Sunday
Nov182018

Fast Thoughts: Chad Reed

Australia's GOAT on a range of topics following AUS-X Open Sydney.

On return home for the annual Monster Energy AUS-X Open Sydney, Australia’s greatest-ever Chad Reed put up a strong fight aboard his JGRMX-prepared RM-Z450 to land fifth overall. With a heat race win and leading Australia to victory over Team USA in the ‘Showdown Relay’, it was an admirable effort from the 36-year-old even though a fall in the first SX1 final and a misunderstanding surrounding the Shannons Shortcut in final three potentially denied him of a better overall result. MotoOnline.com.au tracked down Reed post-race to get his take on a variety of topics from the weekend.

Image: Supplied.

An overview on Saturday night…

We got good mileage here this weekend and every gate-drop is always a good thing even if the end result isn’t always what you expect or what you want. The reality is that you have to remind yourself it is only November and you’re here to put on a show. I feel that my show was a little less than what I wanted it to be, but honestly, the electricity, the excitement and the feeling of coming here and performing in front of the home crowd… in some ways it’s a lot of pressure. I take it personal and, for me, I want to give back [to the fans]. You hear the cheers and I seriously feel the love, so in return you want to give them something to cheer about and to be super-stoked on the performance of myself. I don’t really think that I fell short on that, but obviously I want my results to be better.

Taking the Shannons Shortcut twice…

Honestly, in the last race I kind of have to laugh, because what else do I do? I never even knew that you weren’t allowed to take the joker lane more than once and, truthfully, because of my crash in the first one nobody was around me and I didn’t have to take it. Otherwise I would have taken it three times [laughs]! So, you know, I mean it was only two or three weeks ago I did Monster Cup. At that race the whole time you’re thinking ‘don’t forget the joker lane, don’t forget the joker lane’ because typically their joker lane is longer. Here, you self-penalise yourself if you don’t take it, but in the Vegas they obviously penalise you if you don’t take it – I think the same penalty, around five places or something like that. That thought process and whatever, me not hearing or knowing, I wasn’t aware of the rule. A little bit of a rookie move there.

Leading Jason Anderson in final three…

Obviously I got to the front because I took the joker lane, which was something I shouldn’t have done, but you know what was funny is that I knew I passed Jason in the joker lane and I was just expecting that he would re-pass me back there. So here I am, with a completely different thought process thinking that Jason was just riding around until he took the joker lane on the final lap or something like that. When he didn’t come by, I didn’t know what happened because we don’t have pit-boards here, so maybe he was doing calculations. He knew the rules, he had the heads up [laughs].

Image: Supplied.

Slick track conditions…

It was sketchy as, that first start in the finals into the first turn… I was backing ‘er in [laughs]! I think my supermoto skills and flat-track days came into play there. I was pushing in there with, I think it was [Justin] Brayton on my inside and I was like, push, push, push, push then suddenly the rear just went. Obviously at that point you pretty much just have to stay in it, stay committed to it and yeah, the big girl got loose. And then I was in third, you know, struggling on certain parts of the track kind of moving around and then, yeah, the crash happened. I felt like a complete goon doing what I did, but then Brayton and something like four other guys in front of me did the same thing, so I didn’t feel so bad [laughs]. I’ve been racing indoors since I was 12 and I don’t know that I’ve ridden a tougher, more slippery and challenging indoor event than tonight, so it was really, really tough.

What to take out of the 2018 edition…

Though my result wasn’t… you know I didn’t come here and win or I didn’t come here and get on the podium, I think that it was really good data for us to take in and learn from. My riding and my fitness, everything felt like where I kinda wanted it to be, so we just need to continue on a little bit feeling in the front-end and we’ll keep working on that.

