Connect with us
       

Matthes Report

A Matthes Report: Seattle

Insight from PulpMX’s Steve Matthes.

Published

on

We have moved past the mud of Seattle and onto the snow of Minneapolis and the exciting Triple Crown format! I am looking forward to the race; it is the final round of this Triple Crown and, so far, I would say it has been a success. Lots of different winners, some surprises and, hey, what do you know, the series tried something radical and everyone survived!

It should be a good time this weekend, the fans in the state love moto and are stoked that the series has come back there. Can hometown hero Jeremy Martin continue his great run of late and maybe take home the win?

Enlarge

Site-Adam-Cianciarulo-2
Adam Cianciarulo has not claimed a main-event win this year.

Monster Energy Media/Octopi

Onto some other news and notes:

We had Adam Cianciarulo on the show this past Monday and he talked about his strong comeback in the mud to get on the podium. AC was his honest funny self on the show and it is hard to really not like the kid. He just gets it and is a refreshing ray of light in a sport that sees a lot of kids that are homeschooled and seem to be lacking some perspective on their careers and racing in general. A few notes from Adam on the show that caught my eye:

On being a bit shy to speak his mind when he first turned pro… “Yeah, absolutely. You are totally right. I think coming in it goes back to me thinking I needed to be a certain way when I came in. I was trying to do what everybody else does, for the most part. I think it is just I was insecure about myself too. I think too going back to the point about personality and all that stuff, I think motocross is really behind in terms of…”

On riders being more transparent with the media and fans… “The transparency is mistaken and this could be the fans fault as well. The transparency is mistaken for weakness. If we talk about, it could be anything. If we talked about something that seems a little bit open, it is “that guy is a mental case,” or “that guy is weak” or this or that. Not to bring up golf, because I am into golf, but I am just using it as an example. If you watch a golfing press conference, those guys absolutely lay it all out there. They really do. Just what they are thinking mentally.

“Just an example the other week and I will not bore you with details. But this guy, Justin Thomas, he was going to be world number one if he won that day, going into Sunday. If he won the tournament, he had a chance to win, he was going to be world number one. He blew it and he came off and the first thing he said was, “Yeah, that was in my head all day. I would have won this tournament had I not, but I was thinking about it.” You are never going to hear a rider say that. You would get absolutely destroyed. I think one of the things that will make the sport more popular is when we decide to all not take each other so seriously and just be open and honest. It will make everything much more interesting.”

On some riders in the sport, like Eli Tomac, being more outspoken…

“It is awesome. The same thing, [Cooper] Webb and Tomac had a back and forth after Daytona at their press conference talking about the heat-race incident. That stuff is amazing. Me just being a fan of the sport and watching that, I cannot get my eyes off the Racer X article or wherever it is that I read it.”

Enlarge

Site-Adam-Cianciarulo
Cianciarulo slid past his teammate to take second in the series in Seattle.

Monster Energy Media/Octopi

Chad Reed had one of his better races in Seattle, because you just know he is not going to make any silly mistakes. He’ll go out there and ride a pace in the mud that he knows he can do and let others make the mistakes. Although his bike started to let go on the last lap and he lost two spots after the race he was still in a good mood. Of course, Reed lost one of the epic mudder races when his bike stopped at Daytona one year while he had a huge lead. Anyway, here is what the 22 had to say after Seattle…

You had a fifth place, looking good. In the end your clutch gave out, but you got seventh. Smoke show at the end. What are you going to do, right?

Smoke and mirrors. I felt good all day, to be honest. It was challenging and felt like I could ride it somewhat decent. We obviously got a little bit warm there in the heat race, but I do not know if maybe we didn’t do something and it blew it. I really do not know. We put a clutch in it for the main event. Right away, the first lap the thing started detonating a little bit.

You were smoking before almost anybody.

Yeah. The thing that kind of bums me out a little bit I guess is I was cautious and I was aware of the bike kind of already feeling hot, so then I started to try to ride it in a way that I was not so hard on it. But, obviously, I could feel it getting warm. I could smell it and all those things, so then I was in a pretty comfortable and pretty easy fifth. Whenever I kind of got a bit of a rhythm going, I felt like I could catch [Broc] Tickle a little bit.

I kind of had to let go of that just because every time I pushed a little bit the bike just felt like it was getting worse. So then three laps to go I am like, it is going to be close, then on the last lap there I was wide open and it was going nowhere. Then the thing was, I was trying to limp it home and the last lap, like I said, I was wide open and it was just kind of slipping.

