The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship would not be complete without a round in Southern California. We enjoy our travels to the other tracks and states that fill out the schedule, but there’s something about being around all of our friends in the industry, watching the riders rip laps, and then sleeping in our own beds that is hard to beat. A few months back we heard that issues between the series organizer and the original track that put the SoCal round at risk. While some wondered if the series would go to new venue elsewhere in the country, Fox Raceway stepped up, secured the date, and worked to get the facility ready in time for thousands of fans.
We know that opinions are mixed when it comes to Fox Raceway, but the track and MX Sports deserves some praise for their efforts. The track was wide and racy, the property had something for everyone, and traffic wasn’t as bad as the past two visits (2010 & 2011).
Want to know what we saw at round two? Swap, Chase, and Anton put in a team effort for this weekend’s installment of Kickstart and there’s a lot to look at, so start scrolling.
Check out that sticker placement on Hunter Lawrence's Fox V3 lid! The Australian looked to be having a really great second round of the championship, but unfortunately a mishap in the first moto sent him back to the pits. The problems in Moto One didn't seem to faze Hunter, as he led two laps and finished in the number two spot in Moto Two.
This surely wasn't the first time Ryan Villopoto came into the second round of a series with a red plate, but it might have been a favorite. RV’s Pro Circuit-tuned Yamaha YZ125 was certainly eye-catching. Who thinks we should film a project with Ryan and his 125cc?
The stars aligned and our bud Val "Shredded Vapes" Papi made a triumphant return to board girl duties at Fox Raceway.
Alpinestars has been collaborating with different designers and artists this year to create unique gearsets for its riders. This weekend, Justin Barcia's gear was literally hand painted Jimmy Pierce, a Los Angeles-based urban artist. Check out his work at jimmypaintz.com What do you think of Bam Bam's kit? ?Comment below!
Justin Hill told us that he is working hard to turn in the results that many have expected of him all along. "I finally decided to listen to my dad and brother when they yell at me," he joked. "This past week all I did was ride every day and have fun on the bike. That's how I got fast in the first place. I'm not worried about my fitness at all - I am probably the strongest I have ever been - I just need to find that spark and rhythm." Eighth overall at Fox Raceway, we'd say Hill has made some forward progress.
Ben Lamay wonders where he too, can get a sweet racing stripe like Alex Ray...
Japanese 250 champ Taiki Koga was 20th overall at Fox Raceway and scored points at his second race in a row.
Full commitment. Nice, RJ Wageman!
Weston Peick was on hand at Fox Raceway and everyone was happy to catch up with the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider. Peick recently underwent extensive surgery to further repair the damage he sustained to his face at the Paris Supercross last winter and he's looking great.
We sure hope Christian found his visor after the moto...that Korsace paint job was sweet!
"I rode very efficiently and I felt great out there," said Adam Cianciarulo after his second consecutive win. "Four weeks ago after losing Supercross I felt like my life was over, but now here I am with two National wins in a row. It's funny how life works sometimes, isn't it?"
Another look at Justin Barcia's Alpinestars X Jimmy Paintz kit.
Support for Eli Tomac was at a high this weekend at Fox Raceway. We imagine the Colorado fans at next week's Thunder Valley National is going to be insane for ET3.
Eli Tomac told us that he was happy to put together two solid motos for his first win of the series. When asked which was more satisfying, he admitted that his come-from-behind victory in the first moto was extra nice because he nearly stalled out working through the pack like he did in Hangtown's opening moto, but regained his composure and moved forward.
Team Honda HRC's Ken Roczen led most of the opening 450 moto, buit could not hold off Eli Tomac in the closing stages. Still, Roczen said he was pleased to leave round two with a third overall and good points, as he never felt 100% comfortable on the track.
Ben Lamay's mousse insert actually worked its way out of his rear tire and wrapped itself up in his bike's swingarm in the first moto.
When Eli Tomac caught and passed Jason Anderson in the first moto, we waited to see if El Hombre would retaliate like he did last weekend at Hangtown. No such luck, as Tomac pulled away and set out after the eventual moto win.
The roost at Fox Raceway was brutal and many riders' chests were covered with red welts after the race. (Check Adam Cianciarulo on our How Was Your Weekend video!) Here, Marvin Musquin puts his new 100% Armega goggles to the test.
It's great to see Jason Anderson back in action after he missed most of the Supercross season. His riding style and personality in the pits makes ay event more complete.
