Angel Stadium, Anaheim 2 Supercross. The pits were once again filled with fans getting autographs, taking photo’s as the mechanics, pitcrew and riders were preparing for the nights race. You couldn’t beat the warmth of the sun shining down on us as I walked through the crowds looking for the next Miniview.
First up, I got a chance to speak with #8, Grant Langston. A top contender in the Lites class, I was eager to see how he was doing and hear how he was feeling about the upcoming race.
Angela: It’s A2, how is the track for tonight’s race?
Grant: There is really not a whole lot to the track itself. It’s high speed and shorter lap times, end of the day it will make for some good racing. Anaheim 1 was real technical … racing was a little more spread out. This week they’ve gone back to a more basic track. Practice has been going good. My only problem has been starts. I need to work on my starts. I am hoping to get a really good start tonight because I think that will be a key point this weekend.
A: You’ve had some good results so far at A1 and at Phoenix on the Kawasaki KXF 250!
G: Yeah, I think both times around, A1 and Phoenix have been good rides but at the same time Anaheim 1 I was 20th out of 22 on the first lap and in Phoenix I was 19th out of the gate and coming from that far back is just not going to get it done. I am really happy with the riding and the bike, everything has been great! I just need to stay out of trouble on that opening lap and be somewhere near the front, and then it should be a great race! My bike is fantastic this year. The new 2006 Kawasaki is really great, I am really stoked with it and it is the best bike out there. Now I just have to put it where it should be, which is on top of the box.
A: Who is your biggest competition right now on the track?
G: Well, there’s a lot of competitor’s out there in the Lites. Obviously my team mate Ryan Villopoto is young, he’s fast, he lets it all hang out, and he’s been consistent the past two weeks. Andrew Short is a pretty solid competitor, Billy Laninovich and obviously Nate Ramsey. The top five in the points are the ones who can go out there and win it on any night. I think it’s great to have such competitive racing in the Lites because they tend to put a lot of emphasis on the Supercross Class being the premier class, but the Lites are real competitive right now.
A: Who is your support team here at the races?
G: I have a lot of family out here, considering this is a local race. And obviously with living right down the road from here, I know a lot of people that I see at the local tracks out here supporting me and my fans are a great support, making it real enjoyable coming out to Anaheim.
Sure enough, that great attitude and perseverance is paying off for # 8, as Grant Langston won the Lites main event that night and is currently fourth in the point standings.
I made my way over to the Moto XXX semi and found myself in the midst of their 10 year anniversary for the team. All the guys were doing the norm for race day. I snagged two of the three owners of Moto XXX team: Jordan Burns of Strung Out and Kurt Haller, while Eric Sandin, of NOFX, was chillin’ in the background with some friends.
Angela: How did MOTO XXX get its start in supercross?
Jordan: We saw all these videos that were being made back in the day and thought they were all cheesy. Erik, Kurt, and I knew about snow boarding, skate and surf video’s, and they were totally different than any motocross video we saw, so we made a motocross video, sold a ton of them, and started this race team.
Kurt: We wanted to put back into the sport, and help the riders who helped us with the videos, so we started this race team, and it just snowballed from there and here we are 10 years later.
J: It started off with Brian Swink and Brian Deegan, and Brian Deegan’s wins in the 125 SX was great for the Moto XXX team.
A: Your team has come a long way over the last 10 years with videos, now a big semi truck, and a great team of riders.
J: Yes, we are here in this big semi truck for our fourth year, and I can say we are now living out our dream. We have never made a penny out of doing this, and it’s not like we wouldn’t want too, but we pour our hearts into this and we’re here every weekend. We have an awesome team of riders riding for us and I love coming down here and being able to say that we did this on our own and on our own terms. This is our 10th year anniversary! 10 years of being a team is a long time and I don’t think people know that much about Moto XXX. Maybe we haven’t been as loud as we have in the past, but today we might stir it up a little bit with our 06 team: Kyle Lewis, Juss Laansoo, Tim Ferry and Josh Summey, who is riding the Lites on the East Coast. We have an awesome team this year, we are really excited to be here and our truck is the best looking truck we’ve had so far.
A: What is the best thing about being a team player of Moto XXX?
