Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Others...Toronto

North of the border we went for round nine of the Monster Energy Supercross Series in Toronto, Canada. Championships would tighten up and we'd find out what champions are made of inside the Rogers Centre.

The Rogers Centre offer a large layout
The biggest issue this week may have been the bitter cold. As temps dipped around -12 Celsius (10 Fahrenheit) teams took to their heated rigs and an already compact pit area became a ghost town. Privateers litter the basement halls and would be joined by the Star Yamaha team and Malcolm Stewart with the opportunity to pit inside the stadium. We spotted tire warmers on the Star Yamaha machines and all measures were being taken to keep warm. The cold also reeked havoc on riders like Bryce Stewart, who'd have a shock malfunction when the seal froze.

As for the track, maybe one of my favorites of the season. Like previous rounds it did break down fast but the layout seemed to offer a little more technicality and passing opportunities than we've seen thus far. As qualifying hit the track it'd be 250 points leader Zach Osborne putting his Husqvarna atop the class with a 56.531. Kawasaki's Eli Tomac would go on to set the fast lap among the 450 field with a 55.729. With low entry numbers in Canada there was buzz around TXS Productions backed Ronnie Ford. Ford has been attempting to make the show on a Husqvarna 250 two stroke. He's been way off pace and Toronto may have been his best shot, but after struggling in the first practice session Ford would pull out of the event.

When the smoke cleared from opening ceremonies and fans took their seats from "Oh Canada" being belted for the only time we hear the Canadian National Anthem during the season, we'd drop the gate on heat races. Some may not have been familiar with the number 108 out in front of 250 Heat One as Dylan Ferrandis took the win. His Star Yamaha teammate, Colt Nichols grabbed his first heat race win in Heat Two. Chad Reed came out looking aggressive and made it three wins in a row for Yamaha with the first 450 heat win. Eli Tomac would break the streak by putting his Kawasaki on top of Heat Two. Semi qualifiers are ran only in the 450 class and JGR Suzuki backed Justin Barcia  along with RCH Suzuki's Broc Tickle took the Semi wins. With just one more shot at the Main Events Kyle Peters, Fredrik Noren, Josh Cartwright and Jesse Wentland would join the 250 field. Mike Alessi, Cody Gilmore, Nick Schmidt and Adam Enticknap took the last spots in the 450 Main. Enticknap had to work hard for his final transfer spot with a wire to wire battle between the BWR/K1 Speed machine of Cade Clason and the 314 FXR/TXS Productions backed Alex Ray. Mistakes by both gave Enticknap the upper hand.

"You pay for the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge." A quote that really takes meaning during the main events. The 250's get 15 minutes plus a lap to prove themselves. It'd be Dylan Ferrandis picking up where he left off and jumping out front early. He looked to struggle with the pace and pressure from Joey Savatgy and Zach Osborne. Ferrandis would go down around the halfway point and Osborne would waste no time getting around Savatgy's Kawasaki for the lead.  As the Husqvarna pulled away, Savatgy would hit the eject button and allow teammate Adam Cianciarulo a second place and first podium of the season. A few more bobbles in the fight for the final podium step would allow Christian Craig to quietly work his way to a third place finish. 450 action brings the sports biggest names and a championship that is heating up. The KTM of Ryan Dungey somehow, someway seems to salvage even his worst nights. The only thing worse for the defending champ than starting nearly dead last is seeing the number 3 Eli Tomac out front. Tomac is on fire and would head to win number four on the season as Dungey just kept coming. By the time the checkers flew, he'd be second and RCH Suzuki backed Broc Tickle got on the podium with a very impressive and career best third place finish.

Cole Thompson normally enjoys the life of a factory rider while in his home country of Canada, as a member of the Thor KTM Team. When racing Monster Energy Supercross he returns to a system that got him to that level. The entire Thompson family is involved in Cole's program. Dad spinning the wrenches, brothers coaching and Mom keeping the team fed and on schedule. The number 72 would qualify 17th, take the last transfer spot out of his heat race and go on to finish 12th in the 250 Main Event.