Sunday
Nov182018

Anderson King of Paris

 

 

AMA Supercross champion Jason Anderson racing for the Rockstar Energy Husqvarna team is the King of Paris after winning the Sunday main event, to add to his Saturday night victory. Anderson, who win in Australia last week, will now go into the opening round of the AMA Supercross Championship with a lot of momentum, and time on the bike.

Anderson-corner-paris.jpg#asset:12319

Frenchman Dylan Ferrandis started the evening off by being the quickest rider in the field, and also won the Superpole. Zach Osborne won the first sprint, with Anderson winning the second and then adding the main event to his night. Second in the main event was Ferrandis with Justin Brayton third.

Main Event

1. Jason Anderson

2. Dylan Ferrandis

3. Justin Brayton

4. Vince Friese

5. Justin Hill

Sunday
Nov182018

Australia Wins ISDE

ISDE 2018 Notebook – Day 6, Aussie rules

 

Our digest from day six soaks up the whole week at the 2018 International Six Days Enduro in Chile where Australia have dominated, USA put up a fight and Italian Juniors impressed.

 

The smell of burning engine oil was hanging in the air for the sixth and final day’s action at the 2018 ISDE. After a week of hard work, engines were blowing through their backsides as riders gave it everything for one last time on a sandy final motocross test. 

Alongside glorious rolling Pacific waves on the beach at Concon, it was a dramatic and frantic end to the 2018 ISDE.

For a select few machines the party wasn’t over there either. Rattling off their rev-limiters through podium celebrations, Italian Juniors and Australian Seniors showed no mercy.

 

livai.lancelot ISDE 2018 15936 Enduro21 560

 

The Australian Women’s Trophy were more sympathetic with their celebrations, leaving the bikes to rest while they sank beers and swapped stories with runners-up team USA and the delighted Spanish Women’s team. 

Those triumphant Italian Juniors, headed by E1 individual winner Andrea Verona, put on the kind of collective performance needed to win this prestigious ISDE prize. “We are really happy for the win today because last year we lose the Junior Trophy by just 15 seconds so to get the win today is really good for us.” Says Verona. 

 

italy.junior ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

Conditions were fast all week in Chile and that clearly suited the TM rider who has played second fiddle to his Italian team-mate, Matteo Cavallo, all season in EnduroGP. Turning the tables at the ISDE, Verona has taken the E1 individual win, Junior Trophy winner and sixth overall in category 1 (E1, E2, E3).

Italian riders placed fifth though ninth individually, Giacomo Redondi taking the best performance in fifth. None of them, however had the answer in the E3 race for a whippet-like performance from Zach Bell who bumped the trend for four-strokes on the final day, making his 300 Husky sing in the sand. 

 

zachary.bell ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

If it was a good week for Italy then was it a bad week for France? It is hard not to think otherwise for the out-going ISDE winners who dropped well below the bar: third in the Juniors was their best team result with the World Trophy team dropping to fourth at the finish after a yo-yo week in Chile. 

Third for the Junior team is a prize of course but at 18 minutes adrift of the Italians it wasn’t where they wanted to be. The best placed French rider in the scratch class was Loic Larrieu in 12th, one place ahead of Christophe Charlier. 

Loic ended his 2018 ISDE and his time racing for Yamaha (that’s another story) with a win on day six. In fact he made it look easy. As did Livia Lancelot taking the final test win in the Women’s category – Lancelot finished third overall in class (C2).

 

livia.lancelot ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

USA could feel disappointed, “our goal was to win” explains team manager, Antii Kallonen. “We were hopeful that we would put it to the Australians, but you got to take second in every class as a positive.” By any measure the World, Junior and Women’s Trophy runners-up positions is the model of consistency needed to win the ISDE. The trouble is they came up against a super-dominant Australian team. “It shows we have the talent and the depth in our team in every category. We’ll build on that.” Antii concludes. 

 

Antii Kallonen usa ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

Did Australia have it good in the hard and dry conditions? Milner says it suited them because the Aussies have had a dry year domestically but that belittles the performance of himself and Daniel Sanders particularly who’ve romped the results all week long. 

