Monthly Archives: November 2011
With the holiday season in full swing there are many things that pop into mind: over eating, insane holiday shoppers and drought of motocross excitement soon coming to a close.
The end of the year means that deals are, for the most part, all said and done. Kyle Chisholm has found a home with Josh Grant on the Kawasaki’s under the Jeff Ward Racing tent. Jeff Alessi has also been reunited with his brother on a Motoconcepts Suzuki and is said to be very comfortable aboard the new yellow machine. Though good news for some riders, other talented racers have had trouble scoring a ride.
After a mediocre season, Tommy Hahn has now found himself riding a privateer Honda for the 2012 season. Though a huge step back for the rider, he feels he is on the right equipment for 2012 and taking matters in is own hands is something he needs to do.
The last few months of the year will also have riders training harder then ever, scrambling to gain every ounce of speed possible before the big day in early January. Videos have been dropped showing off the talent and intense speed of James Stewart, Dean Wilson and most recently Blake Baggett.
The off-season is coming to a close. Fans will soon not have to rely on the rumors of who is where, for testing, training and video updates are in full swing. Though these three-and-a-half months seem like an eternity to moto fans, we are now finally beyond the halfway point and on to the home stretch for the debut of another exciting year of motocross.
Google, eBay, Cisco and Apple are some of the names that come to mind when most think about the Silicon Valley. An area known for it’s technological innovation, most motocross riders and fans would look past this area of Northern California as a riding destination. In the heart of San Jose’s concrete jungle lies a small motocross oasis: 408MX.
The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, located in San Jose, has a rich history of motorsports. Being the home to some of the biggest flat track races in the nation, the San Jose Mile was a big name in racing circles until the legendary stadium was demolished. Years later, the fairgrounds had built a motocross track where the stadium once resided.
Known for it’s tight and sometimes-dangerous obstacles, intimidating level of competition and loose leadership, the track never lived up to it’s potential as a famed Nor-Cal track. After realizing the issues, local motocross rider Ralph Davis decided to take action, and in 2009, 408MX became official.
“We need somewhere to ride. There is nowhere to ride,” says Davis when asked about his motivation to take over the track. “I watched as a kid all kinds of tracks close around me.” Davis’ passion to ride motivated him to drop everything in his life, take over the track and create the community that 408MX is today.
Coming to a new track can be intimidating for the average rider. Almost every track can be considered “another high school.” Clicks are bound to happen, but Davis pushes to eliminate the trend by providing community events for the riders.
Events like Super Sunday and the Red Bull Ride Day have brought riders from all over Northern California to interact and connect with the common passion for the sport. No matter the skill level, beginner to pro, all riders can hang out together and share stories, relax and most importantly have fun through motocross. But it is not just the community feel that keeps enthusiasts coming back to 408MX.
With the help of Jonathan Valdez and one of California’s most promising up-and-coming track builders Sal Cricchio Jr., Ralph Davis has managed to create one of the premiere tracks in California.
“Built for riders by riders” is the theory of the 408MX crew, and is extremely evident every time a rider rolls onto the track. From the perfectly tilled and watered loamy dirt (very rare in California), to the perfection in the jumps and corners, the 408MX crew puts in an excessive amount of attention to detail and pride in their work.
“We build the track to please everyone from minis to vets to professionals,” says track builder/designer Cricchio. “The layout is challenging, yet fun and safe. We are constantly making small changes to the track to keep the riders progressing. 408MX has built a reputation on a perfect and fun track, which has brought many top professionals and amateurs to race the growing track.
Davis sees the importance in fun with racing, and building up confidence in riders of all skill levels. The Saturday Night Summer Series has become a staple for 408MX. Hole-shot awards, fair competition and the chance to stand on a real podium are just some of the reasons that attract racers of all ages and levels to the track.
Behind every track there is a huge support group. MxClinic, Fox Racing, SCS Wraps, Shift, SVM, TRS Consulting, GP Sports, DirtTech and Red Bull have all been huge supporters of 408MX; but the reality is there would not be a 408MX without the support of the riders.
“It’s really cool to see all the hard work be appreciated by riders,” says Cricchio in regard to the success of the track.
With the continued support of the local motocross community and beyond, the future looks bright for 408MX. Free Red Bull Ride Days, racing and track perfection are in store for riders in the upcoming years in San Jose’s best kept secret: 408MX.
