By the DR Staff
Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your spot for off-road news from around the world. This week, Mark Kariya talks about some changes to the Baja race, we have a report from the Junior World MX Championships in the Czech Republic, and we take a look at this weekend’s Tennessee Knockout extreme race. There’s a lot to get into so let’s get started:
US Squad Tops FIM Junior World Motocross Championship
American 65cc rider Aiden Tijero led a strong squad of US amateur riders to victory at this past weekend’s Monster Energy FIM Junior Motocross World Championship at Jinin, in the Czech Republic.
As one would expect, the Junior Motocross World Championship is similar to the Motocross of Nations for Pro racers, and in this case the best forty riders in each class are racing to become the 65cc, 85cc and 125cc World Champions at the same time that they were representing their respective Nations. After sixth exciting races – two per class – Tijero was the best 65cc rider, Conrad Mewse from Great Britain was the best in 85cc, and Pauls Jonass from Latvia finished on the top of the 125cc podium.
Team USA was on the top of the podium after scoring the best overall result taking into account the best rider in each class, and the Czech Republic and Spain were second and third respectively. Sweden finished fourth and Italy completed the top five.
In the 65cc division, Tijero was crowned the 2013 Monster Energy FIM 65cc Junior Motocross World Champion after two impressive performances finishing first and second in the main races.
Chase Sexton from the USA suffered from a poor start in the first race of the 85cc division, and he was only able to finish eighth, but he was determined to give it all in the second one and after a good start he moved up to second behind eventual winner Conrad Mewse. However, Hunter Lawrence from Australia eventually passed Sexton for the runner-up position, leaving the American to settle for third. Overall, Sexton ended the day in fourth overall.
In the 125 class, Jarek Balkovic from the USA claimed two consistent eighth positions and ended sixth overall.
In the team event, The USA was first with 11 points, followed by the Czech Repulblic with 17 and Spain with 25.
65cc Overall/Championship top ten: 1. Aiden Tijero (USA, KTM), 47 points; 2. Anton Nagy (SWE, KTM), 40 p.; 3. Petr Polak (CZE, KTM), 40 p.; 4. Raivo Dankers (NED, KTM), 39 p.; 5. Jo Shimoda (JPN, KTM), 31 p.; 6. Rene Hofer (AUT, KTM), 25 p.; 7. Hardy Munoz (CHL, KTM), 25 p.; 8. Maxim Kraev (RUS, KTM), 20 p.; 9. Timur Petrashin (RUS, KTM), 20 p.; 10. Daniel Stehlik (CZE, KTM), 16 p.;
85cc Overall/Championship top ten: 1. Conrad Mewse (GBR, KTM), 44 points; 2. Hunter Lawrence (AUS, KTM), 43 p.; 3. Jakub Teresak (CZE, KTM), 38 p.; 4. Chase Sexton (USA, Yamaha), 33 p.; 5. Glen Meier (DEN, KTM), 29 p.; 6. Jorge Prado Garcia (ESP, KTM), 27 p.; 7. Gianluca Facchetti (ITA, Suzuki), 26 p.; 8. Sean Cantrell (USA, Kawasaki), 25 p.; 9. Tomás Kohut (SVK, KTM), 21 p.; 10. Filippo Grigoletto (ITA, KTM), 21 p.
125cc Overall/Championship top ten: 1. Pauls Jonass (LAT, KTM), 47 points; 2. Calvin Vlaanderen (NED, KTM), 37 p.; 3. Nicolas Dercourt (FRA, Yamaha), 34 p.; 4. Jorge Zaragoza (ESP, Suzuki), 32 p.; 5. Davide Bonini (ITA, KTM), 26 p.; 6. Jarek Balkovic (USA, Yamaha), 26 p.; 7. Lorenco Locurcio (VEN, Yamaha), 25 p.; 8. Kade Tinkler (CAN, Suzuki), 23 p.; 9. Davy Pootjes (NED, KTM), 22 p.; 10. Brian Hsu (GER, Suzuki), 21 p.
