It’s almost March and the Supercross series is heating up and off-road racing is getting ready to explode in a big way!The 2011 Supercross series is turning out to be one of the most competitive in years with four different winners in seven rounds so far (James Stewart, Ryan Villopoto, Trey Canard and Chad Reed). The latest round in San Diego proved that anything can happen, when for the second race in a row one of the title contenders (Villopoto, in this case) suffered an “incident” on the first lap and was forced to come from the back of the pack to salvage points. Both RV and Stewart were relegated to a similar role in Houston the week before as a result of mayhem in the first turn.
As most everyone already knows, Chad Reed won the very muddy race in San Diego, and for sure, Reed is good in the mud. But the win also confirmed that the two-time Supercross champ is starting to put things together under his TwoTwo Motorsports canopy. Building a team from the ground up is a monumental task, and confounding the situation was the fact that Reed and company got a late start to the season. The San Diego win may well be the first of many for Reedy, now that they are more familiar with the Honda.Random SX note from San Diego: Eli Tomac put his GEICO Powersports Honda on top of the box in the Lites division to claim his first-ever Pro Supercross win. After a few lean years, things are starting to look up for Honda, who now has back-to-back premiere class SX wins after Canard and Reed won on successive weekends.
For those all-wheel-drive fans, Christini announced this week that it’s now offering its own full-on Christini-branded motorcycles, instead of the kits that were offered before. Due for release in the fall, the company is making available an AWD 450 model with a retail price of $6895 and a AWD 300 model featuring a Gas Gas 300 engine and other high-end racing components for an estimated retail price point of $8995. Geoff Aaron has made a name for himself in extreme racing circles riding a Christini-kitted KTM, so, for sure, the technology works and is competitive. What they need now is a Christini AWD trials bike!
Another big announcement comes from Beta, where the Italian manufacturer is joining the “light and nimble” league with the Beta 350 RR, the company’s answer to KTM’s new 350 XCF. Beta’s version is carbureted. Cody Webb had great results on the bike at Hell’s Gate and it’ll be interesting to see the bike in action here in the States.
In off-road news, the opening round of the Rekluse/AMA National Enduro series is this coming Sunday in Salley, South Carolina, and three-time series champ Russell Bobbitt got a big win this past weekend at the OMA National In Tuscumbia, Alabama, where he beat out Am Pro Yamaha riders Paul Whibley and Jordan Ashburn. Jimmy Jarrett, and Scott Watkins made their Honda debuts for the JG Off-road/GEICO Powersports team, finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, while Husaberg rider Nick Fahringer finished fifth.After what he considered a sub-par year in 2010, Bobbitt has changed things up a little for this year, trying to build his speed by racing almost every weekend during the off-season. I’m anxious to see how this first round shakes out with defending series champ Charlie Mullins switching from Yamaha to KTM, and newbie Thad DuVall set to do the entire schedule.The GNCC series kicks off for bikes on March 8th, and Mullins and DuVall will also be riding that, along with Whibley, defending champ Josh Strang, Jarrett, Watkins and a host of others. There’s a rumor that David Knight will join the series on March 13th in Washington, Georgia, so that should throw a wrench in the works, for sure. Of course, that week is Bike Week at Daytona, so there will be lots to talk about in the weeks to come.