By John Minert
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
The Red Bull X-Fighters event at Glen Helen this past weekend was impressive, to say the least. Red Bull transformed the REM Saturday motocross track into a pit with massive jumps surrounded by bleachers. We’re inclined to label the event a success, judging by the attendance numbers and media play.
MXA MINI-VIEW: TRAVIS BAKER
Some racer struggle to get set up for outdoors, but Travis says his ride is dialed.
MXA: We were glad you have had a quick recovery from a nasty-looking crash in Salt Lake City? What exactly happened?
At Salt Lake City there was a double then a table to table. It was all rutted and I didn't see that there was a little kicker. I endo'ed and plowed my head and shoulder into the ground and I was a little dingy. I rested for a week, then did the concussion test and passed. Though that week I did rehab and therapy on my shoulder, it was just sore and swollen from the crash. But now I'm 100 percent and ready to go for the outdoors.
How have you been getting ready for outdoors?
The whole break between San Diego I did a lot of outdoor testing. We did a lot of stuff with Bones from Pro Circuit and with Showa. I got my bike dialed-in perfectly and I love how it is right now. And that's where you want to be: ready to race.
What improvements has the team made to the bike from last year?
We've done a lot of little suspension improvements from last year, and then our motor guy, Matt, has some upgrades. The bike's awesome.
You seem like you've had more success outdoors than indoors in you career.
I guess so, I love outdoors and I love Supercross. I just want to be good all-around where people think, 'That guy is a bad dude' on both. I feel like I'm better at outdoors because I grew up doing that. Supercross was new me as a pro. I love both.
Travis at Hangtown last year. He was since promoted to number 51.
How do you like Hangtown?
Hangtown is good. I raced Hangtown a couple times as an amateur and these last two years as a pro. I like the track. I did well in my second moto there, my first year. A top ten for my first race was pretty good. Aside from that, I guess it's the closest one to my house beside Elsinore.
What do you think about Elsinore?
If you would have told me a few years ago that Elsinore would hold a National I would never believe it. I would have said 'Ha, you're crazy.' But those guys have done a pretty dang good job. It's amazing what they have done to the place. They still have a little bit of work do with the dirt, I know they plan to bring in some stuff. We'll see how it is for the National, because it's always better for the National than it usually is on a regular day.
Travis putting down a practice moto at Glen Helen.
What are your favorite tracks.
Colorado. That's where I have had the best finish of my career so far. Last year I finished eighth overall there. Red Bud is an awesome track, Millville, Budds Creek. In the outdoor series, you're pretty pumped to get to go ride all the tracks, because every track is so much better for a National than on a practice day.
Why are so many guys getting hurt lately?
A lot of guys have been hurt in both classes. I don't like to see that, I like to see good racing. It just sucks for a fellow racer to go down. I don't know why it seems like there have been a lot of injuries. Dirt Wurx has done an awesome job, but some stuff doesn't need to be so peaky. They need to really listen to the riders, because we do ask for sections to fixed sometimes. Between the second and third practice, when there is a long break, I think that they need to go out and freshen-up the whole track instead of just sections. I think they need to do just a bit more maintenance. It's good for racing when more lines can develop, but we also want to be safe and we don't want to see less racing because there are fewer guys out there.
STEWART ON SUZUKI AT GLEN HELEN: GO PRO FOOTAGE
HURRY! BONE MARROW DRIVE FOR KIM MCGRATH TODAY IN CORONA
If you want to help the McGrath's show up at Monster Energy's Corona, California facility on Wednesday, May 16 16 before 2 p.m. Meet Jeremy McGrath and get free Monster Drinks.
Monster Energy Headquarters
550 Monica Circle, Suite 2012
Corona, CA 92880
PROOF POSITIVE THAT MOTOCROSS TRACKS IN AUSTRALIA DON’T CIRCLE TO THE LEFT...WANEROO NATIONAL: ROUND FOUR
MXA MINI-VIEW: BLAKE WHARTON
Don't worry about his number, look for the hair coming out of the helmet when finding Blake at the Nationals.
