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.
Photos by Shan Moore
It certainly made for good TV, but I’m sure it cost Roger DeCoster a few grey hairs over it. Nevertheless, the “Dungey Refueling Incident” at Southwick this past weekend was one of the most unusual and out of the ordinary things to happen to the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series in some time – at least as far as the 450 class is concerned. So far, the 250 class has been carrying the weight when it comes to excitement for the series.
If you missed it, Red Bull KTM’s Ryan Dungey fell while leading the second moto of this weekend’s round in Southwick, and somehow he managed to knock his gas cap loose in the process. The end result was he lost a considerable amount of fuel. The concern was that he wouldn’t be able to finish the race on the amount of fuel left in the tank. These guys are cutting it close on fuel, and if you remember, Mike Brown ran out of gas in the first moto at Red Bud on a KTM! So anyway, the decision was made to bring Dungey in for a quick splash and go with four laps to go. When Dungey came in for fuel it allowed Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Tyla Rattray to take the lead. The next three laps produced some of the best racing of the day, as Dungey put wicked it up trying to catch Rattray. Dungey put in a good charge, but in the end Rattray held his ground and came away with a well-deserved win. Dungey still got the overall win with a 1-2 moto tally, but Rattray proved that the Dunge is not unbeatable.
Here’s what Dungey had to say about the incident after the race:
“Those ruts after the drop offs were pretty nasty, and before one of the drop offs, my rear wheel got a little light and it kind of hooked the jump and pitched the other way and I landed in the ruts sideways,” said Dungey about his crash. “I tried to save it but it just took me right down. After I fell, I realized I might have kicked the gas cap loose, I saw it gulping out gas and I was thinking that might be a problem. I got going and I moved back into the lead, but all I could think about was if I was going to make it. I wasn’t riding real hard and I was trying to save some gas for the end. Thanks to the guys at NBC we were able to see the footage and we were able to see that I lost a lot of gas. We measured the gas after the race and I wouldn’t have made it another lap, so I’ve got to give it up to the team. When I pulled in, we gassed it up, and it worked out. We didn’t win it, but we did a good job of finishing out with the overall. I didn’t know if I could legally pull in, if that would be outside assistance, I was just thinking what I was going to do.”
Meanwhile, Blake Baggett took a giant step towards the 250 title with his overall win at Southwick. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider waged a great battle with Red Bull KTM’s Ken Roczen on the second moto, and finally made a pass stick with two laps to go to get the moto win and the overall. This race still went down to the wire with three guys with a chance to take the win. Roczen has been in position several times this year to take an overall win but he just can’t seem to get it done. We’ll see what happens this weekend at Unadilla, on a track that some think favors the foreign riders.
In the meantime, head on over to Motocross.com to check out What Really Happened from this past weekend’s race at Southwick: http://www.motocross.com/uncategorized/what-really-happened-southwick-mx/
Destry Abbott Joins U.S. Trophy Team for This Year’s ISDE
Former AMA Hare & Hound Champion and multi-time ISDE gold medalist Destry Abbott has been named to fill in for the injured Bobby Garrison on the U.S. Trophy Team for next month’s ISDE in Germany.
Garrison, who has been dealing with a nagging injury, will step aside and relinquish his spot on the six-rider team to Abbott.
At the end of the 2011 season, Abbott retired from full-time racing but has been competing in various off-road and even motocross events through out 2012, and he says that the less grueling schedule has left him stronger now than he did this time last year when he rode for the U.S. ISDE team in Finland.
“This has been a different kind of year for me, because I haven’t been focusing on one series and instead have been having fun racing a lot of different events,” Abbott said. “I actually feel stronger and better on the bike, so I’m really excited about this and hopefully my experience will help with the team, too.”
Abbott will compete along side Kurt Caselli, Mike Brown, recently crowned WORCS champ Taylor Robert, Russell Bobbitt and Charlie Mullins in Germany, September 24-29.
Perris Raceway News
As of August 9, 2012 the Management of Motocross FAST and Milestone MX have reached a new final agreement. Effective immediately, G.A.S. (Ghetto Action Sports) has purchased the full rights to operate Perris Raceway. Motocross FAST will be run by a separate third party. Under the new agreement, Motocross FAST will be the exclusive membership management for Milestone, Perris and Pala Raceway. The new agreement shall allow for a more effective partnership as each group will now have a focused duty which will provide improved member benefits.
G.A.S. is proud to be re-opening Perris Raceway for business on Tuesday August 21st. Gates open at 9:00 am for open practice until 1:00 pm followed by full prep for the traditional “Mini Night” (all ladies and mini’s 150cc and below, no 125cc 2 strokes) which starts at 4:00 pm and ends at 9:00 pm. Our future schedule will be posted on our facebook page and website very soon. We respect the fact that Perris Raceway is the oldest track in California and we look forward to continue improving the facility for all who come to race, practice and enjoy Perris Raceway. Our mission is to provide excellent weekly and night time practice while establishing premier racing and special events on a regular basis.
