By John Basher
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 1
Yesterday we had the privilege of testing Ryan Villopoto’s Monster Kawasaki KX450F. Above, Daryl Ecklund rips up a prime chunk of terra firma for my camera. Don’t know Daryl? You’ll meet him, if only you keep reading this Mid-Week Report.
WANT FOUR FREE TICKETS TO BUDDS CREEK? “LIKE” US!
Photo: Robb Mesecher.
The MXA gang has four tickets to this weekend’s Budds Creek National in our possession, and we want you to have them. What’s it going to take? All you have to do is visit our Facebook page and “Like” us. It’s that simple. While you’re at it, write a message on our page convincing us why you deserve the tickets. The winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, June 13th, at 5:00 p.m. PST and notified by Facebook. The tickets will arrive on Friday. Good luck!
MINI-VIEW: JAKE WEIMER
Jake knows where he can be every weekend–on the box.
MXA: What are your thoughts on the National track prep through the four rounds?
Jake: The tracks have been a little bit different than from the past. Typically the tracks were soft and a little bit wet, whereas this year they have been more hardpack and dry. I wouldn’t say that some of the tracks are hardpack, but they are definitely dry. I think that there’s a happy medium, and we’ve gone to both ends of the spectrum. Last year the tracks were insanely wet and deep. Hopefully they [MX Sports] can find a happy medium.
After finishing third overall at High Point, do you head to Budds Creek with a full head of steam and confidence? Or do you look at High Point as merely another race day?
The goal for me right now is to end up on the podium at the end of the day. Right now I’m trying to get closer to the lead. I’m not honestly sure how much [Ryan] Dungey won by this weekend. It could have been 15 seconds [note: Dungey won the second moto by 27.812 seconds over Weimer]. The goal is to try and start cutting that lead down. It’s a lot to ask for me to go out at the next race and win. At this point I want to shave seconds off his lead.
Is it difficult finding areas where you can make up time?
It’s very hard. Everyone at the front is giving it their all. I don’t want to get beat by 15 seconds. It’s tough. I am the type of rider that picks apart every part of the track. I know the areas that need improving.
Do you believe that there issues with people crossing the track or being too close to you in certain areas around a National track?
No, I don’t believe that it is an issue. Of course no one has any business crossing the track or being on the track when riders are close by. I’ve never encountered any problems in my career.
Do you prefer to live in Florida?
They both have pros and cons. I like Florida better, but I’ve lived in California for so long that it has a little bit of that home feeling. I don’t even really like California, I’m not a huge fan, but I’ve been there for so long that I’m comfortable.
Weimer is probably humming a tune while railing this corner: "In my mind I'm going to sunny Florida..."
Does living in Florida help with your racing?
I think so. It's better! That’s why I am here. I believe that it helps, especially with travel. A lot of the outdoor races are on the East coast, and there’s also the Supercross series. The riding is more consistent in Florida. Sometimes the tracks are pretty good in California, but not always. It’s also nice not having to sit in traffic for a few hours every day, like I have to do in California.
This far into the series, are you making many changes to your bike setup?
No, not very many. We’re still trying things and pushing to progress. Since Hangtown to now there haven’t been any massive changes made to the race bike.
Is there any added pressure of being the only rider right now on the Monster/Kawasaki team?
There is some pressure, but for obvious reasons. I want to do well for the team. Everybody on the team that comes to the race is going specifically for me, which means that it’s especially important to do well. It’s important to do well at every race. I don’t think it’s a bad thing having that pressure.
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: PART 2
Ivan Tedesco isn’t afraid to hang off the side of his Pro Circuit KX250F. Here he sends it off one of the big jumps at Competitive Edge.
MINI-VIEW: MITCH PAYTON
MXA: Blake Baggett has been doing a great job so far in the Nationals. What are your thoughts?
Mitch: Blake has been up at the front in every moto, aside from the second moto last week at High Point. He crashed a couple of times. It’s going to be a really long series in the 250 class. There are four guys that are going really fast. Blake needs to stay on the box every single moto if he can. Consistency is going to be the most important factor.
What about Ivan Tedesco? He was a last-minute addition to the roster.
Ivan is doing a great job. He did very good at Hangtown, but we knew that he wasn’t prepared fitness-wise to push that hard for two motos. He said that he was going to improve his fitness, and he has been. Hopefully if we can get through Budds Creek there is some time off and that will help him a lot. Every week Ivan is pretty tired when he comes off the track. Even so, he’s a great guy for the team. We really like him, and we believe in him.
Broc Tickle looks really good outdoors.
Yes, Broc is starting to put in some good results. He’s also getting some good starts. I think that he can be up at the front battling.
Ivan Tedesco is hiding somewhere in this photo. Maybe he's trying to dodge negative energy from moto message board haters.
You stated that the top four guys in the 250 class are really going fast. Have you been surprised by any of the riders?
