Ricky Carmichael - Dirt RIder Magazine Online

National UpdateRicky Carmichael is in a familiar place-a strong lead and tons of momentum have him in position to rack up his 10th AMA outdoor title. James Stewart's win at round one ended RC's overall win streak at 27. But Bubba crashed out at High Point and suffered a broken-crank-induced endo at Southwick, which cost him precious points. He missed round four to allow a deeply bruised bone, from the High Point mishap, time to heal. Lost points and missed motos won't allow Stewart to knock the G.O.A.T. off his mountain. For now, it looks like RC will retire on top, just how he'd like it.In the Lites class, mechanical DNFs at the 'Wick put the Pro Circuit Kawasaki team in a huge hole. But Ryan Villopoto didn't let it go to his head and has bounced back with commanding performances that put him within reach of the surprisingly patient point leader Mike Alessi. This could come down to the final round, and we're guessing it's going to be completely worth the price of admission.Letter Rip Special Edition: ThumperTalk!When our August issue hit the newsstands in mid-June, we knew we would be receiving a good bit of mail concerning the Internet bike test. But once an online debate fired up on ThumperTalk.com regarding Jimmy's less-than-awesome impression of its bike, the letters raced in like fire ants to the company picnic. In light of this, we put together a ThumperTalk.com edition of Letter Rip. This is only a small taste of the letters we received on the subject. OK, ready on the left? Ready on the right? Letter Rip! -Chris DenisonPlease send mail to drmail@primedia.com or Dirt Rider, Attn.: Letter Rip!, 6420 Wilshire Blvd., 17th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90048. All letters may be edited at our discretion.Astoundingly Not UnderstandableSo it seems a lot of DR-Z owners are upset with DR (mostly Jimmy) for comments made about the bike. The harshness of Jimmy's comments had to be spurred by some behind-the-scenes personal problems with the DR-Z builders. I can't think of any other reason comments that spiteful would have been included in the actual article. The excess noise of the DR-Z and how it was corrected by inserting a different tip should have only consumed two short sentences. Instead, it was dwelled on incessantly and you apparently thought it was justification for using words like "stupid" and "disrespectful." Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.DR, you asked for a bike that represented the forum, and at TT, DR-Zs overwhelmingly represent the forum. Dirt Rider magazine may not be, but many TTers are very interested in supermoto conversion "kits" for their DR-Zs. Most TTers are not interested in motocrossing it, so sending it to you in anything but dual-sport form (with the plus of supermoto conversion-whether you like it or not, we do) would have been a misrepresentation of the TT forum. But DR focuses on motocross bikes, causing you to miss the number-one appeal of the DR-Z-its versatility.The Internet bike test was a great idea for an article. I was really impressed with the (potentially) fresh story idea. But DR ruined it by (1) making it a comparison/shootout in every way but the title, (2) injecting personal behind-the-scenes bad feelings into the article and (3) reviewing the bikes for traits you thought they should exhibit and not what the forum members wanted (that was the point of your own article, and you managed to miss it-that is just astoundingly not understandable).-Kevin KowalczukSound OffJimmy Lewis' opinion about sound and the DR-Z475S was unfairly negative. Yes, the bike arrived not meeting the 96-decibel sound limit, but it's obvious that was not ThumperTalk's intent. My point is this, though: The ThumperTalk community is very active in saving our OHV ride areas. If it were not for ThumperTalk, Oldedude and I would not have been able to assemble trail-maintenance volunteer workers at the Georgetown, California, USFS trails. Dirt Rider does nothing to maintain trails, ThumperTalk does.My support of ThumperTalk will continue. I did like the other articles on the Internet bikes. Your assessment is your assessment, but you have no standing to attack TT so vehemently on the sound issue. It was an oversight, corrected by the small Tec insert. -bigbobHey Jimmy... Honestly, I'm not sure what else there is to say. From our vantage point and from others who have read your commentary (not from the general article itself), the general consensus is that you dropped the TT bike on the ground, stood on it, yelling to all that this is the reason we (the enthusiast) are losing ground, despite the fact that our bike passed sound with the cores provided and the CR500AFX didn't pass at 97.3 decibels.-Brian Bosch, TT OwnerA Rare AgreementJimmy, for the most part I agree with your analysis of the bike. From what I have read on TT, most guys are riding 450s, so I don't understand why they would build a DR-Z of all things, but maybe their polls show different (It clearly did. -Ed.). A test bike should be ready to run as soon as it shows up, not having to be tuned, and I know you guys are really strict on the sound thing, as you should be. Anyway, I think you came on a little strong about the Super Motard thing, but then again, like you stated, it is rare to see anything like that in your mag. I just wanted to let you know not all TTers are complaining about your write-up.-SK, Fresno, CARectify!We all know that sound awareness is important to keep riding areas open, and likewise, ThumperTalk chose an exhaust system that had quiet-core capabilities and included them with our bike. Without the cores, it is a bit loud, but with the cores, it is a very reasonable volume. Your tirade against our bike because you "couldn't find" the quiet cores is laughable-especially when you shrugged off other bikes that were louder then the DR-Z yet didn't include quiet cores. Don't worry, I won't mention the fact that your riders decided to pave their own trails, which most would agree would close more riding areas then a slightly loud pipe.All in all, you make a great magazine, and yes, I will continue to read it. Everybody makes mistakes, the true test is in whether they realize them and rectify the situation. I'm not asking for a complete turnaround in your viewpoint, but it'd be nice if you would admit that you might have been a little harsh on the bike. Give us our credit, because it is long past overdue.-georgestrTri-sporterI love my DR-Z for what it is, a dual-sport. Even a tri-sport: dirt, supermoto and street. Your review was strangely, overly harsh.-Jeff Keefe, Bellevue, WAWithout Further Ado, The ResponseYes, my opinion was harsh. I take full responsibility for it. Wouldn't you be pissed if you were sitting at the side of a trail with a $500 ticket and a bike that wouldn't start? I tell it like it is, and I don't sugarcoat it for anyone.There is nothing going on behind the scenes, and I have nothing but respect for the message board at TT, but this bike's greatness (as outlined in the write-up) was overshadowed by its problem (as detailed in my opinion). I know the bike was sent as a dirt bike, but to me its massive power character and lowered stature seemed much more suited to on-road or supermoto, where the beast might hope to actually get traction."Stupid" was for missing the only rule, 96 decibels as delivered; the loud pipe was "disrespectful" to the whole forum and to responsible riders everywhere who are trying to keep the noise down. While it may have been an oversight, I can't believe the 95-decibel exhaust tip wasn't in the bike in the first place. These days, oversights like that can be costly-to all of us. And if you think the review was harsh, you should try sending in a bike that truly sucks!As for the sound test, the CR500AFX, like all two-strokes, sounds quieter in the real world (different frequency), and it passed, albeit into the +/- 1.5-decibel grace of the test. We use the same meter as the rangers. -Jimmy Lewis