Then I heard the crowd go off and the flame, so I knew Eli [Tomac] was kind of right there. So I am like, there cannot be too many people behind me. So I’m like, “fuck it.” I’m going to pin it. It does not matter at that point. No one can beat me other than the two guys that I was battling with anyway, so I just went for it and she did not quite make it. We almost got there, but anyway it was still my best race of the year. It was a lot of fun.

Enlarge

Site-Chad-Reed
Chad Reed has dominated headlines this week, once again.

Feld Media Guide

A lot of smoke. The bike locked up? Clutch stopped?

It did not lock up. I am guessing that the ring is not so much there anymore or something happened to the piston. It didn’t lock up. It just lost compression. It basically did what my engine did at Daytona that year.

I was going to go back to that. What was the worst race? That Daytona or tonight? More standing water in Daytona, but you were jumping things a little bit in Daytona.

It is Daytona, right, so you are outdoors anyway. They had new dirt. I would say that they had new dirt this weekend that was basically clay and it made it really, really challenging. It was rutty but it had a hard base. Almost felt like Vegas a couple years ago. I would say that tonight had its challenges. Daytona is Daytona. I just think that that was so gnarly and brutal in the fact that there was just water everywhere, but the track tonight was really challenging. Right as you kind of felt like, I got a bit of a rhythm going, you would either exit left or right. You did not really know why it happened. It was a tough race.

You made it exciting at the end. The crowd really loved it. I thought you had to get over the finish to be officially counted. Turns out you just got to trip the transponder, so you were good.

Obviously I would not have tried pushing it up the thing if I did not think that… I also had that understanding that I had to get to the top. I really could not see a whole lot because there was so much smoke, but when the smoke cleared I could see the AMA guy kind of giving me a thumbs up, so I was like, “I’m guessing that I’m good.” Obviously I would have liked to have finished fifth, but we’ll take a seventh and try to be better next weekend in Minneapolis.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Monster Energy Media/Octopi

Matthes Report

Matthes Report: Daytona

Predictions from Steve Matthes!

Published

on

The 2021 Monster Energy Supercross series riders and teams just had their first week off of the season this past and when the halfway flag gets thrown this Saturday night at Daytona, we’ll officially be halfway through the 450SX series.

Here are some random predictions on some random things in regard to both the 450SX and 250SX classes.

– It’s been a while since we saw anyone not named Cooper Webb or Ken Roczen win a 450SX main event but we may finally get someone different this weekend. Now, don’t hold me to that because the top two riders in the points have been so good. This is Daytona though. This is something different for the guys and we know how good Eli Tomac is down at the speedway. I’m not going to stamp a Tomac win but it says here he will be more competitive this weekend than he has been. Good vibes will be hanging in the air for ET and even if he does not get a start, he can make it work there. I predict a strong performance for Tomac this weekend with either a win or a runner-up ride.

Enlarge

Site-Ken-Roczen

Align With Us

– Honda’s Chase Sexton makes his return to racing after a crash in Houston while leading the 450SX main. The #23 will be a boost to the series and I think he’ll do something memorable this weekend. I do not know what exactly; maybe win a heat, lead some laps or podium the whole thing? I’m not sure but Sexton will make a splash. You watch!

– Jason Anderson has been getting progressively better since his awful opening round and subsequent finger injury. Now, how much his improvement had to do with the harder packed Orlando track is something we’ll see. I think he’s on the right track to be top five or on the podium at Daytona.

– Marvin Musquin is very good at Daytona – he’s had some hell of good rides there with a couple of 450SX podiums and a win in 250SX. It’s been a hot and cold season for Marv, but he’ll be hot this weekend.

– Dylan Ferrandis was great at Orlando 2 but had just an eleventh to show for it after he had to pull into the mechanics area for mid-race repairs. On this track, with more of an outdoor-ish feel to it, I think Ferrandis really shines. I predict a top five for the Yamaha rider. Yeah, I said it.

– I predict Justin Cooper wins the 250SX West main event. Boring, right? I know. This series is his to lose now with Jeremy Martin out with a shoulder injury. Cooper was not even at one hundred percent at Orlando 2 and he did that. Wait until he gets an extra week of prep for this one.

– I’m not sure what Star Yamaha team owner Bobby Regan said or did to rookies Nate Thrasher and Jarrett Frye in the time since Orlando 2 but I guarantee you it was not good. I’ve heard many stories about how Regan has talked to riders under the Star tent and with both kids underperforming at their first ever supercross, I predict they both come out with better performances than what we saw in Orlando. How much better? I do not know, just better.

Enlarge

Site-Nate-Thrasher

Align With Us

– Garrett Marchbanks does not win this main event like he did last year but he does end up on the podium, which is a good result for him and his team.

– Troll Train will shine this weekend and redeem himself after KO’ing himself last race. That’s what “we” do.