About G.A.S. – For the riders and by the riders! G.A.S. is a group of families and riders who work to improve the practice and racing environment for all Southern California motocross enthusiasts. Through management of Milestone MX and Perris Raceway, G.A.S. will strive to provide premier motocross tracks, membership benefits, and much more. www.milestonemx.com www.perrismx.com.
Junior Motocross World Competitors Chosen
The American Motorcyclist Association has selected some of the fastest youth motocross racers in the country to compete at the 2012 Federation International de Motocylisme Junior Motocross World Championship on Aug. 25-26 in Sivlievo, Bulgaria.
Two riders selected for each of the three classes — 65cc, 85cc and 125cc – will attempt to successfully defend the titles the U.S. team won in 2010 in France and 2011 in Italy.
This year’s 65cc team members are Conner Mullennix from Santee, Calif., and Parker Mashburn from Stephenville, Texas. Both riders will compete aboard KTM Orange Brigade 65s. Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green rider Austin Forkner from Richards, Mo., and Suzuki amateur support team rider Jake Pinhancos from Rochester, Mass., will represent the United States in the 85cc ranks. Both Forkner and Pinhancos have won AMA Amateur National Motocross Championships. In 2010, Pinhancos represented the United States in France where he won the 65cc FIM Motocross World Championship.
In the 125cc class are Jerek Balkovic from Camp Hill, Pa., on his Cernics Racing Yamaha and Jordon Smith from Belmont, N.C., aboard his Farren/PR2 Racing Suzuki.
KTM North America’s Amateur Motocross Support Coordinator Mike Sleeter will serve as team manager and organize the team’s efforts. Riders who have represented the United States at this race in the past include James Stewart, Ryan Villipoto and Davi Millsaps, along with FIM World Champions Blake Wharton and Joey Savatgy.
Ty Davis Inducted Into HoF
The AMA announced last week that Ty Davis will be the next 2012 inductee into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame. Over the years, Davis has been one of the most versatile off-road motorcycle racers on the planet, and is certainly deserving of the honor. Davis will be inducted into the Hall of Fame as part of the 2012 AMA Legends Weekend at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, Nev., Nov. 16-17.
Here’s Davis’ bio from the AMA:
Born in Bakersfield, Calif., in 1969, and raised in Hesperia, Calif., Davis was encouraged by his father to start riding at an early age. Despite his dad’s affinity for desert racing, Davis said there was no pressure for him to start competing at a young age.
“I just loved riding,” Davis said. “I would just go out there and ride in circles. Did I want to become a racer? No. When they had races, I kind of shied [away] from it. But then when I finally started, around 12, I did OK. Then I did another race, and I was hooked. My dad, though, said it was too extreme to race desert and that I should race motocross, as he was trying to qualify for the [International] Six Days [Enduro] team, so we didn’t do much desert racing after that.”
Davis developed into a top regional amateur motocrosser, winning the Golden State National Championship in the 250cc Pro class in 1987 then both the 125cc and 250cc TransCal Series championships in 1988. Davis’ most high-profile title was the 1990 AMA Supercross 125cc West Region Championship when he beat future AMA Supercross star and Hall of Famer Jeremy McGrath.
“The biggest thing about the 125cc title was the story behind the scenes,” Davis said. “I bought my own two bikes, and [fellow racer] Jimmy Button and I were driving our own vans to the races. I just raced a production bike out there, but I had the determination. The previous year, I had a factory ride with Suzuki. I remember telling [future Hall of Famer] Bob Hannah [who was managing the Suzuki team at the time] that if I don’t win the 125cc Supercross title next year that they should fire me right after the series was over.
“Well, it was a tough year,” Davis remembered. “My mechanic was a different breed — he left me in Idaho one time — and I finished fourth in the points. I thought I might still have a deal, but Suzuki called and said they wanted the bikes and box van back. Suzuki had an opportunity to hire some other riders when those riders’ deals at Honda fell through, so they did. Since I had no signed contract I was out. But I knew the production Hondas could run with the Suzukis, and I bought some Hondas and raced on my own. I got some back door help from Honda because I did some R and D work for them, but I was pretty much on my own.”
Davis pointed out of the 125cc class and had to move to the 250cc class the following year.
“Mentally, I wasn’t ready for the 250 class,” Davis said. “I needed another year to mature in that class. I did it for year, and I just got tired racing week to week and not making any money. That’s when ATK called, and they offered me a bunch of money to win the [off-road] White Brothers Four-Stroke Nationals.”
Davis accepted ATK’s offer and raced the series after the AMA Supercross season concluded, winning the 500cc and 600cc titles and then competing in the famed Baja 1000 desert race.
