PHOTO OF THE WEEK
I chose this photo for several reasons. (1) That's the 2014 Husqvarna TC250 two-stroke. (2) We're testing it for the next issue. (3) I know you probably like two-strokes. (4) If not, then you should. (5) I took the photo (gotta fluff my feathers a bit). (6) I'd like to ask you if you think he saved this jump or whether he crashed. (7) Did I mention it's an all-new bike and MXA is the only magazine to test it this early? (8) No, Daryl Ecklund didn't save it. We laughed about it afterward though.
"THREE" VIDEO SNEAK PEAK
MINI-VIEW: ANDRE VILLA
A Soul Brother Looking Up and Looking Out
By Eric Johnson
“What you do for yourself dies with you, but what you do for others will live forever.”
Having leaped right out of the small town of Vaagaa, FMX ace Andre Villa had a dream and the dream was to go big–no matter what was in his way. Having been told that he was too tall for motocross and that his great white north homeland way too far off the grid for the bright lights/big city glitz and glam FMX, Villa cast those thoughts like a dirty Tearoff, fired his bike and pinned it right on through it all, literally.
Having nailed down and walked off with candy-coated medals and trophies throughout the X Games, the X Fighters and the X Pilots–amongst hundreds of other countless contests around the world–Villa has held on tightly to his dreams. One of the “dreams” Villa holds near and dear to his heart is inspiring the youth that look up (literally and figuratively) and aspire to reach for the cobalt blue skies and be like him. Steadfast to this role model position he’s been able to manifest from countless blessings that tossing a 225-pound, 50 horsepower motocross bike has provided him, Andre has made it his own “mission control” several times to go above and beyond to help the youth from his hometown.
Furthermore, Villa created the Eigo Sato fund which has raised over $80,000 to help the fallen warrior support his family in the absence of his untimely passing. And then there is the man’s latest philanthropic move: Opening a skate park appropriately named “Villa Park” for the youth in his hometown of Norway.
On opening day of Villa Park, Monster Energy sought out Andre “I wear my heart on my jersey sleeve” Villa to dig a little deeper and learn more about where his drive and inspiration came from.
MXA: Okay brother, just when was the grand opening?
Andre: On June 9th, 2013.
What’s the name of the skate park?
Well the city council decided to call it the “Villa Park.”
Is it considered your skate park or did you just help put it all together?
No, it is not my private park. However it was my idea and my actions that made it come together.
So just how did the grand opening of “Villa Park” play out?
The city council in my hometown had been asking me for an FMX show for many years now. As you might know and FMX show costs tens of thousands of dollars and I knew the chances for it to happen were slim. I told them we could make a day for the kids that would never be forgotten and could be the start of something great. If the council managed to get the money to build this park, I was going to come with my FMX set-up and ride for free with a few of my boys. And so it was. With some financial support from the government and the city council's engagement we got the park built with skateboard elements from Germany and four BMX dirt-lines. 2,000 people came to the event and the vibe was really amazing. The village has only 4,000 people! Monster made a lot of kids happy with free BMX bikes and the best Norwegian skateboarders and BMX riders came out and showed the kids just how it was done.
What inspired you to do this?
I see so many people, such as celebrities or athletes, who have the power and influence to change and inspire big groups of people but yet they don’t do it. That has always surprised me. I think that independent sports such as, for example, skateboarding and BMX are highly underprioritized on a global stage. Team sports such as basketball, baseball and football are very important but there is a big percentage of kids that fall outside these sports which often results in an identity search where they do not feel they belong to any environment. Not belonging weakens the self-esteem and insecurity arises as we know. That state of mind on such a young age can haunt a man for life. My inspiration was to help, because I could. I wanted to help the kids find a hobby or a passion, or even a potential career, and make new friends and develop an identity.
What is it about non-team sports that you think is so important for the youth?
What is so great about independent sports such as FMX, skating, etc., is that you can be as competitive as you want. Most of the time you are competing against yourself and nobody will point the finger at you. And if you are the ambitious one, it is only up to you and your two hundred dollar skateboard or BMX bike to see how far you can go. There is never any reason why you shouldn’t believe you can become whoever you want be no matter what body shape you have or which location you live in.
Wow. Very cool, Andre. So were you, as a young man, feeling like these kids who find themselves “outside the line” as you call it?
That was the message I gave the kids that came that day: that they could be anything they wanted to be–despite what the naysayers say! My story is similar, I was reckoned too tall for FMX and I grew up in a small village in the mountains of Norway. I was a little boy with big dreams. The message is: Never be scared of dreaming too big.