– I think Martin Davalos will fall down at some point in this weekend’s main event. I hate being a negative Nancy here but he’s done it in every single race this year but one. I cannot see how Marty gets through a rough and tumble Daytona track where things change every lap without making a mistake but maybe this is exactly what Marty needs to stay on two wheels!

– I predict that Kyle Chisholm will continue to Chiz, because Chiz will always Chiz. In fact, he might have some extra Chiz happening because he is usually pretty solid at Daytona.

– This one is not tough to predict but Ken Roczen will continue his great season with another great ride. Hey man, I can’t be wrong if I just predict stuff like this!

Thanks for reading!

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Align With Us

Continue Reading

Matthes Report

Matthes on: Alex Nagy

Feel-good story from Orlando.

Published

on

There are a lot of cool stories in the pits in the course of a year of Monster Energy Supercross but let’s face it, these days with COVID-19 still affecting everything, things still suck. Although the racing in Orlando was cool, in terms of some fans being there, it’s still not supercross, you know?

In Orlando, we had a cool story going on though. Privateer Alex Nagy made his first ever main event via his third in the 250SX LCQ. Nagy is a privateers privateer, you know? There are guys that are what you would call privateers but they are on teams and sometimes have expenses covered  some guys get everything paid for but not factory help at all and we still call them privateers. The word “privateer” has changed a ton over the years for sure, but there is one thing that’s not in doubt and that’s that Alex Nagy is a privateer.

Enlarge

Site-Alex-Nagy

Align With Us

Nagy had lined up for 132 races and had made 118 night shows, most of them in the 450SX class. The 250SX East series has been wrecked with injuries so that definitely helped Nagy’s case, but he’s also been riding very well. In Orlando, we saw history!

“I honestly haven’t even kept track of how many night shows or how long,” Nagy told us after the race. “My first year of racing supercross was in 2013, and I did that on a 250. Then every year after, I’ve been in the 450SX class. This is kind of like my first time back in the 250SX class. I’m glad I was finally able to capitalise on a good coast to ride and be able to put it in the main finally.”

Look, once he made the main the rest was gravy, right? Nagy rode pretty well in the 15-minute main event though to end up with a fifteenth on the night. That’s pretty decent for a guy who’s not used to racing that long. Nagy got six points toward ditching his three-digit number and getting one of those two digits that the cool guys get.

Surely Nagy was going to reward himself with some sort of extravagance for his efforts, right?

Nope.

“I’m going to spend the night here. I spent the night here last night. I spent the night in the van the night before, and I’ll probably spend the night in the van tomorrow night too,” he told me. “It’s kind of funny because even in Indy I stayed in the van. I didn’t run it, didn’t use the heat in it and didn’t have a heater. I just had four sleeping bags and I just ground it out.

“Honestly, it sucked. It was cold waking up in the morning. Then when you are kind of cold and then you’ve got to put cold clothes on or cold gear on, that was rough. Like I always say, you don’t even really think about it. It’s just in the past.”

Enlarge

Site-Alex-Nagy-2-scaled

Align With Us

Nagy spending the time in freezing cold Indianapolis sleeping in his van for rounds four through six is next level. Hey, he loves the sport and it shows!

This is a part of the issue I have with the MXGP series. Yes, there are wildcards out there that some riders can get but it’s not easy to show up at an MXGP and race like it is for riders over here in SX and MX. That’s one of the things, in my opinion, that make motocross great. A guy can get a bike, modify it a bit and line up with the world’s greatest riders. Talent is the separator, not money spent. Nagy has spent time riding in the winter down in California but unfortunately not this year. His program is, how we say, pretty loose!

“I didn’t even have an off-season because I was in Illinois the whole time. All I did was ride. I would ride with a track that was half snow, and then two jumps of dirt. That was all I did. I wasn’t in California. This was the least prepared I’ve been going into a year, and I did the first round on a 450 and was able to get in on it which was sweet. I was stoked on that, to make the night show.

“Then I wanted to do a 250 the whole time, but I didn’t get the bike that I’m riding until the night that I left for Houston. I pretty much just had a brand new 250. I’m like, ‘Okay, I’ll race the 450 at the first one and then switch the suspension over.’ I broke the bike in in the parking lot. The first time it ever saw dirt was the practice at Houston 2, which is pretty funny.”

The thing about that is he broke the bike in around the pits and he hadn’t ridden the bike on a track until the first practice at Houston 2! The bike had stock bars, stock grips, a stock head pipe and suspension modified last year. Yet, somehow, five rounds later he’s in the main!

