Welcome to the Weekly Dirt, the place to go each week to get your off-road fix. This week, there’s lots of interesting news heading up to the outdoor motocross season. Plus a few off-road tidbits as well.
Stewart to Suzuki, Regal to JGR, Rattray to 450s, and Mullins for GNCC only…
Just a day after the Joe Gibbs motocross team announced that they had officially parted ways with James Stewart, Stewart inked a deal with the Yoshimura Suzuki factory motocross team that will see him competing in this year’s AMA Pro Motocross and the 2013 Supercross Championships… and so ends a somewhat turbulent relationship between JGRMX team and Stewart.
Reading Stewart’s press release, it becomes apparent that the rumors of Stewart testing a yellow bike during the SX season were true, although they were flatly denied by all parties.
“I’m really looking forward to joining the team,” Stewart said in the release from Suzuki. “It’s been a pleasure to get to test with these guys and meet the team. I’m very excited – I love the bike. Ever since I rode it from day one, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to come out and showcase my talent. With Mike Webb as the team manager and Don [Sakakura], the President of Yoshimura Racing – it’s been great what they’ve been doing. The whole team is phenomenal. We’re all excited to get the ball rolling and see what we can do over the next few years. I just want to thank everyone at Yoshimura and American Suzuki for giving me this opportunity.”
With six AMA Championships to his credit, Stewart will be a boon for this summer’s outdoors series, especially since Ryan Villopoto and Chad Reed are sitting out the series with injuries, and it will be interesting to see how he stacks up with the rejuvenated Ryan Dungey on the KTM 450 Factory Edition.
As far as JGRMX, the team announced today that they had signed Kyle Regal to join Davi Millsaps on the team for the AMA Pro Motocross Championship Series.
“We are coming off a great Supercross season with Davi Millsaps and both Davi and Kyle are turning some very fast laps at our test track. We are excited about the upcoming outdoor national season,” said team manager, Jeremy Albrecht.
With Villopoto missing the outdoor series with a knee injury, Monster Energy Kawasaki dipped into Mitch Payton’s talent pool and elevated Tyla Rattray to the 450 squad for the summer. Rattray, a former XC2 World Champion from South Africa, will join Jake Weimer in trying to defend Monster Energy Kawasaki’s AMA Motocross title, which Villopoto claimed last year.
“I’m pumped to race the 450cc class with Monster Energy Kawasaki,” said Rattray. “I know both the team, and the bike can win championships. I couldn’t be more thankful to everyone allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Rattray, who suffered a fractured C-7 vertebra back in January at the Oakland Supercross, will get his first official start with the team at next week’s Hangtown Motocross Classic in Sacramento, California.
Charlie Mullins was a no show at this weekend’s Cajun Classic National Enduro in Louisiana, which raised a lot of eyebrows. The word on the street is that KTM is restructuring its off-road effort to free up money for its Baja team. A press release is supposedly in the works, but as we understand it, Mullins, who has had his share of bad luck during this year’s enduro series, will be racing GNCC only for the rest of the year.
Depleting KTM’s numbers even more, Cory Buttrick pulled out of the Cajun Classic just about a mile into the first test when he twisted his knee. The factory KTM rider went for an MRI on Tuesday and was still awaiting results when we checked in on him this morning. Buttrick has had more than his share of health issues and we wish him a speedy recovery.
The good news for KTM is that Steward Baylor claimed his fourth win of the season on a shop-backed 250 two-stroke. Look for this kid to be under the factory tent next year. So far, the 18-year-old has been untouchable in National Enduro competition, and right now holds an impressive 32-point lead in the series standings over eight-time champ Michael Lafferty at the halfway point of the season. – Shan Moore
And in even more bike-hopping news, there are rumors that Ivan Tedesco is testing with the Pro Circuit team… on a 250F. Yes, the 2005 250F champ might ride again for the team that is several riders short with Rattray looking like he’ll be on the 450, Durham out with an injury, and Dean Wilson deciding to start the outdoor series with an injured shoulder, with no one sure if he’ll make the full season before being forced out for a shoulder surgery that sounds inevitable. – Pete Peterson
Kurt Caselli’s win streak in the AMA Racing/Kenda National Hare & Hound Championship Series came to a crashing halt–literally–at round five of the series outside of Jericho, Utah.
The FMF/KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team desert star had taken his now-customary position at the front of the pack on the first loop, which took riders through the Little Sahara Sand Dunes Recreation Area and had a comfortable lead aboard his 450 SX-F when things suddenly went very wrong.
“I just hit a rock on a downhill and went over the bars,” he said. “Obviously, I didn’t see it. It was just like a regular crash–I’m sure everybody’s done that in the desert at least once–but I landed on my shoulder pretty hard and hit my head pretty hard. I didn’t get up too quick and just sat there–did the whole body check to see what was wrong and I knew my shoulder was bruised or something pretty bad. So that was it; my day was over, which sucked.”
That opened it up for Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Green/Purvines Racing’s Jacob Argubright, who was first on the scene and ascertained Caselli wasn’t seriously injured before going on to record his first-ever National victory followed by teammate Justin Morrow (in his first National podium) and local ace T.J. Hannifin.
As for Caselli, his immediate concern was, of course, getting diagnosed so he, mechanic Anthony DiBasilio and teammate Ivan Ramirez drove about six hours south to Las Vegas, heading straight for Sam Boyd Stadium and that night’s supercross finale.
While DiBasilio and Ramirez enjoyed playing the role of spectators, Caselli got himself checked out by the Asterisk Medical crew. They determined that he hadn’t broken anything that required immediate surgery, but a visit to his own doctor would be prudent.
