Welcome to the Weekly Dirt, the place to go each week to get your off-road fix. This week, it’s all about…Rumors, Ben Townley, Andrew Short
More bad luck for Ben Townley, the former MX2 World Champion who was recently signed by Chad Reed to race the outdoors for TwoTwo Motorsports, reportedly suffered a dislocated hip in a practice crash at the second round of the Australian Motocross Championship in New South Wales. Townley’s career has been riddled with injuries and about this time last year the New Zealander broke his jaw while preparing for the MX1 World Championships. In 2012, he slammed his abdomen into the handlebars when a hit a false neutral (again during practice) and tore a small perforation in his bowel. Townley won the MX2 World Championship in 2004, and the AMA East Lites title in 2007. Representing New Zealand at the 64th edition of the Motocross of Nations in Denver, Townley scored an impressive moto victory in front of 35,000 the Thunder Valley Raceway.
Despite losing their title sponsor, Supercross.com, Andrew Short and the Larry Brooks and Jeremy McGrath-backed L&Mc Honda team returned to action this past weekend at the New Orleans round of the Monster Energy Supercross series, where Short turned in a respectable fifth-place finish. Shorty suffered a shoulder injury earlier in the year, but said that he feels fine and is ready to get back into the mix. “It was good to race again, I got really tight just from the elements and atmosphere that are produced in racing, but I was happy,” said Short. “I had a few close calls and I think that’s what contributed to me getting tight, but overall it was a good first race for me.” Shorty also cleared up some rumors by saying he looked forward to finishing out the year on a Honda.
There have been tons of rumors floating around on Twitter and on the “Interweb” about James Stewart and the JGRMX team, some suggesting that there’s bad blood between the two parties. The latest rumor making the rounds this past weekend suggested that Stewart was seen at a local motocross track in southern California testing a Suzuki. That rumor popped up on Saturday during the New Orleans Supercross, so I spoke with team owner Coy Gibbs and also with Yamaha’s Keith McCarty, and both stated that the rumors were just that: rumors! McCarty and Gibbs both insisted that Stewart missed New Orleans because of a broken hand and that he would be back – on a Yamaha – at an upcoming round as soon as he was healthy enough to ride.
Kailub Russell grabbed his third-straight win in the GNCC series with an impressive performance at the Big Buck GNCC in Union, South Carolina, this past weekend. The FMF/KTM-backed rider has been virtually untouchable since DNFing the opening round of the series in Florida, and now sits just two marks out of the series points lead behind Paul Whibley. While teammates Charlie Mullins and Cory Buttrick are riding KTM’s new 450, Russell is still riding the 350 XC-F, and making it look good, and apparently not giving up any power to the bigger 450s. In his latest win, Russell broke away from the pack early and was never in danger of giving up his lead. Could be a long year for the rest of the competition.Fred Andrews of Fred Andrews Racing (FAR) announced last week that team member Jason Thomas had left the FAR Husqvarna team, citing personal reasons for his departure. Andrews added that Thomas had plans to return home to England to be with his family and that FAR Husqvarna has plans to replace Thomas with another rider for the remainder of the 2012 National Enduro and GNCC series, though no decisions on who that rider will be have been made at this point. In somewhat of a controversy, Thomas showed at this past weekend’s GNCC race on a privateer two-stroke KTM where he finished third behind Steward Baylor and FAR Husky rider Andrew DeLong, apparently delaying his return to England. - Shan Moore