Well, what a week it has been! In the last seven days, we have seen it all, ranging from team switches, injuries, and penalties. Put simply, we’ve got a lot to cover in this MX Vice ‘Weekly Wrap Up’, as this is the only place to get all of that news in one convenient place. So, I think it is time to jump into the thick of everything that has gone on in motocross recently!
Although separating from the MotoConcepts squad earlier this season must have been a big blow to Jake Canada, I am certain that he is feeling slightly smug now, as he has avoided the controversy that the team has been involved in recently. Jake has been absent from the title fight, because of an arm injury, as well as the team issues. But he will return at the weekend aboard a Yamaha 450f beneath the Dubach Racing Development awning. Jake made a name for himself aboard an YZ450f back in 2011; so Canada can do some damage on a bigger bike. This partnership will begin this weekend, and continue through to the end of the season.
The Michael Leib saga continues! The American made his return to Europe at Maggiora, and then travelled back to his homeland shortly after. Now Michael will return to Europe for the German GP this weekend, and then Loket seven days later; he will be on the same Gariboldi Honda that he piloted in Italy a few weeks ago. Following these two races Leib will return to the USA, and complete the final two rounds of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross championship at Miller Motorsports Park and Lake Elsinore. Hopefully he will capture a ride from this, as Leib has had a crazy 2013 season trying to prove himself to those within the industry worldwide.
On the British scene, Nathan Parker will be making his return to action this weekend aboard a Talon Kawasaki. Parker has been out of action since April with a cartilage issue in his knee, only now has he felt like the knee is strong enough to return to racing. At the weekend, Nez will be behind the gate at the fifth round of the British Masters series; this will take place at FatCat. Parker has had a lot of bad luck in the last twelve months with injuries, hopefully he will be able to finish out 2014 without any major issues and take some momentum forward into the off-season.
Switching It Up:
It certainly wasn’t a surprise to see that Brad Anderson has separated from the LPE Kawasaki squad, as the season has been disastrous for the pairing. Obviously, Steve James was looking for race wins out of Ando. But he has failed to deliver, by all accounts. Maybe it was because he just could not gel with the Kawasaki? It is no secret that the squad has encountered quite a few problems with their machinery this season. It wasn’t too long before it was announced which team awning he would be working out of for the remainder of the year. The Buildbase Honda squad signed Anderson soon after the split, and it seems that the two will be working together in 2014 as well. Brad will make his Buildbase Honda debut at Canada Heights at the fifth round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals, next weekend.
Milko Potisek will be jumping on a factory Monster Energy Yamaha this weekend in Germany – the Frenchman will act as a replacement rider for the injured Steven Frossard. It seems the deal is only for the German GP, as Frossard wants to return as soon as the British GP. Potisek has been on a 2B Yamaha for the most part; but the squad have released him, so that he can take advantage of this opportunity. Can Milko finish in the top ten? Although the Frenchman did this at Maggiora, I believe that he will fit in between tenth and fifteenth this weekend.
Motocross des Nations Madness:
It does seem as though the Motocross des Nations team selection has become more political in recent years – we no longer see the three fastest riders from each individual country. If we were privy to this, then Marvin Musquin would be on the French MXdN team – but he is not, which is madness! The team will be made up of Gautier Paulin (MX1), Jordi Tixier (MX2), and Christophe Charlier (Open). Although that is a strong team – they would be a larger threat to everyone else with Musquin. So why wasn’t Marvin selected? Supposedly, they asked him to ride a 450f, and he declined. However, the more believable story is that the French team did not have the budget to bring him over from the USA, unfortunately.
2014 Contract Confirmation:
Although Jessy Nelson has been on the sidelines for a few months now, with an elbow injury, this has not stopped him from optimistically looking forward to the next few years; Jessy has re-signed with the Troy Lee Designs Lucas Oil Honda squad for 2014 and 2015. In my opinion Nelson will be a race-winner in the near future. So I’m certain that TLD are ecstatic that they have secured his services. Although there is no set date for his return, Nelson should be back on-track before the conclusion of the season; he is supposedly getting close to making a return now.
Jamie Law had a successful outing at Whitby this past weekend, the fourth round of the Red Bull Pro Nationals. In the first moto he was fourth, and in the second moto he was sixth – so he clearly had a solid pace. However Jamie broke his big toe in race three, which hurt him in the overall classification. Law had the option to have surgery a few days ago, but that would have ruled him out for the remainder of the season. So, Jamie will strap it up and attempt to finish out the season for the Dyer and Butler KTM team.
The Fallout from the Laser:
Okay, by now you all will have read all of the opinions on the laser incident that took place at Washougal. So, rather than touch on that, we will only look at the official penalties here. Jeff Alessi’s eligibility to obtain an ‘AMA Pro Racing’ license or credential is suspended indefinitely, he is also suspended from attending a professional event. Jeff was fined $500, as well. Tony Alessi, the MotoConcepts team manager and father to the Alessi brothers, cannot attend any of the remaining Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds this year. Mike Alessi was fined $10,000, however he does not have to pay this if he can stay out of trouble for the next twelve months – Mike’s points from Washougal have been taken away, as well. Finally, all of the MotoConcepts team credentials have been taken away. Clearly, a long list of punishments were handed out. However, they are firm, but fair, in my opinion.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, Round Nine – Millville:
With Washougal now behind us, the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series will head to Millville this weekend, for the ninth round of the series. Interestingly, Millville is the home track for Ryan Dungey, so he has to be the favourite heading in. However, if Villopoto can win, he will have a huge mental advantage heading into the week break. The 250MX class is where most fans’ focus will lie, as both Eli Tomac and Ken Roczen are separated by just one point. You should keep an eye on the Martin brothers, Jeremy and Alex, this weekend, also, as they live on the property! So Millville is quite literally their home event.
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Thirteen – Lausitzring:
The FIM Motocross World Championship will head to another new circuit this weekend, as a purpose built track has been constructed on the infield of the Lausitzring for this event. Now I’ll be honest, it looks bad. Of course it could turn out good when the points paying races roll around, but at the moment it resembles a supercross track more than motocross. Still I don’t think this will play a role in the results, as Jeffrey Herlings, and Antonio Cairoli will more than likely land on the top of the podium. Could this be the week Tommy Searle has some luck on his side? Searle is on the verge of breaking out; it has to happen eventually.
Coming Up Elsewhere in the World (Australia and Canada):
The Monster Energy MX Nationals (the Australian domestic series) are really heating up now that the title fight has progressed passed the halfway point. At Appin, Todd Waters was dealing with an injury, so he has lost a lot of points in the standings. The Motorex KTM pilot now has a measly four-point gap over Matt Moss – the winner of the previous round. At Hervey Bay, I think that the fight for the win will come down to these two, as they appear to be separating themselves from the field. In MX2, Luke Styke has an eighty-three-point advantage over Kale Makeham.
The CMRC Nationals are starting to near the end, as just three rounds now remain, including the one this weekend at Deschambault. In MX1 and MX2, the champions seem to be a bit of a foregone conclusion, as Metcalfe leads MX1 by fifty points, and Austin Politelli has a thirty-four-point lead in MX2. Both riders appear to have it under control as well. But, a wildcard is now starting to emerge in MX1, as Cole Thompson made his debut at the last round and got a win under his belt! Obviously, he is out of the point’s equation, but it will be interesting to watch him try to challenge Brett Metcalfe.
Words by Lewis Phillips