By John Basher
PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Flag of the MXDN-winning team this weekend. ‘Nuff said.
MINI-VIEW: ADAM CIANCIARULO
Nearly 16 years old (it’s hard to believe that he’s still not old enough to drive), Adam Cianciarulo has long been touted as the next big thing. After watching Adam absolutely obliterate the competition in the Intermediate class (he lapped me twice), as well as the Pro field, it’s not hard to realize that Cianciarulo is legit. What’s mind boggling is that this weekend at Glen Helen’s REM race was his first on a 250 four-stroke. He looked right at home on the Pro Circuit-built KX250F. His first big amateur race will come in less than a month at the Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas. I’m not betting against the friendly and likable kid. I caught up with him after he smoked the field on Saturday.
MXA: What brought you out to REM?
Adam: This was actually my first race on the 250. We’re out in California right now for the main reason of getting testing done on the 250. I just started riding it a lot after Loretta’s, and a month ago we came out to California. I’m getting ready for Monster Energy Cup and I’m getting some Supercross riding in. I’m also trying to get some gate drops in and get experience off the gate. This past weekend was the first time that I started on a 250.
How would you rate your first race on the 250?
For one, I love the 250F. I’ve loved it since the first day that I rode it. I’ve liked it more than my Supermini and any other bike I’ve ever ridden. As far as racing, it went as well as I expected. We start on concrete at REM, and I hadn’t done many practice starts on the 250 before then. I was able to get the holeshots, which was good. I also like the track. It got really rough and there are long motos. I was able to race four motos.
Has it been a big adjustment jumping to the 250F?
It’s definitely a jump. I had to change certain things about my riding style. I also had to get a lot stronger in order to handle the bike. Really, it has been a lot smoother transition than I thought it would be. I figured that it was going to be harder than it really was. Fortunately I felt comfortable on the bike right away. Since coming out to California and testing with Bones at Pro Circuit, we’re getting the suspension really good. I’ve had a good time riding the bike on a Supercross track, as well. I don’t have any complaints.
I’ve tested with Bones Bacon several times, and he’s known for long test sessions. Do you like staying out at the track all day testing?
Oh yeah! The first time I tested with him was when I was 11 or 12 and I was riding an 85. I think that I stayed out testing with him until 7:00 p.m. at Competitive Edge. The sun was going down, the track was dusty and rough, and there wasn’t anyone else there [laughter]. Actually I’ve always liked testing. I like being able to think about what the bike is doing and being able to give Bones feedback. He’s super good at taking my feedback and getting the suspension dialed right away. It’s cool to have a guy like that.
Recently there were some photos released of you riding with Travis Pastrana. What was going on there?
The first day I got out to California we went straight to Jeremy McGrath’s compound for a DC Shoes photo shoot. The place is in the middle of nowhere and he has 700 acres. He was nice enough to let us come down there. Nate Adams, Robbie Maddison, Carson Mumford, Travis Pastrana, Jeremy McGrath and I were riding. I did some riding with Pastrana, and I hadn’t done that in a few years. The last time we rode together was in 2008. We were riding some trails and I didn’t want to go up this big hill. So he hops on my bike, rides it up the hill, and does a backflip at the top.
Pastrana is a nut!
Yeah, the day we rode together recently he was whipping his bike into my front tire on a couple occasions. It was a little scary. He’s a cool guy though and it was a fun thing.
You’re doing the Monster Energy Cup again?
Yes. I won last year, and this year they’re going to have the Amateur All-Stars, with an A class and a B class. Right now I’m in the B class because I haven’t raced a 250 in that type of setting. We’re jumping right into it. There are some of the fastest amateur riders in the world. I know that there will be a couple of guys from Australia, as well as Venezuela, and other countries. It’s going to be stacked. I know that starts are going to be super important. If you get a last place start then it’s going to be hard to even pass the guy in front of you. I really just want to be in the battle and be up front. It’s going to be a learning experience. I’ll learn as I go and do everything in my power to make it turn out my way.
Have you been riding a lot of Supercross?
