Welcome to The Weekly Dirt, the place to go each Wednesday to catch up on the latest happenings in the realm of off-road motorcycling. This week, a little news from both coasts.
Charlie Mullins climbed back into the championship hunt in the GNCC series with a very impressive win at this weekend’s Unadilla GNCC in New Berlin, New York. Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Josh Strang, who crashed on the opening lap when he was attempting a big set-up jump on the motocross portion of the track and landed on Mullins’ KTM teammate Cory Buttrick. Buttrick was taken to a local hospital in Utica where he was told he has a mild concussion. Meanwhile, Strang lost three laps replacing the rear sprocket on his Suzuki and could only muster a 13th place finish. When Strang returned to the fray he looked fast, and might have given Mullins a run for his money had he not crashed, although Mullins admitted he was having his best race ever at the Unadilla facility. As it stands now, Mullins has an eight-point lead in the series standings with five rounds to go, and could become the first person to win both a GNCC title and an AMA National Enduro title in the same year.
Suzuki made it official this week that Ryan Dungey would not be back with the team for 2012, and that Brett Metcalfe would be their lone rider for next year’s motocross and supercross seasons. Of course, this reinforces the Dungey-to-KTM rumors that are currently circulating, and there are a lot of knowledgeable people who say this deal’s already done. We reported last week that Mike Alessi was told by Roger DeCoster that there was no room left at KTM for him since KTM is bringing back Andrew Short for ’12 and the team has already signed Marvin Musquin and MX2 champ Ken Roczen for the AMA series next year. Dungey is the next logical move. A few other teams are waiting to see if this deal goes down before they seal their lineups, one being JGR MX, which, rumor has it, also offered Dungey a large sum. It’s gonna be exciting to see what happens…
Just like Nick Fahringer did a week ago, American Beta-backed GNCC racer Chris Bach announced after the race this past weekend that he’s going under the knife sometime this week to repair a damaged ACL that’s been bothering him for most of the year. Bach ran a solid third (behind Mullins and Kailub Russell) at Unadilla, but dropped off the pace when he wrenched the knee again. However, the decision had already been made to have the surgery, and Bach estimates he’ll be ready to get back to serious training in January. In the meantime, Beta will try to find a replacement rider to fill in for the final five GNCC rounds on the factory 350.