Nagy’s now going to race the much-more competitive 450SX class while the 250SX East series is on hold and I don’t like his chances to make the main there. However, Alex Nagy will be out there sleeping where he can and practicing where he can. Nagy’s enjoying his life and now he’s got that main event on his record. We need more Alex Nagy’s in the pits.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Align With Us

Continue Reading

Matthes Report

Matthes Report: Ken Roczen

A look at Ken Roczen’s triumphs.

Published

on

It’s not too hard to imagine that, although Honda HRC’s Ken Roczen just grabbed his second win in a row in the 2021 Monster Energy Supercross series, he should actually have four wins. He passed Houston 1 winner Justin Barcia a couple of times in the first main of the year and, of course, we all know that lapper Dean Wilson cost him another win.

It’s not a stretch to imagine Roczen with four wins out of five races to start the season and his current points lead being even bigger, right? He has been amazing and on it right from the first round and it’s cool to see; having Roczen healthy, happy and fast in SX is a good thing for the sport.

One of the things I was wrong about, and boy there’s a lot, was Kenny’s adaption to the all-new 2021 Honda CRF450R. The bike barely shares anything with the 2020 model and I’ve seen plenty of riders and teams at the highest levels struggle to figure out new models. The most recent Kawasaki, for example, wasn’t easy for Eli Tomac and the Team Green guys to get a handle on right away. The 2009 Honda. The backwards-motor Yamaha – there could be a book written about trying to get that bike set-up and working right.

The point is that with data acquisition teams are able to get improvements done to the bike but it usually takes a year. Then of course parts and 2021 Honda 450 bikes themselves were late getting to the USA only adding to my thought that this might be a year where the team and Roczen are constantly learning. The fact that Tim Gajser was on it all last year in the MXGP’s probably helped a bit but SX is quite a bit different from MX as we all know.

Enlarge

Site-Ken-Roczen

Align With Us

We had Roczen on the PulpMX Show on Monday and I asked him about the bike.

“There’s always little things that could be better, but I think ultimately it comes down to the stock bike has to be good from the get-go to be able to start off and not have huge problems,” Roczen said. “Our previous bike was not quite like that – it was a very difficult bike to set up, especially for all different kinds of conditions. We are in a super good spot.

“My bike is very raceable, especially in the conditions that we have had. It’s been rough. It’s been rutty and tacky. I think it will just be that much better even when it gets a little bit more hard-packed. I think we have had the most difficult conditions. I think everybody would agree with that. We are just solid.”

Honda’s had former SX/MX winner Trey Canard aboard to help with the testing the last couple of years and there’s no doubt that he has been a huge help to the team as far as getting a base set-up down so that the team does not waste a lot of time with Roczen testing. He’s able to just focus on himself.

“I’ve said this a few times; this bike is not a revolutionary bike. Honda has done this in the past with big steps like the dual mufflers or the aluminium frame and, although this bike is different, it’s not so different from the previous model. We were never so far off with this bike; it was pretty good the first day we rode SX. We could race it like this. It gave us a good head start on things

The biggest thing for me is there is less rigidity in this frame. At the end of the mains when the ruts are choppy and bumpy, you have to be perfect. This bike makes a difference and the rider can sustain a hard effort. These guys are going fast the whole time. The power is also more usable in more ways.”

Enlarge

Site-Ken-Roczen-2

Align With Us

The new “thing” for the factory teams is having someone like Canard, or Ryan Morais at KTM, who is still a great rider, knows how a bike works and can eliminate some directions that the team wants to try. I’ve been there as a mechanic and spent some long days at the test track trying clamps, bearing races, cams, pistons etc. and trying to get through what works and what doesn’t. The riders themselves don’t really enjoy those days. The quicker you can get the testing over, the better. The riders can then focus on putting in laps and getting themselves ready for the season.

“I think the last three years, I’ve learned a lot. At first we would come up with something and he [Roczen] didn’t like it or he didn’t win. The wins for me as a test rider were hit and miss. I’ve gotten to know him better,” Canard says about specifically testing for Roczen.

Yeah, maybe I was off on my take of him figuring out a new bike or maybe Canard has been such a massive help that they have overcome those usual new bike blues. Either way, Roczen looks as good as ever here to start the series. I wondered if Canard himself was surprised at how good the #94 and the new Honda 450 look so far?

“I’m not surprised at how good he looks. The last year and a half, his health has been a struggle. Even the races he did win, it seemed to me he wasn’t happy with the way he rode. He came a long ways since we started SX – we started a bit late due to the nationals going longer. When he took that time off this past summer, I got a sense he would get things sorted and he did.”

That’s the understatement of 2021 so far.

Words: Steve Matthes | Lead Image: Align With Us

Continue Reading

Latest