plan to stay there.”

With Tyler Bowers atop Standings, 2012 AMA Arenacross Series Makes Debut from Cedar Park Center This Weekend

Last Saturday, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki presented by Maxxis’ Tyler Bowers extended his lead in the Arenacross Class standings by grabbing his eighth win of the season. This weekend, Bowers leads the world’s best arenacross riders into the eighth round of the 2012 AMA Arenacross Series season with two nights of action slated for the championship’s debut from Cedar Park, Texas, and the Cedar Park Center, on Friday, January 27, and Saturday, January 28.

At the series’ previous stop in Dayton, Ohio, Bowers relied on patience to lead him to victory. FMF Power/Poynt TUF Honda’s Jeff Gibson, who currently sits second in the Arenacross Class standings, led the majority of the 25-lap main event, but fell to the ground entering the final five laps of the race, allowing Bowers to take control and extend his championship lead to 15 points, as Gibson was forced to settle for second.

With five rounds and seven races remaining in the 2012 season, the championship battle in the Arenacross Class is sure to intensify. Gibson has shown the speed to minimize his deficit to Bowers, but misfortune at the previous two stops has hurt the 2009 champion, who has been on the receiving end of a 15-point swing in Bowers’ favor through the past three main events. Just two weeks ago following the fifth round of the season, Gibson shared the top spot in the standings with Bowers.

While the Arenacross Class competitors continue to wage war, the Western Regional Arenacross Lites Championship returns to action following a one-week break. Only three main events have been completed in the nine-race title fight, but at the last round from Topeka, the championship tightened up. Currently, Letko KTM’s Tanner Moore and House of Kawasaki’s Chad Cook share the points lead and will both wear the red number plate this weekend.

Additionally, Babbitt’s Monster Energy/AMSOIL Kawasaki’s Vick Golden will continue her comeback from injury, looking to qualify for her first main event of the 2012 season.

Both nights of action from the AMA Arenacross Series debut from Cedar Park are set to begin with opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. CT.

Previous Round Results:

Nutter Center – Dayton, Ohio

January 21, 2012

Round 7 of 12

Arenacross Class Results (Dayton, Ohio)

  1. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki
  2. Jeff Gibson, Blacklick, Ohio, Honda
  3. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Honda
  4. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki
  5. Cole Siebler, Emmett, Idaho, Honda
  6. Kevin Johnson, Spring, Texas, KTM
  7. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM
  8. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki
  9. Chad Johnson, Rhinelander, Wis., Kawasaki
  10. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM

Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Results (Dayton, Ohio)

  1. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki
  2. Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM
  3. Michael McDade, Edingburg, Pa., Kawasaki
  4. Chad Cook, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki
  5. Patrick Massie, Washington Court House, Ohio, Honda
  6. Michael Lang, Saugerties, N.Y., Honda
  7. Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda
  8. Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., KTM
  9. Kevin Markwardt, Freeport, Ill., Honda
  10. Jake Locks, Dixon, Calif., Kawasaki

Arenacross Class Points (After Race 12 of 19)

  1. Tyler Bowers, Danville, Ky., Kawasaki (8 wins) – 260
  2. Jeff Gibson, Blacklick, Ohio, Honda (2 wins) – 245
  3. Chad Johnson, Rhinelander, Wis., Kawasaki (2 wins) – 218
  4. Kelly Smith, Ludington, Mich., KTM – 186
  5. Nathan Skaggs, Chillicothe, Ohio, Honda – 173
  6. Zach Ames, Prospect, Ohio, Kawasaki – 164
  7. Willy Browning, Pleasantville, Ohio, KTM – 128
  8. Josh Demuth, North Richland Hills, Texas, Kawasaki – 127
  9. Travis Sewell, Westville, Ind., KTM – 101
  10. Cory Green, Nowata, Okla., Suzuki – 86

Western Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 3 of 9)

  1. Tanner Moore, Auburn, Kan., KTM – 47
  2. Chad Cook, Oklahoma City, Okla., Kawasaki – 47
  3. Kevin Markwardt, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 36
  4. Brandon Marley, McEwen, Tenn., KTM – 19
  5. Cody Church, Grand Junction, Colo., Kawasaki – 18
  6. Aviery Hickey, Southlake, Texas, Honda – 11
  7. Shawn Rife, Mechanicsburg, Ohio, Honda – 7
  8. Devin Reed, Indianola, Iowa, Honda – 6
  9. Jake Locks, Dixon, Calif., KTM – 6
  10. Jeremy Huddleston, Eustace, Texas, KTM – 5

Eastern Regional Arenacross Lites Class Points (After Race 9 of 10)

