A Matthes Report: Hangtown

Each Monday night I do something called the Pulpmx Show where we have racers on from the weekends race, get a co-host in to rap with me about what he or she thought of the race, we take some calls from fans, give away some stuff and, all in all, have a pretty good time. It has proven to be a show that a lot of moto fans want to tune into it seems. Live and downloads equal to over 40,000 each week. It is rather scary to think about talking in front of that many people, but that is exactly what we do. We also try to not take this sport too seriously, which ruffles some feathers at times but YOLO you know?

This past Monday I had trainer to the stars/past pro rider Seth Rarick in to talk about Hangtown and we touched on a number of topics including my fandom of Alex Martin of the TLD KTM team. Here is a sample of how that conversation went:

Me: Are you with me on the Troll Train? He’s good.

Seth Rarick: Yeah, Alex is really good. I love Alex. He is probably going to get mad for me saying this, but I’m not on the Troll Train like you are. You’re the leader.

SM: I’m driving it. I’m onboard. Choo, choo!

SR: I don’t know. I’m at the next stop and I’m not sure if I’m getting on or not.

SM: You’re all about the Yamaha guys. Let’s face it. You’re just Yamaha. Cooper and AP…

SR: No, I love Alex. For this weekend, for instance, second moto A Mart was awesome. I know he has not raced in a while too.

SM: Yeah, give him a break!

SR: I know, but I feel like first moto he just never got going. But I guess what I’m saying is I feel like you’re going to see a lot of that throughout the year. I feel like you could see a 10-1 from that guy, so I don’t know.

SM: He needs a start. He does not have AP, Zacho or J Mart’s speed to go and rip through the pack.

SR: With two holeshots, I could see A Mart going 1 -1 easy. With two tenth-place starts, not even podium.

SM: I’ll give you that. He is start-dependent. You are right about that.

SR: More so than some guys. 


Alex Martin just missed out on a spot on the overall podium at Hangtown.

KTM Images/Simon Cudby

Later on in the show, Rarick had some interesting thoughts on Rockstar Husqvarna’s Jason Anderson and if he’s going to rest on his SX title or go for it this summer…

SM: Jason Anderson was a source of debate for us. Second moto with like twelve minutes to go he is in first and he ends up sixth. [Benny] Bloss gets him late. First moto he was fourth and he was up there also. He said he wants to win the title. He said he wants to get picked for Motocross of Nations. All of that is fine. I thought it was a little bit disappointing. If you are Anderson or the Rockstar team you are like, “I know you won the supercross title” and no matter what happens Anderson’s year has been successful. It’s fantastic. But if you want to be a guy, you want to be a legend, like [Ryan] Dungey, [Ryan] Villopoto, Ricky [Carmichael], an elite guy, I was a little bit disappointed. What do you think?

SR: I could be wrong. I just think it’s see you guys at Anaheim.

SM: That’s what I think.

SR: I think he doesn’t really care.

SM: Okay. I’ll go with that. I’m with you. I get that. That’s where we’re at. I am old school. I don’t like it, but that’s where we are at in 2018 in the sport. I guess, in a sense, what he is saying about the title and what other people are saying about him going for the title, people in his camp, maybe I should not pay attention to that.

SR: I don’t know. This is total speculation, but I could see him… I’m sure he does want to win. I could see him kind of putting the work in and then kind of seeing how the first few rounds go. I think if he can be in it and have a successful first few rounds, he’s going to keep going all the way to the end. I think if by Colorado or High Point he’s still doing what he did Saturday, I think you’re going to see like, “I don’t know. I think I sprained my ankle. I’m out.”

SM: I’m with you on that, but then I was kind of hearing differently.

SR: I don’t know. He could be trying to talk himself into it. He just made a lot of money.  I get what you’re saying. I’m pretty old school too with my mentality, but I have also never had millions of dollars in the bank. My mentality might change at that point. I might be like, “ah, screw it.”

SM: RV had millions of dollars in the bank and Dungey had millions of dollars in the bank. Ricky Carmichael… It is not the first time.

SR: I guess it is all what you want to be. If you want to be one of those guys, you got to keep digging.


Jason Anderson is not quite as competitive as he was indoors.

Husqvarna/Simon Cudby

Later on Monster Energy Yamaha’s Justin Barcia joined us to talk about his 3-3 podium ride in 450MX and then Seth and him shared a story about testing at Glen Helen the other day…

SR: I will say Justin has to have his bike figured out because Glen Helen, when was it, two Thursdays ago? He had ridden… There was not a person out there who had put more laps on the track than him. Unbelievable. I was like, “is he out there again?” We stayed late that day, but we had big breaks for testing. You just kept going and going and going. I’m like, dude, he is going to crush it.

JB: I actually had two test bikes, so it was full go. There was not much breaks in-between. I definitely put in the time this off-season getting the new bike set up for outdoors. Cooper [Webb] was not obviously riding yet either so that left me with a lot of little things to try. Usually when Coop would be riding we’d be kind of doing things back and forth. I had a lot of work. It was cool. I do not mind testing.

I think I get better at it as the years go on. It was cool. Especially when you have two bikes it can be a little challenging, to make sure they are set up. Bars and stuff like that, so you are not feeling weird stuff. I put in a lot of time. The bike’s good. We have another test set up actually tomorrow a little bit to fine tune a few things from the weekend I think we can make better. But, all in all, the bike’s awesome right now. I’m having a lot of fun on it.

SR: You are even testing gear now, last week.

