Roost Report: Jan 12, 2011
Welcome to the first edition of the Roost Report. These features you see on GrindTV.com/moto will eventually become the foundation for the relaunch of motocross.com under the watchful eyes of the guys at GrindTV and Dirt Rider.
Last Thursday, after the Press Conference at Anaheim 1, I went over with a few other journalists to check out the introduction of MX vs. ATV Alive with the guys from THQ and Rainbow Studios. Elliot Olson was and is the main man I’ve ever talked to or dealt with in regard to this game franchise, and he has always been really knowledgeable about not only the gaming world, but motocross. With the last game, MX vs. ATV Unleashed, he brought over a testing Xbox and let me test it in my office, and he was able to explain to me how to do a Kevin Windham-style whip as compared to maybe a Josh Grant-style whip. And he was totally right.
Well, with Alive, they have brought in James Stewart as the new cover boy, so he said a few words about it and how excited he is to be a part of it. From what I understand, the biggest changes to this game from Unleashed involve making the controls more natural, making crashes and collisions more realistic instead of hitting something funny and being upside-down while still on the bike before you know it, helping the online-gaming portion of the game to make it easier to really race one another instead of one small mistake sending you off the track and effectively out of the race, and the price: $39.99.
That’s right, it’s $39.99 for a complete, playable game. However, the $20 you save will be able to be spent online to buy items you might want, like exhaust pipes, riding gear, etc. Not all of the online content will cost money, but some of it will, and that’s okay because you bought the game for only $39.99! This way, you can buy the stuff you want and forget about the stuff you don’t give a crap about. I like that. Look for more to come out over the next few months.
I’ll be stopping by the Rainbow Studios office in the Phoenix area on Friday prior to the Phoenix Supercross, so I’ll have more for next week’s Roost Report from that experience.
Monster Energy Kawasaki is replacing one Jake with another, as Jake Moss will be sitting in for Jake Weimer until Weimer is healthy enough to race again, or until Moss isn’t. I mean, Moss is really fast, and he had some success riding for the guys at Kawasaki in 2009 in the Nationals (which is why he got the spot), but hopefully he’ll chill out a bit because he has had a tendency in the past of getting himself hurt. I’m sure he already realizes this, though. If he stays up and stays healthy, he can surprise some people. If not, Kawasaki will end up looking for a replacement replacement rider, which sucks.
I wrote about it in my “What Really Happened at Anaheim 1″ piece a couple days ago here (LINK), but I want to talk about it some more here: At round one, the race that most people just want to get through and move on with the series, Team Honda’s Trey Canard didn’t want to just get through it. During the final qualifying session, he sat second in times behind James Stewart, and he came into the mechanics’ area and asked his mechanic, Brent “Big B” Presnell where James was making up time on him. Isn’t that cool? This is what’s nice about new blood – especially hungry guys like Trey, Ryan Dungey, Ryan Villopoto, etc. – which is that they don’t want to just end up being the next group of guys to get their asses kicked by James Stewart. You’ve got to love the enthusiasm.
Red Bull KTM’s Mike Alessi hasn’t had a great time since the second moto at Hangtown. He got his butt kicked during most of the AMA Nationals, then went to Australia to get his butt kicked some more in supercross, apparently preparing himself to get his butt kicked in AMA Supercross. The thing is that Mike is a good supercross racer, but I think he’s easily influenced, and he is affected maybe more than most by his beliefs – and his beliefs are affected by the people around him, including his dad, Tony. Tony wants what’s best for Mike, for sure, but because Tony loves Mike so much, and wants so much to help him, when Mike struggles, Tony tends to begin searching for answers, and sometimes the answers he finds (true or not) can damage Mike’s racing quite a bit.
The last time Mike raced for KTM, he was racing the 450 outdoors and was struggling with setup issues, and struggling on the track as a result. He and his dad concluded they needed the parts that David Philippaerts was running in Europe. The rumor had it at the time that the team gave Mike the same shock that Philippaerts was running in Europe, and all of a sudden, at the very next race, Mike was getting holeshots (RedBud) and finishing near the front. However, the rumor also had it that KTM didn’t actually change his shock at all. It was simply Mike’s belief in the new shock that made him go so much faster.
Much the same way, I think Tony got it in his head that the 350 wasn’t competitive during the nationals last year, and because of that, Mike began to believe it, too, and lo and behold, Mike became less and less competitive. He got a holeshot at Hangtown, yet later in the series he couldn’t get a start inside the top 20 for anything. Also, I don’t think Tony believes Mike can be as good of a supercross rider as Mike really can be. In 2009, Mike got on the podium in the 450 class under the tutelage of Roger DeCoster, and at the time Tony was much less a part of Mike’s program. On the PulpMX Radio Show this week, Tony said he’s taking a step back and allowing DeCoster to do his job with Mike. Well, if it goes like it did in 2009, Mike should get better and better.
Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray is gnarly. He crashed bad in the rhythm section that ran down the third-base line at Anaheim 1 in practice, and he hit his head. According to Mitch Payton, Rattray was throwing up and almost didn’t race the main event, but Payton said that Asterisk cleared him to race, and then he went out, in his first-ever AMA Supercross event, and grabbed a podium finish. That’s pretty gnarly. I don’t know how smart it was, but it was definitely gnarly. Tyla’s a tough sombitch.
Not knowing much of what to expect from DNA Shred Stix/Star Racing Yamaha’s Nick Paluzzi at A1, it was pretty cool to see him run the pace. He finished right up front in his heat race, and he had some early trouble in the main but still managed a ninth place. That’s pretty good for a rookie’s first-ever supercross. He’s not a former world champion like Tyla Rattray. His teammate was the one I had my eyes on, because I know that Kyle Cunningham is fast as hell. And he was fast at A1, too. He actually recorded the second-fastest laptime of the entire Lites main event behind Josh Hansen (and very, very slightly behind Hansen), but he simply made too many mistakes. He’ll pull it together and be a contender in the next few races, for sure. Mark my words.
If you didn’t know who that giant on the number-942 KTM was in the 450cc class at Anaheim 1, that was Australian racing phenom Tye Simmonds. He’s 18, but he’s a big dude. He comes straight out of the Outback of Australia, where (in the story I heard) he learned to ride dirt bikes as a kid by chasing animals on his motorcycle. He has won a ton of championships in Australia, and now he’s getting his shot in the U.S. with the JDR KTM team, also from Australia.
You might be wondering “Where did Miss Supercross, Mercedes Terrell, go?” I mean, she’s in the SX program and everything, yet now it’s some blonde lady. Well, a few weeks ago, after the SX program had gone to print, Terrell found out that one of her other modeling commitments had a schedule change that would interfere with the Supercross schedule, so she stepped down. In her place now is Dianna Dahlgren, who is a former Team Universe Bikini Champion and fitness competitor. She’s not ugly, and she really hopes to be a bigger part of the series than a person who just stands there and looks pretty – even though she can do that pretty well.
That’s about it for me. This weekend is the Phoenix Supercross, and hopefully us photographers will have less arguing with track personnel about where we can and cannot stand – although it’s unlikely. It’s normal that we can’t stand near the third jump of a triple on a supercross track, and at A1 I was told to back away from that area – while the tractors were out on the track. I asked the guy if he was concerned that a Bobcat might come up short on the triple and hit me. He just smiled and asked me to move again. So I did. But sheesh, it can get pretty ridiculous, to say the least.
See you in the desert!
Oh, and if you haven’t seen them, check out the wallpapers we put up this week (link), and the interviews we’ve posted of James Stewart (link), Ryan Villopoto (link), and look for an interview with Ryan Dungey later this afternoon.
Behind the lens: Rants and observations of Scott Hoffman
When it came time to make pre-Anaheim predictions, I pretty much played the field. Meaning I tossed names out like Stewart, Dungey, Villopoto, Reed, and Canard. I think my field bet was pretty solid. My second notion was that one rider was holding a loaded gun and didn’t let any of his competition in on it. Pre-race practice videos, photos, and reports were pretty slim with regard to the of heavy hitters in the 450 class. I figured that if any one rider was going to make the entire field look stupid, it would have been Mr. Stewart. He was the fastest qualifier and if he had pulled the holeshot, it might have been lights out for the rest of the field. We have well over a dozen rounds to find out.
In the 250 class, it was anyone’s game yet I figured that if Josh Hansen could tap into his talent week in and week out the title could easily be his. With a crew of go fasters moving out of the 250 class, it was up to him to make the move. But as the weeks carry on, I bet Broc Tickle will hold his ground if he gets out in the lead again and what about the 16-year-old Ken Roczen? The kid has skills. This title is very much up in the air. Hansen might win it all if he can stay focused and not get too distracted when he sees the Hollywood lights from Dodger Stadium calling his name. Then we have SX rookie Tyla Rattray and Martin Davalos who are both capable of taking a win or two. The field is strong and one round is not enough to separate the men from the boys.
David Vuillemin’s son held his own at the press conference with a barrage of hard-hitting questions. Is he the next Moto Concepts racer?
The New Miss Supercross 2011,Dianna Dahlgren–Nice!
Ricky Johnson, still Too Hip, even with his spectacles, signing autographs at the TLD rig. Jeff Ward and Jeremy McGrath also joined in on the fun and fans lined up.
This was one of the most trick parts I spotted in the pits at A1. The Factory Honda guys built a little jig to position the handlebar right where their rider likes it, every time.