Not really. Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac had good Supercross results, so I assumed that they would be ready coming into the outdoors. Their fitness is pretty good. Ken Roczen was the World Champion last year, and so he wants to do the same thing over here in the U.S. Truthfully, the tracks aren’t nearly as rough as last year, and the weather hasn’t been as hot as in years past. Hopefully it will get hotter and the track crews will start ripping the tracks deeper. The tracks this year have been easier and smoother. They weren’t as good as they were last year, because of the track preparation.
What’s the status of Darryn Durham?
I don’t know if he will be able to come back for any Nationals. He had his shoulder operated on, and he’s going to visit the doctor in two weeks to make sure that everything is progressing as it should. Then he will be on a physical therapy program. He might be able to do the last couple rounds, but I’m not sure.
How often do you get calls from riders inquiring about a spot on your team?
I’ve received a ton of phone calls from people asking if I need a fill in rider. It gets pretty gnarly. It’s a hard spot to be in. I want to give riders the opportunity, but there’s a downside to it. The problem is that once the fill-in ride is over they expect me to still help them out. It makes me feel like I’m taking something away from them, and that’s a bummer.
Broc Tickle flies the 450 flag for Mitch. Is this a sign of things to come in 2013?
Are you going to farm an amateur up to the team after Loretta’s?
We’ll see. I’m going to go to Loretta’s and watch. Right now we’re also making plans for next year. It’s too early to say what’s going to happen. I know that a lot of teams have already signed riders for next year. We should have made some moves a little bit quicker, but we weren’t able to move on a couple of guys right off the bat. We’re starting to do things right now, but we still want to hold an open spot for a little bit later in the year. That’s where a Loretta’s rider could fit in, or possibly someone else.
Would you be interested in fielding a 450 team next year?
It’s going to depend on money. We would need to raise money in order to field a larger 450 team, and Kawasaki would also need to give their support. Everyone wants to do more and more, but the manufacturers are still selling 50 percent less motorcycles than they were a few years ago. If everyone expanded their program then it would be great for the sport, but I don’t think the manufacturers can keep handing out parts. One of these days they must get to where they can break even or make a profit.
THE PAST TWO WEEKS: LIFE’S A BLUR
There are perks to any job. Free coffee. Hawaiian shirt Fridays. Jelly of the month club. No matter what it is, smart employers find ways to make their worker bees happy. I am not exempt from this. I, too, enjoy the fruits of labor. Where my job differs is that my bosses could call me terrible names or kick me in the shins and I would still be happy. Why? Because my job rules! Better yet, things have really been looking up lately. Take the past two weeks, for example.
Two weeks ago I was flown in a helicopter from near Honda headquarters up to Zaca Station to try out the all-new 2013 Honda CRF450. As we carved around the Malibu hills and shot over the Montecito estates I had to pinch myself to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming. If you haven’t seen the video from my time on the ‘13 CRF450, watch below:
Last week Kawasaki flew me halfway across the country to Rochester, Minnesota. Why? They rented the Spring Creek National track for two days of riding on the 2013 KX250F. I was happier than a pig covered in slop. Dennis Stapleton and I put ten hours of ride time on the KX250F before jetting away. To see a video of Dennis riding the famed Millville track take a look here:
Then, just yesterday, I drove out to Competitive Edge (no airliner or helicopter this time). The goal was to test ride Ryan Villopoto’s unused defending National title Kawasaki KX450F. Mission accomplished! If I’m stuck inside a cubicle for the next month I’ll still be pumped. I ride dirt bikes for a living!
WORKS CONNECTION OFFERING TRACKSIDE SUPPORT AT MAMMOTH
Works Connection Trackside Support available at the 2012 Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross Championship
Works Connection, in conjunction with Dave Dye of Total Performance, will be on vendor row at the 2012 Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross Championship June 22nd through July 1st. Dave will offer technical support and have Works Connection product available as well. Be sure and grab a 2012 Works Connection Catalog and some decals while you’re there.
June 22-July 1- Monster Energy Mammoth Motocross Championship
MINI-VIEW: DARYL ECKLUND
Perhaps you don’t recognize the name, but you’ve seen Daryl Ecklund many times while flipping through an issue of MXA. Daryl has been one of our premiere photo riders for many years, helping test every conceivable bike under the sun. Known for his flashy style and ability to diagnose bike setup, Ecklund has also stepped into a new role. After graduating from college with a double major, Daryl is training several high-profile offroad racers. I sat down with Daryl yesterday before he threw a leg over Ryan Villopoto’s KX450F.
Daryl gets comfortable on Ryan Villopoto's KX450F.
MXA: Daryl, what is Pursuit In Action?
Daryl: Pursuit In Action is a company that I recently started. I focus on fitness and training, offering my knowledge and expertise to motocross and offroad racers. In future years I’d like to branch out into other sports, but right now I’m focusing on what I know best. I have a reasonably large group of riders that I help right now, and it’s always growing. That’s pretty exciting to me.
You went to school and earned your college degree in nutrition, correct?