Did you have someone that you looked up to in your youth that had the influence on you that you have now on the people that look up to you?
I’m not sure really. I come from a generous family that likes to help people.
It might be my very selfish life as an individual sport athlete that makes me do stuff like this.
Is there a responsibility that comes with being a role model and as someone these kids hope to grow up to be like you?
I think there comes a great responsibility to do good when so many kids look up to you and you actually can make a difference.
The expression “What you do for yourself dies with you but what you do for others will live forever,” has really stuck with me.
At this stage of my life it is only so much I can do but I hope I get the chance to do more stuff like this in the future.
You also were talking about growing it and making it better next year. Tell me about that?
This was a free event for the public and I wanted it to be that way. This day was about giving. But I also encouraged the public that came out to make a donation to the new skate and BMX club. And we received a good chunk of money which will be used to set up lights as well as a storage area where the kids can try out before they go out and buy their own equipment. I’m planning to hold a small contest there next year to keep the interest up and to give the kids some goals. The place is full of kids every day!
I assume that it’s a seasonal park with the Norwegian weather?
Definitely! It can be utilized from April right on through late October. During the winter, the kids can then go to my dad’s ski resort! There is no reason to passive in my hometown. I feel very privileged to grow up there having nature as my playground and it definitely set the foundation for my athletic career.
Right on, AV. And just how does it make you feel being able to give back to kids who, well, look up to you?
VIDEO: DESTIN CANTRELL'S ROAD TO MONSTER CUP
Make sure to check out his massive whips!
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: RIDE ENGINEERING 2014 YAMAHA ONE-PIECE BAR MOUNTS
Press release: The 2014 YZ450 & 250F come with Rubber Mounted Triple Clamps for the first time since these models were introduced. It's a great added feature that reduces vibration and lessens hand fatigue. The only drawback is when you crash, your bars twist to the side in the stock two-piece mounts. Ride's newest bar mount (YZ-BBM00-CA) greatly reduces this problem by using eight pinch bolts and a strong one-piece bridge design. Furthermore in the event of a hard crash, the machined stainless steel posts can be unscrewed and replaced for $14.95. Ride Engineering has similar fourth generation bar mounts for Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and KTM. These bar mounts are not just stronger than the stock ones, but the machining detail keeps the aluminum only in the critical areas ensuring that NO weight is gained! We even machine little windows on top so the handlebar alignment marks can be used. For more information please visit www.ride-engineering.com.
BAD NEWS: TREY CANARD TO MISS SOME RACING DUE TO BROKEN ARM
Team Honda Muscle Milk’s Trey Canard was involved in a crash during practice over the Thanksgiving weekend while preparing for the 2014 Supercross season, sustaining a broken arm. Canard underwent successful surgery on Tuesday December 3, and will begin rehabilitation in preparation for the 2014 Supercross season. Canard had a successful 2013 season, highlighted by his sixth-place overall finish in the Supercross series and fourth overall in the Motocross standings.
“Of course we are disappointed that Trey will miss the opening rounds of the 2014 SX season,” said Director of Racing, Ray Conway. “He has been going really fast at all our pre-season test sessions. We all know how hard Trey will work to get back as soon as he can, and the whole team can’t wait for his return.”
TRAVIS IS BACK ON A BIKE!
Press release: Millions of action sports lovers across North America will be excited to hear that Nitro Circus founder and the world’s greatest action sports star, Travis Pastrana, has made his highly anticipated return to freestyle motocross and the upcoming North American Nitro Circus Live Tour.
“I am really pumped to be getting back on a dirt bike after three years,” said Pastrana. “I’ve had a rough time with injuries over the past few years and I have challenged myself in different disciplines, but freestyle motocross has always been my true passion. Nothing gets close to the energy generated by fans at a Nitro Circus Live event. I’m stoked to be riding and excited for the first-ever North American tour!”
Travis took over the FMX scene at just 15, competing in the 1999 X Games and winning gold in FMX freestyle, sending a shockwave through the entire extreme sports community. Pastrana continued his gold medal streak, taking home seven gold medals over the next 11 years. In 2006, Pastrana landed the impossiblethe first-ever double backflip on a motorcycle, a stunt that still to this day is the most dangerous trick performed in action sports.