MXA: How are you getting ready for the outdoor Nationals?
Blake: Really, I'm just riding. We don't get much time to get ready for motocross. We've raced motocross for a long time, as pros and back as amateurs, but coming off of Supercross, it still takes a little while to get back in the routine. There's testing to be done, riding to be done and speed to find. Now it's just about putting the time to be ready. When the series starts, it goes for six weeks straight. It's not like you get a break right away to work on some stuff. You really have to hit the ground running with the series.
Is it better to race West Coast Supercross and have time to test, or race East and carry more momentum from that series?
There are positives and negatives to both. One decision kind of favors Supercross and one kind of favors outdoors. Guys usually have a preference, of what they like to ride. I've raced East more times, but eventually you have to race them all anyway.
You had a good year. What were some of your Supercross highlights?
For sure, winning at Indy. That was a good feeling and a great race for me. It didn't finish where I wanted to in the series but it was definitely an improvement. We did a pretty good job and now I'm just continuing to look for more speed. When you're trying to win races there are a lot of details to focus on.
Blake stepped up his game in Supercross this year and expects to do the same outdoors.
What happened at the Vegas Supercross race?
My practices were alright. The track got pretty rough in the last practice. My first race, which was the main, didn't go too well. I just wasn't riding very well, and just had some things that we're off. Then, I went to the shootout and I felt like I was riding great. I was in fourth place when I stalled my bike on the first lap, it was strange. I managed to work my way back up to ninth. With a lot of fast guys and aggressive riding it was tough, and I feel like I rode well in that finish. I know I'll be suited-up for outdoors if I can just get my ducks in a row and be ready for it.
Did the Vegas Supercross give you an idea of the rest of the competition for outdoors or is it apples and oranges?
No, I don't think that matters much. There are some outdoor guys, there are some Supercross guys and then there are a lot of guys who go really fast everywhere. It's too soon to count who you'll be racing against because you'll be racing against everyone. They're all fast, it's just that some will be better suited for outdoors.
What are your thoughts about Hangtown?
Hangtown is usually really rough. It's been a good track when I have raced it in the past, but it can be an aggressive track. You have to attack it and you have to ride hard. We'll see who that favors. That's why we're testing right now, and practicing and getting ready.
Blake made the best of the two-week break between Supercross and Nationals by testing almost every day.
What do you think about going to Elsinore?
I think that it will be alright. It has an awesome location. We all rode Elsinore a lot growing up. It's know for it's hard-packed dirt, but they have taken a good look at what they have and done a good job with it. If they put it on right, it will be a great race. There's no reason why it couldn't be. It should be good.
What are you favorite tracks on the outdoor circuit?
Texas because it is home for me, but it is a tough race. It's rough and it's hot. I like High Point, Washougal and Steel City. There are certain tracks that I seem to like more, but you have to race them all, and everyone is there. It's best to be consistent and try to get your worst tracks down; get better at the ones you have struggled with. It's a long series and consistency plays a big part.
LAKE ELSINORE LAWSUIT OVER TRACK SETTLED...IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THE AMA NATIONAL
Lake Elsinore from space.
According to the North County Times: A Riverside Superior Court judge tentatively dismissed a lawsuit Monday that was filed against Lake Elsinore by the former operators of an off-road motorcycle track, but gave the plaintiffs 30 days to revise their complaint.
Randy Hiner, who operated the Lake Elsinore Motocross Park from the late 1990s until 2010, said he remained optimistic that his attorney, Andrew Flores, can address Judge Daniel Ottolia's findings. "We'll amend this thing and give it another go-round," Hiner said.
