Welcome to the Weekly Dirt, your source on the Internet for moto news from around the world. The first global round of Enduro X kicked off this weekend, and it was a great success! We’ll check in on that, plus we have a sneak peek at some 2014 hardware in this week’s Dirt, so let’s get to it.
2014 Spy Photos
The 2014 bikes are just around the corner and Shogo Motobyashi captured a few spy photos of the Works Honda CRF 250 and YZF 450 at the first round of the All Japanese MX Nationals. Although these are not production based, many of the changes you see here will correlate with the 2014 production models in America. —Kris Keefer
Blazusiak Strikes X-Games Gold
Taddy Blazusiak struck X-Games Gold in Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil, beating out Cody Webb and David Knight to win the Men’s Enduro X Final, which marked the start of the four-day action sports event.
With X-Games Brazil the first time that Enduro-X has been ‘taken outdoors’, competitors faced a notably larger and more demanding course than those usually found in the U.S. And with track conditions proving extremely slippery, victory certainly wouldn’t come easy for anyone.
Although faced with a difficult starting position in the final, Blazusiak enjoyed a great start and hit the front of the race shortly after the third corner. Taking his time to deal with the extreme conditions, the factory KTM rider faced a fierce challenge from Webb, the American Beta rider making a pass on Blazusiak to take the lead on lap two of the 10-lap race. During the first four laps, the leading duo swapped positions numerous times as both riders sought to find the perfect line around the deteriorating course. Knowing any mistake would prove costly, Blazusiak maintained a steady rhythm while Webb crashed and lost considerable ground shortly after the race moved passed the halfway point.
With the laps winding down, Blazusiak settled his pace, maintaining a comfortable advantage over the chasing field. Continuing to ride a faultless race the Polish off-road star secured a well-earned victory, with Webb in second and Knight in third.
“It’s great to get another X Games gold medal,” said Blazusiak. “The track was so slippery that it was a game of survival and I was pretty much riding in survival mode from the start. Cody Webb was riding strong, but I knew that pushing too hard wasn’t the way to go. I stuck to a speed I was happy with, and raced the few parts of the track I could.”
Webb was pleased with his performance as well.
“X Games went very well for me,” said Webb “It wast first big race and all preseason I was nervous if I had made the right decision in riding the the 2 stroke. My riding and performance proved it was the right bike for the job. I felt very comfortable and was able to push at a good pace and heavily pressure Taddy. Unfortunately, the track was very slick causing the front end to wash out over a berm. My gloves were covered in mud and I lost all momentum from there. I gained my composure again near the end and almost caught Taddy in the final turn. I learned a lot with X Games Brazil being the opening round and I can’t wait to prepare for the rest of the series.”
Results – Men’s Enduro-X Final
1. Taddy Blazusiak (KTM) 12:45.160; 2. Cody Webb (Beta) 12:54.633; 3. David Knight (Honda) 13:04.609; 4. Colton Haaker (Honda) 13:19.001; 5. Taylor Robert (Kawasaki) 13:23.405; 6. Mike Brown (KTM) 13:40.964; 7. Cory Graffunder (Husqvarna) 14:15.803; 8. Kyle Redmond (KTM) 12:51.190; 9. Alfredo Gomez (Husaberg) 13:02.608; 10. Max Gerston 13:11.910…
RiderDown Foundation is “Help Riders Up” in Texas
Cycle Ranch and RiderDown Foundation have partnered in a fundraising effort the weekend of April 27th & 28th during the NMA Grand Nationals Qualifier and Winter Crown Series Finale.
In addition to the race action, Cycle Ranch and RiderDown Foundation are teaming up with the one and only “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Kent Howerton, to host a fundraising event where proceeds will be donated to RiderDown Foundation.
Activities range from an R/C Truck and Tractor Pull Expo and Exhibition, a FMX Demonstration, a Texas-style Chili Cook Off and the Saturday Night Benefit Auction, with all kinds of goodies available including some very special autographed gear from Kent Howerton himself!
This will be an awesome event with a chance to give back to our sport and help those fellow riders when they need it most.
“I am glad to see Cycle Ranch with a new owner and new management under George Russell, the track and property is looking great. It now has a chance to become one of the best facilities in the US,” says Kent. “When I was asked to help Cycle Ranch out with a charity event, I started asking around to find out which one would be a good fit for what we wanted to do, and RiderDown always came up. It has a good reputation and mission, and I think going through them we can get some good things done. I look forward to working with them.”