Though his contract with HEP Suzuki was Supercross only, Alex Ray showed up aboard his practice bike at Fox Raceway and finished 32nd.
Chris Alldredge raced the first two 450 Nationals aboard a two-stroke KTM 250 SX. Unfortunately, he didn't score points at either race aboard his premixer. But he sure did sound cool!
That Justin Bogle is always doing something with his legs...
Monster Energy Yamaha's Dean Ferris was 11th overall at Fox and he told us that he and the team made some great progress during the week prior to the race. "Suspension setup has been the most challenging," he told us. "The bike is plenty powerful...we're just working to find me that comfort and trust in the suspension."
Blake Baggett had a spectacular, end-over-end crash in the early stages of moto one while running at the front of the pack. He was only able to recover to 33rd in the moto and ended the day 16th overall. Better days lie ahead for the dad-to-be.
Tyler Bowers was 18th in the first moto, but a crash at the start of the second race kept him out of the points. "Outdoors is a rude awakening," he said. "But we're going to figure some things out here real soon!"
Ben Lamay sits 16th in the 450 National Championship aboard his privateer Honda. The Alaskan had some bad luck in the first moto that forced him to the pits, but he rebounded with a solid 16th in moto two.
Defending 450 National Champion Eli Tomac seems to be much more at ease outdoors, and he admits that it's nice to get back to business now that the "Supercross hangover" has faded.
Adam Cianciarulo takes the low line as he stalks Chase Sexton.
Gared Steinke qualified straight into the 250 National during the timed qualifying sessions aboard his two-stroke KTM 125 SX and man, was he stoked! He's also signed on with Moto XXX and will support the original punk rock motocross brand.
Local boy Kai Aiello qualified for the 250 National and finished 31st aboard his PNG KTM.
When Mitchell Falk broke his collarbone at Hangtown, Aussie Wilson Todd was invited to race his Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM at Fox Raceway. Crashes and bad luck held the likable rider to 19th, but we're hoping to see him continue to fill in until Falk's return.
SoCal racer Carson Carr had a crazy crash at the start of the first 250 moto that ended his day early. We're glad he wasn't seriously injured as it was a scary looking spill.
Like Ryan Dungey did, Ty Masterpool made the jump from the Amateur National B class straight to the pro ranks. We'd say that he's done a fine job bridging the gap with 14-15 finishes at the first two rounds!
Cycle Trader/Rock River Yamaha's Japanese racer Yusuke Watanabe crashed hard at the start of the first 250 moto and was unable to rejoin the race. Get well, Watanabe-san!
First lap tear off action.
Hunter Lawrence and Thomas Covington are no strangers as they have raced each other for the past several years in the MX2 World Championships. It's exciting to have both of them here for the 250 Nationals!
Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha's Justin Cooper has now won two first motos in a row and is looking for that elusive first-ever National win. The New Yorker was actually in position for the overall win when Hunter Lawrence took over the lead in moto two, but the GEICO Honda rider pushed his front end in a corner and allowed Adam Cianciarulo past for the moto and overall wins. "The gate flinched a bit at the start of the second moto and messed a lot of us up," said Cooper. "I was still able to start in the top five, but I rode too defensively at first."
We've seen every neck brace brand try to match up graphics with the rider's jersey lettering, but none have come as close as Chase Sexton's Atlas kit.
Starting line meditation with Garrett Marchbanks.
Christian Craig had his new Fox Racing V3 helmet custom painted by Korsace. We particularly liked the leopard print on the top. Check them out on instagram @korsace
Looks like Brax Villopoto already knows which was to twist the throttle!
Ryan Villopoto and Wil Hahn joked around before the start of the second 125 All-Stars race. RC was fast, but he was unable to fend off a hard-charging Josh Verize.
Chad Reed was in SoCal last week to attend the Suzuki Fun Day for corporate employees, as well as to support JGR MX as it unveiled its line of engine performance package kits at Fox Raceway.
The Nationals mean longer motos and many teams rely on CRM Composites from Italy for larger-capacity carbon fiber fuel tanks.
Obligatory team helmets and goggles shot of the week. Check the personal space fans used to dry out the liners of the Star Racing team lids.
The Monster Energy Kawasaki pits looked like a car wash after practice. Eli's KX450F was clean as a whistle in no time.
Moto XXX was in the house last weekend, and Jordan Burns brought out this very special Suzuki RM125. That's right...this is the machine that Brian Deegan ghost rode off the finish line at the 1997 Los Angeles Supercross.
