Motocross is a simple sport that is made complex for no other reason than human nature finds meaning in confusion. Thus, silly season is all about being mystified by the simple process of a rider signing a deal to race for a team. In the end it doesn’t matter who signs with whom...until January. But, team managers, riders, agents, blowhards and fans like to be befuddled. They like to make simple decisions hard. Here are some silly season rumors. Some are true, some are half-true and some may turn out to be just rumors (imagine that). You be the judge..take unti January 5, 2013, before rendering your verdict.
It should be noted that Bubba won 17 Supercrosses on the Yamaha YZ450F between 2009 and quitting Yamaha in 2012. He didn’t win any 450 National because he only race one National (Unadilla in 2010 on a Yamaha). One-third of those wins came on the backwards-engine YZ450F. He left Yamaha in a huff because he said he didn’t like the YZ450F and, in support, his horde of fans and enemies bad mouthed the bike as the cause of all of his crashes.
Guess what? James has raced the Suzuki RM-Z450 a grand total of six times (Hangtown, Freestone, Colorado, Mt. Morris, Red Bud and Unadilla) and has won twice (Hangtown and Freestone), been injured twice (Colorado and Unadilla), crashed a bunch (including twice at Unadilla) and lost a Championship that he could have won. Is it the bike or is it Memorex?
Ask yourself this–Is it the Suzuki? Was it the Yamaha? What about the Kawasaki that he made “Crash and Burn” video compilations on. We’ll have to wait until 2013 to find out. With Brett Metcalfe injured and on the downside of his career, Stewie could be going it alone at Team Suzuki in 2013. You gotta wonder how smart it is for a team to bank its whole season on a single rider who crashes more than Joie Chitwood.
Justin is caught in the “Twilight Zone.” He left JGR Yamaha, where he was happy (with North Carolina and the bike) and took his Muscle Milk deal and went to Team Honda. Honda then signed Muscle Milk to a couple year deal (with or without Brayton). Brayton rode injured in 2012. He was beat up more than broken, but he rarely performed at his best and that hurt his chances of staying at Team Honda, especially because they were committed to signing Justin Barcia and decided to give Trey Canard a two-year deal last week.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, not even at Honda, and Brayton became the odd-man-out at Honda (although if Justin had done better or someone special came along–Honda would shake the tree a little harder). Luckily, Brayton didn’t burn any bridges and can, and most likely will, return to JGR and North Carolina (where he owns home). With Davi Millsaps leaving for the satelite Rockstar Suzuki team, JGR is looking for talent.
Broc Tickle got to race for Pro Circuit on a KX450F because he had a year to go on his 250 contract, but got bumped out of the 250 Supercross class when he won the title at the last round in 2011. Pro Circuit wasn’t expecting Broc to point out of the 250 class, but they had 450 equipment ready, so they supported him in 2012. They had no plans to support him in 2013. Luckily, Broc got better as the 450 Nationals progressed (with the caveat about the number of injured riders) and looks like he will be going to the all-new Hart & Huntington/Carmichael Suzuki team in 2013.
As reported a long time ago, Dean Wilson is going to Jeff Ward Racing, but their oft rumored casino sponsor has been on-again and off-again. Where they stand on sponsorship will determine who else they sign (or keep). But, Christophe Pourcel is no longer on their radar.
The CIA should hire Christophe Pourcel to keep secrets for them because where he is going is always a mystery. In 2011 Pourcel tested with a bunch of teams before finally taking the best money deal from Moto Concepts...where he hated the bike and pulled off whenever the AMA left a gate open. Then, he abruptly quit and went back to Europe to race the GPs for Kawasaki in 2012. Now, he wants to come back to the USA. Word on the street is that he wants to return to Yamaha because he really liked Valli’s version of the YZ450F (although they low-balled him on the contract offer back in 2011, so he went for more dough on a bike he didn’t like–thinking they could make it better once he got there).
Insiders say that Yamaha, which doesn’t have a factory team anymore, but does have race personnel that help their satellite teams has been asking Valli for the settings they used when Pourcel tested with them. Pourcel is a mystery man. He could stay in Europe. He could return to the USA. He could ride for Valli. He could go road racing (no, wait, that was Jean-Michel Bayle). He could...do a lot of things, but only he knows the code.