AMA Motorcross Nationals - Seasons Change - Dirt Rider Magazine

It's that time of year again. The time when trees turn gold, birds head for more tropical lands and the world of motocross puts on its big winter-stadium boots and pounds through the cold months like a pacemaker. Motocross life as we know it has been doing the same revolution for decades, and just like a migrating flock of Canada geese, motocross' journey has a hunting season to survive before it can reach the comforts of completion. The people in and around the herd at the AMA Nationals are very eager to finish out the year. Getting through healthy is important but, for many, so is taking a short break and revving up for next year. We scoured the scene at Glen Helen to give you an inside view of what people living the sport think, feel and plan when the last race finally comes around.Keith Bowen
MotoWorld Racing/PPG/Yamaha Mechanic

I'm always ready for the season to be over with, but it gets fairly boring sitting at home, so I am also anxious for a new season to start. The Nationals are a lot of work for us. There is a ton of time involved in the bike. For next year, I'm staying with the MotoWorld team, and I won't get much of a break since I am starting with my new rider, Sean Hackley, almost immediately. We'll begin putting him on a test bike and getting used to things, then the initial testing kicks in as soon as a week after the Nationals are over. I've never had a new rider before, and I'm really looking forward to it because I usually work with an established pro who is already set in his ways. My goal is to be able to help a rider as much as possible. Tentatively, we want to do the U.S. Open, both Canadian rounds and the Bercy Supercross. So we've definitely got some work ahead of us!Craig Rood
No Fear

It's going to be nice to have some time off and to get a weekend to do my own thing. On top of traveling during the Nationals, I am also in the office almost five days a week, so I'm super busy. The supercross season is definitely a little easier on me as far as traveling, not to mention we don't go through as much gear for our riders. In the outdoor season, we have nine riders who get four sets a weekend as well as numerous other supported riders who get various amounts of product, whereas in supercross they only need two sets of gear for an event. Right now we're also starting from square one as far as how the gear is designed, who has rides and all that. Between our main riders and the privateer guys, that's a lot of gear! Overall, it was a solid year, and except for some injuries, it was nice to see our riders up there.Tony Gardea
Public Relations Man to the Motocross Gods

Half of me says, "Hurray, let's throw a party!" because the races are over, but after only a few weeks I will be ready to come back again. At this point, I have had my fill of racing, because it's pretty much year-round racing now. This season was good, though; before James got hurt, he and RC were really dicing. After James crashed at High Point, the season fizzled a bit, but it was still exciting. The Lites class has been very entertaining, with Villopoto taking it to the last round to seal the championship. We get a little break now with no races, but I am still looking forward to everything in the future. Next weekend, I'm actually going to Vegas for a guy's trip, and I don't have to go to the MGM Arena or Sam Boyd Stadium because my trip has nothing to do with motorcycles!Steve Bruhn

The Nationals in 2006 were a pretty important year. Carmichael's and Stewart's careers finally intersected to the point where we really didn't know who was going to win at some of the races. Their bikes were matched, and as Ricky has said when he wrapped it up, nothing was left on the table. Even though Ricky won it, James rode really well and Chad put in solid rides as long as he lasted. The moto of the summer was the first one at High Point, because we really didn't know where anyone stood. James ended up looping it and partially ruining his summer, but the racing was still incredible. When the Suzuki guys were packing up their truck that day, I mentioned something about RC and Bubba battling. Ricky's mechanic said to me, "You know, I really don't think any two guys have ever ridden their motorcycles on dirt any faster than that." That pretty much sums up the season.Broc Glover
Dunlop Tires/MX Hero

It's kind of funny how the cycle for us tire guys is a little different than the average racer. The end of the Nationals is actually the beginning for us! Supercross testing begins, and it is a whole new year for us. I manage the supermoto efforts as well, so we still have another few races to go. It's nice to see a conclusion come to the series, because I know that a lot of people in the paddock are going to get some much-needed time off. For the tire guys, though, it doesn't really work that way. We are now focusing on the supercross World rounds, where tire situations can be just as difficult.Travis Preston
Strong Finisher

The last couple of races of the season were very muddy, so when I showed up to Glen Helen and the track was dry, it felt like the start of a new season! That made the racing feel fresh again. I got a little burned out on all the travel this year, but the racing was a lot of fun. I'm going to take a few weeks off and enjoy a little vacation, then get ready for January with my supercross training. I'll start doing sprints and some higher-intensity training, as well as a whole different type of riding. I don't know what is going to happen as far as teams, because I have nothing set up right now. I started relaxing a lot toward the end of the season, and I sure wish I could have done that sooner. As for the little supercrosses that take place after the Nationals, those things suck! I have been racing all year long, and if I were to race the McGrath Invitational, I would have to go straight from Glen Helen, take a day off and then start practicing supercross. I will be starting the Canadian rounds in December, so I definitely need a break now.Tim Ferry
Factory Again