Video by Kevin Lavoie
Every Monday I will be putting up clips that made an impact on me. This week is a short clip Steven Clarke’s unfortunate crash down in Australia. Word is he broke his collarbone, but will make a full recovery. Enjoy!
With the intensity and competitiveness of motocross the past decade, it is hard to focus on why we really race. Love, passion and especially fun are some of the reasons that we become addicted to the sport. Spending the majority of his life engulfed in the fire of motocross, Jeff Pestana has made it his mission to keep motocross pure.
Kicking his leg over a bike at the age of eight, Pestana instantly fell in love with the sport. Turning pro at 16, Pestana would collect two amateur titles before competing in the national and supercoss circuits at the age of 20 and later becoming a Honda R&D test rider. Pestana’s work ethic, knowledge and passion for the sport would lead him to six different national numbers, a few top tens and the base for his future career.
In his last year of racing nationals, 1998, it was suggested to Pestana to start teaching motocross schools. Over the years, Pestana would coach some of motocross’ top talents like Northern California local Tyler Evans and Factory Honda Japan rider Naoki Serizawa. After a few years of coaching, it was suggested to change the name of the business and in 2005 MxClinic was born.
With the help of fellow pro riders, Tyler Evans, Rusty Holland, Ryan Orr, Dennis Stapleton, Kenny Heess and Cameron Camera, Pestana has been pushing some of the Bay Area’s brightest riders while keeping everything in perspective.
Fun is the reason why most ride, and Pestana believes if racing becomes more serious than fun, then kids will end up hating the sport. “If you have fun riding, then you will do a lot better,” says Pestana. “If you don’t have fun at it you’ll end up quitting.”
Fun and the light-hearted attitude towards racing are some of the main themes of MxClinic, but Pestana still knows what it takes to compete with the fastest.
Like most professional motocross programs, gaining cardio strength through bicycling is how Pestana trains his riders. Professional athletes Ricky Rinauro, Kenny Heess and Cameron Camera put in 6-to-9 hours a week with Pestana riding through the hills and back roads of Northern California.
On any given Tuesday and Thursday you can find MxClinic pro riders, as well as his top amateurs Dylan Tighe and Miles Sterling, running sprints and polishing their technique at one of Northern California’s premiere motocross tracks, 408MX.
Proper technique is something MxClinic focuses strongly on, and the sprints help with the racing speed and mentality that is needed to compete at the top of the sport. However you do not have to be a top motocross prospect to gain knowledge and skill from MxClinic.
Twice a month MxClinic provides schools for all riders and skill levels that hope to improve in the sport of motocross. Classes are held all around Northern California and focus mainly on technique in the areas where most riders struggle.
Much like his racing program, Pestana looks to focus on the positives. Growing up with a harsh program, Pestana says he likes to shed a positive light and positive reinforcement on the riders he teaches. With the help of videographer Kevin Lavoie, Pestana also has begun to make online videos, helping riders all over the world perfect their skills.
When asked about 2012, Pestana seems excited. He hopes to bring Team Honda Japan over to the states to train and race. He is also looking forward for his riders to grow and compete at some of the amateur national races as well as his professional rider Ricky Rinauro as he plans to race the supercross series.
MxClinic has continuously grown in the past decade and plans to continue growth in the future. Fox Racing and Honda have been huge supporters of MxClinic since the beginning and Pestana says, “Without TRS and the 408(408MX), there would not be an MxClinic.”
There are few riders who have made a life of motocross. Constant laps, battles with injuries and the daily grind of training have burnt out most pros by the time they hit their 30s. Jeff Pastana’s love and passion for the sport have pushed him through all of this as he still continues to live his life in motocross after 30 years. MxClinic is an extension of his passion, and the smiles on the faces Pestana and his riders can show the love for the sport every time they ride.
To find more information on MxClinic, visit mxclinic.com
Though there were rumors of Reed switching colors for his team, TwoTwo Motorsports, it was confirmed yesterday that Reed will continue riding Factory American Hondas under the TwoTwo Motorsports tent for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. With the added support from the infamous team, Chad Reed’s determination and Mike Gosselaar as the new Technical Director of TwoTwo Motorsports; can this be Chad Reeds year to reclaim the Supercross championship?
Unless you are younger then 20-years-old, you most likely grew up on a 2-stroke. The smell of pre-mix and sound of a wide open two-cycle engine is something that will always be in the roots in our sport and true motocross fans will never forget. Fortunately for the die hards, MXPTV dedicates videos to bring back these memories. Enjoy….