Nations Overall: 1. USA, 11 points; 2. Czech Republic, 17p.; 3. Spain, 25p.; 4. Sweden, 27 p.; 5. Italy, 28p.; 6. Australia, 30p.; 7. France, 42p.; 8. Germany, 46p.; 9. The Netherlands, 6p.; 10. Russia, 24p.
Brown Looks To Defend TKO Title
If you live in the area, don’t forget about the third annual KENDA Tennessee Knockout, which will take place this weekend at the world famous Trials Training Center in Sequatchie, Tennessee. Mike Brown, the reigning and two-time Champion, will face a loaded field in his attempt to defend his title. The FMF/KTM rider will face off against Champions from several disciplines including the current WORCS Champion, a four time National Enduro Champion, a former National Trials Champion and the current GNCC XC-2 point’s leader. The challenging event is a rare opportunity to see how the top riders from different parts of the country and different off-road series match up. If you live within driving range of Chattanooga Tennessee, plan for an entertaining day in the woods.
Below are some of the top riders confirmed for the 2013 KENDA Tennessee Knockout:
- Mike Brown, KTM: 2013 Barcelona X Games Enduro X winner, 2012 X Games Enduro X winner, 2011 and 2012 KENDA Tennessee Knockout Champion, 2009 WORCS Champion, 2000 AMA Motocross Champion.
- Russell Bobbitt, Husaberg: Four time AMA National Enduro Champion. Third place at 2012 KENDA Tennessee Knockout.
- Cody Webb, Beta: 2013 King of the Motos Champion, 2010 AMA National Trials Champion, 3rd at 2013 Hell’s Gate Extreme Enduro, 2012 EnduroCross Championship runner up.
- Taylor Robert, Kawasaki: 2012 WORCS Champion, 2013 Munich X Games Enduro X winner, 2012 and 2013 Last Dog Standing winner.
- Jordan Ashburn, Yamaha: Two time GNCC XC-2 Champion.
- Cory Graffunder, Husqvarna: Multi Time Canadian Off-Road Champion, Multi Time EnduroCross podium finisher.
- Grant Baylor, KTM: Current GNCC XC-2 Championship points leader.
- Kyle Redmond, KTM: Multi time top American finisher at Erzberg Extreme Enduro, second at 2012 King of the Motos Extreme Enduro.
- Nick Fahringer, Husaberg: Multi time National Enduro race winner.
- Max Gerston, Beta: 2012 EnduroCross Junior Champion.
Unqualified Expert/Pro and amateur riders can race on Saturday with the top finishers earning the opportunity to move on to the Sunday Expert Knockout rounds. On Sunday, the riders will compete in a very tough and spectator friendly four round Knockout format.
For more information about the 2013 Kenda Tennessee Knockout, fueled by Monster Energy and presented by Moose Racing and SRT, please visit: http://tennesseeknockoutenduro.com/.
Stewart’s Rough Week
After turning in a respectable third place finish in moto one at Unadilla, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s James Stewart suffered a crash on the opening lap of moto two and eventually called it a day. Digging deeper, it was revealed that Stewart had suffered a fairly severe crash early the week before Unadilla which injured his neck. Late in the first moto at Unadilla the injury caused his neck to stiffen up and he dropped off the pace, although he held on for third. The crash in moto two further aggravated the injury and Stewart decided to pull in and get it checked out.