  1. Michael McDade, Indiana, Pa., Kawasaki (1 win) – 176
  2. Michael Willard, Newark, Ohio, KTM (3 wins) – 159
  3. Dave Ginolfi, Lake Hopatcong, N.J., KTM (2 win) – 150
  4. Steven Mages, Sardinia, Ohio, Kawasaki (1 win) – 140
  5. Kevin Johnson, Spring, Texas, KTM – 102
  6. Travis Sewell, Westfield, Ind., KTM – 91
  7. Austin Coon, Spencer, W. Va., Honda – 77
  8. Daniel Blair, Lodi, Calif., KTM – 75
  9. Kyle White, Freeport, Ill., Honda – 72
  10. Maxx Malatia, Itasca, Ill., Honda – 58

2012 Dash for Cash Winners:

Des Moines – Zach Ames

Baltimore Night One – Tyler Bowers

Baltimore Night Two – Tyler Bowers

Madison Night One – Willy Browning

Madison Night Two – Jeff Gibson

Wilkes Barre Night One – Tyler Bowers

Wilkes Barre Night Two – Nathan Skaggs

Grand Rapids Night One – Zach Ames

Grand Rapids Night Two – Jeff Gibson

Topeka Night One – Chad Johnson

Topeka Night Two – Nathan Skaggs

Dayton – Jeff Gibson

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross

Rockstar’s Brett Metcalfe & Jason Anderson earn well-deserved top-five finishes in Supercross & Supercross Lites

This weekend’s Supercross event was a turning point for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams. Celebrating their first top-five finishes in both the Supercross and Supercross Lites classes this season, the Rockstar Energy Racing athletes all put in heartfelt and determined performances at round three of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship Series at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA, on Saturday night.

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross - Photo 1 of 4

For Rockstar Energy Racing, this weekend’s Supercross Lites race was a stellar one. Jason Anderson rocked the entire night, first winning the LCQ and then going on to capture his best result so far this year: a fifth-place finish in the 15-lap main event.

“Although I had to go to the LCQ, I won that,” said Anderson. “In the main, I just tried to put my laps in and I got into fifth. The Rockstar Energy Racing bike’s working great and I’m feeling good, and that’s an awesome combination that we’ve got going. I’m just trying to keep improving and I feel like I’m doing that every weekend. Oakland should be fun and I’m just excited to get out there and race again.”

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross - Photo 2 of 4

Rockstar Energy Racing teammate Martin Davalos also had plenty to smile about at the Supercross Lites race’s end. Davalos went out and won his heat race and then ran in second place for the first third of the main event. Although he made a small mistake that saw him finish ninth, Davalos still brought home a solid top-10 finish.

“We got great starts all night,” said Davalos. “We got the heat race win and in the main event, I was running second. But then I made a stupid mistake and lost my front end. After that, I tried to get into a rhythm but I couldn’t get going because my front end was twisted. But overall, I feel really positive about the night. Now I’m just looking forward to Oakland and hoping for good weather there.”

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross - Photo 3 of 4

Star Valli Yamaha’s Nico Izzi and Ryan Sipes both put in valiant efforts in Supercross Lites, Izzi finished fourth in his heat race and 11th in the main event, while Sipes won his heat race and finished 12th in the main. Gareth Swanepoel did not race the Supercross Lites main event.

In the Supercross class, Rockstar Energy’s Brett Metcalfe was something of a Rockstar himself, bringing home a fifth-place finish in the Supercross class main event after first carding a fifth-place finish in his heat race.

“The whole day was the best we’ve had so far,” said Metcalfe. “We made some good progress this week, and I want to thank the whole team. It was a rough week for me with being sick, but today I had a good day. The heat race went well, and I ended up fifth. But I rode really well – I think it’s the best ride I’ve had all year. Going into the main, I just wanted to hit 20 laps consistently, and ride hard — but not to the point where I’d push myself to the limit and start going downhill. Now, I’m just really looking forward to running up front at Oakland.”

Rockstar Energy Racing Teams Truly Came Into Their Own at 2012 Dodger Stadium Supercross - Photo 4 of 4

Also in the Supercross class, Rockstar’s Nick Wey finished up in 13th place, while Star Valli Yamaha’s Austin Stroupe did not race due to injuries sustained at the Phoenix event. Star Valli Yamaha teammate Ryan Morais had a strong showing in his Supercross class heat race but suffered a crash on lap one of the main event. The Rockstar Energy rider was transported to a local hospital and is being treated for a broken jaw, several fractured vertebrae and some broken ribs. There is no sign of spinal cord damage at this time and Morais is continuing to be evaluated. A full recovery is anticipated.

The next event for the Rockstar Energy Racing teams is the fourth round of the 2012 AMA/FIM Supercross Championship on Saturday, January 28th, at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA.


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