“The first year I raced the Baja 500 for ATK, they took care of me,” Davis remembered. “They screwed up in the pits and never changed my filter. We lost the race by 17 seconds, but they were so happy, and since they realized they screwed up, they gave me my win-bonus anyway. The next year, I had an opportunity to ride for Kawasaki. Kawasaki had a better program, but ATK was offering me more money. I decided to go with Kawasaki, but then ATK calls and doubles their offer. I ended up taking the money and spent most of the year hurt. The money I thought I was going to make, I spent on doctor’s bills.”
In 1993, Davis moved to Kawasaki. Although he was on the winning Baja 1000 team four times, from 1993-96, he was still finding his speed in individual events.
“I either got my [butt] handed to me by LR [Hall of Famer Larry Roeseler] or I couldn’t beat Danny [Hamel] in the desert,” Davis said. “[Hamel] can hold it on wide open. He had good vision. I’m this motocrosser, I don’t look half way across the valley. I decided that if I’m going to stay at Kawasaki that I need to find another place where I can be the hero. That’s when I looked at doing the AMA National Enduro Championship.”
Davis said Kawasaki told him if he was leading the enduro points after the first three rounds in 1995, he could race the entire series. He was, he did and Davis that year earned Kawasaki its first, and only, overall AMA National Enduro Championship. Davis repeated the championship in 1999 riding for Yamaha, giving them their first enduro championship, and also found his speed in the desert, winning the AMA National Hare & Hound Championship in 1997, 1998 and 2002.
Davis’ success hasn’t been limited to the racecourse. In 2001, while still actively competing at the highest levels, Davis started Zip-Ty Racing Products, which continues to sell high-performance specialized parts for off-road race bikes.
“I knew I was getting older and I knew that after being through this industry and how small it is that I had to look for something for the future,” Davis said. “It’s amazing how many aftermarket products out there didn’t fit the bikes they were sold for. My dad had a machine shop, and he’d make some parts for me. He would always make extras, and friends would want them. That’s how I started. First, there were the wheel spacers — a simple little product — and then this removable shark fin [a rear brake disc guard]. Then with the four-strokes so popular, we came out with the Zip-Ty fuel screw [which allowed for easier carburetor tuning], and that took off.”
Today, Davis continues to run Zip-Ty Racing, sponsor factory teams and riders, and compete. He says he’s honored to be recognized by the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.
“It’s amazing, really,” Davis said. “To be honored with so many of the guys I raced against and those who I’ve looked up to is humbling. Being in the Hall of Fame is a huge honor, and I’m excited to be recognized like this.”
Davis joins the late Rod Bush, KTM North America president and industry visionary; pioneering female motocrosser Sue Fish; 1975 AMA Supercross Champion Jimmy Ellis; world-class bike restorer Brian Slark; and iconic race flagger Al Wilcox as a member of the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Class of 2012.
The class will officially be inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame on Nov. 16 as part of the AMA Legends Weekend. The weekend also includes the 2012 AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Dave Mungenast Memorial Concours d’Elegance on Saturday, Nov. 17, featuring many of the country’s most impressive original and restored classic motorcycles.
In addition to the current class, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame induction ceremony shines the spotlight on two previously inducted members of the Hall of Fame, reminding the motorcycling community of the amazing careers of these Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends. For 2012, the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Legends will be 1998 inductees Malcolm Smith, a pioneer in off-road motorcycling and a star in the motorcycle documentary “On Any Sunday,” and Mert Lawwill, the 1969 AMA Grand National Champion whose title defense was the central theme of the timeless film. —Shan Moore
Alpinestars Fall Product Launch
This fall, Alpinestars introduced a pretty hefty load of new products—most of which was street oriented with some adventure tossed into the mix. A small bit of that was dirt and here’s what’s new.
The Tech 8 Light boot was introduced last year at Alpinestars’ Fall Product Launch as a new product, or a sequel to the proven Tech 8. It has a 15% weight reduction from the previous version, and for this year it has been given vented, mesh leather on the front of the boot, a few new color ways and an additional chunk of rubber on the sole at the arch. Astars’ chose to improve the durability here while keeping the feel at the heel and toe the same.
The entry level Tech 3 has come back with new color ways with cool graphics that aren’t overkill to keep you on your toes!
All new pads that are CE certified with a tough structure and impact absorbing padding. The elbow protectors use a cross lacing system with elastic cords to adjust fit. And the knee protectors are dual-strapped with the top strap above the knee for a good ergonomic fit.
The goal here was to create a shoe with premium materials that are lightweight and breathable. We haven’t worn them yet, but don’t they look like feathers!? —Chris Green
That’s it for this week, be sure to check back this time next week for more from the world of off-road.