I’ve been putting time in. Pro Circuit has one at Glen Helen that I’ve been practicing on. I’ve had a day of testing and two days of riding. It’s going really well, and I like Supercross. I’d like to ride some different Supercross tracks and keep learning. I’m just living the dream out here in California!
MXA’S 250 FOUR-STROKE SHOOTOUT VIDEO
MXDN: WHO’S GOING TO WIN?
Everyone will be gunning for this guy this weekend–Jeffrey Herlings. Photo: Massimo Zanzani
It’s hard to bet against Team USA. And I’m not saying that because I’m overly patriotic. I don’t drive a big truck with an American flag waving in the breeze, nor do I have a bumper sticker that says, “USA: These Colors Don’t Run.” I am, however, realistic. Team USA is stacked with talent. There’s no denying that. Ryan Dungey should dismantle the best that Europe has to offer. He has spent a lot of time in the sand. More importantly, he’s consistently reliable (as well as reliably consistent). I don’t see him losing to Antonio Cairoli, Clement Desalle, Max Nagl or anyone else in the MX1 overall.
Blake Baggett has a year of experience racing the Motocross des Nations. He’s been in the pressure cooker, and he has survived. He’ll readily admit that last year’s Sunday showing could have gone better, but he learned what it takes to bring the Chamberlain Trophy home again. Do I think that he will win his individual overall? It’s possible. I fear that every rider, Dungey included, will have trouble keeping the Netherlands’ Jeffrey Herlings in sight. Never before have I heard so much pre-race hype about a rider that could potentially put a serious hurting on the rest of the field. Herlings and Lommel go together like peas and carrots.
Wild child Justin Barcia is the wild card. He doesn’t have any previous MXDN experience, nor has he raced on a 450 all year. Does this mean that I think he will struggle? Heck no! He’s Justin Barcia! I predict that he’ll put on a great show. Paint will be traded. Tempers might flare. And when all is said and done, Team USA will win. I predict that the hometown team, Belgium, will finish second with Clement Desalle, Jeremy van Horebeek and Ken de Dycker. Third is too close to call, but I’ll go with Germany (Max Nagl, Ken Roczen and Marcus Schiffer).
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ASHLEY FIOLEK SIGHTING: TV STAR IN THE MAKING
Ashley has acting chops.
There are many joys of being married to my wife. Having said that, one of them is certainly NOT getting sucked in to watching some of her favorite television shows. Lately she has fallen victim to the ABC Family vortex, and what drivel most of it is. Pretty Little Liars and The Lying Game...dreadfully terrible shows. I’d almost rather tear out my eyes get all Van Gogh on my ears instead of being exposed to such nonsense.
On Monday night I was a model husband (like I always am). Although Monday Night Football was on, I handed over the TV controller to my pregnant wife. Football went off and Switched at Birth came on. I began to quickly lose interest. Then, out of nowhere, four-time WMA Champion Ashley Fiolek was on screen. What! In a show about two teenage girls that were switched at birth, one of the main characters plays a deaf aspiring chef. I could go on and on about the show (sadly most of the details are burned into my cerebral cortex), but suffice it to say that Fiolek did a great job playing a motocross racer. I expect that she will be on the show at least a few more times, and hopefully Ashley can spray dirt in Bay's face, because that girl is terrible at acting. Wow, I can’t believe I actually just wrote that...
MONSTER ENERGY CUP LIVE ON SPEED
Feld Motor Sports announced that SPEED will broadcast the second annual Monster Energy Cup live from Las Vegas’ Sam Boyd Stadium on October 20 at 7:00 p.m. PST.
SPEED will deliver 3.5 hours of live television coverage to the fans at home. Host Ralph Sheheen, a 24-year veteran motorsports broadcaster, and color analyst Jeff Emig, a three-time AMA Champion, will man the booth along with special guest Ricky Carmichael, a 15-time AMA National Champion, and pit reporter Erin Bates will capture all of the behind-the-scenes action.
