Wow, the news has been coming in thick and fast this week! Interestingly, there have been a few team changes for next year – but there have been a handful of injuries (unfortunately) as well. Obviously, this MX Vice ‘Weekly Wrap Up’ is the only place that you can catch up on all of the news in one convenient place – so lets get into it!
Injuries, Injuries, Injuries:
Unfortunately, James Dunn crashed quite hard at Hawkstone Park this past weekend, which has left him in hospital with various injuries. Honestly, I’m surprised that Dunn escaped with the injuries that he did, as it was vicious get-off that left him laying in the track for a while. It is still a long list of injuries that he has got though, as James has cracked both of his heels, as well as sustaining a broken ankle and broken ribs. Obviously these injuries are going to keep him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season, which is a shame, as he was beginning to build momentum both at home, and abroad.
Dorren Coutts is another British rider that we will not see on-track again this year, as Dorren has elected to fix a prolonged shoulder injury. Clearly, 2013 has not gone to plan for him; he has struggled for the most part, and so has the LPE Kawasaki team. So I think it was the right choice to sort out his issues now – at least he can focus on getting back into the top five next year. LPE Kawasaki already has Jason Clermont coming over to replace Brad Anderson, but it seems they have been in contact with an American, also, if rumours are to be believed.
It seemed as though history had repeated itself at Unadilla on Saturday, as Michael Byrne sat holding his leg in pain. But the injury does not seem to be as serious this time, thankfully. It appears that the Aussie sprained his knee and pulled some muscles – no bones were broken. Michael has been for some more check ups recently, which revealed that he could contest the national this weekend, fortunately. Byrne needs to be out there, as he is looking for a ride for next year.
James Stewart is certainly not a fan of Unadilla, as the track has reached up and bit him a lot in the past – just like it did on Saturday. Interestingly, James travelled to the race with a sore neck, thanks to a mid-week practice crash – he further aggravated the injury when he fell on the first lap of moto two. However reports suggest that no damage was done, fortunately. It seems as though he will be present, this weekend – unless something unusual has shown up in the tests that he had done just a few days ago.
Mike Alessi will not be present this weekend, as the MotoConcepts pilot suffered a shoulder injury in a first turn crash at Unadilla. But there are no broken bones, so he will return at the final at Lake Elsinore. Alessi has dropped outside of the top ten in the point’s standings now, so the 2013 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross season certainly has not gone as well as he wanted.
Silly Season Seat Swapping:
Well, the Rockstar Energy Racing squad has certainly stolen some headlines this week! It has been apparent that the squad has not been pleased with the level of support that Suzuki has given them this season, despite their impressive results. Bobby Hewitt (team owner) elected to shop around for a new manufacturer as a result of this – he was in talks with Yamaha, and KTM. Obviously most will now know that the team will be turning orange next year; they will receive factory support from the Austrian manufacturer. Intriguingly Davi Millsaps does have a clause in his contract, which allows him to get out of the deal if the team is not on a Suzuki. However he will stay with the team despite the switch. The Rockstar Energy Racing team will debut their new colors at the Monster Energy Cup in October.
It has also been revealed that Joey Savatgy will be joining the Rockstar Energy Racing team in 2014, as he will fill the second 250f spot. The Rockstar team will have slightly less guys under their tent – they will have two 250f riders rather than four, which they had this year. So Ryan Sipes, Nico Izzi, and Blake Wharton will be looking for a deal, as a result. But back to Savatgy, Joey is certainly deserving of a ride on a squad of this calibre, as he has certainly proven that he has the speed to contend both indoors and out.
Aleksandr Tonkov is officially moving to the Wilvo Nestaan Husqvarna factory squad in 2014, as we alluded to last week. Husqvarna now has their 2014 250f lineup set, as Romain Febvre will join Tonkov on the squad. Interestingly rumours suggest they have not yet seen the bike – this certainly makes it peculiar that the deal has been signed so early. It just proves that all of the riders have a lot of faith in KTM and why wouldn’t they? Husqvarna have not signed a rider represent them in MX1 next year yet, from beneath the Ice1 Racing awning.
Replacement Rider News:
Well, Michael Leib has certainly bounced around thus far this year. After starting the year on a Honda in the USA, he then travelled to Europe to race, and then returned Stateside, before heading back to Europe – and now he is back in America! Did you manage to keep up with all of that? The Rockstar Energy Racing team has acquired his services (they have been busy this week) for the final two Lucas Oil Pro Motocross rounds. Surprisingly this weekend will be the first time Leib has competed in an American National – so he certainly has a lot to prove if he wants a ride in his homeland next year!
Motocross des Nations Madness:
On Monday, the news emerged that Ryan Villopoto would not be competing in the MXdN, as he will be going under the knife at the conclusion of the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross title fight to have surgery on his ankle. Remember his vicious crash at St Louis back in 2010? Ryan still has some metalwork in his ankle that has been aggravating him. Obviously, the goal for Villopoto is next year. So, by getting the surgery done in September, Ryan will have more than enough time to prepare for Anaheim 1. Although the Motocross of Nations is a big deal for all riders, it certainly does not equate to the same importance as the Monster Energy AMA Supercross title.
With Ryan Villopoto out of the MXdN, the Belgian team may have a shot at victory – as they announced their impressive team last weekend. Clement Desalle, Jeremy van Horebeek and Ken de Dycker will be representing the nation; Jeremy will drop down to the 250f. Obviously all of them know Teutschenthal well – Ken has actually won there in the past. I do think that they would need a bit of luck on their side to win, but it is a possibility, as they are a force to be reckoned with.
FIM Motocross World Championship, Round Fifteen – Bastogne:
Bastogne (the Belgian GP) will host round fifteen of the FIM Motocross World Championship this weekend – this will be the second GP held at the hard-pack facility. The GP of Belgium in 2012 actually played host to some excellent racing; the potential is there for it [the GP] to be one of the better ones. Although Jeffrey Herlings has locked up the MX2 title, he is hoping to keep his perfect streak of overall wins alive. Antonio Cairoli could win the MX1 World title on Sunday, but it may be a long shot; it is most likely that he will be crowned at the British GP.
Lucas Oil Pro Motocross, Round Eleven – Miller Motorsports Park
The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series will roll into the all-new venue of Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, for the penultimate round of the 2013 title fight. Although the circuit is built on the infield of a road race facility, it seems to have potential. Potentially, Ryan Villopoto could win the title this weekend; all he has to do is win both motos, which is easier said than done. Eli Tomac could also win the 250f title. However, he would need some luck on his side – Ken Roczen would have to finish off of the podium.
Coming Up Elsewhere in the World (Canada):
The CMRC Canadian National series will resume this weekend for the final round of the 2013 series at Walton Raceway. Brett Metcalfe already has the MX1 title on lockdown; he won the title at the previous round. Bobby Kiniry seems to have second position secured; he needs to have a consistent day though. Austin Politelli has not yet secured the MX2 title. However, he does have a twenty-two-point lead, so it would take some bad luck for him to lose the crown to Josh Clark.
Words by Lewis Phillips