PNG Living had Alex Ray, Josh Verize and Kai Aiello under its transporter this weekend. Additionally, partner Mike Sleeter had his new Simi Valley Cycles Yamaha YZ450F on display. We particularly like the shroud graphics. Have you checked out pinnaclenutritiongroup.com yet? We absolutely love their energy gels.
Since breaking his arms, Ken Roczen has relied on a pair of Mobius wrist braces to protect his joints. We like the Mobius as it provides comfortable support in addition to over-extension protection.
It was great to see Blake Savage on hand at Fox Raceway. Trainer of riders such as Ken Roczen, Cole Seely, Chase Sexton and Christian Craig, Savage suffered paralyzing injuries in a crash earlier this year and has been working hard to rehab his body. Savage told us that he's made great progress, and has a very realistic chance of walking again. Stay tuned for a video this week.
It is an autograph signing...why not have Cooper Webb sign your high school yearbook?
Teenaged rookie Ty Masterpool wears one of the most unique chest and back protectors we've ever seen. The Monster Energy/Star Racing/Yamaha rider was 15th at Fox Raceway.
South African Caleb Tennant suffered a broken wrist at Perris Raceway on the Tuesday before Fox Raceway. It's a shame as the 2018 South African MX Champ relocated to California to pursue his dream of racing in America. "I am hoping to hit the last three or four Nationals, depending on how quickly I heal up." Fingers crossed, Caleb!
Eli Tomac told us that the changes between his Supercross and motocross set-ups involve little more than different suspension settings, and that he is quite pleased with the latest-generation KX450. The only thing he didn't like about his bike at Fox Raceway? "I'm not a big fan of the white numberplate," he joked. Alas, it will be red in Denver.
We love the all-yellow bodywork of the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing bikes!
Alex Martin fared much better this weekend than he did at the season opener, and he is optimistic about putting his Suzuki RM-Z250 on the podium on a regular basis in 2019. "I'm starting to feel like normal again and I am happy with the progress we've made with the bike," he said, of his sixth-place showing. "Today was gnarly. It was dog eat dog because it was only like 60 degrees and everybody was pinning it!"
The trophies for the Fox Raceway National were made by Zingg Awards...the same company we use at the Swapmoto Race Series!
Kris Keefer finished up his return to racing in his 40s at Fox Raceway. The former Dirt Rider Magazine editor rode much better than he did at Hangtown, but he still failed to make the 40-rider cut in the 450 National.
During Friday's media day riding session, the Fox Raceway track was dry and dusty, but for Saturday's MX National, the track crew ripped the circuit deep and watered it well so that it would form deep ruts and multiple lines. Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM's Jordon Smith picks his way through a tricky section at speed.
We love carbon fiber finish, especially when it’s on a helmet! The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS team topped off their clean and simple black kit with an all carbon Formula helmet. Check out those carbon fiber weaves in the sunlight!
A-kit forks, Neken triple clamps, a carbon fiber tank, and a 2019 re-style plastic kit for this CR125 build. Stay tuned to the website later this week for an all two stroke gallery featuring this CR125 and more.
Adam Cianciarulo’s plan to pull the holeshot from the far outside gate didn’t exactly pan out the way he expected. AC wanted to jump over to the dry dirt and put the power to the ground instead of in the soft fluff, but a bad launch, bumps, and the extra distance to the first turn shuffled him back in the pack through the first turn.
We just want to take a minute and mention the backdrop at Fox Raceway. The Southern California mountains look great right now thanks to all of the recent rains and the big hills set the scene perfectly. Here’s a shot for Kansas privateer Adrian Galamba to remember his trip to California.
Working for the weekend. Chris Alldredge lined up for the first rounds of the 2019 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship aboard a stock KTM 250 SX (even the exhaust system is OE) and has made the 40-rider field both times, something that few can say. Alldredge is one of the guys that we’re happy to see on the entry list at West Coast rounds, as the former full-time pro racer turned roofer is always upbeat and just wants to ride.
The action on the track might be competitive, but in the pits, everyone is willing to help. Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki mechanic Kyle DeFoe helped privateer Matthew Toth sort out an issue with his Kawasaki KX450 during the Friday media riding session.
Titanium bolts and carbon fiber covers. We love factory bikes.