After three years away from the sport due to a number of serious injuries and NASCAR commitments throughout 2012 and 2013, Pastrana will ride FMX at every stop in the upcoming inaugural 2014 North American Tour in January. This is the first time fans in the U.S. will have the opportunity to experience Pastrana riding his dirtbike since his attempt to perform a 720 at X Games LA in 2011.
2014 NORTH AMERICAN NITRO CIRCUS SCHEDULE
Tickets are available now at www.nitrocircuslive.com
January 3........Hamilton, ON......Copps Coliseum
January 5........Boston, MA......TD Garden
January 8........New York, NY......Madison Square Garden
January 9........Philadelphia, PA......Wells Fargo Center
January 11......Cleveland, OH......Wolstein Center
January 12......Detroit, MI......Palace Of Auburn Hills
January 14......Minneapolis, MN......Target Center
January 17......Salt Lake City, UT......Energy Solutions Arena
January 19......Fresno, CA......Save Mart Center
January 22......San Jose, CA......HP Pavilion
January 24......Glendale, AZ......Jobing.com Arena
January 25......Las Vegas, NV......MGM Grand Garden Arena
January 26......Anaheim, CA......Honda Center
COBRA DEMO DAYS: A CHANCE FOR JUNIOR TO TEST RIDE A NEW COBRA MINICYCLE
WHAT WE'RE UP TO THIS WEEK
It has been a busy week for the MXA wrecking crew, wrought with many perilous journeys on jam-packed SoCal highways, windy tracks, and worst of all, forays into changing an eight-month-old's dirty diapers (he's eating meat now folks). There's never a dull moment for us. Below is a photographic representation of our week thus far and what we have coming up. Here it's the offseason and we're up to our goggles in testing. Go figure.
Daryl Ecklund in the Day In The Dirt Pro Two-Stroke race.
On Saturday Daryl Ecklund, Dan Alamangos, Mark Hall, John Perry and I took part in the annual Day In The Dirt. It's a very cool event that draws the Hollywood crowd and brings together the motocross community. Held at Glen Helen, the course layout was exciting. Lap times were around five minutes long for the fastest of the fast (think Josh Grant, Cole Seely, Sean Collier, Daryl Ecklund, Ivan Ramirez and Shane McElrath). There were two pavement sections, along with the Glen Helen track and REM circuit. Jumps, bumps and ruts littered the place, making for close racing and challenging terrain.
I have to give it up to race organizer, Kenny Alexander, for putting on a great program. He's always so welcoming to the MXA gang and we appreciate what he does. If you haven't raced Day In The Dirt then I strongly recommend you mark it on your calendar for next year. Remember, it's the weekend following Thanksgiving. Don't forget it.
I'd also like to stroke the ego of Troy Lee, Sheri Ridenour and the entire TLD staff. They hooked me up with a set of gear and an official DITD TLD SE3 lid with my race number hand-painted on the chin bar. Yes, I'm pampered. Yes, I know it. And yes, I'll be going back to DITD next year.
As for the photo above, that's Daryl Ecklund ripping on a KTM 125SX in the two-stroke class. He finished fourth place after punting Sebastien Tortelli off the track. Seb, if you're reading this, I'm sorry for my buddy's actions. Daryl gets a little overzealous when he's racing.
Roger and the guys.
Jody and Daryl attended the 2014 KTM team introduction while I was watching my son on Monday and shooting photos in the studio of the palatial MXA towers. They shook hands with Ryan Dungey and I was filling up a diaper genie. The photo above is the Red Bull KTM team for the upcoming season. That's (from left) Ryan Dungey, Dean Ferris, Marvin Musquin, Ken Roczen, and some guy who used to race who goes by the name of Roger something or other (I'm kidding).
This shot is of the factory-backed BTO Sports KTM team. Forrest Butler (far left) has been at it a long time and it's awesome that he's finally getting the support that his team deserves. He has a few ringers in Andrew Short (center, with the longer-than-we're-used-to-seeing hair) and Matt Goerke.
While everyone was distracted ogling over the bikes and riders, Ecklund snooped around the race shop and snapped top-secret photos with his belt buckle camera. Check out the race engines, all of the engine parts of a four-stroke, as well as one of their dynamometers.
He can turn both ways, folks!
On Tuesday Daryl and I trekked up to Competitive Edge. Amidst howling winds and cooler temperatures we met with Jay Clark (a man who wears many hats, but suffice it to say that he builds project bikes) and the Race Tech suspension guys. We spent the day testing a project RM-Z250 and a big-bore RM-Z270 for an upcoming issue. That's Daryl at the controls while I took the photos.
