The front fenders of the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing bikes have included this sticker supporting Arminas Jasikonis at the last two rounds. The lanky Lithuanian was put into an induced coma following a crash at an MXGP race in Italy a few weeks ago, and although the outcome of his traumatic brain injury looked grim for a few days, Jasikonis awoke from the coma with no serious injuries and is now on the road to recovery.
Maybe it was because we were at the last race of the season or because the venue was a place that most guys spin laps on during the week, but the pre-practice buzz and jitters didn’t seem to be so heavy at Fox Raceway. Riders told us that because they already knew the track so well, they were able to get right into race pace during the qualifying sessions.
Production paint. Jett Lawrence's new Fox V3 had plenty of metalflake...
While Brandon Hartranft's limited-edition SE4 was meant to match his gear and KTM Factory Edition 250 SX-F.
We always appreciate the attention to detail that gear brands take when working on special projects. To make the limited-edition Fox Racing Venin gear really pop, Bell Helmets had apdesigns paint neon cobwebs onto a pair of Moto9s and SCOTT Sports prepped black-pink-green sets of Prospect goggles.
True grit. Cameron McAdoo was originally going to sit out the Fox Raceway finale due to broken fingers from a Thunder Valley incident, but the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki rider decided to race at the last minute. He glued and taped the middle and ring fingers on his right hand to keep them together during the motos. “Late last week after some doctor visits the team, and I decided it would be safe for me to go racing as long as I was able to hold on,” said McAdoo on Instagram. “It was definitely a struggle to manage the swelling throughout the day, and hold on about half way into the motos, but we were able to get through it.”
Pack it in.
Randy Valade and Paul Perebijnos are two of the top guys in US handlebars. Valade oversees ProTaper while Perebijnos has spent the last year at Renthal.
Here are three shots that show how much the suspension on a race bike moves on the approach and takeoff of a big jump. In frame one, the KYB fork and shock on Ferrandis’s bike are almost completely compressed as he goes through the transition and up the face of the jump…
The force tends to lessen the closer he gets to the lip and as you can see, his tires are a little further from the underside of the fenders.
Lift off. Just a few feet in the air, the fork and shock had already begun to decompress. A split-second later, they were back to work and absorbing the landing.
Jordan Troxell’s Mechanix Wear backpack is stocked with all of the tools that are essential for trackside repairs, including T-handles, spares parts, and a roll of Duct Tape. Clearly, the tape doesn’t get used as much…
We’ll probably spend years wondering what was up with Eli Tomac this summer. The Monster Energy Kawasaki rider at times the fastest rider on the track at times, like during 450 Moto One on at Fox Raceway, but was just another rider in the top-10 when things didn’t go his way other times, like during the RedBud rounds. Although he didn’t get a fourth straight title, a feat that so many expected, ET3’s wins in 2020 moved him up the order for most career moto and overall victories, among legends like Carmichael, Stewart, Hannah, Johnson, and Dungey. How high can Tomac’s tally get? He has at least one more year with Monster Energy Kawasaki to find out.
Joey Savatgy’s Thunder Valley issues seemed to follow him to Fox Raceway. The JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rider put in laps during both sessions of Timed Qualifying, but due to pain in his still sore ankle, he decided to sit out the afternoon’s motos. Where will Savatgy land in 2021? His deal with JGRMX was for a single year and he seemed out of sorts on the Suzuki, something that was said to be caused by setup issues.
No more kickstart. Fox Raceway was the last day for a handful of race bikes in their current configuration, including the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki KX250. We learned early in the year that a lack of parts and testing caused the PC team to stick with their 2019 setup for the Supercross season, a decision that made sense considering the all-new engine and chassis that was made for the 2021 Kawasaki KX250. Having ridden the new small-bore green bike for ourselves, we’re confident that Payton and Co’s offseason development on it will make the 250 Class even more competitive next year.
We were a bit surprised to see a scoop tire on Mitchell Harrison’s bike at Fox Raceway. The SoCal track is known for a sandy soil consistency, but a considerable portion of the pro track layout can be as hard packed and solid as concrete, terrain that the directional paddles don’t do well on.
Despite Saturday being their last race as a team, the GEICO Honda crew still outfitted a few of their bikes with data acquisition equipment and monitored the action of the suspension on the California track. Thanks to the close relationship that Honda and the team have, all of this information collected for the past few years will be shared with the factory crew for their upcoming 250 Class endeavor.
Hunter Lawrence’s day came to a premature end when an incident in the second Timed Qualifying session knocked his left shoulder out of place. This is the second shoulder injury that Lawrence has dealt with this season, and despite his best attempts to manage it, this new issue will require surgery. He’ll undergo the procedure soon so that he can make the most of the shortened offseason and still get in prep for the 2021 season.