Cole Thompson taking flight

And now...The Others

5. 170 Zack Willliams
6. 677 Cody Williams
7. 285 Tony Archer
8. 351 Eric Grondahl
9. 740 Lane Stanley
10. 248 Travis Delnicki
11. 309 Jeremy Smith
12. 559 Dylan Merriam
13. 256 James Milson
14. 313 Kyle Swanson
15. 619 Mark Weishaar
16. 675 Kyle Dillon
17. 814 Deven Sorenson
18. 326 Trevor Ezell
19. 795 Aaron Leininger
20. 236 Mike Bottolfson
21. 98 Matt Babbitt
22. 731 Steven Roman

5. 80 Cade Clason
6. 723 Tyler Enticknap
7. 95 AJ Catanzaro
8. 509 Alex Nagy
9. 314 Alex Ray
10. 181 Dustin Pipes
11. 918 Michael Akaydin
12. 282 Bubba Pauli
13. 713 Chad Cook
14. 151 Dakota Tedder
15. 240 Bryce Stewart
16. 606 Ronnie Stewart
17. 291 Kyle White
18. 389 Davey Sterritt
19. 749 Gavin Kadlec
20. 608 David Pulley
21. 178 Ronnie Ford
22. 41 Trey Canard

The series will go back to the USA for round 10 during Bike Week in Daytona, Florida. A mix of motocross thrown in to the series should favor Tomac once again. Is Dungey still in control of the championship?

-Kyle Pesci

This weeks "The Others" is brought to you by Race Tech. Privateer proven and offering the latest in technology for all makes and models. Check out their Air to Coil kits by clicking the banner below.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

The Others...Atlanta

If you're a moto fan, Atlanta was the place to be all weekend! Three days known as Moto Fest. All the top racers from amateur to pro would pack the Georgia Dome as fans were treated to Amsoil Arenacross on Friday night, Monster Energy Supercross on Saturday and Sunday amateur day. A chance to see not just those names we've come to know but those on their road to supercross, along with those who just want to ride inside a stadium once in their life.

The last time the Georgia Dome will see a supercross track

Just one week in to the 250 East Supercross Championship and riders look hungry. I'm going to go out there and say the east has more depth this season. Joey Savatgy came in with the red plate and would set the tone with his fast lap in qualifying. His 52.099 would best the field although the top 7 were all in the 52's. In the 450 class Eli Tomac looks as though he is the fastest guy on the track. He'd prove that with his qualifying time of 50.736, making him the only rider in the 50 second marks.

Pro Circuit Kawasaki rider Adam Cianciarulo is one of those guys who looks hungry. He'd claim the win in 250 Heat One, while Zach Osborne put his Husqvarna to the front of Heat Two. RedBull KTM backed Ryan Dungey would lead every lap of 450 Heat One and fellow KTM rider Blake Baggett would do the same in Heat Two aboard his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC ride. In 450 Semi Qualifiers it'd be Jason Anderson and Trey Canard topping the 5 transfer spots in each. Last Chance Qualifiers fill the final 4 spots for the main events and it'd be Traders Racing backed Luke Renzland with the 250 win. He'd be joined in the main by Kyle Cunningham, Tony Archer and Paul Coates. The 450 LCQ offered up maybe one of the intense races of the season as Cade Clason and Scott Champion fought to the finish for the final transfer spot. Clason looked aggressive and faster but a last lap bobble would set up Champion for a block pass and drag race to the finish that just edged Clason and sent Champion to his first 450 main of the season, as he normally races the 250 West division. Jake Weimer took the win with Cody Gilmore and Alex Ray headed to the main as well.

