Archive for Motocross News
Josh Clark is turning pro this weekend at Southwick. Paul Buckley Photo.
Up and coming New England expert Josh Clark, 17 of Franklin, Connecticut, has recently been given a two race support ride from Warthog Racing for the Southwick and Steel City Nationals. Josh is one of the most talented and hardest working riders in New England and is hot off a successful week at the Loretta Lynn’s / Air Nautiques Amateur Motocross Championships and a dominant day at the Unadilla Amateur Summer Classic.
Josh is ready to move up to the next step in his motocross career and this support from Warthog Racing and Scott Kandel is just what Josh needs to make a successful transition from the amateur motocross ranks to the highly competitive national scene.
I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jimmy Decotis for RacerXOnline.com's Privateer Profile column. Jimmy hails from Peabody, Massachusetts and is one of the fastest riders to come out of New England in a long time. He is a very hard working and dedicated rider who has been putting in some extrodinary results in his first few national rounds. He is grateful for those who have helped him accomplish what he has so far, yet he has a clear vision of what the future holds for him.
“I just want to keep on training during the week. I want to do it kind of how Dowdy did. I want to keep racin
g until I'm… well, I can't say until I'm 40, because that's a long time away, but just keep on riding and doing my thing. Hopefully, I'll stay healthy and go as long as I possibly can, and when I'm done with the nationals I'll still be right there doing local stuff. I'm planning on doing riding schools when I get older, so that will be good. It’s something to look forward to in the future.”
Photo by GuyB.
James Stewart is destined to bring our sport to new levels. Just as Jeremy McGrath introduced millions of new fans to the sport, Stewart will continue to help motocross grow. His young edginess combined with his flashy personality and strong fan base will take him far in life, both on and off the bike.
Stewart's latest step to grow his prescence and popularity both inside and outside of the motocross industry include two different web projects.
Read more »
A few months ago, Suzuki announced that they were going to cut their amateur team. When the news was announced, I was extremely upset by the news and greatly felt that it would have an extremely negative impact on the future of Suzuki’s motocross program. Thankfully, Suzuki has now officially announced their 2009 amateur racing plans, and I am proud to present them to you.
Rockstar Suzuki Amateur Team
After initially announcing that their support of their amateur team would be eliminated, it appears as if Suzuki has backed off. They have announced that they will once again be funding a Rockstar Amateur team to support some of their fastest riders. Some of the riders on the team will be:
- Ian Trettel
- Justin Weeks
- Jarek Blakovic
- Jeremy Martin
To see the full list visit Vital MX.
This is an absolutely incredible move for American Suzuki to make. By planning to eliminating their amateur team, they were effectively cutting off their flow of fresh talent to their pro team and ultimately were reducing the number of pros, amateurs, and the number of general citizens riding Suzuki bikes.
By reinstating their amateur program, Suzuki has invigorated the youth perception of their brand and revitalized their potential both on the amateur, consumer and professional motocross levels.
When Suzuki announced to cut its amateur support program, there were also a plethora of rumors swirling around the internet that t
hey would be cancelling their contingency program. Surprisingly, I nearly believed them. It made sense, if they were in a dire enough situation to cut their entire amateur team, then cutting contingency was the next logical step.
Thankfully, this is not the case, at all. A few weeks ago, American Suzuki announced their contingency schedule, with hundreds of amateur races throughout the country on the list. While the full details of the program have not yet been announced, it is nice to know that they will be offering contingency in 2009 and (hopefully) beyond.
Contingency is a crucial part of any manufacturer’s marketing scheme. Contingency is important in order to get more people on your brand, ultimately maximizing your brand recognition and the effect you have on the market. Without contingency, many serious local racers would choose other brands as the idea of up to $1000 (for multiple classes) can be intriguing for many riders hit by the current economic crisis.
That being said, it is apparent that Suzuki has cut down their contingency program for 2009. For this, I 100% forgive them. If this is something which needs to be cut in order for Suzuki to survive the recession, I definitely understand, as I would much rather see limited contingency than to see them go out of business.
In addition, it also seems as if the biggest single amateur race in America, Loretta Lynn’s is not on the contingency list. This is definitely sad to see, especially for the elite riders who have the ability to make it to Loretta’s, however, most of these riders will spend the majority of their season at other races and Suzuki’s current schedule will cover almost every amateur racer over the course of the 2009 season.
If you want to see this entire schedule, check out the PDF provided by Suzuki
It is great to see Suzuki stepping up to the plate in 2009 and retaining their amateur program. I believe that it will help thousands of kids throughout the country and help to further push the Suzuki brand in our rough economy. While taking reasonable measures to cut back the costs of running an amateur team, as a whole they are doing some great things for the sport of amateur motocross and hopefully we will not see any more manufacturers even considering cutting their amateur programs.
For months there have been rumors that MX Sports would allow 250 two-strokes in the Motocross Lites class for 2009. This effectively put both “strokes” on a level playing field, with no CC advantage.
However, it looks as though this is not going to happen. Due to the CPSC Ban on Youth Motocross, Davey Coombs and the MX Sports grew have decided that it is probably not in the sports best interest to concentrate their efforts on this issue.
However, I feel that this major rule change could have had a very large positive impact on the motocross community and delaying it will ultimately cause a negative effect on the development of the sport. While the far reaching affects of this act are impossible to summarize in one article, here are some of the major areas where I believe a 250 two stoke in the Lites class could have significantly benefitted the sport.
More Defined Class Names
Class names may seem like a trivial aspect of the motocross community, but to a newcomer to the motocross community, the current class names are extremely confusing.