“Ryan Villopoto turned the Monster Energy Cup into an instant classic when he swept the Main Events to pocket $1 million in last year’s inaugural event on SPEED,” said network President Scott Ackerson. “Any time you’re talking about that kind of money, that kind of energy and that kind of action, it makes for a fantastic program for the SPEED audience.”
“With an expected packed house at Sam Boyd Stadium for the live event, fans from around the world will be able to watch this epic battle unfold live on SPEED,” said Ken Hudgens, COO, Feld Motor Sports. “This year’s starting gate will be stacked full of the top Supercross and Supercross Lites Class riders.”
The 2012 Monster Energy Cup features an all-new track design inspired by five-time Supercross Class Champion Ricky Carmichael. The Carmichael-inspired track design will consist of supercross and motocross obstacles unlike any other racetrack design in the world. New to this year’s track will be a 200’ banked sweeping turn that will be built in the stands, two 11 rider starting gates split by 220’ before they converge at the apex of the 300’ start straight and the joker lane that riders will have to race through at least once during laps 2-10. After racing through these sections of the track, fans will be treated to equally exciting racing lanes that are built into the Monster Energy Fan Zone, which is located outside of the stadium. The Monster Energy Cup posts a $250,000 purse with the winner walking away with a $100,000 check, and any rider that wins all three Main Events will take home $1 million.
HOBO NICK IS ALMOST ACROSS THE COUNTRY!
Nick isn't scared of anything...except sprinklers and coyotes.
In the October issue of MXA I wrote about Nick Kleckner in my “Basher’s Space” column. Nick, known as @hobo_nick in Twitter circles, wasn’t happy with his life. He made the decision to walk across the country, beginning on the coast of Florida and ending up in California. He has been walking for 174 days now and he will reach his destination on Saturday. I had the pleasure of speaking with Nick while he was in Texas, and he seems like a really cool guy. What he’s doing is inspiring. To hear more about his story, pick up the October issue of MXA. At the very least follow Nick on Twitter (again, it’s @hobo_nick). The stories he tells are something else.
STAPLETON TRAVELS THE WORLD
MXA’s Dennis Stapleton is at it again, traveling around the globe and staying entrenched in motocross. This past weekend he was at the Danish National. Although he didn’t race, he acted as spectator and built up relationships with many new people. He sent me an email yesterday, along with photos, from the Danish race. Here they are:
In the purple Fox gear is Kasper Lynggaard. He got 2nd in MX1 and got the final spot for the MXDN Denmark team.
Rasmus Jorgensen has the MX2 number one plate for 2013. After being plagued with injures and his dad passing away, it was a hard fight to get to the top.
In the Shift gear is Stefan Kjer Olsen, last year’s MX2 champ. He just won the MX1 championship in his first year.
MORE STAPLETON NEWS: 80cc RACING?!
I also received this email from Dennis:
“Here are some photos for the race that I did on a TM144 bike with a 80cc motor in the chassis. There were 160 bikes on the track at one time. Most bikes are old 250F bikes that have blown up, and they have rigged all kinds of 80cc motors in the frames. TM offers the bike I rode from the factory. The photos were given to me by Marianne Kjaer Jensen. It was an awesome time!
Two-strokes. A grass track. Denmark. Yesssss!
That's our pride and joy, Dennis Stapleton. We're not sure why he's not wearing the orange MXA helmet. He will receive ten lashings with a wet noodle once he returns to SoCal for his wrongdoing.
MONSTER ENERGY SPOTLIGHTS 44TH U.S. NATIONAL SPEEDWAY CHAMPIONSHIP
American Speedway racing hosted perhaps its biggest night in history on Saturday as the 44th Annual Monster Energy U.S. National Speedway Championship provided a captivating evening of competition in front of a packed house at Costa Mesa Speedway. At the conclusion of 26 races, it was a familiar name standing in the winner’s circle as Monster Energy athlete Billy Hamill took home his third win at the iconic event.