Randy and Brandi Hiner contend that the city treated them unfairly by placing unreasonable requirements on them over the years with the goal of driving them out. They eventually shut down the operation off Cereal Street in southern Lake Elsinore. It has since been taken over by new proprietors who revamped the track. The judge agreed with the city's position that the Hiners had failed to follow the proper procedures and meet time requirements for protesting actions by the city. Planning officials contended that the Hiners never got into compliance, while the operators asserted that the city kept changing the rules on them – especially on the issue of whether the permit had a time limit and automatically expired.
THERE WILL BE AMATEUR RACES AT THE AMA 250/450 NATIONALS...SEE THE SCHEDULE HERE
There will be amateur days at most AMA 250/450 Nationals (sometimes on Friday, sometimes on Sunday, sometimes on Friday and Sunday...and once on Monday). Not every track will host races, some like Thunder Valley and Southwick, will have practice only. Check your local track for more info, but here is the schedule.
Hangtown...Thursday & Friday
Freestone...Friday, Sunday & Monday
High Point...Friday & Sunday
Budds Creek...Friday & Sunday
Spring Creek ...Thursday, Friday & Sunday
Washougal...Thursday & Friday
Unadilla...Friday & Sunday
Steel City...Friday & Sunday
Elsinore...Friday & Sunday
MXA MINI-VIEW: TARAH GIEGER
Team TLD's Tarah Gieger.
What will be the Women's Schedule?
We will do the first four [outdoor rounds with the men] and then we get a couple week off and do X-Games. Then, we do Red Bud and Washougal, then Southwick and Elsinore.
Has there been some consideration for changing the race format and scheduling?
There was some talk about having only one, little bit longer moto and have it on TV. A lot of the girls got together and told them that they wouldn't be able to drive all the way out to the races if there was only going to be one moto, so they changed it back to two. They spoke to us at the banquet about the one-moto idea. I agree that it would be a great idea if it meant that we would be on TV. Any TV coverage is better than no TV coverage. But with only one moto and no TV coverage people [riders/teams] would loose interest because it's a lot of money to toss up on one start. If you go down you're race is done and you're whole weekend is done.
Tarah plans to make it three-horse race for the WMX championship this year.
What's you're opinion about what's happening on the women's side of the World GP, separating them from the MX1 and MX2 races and putting them with MX3?
Youthstream's using them as a way to help build up MX3. They scheduled it so you'd have to do one race with the MX1/MX2, and then go to different MX3 events. So you couldn't even get a team, properly.
Tell us about your competition this year, and the new Japanese factory Honda rider.
Yeah, she got a factory ride. Japanese people have always looked-out for other Japanese people, that's just how it is. Anytime any of the guys came over they always got in factory rigs and set-up. I know she has been over here working for a while. It's cool that Honda is stepping it up and that they have two women riders now. As far as the rest of the competition, I think it's going to be Jessica [Patterson] and Ashley [Fiolek] again this year. I started mixing it up with them at the end of last year so I just hope to carry that momentum and continue to improve on it.
Tarah lives in Florida and is getting some important track-time on California soil.
TRAVIS BAKER TAKES OVER THE INTERVIEW
Travis Baker: What National are you looking forward to the most?
Tarah: Either Freestone or Colorado. I just want to get through Hangtown and go to those ones.
You don't like Hangtown?
No. Hangtown and I don't really get along well.
Why is that?
Because it's so much different than everywhere else in the country.
I give you answers, but you don't want to hear these answers.
What is it about California tracks?
Hard underneath and slick on top.
TARAH QUESTIONS TRAVIS
Tarah: When are you going to release your male model catalog?
Travis: I'm going to do a different pose at each of the twelve Nationals for each of the twelve calendar months. At Texas I'll probably do a bikini because it's hot. It will be tasteful. Do you remember the old O'Neal ads? Like that, but for the female side.