“I felt like I recovered pretty good after the first moto,” said Stewart. “I felt like I could still get top five, But I got a bad start in the second moto and I was almost dead last going in the first corner. In the second corner… I don’t know if there was a pile-up but something happened and the guys in front of me were stopped and I ran into them. I went over the handlebars and landed on my neck again. I did my best; I felt like even though I was sore in the first moto, I still rode pretty good. Hopefully nothing is seriously wrong, but I’ll go back and get checked out.” —Shan Moore
Big changes for Baja 1000; Lackey to be inducted into MSHFA
Ever since Roger Norman took over the helm at SCORE, he’s been perhaps unfairly criticized for ignoring the needs of the motorcycle and ATV segment of his entries. So, he sat down last month with motorcycle team representatives Bob Bell, Steve Bourgeois, Tim Morton, Ron Wilson and riders Salvador Hernandez and Justin Morgan to get feedback and hammer out some changes for SCORE races starting with November’s 46th Tecate SCORE Baja 1000. (Johnny Campbell and Kurt Caselli were kept informed electronically.) Though not yet set in stone, implementation of the issues discussed is considered highly likely.
One of the biggest changes will provide for an estimated eight additional hours of separation between the bikes/ATVs and first Trophy trucks and Class 1 cars, and that is starting the bikes at 11:00 P.M. on Thursday, November 14, instead of 6:00 A.M. Friday, November 15.
That’s certainly a radical schedule modification with many pros and cons, and the parties reportedly hashed over all they could think of before agreeing in the end to give it a try. One of the first concerns pointed out was the Mexican law prohibiting night flight, but the group decided that with additional medical and security resources deployed to key locations around the longer-than-usual 922-mile northern-loop course, as well as increased police/security presence, risk is minimized.
Of course, dust tends to hang more at night so to help avert this problem, competitors will start two minutes apart. Starting in Ojos Negros was discussed, but Norman wants to keep the start in Ensenada in order to maximize media exposure, especially locally. The paved sections and Ensenada wash used in the first miles of the course should, in concert with two-minute start intervals, reduce dust-related vision issues.
Another proposal was to institute qualifying for Pro-class bikes and ATVs with the qualifying rider being the actual starter for the team. This may be done regardless of class so fastest qualifier starts first even if he (or she) was a Class 40 entrant, for example.
As far as booby traps, the group concluded that there’s no likelihood of more activity on Thursday night. In fact, there might be less. Norman believes the Monster Energy Festival scheduled for Thursday night in Ensenada should draw and keep more spectators in town, though this depends on when it concludes. Working with local media to stress the danger of booby traps and intent to prosecute offenders is another tool, along with officials pre-running the course shortly before competitors arrive and having police prevent unauthorized course access.
Starting next year, look for a revamp of both motorcycle and ATV classes. The proposal is for Class 22 to become the marquee division–Pro, any displacement. Class 21 would be Pro, 251-400cc, and Class 20 would be Pro, up to 250cc. Ironman Pro would be any displacement. (Class 25 would be any displacement Pro ATV, with Class 24 being eliminated.) Sportsman bike and ATV classes would become any displacement categories.
Speaking of the 1000, among the notable early entrants is Colin Edwards, the Texan who got his start in motocross before turning to the dark side and concentrating his two-wheeled efforts on paved surfaces, winning two World Superbike championships before stepping to the top level of the sport, MotoGP.
In other news, round six of the Parts Unlimited Off-road Motorcycle and ATV Nationals visited a new venue near Saulsbury, Tennessee, last weekend, and Husaberg’s Russell Bobbitt repeated his round five victory to extend his points lead over runner-up finisher and fellow ‘Berg rider Nick Fahringer. Open A winner Steve Leivan was an impressive third overall. Five-time and defending series champ Paul Whibley continues to heal from surgery last month and did not attend.
Johnny Campbell is one busy man. After X Games (where Laia Sanz rode one of his bikes to gold in Women’s Enduro X), he turned his attention to Dakar prep. At least that’s what circumstances indicate.
First, Team HRC Rally rider Helder Rodrigues flew into town and was seen with Campbell at X. Other team members filtering into SoCal were Speedbrain/Honda’s Joan “Bang Bang” Barreda and Paulo Goncalves as well as Team Manager Martino Bianchi. Then, David Kamo started a 10-day test session on Monday–a test he wasn’t allowed to elaborate on as to what he was testing or where. Put two and two together, though, and it’s no stretch to believe this is a test of the latest CRF450 Rally machine as they aim for Dakar 2014. (JCR’s Timmy Weigand is unable to test at the moment as he heals from a broken heel.)