Yes, I went to school and got my health and fitness degree. I also earned my personal training degree. The goal was to understand as much as I possibly could and then apply it to motocross.
You’re working with quite a few big-name riders. Who’s on your client list?
Right now I’m working with Kurt Caselli, Ty Hames, Kyle Redmond, Johnny Walker, and several other riders. Right now I’m working mostly with offroad racers, but I’d like to get into the Supercross and motocross scene more.
Some people might not realize that you were a Pro racer at one point.
Yes, I raced Supercross for a few years, and I also did several Nationals. Unfortunately I was plagued with injuries, so I decided to pursue a different career path. I had always been interested in health and fitness, especially when I raced, so it was natural for me to follow that career path.
You and Kurt Caselli are really good friends.
Yeah, we grew up together. He was part of the driving force for me going to college, because I wanted to help him train. I live with Kurt, and we work one-on-one with riding technique and training.
At someone like Kurt’s level is it difficult to find the chinks in his armor?
It’s really difficult! The better rider you are the harder it is to find flaws. We’re always pushing forward, though. You can never get to the point on a dirt bike where you ride perfectly. You can always learn something new and improve in ways that you might have overlooked.
If you work with Daryl Ecklund then you, too, could learn to whip like this.
Can you offer a piece of advice to anyone who rides?
A big thing is that with my fitness background I’ve learned that riders need to be more flexible. That will allow them to have better technique and ride safely. Most people focus on general technique and not as much on safety and control. Flexibility will also help prevent injury in the event of a crash. When you ride a dirt bike all of the time your body gets beat up. Muscles get shorter and tighter, which will affect your posture and stabilization. I tell people that if they stretch on a regular basis then they will maintain where they are at. You really need to put a lot of focus on stretching to find improvement. It’s tough, but it matters.
What’s it like being an MXA test rider?
It’s a sweet opportunity! About five years ago I was really riding a lot for you guys, but then I went to college. I’m back again helping out whenever I can. It’s awesome. I can’t explain how much fun it is going out on someone else’s bike and riding it. You don’t have to worry about breaking it or anything. I get to hit corners and do whips off jumps for the camera and get published in the magazine. I can’t explain how much I look forward to the days when I’m testing for MXA.
Today is a truly special day, because you’re going to test ride Ryan Villopoto’s Monster Energy Kawasaki KX450F. Is this the crowning moment of your testing career?
I’ll say that there’s one other bike that really stands out to me, and that was Villopoto’s Motocross des Nations bike that I was able to test a few years ago. When I rode Villopoto’s KX250F I had just received my race bike for the Nationals. After I rode Ryan’s KX250F I thought that my race bike was a joke. I wondered why I should even try to compete with a bike like that. It was unbelievable!
Do you offer your training services to the average rider?
Of course! Right now I’m working with a lot of younger and beginning level riders. I’m trying to help these kids ride safe and help them realize what they’re doing on a bike. I believe that I can help any skill level rider, from Kurt Caselli on down to a beginner.
What’s the best way to get in touch with you?
I’m working on a new website right now, at www.pursuitinaction.com. I can also be reached by email at email@example.com, or by phone at (661) 733-5455.
THE DIRT SERIES: ROUND 3 AT PALA
MEET NATIONAL NUMBER 60: MATT LEMOINE
ALL-ELECTRIC MOTOCROSS PARK TO OPEN IN LAS VEGAS
Electricity and Las Vegas are all part of the glitz.
Thanks to popularity of companiesl like Brammo and Zero Motorcycles, the idea of electric motocross bikes is growing. Hollywood Electrics, a Los Angeles-based electric bike retailer, is expanding its operations to include an all-electric motocross park off the Las Vegas strip.
Hollywood EMX, as the motocross park will be called, will offer a full range of Zero Motorcycles for rental to everyone from novices to professionals. They will also rent protective equipment and headgear for enjoying the 32-acre motocross park. Hollywood EMX will also take the action off-campus as well, offering guided tours of the nearby desert on their all-electric motorcycles. With up to 114 miles of city range (which drops to 63 miles at highway speeds), the Zero ZF9 will allow rather deep excursions into the Nevada desert. Just don’t run out of juice; it’s a long walk back. For more info go to www.hollywoodemx.com
SEE IT NOW! HANGIN’ OUT WITH BLAKE WHARTON & BRENT MYRON AT THE FREESTONE 250 NATIONAL
2012 CMRC CANADIAN NATIONALS MOTOCROSS SERIES - NANAIMO
LAST DOG STANDING ON SATURDAY, JUNE 16, AT GLEN HELEN...IS IT AMERICA’S TOUGHEST OFFROAD RACE?
For more info go to www.prairiedogsmc.com
TAKE A LAP OF BUDDS CREEK WITH THE GREEN ARROW...IF WE'RE NOT MISTAKEN HE'S QUITE A BIT FASTER THAN LAST YEAR'S CHAMPION, THE RED ARROW