“Chucky (Sanders) has pushed me all the way here and all season and that’s why I knew we had a strong team for ISDE." Says Milner. "It’s been kind of like back home a lot of the time, even down to racing between the gum trees, so it suited us and we did our homework and it paid off.”

 

daniel.milner ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

How did it feel to cross the finish line on top of the Enduro world? “Awesome! Last night was one of those sleepless nights thinking about stuff so to get through that clean was a relief. But I tried to ride a smooth and consistent race and make no mistakes and I did that. 

“This is the first time I’ve won outright – I’ve been close two years where I was the first loser twice so be able to win the scratch I’m absolutely stoked. I’ve done eight ISDEs now and haven’t had the best record, I’ve had a lot of DNFs and a lot of stupid stuff that went wrong so really this year it couldn’t have gone better.” Amen to that to that Daniel.

 

tayla.jones ISDE 2018 Enduro21 560

 

It’s impossible not to be impressed by the Aussie Women’s Trophy team too. Six wins on the bounce at ISDE – six! “It’s been a long week but I’m so happy right now” Tayla Jones told us after taking victory at the Concon MX test on day six. “I got the overall but winning the team trophy is obviously what we’re here for. All three of us finished, we had a good week and we made it six in a row!” 

You’d expect Jones to find the last day’s MX test a nerve-wracking race on the sandy track. Though she had a 2m:44s lead after day five, errors are so easily made in the race format on a track surface like this. Cool as a cucumber, Jones shoots down the idea, “not really, I had a pretty big lead coming in to today and I was confident I just had to finish really so I had a lot of fun out there, Livia smashed it, but it was cool and a fun way to end the week.”

It is a statement which says plenty about the confidence of Jones but also about the way Australia have gone about their business this week in Chile.

 

'Till the next one, over and out...

 

Friday
Nov092018

2018 ISDE...Chile

 

Thursday
Nov082018

Red Bull Knock Out 

 

World Enduro Super Series set for dramatic championship final round at Red Bull Knock Out Beach Race in Holland. 

It’s crunch time for the World Enduro Super Series with Billy Bolt holding the points lead as riders head for the Red Bull Knock Out this weekend in Scheveningen, Holland. 

All will be decided this Saturday, November 10, as this new enduro series makes another twist in its plot: the eighth and final round of the 2018 championship will pitch riders onto the beach at a Dutch coastal town for a typically tough northern European sand race.

At the top of the standings, Bolt holds a 275-point advantage over Manuel Lettenbichler, with Josep Garcia close behind in third. 

A feature of the WESS championship is the size of entries and the Red Bull Knock Out is no different with 1000 competitors ready to battle at the sixth edition of this event. 

The Knock Out event format sees two, one-hour morning qualifier races reduce numbers to 750 for a place in the afternoon’s two-hour main event. An added twist to Beach Racing sees the inclusion of a technically difficult ‘X-Loop’ during the final hour of racing.

 

Knockout WESS Enduro21 1200

 

Bolt sitting pretty

Billy Bolt has proved himself more than just a master of Hard Enduro in the WESS championship this year – consistency has been the key to points topping position with such diverse events in the calendar. Billy will look for another strong finish in the Dutch sand after recently dipping a toe into Beach Racing and finishing a very impressive third overall at Weston Beach Race in the UK. 

 

billy.bolt WBR 2018 01899 Enduro21 560

 

Despite a late race crash during round seven at the Gotland Grand National, dropping him to 43rd, Manni Lettenbichler maintains second overall in the championship. ALettenbichler has come of age this season and is certainly capable of a strong result in The Netherlands.

Third overall and gaining ground on the leading duo during the second half of the season, Josep Garcia is within hustling distance of Bolt and Lettenbichler. Beating both championship rivals at rounds six and seven, Garcia reduced his points deficit in this year’s title chase – though he had hoped for better result in Gotland. That said, the sizeable entry at Knock Out could well play to the Spaniard’s advantage if he picks up valuable points while his rivals falter. 

