Villopoto Out For Motocross, Desert Legends Reunion, 2015 SX Schedule, Touratech Rally, UT H&H, and More! - The Weekly Dirt: May 7, 2014

By the DR Staff

Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week we check in with Ryan Villopoto to find out his status for the upcoming outdoor motocross series. We also check in on the Hare & Hound In Utah, the Desert Legends Reunion and the Touratech Rally. There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get going.

Ryan Villopoto Out For Outdoors

Photos By Shan Moore

First he’s out; then he’s in. Ryan Villopoto told several reports point blank (including yours truly) at the New Jersey Supercross that “as of now, I am in for the outdoors.” Maybe a sneaky way of putting it, but this week his team, Monster Energy Kawasaki, announced that Villo will indeed miss the 2014 Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Series in order to have knee surgery. A few weeks ago, rumors started circulating that RV was thinking about missing the outdoor series in order to get surgery on a nagging injury, similar to when he skipped the Motocross of Nations last year. When asked about it two weeks ago, Villopoto said there was no truth to it, and he doubled down on that at the Las Vegas press conference, but this week we find otherwise.

Here is a quote from Reid Nordin, Kawasaki Senior Manager of Racing. “Obviously this is a big blow for the Monster Energy Kawasaki team,” said Nordin. “Even with the injury Ryan has shown he is the top rider in our sport, but we are listening to his medical team to make sure he gets his knee fixed properly and he can compete for championships in 2015.”

Filling in for RV will be 2013 Canadian Monster Energy Motocross Nationals Champion Brett Metcalfe, who will join Jake Weimer for the 2014 AMA Pro Motocross season.

3rd Annual Desert Legends Reunion

Photos By Scot Harden

On April 26-27, in Randsburg, California, the 3rd Annual Desert Legends Reunion was held at Goat Sky Ranch. Some of the biggest names and legends in desert racing attended the two day event hosted by Goat Breker and the staff of GSR .

The event has spun off from a birthday party held for D-37 and Baja Champion AC Bakken four years ago at GSR and now draws many past desert champions, family and fans who all have come together to celebrate 50 years of desert racing alongside some of the greatest racers in the history of the sport. This year’s event included Mitch Mayes, Jack Johnson, Max Switzer, Brent Wallingsford, Bob Rutten, Bob Balentine, Scot Harden, Jeff Kaplan, Art Knapp, Monte Lee and Gus Paul to name a few. These past champions include multi-time Baja 1000 and Baja 500 overall winners, B to V Champions, D-37 Number 1 Plate holders, Mint 400, Parker 400, and Las Vegas 400 Overall winners, SCORE Motorcycle Class Champions, Best in the Desert Class Champions, Vegas to Reno and Check Chase Champions.

“It was an amazing weekend spent with so many great guys,” said Scot Harden. “We can’t thank Goat enough for pushing all of us to come together to share our common past and to renew friendships that have endured for years. All of these guys set such high standards and achieved so many great accomplishments in the sport of desert motorcycle racing. True legends who are all heroes in my book. It was great to catch up and share stories from our common past.”

Goat Sky ranch was the perfect place to host the event and plans are already underway to hold a fourth annual reunion next year.

Feld Motor Sports Announces 2015 Supercross Schedule

Will Ryan Villopoto be able to win a fifth supercross title in 2015? Photos By Shan Moore

With the 2014 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Series put to bed, Feld Motor Sports announced the 17-race schedule for the 2015 Monster Energy AMA Supercross season, which includes a pair of new stops. In total, the world’s best riders will visit 10 different states and 14 different venues in 2015.

Among the new stops, the series will make its debut at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, home of the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, and at Petco Park in San Diego, home to Major League Baseball’s San Diego Padres. Levi’s Stadium will serve as the 15th race of the season, on April 18, resulting in two visits to California’s Bay Area with the annual race from Oakland’s Coliseum, on January 24. In addition, the championship will have two stops at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome. The Atlanta race has been home to the largest capacity crowds each of the last few years and will host races on February 21 and February 28.

Also making its return for a second straight year is Detroit’s Ford Field, which welcomed Monster Energy Supercross back to the Motor City in 2014 with the signature lane built into the seats. The one-of-a-kind venue will play host to the championship again next season, on March 21, as the 12th stop on the schedule.

2015 Schedule:

Date Venue City

January 3 Angel Stadium Anaheim, Calif.

January 10 Chase Field Phoenix

January 17 Angel Stadium Anaheim, Calif.