With the fields set and the track actually shaping up in to what may have been my favorite of the season so far, the main events were bound to be good. A wall jump in to a sand section added a degree of difficulty normally not seen in Supercross and after the timed main events, riders would look they had endured an Outdoor National. Troy Lee KTM rider, Jordan Smith got off to a good start for the second straight week in the 250 main but pressure from his teammate Alex Martin would cause a bobble and allow Martin to settle in to second place. Zach Osborne would show his aggression and ride to his first career win. Current points leader Joey Savatgy would struggle with a bad start and time would run out before he could catch the third place of Colt Nichols. Savatgy's fourth would hand the points lead to Osborne. In 450 action, Ryan Dungey came out swinging. The defending champ has looked slightly off at previous rounds and had many scratching their heads at the rarity. Dungey sprinted out of the gate and charged early to a sizable lead. His early sprint would prove key as the Kawasaki of Eli Tomac was coming fast behind Dungey but would still sit second at the checkered flag. Blake Baggett would put in a career ride and finish third onboard his Rocky Mountain ATV/MC KTM.

The number 76 of Scott Champion hails from California and has spent the first half of the season competing in the 250 West Championship. He'd take advantage of that series break to line up on a 450 in Atlanta. After qualifying 28th he'd go on to take the final transfer spot to the main event through the LCQ. Champion has charisma that shows his love for the sport. He may have been the happiest guy in Atlanta. It looks like we will see Scott on the 450 again as soon as Daytona.

Scott Champion on his usual 250 machine earlier this season. | Photo: Kyle Pesci

And now...The Others

5. 88 John Short
6. 677 Cody Williams
7. 740 Lane Stanley
8. 170 Zack Williams
9. 351 Eric Grondahl
10. 256 James Milson
11. 313 Kyle Swanson
12. 914 Brice Klippel
13. 619 Mark Weishaar
14. 559 Dylan Merriam
15. 336 Chaz Braden
16. 248 Travis Delnicki
17. 93 Josh Cartwright
18. 309 Jeremy Smith
19. 931 Gradient Featherstone
20. 49 Anthony Rodriguez
21. 341 Nico Izzi
22. 48 Christian Craig

5. 80 Cade Clason
6. 11 Kyle Chisholm
7. 722 Adam Enticknap
8. 723 Tyler Enticknap
9. 556 Brady Kiesel
10. 240 Bryce Stewart
11. 291 Kyle White
12. 606 Ronnie Stewart
13. 918 Michael Akaydin
14. 713 Chad Cook
15. 509 Alex Nagy
16. 501 Scotty Wennerstrom
17. 95 AJ Catanzaro
18. 151 Dakota Tedder
19. 411 Dylan Walker
20. 282 Bubba Pauli
21. 708 Joe Perron
22. 181 Dustin Pipes

I'd like to end this weeks "The Others" with a moment directed towards Dylan Slusser. The number 558 lost his life in the week leading up to Atlanta. The Pennsylvania native was a familiar face in the pits and everyone's memories include Dylan's smile and ability to bring a laugh to any situation. I've been able to watch Dylan grow as an amateur racing with my brother on the east coast and always crossing paths on their way to Loretta's. I'm grateful for his kind words regarding this site and the conversations we had as he was trying to get things together through the offseason and the laughs we shared trying on his new Novik Gloves in Detroit last season. Dylan Slusser is a perfect example of why this sport is so great. The places it takes you and the people it brings in to your life. 558 it's guys like you that are the reason we Cheer Privateer. Godspeed.

-Kyle Pesci

The Others is brought to you by FXR Moto. FXR is a leading brand in snow, moto and more. Supporting privateers is what they do, and riders like Alex Ray and Heath Harrison have lived the FXR motto by starting their factory ride in FXR gear. Check out their site by clicking the banner to learn more.

The Others...Minneapolis

New Stadium, new series! As Monster Energy Supercross rolled in to U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis we get our first glimpse at the new home of the Minnesota Vikings and the 250 East Coast Championship contenders.