Lying just 25 points behind teammate Garcia in fourth, Taddy Blazusiak sadly will not race in Holland. The Polish legend exacerbated an already injured finger at round seven and looks set to become an unfortunate spectator at this weekend’s finale.

 

Watson Hawkestone WESS Enduro21 560

 

While Bolt, Lettenbichler and Garcia are favourites to decide the outcome of this year’s championship, Britain’s Nathan Watson (KTM) who starts with his sights set on a debut WESS victory. Sixth overall in the standings, Watson has been patiently waiting all season for the Red Bull Knock Out. Already twice a runner-up in the Dutch Beach Race, Watson is a contender for the podium and a win could also see him leap dramatically up the final classification.

Arguably one of the most versatile riders in the series, privateer Paul Bolton currently lies seventh overall heading to Holland, while Lars Enockl completes the top 10. 

 

Knockout WESS Enduro21 560

 

Wildcards in the mix

Notable wildcards ready to ruffle the championship contenders include MXGP rider and home favourite, Glenn Coldenhoff and Red Bull Knock Out winner in 2015, Axel van de Sande, is also well in the mix.

France’s Camille Chapeliere, Milko Potisek and Yentel Martens are all Beach Racing specialists who are sure to shine as will former MXGP champion, Steve Ramon who’s another former winner. 

Todd Kellet – three-time winner of Britain’s Weston Beach Race – will also jump right into contention as will EnduroGP E1 World Championship runner-up, Jamie McCanney.

Red Bull Knock Out will be broadcast in a live show on Red Bull TV from 13.15hrs CET on Saturday, November 10. Available in four languages - English, German, French and Dutch - Jonny Walker and Antoine Meo will be guests for English and French speaking viewers.

 

Thursday
Nov082018

2018 ISDE

 

The International Six Days Enduro ready to celebrate its 93rd edition in Viña del Mar in Chile, November 12-17. 

The enduro world will fix its sights on Viña del Mar in Chile for the 93rd FIM International Six days Enduro (ISDE) kicking off with the opening ceremony this weekend.

Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious off-road motorcycle competitions, this year’s ISDE will see over four-hundred professional and amateur riders from twenty-five nations compete. 

At the head of the entry, France look to defend both their FIM World Trophy and FIM Junior World Trophy titles, while Australia are aiming for a record-breaking sixth consecutive FIM Women’s World Trophy class win.

Returning to South America for the first time since 2014, the FIM’s longest sanctioned race will base itself in the picturesque city of Viña del Mar, just two hours west of the nation’s capital Santiago.

 christophe.charlier ISDE 2017 3344
  

Can France retain their crown?

Ready to successfully defend their FIM World Trophy title, France arrive to Chile with a win clearly in their minds. Following victory on home soil in 2017, they will be pushing hard to shine again in 2018 while honouring their team-mate, Mathias Bellino – recently seriously injured in a Rally accident.

Eager to end their eleven-year drought, Italy’s last taste of FIM World Trophy success came in Chile in 2007. Looking strong on paper with a team peppered with Enduro World Championship contenders, they will use that as added motivation to return to the top step of the podium.

 

australia ISDE 2017 0822
 

USA and Australia ready to make amends

Following their debut FIM ISDE victory in 2016, the United States Trophy Team know they have the speed to challenge for top honours and after they ducked out of the Trophy competition on day one in France, when Thad Duvall got injured, they will surely be keen to make amends. Likewise, 2015 champions Australia will be equally determined and arrive with a super-strong rider line-up ready to challenge for team and individual honours. 

The Czech Republic, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile are among those who will fight for a place inside the top five.

Thursday
Nov082018

Rewind: Chad Reed’s AUS-X Open heroics

 

Reflecting on Reed's appearances at the AUS-X Open ahead of the 2018 edition.