After Mike Fisher’s unfortunate end as team manager of Monster Energy Kawasaki, everyone was questioning, “Who could keep this successful team going.”
Officially announced, Dan Fahie will be Kawasaki’s new team manager. Not a familiar name in the motocross scene, Fahie has found much success as a crew chief for factory Kawasaki in the AMA Superbike world, winning championships in 2004, 2005 and 2007. The former racing engineer development supervisor has proven his intelligence on and off the track and Kawasaki seems to think he is the perfect fit the their supercross/motocross program.
But is he really? Yes, he has proved himself in the road-racing world but as most already know; motocross is a completely different animal. With only 10 weeks left of testing and molding with the team/sport, Fahie has a lot on his plate to repeat the success the team had in 2011 with Villopoto winning championships in Supercross, Motocross, Des Nations and destroying the Monster Energy Cup.
Another factor is the demanding racing schedule for the supercross series. In the first 18 weeks of the racing season there are 17 races, meaning with the hours spent in the shop and at the test track, Fahie will not have a day off for 119 days. This is a huge change for Fahie as he is use to weeks in between races in the AMA Superbike Series.
Having to adapt to a new job is never easy, and having to fill the expectations of a dominant team is even more difficult. Will the adaptation to a new sport and intense schedule damage his leadership skills? Or will the road-racing genius find the same success that former team manager Mike Fisher had.
The 29th Bercy Supercross went off with a bang last weekend with close racing, surprise wins, and of course Barcia going nuts on a French guy on his own soil. Unfortunately I was not able to attend the race since it was over seas, but from the sounds of it, it was one race that no one should have missed.
To start off, lets get this Barcia V.S. Gregory Aranda out of the way. If you have not seen the video yet, you can find it on RacerXill.com and mostly every other moto site out there. But from the looks of things, Barcia took the raw end of the deal on a pile up in the beginning of Saturday night’s race. Understandably Barcia was extremely frustrated with this, as he crashed on Friday night as well and was not able to obtain his King of Bercy title. What I do not understand is his freak out. Barcia waited a full lap to take out Aranda then started a fight with him off the side of the track (which he ran away from). Now I am a huge Barcia fan, and sadly this incident not only ruined Aranda’s race but also Barcia’s reputation and possibly his international fan base as seen when French fans booed Barcia out of the arena. To some, it looks like Aranda was an innocent victim to Alessi pushing out wide, but to Barcia that was not the case. Barcia would come back on Sunday to take a win, but the deed was done and the fight was more memorable then his victory. This incident made headlining news for most sites, but what most moto fans did not realize is the amazing speed that was displayed in Bercy.
I have always had this theory that the new Yamaha 450 is not the greatest bike they have ever made, and in the past two races Nick Wey has fueled the fire to this theory. Before I say this I want it known that I think Valli Motorsports is a great team and has all of the potential in the world, but when Nick Wey rode the Yamaha 450 for them, it seemed as if he was about ready to hang it up. Fast forward to the Monster Cup where NYK was on a privateer Kawasaki riding better then ever, and if that was not enough he logged in the fastest lap times in Bercy with 40.452! Is his newfound speed a fact of NYK not agreeing with the Yamaha? Did he suddenly find some hidden inner speed? Is the 2012 Kawasaki that good? Or is this all a fluke? I guess we will find out come Anaheim 1.
Saving the best for last…. What is up with Kyle Chisholm!? Coming to Bercy with no ride, a stock Yamaha with only bolt on suspension and a pipe, and his dad as his mechanic, Chisholm had all the cards stacked against him. Going against some of the world’s fastest factory riders, Chisholm was able to put together consistent moto finishes with a 2-1-3 to take the overall King of Bercy crown. With this much speed on a stock Yamaha, could a team possibly open their eyes and give this “Say Yes to the Dress” star a ride for 2012!
Its quiet for motocross in America, and Bercy is one of the legendary races that moto fans love every year to bring the action, luckily this year did not disappoint. Racing was close and drama was high making moto fans even more excited for January. Can Anaheim come any faster?
Looks like Davi Milsaps will ride for JGR Yamaha again according to his Twitter. It seems like he is pretty excited about his resign, “pumped about it and with the new teammate it’s should be a pretty sick year.”
Also via Twitter, Josh Grant is signing with the Jeff Ward/L&M Racing team (which is rumored to be on Kawasaki). With a solid mentor of racing legend Jeff Ward, can we possibly see Grant turning some heads in 2012?