While the AMA tried to change the class names from “250” and “125” to “Motocross” and “Lites,” this effort has all but failed. The new names are arguably worse than the old and tell newcomers to the sport absolutely nothing about each class.
As a result, many people have stuck with the traditional numerical denominations. But, that has led to further confusion. For newcomers it can be an extremely hard concept to grasp why a “250” four stroke would race in the “125” class. Unless you truly understand the stark difference between the two engine configurations, the placement of four strokes makes almost no sense.
The confusion continues with the experienced members of the motosphere. While most motocross riders know that “250” four strokes ride in the “125” class, when discussing events in the class, conversations can get very confusing.
Imagine if your friend said “Hey man, did you see the crash at the start of the 250 moto?” Because so many riders are now on four strokes, some people have begun calling the “125” class the “250” class and the “250” class the “450” class, so when people actually use the common number, “250,” it is unclear which class they mean.
On the other hand, if the AMA went ahead and allowed 250 two-strokes in the “Lites” class, this issue would be all but cleared up. The “Lites” class, whether officially or unofficially, could be talked about as the “250” class and the “Motocross” class could be reffered to as the “450” class. This would clear up confusion both for newcomers and seasoned vets of the sport and would ultimately help the sport in its current branding crisis.
Two Strokes are More Economical for Privateers
While Factory riders may not care about the economic difference between two strokes and four strokes, for privateers it can make a huge difference. In the current economic trouble our country is in, struggling privateers need all the help they can get. Riding a two strokes, especially a 250cc two stroke in the “Lites” class, can be just this economic relief.
To begin with, Two Strokes are cheaper to purchase. However, the savings do not stop there. Two Strokes are easier to maintain and easier to workout, saving privateers money on mechanic fees. These small savings could have a huge effect on the lives of privateer motocross racers in the current times of economic turmoil.
Furthermore, a 250cc two stroke is competitive out of the box with 250 four strokes. In the Lites class where power is everything, not having to pay for expensive modifications can save a privateer thousands of dollars a year.
By lowering the costs to privateers, allowing 250cc two strokes to race in the Lites class will once again put privateers on a relatively level playing field which is a bonus for the sport as a whole as it will allow more riders to make the tough transition from local pro to national pro.
More Variety In the Pro Pack
This may be a matter of personal taste, but I love seeing some personality and some variety in the pro pack. The same cookie cutter personalities and standard bike setups may be easy to market for the factories backing the major teams, but for me it makes motocross something it should never be, boring.
I love seeing variety and personality on the pro motocross track. Whether this is in the riders or their bikes, it makes the nationals more exciting as a spectator. In the same sense that buy cialis
“Why We Will See a new Jason Lawrence in 2009″>Jason Lawrence lights up the entire motocross community each time he opens his mouth, two strokes help to make races more exciting.
Maybe its just the sound of a freshly tuned premix bike, or maybe it is because two strokes are advantageous in certain sections of the track and four strokes in others, but something about having a heterogeneous field greatly increases the excitement of any pro moto and helps to shake up the results a bit. This is ultimately a bonus for the sport as it shakes up the results and prevents the same two or three riders from winning every week.
As the two strokes will help to enhance the variety within the pro pack, it will also help to further inspire privateers and local pros to go up against the factory riders. If they know that they are automatically on a more level playing field with the 250 four strokes of the factory riders, then they will be much more inspired to go out to the national week in and week out to compete against the factory riders.
This will benefit the sport by adding variety to the field, helping to diversify the pack between factory and privateer riders. This will allow more riders to make it big time in the pro ranks and deepen the depth of talent within the pro ranks.
Promotes the Popularity of Two Strokes Among General Public
Alright, there may be some convoluted reasoning in this point, but it makes sense, believe me. If Mx Sports had gone through with their original plan of allowing 250cc two strokes in the “Lites” class, they would instantly make these bikes more popular among the pro riders. Penny pinching privateers as well as vets looking to have a good time would almost undoubtedly choose 250cc two strokes over the easier to ride, yet less fun and more expensive 250cc four strokes.
Because the two strokes would once again regain popularity among some of the pros, they would also begin to gain popularity among the general public. There is no denying that as a sport we follow the pros, and if some pros switched back tot two strokes, I believe that certain local riders would also make this switch. Once otherpeople began to see the fun which can be had on a two stroke, the transition would spread throughout the motocross community.
I'm not saying that two strokes would ever return to the dominance they had a few years ago, however, they will gain a strong cult following and be able to sustain themselves as a viable alternative to the four stroke motocross bike.
Who Doesn’t Love the Two Strokes?
Let’s face it, anyway who has ridden motocross for any number of years loves the sound of a two-stroke. Nothing beats hearing a 250cc two stroke rip through a deep loam berm. For this same reason, any motocross enthusiast wants to see two-strokes brought back to professional motocross just for the sake of it.
It may seem like a trivial concern, but something about an all four stroke pro moto just seems booring to me. I would love to be able to hear another pro moto with two strokes at the front of the pack. Something about it would just add some variety and originality back to the pro motocross community and return something to pro motos which has been missing since the demise of the two stroke.
Want to read more about the failed attempt by MX Sports to allow the 250cc two stroke to race in the “Lites” class? Check out the resources below.
- TwoStrokeMotocross.com – The AMA National Class that Could Have Been
- RacerXOnline.com – MX Sports Statement Regarding 250 Class
- TransworldMotocross.com – What Could Have Been: A “True” 250cc Class
What do you think of this news? Were you looking forward to seeing 250cc two strokes on the same level as 250cc four strokes? Or do you think concentrating our efforts on the Lead fiasco is more beneficial to the development of the sport?