After cruelly missing out on last year’s Monster Energy AUS-X Open Sydney due to an ankle injury, Australian supercross legend Chad Reed is making his way home for the 2018 edition of the prestigious event this weekend.

Reed’s attendance is always special at the AUS-X Open, although the famous number 22 has indicated this Saturday night could very well mark his final professional race following an illustrious career, and he’ll have his entire family – who have also travelled from the US – by his side to witness it.

While a contract for the 2019 Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship still remains up in the air, we’re taking a look back at Reed’s heroics at the AUS-X Open since its inception in 2015.

Image: AUS-X Open.

The two-time supercross world champion has starred on multiple occasions inside Qudos Bank Arena, but nothing compares to the stunning victory he captured at the inaugural night of the event, which saw him light up a sell out crowd.

The opening SX1 main event in 2015 was all about the then Yamaha-mounted Reed, who made a popular six-second victory upon return home for the first time in three years, using the fly by lane early on to sprint away. He didn’t it have it all his own way on night two, and was forced to accept second to youthful American Cooper Webb. It was a phenomenal display from the duo, as just 0.268s after 20 gruelling laps.

The year 2016, Reed’s last AUS-X Open appearance, proved to be an incredibly powerful performance from the in-form New South Welshman. Once again mounted aboard Yamaha machinery, Reed stalked Justin Brayton for the lead throughout the first half of the race and seized on the opportunity of a mistake made by Brayton on lap 16 to take charge.

Image: AUS-X Open.

That enabled Reed to take off at the front for a 6.191s victory, which welcomed an overwhelming roar from the crowd inside the arena. He shone on night two, delivering a commanding display of riding, this time taking the win ahead of then teammate Webb 1.804s. The fan-favourite capped off a stellar weekend with a celebratory shoey, engaging a welcoming response from thousands that packed out Qudos Bank Arena.

Regardless if this weekend ends up being his last ever professional outing, Reed will lay it on the line in an effort to go out on top in front of a supportive home crowd. Equipped with an Autotrader Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing RMZ-450, he just the right machinery to do it.

Thursday
Nov082018

KTM Head to Knock Out

 

 

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Josep Garcia and Nathan Watson are set to take on the eighth and final round of the World Enduro Super Series – Red Bull Knock Out – held on the beach of the Scheveningen region in The Hague, The Netherlands. The one-day event will see the winner of the inaugural WESS season crowned the Ultimate Enduro Champion.

The long, picturesque beach at Scheveningen is normally host to water sports such as windsurfing and kiteboarding but on Saturday 10 November, 1000 riders will take to the sand to contest the sixth edition of Red Bull Knock Out. Following the morning’s heat race, the top 750 riders will go on to contest the two-hour final.

Returning for his third Red Bull Knock Out, Nathan Watson will be aiming for his first win at the event. Runner-up in 2015 and 2016, Watson will be going all-out to claim his first WESS victory of the season. The former GP motocross rider has endured a steep learning curve in 2018, riding many events for the very first time. However, due in part to several strong results in the latter half of the season, Nathan now lies sixth overall in the WESS standings, less than 600 points from the top three. A win in The Netherlands could catapult Watson higher up the championship top-10.

Nathan Watson: “I am really looking forward to the Red Bull Knock Out – in fact, I’ve been looking forward to it since the start of the season. 2018 has been a challenging year for me, I have experienced a lot of new races and have had to tailor my riding to suit them. All-in-all I am happy with how my season has gone but I would really like to finish it off on a high with a win in The Netherlands. I’m quite confident coming into this final event, I’ve got a lot of experience with beach races and have finished second at Knock Out twice. I know it’s going to be tough, but I am eager to get stuck in, give it 100% and hopefully finish on the podium.”