The atmosphere at Costa Mesa Speedway was electric as thousands of raucous fans cheered on the riders all night long. The iconic green claw of Monster Energy was a focal point throughout the facility, as the company’s title sponsorship of the annual event resulted in the biggest purse ever for the U.S. National Speedway Championship – $11,000.
Once the action was underway, there was an onslaught of heat races to determine who would run for the money in the Main Event. A total of 20 points-paying heats were ran every four minutes, and with only four laps to get the job done, mistakes and errors in judgment could make or break any rider’s hopes. Only three riders would emerge from the heat races, with a fourth and final rider earning a spot in the LCQ.
Hamill calls Costa Mesa Speedway his home track. Hailing from nearby Carlsbad, he was a crowd favorite and looked to set the tone for a drama-free night in his opening heat. However, misfortune struck as a bike malfunction sent Hamill to the pits and forced him to come-from-behind all night long.
In addition to the country’s fastest pro riders, the U.S. National Speedway Championship was an opportunity to showcase the bright future of the sport, including newly-crowned Junior National Champion Broc Nicol. Junior races filled out the night with competition that featured PW 50’s, 140cc bikes, and 250cc bikes. The all-out style of these up-and-coming riders brought the crowd to its feet, especially when Kurtis Hamill, son of Billy Hamill, captured his first win at Costa Mesa Speedway.
The Monster Energy Sampling Station was filled to capacity all evening long, providing fans with a chance to taste the latest flavors of Monster Energy Drink, as well as traditional favorites. Stationed right outside Turn 4, it was also one of the best spots to watch the action.
While his night started off about as bad as possible, Hamill rebounded to show the true grit and determination of a champion. He went on to win his remaining heat races and despite coming up short in his bid for a guaranteed spot in the Main Event, Hamill won the LCQ to reserve the fourth and final transfer position. In the Main Event, Hamill positioned himself behind reigning back-to-back U.S. National Speedway Championship winner Billy Janniro, who secured the number one seed following the heat races. On Lap 2, Janniro experienced similar bike problems as Hamill coming out of Turn 2 with a chain derailment, which allowed Hamill to slip by and stay out front for the final two laps to claim his third U.S. National Speedway Championship victory.
“Breaking down in the lead (in the first heat) was pretty devastating,” said Hamill. “We had to go out there, regroup, and keep a cool head. I was able to win the remainder of the heats and then I got into a runoff for the last spot. I thought I could do it and I felt good, but then I just got blindsided there. I had to really pick myself up after that, but I just never threw the towel in. Seeing my kid win his first heat at Costa Mesa gave me a little boost, because I wanted to share the moment with him.
“We were unlucky at the beginning of the night (and) Janniro was running a real defensive line because he thought I was coming up the inside, and I was there. His chain came off and I don’t know how I avoided him. I don’t know what they call that, poetic justice or something like that, but we’ll take it.”
“The 44th Annual U.S. National Speedway Championship has a ton of credibility unto itself, and you only get that with decades of tradition,” explained Costa Mesa Speedway Owner Brad Oxley. “(However) having Monster on board, with the purse, the excitement it generated, and everything else that came with that just really takes the sport to the next level. This is the most exciting, colorful, and unpredictable live action show there is. The fans are hardcore race fans and have been loyal to us for years, and tonight we introduced new eyes to the sport. We put a new face on it (with Monster Energy), and when you put together the level of competition we had tonight, along with the (juniors), it just really bodes well for our future. Monster Energy being involved really gives us a chance to expose it, draw the kind of crowd, and pay the kind of purse that gives the sport the kind of recognition it deserves. I‘m really proud tonight because it means we got there.”
“We’re lucky to have Monster involved with American Speedway,” added Hamill. “They’re at the top echelon with (World) Speedway Grand Prix, and now they’re recognizing the sport in California. Speedway in California is really going up with the support of Monster and we’ve got a lot of good things going, so I see a bright future for American Speedway.”
44th Annual Monster Energy U.S. National Speedway Championships Main Event Results
1. Billy Hamill
2. Jimmy Fishback
3. Bryan Yarrow
4. Billy Janniro