JB: Yeah, I guess you must have saw that. I’m like the test man. No one ever wants to do it really. I’m like, just bring it my way. I’ll test anything. I’ll try anything once.

SR: It was like 2:00pm at Pala and I saw Justin got a brand new gear brand and everything. Like, what is he doing?

SM: I got a tour of Alpinestars in the fall. It was phenomenal. Justin, I hated your gear for a few years there, but this year and maybe last it’s been good. Stuff has been sharp.

SR: A-stars has stepped it up.

JB: The gear is awesome. It’s been good for years. Sometimes we do some crazy stuff, but I am the kind of guy that will do the crazy stuff. I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll wear that, for sure.”

SM: When I worked at Yamaha, Jimmy [Perry] drove me just crazy. Tell me if he still does this. We would be out testing and fucking Jimmy with the stopwatch every single time. It’s like, dude. It’s Glen Helen on a Thursday. There’s quads and minis out there, and we just put on clamps and forks. Calm down with the stopwatch. Does he still do that, Justin?

JB: Jimmy does do the stopwatch, but I actually like it because it makes me be on my game always. When Jimmy is around, I am on my game. He gets the stopwatch out and I am like, I do not care if there’s a quad out there, a little kid. I’m going to dodge these guys and I’m going to throw down a nasty lap. He keeps me on my toes, which is good for me.


Justin Barcia got his outdoor campaign off to a solid start.

Monster Energy/Octopi

We had Alex Martin on to talk about the work that goes into being at the Baker’s Factory in Florida… 

Me: How do you like the Baker’s Factory? You are a guy who’s done a few different things with your brother. You have done different programs here and there, Johnny O and all that. How do you like the Baker’s Factory life? Does it get monotonous? Do you mind it? What’s it like?

AM: It’s great. I have been having a lot of fun training with those guys. I feel like at my age it is good to have a group of guys around you. It just makes the day to day kind of grind a little bit easier. Being that Baker’s Factory is in Florida, the weather… It was hard because last summer we got there right in the middle of the summer and it was hot and it was humid. It was like, “dude, this is miserable. I do not know if I want to live here,” but then our off-season training was in November, December and even going back there on the break it was like, “dang, this is beautiful.” It could not get any better in the wintertime. So I think all in all it was a good decision to kind of invest in that for sure.

SM: It’s an interesting deal for guys like you who are like on one hand it’s all the positives of what you just said, but the negatives are it’s a little bit of every day pressure. Like, where do I rank? How did I do? Who am I comparing against? Right? A little bit of that?

AM: Yeah, I know, but it is funny because I really feel like I have been on all ends of the spectrum. I remember back in Eleven10 in the privateer days at Club, more specific I guess Eleven10, I always did the training but the intensity was not there, the accountability. It was like, “Hey, when you go out there, let’s make this moto count,” type of thing and keeping track of heart rates. Making sure you have so many minutes or hours a week of zone five.

For me being held accountable definitely makes a big, big difference. I think that’s what you see with Zach. He really makes his practice sessions count and he’s all in pretty much every time he’s on the track. That’s one thing I’ve been trying to get used to, because for a long time I sandbagged a little bit during the week. For me it’s really helped just being held accountable, I guess.


Alex Martin works with Tyla Rattray at the Baker's Factory.

KTM Images/Simon Cudby

SM: Rarick, do you find that for yourself? You talked about working with Swanepoel and you were taking these guys training. Are you like, “Hey, we got to keep this intensity up? I know it’s Wednesday afternoon and this is week five of the supercross, but we are giving our all guys?” How much do you monitor that?

SR: What Al said is absolutely right. I feel like it helps each guy get better. Another big part of it too is there is the ego side involved where they do NOT want to be the slowest guy, even if it’s on a Tuesday afternoon. So it does make everyone accountable and it kind of steps everyone’s game up. I think having a group, as long as everyone’s kind of got to be on the same page. As long as it’s the right people together, I think it’s very beneficial. If you get someone who’s like, “I don’t care for that guy,” or this or that, then it can kind of spiral the other way.

SM: A lot of egos and personalities.

SR: That’s what I mean. I don’t know, but I feel like everyone down there at Baker’s Factory, I feel like everyone kind of gets along. I know with us it’s the same way. I think it can be beneficial.

SM: I feel like Big Al is not going to be an ego problem at all.

SR: No, Al’s awesome. Al trained with us in 2016 and he was awesome, man. He was great.

AM: It’s definitely interesting because I think I’m just good at being okay with getting my ass kicked during the week. For like the longest time, training with my brother, when I was Eleven10 2011 I got on the podium and was top five quite a bit and he was Suzuki B class and he was faster than me during the week on his classed-out Suzuki. It was like, “okay, whatever.” Then when we were Star and I was Cycle Trader, we were down at Jeanie Carmichael’s and he’d put like a minute on me in a 40-minute moto.

I could always step it up on race day and it’s kind of been the same. We’re down at Baker’s Factory and, for us, we have Dean Wilson, obviously not anymore, but Shane McElrath, Jordan Bailey, Michael Mosiman, Mitchell Harrison… A good group of guys. We all have fun, but I’m literally not the fastest guy most of the time during the week. It’s hard sometimes for me mentally because it’s just like, “why can’t I get it done?” But on race day I have always been able to get it done and that is what counts. That’s what pays the bills.

Anyways, this kind of stuff and more happen Monday nights at 6PM PST over on or get it wherever you get podcasts from!

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

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