January 24 O.Co Coliseum Oakland, Calif.

January 31 Angel Stadium Anaheim, Calif.

February 7 Petco Park San Diego

February 14 AT&T Stadium Arlington, Texas

February 21 Georgia Dome Atlanta

February 28 Georgia Dome Atlanta

March 7** Daytona International Speedway Daytona Beach, Fla.

March 14 Lucas Oil Stadium Indianapolis

March 21 Ford Field Detroit

March 28 Edward Jones Dome St. Louis

April 11 NRG Stadium Houston

April 18^ Levi’s Stadium Santa Clara, Calif.

April 25 MetLife Stadium East Rutherford, N.J.

May 2 Sam Boyd Stadium Las Vegas

For more information, log onto —Shan Moore

Touratech Rally

Photos By Adam Booth
Don’t expect Quinn Cody to be changing your flat tires, but the Touratech Rally will be an incredible experience nonetheless. Photos By Adam Booth
Touratech and Quinn Cody have prepared a roadbook using ‘Rally Navigator’ software for participants. Photos By Adam Booth

Interested in the world of rally racing? Looking for an opportunity to ride with a four-time Baja 1000 Champion and veteran Dakar Rally racer? Join us at the 2014 Touratech Rally near Plain, WA and take part in the first ever Rally Navigator Experience with Quinn Cody. An expert navigator and accomplished motorcycle rally racer, Cody will be teaching a class on rally roadbook navigation as well as hosting a rally navigation ride during this year’s Touratech Rally!

Rally racers use paper “roadbooks” rather than GPS units to navigate the terrain designated by the event organizers. Touratech and Quinn Cody have prepared a roadbook using ‘Rally Navigator’ software for participants to use while navigating the back roads and trails in the Central Cascades.

“I am looking forward to working with Touratech and Rally Navigator to create a rally experience that can be shared with everyone. This is a perfect opportunity for guys to get a taste of rally navigation for the first time.” –Quinn Cody

The Rally Navigator Experience will take place Friday and Saturday, June 27th and 28th in conjunction with the Touratech Rally in Plain, WA. Cody will teach a class Friday night covering many topics including:

 Navigation Equipment Basics

 Roadbook Prep and Interpretation

 Riding and Reading

 Recovering from Navigation Mistakes

On Saturday, participants will have a chance to try out their new skills while following a custom prepared roadbook on a ride through the Central Cascade Mountains. The route is built with navigation training in mind, so expect a few rally tricks along the way and terrain that is ADV bike friendly for intermediate and advanced level riders.

While rally racers use expensive equipment like motorized roadbook holders, adjustable odometers, and compass heading repeaters to navigate, Touratech also has an option for narrow 2” format roll-charts for riders without all of the complicated equipment. If you have a 2” endure-style roll-chart holder, GPS and an odometer that you can reset to 0.0 then you can come ride with the rally guys!

Touratech Rally

The Touratech Rally is your chance to ride some of the best ADV and Dual-sport motorcycle routes in the Pacific Northwest, as well as attend a handful of clinics and classes including Backcountry Cooking, Adventure Bike Suspension, Ergonomics & Bike Setup and Motorcycle Tire Repair. Puget Sound Safety will be on-site offering two different off-road skills development training courses for an additional fee. Come join the Touratech crew for a weekend of riding in the mountains and good times around the campfire.

About Quinn Cody

Quinn Cody is an accomplished off-road motorcycle racer. He is a four-time Baja 1000 champion, three-time Baja 500 champion, the only rider to ever win the Vegas To Reno solo, and was named the 2011 Dakar Rally rookie of the year. Quinn currently resides in Southern California and competes in a number of rally racing events around the world, including the Dakar Rally and last year’s inaugural Baja Rally.

About Rally Navigator Software

The roadbooks for this event are provided courtesy of Rally Navigator, a company who is committed to making it easier to create roadbooks with their intuitive and easy to use software. Based on Google Earth, Rally Navigator uses intuitive design to quickly create Roadbooks by either importing GPS tracks from an actual ride or virtually creating a route by tracing detailed satellite images of roads and dirt tracks. Wherever the rider needs turn instructions, a waypoint is created with a single click. Rally Navigator automatically captures segment distance, CAP heading, GPS location and draws a basic image of the intersection, called a “Tulip Drawing.” Simple drag and drop icon placement and drawing tools finish out the details for each waypoint.