Sitting third in the championship, Josep Garcia will also be hoping for a strong result at Red Bull Knock Out. Competing at the event for the first time, the 2017 Enduro 2 World Champion is still in striking distance of the overall WESS title – if his nearest competitors have a tough race and Garcia takes the win, the title could be his. Since the previous round in Sweden just two weeks ago, Josep has been concentrating on his sand riding technique and is keen to impress at the Dutch beach race.

Josep Garcia: “I have been doing a lot to prepare for this final race of the WESS championship and I’m feeling really good. My speed in the sand has improved and I’m hoping for a strong result on Saturday. I know it will be tough as there will be a lot of sand specialists racing, but if I can find a good rhythm I know that I can challenge for the podium. The last race in Sweden was really tough for me, I had a bad start and was hit by another rider that caused me to lose a lot of time. I was still able to fight back to 12th and was pleased with how I rode. Hopefully at this last round I can have a good, clean race and maybe improve my overall position in the championship.”

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jonny Walker and Taddy Blazusiak will not be competing at round eight due to injuries. Walker will be at Red Bull Knock Out, aiding the commentary team at the event.

The 2018 Red Bull Knock Out – round eight of the World Enduro Super Series – takes place at The Hague, The Netherlands on November 10.

World Enduro Super Series Standings (After round 7 of 8)

1. Billy Bolt (GBR), Husqvarna, 4420 points

2. Manuel Lettenbichler (GER), KTM, 4145 pts

3. Josep Garcia (ESP), KTM, 3700 pts

4. Taddy Blazusiak (POL), KTM, 3675 pts

5. Wade Young (RSA), Sherco, 3220 pts

Thursday
Nov082018

Rob Andrews Talks MXGP

Rob Andrews interview

 

 

 

Former GP rider Rob Andrews has for many years been very vocal about the way the spot is bring run, being as honest as he could be, and trying to help make some areas better.

As a commentator for Eurosport in the United Kingdom, Andrews has a similar job to Paul Malin, who works for MXGP.tv, and as a former racer, always try's to give the viewer an inside look into what the riders are thinking and doing, something that most of us non-racers can’t really deliver, or see.

Andrews raced in the golden era of 500cc motocross, in the 1980s, first as a privateer, then a factory rider, who also represented his country at the Motocross of Nations. He was also a test rider for many years, for DBR in England and still races to this day in veteran events.

A long career as a racer and now as the inside man for British television Andrews gives his opinion on a number of things, including the Motocross of Nations, and the MXGP series.

MXlarge: Rob, you came from and raced in that 1980’s golden era of motocross, the era many say was the golden era of the 500cc class in Europe. How does this era compare to that era?

Andrews: It is a good era, and the thing with eras, you don’t always recognize at the time. When I was racing in 1986, there were nine World champions in the class, and I didn’t sit there thinking, wow, this is the best era ever. It is only with the benefit of hindsight, that you can look back and think, wow, that was a pretty good time. Sure people will look at these last couple of years and think its really a good time. You can’t deny the concentration of class in the 450 class. Last year I think it was 21 former GP winners in the class. You can’t criticize the talent of the riders, the speed of the riders, the professional attitude of the riders. Whether it will stay like that, I don’t know, because what we have at the moment is Jeffrey at the front, and I don’t see anyone touching him for a while, so that will change the dynamic a little bit. If Jeffrey continues, is he going to have the motivation to push at that level, you go as fast as you need to win the race. If Tony retires and nobody else challenges Jeffrey, there is the danger that he will slow down. Also if Jeffrey dominates for a few years, that statistic I mentioned about 21 former GP winners, that will drift away, because you will have Jeffrey breaking all the records and just a couple of World champions in the class.

MXlarge: Speaking of Herlings. I don’t know if you have read it on my site, and maybe I get too enthusiastic, but I look at Jeffrey, and I am just amazed what he does. With Stefan, who is probably the most amazingly talented rider the sport has seen, but even with Stefan, you would sometimes watch and go WOW, with Jeffrey, it seems like it is nearly every single time he goes out, it’s the WOW factor. What do is your opinion on Jeffrey?

