Anaheim 1 is just around the corner now, which makes it even more upsetting that we have more injury news to report this week – two more high profile riders have been forced to the sidelines. Fortunately, we do have some positive news as well. Shall we get into it? Of course, the MX Vice ‘Weekly Wrap Up’ is the best place to catch up on your MX news!
Signed, Sealed and Delivered:
Surprisingly, Blake Wharton has signed a new deal with the Geico Honda team for the 250SX East series. Blake was struggling to find a deal before this one popped up, so this is definitely the best option for him. Wharton spent the first few years of his professional career with the Geico Honda outfit; so, he knows how they work. It is unknown when Justin Bogle is going to be healthy again, so Mike LaRocco (team manager) signed Blake to ensure that the team will definitely have a full lineup on both coasts, which will please their sponsors. How Blake is going to perform remains to be seen – but he could potentially capture some podium finishes.
It was not too long ago that Pro Circuit pipes were used by a large majority of the 250 teams in the USA. However, in recent years, a lot of the teams have moved away from Pro Circuit. It is not surprising that some top teams would rather not have their main competition working on their bikes. Troy Lee Designs Honda is the most recent squad to do this; they have moved away from Pro Circuit and signed a deal to work with FMF in 2014 and beyond. Whether the deal will help the TLD team better their results remains to be seen, but Cole Seely will surely be a title threat no matter what pipe is on his bike.
Both Dan Thornhill and Elliot Barrs will have the full support of Fowlers Honda next year; the dealer will be making a return to the pits with these two riders. Barrs finished up third in the AMCA MX1 Championship this year. So, he will be hoping to win that title in 2014, which is a realistic goal. Thornhill will be jumping up to the MX2 class in the Red Bull Pro Nationals and the Maxxis British Championship, so it will be a bit of a learning year for him. Dan could surprise a few people in 2014 with his speed; he clearly has the potential to succeed.
Despite the fact that he had only signed with the team last week, Austin Politelli has already parted ways with the Strikt Slaton Yamaha squad. You can find more information about that below. Slaton Racing has acted fast – they have already picked up a rider to replace Politelli, and partner Preston Mull during the 250SX West series. At Anaheim 1, Zack Freeberg will be on a Yamaha 250f; it sounds like Scott Champion has signed a deal with the team, also. Zack obviously will not have too much time to prepare for the season opener, but I expect him to be quite strong after the first few rounds.
The final piece of the MXGP silly season puzzle fell into place earlier today; it has been announced that Rui Goncalves has signed with the BikeIt Cosworth Yamaha team for the 2014 season. Obviously, the team had a spare 450f after Dean Ferris left for the USA; so this was a perfect fit. Rui was the only top tier rider that was left without a contract, so it was not surprising that Steve Dixon chose him to fill the vacant spot on his team. Although 2013 was pretty disastrous for the Portuguese rider, he has the potential to do well, if he can avoid injuries.
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries:
In recent weeks there have been a lot of guys that have been forced to the sidelines with an injury. Unfortunately, Marvin Musquin is the latest rider that has succumbed to injury, as he tore his ACL whilst testing with the team late last week. Musquin will have surgery in France later this week, and then begin the rehabilitation process. Originally, he was going to ride in the 250SX East series. But, he will definitely miss the first few rounds of that series – he may have to wait for the outdoors before making a return.
Unfortunately, Blake Baggett has also joined Marvin on the injured list. Over the last year, he has had to deal with the lasting effects of his wrist injury. It seems like that has finally started to heal, just as he has picked up a fresh problem! Baggett broke his foot not too long ago, which is going to force him onto the sidelines for a number of weeks. At the moment, the team has not revealed how long he will be off of the bike for. But, Blake may miss the beginning of the 250SX East series, which would be disastrous for him.
Ken Roczen crashed earlier this week and hurt his arm, which led most to speculate that the German had broken it. Although this was a worry at first, it turns out that he has not broken his arm, thankfully. Roczen went to see his doctor, where it was confirmed that nothing was broken or injured. However, there may be some bruising, which will keep off of the KTM 450f for a few days. Although DeCoster has stated that his rider may have to miss A1, Ken has stated that he will see everyone at the season opener, which is great news and a huge relief.
Last Minute Team Changes:
Todd Kellett has had a very strong year, whilst riding for Team Green Kawasaki UK. In his first season in the rookie class Todd had a handful of podium finishes, as well as some moto wins, as well. So, with that in mind, 2014 looked very promising for both Todd and Team Green, as their partnership looked like it was going to continue to flourish. However, it was announced earlier this week that the two have parted ways due to “personal reasons.” It looks like Todd will be going solo next year now.
In our ‘Weekly Wrap Up’ last week, we wrote that Austin Politelli had signed a new deal with the Strikt Slaton Racing team. However, somehow that deal has already turned sour; the two have now parted ways. Although it has not been confirmed why this happened, most people are speculating that Austin could be in a position to take advantage of a replacement ride on an elite team. Perhaps he is going to fill the spot left vacant by Musquin on the Red Bull KTM team for the 250SX East series? After all, he was in talks with them for next year not too long ago.
Words by Lewis Phillips