The BarX Suzuki team finished up their limited run on the summer series at Fox Raceway, which was the second-ever pro Motocross for Preston Kilroy. The Wyoming racer was 16th fastest in qualifying, a solid showing considering his limited experience in the circuit, and 23rd place finish in 250 Moto One, but a crash in 250 Moto Two kept him from finishing out the day.
Alpinestars went all-out on Sexton’s Michael Jordan setup. They had apdesigns add the signature Air Jordan elephant print to the back of the helmet…
And had their in-house production team add the same print and red trim details to a pair of Tech 10 boots. They’re almost too nice to subject to abuse on factory titanium footpegs.
Custom paint for Justin Rodbell. This neon graffiti was done by KCdesigns, an Atlanta-based artist.
Max Anstie’s summer was a success. The Twisted Tea/HEP Motorsports/Suzuki rider made massive progress with the bike, something he credited to work by Dustin Pipes/Clark Jones/Dave Dye, and put together an impressive string of top-10 results in the last six motos of the season. Anstie ended the year ninth overall in the championship, the top ranked Suzuki in the field, and was the only rider in the top-10 not aboard a direct factory-supported bike.
Justin Bogle ended the season on a solid note. The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/WPS/KTM rider seemed to turn a corner at the Florida round, continued to build at Colorado, and posted season-best 7-8 finishes for eighth overall at Fox Raceway. The 2020 season was tough on Bogle, as the Glendale concussion put his career at a crossroads, but the motivation to race is back and he is reportedly on the short list for the second spot at the KTM-supported team in 2021.
Obligatory Bogle whip.
Like last weekend’s Venin gear? Sounds like these retro releases will be something that Fox Racing does more often going forward. Drop your requests for future designs in the comments below and we’ll pass the word along to the crew in Irvine…
A few races back we posted a photo of a rear Dunlop tire with cuts in middle of the center knows, a specialty of the Star Racing team. During our walk down the starting line at Fox Raceway, we noticed that all but on Star Racing rider had the customized rubber on their bike, and instead opted for the unmodified tire shown here. Which guy was it? Dylan Ferrandis.
Jordan Jarvis lined up for both 250 Class motos at Fox Raceway, a massive step forward for the SGB/Maxxis/Babbitt’s rider. JJ was added to the lineup as an alternate, but don’t think she lucked into the empty gate. Her pace in the LCQ was just a tick off winner Tyler Ducray, despite a poor start in the short race and sixth place finish. Head the homepage to watch a video by Fox Racing with Jarvis and to hear an exclusive podcast with her and swap.
The 250 Moto One battle between Jett Lawrence and Dylan Ferrandis was excellent, thanks to the very different styles and career paths of the two riders. Second-year pro Lawrence outlasted veteran Ferrandis for the win, the first of his career, and the two were quick to congratulate each other at the end of the day.
Like you, we expected some fireworks when Jett Lawrence and Justin Cooper linked up in 250 Moto One. Last weekend’s back and forth on social media didn’t translate into overly aggressive riding, but instead we got a heads-up battle that had the riders at their best and then a post-race knuckle bump. With both riders in the 250 Class next year, this should be a glimpse of what’s to come in 2021.
It’s gonna be a long, cold winter, isn’t it? It sounds like we should hear news of a Supercross schedule in the next two to three weeks, so there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
The fan turnout at Fox Raceway was impressive, hell, maybe the most we’ve seen at a SoCal National in the last few years. Over the last decade there have been multiple changes in venues for the Pro Motocross race (Fox Raceway, Lake Elsinore, Glen Helen, Fox Raceway in that order) and every move made it seem like the crowds had gotten smaller, but the hillsides looked to be packed with fans on Saturday afternoon. Is this a sign of good things to come?
Yamaha should use the celebratory revs that Dylan Ferrandis did as a testament to the YZ250F’s reliability. The revs started as soon as the newly crowned champion left the face of the finish line and he kept the throttle open as rolled over to his crew in the mechanic’s area, the podium, and finally the pit area.
The Fox Raceway Motocross was bittersweet for the GEICO Honda team. After getting notice that their longtime title sponsor was out at the end of the year, the staff did their best keep bikes on track and riders focused on winning while they worked to secure funding from a new partner. Unfortunately, the right deal didn’t come together in time and on Thursday, the team confirmed they would dismantle immediately.
The team made a massive turnaround in a year’s time, too. Performance issues with the previous style CRF250R caused the GEICO Honda team to struggle all last summer (so much so that riders would openly talk about it so it didn’t seem like a personal problem), had some sudden staffing changes, and rebuilt their entire package into its current competitive state. The mechanics and technicians stuck by the team’s side through it all and were back to their old status as contenders for race wins every time the gate dropped.
It’d be impossible to write a better last day than what the FC Honda team had. Jeremy Martin entered the race with a shot at the title, and although he came up short, his performance in 250 Moto Two was proof that the two-time champion is back to his pre-injury pace. Jett Lawrence claimed his first-career Moto win and overall on the same day, a rare feat for a young racer, Jo Shimoda posted a career-best third-place finish, and Carson Mumford was quick and consistent the entire day.
