Swap: When Shaun Simpson left the TM team in the middle of the GP season (see below), TM was left without a rider. TM took a bike without numbers on it to Sweden and...surprise! Tanel Leok, who has been racing for a British team in the Maxxis series, showed up to race it. The ramifications of Leok leaving his British team in the lurch are not fully known, but the Simpson/Leok swap is the talk of the GP pits. Tanel Leok went 14-12 in Sweden.
National news: John Dowd made the “Washington Post” sports page as they marveled that a 47-year-old could still be racing the AMA Nationals. Dowd will closing out his AMA Pro career this weekend at Southwick, while his 16-year-old so Ryan starts his. Ryan didn't qualfiy for the 250 class and John scored 2 points for a 19th in moto two.
This is not Ryan and his posse.
Action figures: Ryan Dungey has signed a deal with Jakks to create an action figure (which will go on sale in November). Action dolls...oops...action figures were once a lucrative income source for riders back in the 1990s, but the market dried up. Jakks is best known for its UFC action figures. The Dungey doll will be available in November 2013.
One mistake could cost Jorge.
Championship reality: Winning any Championship requires, skill, fitness, machinery and good luck. Any title chase, no matter how successful, can be put in jeopardy in a split second as MotoGP star Jorge Jorge Lorenzo found out in practice for this week’s Assen GP. Lorenza was tossed from his bike and broke his collarbone and everyone thought he would miss the race (after winning the last two MotoGP races). He flew to Spain to have it plated, but returned to Assen and finished fifth.
The passage of time.
Aging demographics: The average age of a motorcycle owners (street and dirt) is approximately 41 years old (MIC numbers). In 1998, it was 38, and in 1980 it was 24. Of course, the typical 49-year-old Harley owner skews the numbers for dirt bike riders higher than it really is, but one look at the starting lines of local races reveals that it is the riders from the 1980s who are keeping the industry afloat.
Rui's knee is ruined for this weekend.
Raikkonen’s rider: Formula 1 driver Kimi Raikkonen’s ICE1 race team had to do without Rui Goncalves at the Swedish GP this week. Goncalves had a small operation on his right knee on Wednesday and it got infected. Goncalves is expected to return for the Latvian GP next week.
Stiff upper lip.
Anti-Youthstream/pro motocross: It appears to even the most casual fan that Youthstream has the European press in its back pocket. The Euro press never mentions the stupidity that drives the constant rules changes, canceled races and basic unfairness of the Youthstream GP model (which is to not pay the riders any money, while paying themselves handsomely). There is only one European web site that isn’t afraid of Giuseppe Luongo. Go to www.mxgpactiongroup.org to see the only voice of dissention left in Europe. Or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pages/MX-GP-Action-Group/123228564530978
Brett Metcalfe: During the break in the Canadian Championships the Australian race Southwick. This is a big deal for Metty—because this is his best U.S. track (Metcalfe won his only 450 National there in 2011 and finished third in the 250 class three times). If Brett wants to get a U.S. deal for 2014—he needs to show what he’s got. Brett went 5-6 in Southwick. The Canadian series starts up again on July 14 at Gopher Dunes.
Shaun in Qatar.
Shaun Simpson: Shaun and TM have parted ways on the Grand Prix circuit. That shouldn’t come as a shock since very few people saw either Simpson or the TM at the races this year. Simpson is currently 14th in 450 points. Shaun finished 13-11 in Sweden for the JK SKS Gebben Racing Yamaha team.
Luke Styke: The current Aussie 250 National points leader went to Europe during the break in the Australian Nationals to see if he could get a GP deal in the future. With Dean Ferris doing well in the 250 World Championships, an Aussie has a better chance of getting a deal in Europe than in America. The Aussie Nationals start back up again on July 14 in Appin, New South Wales.
Jeffrey Herlings: Jeffrey Herlings extended his KTM contract for 2014 and 2015. Herlings' plan is to clinch the 2013 250 World Championship and race the class again in 2014 (with the hopes of a third straight title). Then, with Tony Cairoli getting a little long in the tooth, Herlings will race the 2015 FIM 450 World Championship as KTM’s future big-bike hope. Cairoli will turn 30 in 2015, Herlings will be 21. Herlings spot in the 250 World Championships will be filled by Jordi Tixier.
British MXDN team: For some strange reason, the British Motocross des Nations team isn’t selected until they name all the people that they are considering for the team. What is the point of sending out a list of 7 riders when they are only going to choose 3...if this is just a "feel good" exercise, why not 14 riders? Instead they should just wait a month and name the 3 riders (with an alternate in case of an injury). The 7 potential Team GB riders are Elliott Banks-Browne, Kristian Whatley, Tommy Searle, Jake Nicholls, Shaun Simpson, Max Anstie and Mel Pocock.
Steve Frossard: Currently the unluckiest man in Grand Prix motocross, Steven Frossard’s right knee has healed enough that he will race the Swedish GP. Frossard had finished second in the 2011 FIM 450 World Championships before he started having knee troubles in 2012. Frossard missed the last 7 (out of 9) GP’s so far this season. In Sweden Frossard finished 8th in moto one, but dropped out of moto two with a cut on his arm from a crash.
Wil Hahn: Geico Honda’s Wil Hahn will throw out the first pitch at the Anaheim Angels game on July 3. Ken Roczen threw out the first pitch for the San Diego Padres in May.
This week: With the Canadian Nationals, MX3 series, All-Japan Championship, World Sidecars, FIM Women and Australian Nationals all on hiatus this weekend, the major events are the Southwick 250/450 Nationals, final round of the WMX Women’s Championship and the Swedish 250/450 Grand Prix. Check MXA's "Top Ten" news item to get all the results.