By the DR Staff
Happy New Year and welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week Mark Kariya brings us an update in the JCR situation, we talk to Aaron Plessinger, and an update on Zach Bell. There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get going.
Bell Out For Anaheim Two
The Phoenix round of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross series was a bummer for Zach Bell, who went down early in practice and broke his collarbone in three places. The GEICO Honda rider underwent surgery on Sunday and is expected to miss the entire Western Region Supercross season.
KR4 Performance Arrive-n-Ride Coming To National Enduro
KR4 Performance is taking its Arrive-n-Ride program to the National Enduro Championship series in 2014 and Colorado’s Ian Blythe and Idaho’s Jubal Brown are the first two riders signed up. Blythe will be competing in the Pro division on a KTM 350XCF for the KR4 Arrive-n-Ride National Enduro Team, and Brown will contest the Open A division aboard Honda equipment. Both riders will be contesting the entire 10 round season.
Right now, KR4 is looking for more participants. The KR4 Arrive-n-Ride Program gives you or your racer a true “factory ride!” We handle the logistics and take all of the hassle out of getting to the races; your bike is expertly prepped, your gear is clean and waiting, and our skilled trackside crew is ready to give you the support you need to perform at your best. All you need to do is fly in and race!
You might have noticed a familiar logo on the back of James Stewart’s Bell helmet at one of the first two rounds of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series. If you look closely, you will see his last name is written in the same script and style as the iconic Titleist Golf logo. The helmet was painted by Troy Lee and also sports golf ball “dimples” across the back.
Plessinger Aiming For Supercross With AX Win
Former amateur standout and GNCC competitor Aaron Plessinger (yes, the son of Scott Plessinger), took a surprise win at this past weekend’s round of the the 2014 AMSOIL Arenacross Series, featuring Ricky Carmichael’s Road to Supercross, in Baltimore, Maryland.
In his first-ever Pro Arenacross race, the MyPlash/Star Racing Yamaha-backed rider won the first main event on Friday, beating some of the top AX riders in the business. Plessinger finished fourth in the second main event, giving him third overall. On Saturday, the Georgia rider went 4-1 in the two main events to take the overall win.
“It surprised me for sure,” said Plessinger. “I was going in there thinking a top seven or top five would be good, but then to win it was a big surprise, I was really stoked.”
Plessinger will ride this weekend’s race two more round (Louisville, Kentucky and Greensboro, North Carolina) so he can earn his pro card for Supercross.
MX For Children Supercross Makeover
Feld Motor Sports and MX for Children has announced the MX for Children Supercross Dream Room Makeover, a new charity event for 2014 that will coincide with the Seattle stop of Monster Energy AMA Supercross, an FIM World Championship, on April 12. This collaborative effort between Feld Motor Sports and MX for Children will enhance the quality of life for a chronically ill child who is also a fan of Monster Energy Supercross. One child will be selected to receive a complete bedroom makeover themed with Monster Energy Supercross scenes and paraphernalia.
Volunteers will work to design and build the Monster Energy Supercross-themed bedroom before the stop at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field.
The selected child will be interviewed by local media during the week prior to Seattle Supercross (April 7) and will be offered an opportunity to participate in MX for Children’s Inside Line Experience. MX for Children and Feld Motor Sports believe this effort will bring joy and excitement into the life of a sick child in the Seattle area.
MX for Children’s Inside Line Experience is a Monster Energy Supercross exclusive with a unique, multi-day behind the scenes look at the sport. The Dream Room Makeover recipient will participate in a “Meet and Greet” with top Monster Energy Supercross racers in a private, informal atmosphere for autographs and pictures. On race day, the selected child will tour factory rigs, walk the Monster Energy Supercross track and enjoy the race with great seats! —Shan Moore
Dakar Update, JCR Honda Calls It Quits In Baja
The Dakar Rally story took an abrupt change the day after completing the first marathon stage and immediately throwing competitors into the longest stage of the race. Team HRC’s Joan Barreda ran into navigation difficulties which cost him plenty of time and, thus, the lead he’d had since the outset with Red Bull KTM’s Marc Coma deciphering the tricky route best and taking control of the race by almost an hour.
Barreda chipped away in the following days as what’s being hailed as the most difficult edition of the race entered its second week. However, that much time is too much to expect to make up unless the leader runs into a major problem as the days wind down to this weekend’s finish.
The race has seen the first stage win by a Sherco, and female rider Laia Sanz of Spain continues to impress aboard one of the pre-production CRF450 Rally customer editions. The ninth stage saw her finish a more-than-impressive ninth overall among the bikes!
Mike Johnson remains the lone American in the race. He hadn’t finished stage nine as this was being written, but he was classified 81st overall after stage eight, finishing 67th for the day.
Big news in Baja sees the Johnny Campbell Racing Honda squad calling it quits after a hugely successful run in Mexico that’s seen them accumulate more wins than any manufacturer, including the last 17 Baja 1000 victories in a row.
The official JCR press release provided no real explanation, but theories include SCORE doubling the number of events in the series (stretching some race team budgets beyond the breaking point, apparently) and lack of insurance.
THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s effort quickly followed suit with the FMF/Bonanza Plumbing KTM team yet to make an announcement one way or the other.
So what’s in the future for JCR?
According to a press release a couple hours after we banged out the words above, JCR will usher in a new era for Honda in the GNCCs, picking Chris Bach as its rider and the CRF450R as his bike.
No word yet on another rider to either augment Bach in XC1 Pro or as an XC2 Pro Am presence.
It will mark American Honda’s return to the series that Scott Summers seemed to make his own in the ‘90s as he introduced a new level of professionalism and defied conventional wisdom by riding the seemingly overweight and undersprung XR600R to five championships.
If you’re interested in racing one or more rounds of the GNCCs or AMA Rekluse National Enduro Championship Series, Presented by Moose Racing, DirtWise Academy now offers a “Ready to Race” bike rental program. For $600 per event, the client gets a KTM that’s race-prepped and ready to go; pit service is also included. All the prospective racer needs to do is pay the race entry fee and have his riding gear. A private one-on-one, all-day skills-improvement session with DirtWise instructor Jason Thomas two days before the race is available for an extra fee.
To learn more about the DirtWise offer, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit http://shanewatts.com/store-3/#!/~/category/id=8389269&offset=0&sort=normal or call 234-567-1329. —Mark Kariya
That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.