There were a lot of bikes in the pits sporting special “Works” Dunlop rear tires. We have seen them for over a year now and asked if they will ever be available to the public. The answer was probably not. Some riders like them for SX but they don’t last long enough for consumer use.
I think Hart & Huntington is liking their new sponsor Dodge. This Challenger is one sick ride. I am very jealous.
It might not look green but under the graphics this is a Kawasaki. With Factory Kawasaki moving over to FMF, the H&H Dodge team was able to pick up some of the PC Exhaust that were originally intended for the Factory team
Rapidly moving projectiles: Kevin Windham’s mechanic Brian Calma received the purple heart after getting hit with track shrapnel when a rider kicked up a rock and it cracked his head open and blood flowed like a river in springtime. Calma soldiered on and did his job in spite of his wounds.
Five finger discount: Former Factory Honda mechanic Lars Lindstrom has to be watched around the Honda semi these days. With his jump to Two Two Racing, Eric Kehoe had to check his pockets for Works parts after he asked to use the lavatory in the Red Rider rig.
Caption time: “Hey James, isn’t it about time they have the season opener in Florida? If I live there, you live there, and Dungey lives there, doesn’t that make more sense?”
Factory does have its advantages: Overboard or just trick? Check out this titanium transponder mount on the Factory Suzuki race bikes.
Beam Me Up: Are dirt bikes getting way too tech driven? This GET ignition system on Kyle Regal’s L&M Yamaha has a GPS tracking system for data acquisition. They can map the track and the system can provide the tech ground speed, rpm, throttle position, rear wheel speed, exhaust, and water temperature in an exact position on the track. They can then make adjustments according to the data–now that is next level stuff.
First look: Custom signature Trey Canard Scott Goggles.
This Falken girl is pretty hot modeling for a tire company. I think I need a set of them Falken tires.
Monster Energy Supercross has its share of Rockstars in the pits. Here are seven of them.
Dirt Rider’s Jimmy Lewis chimes in
Enjoying the first gear pull of the recently bump-started Motocross.com? Wait till we shift to second gear. Trust me, you can only ride around in first gear for so long…
What does that corny analogy mean? Well there is a lot of back story to explain it all and that is more business than must-know moto info, so I’ll drop the Cliff Notes version.
Motocross.com is a part of the Grind TV networks, which is part of Source Interlink’s Action Sports Group. And that is where Dirt Rider Magazine comes into the picture. We basically combined all of the forces we have at our disposal and started cranking out the content you have been seeing here. Hastily put together and with an eye for the future, we’ll be upgrading and improving each week.
Our plan is to deliver news and information that you can’t or won’t get anyplace else about Supercross, Motocross and Freestyle. Easier said than done, but it might be worth checking out from time to time. We’ll be having some solid weekly content and then dropping surprise news bits through the week and even from the races and events. All the while we are working in the background to change the current Motocross.com “storefront” into a Motocross.com information portal.
Did you catch my little rant on the supercool superstars of Supercross last week? (link) Well, it got some traction on a few of the message boards and requires a few explanations on my part, since I am know as a bit of a whining little girl with a big megaphone in my job status. I was not punched by any riders, most have no idea what I look like, but I was hugged by some team managers and Bob Hannah called me and told me he loves me. Truth be told, I never asked for an interview from any of the guys who everyone inferred I was talking about. Plus I didn’t use names, to protect the guilty and make the semi-guilty feel that way. I was just talking to a lot of my friends who happen to be journalists as well. Guys whose jobs depend on getting these interviews, a lot more than my job depends on it (I ride bikes and write about inanimate objects since they can’t talk back and they don’t have feelings to be hurt). But it was sort of a public service message of some sort, and in reality, because I personally, like you, wanted to hear what (if anything?) these riders had to say.
And it prompted this as well:
An open letter to Mr. Lewis
Dear Mr. Lewis.
Instead of wasting your energy trying to scoop the big one and get an exclusive interview with one of the top 10 riders who are too busy for you anyway, take a stroll down to the bottom end of the pits and interview some privateers for us. I know the story of all of the top 10 riders and the road they took to get there because everyone has beat their story to death. Open up some cans of fresh perspective please.
Which is an excellent idea and a fine suggestion. I agree with Moto111, 111%. But the public demand is for the top riders. Unless I get my wish and fans start switching over and supporting the guys that are eager to talk to the press. We as press should also collectively promote the privateer or sub-factory riders so they can rise up in popularity since it is a hand-in-hand relationship. And I think Supercross, in particular, is such a head game that having fans and the fame that goes along with it can propel a rider to much better results. So, you’ll be seeing some of that coverage right here on Motocross.com.
Cox, did you read that? Stop hanging out next to Stewarts motorhome and take a trip to Priveteerland.