As for the rest of the week, we will be doing odds and ends at the office today. Thursday will bring forth a massive photo shoot with all of our 2014 model 250 four-strokes for the 250 Shootout (being held next week). And, if you're in the area on Friday, please be sure to stop by Glen Helen for the Kurt Caselli memorial ride day. See above for more information. Have a great rest of your week, and make sure to get out and ride so that you can burn off the calories from that second piece of pumpkin pie.
KTM TRIBUTE TO KURT CASELLI
INTRODUCING SEVEN MX
BIG SURPRISE! RED BULL KTM 2014 TEAM ANNOUNCED
You'll definitely know three of the four riders, but Dean Ferris should still ring a bell
KTM's newest recruit–Dean Ferris.
Press release: KTM Motorsports is proud to announce its 2014 Red Bull KTM Factory Team will consist of a four-man line-up, including: Ryan Dungey, Ken Roczen, Marvin Musquin and newcomer Dean Ferris.
Dungey will return to the team for his third season aboard the KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition motorcycle. The bike was designed especially for Dungey and will now also be used by other KTM support teams as well as by his teammate Roczen.
“Next year’s competition is going to be tough with several young, fast and talented riders entering the 450 class,” commented Dungey. “The competition is strong which pushes us all to step up and ride faster. This will be my third season with Red Bull KTM and KTM is pushing to win a US Supercross Championship. My goal will be to win as many races as possible and consistently finish on the podium to work toward earning that title.”
The 2014 Supercross Series will mark Roczen’s first full-time jump to the 450cc bike. Roczen has raced the KTM 350 SX-F at select Supercross rounds in the past but moves up to the 450 SX-F Factory Edition for the approaching season, explaining, “I’m really looking forward to stepping up to the 450 in both Supercross and Motocross classes next year. I feel really good riding the bigger bike. I know the competition will be tough but my goal is to battle up front each week. I’ve changed a lot of things in my program so I can run up front.”
Musquin will return to the 250 SX class racing the East Supercross Series. Musquin earned four wins during the 2013 season and finished 2nd place in the overall point standings. For 2014, Musquin is more determined than ever to earn the championship, stating, “My focus is 100% to win the 250 SX title next year. In 2012, I finished the West Coast series 3rd and last year I came really close to winning with the championship being decided at the final race of the season. I ended up 2nd and now I won’t be content unless I win it next year!”
Joining Musquin in the 250 SX class is newcomer Dean Ferris. The 23 year-old Australian raced in the European MX GP Series the past two seasons and rounded his 2013 season out with an MX2 Series race win followed by a standout performance for Team Australia at the Motocross des Nations event in Germany. Ferris will contest the 250 SX West Supercross Series followed by the 250cc Motocross Championship aboard the KTM 250 SX-F.
“It’s always been my dream to race in the U.S and I’m really excited about being given this opportunity with Red Bull KTM,” says Ferris. “I’m especially excited about getting the chance to learn from Roger DeCoster and work alongside Dungey, Roczen and Musquin. I have a lot of learning to do so I couldn’t ask for a better, more experienced group to guide me through my transition into the US racing circuit.”
Red Bull KTM Factory Team Manager, Roger DeCoster, expressed his excitement about the team line-up, commenting, “With such a talented group of riders; Ryan and Ken both contesting the 450 competition and Marvin joined by Dean in the 250 competition, I really think 2014 is going to be an exciting year for KTM. Ryan and Ken have both made a lot of changes to their personal programs to put them in the best place possible mentally and physically heading into the start of Supercross season.”
He continued, “I’m really glad we were able to add a fourth rider to the squad. With Ken moving up, it’s good for Marvin to have a teammate to train alongside as he works toward finishing one better and winning the East Coast SX title. I was very impressed with Dean’s speed at the Motocross des Nations this year and I’m interested to see what he can do in the outdoors. Having only just arrived in the US a month before the start of the Supercross season, the upcoming series will more or less be a learning season for him with higher expectations for 2015.”
JT RACING USA 2014 CATALOG NOW AVAILABLE
JT Racing USA is pleased to announce the release of its 2014 digital and print catalog. After the re-establishing its identity in 2013 with a 2nd generation collection of unparalleled fit and construction, JT Racing is now set to launch its highly anticipated 2014 collection of super technical race wear and cutting edge
To view the new 2014 race wear collection, click here.
ALPINESTARS HOLIDAY SALE THIS WEEKEND