Adam Cianciarulo’s win in 250 Moto Two was big for the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider. Despite his established rank as one of the top riders in the sport, AC has just three outdoor overall wins to his credit and two of those have happened this year (Hangtown and Fox Raceway, obviously). Cianciarulo’s moto wins have him in at the top of the 250 championship standings and he holds a six-point advantage over Justin Cooper.
Cianciarulo and Hunter Lawrence duked it out for most of 250 Moto Two, and the footage from AC’s GoPro video shows some of their battle. The two shared a moment after the checkered flag to talk about their race, and we’re sure the two will have many similar duels through the summer.
Rad dad. Before the Friday riding session, Christian Craig busted out the shovel and built a BMX double for son Jagger. Looks like Jagger has inherited the effortless Craig style on two-wheels…
With a break in the Australian MX championship, a number of the riders have decided that racing in the US is a better way to spend the downtime. Todd Waters is one of the guys that made the trip and at round two, he logged 16-11 scores for 13th overall. And yeah, that’s an M2R lid, a brand that’s maintained popularity in the Southern Hemisphere.
Right after we clicked the shutter, Dylan Ferrandis doused us with the celebratory champagne. Luckily, we had an extra shirt in our bag and didn’t have to go through the rest of the day smelling like some sort of boozehound.
“Hey take our picture!” Yeah, we’ll do it if you ask.
We were worried that Brandon Hartranft did something serious to his ankle in 250 Moto One. When the CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha rider rode by us during the race, he had his leg hung down and far from the footpeg. Turns out that he busted the peg off the bike and couldn’t complete the moto, but he bounced back to finish 12th in 250 Moto Two.
When was the last time you saw a rutted yet hard packed jump face at an outdoor National? We’ll wait…
Looks like trouble. From left: Phil “Wallet Guy” Hodges, Johnny Louch, Scott Sepkovic, and Taylor Kinney.
Dean Ferris has been a welcome addition to the Nationals this year. The Australian racer has scored points in all four motos run thus far (he went 10-13 for 11th overall at Fox Raceway) and is currently eighth in the series standings. A top talent outdoors and multi-time champion Down Under, it’s surprising that Ferris hasn’t landed a full-time contract in the MXGP series or an outdoor-only deal in the US.
Challenging track conditions, a sunny day, and some shrubbery. Things like this are what make outdoor races stand apart from other sports.
David Vuillemin shared some final insight with Marvin Musquin before the gate dropped in 450 Moto one. DV tends to see things that others don’t and the extra set of eyes has helped Musquin and Dylan Ferrandis improve their race craft, line selections, and bike setup.
It’s the little details. Justin Bogle swaps out the interior liner of his FLY Racing Formula helmet to coordinate with his gear set or mood. If you want to do the same, look through the WPS catalog and figure out what part numbers will switch up the look of your lid.
Til the casket drops.
Air flow equals power. The CycleTrader/Rock River Yamaha team drilled out the top portion of the airbox on their YZ250F race bikes, then added dense foam to keep debris from falling in. If this is their mod for sea level tracks, we’re interested to see what they do in the elevation of Colorado this weekend.
We watched riders hit this jump for a few laps and it seemed like everyone used the rock buried in the face as reference point to set up for the left or right lines. Like most riders, Cooper Webb favored the left line…
Another nice shot of the Pala mountains, with Canada’s Keylan Meston in the foreground. As part of the CTR Motorsports team, Meston used the Fox Raceway round as a chance to prepare for the upcoming Rockstar Energy Triple Crown MX Tour and he posted 32-35 finished for 34th overall.
Note the fuel tank differences between Justin Bogle and Blake Baggett’s Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM 450 SX-F. Clearly Baggett needs a little extra gas to get him through a moto and the design puts the weight closer to the center of gravity, which will influence the handling differently than a tank with a larger top section.
This is an important summer for RJ Hampshire. As one of the veterans of the class, Hampshire is expected to be in the top-five of every moto possible and he has speed to stay in the lead pack (a second place result in 250 Moto One proved that), but things don’t always go the right way (he hit Alex Martin during 250 Moto Two and damaged the water pump on his GEICO Honda). Hampshire has pushed the development of the CRF250R with the team over the last year and recent improvements have helped him and the other riders tremendously.