For me it’s time to go riding and figure out how these internets really work.–Jimmy Lewis
Moore Report: With Shan Moore
Mitch Payton tells Chad Reed to crank the throttle and dump the clutch when the gate drops. Chad was caught
sleeping at the start but moved up into a respectable fifth. Mitch does all of Chad’s engine and suspension.
Antonio Cairoli was a spectator at A1. The reigning World MX1 champ was originally slated to race AMA SX this year, that is until KTM pulled the plug. Cairoli says he will be in SoCal for the next month where he will ride with Andrew Short and Mike Alessi on the KTM practice track, and then make a decision about riding the AMA series in 2012.
JGR’s cool new stands: electric and hydraulic. Push a button with your foot and it raises and lowers the bike. Also, take a look at the tire stickers, does that say Pirelli? This is the only top team we spotted that were running Pirelli meats, do they know something we don’t?
Dunlop’s Off-road Race Manager, Brian Fleck, said they had five different tread patterns represented on the track during the 450 main event.
The Closer: Jeff Kardas, ace photo guy and now journalist for all of 2011- way to go Jeff!
After happily giving up the reigns as the editorial go-to guy here at motocross.com, I’m back doing what I feel I do best – snapping pics and playing dumb. I did manage to have a few thoughts rumbling around in my melon over the weekend, though, so here’s a bit of what I found attractive at Anaheim 1.
Austin Stroupe is an enigma, wrapped in a riddle, with a bit of mystery sprinkled on top. A few years ago he was THE hot prospect coming out of the amateur ranks, joining Mitch’s PC team, winning supercross races and even beating teammate Ryan Villopoto for the overall win at the season opener national motocross at Glen Helen. After going through a hip/pelvis injury the following weekend at Hangtown and, well, a whole bunch of other stuff that apparently kept him from being able to race, fast forward to 2011 and he’s on a Valli Motorsports YZ450F and riding practice then skipping out on the heat races. Apparently, and according to who you listen to, Stroupe’s either A) still tender from a shoulder injury sustained last SX season and has been unable to train sufficiently to complete a night’s worth of racing, or B) on double-secret probation with the team and was being punished/teased by letting him ride practice but not race. I’m going to go with A, because I believe Austin’s a great kid at heart and surely will have the skills to threaten for a podium as the season progresses.
As vane as this sport is, I can’t believe there’s been no mention of James Stewart’s redesigned number 7 yet. No longer is there the odd straight portion on the bottom of the digit, no sir. Apparently Stewart’s never been too fond of the old design, so the boy at ONE re-did it for him.
While this may look like a photo to illustrate that Millsaps’ long-time mechanic Carlos is now working for Ken Roczen, it’s really to show how many Akrapovic cans one guy can carry at a time when heading back from sound testing. Each team brings a couple/few variations of canister with them so they’ll have options, and so that if a can is damaged while out on the track, they’ll have another that’s already been tested and approved ready to mount.
Wil Hahn ponders life just before the first practice session, where he went out and injured his hand after colliding with another rider while riding backwards on the track. I have no idea how that happened, but the result was that he went back out in the second session (injured hand and all) and crashed even harder (thanks to that hurt hand), resulting in a few compressed vertebrae and possibly some broken ribs. Word has it that brother Tommy warned Wil to be careful and take it easy, but Wilbur went for it anyway and was unable to hold on to his bucking CRF250R and crashed even harder. New Englander Jimmy Decotis is already out west and being fitted for the ride, and may even be ready to go this weekend in Phoenix. Get well soon, Wil!
The factory Monster/Kawasakis of Ryan Villopoto and Jake Weimer were fitted with various blue bits (like hubs), and blue accents in the graphics to add a bit of pizzazz to the otherwise completely black and green bikes. Topped off with baby blue gloves and some blue on his riding gear, RV was lookin’ pimp out there for his win.
Remember Jeff Northrop? The journeyman pro/test rider/photoshoot go-to rider and all-around nicest guy in the pits has taken to his fairly new role as FMF pro rider rep with the same enthusiasm as he does with everything else. Norcal’s easily one of the nicest guy in the pits, and is always just looking for a reason to smile and chat.
What does a professional photojournalist get as payment for visiting Hart and Huntington’s race shop for a photoshoot? A tattoo, of course. Nice shoes, Shan.
Finally, I promised airman Cagle and his two promising new recruits that I’d put a pic of them in here, so here it is. Congrats, you’re now famous. That wraps it up for me, I hope you’re enjoying the revitalized motocross.com! Stick with us, it’s going to get a lot better…
If you made it this far, congratulations, you almost won the grand prize of the week but the guy that read Roost Report right before you won the swag. But keep checking back each week at motoross.com to see if you win. Thanks for reading our moto banter, each week we will get better – at least that is the goal. From all us, what the heck are you doing surfing the Internet, go out and ride or get back to work. –Motocross.com
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