Click here to learn more about the 2014 Touratech Rally: —Adam Booth

Ivan Ramirez Reigns At UT H&H; Yorba And Gosnell/Pearson Pick Up Other Wins On Busy Weekend In NV

After suffering through a few problem-plagued rounds, Ivan Ramirez got firmly back in the groove with a wire-to-wire win at the Sage Riders M.C. Shawn Gerber Memorial. It was his first victory since his breakthrough at the series opener and moves him closer to second in points. Photos By Mark Kariya

Nevada and Utah were the hotbeds of racing over the weekend. In addition to the Supercross finale and EnduroCross kickoff, no less than three other major series held events on Saturday alone!

Up in Jericho, Utah, the Sage Riders Motorcycle Club hosted the Shawn Gerber Memorial, round six of the AMA/SRT Hare & Hound Championship Series. Last year at this race, Ivan Ramirez of the FMF/KTM Factory Off-Road Racing Team enjoyed a break-through and led the first loop before making a mistake following course markings early on loop two and ceding the lead--and eventual win--to teammate Kurt Caselli, who, of course, went on to win his third straight title before ultimately losing his life at the Baja 1000 a few months later.

This year, Ramirez is the sole desert racer on the team and in only his second full year on the circuit, he’s earned his first National triumph, taking the season opener back in January. Lately, though, he’s suffered through some bad luck, but he tried to remain upbeat after a disappointing 10th at round five, saying that the only thing to do was move forward and keep trying--a reflection of the mentoring Caselli provided in their short time together.

That attitude paid off handsomely in the only Utah stop on this year’s tour as Ramirez seized control of the race from the outset and ran away with a convincing, mistake-free victory.

“I dedicate this race to my buddy Kurt,” Ramirez declared.

“This was actually one of the first races where I was running with him last year. It brings back a lot of good memories up here, for sure.”

For others, the memories might not be so good as it was a tougher race than many expected. Both Ricky Brabec and Nick Burson ended up taking sand samples in the dunes on the bomb run, though both recovered, THR Motorsports/Monster Energy/Precision Concepts Kawasaki’s Brabec rebounding for second and Purvines Racing Beta’s Burson coming back from a hard get-off to third. Burson remains the points leader over Brabec with Ramirez closing ground in third: 144-138-125.

Utah natives TJ Hannifin and Josh Knight made their fans proud, Hannifin running second on his Purvines Racing Beta for much of the race until running out of water in the latter stages and settling for fourth. Knight also put in an excellent ride to end up fifth overall, first 250cc Expert, on his ADS Motorsports KTM mirroring his fine result from last year.

Earlier hat same morning, Best in the Desert started the Canidae/Tap It Silver State 300 in Alamo, Nevada, round three of BITD’s American Off-Road Racing Series. It turned out to be a THR 1-2, with the duo of Matt Gosnell and David Pearson just ahead of solo rider Robby Bell, whose usual partner Ricky Brabec was elsewhere, of course. Gosnell/Pearson completed the 297-mile race through the high desert and mountains in five hours, 23 minutes and 44 seconds, with Bell less than 13 seconds back!

Jordan Kundert and Carl Maassberg took third in 5:25:10 on their Speed Freak Apparel Honda. (Tallon Taylor also skipped the hare & hound, soloing the Purvines Racing Beta for Nick Burson and finishing fourth in 5:39:39.) Over 30 Pros Chris Brown and Tim Fitzpatrick earned fifth overall in 6:03:56 on their McMough Racing Kawasaki.

And later that afternoon at Primm, Nevada, FMF/RPM Racing KTM’s Eric Yorba became the first two-time winner in this year’s AMA District 37/GPR Big 6 Grand Prix Series feature AMA West Coast Grand Prix.

After chasing Kawasaki-mounted Justin Seeds for a lap, Yorba took over and led the remainder of the 90-minute race hosted by the Shamrocks Motorcycle Club, repeating his Glen Helen victory with more than four minutes in hand over runner-up Seeds.

Vaughn Wilk took third aboard his Dicks Racing Yamaha a further 32 seconds back with WCGP Pro II (250cc) winner Nic Garvin and Ryan Reina rounding out the top five overall.

The event also served as round six of the AMA West Hare Scrambles Championship Series and despite a crash, Bel-Ray/FMF/Moose Racing Husqvarna factory rider Jacob Argubright soldiered on for ninth-place points, enough to keep him atop the points table. —Mark Kariya

That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.