Andrews: I have watched every lap of every race for the last four or five years, working with Eurosport in the UK. Speaking of Stefan, going back when Stefan was on his peak, he was the only rider, where I would say to myself, oh my god, what did he just do. I would then rewind it and watch it again. I have been involved in this sport for a long time, and I am not easily impressed, with Stefan I used to rewind his stuff, and we are getting that with Jeffrey. Some things are simply amazing, and he rides a different track to the others and he can identify things, that the others just don’t see, like hitting little breaking bumps and jumping off those to miss bigger bumps further along. The other riders could do the same thing, it isn’t impossible, but the others just don’t have that vision, don’t have that creativity. Particularly in sand, its most noticeable. I love watching him ride. He is another level at the moment and the others need to go watch videos of what he is doing and figure it out.

MXlarge: What gets me is how powerful he looks on the bike, he just turns that big 450 when he wants to and where he wants it to go. A bit like riding a bronco even.

Andrews: Yes, but other riders have that same strength, he isn’t the strongest rider in the class. Fitness isn’t down to talent, you could be the fittest rider in the class, fitness isn’t down to talent and starting isn’t down to talent, but practice. We see that with Prado. There is no reason why any rider in that class couldn’t holeshot every race, its down to practice, not talent.

MXlarge: Moving onto the MXoN. Were you surprised with what happened at Redbud?

Andrews: I was and I wasn’t. I was surprised, because we have been conditioned to never bet against the Americans, they had been the dominant team for so long, that we would never say, I don’t think the Americans won’t be any good here, I think they will struggle to make the podium, because you were setting yourself up to look stupid. However, we have been seeing this coming for a while. They haven’t been the strongest team since Lommel in 2012, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise. I admire the Americans and their unwavering belief in themselves, they are convinced they are the best team, and they have been in the past and they are still a very strong nation, but they are convinced they are the best team, so when something like this happens and they lose and they didn’t expect to lose at home, it must be devastating for them. When the British team finished fifth, we didn’t slate them in the press, or on forums, we said, they tried hard, we hope we can do better next year. For the Americans, they take it very hard and the fans and the media, not the riders, but the fans and media, they seem to feel like they need to find something to explain that away and that is why we hear comments about the track, and other things. I think they need to go in with less expectations. They set the bar so high that anything but domination is a failure.

MXlarge: They also use the supercross thing as a reason, but I don’t get that, because they have had two or three eras of supercross and for sure, back in the 1980s the supercross tracks were more or less just indoor motocross tracks, but the last 20 years, with Carmichael, Stewart, Villopoto and Dungey, those guys also rode the same schedule as the guys now, and those guys won the Nations. To me, its just a terrible excuse.

Andrews: I totally agree with you and I don’t buy into that at all. When they are looking for an explanation why they didn’t win at home, or the last few years. That is something that has just come up in the last few years, saying their concentration is on supercross, and I love supercross, and I will be going to A1 again in 2019, I love it and they make a lot of money, its easier, they don’t spend a lot of time on the bike, and that is where their focus is, but as you said, its always been like that. Supercross has been going since 1972, and its been like that ever since. That was always their focus and that is where they were earning their money. I don’t buy that all and I don’t know the answer.

MXlarge: I think since they change to the one-day format in motocross, to make it more interesting for the riders and teams to do the Nationals, and the FIM series went from just racing Sunday to also racing Saturday, I think that is what has changed it. We race a lot of motocross and they don’t. Until that changes, I think it stays like this. No doubt Herlings and Cairoli have also brought the level up, that is probably the main thing. The GP guys race a much more diverse type of track than the AMA guys do. I know Davey (Coombs) doesn’t agree, but watching the nationals on television, those tracks all look rather similar, prepared the same, not much racing on them, so maybe they don’t get as rough as the GP tracks, who run five classes on the track sometimes over two days and those tracks get really rough and often very ugly.

