The American motocross world has gone into meltdown.
Ever since Steve Matthes tweeted that Jeff Alessi shone a laser light into the eyes of Malcom Stewart and Ryan Villopoto at the Washougal starting gate, the story has shone brighter than any laser pen ever has.
The aftermath has become an even bigger story than the original misdemeanour as the Alessi clan, instead of apologising went on the attack, decided to accuse Steve Matthes and Davey Coombs of treating them unfairly and having very public rows with both men. Part of the Steve Matthes altercation can even be viewed of You Tube.
MX Sports then issued heavy fines for the Motoconcept team and an upset Mike Genova initially stated that with his team manager Tony Alessi banned for the rest of the season, Motoconcepts will not be attending the last four nationals of the year.
Thankfully Genova has had a change of heart and issued a PR stating they will be supporting Mike Alessi in the remaining rounds.
The whole affair will go down as one of the most insane events in US motocross history and the aftermath is still providing headlines.
On Monday night Tony Alessi launched an astonishing tirade on Davey Coombs’ treatment of Jeff Alessi in an explosive interview on the pulpmx show.
Speaking to Steve Matthes and David Vuillemin, Tony was still fuming at what he felt was unfair treatment and judgment of his team and his family, despite admitting there was overwhelming evidence against Jeff.
Tony was trying making the point that he was trying to defend his kid at the time because he believed Jeff was telling the truth when he told Tony he didn’t shine the laser.
But things then got heated when Tony launched a scathing personal attack on MX Sports’ Davey Coombs.
“Davey Coombs was dragging my kid by the neck,” exclaimed Tony. ”Jeff Alessi has an assault charge on Davey Coombs with video. That guy is going down, he is going down! MX Sports is gone in the next two years. They are already on their way down.”
We contacted DC to get his take on the outburst and he admitted to being baffled by Tony’s comments.
Coombs said: “He (Tony) said he was pressing charges because I ‘assaulted’ Jeff and ‘beat the shit out of Jeff,’ all of which is just baffling to me. And since it’s impossible to make sense out of nonsense, I won’t even try.
“The suspension stands, the fine stands, the loss of points stand. I feel bad for Mike Alessi, as he was oblivious to all of this – he had no idea what his brother had done or what his father would do in the in the days to follow. But according to the AMA Pro Racing rules, the rider is responsible for the actions of his pit crew. He (Mike) stayed above it all and I am just glad that his team accepted the penalties and are supporting Mike for the rest of the season.
“The whole episode was the most bizarre thing I have witnessed at a motocross race since Greg Albertyn hit that poor deer while leading the 1994 Motocross des Nations.”
It is interesting to note at this point that it was Davey who gave Mike Alessi a regular column in Racer X magazine for a number of years giving Mike great exposure so it makes it even more bewildering that the Tony would view this as an anti- Alessi conspiracy, when it was simply fact that Jeff used the laser.
After all this Jeff Alessi finally released a statement admitting responsibility for the shining the now infamous laser that made Tony’s outburst look even worse.
Jeff said: “I was the person who did that and I would like to say to those two riders that I am very sorry for causing any distraction to them before the start of the race. I had no intent to harm either rider or affect their results.”
Jeff appears to have finally realised how his actions have affected the team and finally, eventually, shown some remorse saying: “To my brother, my father and Mike Genova, words cannot describe the pain and shame I have to live with right now knowing the problems I have caused for you all and the rest of the team.”
In contrast to Tony’s claims, Jeff also mentioned he never felt Davey Coombs was rough with him and was “just doing your job”. Jeff also apologised to both Davey and Steve Matthes for his actions that day at Washougal.
The real loser in this whole scenario though is Mike Alessi. Mike, through zero fault of his own, lost all his Washougal points and for a time it appeared he wouldn’t be able to compete at the last four rounds of the series.
Mike is a hard worker and always gives his best but when your brother and father have a go at the guy who builds your goggles (Steve Matthes) and the most powerful man in US Motocross (Davey Coombs) you really are alienating your brother/son/ team rider in a way that might make it impossible for Mike to return to US racing.
Alessi has already struggled to get a factory ride due in part to his lack of supercross skills but also the drama that has surrounded him via his father. Now with Tony attacking the company and the person who runs the series that you excel at, will anyone else bar MCR really want to give Mike a ride?
MCR team owner Mike Genova has also been damaged by this. Mike is a passionate man who puts his own money into the sport, but he will have a lot of people saying, ’I told you so’, in regards to building a team around the Alessis. Genova has been put in a very awkward situation and it will be interesting to see what his response is going into 2014 with how he runs his team or even if he runs a team.
The team and the family face a long road back to earn the respect of their peers after this latest incident and unfortunately Mike is part of that even though he has not been responsible for any of it.
Mike’s career is at stake right now through no fault of his own. His fate currently lies in Mike Genova’s willingness to continue to the team next year. But would it really be possible for Tony to come back as team manager and race the US Nationals after questioning the integrity and quality of the organisers?
Another option may be for Mike to race in the World motocross championship. That way he could leave everything behind him in the states, come over with his girlfriend and start a new challenge without his dad in a series that will suit his skills and where he will not have to race supercross.
But will a GP team even want him after this?
Hopefully Mike will be able to continue his career into 2014 because when you strip away all the stuff that surrounds him, the bottom line is Mike is an excellent outdoor rider and is very dedicated to the sport.
Article by Jonathan McCready