The first dirt inside U.S. Bank Stadium

Round seven on the year would serve as round one for the 250 East Coast Series. Names being thrown around as title contenders are Pro Circuit Kawasaki teammates Adam Cianciarulo and Joey Savatgy, Geico Honda backed Christian Craig and veteran Husqvarna rider Zach Osborne. While teams like Troy Lee Designs KTM and Star Yamaha look to shake things up with their riders. I look at Osborne as my favorite, now training with Aldon Baker.

The track seemed narrow and fast. Good starts would be key along with a good gate pick from qualifying times. Zach Osborne would top the 250 class with a 48.019. Topping the 450 field would be Kawasaki's Eli Tomac. Tomac set the bar with a 47.072 and was fastest by over a full second.

The night would start with a Joey Savatgy 250 heat race win with Christian Craig taking heat two. Davi Millsaps and Jason Anderson won their respective 450 heats. Semi qualifiers were topped by rider Malcolm Stewart and RedBull KTM's Marvin Musquin. Maybe a privateers best shot at the main event is his last. The last chance qualifiers fill the final 4 spots of each class. In 250 action it'd be Alex Martin, Dakota Alex, Tony Archer and Paul Coates making their first main of the season. Jacob Weimer, Jimmy Albertson, Cade Clason and Alex Ray would fill the final 4 spots of the 450 main event.

It's what we come for, main events. The whole day we wonder who has what it takes to win and in 15 minutes plus 1 lap we'd have the 250 class answer. Jordan Smith would jump out front on his TLD/RedBull KTM and ride lead nearly half the race before succumbing to the pressure of the number 17 of Joey Savatgy, who'd take win number one on the season. Zach Osborne would work to third and round off the podium. In 450 action Eli Tomac looked to cap off a solid day. He'd get out front quick and lead 24 of the 26 laps, taking the win. Teammates Ryan Dungey and Marvin Musquin would find eachother on the track as Marvin came through the pack and a rare Dungey bobble allowed the number 25 to claim second place and Dungey would finish a strong third.

A privateer I feel has his talents often overlooked is the number 49 of Anthony Rodriguez. Riding a Yamaha for his longtime training grounds of MTF (Millsaps Training Facility), he'd transfer directly from his heat then go on to a 7th place finish in the 250 main event. Keep an eye on A-Rod to be a top 10 threat all season.

Rider: Anthony Rodriguez | Photo: Chris Ganz ( )

And now...The Others

5. 81 Henry Miller
6. 88 John Short
7. 170 Zack Williams
8. 641 Keith Tucker
9. 351 Eric Grondahl
10. 309 Jeremy Smith
11. 559 Dylan Merriam
12. 313 Kyle Swanson
13. 914 Brice Klippel
14. 336 Chaz Braden
15. 558 Dylan Slusser
16. 814 Deven Sorenson
17. 746 Chase Stevenson
18. 931 Gracie Featherstone
19. 256 James Milton
20. 42 Kyle Cunningham
21. 740 Lane Stacey
22. 78 Nick Gaines

5. 374 Cody Gilmore
6. 291 Kyle White
7. 181 Dustin Pipes
8. 282 Bubba Pauli
9. 87 Chris Howell
10. 645 Cheyenne Harmon
11. 509 Alex Nagy
12. 95 AJ Catanzaro
13. 976 Josh Greco
14. 713 Chad Cook
15. 723 Tyler Enticknap
16. 708 Joe Perron
17. 918 Michael Akaydin
18. 151 Dakota Tedder
19. 71 Justin Starling
20. 606 Ronnie Stewart
21. 19 Justin Bogle
22. 2 Cooper Webb

The series will stay east and head to Atlanta, Georgia for Moto Fest. A three day weekend packed full of moto. Friday night brings Arenacross, Saturday Supercross and a Sunday amateur day.

-Kyle Pesci

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