After the test, some of the crew stuck around and went to a local motocross in Pala, California, with Rodrigues finishing third in Open Pro (out of five) with a 3-3 score and being the sole Vet Pro entrant. Sanz was the only one entered in Women Pro, and she also rode 250cc Intermediate to get more track time in her first official motocross race, going 4-4 for fourth out of four.
By the way, a closer look at the CRF280R that Sanz rode showed a new sponsor: JCR Speed Shop. It’s actually a new enterprise Campbell’s come up with and will focus on providing customers with race-ready Hondas by drawing on the team’s considerable experience in off-road competition, especially in desert/Baja and grand prix events. Being more retail-oriented, JCR Speed Shop will also offer replica graphics, apparel and trail tool kits developed by 11-time Baja 1000 winner Campbell. If you’re not in the San Clemente, California, area, don’t fret; just visit www.JCRSpeedShop.com.
Though he’s concentrating on EnduroCross this year, defending series champ Taylor Robert still has the speed to win in the Rocky Mountain ATV/MC World Off Road Championship Series (WORCS) and proved it by leading every lap at round seven at Glen Helen Raceway Park in San Bernardino, California, on Sunday. The Monster Energy Kawasaki racer jumped out to an early lead with series points leader Robby Bell just a couple seconds behind, but Bell crashed heavily when he hit a rock while riding in the dust, breaking the throttle cable. He limped back to the pits, made repairs and ultimately finished seventh, though he remains the points leader by a good margin. Gary Sutherlin and Justin Jones rounded out the top three behind Robert.
MX history buffs certainly remember Brad Lackey’s name. Now, more folks will be familiar with him as he’s being inducted into the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America in next week. Not to be confused with the AMA’s Hall of Fame, this one in Detroit is primarily for those who’ve accomplished great things in the motorhead world (mostly automotive but also including aviation and powerboats) so America’s first motocross world champion–500cc in 1982 (shortly before Danny LaPorte won the 250cc championship)–joins elite company with only 22 other motorcycle figures having been included since 1989 when “Cannonball” Baker became the first two-wheeled luminary.
Lackey is part of the 25th Annual Induction Ceremony, Class of 2013, where he’ll be presented by former rival Roger DeCoster, who was inducted in 1994.
Also among the silver anniversary Class of 2013 is the late Robert E. Petersen who founded Petersen Publishing Company in 1948. Besides Hot Rod, Motor Trend, Guns & Ammo and numerous other titles, PPC brought Dirt Rider to life in 1982.
Looking further ahead, the inaugural NORRA Mexican 500 Rally is set for September 27-30. A new and shorter version of the General Tire NORRA Mexican 1000 that’s been run in the spring the past few years, it’s being run in conjunction with local CODE Mexican Logistics 300, though they won’t share courses.
Run more in the rally format instead of SCORE’s (and CODE’s) first-to-the-finish sprints, the 500 runs from Ojos Negros to Mexicali on the first day, Mexicali to San Felipe the second day and San Felipe to Ensenada on the final day. It’s a non-pre-run course; organizers will issue competitors GPS coordinates on Thursday the 26th. Those coordinates and danger markings will guide both the bikes and four-wheeled vehicles, whose starts will be separated by three hours each morning. For more information, go to www.NORRA.com.
A number of readers probably remember the Catalina Grand Prix in 2010 and how popular it was as it brought dirt bike racing back to the island off the Southern California coast for the first time since the 1958.
Unfortunately, politics and greed seemed to doom the race to one-time status, though many of those who participated–as well as the businesses on the island—pined for a re-run.
Well, they may get their chance because a new race dubbed the Catalina Island Grand Prix is tentatively slated for December 11-15, 2013. Details are very scarce beyond that, but to get on their mailing list, go to www.catalinaislandgrandprix.com. —Mark Kariya
That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.