J: You know, I’ve been a fan of motocross for so long, and both Erik and I have always been into riding dirt bikes, so to know that I was some beginner square that used to ride out at LA County Raceway to making videos and owning a great team, it’s just so rewarding! Its rewarding showing up here and knowing we are apart of this whole operation. It’s taken a long time to get respect in this industry because I think a lot of people thought we were a joke when we first started. There have been a lot of teams that have come and gone but we stuck through it and we’ve managed to pull it off. Sometimes we stuck money right out of our personal pockets, not even from the business to get the job done and Erik Sandin is the guy who started it all for Moto XXX. A lot of people don’t know that the drummer from NOFX is a part owner of this team, and he is the one who got it all going.
A: What is the future for Moto XXX?
J: The team is growing bigger and bigger. This year we have Unbound Energy that came on board with us, which is awesome. Our sponsorship is improving, such as e-personals.com and pro-comp tires. Things are going really well and I think things will continue to go up hill for us. We are not planning on leaving the sport; we are going to be here awhile!
I had a great time hanging out with the guys of Moto XXX! This multi-talented group of entrepreneurs, riders, and support staff who make it all happen play a huge role in bringing a special presence to the supercross series. Thanks guys, it’s was a pleasure.
I didn’t leave without getting to speak with their newest team rider, Juss Laansoo. This would be Juss’s first supercross in America, so I wanted to see what was going on with him.
Angela: This is your first supercross tonight, riding for Moto XXX, how are you feeling right now? And how does this compare to your experience in the 2005 outdoor national series?
Juss: I am really nervous and a little uncomfortable on the track because I haven’t had so much time to practice and test on a supercross track. I have had only 9 days on 4 different tracks, so it’s very different and new to me. The outdoor nationals were great because I have a lot of experience on outdoor tracks. I grew up riding tracks similar to the outdoor nationals and I really enjoyed the series.
A: Where did you grow up, and when did you begin your career?
J: I am from Estonia, a country located about a one hour boat ride from Finland. It’s a fairly big country, with lots of open places to ride and there are a lot of old people who like to ride dirt bikes. We speak our own language, Estonian, that is somewhat similar to Finnish. It’s has been my dream since I was a young kid to ride supercross. I used to watch videos of supercross, and I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I started riding about 11 years ago, and turned pro just four years ago.
Next up, I found Keith Johnson after his 1st practice.
Angela: It’s great to see you out here. What do you like about this track?
Keith: Yeah, thanks! At Anaheim 1 they threw in a super technical track, with killer whoops that were taking everybody down, and keeping the pace slow. Now, all of a sudden we have a high speed, easy track. So it’s completely changed. People were gearing up for some gnarly tracks, but now they threw this one in there. So it should be interesting I guess, maybe their thought is if they make them a little easier, it will be a tighter race. That’s what I’ve been hearing.
Keith Johnson put up a good fight, raced his heat, went to a Semi and the LCQ but didn’t make the main. Keep up the hard work # 64!
This year the riders had Friday’s practice taken away, making race day that much tougher. They have a lot to deal with on Saturday’s, not only the stress and jitters that come with performing in front of a huge crowd, but a variety of other tasks to perform throughout the day as well.
If you ever go to a supercross event, take a walk down privateer lane and you’ll happen upon the Tyler show! One of supercross’s favorite privateers, # 43, Mr. Tyler Evans. It is pure fun and excitement for the fans getting up close and personal with their favorite supercross racer, and you can see how much Tyler really gives back to his fans. His unique style & personality, along the distinct honor of his heritage, American Indian of the Mi-wok tribe of Santa Rosa, makes this rider in a class of his own. I sat down with Tyler and asked him about his countless adventures in the supercross thus far.
Angela: How’s it going Tyler?
Tyler: It’s going all right. I’ve had a rough two weeks but other than that I am just trying to put it all together.
A: Yeah, what happened to you in the main event in Phoenix?
T: Dude, I got cramps really bad and I couldn’t breath. It takes a lot for me to pull off the track … I never pull off, but it was so severe that I couldn’t breathe and I had to pull off. So, that was that. Sometimes it’s got to get bad before it gets better, right? So I am going to try and pick it up, hopefully my luck will change soon.
A: What do you think of this track compared to the first Anaheim?