I'm going to jump straight into supercross now while I am in the rhythm of riding-I'm actually going to start this week. If I can transition right into indoor-type riding, it will help. I'll get my bike ready in the first month, then work on endurance after that. Once we get the bike good, it's fairly consistent in supercross. We take a lot of time to prepare because we have the time. The outdoors are tricky because bike setup sometimes changes every week based on the conditions. I'm going to be riding for Kawasaki next year, so I'm really stoked. Moto XXX is a little bummed-I had a fun year here and it was a good experience. They got me back to the next level. But it will be great to be on factory equipment again.Dave Casella

Right now, we are knee-deep in the 2008 gear designs, so it is really hectic despite the races being over. The new gear falls right in between the end of the Nationals and supercross, so there is no end in sight! We just re-signed Nick Wey to a new three-year deal, and he is ready to come out swinging. He needs a bit of a break, so it will be great for him to take some time off. It was a great year, and we have some fun stuff in the works for next season. Stay tuned!John Simanovich
Utopia Optics

I'm glad the Nationals are over. For myself, being a goggle guy, it was a rain-filled summer, and that means a ton of work. I have a lot of good things to say, because my riders rode well and I really got used to the swing of things with the brand. Now, I have a few weeks in the office to line up some contracts and stuff, but then we are back at it for supercross. I'm looking forward to it.Tom Carson

There's not really a break for us, since we just got a new Asterisk mobile medical center that is going to keep me busy for a few weeks. From here, we are going to the McGrath Invitational, the U.S. Open, the Long Beach Supermoto and then off to Florida for the Winter Olympics. I get a little break, but it is still a lot of work without the outdoor series. The outdoors always throws in Mother Nature, so it has been a mess lately and can be extra grueling. I wouldn't say supercross is less difficult to get through, but it is definitely cleaner!Kevin Windham
Smooth as Always

Going into the off-season, first and foremost is a big fat vacation! Then, obviously, our riding changes as we are already getting our supercross tracks prepared. Now is a time to build a good base. I think we have been racing and riding so much that getting anything accomplished other than maintenance is kind of tough to do. It's kind of on autopilot right now. People have asked me what I did to train the week before Glen Helen. You know where I was? I was in a casino all week for a dealer convention. It was great, but it's not really conducive to winning races. There are so many races and so many laps. The off-season is the time to make advances in both training and riding. I am going to take my vacation, take everything easy for a few weeks, then come back real hot and heavy to build a good base for supercross and maintain it all the way through the outdoor season.Ben Townley
Showing That GP Speed

I'm looking forward to next year a lot. We have been talking about the next few weeks and just planning what is going to happen. Hopefully, this winter I can do a race or two and just break the ice a bit and go from there. I'm looking forward to it, and I think it is going to be exciting. I'm looking forward to des Nations; it's going to be huge. With Everts retiring and RC wrapping it up, a lot of people are coming to that event. It's going to be a fun race. From then on, I'll take a little time off and just begin riding supercross to come back strong.John Ruston

work for the Great Outdoors Video shooting most of the slow-motion shots. This was my season in a nutshell: I got roosted a lot, and people threw beer cans at me when they wanted to be in the video. I'm not necessarily sick of the Nationals, but I wished there was a little more competition this year. The coolest thing was watching Andrew Short win, because he is a good buddy of mine. It was also fun watching Villopoto ride like he does. He came out and showed ungodly speed in his first full season. Hopefully, next year Hepler will be healthy, and it will be fun to see Villo go in with his head full of confidence. It will also be interesting to see what will happen to Stewart if Carmichael wins the events that he decides to race. It's going to be a lot of weight on James if RC can still win without racing every weekend.James Stewart

I feel strong now and healthy! I haven't practiced outdoors since Millville; it has been all supercross. People disagree with me on that, but it has helped a lot. The last few races I've been able to pull off the track without sweating too much.Ryan Villopoto
New Champ!

It was a great season. I'm ready to go home and get in my pool!

Glen Helen: Not RC\'s favorite-now more than ever.
Yamaha hopes Josh Hill is the next Ryan Villopoto.
Kevin Windham: second in the standings, only 132 points behind RC...
Ben Townley: We hope he gets through SX healthy, so we see his speed in 2007.
Ryan Villopoto: The champ and heir apparent?
Andrew McFarlane and Josh Grant show flashes of brilliance.
2006: The last time we see Chad Reed outdoors?
Tim Ferry: Going green as James Stewart\'s teammate.
Broc Hepler: Going factory blue.
Mike Alessi: Lites runner-up, he\'s on to 450s.
Davi Millsaps: He wants to be the next RC, but he rides more like the new Kevin Windham.
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