“Everyone at the RiderDown Foundation is excited to have this support from Cycle Ranch and Mr. Howerton,” says Bruce Vermeulen, President and founder of RDF. “Texas has always been an active part of the country for us and to see the strong interest in helping fellow riders is very inspiring. Cycle Ranch is doing an amazing job with the facility, and of course, it’s great to have a legendary rider like Kent working with us!” —Shan Moore
Deserts Half A World Apart
With defending champion Taylor Robert committed to the global X Games opener in Brazil (where he’d finish fifth in the Enduro X final), Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Robby Bell had little trouble running away with round four of the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off-Road Racing Championship Series (WORCS), Presented by Motoworks and Dirt Bike Magazine. Both now have two wins apiece, but Bell leads having competed in all four rounds; he was second the other times.
In his first series appearance of the year, Off-Road Support/Kawasaki of Simi Valley’s Jacob Argubright finished second at the Sand Hollow State Vehicular Recreation Area near Hurricane, Utah, the tour’s first visit there. (It received good reviews for the scenic setting and demanding sandy course.) Bell’s teammate Justin Seeds claimed a best-to-date third and is fourth in points behind Justin Jones, who was fifth behind Bobby Garrison at the new venue.
Besides being a new place, the Sand Hollow WORCS round was unique in that it had the Pro bikes and ATVs racing at the same time, albeit on different waves.
“Any concerns I had pre-race about lapping slower bikes and quads were quelled as everyone I approached was incredibly considerate and would leave room for a pass,” Bell wrote in his race report. “I must say that the WORCS team did a great job all weekend long with the course conditions becoming much tougher than anyone expected, as they spent tireless hours bringing in broken bikes, quads and SxS’s.”
Halfway around the world and a few days later, California’s Quinn Cody rode the first miles of his first race since breaking his femur at the Baja 1000. The Sealine Cross Country Rally in Qatar was the race, serving as round two of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship and coming just 10 days after the opening round in the United Arab Emirates.
While Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma took command of the Sealine race on the first day by two minutes over Cody’s Speedbrain teammate Paolo Goncalves with Norway’s Pal Anders Ullevalseter on another KTM four minutes back in third. Cody was a cautious 10th.
“Survived day one here in Qatar,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “Stage one was a long, extremely rocky 405 KM special with lots of difficult navigation. My game plan for today was just to get comfortable on the new bike and work on my navigation. I told myself this morning that I would stick to my road book no matter how bad I wanted to follow. The nav was super-hard with multiple tracks going everywhere. I got hopelessly lost a few times and rode around for what seemed like forever trying to find the right track but managed to hit all my waypoints. It feels good to be back on teh bike and I’m beginning to feel at home on my Speedbrain 450. Looking forward to another 00 KM special tomorrow.”
The four-stage race ends Friday.
As you may remember from last week’s column, the fourth round of the AMA Racing/FMF/GPR Hare & Hound National Championship Series left a few riders hurt, among them Australian Toby Price, who was hospitalized with a broken neck and thumb.
Due to an insurance issue, doctors couldn’t operate, but they did put him in traction to help stabilize his neck. As KTM’s Antti Kallonen explained, Price had “insufficient coverage on his travel insurance” so the doctors put him in a halo so he could fly home with his parents, who’d flown over a few days after his injury.
“The travel insurance is still investigating, but Toby doesn’t want to wait any longer [for the operation he’ll undergo back home],” Kallonen said.
Another rider who’ll be out–but not as long–is David Kamo. His bomb run crash injured him more than first suspected. He said he has a fractured rib and hairline fracture of one scapula, though he planned to see his doctor again for an update. This comes at a bad time as there are three rounds in the next four weeks. —Mark Kariya
Underwear On The Outside?
We got this ‘brief’ peek of Freegun riding gear that’s coming in 2014. Ryan Abrigo will debut the stylish new gear at this year’s MiniMotoSX in Las Vegas, at the Orleans Arena, the day after the final Supercross race. This summer, Outdoor Motocrosser Drew Gosselaar (pictured) will run it at the Nationals. —Pete Peterson
That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.