Dylan Ferrandis won’t have to go far for his 450 ride in 2021. The official news that Star Racing will take over Yamaha’s factory effort is set to come any day, a major development that’s been in the process for a few years and was reportedly confirmed internally earlier in 2020. Does Ferrandis take a single digit for the next chapter of his career?
So, how big will Star Racing be next year? Justin Cooper announced his multi-year contract extension early in the summer, Colt Nichols told us on Friday that he’s returning to the squad in 2021, Jarrett Frye will race the full SX-MX schedule, Christian Craig will hop on the blue 250, Nate Thrasher will wait until the Nationals to become a full-time pro, Dylan Ferrandis and Aaron Plessinger on the new 450s, a slew of amateur riders, and the possibility of a few outliers that are trying to get things sorted out should the budget open up a bit more.
Robbie Wageman and Justin Hoeft held it down for the Fasthouse crew at Fox Raceway. The two racers have been around for a while and have claimed their share of wins at the prestigious local events in California. Hoeft finished 15th overall and Wageman finished 16th overall.
Respectful rivals. Zach Osborne and Adam Cianciarulo lined up next to each other during 450 Moto One and shared a few jokes with each other, something that made us believe the race would be a bar-to-bar battle for the title. Osborne got the early advantage thanks to an excellent start, but Cianciarulo soon found his way around ZO and into the lead.
The last laps of 450 Moto One were stellar. Adam Cianciarulo had stretched out about a five-second gap going into the final stages of the race, but Eli Tomac decimated that advantage with the fastest laps of anyone in the field.
The two Monster Energy Kawasaki teammates were within inches of each other for a while, even after ET made a small mistake, and the deciding pass for the position came in the last two laps of the race.
The pass cost Cianciarulo the moto win and three championship points, but clearly, Tomac’s motivation was to end the season on a high-note. The Kawasaki crew isn’t one to dictate how their riders finish a race, ala team tactics, so it will be interesting to see how the two frontrunners get along come 2021, when both are expected to be title contenders
This 250 MX Championship is not only important for Ferrandis, but for all of French motocross. The country has produced some of the best two-wheel talent in history, both on and off-road, yet this US MX accomplishment had eluded guys like Roncada and Pourcel. David Vuillemin, Ferrandis’ trainer and one of the more decorated French MX riders, was one of the first to congratulate his pupil after the finish.
With this title, Ferrandis is now one of the more accomplished 250 Class riders of the modern era. He had racked up podiums in MX2 during his early years in Europe, helped France win the MXON, has a pair of SX titles, this MX championship, and a slew of wins.
Zach Osborne didn’t need to win Fox Raceway to secure his title. The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing rider came into the day with a 24-point buffer over Cianciarulo and finishing ahead of AC in the first moto would have been enough to clinch. But instead of unnecessarily pushing and risking an issue, especially considering the fast pace that guys were running in Moto One, Osborne backed it down and cruised to a pair of top-10 finishes on the day. The relief hit as soon as he hit crossed the finish line…
During the post-race podium interview, Osborne admitted that he nearly retired earlier in the year after a SX practice crash left him with broken vertebra. The lockdown part of the year wasn’t the best for ZO, as multiple people in his camp have told us he struggled to get comfortable on the bike and chased setup, but he went to Utah at the urging of his wife, won the last round, and turned his attention toward the MX season. Smart decision.
This was a big weekend for Steve Westfall. On Friday, “Scuba” was official announced as the new Team Manager for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing squad, a position he had temporarily filled since Bobby Hewitt’s mid-year departure. Westfall has been with the team for years, dating back to the Suzuki days as Davi Millsaps’ mechanic, and oversaw the technical side of the factory effort in his previous role as Crew Chief.
Scuba technically scored his first 450 MX championship in what was only his second official day as Team Manager, but really, this had been years in the making thanks to his longstanding relationships with riders on the team, including Osborne.
Did you catch our How Was Your Weekend interviews? Swap and Chase stacked up 23-minutes of quick chats with racers as soon as the checkered flag flew, including a conversation with Zach Osborne moments after he scored the title. Click the homepage and give it a watch.
The Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing crew wasted no time getting the number one plate on Osborne’s bike. Osborne’s title means he has a second chance at a single-digit number, with five and eight as the only two options. Per an Instagram poll on Osborne’s page, the fan vote was to stay with 16.
It’s time to put the silks away. Thanks for reading Kickstart and following along to the excellent year of racing we saw in 2020. Now, let’s go riding.
Michael Antonovich has a wealth of experience with over 10 years of moto-journalism under his belt. A lifelong racing enthusiast and rider, Anton is the Editor of Swapmoto Live and lives to be at the race track.