Erki Kahro is one of the many international racers that’s running the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. The Estonian Express (hey, it’s what’s on his Facebook page) is a welcome addition and at round two he logged 17-20 scores for 19th overall. Erki, let’s do an interview at Thunder Valley…
Trust your competition. Chase Sexton’s ideal line for a practice start was just inches from where Michael Mosiman was, so Sexton cut it close and charged down the straightaway while the Mosiman readied himself for his own launch.
Round two was an improvement for Thomas Covington. After making big changes to his program, the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider ran to an 11th place finish in 250 Moto One at Fox Raceway. The second moto wasn’t quite as good, as Covington had some issues and finished outside the points in 25th, but it shows that he has the pace to run near the top-10. Keep an eye on him through the next few weeks.
Joey Savatgty’s Monster Energy Kawasaki sat idle at Fox Raceway. Savatgy recently resumed riding during the week at Carmichael’s compound in Florida and he should be back on the track at an upcoming round, likely High Point.
We were really surprised and relieved to hear that JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing was going to have two riders in the 250 class this summer. When we talked to JBone at Las Vegas, it sounded like the team had made the decision to just go with one rider in each class (Alex Martin and Justin Hill), but the team found some extra money in the budget to bring Kyle Peters on for the full summer. We’ll have more on this deal soon.
Notice anything similar between these two photos? Take a minute… During Friday’s media session Deven Raper and Todd Waters both had 447 on their bikes, a rare instance that happens in pro MX racing. By Saturday, Waters had switched to 477.
Martin Davalos was a question mark coming in to the weekend. The Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider damaged the cartilage in his ribs at Hangtown and he was unable to ride between rounds one and two. The pain and discomfort didn’t seem to faze Davalos too much on the track, because he pushed to a top-ten finish in 250 Moto Two. All in all, Davalos went 18-9 for 14th overall.
We really want to get our hands on some of the parts Hurly produces. Do we need mesh tire covers or rubber louver shields for our track days at Milestone MX Park? Probably not, but it looks great on bikes in the pits, like the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing RM-Z machines and they protect some key components.
With Gothic Jay gone from Team Honda HRC (the long-time MX tech changed careers and now is part of a 3D printing company), Lars Lindstrom has taken on some of the job responsibilities. One of the most important things Lindstrom handles is the inventory supply between the team, its suppliers (like KYB’s Ricki Gilmour), and the Torrance race shop.
No holes here. GEICO Honda’s CRF250R bikes are outfitted with a solid skid plate, which protects the underside of the engine and other key components from taking abuse from roost and rocks.
Very rough day for Blake Baggett. The Rocky Moutain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider had a bike issue in 450 Moto One that required a pit stop for repairs and he rejoined the race a lap down to the leaders. There was little chance for Baggett to score a point in the moto, but he hammered through the rest of the race and finished 33rd, just to say that he did it. Baggett’s summer has not gone the way he hoped, as the preseason championship contender is currently 11th in the point standings, but we’re certain he’ll make things interesting when the tour goes East and the humidity increases.
We don’t think the TV cameras caught it, but Cole Seely went all-out in the opening laps of 450 Moto One. Something dropped the Team Honda HRC rider to the rear of the running order (he was 22nd on lap two), but he launched off the jumps and used different lines to climb back to an 11th place result at the checkered flag. Seely’s known as a Supercross specialist, but he might change that perception in the next few months.
Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.
Kickstart was always my favorite part of transworld and when it went under I was sad to see it go. I’m glad it’s back. I appreciate the awesome bits of information that I can see here that I wouldn’t have known otherwise, especially if i didn’t get to go to a race.
Thanks for the content.
Good race review, like the complete coverage of many rider’s results, great pictures as well. The new site is good. It has a great responsive design that works well on iOS and on FireFox desktop as well. Looked through the code a bit, looks like a pretty clean WordPress implementation, no warnings/errors which is nice. Good work!
I always loved kickstart. I like to see the behind the scenes stuff, what the riders are doing, what is new on there bikes, are they riding hurt or what. I wanna see videos of you just shooting the shit with the riders and mechanics, not so much an interview. Either way you guys are the best at what you do and i will always rely on you for my dirt bike news.
P.S. I would CHERISH that HELMET.
I love kickstart obviously. I like all the inside info that you get for us about the bikes, the riders, the teams, whos hurt, whos not, i like knowing all that stuff and you seem to be the best at getting that for me. I would like to see you just sitting down and shooting the shit with the riders and the rest of the team. I know you must be friends with 75% of the pits. I love the podcasts too but i would love less formal.
P.S. I would CHERISH that HELMET.