NEW PRODUCT: MOTORSPORT PRODUCT STAND WEDGE
Motorsport Products' new Stand Wedge keeps dirtbikes level while perched upon off-road stands, eliminating tip overs, allowing worry-free cleaning and maintenance. Made from polyurethane, the ingenious 9-1/4 in. long x 2-1/4 in. wide x ¾ in. high creation is simple and effective. The Stand Wedge mounts atop a stand where needed, depending on the contours of the bike's frame. It's effective with everything from open-classers to minibikes, four-stroke or two-stroke.
This innovative invention is secured with integrated bolts and comes with a drill-guide template for easy installation. The Stand Wedge--and Motorsports Products entire line--is backed by a limited, lifetime warranty. For more information on its innovative product line, visit www.MotorsportProducts.com or call 800-344-9745.
URQUHART, LIVESAY, AND HILDRETH JOIN TEAM RACE TECH
Race Tech is proud to announce three talented riders will be joining Team Race Tech for the 2012 AMA Motocross Tour and beyond. Kevin Urquhart, Tyler Livesay, and Colton Hildreth have been testing with the Race Tech crew and will compete using RT Hi-Performance Springs, Gold Valves, and Race Tech valving settings this summer.
Kevin Urquhart is one of the top riders out of the Northwestern region of the United States. After spending the past couple of seasons in Canada where he was a consistent podium threat, Urquhart is back focused on the AMA Motocross Championship where he looks to show he is on of the top privateers in the country. Urquhart will be running Gold Valves on his Honda CRF450.
"Kevin has been putting in great results in Canada with very little support for a couple of seasons. Not only does he have good results on the track, but he has a great reputation off the track. Urquhart has been putting in the work and is definitely deserving of more support. We are glad to have him back in the US racing the nationals and wanted to make sure his equipment was up to par with the competition," claimed Race Tech's Chris Riesenberg.
Tyler Livesay is a hard working privateer from Florida heading into his rookie season on the AMA Motocross Tour. The former Sponsor Cup Champion is one of the most stylish riders on the track and is looking fast heading into the season on his realMotocross.com backed Kawasaki KX450. "Tyler made a name for himself as one of the fastest riders coming out of the Southeast region by being a front runner at the Sponsor Cup in Florida . He was already running Race Tech Gold Valves in his bikes and believed in our company, so it was a no brainer to up his support to help him take on his rookie national season. Tyler isn't just fast on the track, he understands business off the track and represents us well with his involvement with realMotocross.com," Chris Riesenberg, Race Tech's Director of Marketing stated.
Colton Hildreth hails from Nebraska and is a rising star in the sport. Colton will finish up his Amateur career this summer and looks to earn his AMA Pro License by competing in the ProAm events at a handful of the Nationals. Hildreth will compete against the top ProAm riders on his Race Tech tuned Honda CRF250 alongside training partner and fellow Race Tech Team rider Preston Mull. "Colton first caught my attention at a local race in the Midwest on mini bikes. He wasn't just extremely fast, but he was level headed and had a great support system behind him. We really wanted to partner with him to help ease the transition to the pro ranks. He showed in Vegas at the Amateur National Arenacross Championships he has the speed to be a front runner by being the fastest qualifier," said Race Tech's Director of Marketing Chris Riesenberg. For more information about Race Tech’s products, seminars and rider support program, please visit www.racetech.com or call our friendly sales staff at: (951) 279-6655.
NEW PRODUCT: MATRIX CONCEPTS TOOL BOXES AND ORGANIZERS
Matrix Concepts would like to introduce the all new highly portable and lightweight tool boxes and organizers for the garage or track. The new Matrix tool boxes and Organizers feature a custom look, and are available in many vibrant colors and sizes to simplify any task. Visit the Matrix Concepts website for more information and if you buy a Worx or Trax Box this weekend we will throw in a free Matrix T-shirt. Just enter your T-shirt size in the coupon code box when checking out at www.MatrixRacingProducts.com to receive the free T-shirt. For more information on Matrix Concepts products, visit www.MatrixRacingProducts.com