So, on Monday morning, Caselli visited his physician, who diagnosed a third-degree shoulder separation.
As it stands after five rounds, Caselli still leads with 120 points, but THR Motorsports Kawasaki’s David Pearson–fourth at the Sage Riders National–closed the gap markedly to six points back and now has 114 while Morrow is third with 90. – Mark Kariya
Silver State 300 photos by Brad Houshour
The Canidae/Tap It Silver State 300 race went down this Saturday near Caliente, Nevada, and the Dirt Rider crew was on hand to enjoy the action. Put on by the Best In The Desert Racing Association, the Silver State explores some of the best riding that Nevada has to offer.
In the pro class, THR Motorsports’ Tyler Renshaw and Ricky Brabec took a surprise win over the A-Team of Robby Bell and Steve Hengeveld. Third place went to Justin Morrow and Gary Sutherlin, with Sutherlin riding on very little sleep due to his competing in the AMA/ GEICO EnduroCross the night before. The Dirt Rider team of Chris Denison, Andrew Wilkins and Ryan Dudek ended up first in the Open Expert class and 11th overall aboard a Chris Haines-prepped Honda CRF450X. The course was a fast, safe mixture of tight sand washes and high-speed desert sections, proving once again that promoter Casey Folks knows how to create a safe course while also providing one heck of a fun time! You can read more about this adventure in the upcoming August issue of the magazine. – Chris Denison
Photos by Adam Booth
The season has begun for EnduroCross and the action at the opener was nothing sort of amazing. Every rider showed up knowing the first two rounds of the season can determine if they make it to the X Games. The track was tighter and tougher than riders were used to and an over/under bridge section was an awesome element. The toughest part of the track was definitely the log matrix, trapping even the toughest riders and causing problems almost every lap. After winning every single EX last year, Taddy was the man expected to dominate but after a first turn crash left him at the back of the pack in the main event Colton Haaker was the focus at the front. He grabbed the holeshot and rode an amazing race, fending off relentless attacks from Justin Soule all the way to the finish. Colton couldn’t have been happier to take the win and while everyone loves Taddy, it was refreshing to see another rider on the top spot of the podium. If the race had been a couple laps longer Taddy just might have kept his win streak alive, he was working the track at a blistering pace and watching him slice and dice his way from a dead last start was awesome. For a guy used to winning everything, Taddy was amazingly chill after the race and all smiles. He openly complained about the track before the main event, saying he felt it was too slow and technical and that he’d like to see some bigger elements and more airtime, like doubles and faster straightaways. In the end he salvaged a third and Colton Haaker won the race of his life.
The next stop for EnduroCross is Sacramento and we will be there and we promise you it is going to be intense! - Adam Booth
2012 GEICO/ Monster Energy/ MiniMotoSX
The 2012 MiniMotoSX took place this year in the Orleans Arena the Sunday after the final round of Supercross in Las Vegas. A scaled down mini bike supercross track is built in the confines of an arena which makes it a spectator friendly sport as you are easily able to witness every ounce of action.
Ryan Abrigo walked away a winner and $8,000 richer from taking a win in the 12 inch expert class and a second in the 10 inch expert. Riders from France, Italy, Japan and the US all took wins on raging mini bikes here in Vegas. What a colorful sport, and to see various flags flying victorious shows how serious some area about MiniMoto. After all it is quite a blast to slam your buddies and take them wide while every super fan in the building cheers you on.
The VIP Electric class was full of Dirt Rider staffers as well as Ryan Dudek from Cycle World and a few foreigners of a French-like-language. Superstar photographer Drew Ruiz captured this shot of Associate Editor Chris Green (#4) taking out a few casualties, including himself and slowing up the competition just a hair.
Team Zero. It doesn’t get much better than this. It was all fun and games even though people went down. – Chris Green
The following is from Cheryl Lynch:
Since many of you have asked…here is a more complete overview of what is going on with Jeremy and his wife, Kim, written by Jeremy, in his own words. Please, please share, post, facebook, tweet and distribute.
I am sending this message to let everybody know what is going on with my wife Kim and my family. As you may or may not know, about 2 years ago Kim was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. She had a number of different surgery’s, underwent chemotherapy for many months, and handled the processes like a true champion. Kim was feeling great.
Kim was 15 months removed from her last treatment, about a month ago she noticed a couple of small blotches on her skin. Due to her great instincts she went and got them biopsied. That biopsy came back as “Leukemia Cutis”, which is Leukemia of the skin. Naturally we were blown to pieces by this news.
As I said, Kim was feeling great and due to her good instincts we caught this in the Pre Leukemic stage. The bad part is the doctors have to treat ” Leukemia Cutis” the same way as if you came in the hospital at the later stages of leukemia. Which sucks….
This means more chemo, she is currently in the hospital and has completed her 7 days of chemo and they are saying a BONE MARROW transplant is next…. THIS IS WHERE ALL OF YOU GUYS COME IN… We really need your help with going and getting on the Bone Marrow registry, the idea is to find a Marrow match.
Its as easy as finding a Bone Marrow Drive and getting your mouth swabbed, or having the kit sent directly to you at your house, and you can send it back. I ask all of you to do this ASAP, this is something that is time sensitive. In order to help Kim, we have to be willing to help anybody, which is the right thing to do.
This is the biggest challenge of my and my family’s life…. You guys have never let me down, so PLEASE help us with this one… Thank you…
That’s all for this week. Be sure to check in this time next week for more off-road news!