Andrews: I don’t know if I agree with you on that completely. The American tracks I have seen, and like you I haven’t been to one, I have watched a lot on television, but the tracks seem to get rough and I think the National tracks are better designed than the GP tracks in terms of racing. I don’t like how some of the GP tracks are designed, they don’t make good racing, but that is another discussion. The GP riders have to ride on some pretty horrible tracks, like the one in Indonesia and the one in Turkey, I think those are dreadful tracks, but does that make the GP riders more versatile, maybe, because they rider on a lot of different circuits. But does riding around a terrible track in Turkey make them better at a track like Redbud, I don’t think so. Two completely different tracks and riding at Turkey doesn’t help them for Redbud. You mention the two-day format and that they are riding more, I don’t put too much weight to that either. I don’t think the fact the GP riders’ race two days improves their fitness, the American riders train all week, but I do think the American riders have taken their eye off the ball a bit, because whenever I see an American rider practicing, they are riding on a billiard table like track in California. I think training on track nothing like they will be racing on, I think that is a factor. The European riders have become more versatile riding on different tracks, but I don’t know if that is solely the answer to why they were faster at Redbud.

MXlarge: What has impressed me over the last few years is the coverage of the MXGP series. We are roughly the same age, and I know when I grew up in Australia, the emphasize in Australia was all on the AMA series. My first motocross hero was Marty Smith and we followed the AMA series, my first GP I attended was the USGP in 1984 at Carlsbad and I couldn’t wait to see guys like Broc Glover and Ricky Johnson racing, but the coverage from Youthstream and a handful of European websites has really taken the sport to another level as far as quality coverage goes. To the point Worldwide the sport in Europe is really getting equal coverage as the American series. Now we are seeing these Redbull videos, which to me are the best videos I have ever seen on the sport in Europe. You work for Eurosport covering the event, and that is something that has also grown around Europe is the television coverage. What is your opinion on that?

Andrews: The coverage is good, you get all the races, you can subscribe and get the qualification races also. The coverage is good, but times have moved on, there was no internet back in the day. Back in the day we did a novelty one off event that was shown on main-stream television, but GP coverage is good and not everybody has sky television, so there is an argument it is on main-stream TV. There is a lot of good things Youthstream do and you can’t level any criticisms at the media coverage.

MXlarge: You still work with Jack Burnicles on the television commentary?

Andrews: I work with either Jack or Roger Warren. Jacks priority is the Superbikes and if the MXGP doesn’t clash with the Superbikes, then he will be there.

MXlarge: When you think of motocross journalism, you think of Jack and probably Eric Johnson being a level above everyone else. I don’t think there is anyone who writes like those two. To me they are like Ricky Carmichael or Stefan Everts, those type of guys only come along once in a life-time. You have a long relationship with Jack. Do you think that maybe because motocross is a poor man’s sport, or maybe an uneducated sport, that we don’t have more journalists like Jack and Eric?

Andrews: They are both very good writers, and there are a few journalists that can write very well. I don’t even know if Jack trained as a journalist. It is a skill isn’t it. Jack was just a master of the English language and he could paint a picture with his words. From what Jack has told me over the years is that he learnt that from writing letters to his father, he would write and his father wrote back and that is how it evolved. I love the way he writes and there are other good guys. I like Eric Johnsons stuff, I like how Adam Wheeler writes and they are proper journalists. Unfortunately there are people, the way the sport has evolved over the years, there are people in the media, want to be guys, who get access to the sport, work for nothing and ruin it for others. Punting stuff out for not much money and that undermines what people like you do. There is no shortage of people who would love to do what you do and get themselves a pass and write about it.

Gary Freeman/Redeye image

 

Thursday
Nov012018

A Look Back At Excellence!