T: Well, they are making it more 4-stroke friendly. Not as technical, and more spaced out. It’s faster, but then again it makes it so you are racing all the guys in the back. Sometimes you need that, the separation from the men from the boys, but there is not any separation this weekend.
A: Tyler, you have an extremely huge array of fans that just love you, how does that make you feel?
T: It’s better than racing, you know what I mean? The interaction with the fans, they’re showing me love, and I am showing them love, you couldn’t ask for anything better. Racing is great, but the fans are the ultimate.
A: It’s great to see this wave of family & fatherhood in racing – what’s it like for you?
T: Yes, I have a great family. My daughter Candy, who is 4 years old now and the joy of my life, and her mom both come with me to as many races as they can. It’s getting hard to travel with Candy as she is starting preschool now. She’s a little terror right now and has a little personality, and you can’t tell her anything – it’s her way or no way! But you know, having a family makes me think differently about life! You start thinking about what’s really important in life and what’s BS.
A: What are your goals for this year?
T: My goal for this year is TOP 10! Same as last year: survive and stay healthy. The main thing is to stay healthy. Take every race week by week, race by race, instead of looking ahead because the season is too long. In the middle of the season guys start dropping off like flies, some with injuries. It’s hard to maintain that pace for the whole season. I just need to stay positive, stay focused and move forward!
Well, as the sun was setting, anticipation for the race really began to come alive. Fans were making their way to their seats and riders were relaxing, eating their dinner before the big show.
I, on the other hand was very excited to interview the all time winningest rider in Supercross. He has a record 72 Supercross wins, and a record 7 AMA Supercross Championships. He is the King of Supercross, # 2 of Team Honda, Jeremy McGrath.
Angela: Jeremy, congratulations on joining the world of Fatherhood!
Jeremy: Yeah, thank you! Things are awesome and really good. Having a kid is definitely an adjustment, but we are having a blast and it’s such a good time.
A: The Phoenix Supercross: you had an incredible run in the main, with the hole-shot, and then you busted out a Nac-Nac over the triple, how were you feeling?
J: Obviously, it was a whole lot better than the week prior to that at A1. I felt Anaheim one was a disaster. And frankly, I didn’t have a good week of practice going into Phoenix. When I got the great start, everything clicked and came together. Just to get the start like that was incredible, and it makes everything better.
A: The reaction from the crowd was pretty amazing, how did that make you feel?
J: Oh yeah … when I got the start everyone was real loud, and then when I did the Nac-Nac, everyone was even louder! You know, I’ve been feeling pretty good. I’ve put a lot of hard work into this year and these 6 races that I am going to race. I was really mad and disappointed that I couldn’t show that hard work at Anaheim 1. So, to actually have a good start, with the fans behind me, and be strong throughout the race, I couldn’t ask for more. Finishing fourth is the best I could hope for, so it felt like I won the race.
A: I noticed the split start seemed to give you a little trouble on the left, what happened and why did you choose to stay to the right in the main event?
J: Well, the left side was good, but you could hit your front brake on the pad and that’s what happened. I locked my front brake up in the heat race and crashed. That goofed me up a bit, so I thought “Forget it, I am not going back on that side anymore” and it ended up working out because I passed people on the right side, and it was fun.
A: You were riding the Honda 250 2-stroke, and now you are on the 450 4-stroke. How do you feel about making the switch?
J: The switch and the 450 feel pretty good. Everyone else is riding them, so I don’t see it being a big problem. I am not that familiar with them, because I haven’t ridden one lately, but I rode the 450 all summer long. I am excited though … it’s a good time to change to the 450.
A: What are you most looking forward to tonight?
J: I don’t want to be greedy. I just want to get a good start, have a good race, and finish strong. It’s going to be a short main event. The lap times aren’t very long, so I need to get a good start.
McGrath qualified in his heat race in 4th and got 5th in a very exciting main event. Jeremy McGrath is the man that helped turn this sport into what it has become today: an explosion of fun, excitement, stars, and racing action. Like so many, I am trilled to see MC mixing it up in 06!
Anaheim 2 proved to be a very fast track with excitment in every corner in both the Lites and the Supercross Class. Thanks to all the crew at Honda and the many individuals that made this Miniview possible.