SPONSORS BOOST SUPER-X SERIES

SPONSORS PROVIDE MASSIVE BOOST FOR SUPERCROSS SERIES

 

Action from Tokoroa in December 2010, when the South Waikato forestry town last hosted a round of the New Zealand Supercross Championships. Photo by Andy McGechan

This season’s New Zealand Supercross Championships series is just weeks away and the sport has now been given added momentum with the signing on of two great sponsors.    

The governing body for motorcycling in this country, Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ), was thrilled last month to announce a new, expanded competition for 2017 and it can follow up on that with news that it has now attracted massive support from two progressive New Zealand companies – TransDiesel and Mainstream Global Logistics.

Round one of the 2017 New Zealand Supercross Championships will be at the South Waikato Motorcycle Club’s resurrected supercross track at Amisfield, on the Monday afternoon of Labour Weekend, October 23.

Round two will be a week later, on October 28, and hosted by the Southland Motorcycle Club at its Winton facility.

TransDiesel’s national after sales manager, Jason Steele, who himself has a long association with motorcycle racing nationally and internationally.

“We are excited to be involved with this year’s supercross,” Steele said.

“TransDiesel has always been involved with motorsport behind the scenes, from building engines and transmissions for truck racing, to helping support at local trail rides and club events.   

“TransDiesel is full of passionate people and we love our bikes, as many of our customers and staff ride either motocross or road, including our two directors who themselves are passionate motorcyclists. We are therefore both pleased and excited about our support of this year’s supercross championship.

“For this (supercross nationals) event, we are looking to promote eni lubricants (formerly known as Agip, the famous brand with the distinctive six-legged dog logo), which itself has a very long international association with motorsport and motorcycling in particular, through MotoGP and Superbikes.  I see motorcycling as a great vehicle to promote our brand and increase brand awareness as eni has a very good motorcycle lubricant range, which we are expanding,” he said.

“I hope that what we have started will be the start of an ongoing relationship and support of MNZ and the industry as a whole.” 

Both TransDiesel and Mainstream New Zealand offer a synergy to MNZ’s activities and MNZ is extremely grateful that they have stepped forward.

“Mainstream New Zealand is a sponsor partner for the Supercross Championships and is MNZ’s preferred logistics partner,” said MNZ general manager Virginia Henderson.

“They will support us to reduce members’ costs to freight bikes around the world.

They will purchase a shipping container for MNZ to own and for our members to use. Mainstream New Zealand will also provide sponsorship in the form of a domestic transport solution for competitors bikes to be trucked from Tokoroa to Winton. Another excellent alignment for our sport and a partnership which has been developed to support our members. 

“These are exciting times and we are thrilled to have these incredibly successful businesses support our sport,” she said.

Mainstream Global general manager Jared Lawson said he was thrilled to be involved in such “a vibrant and exciting sport”.

“We are happy to purchase a seaworthy container for MNZ to utilise for major events going forward. 

“Our objective is to assist New Zealand competitors with a ‘collective’ shipping option through our Special Cargo Division (SCD) which handles all types of project cargo, personal effects, vehicles and so forth. The more competitors inside the container, the lower the cost.

“We know how expensive the sport can be and we are happy to help out.”

 Words by Andy McGechan

KIWI SUPERCROSS SEASON FAST APPROACHING

Action from Tokoroa in December 2010, when the South Waikato forestry town last hosted a round of the New Zealand Supercross Championships.

Words & Photo by Andy McGechan

The 2017 New Zealand Supercross Championships season is set to be a thriller.

The annual national championship has been expanded this year and the blast-off date is fast approaching, both rounds of the 2017 series set for late October. 

The sport, perhaps best described as “motocross on steroids”, with all the floodlit evening action crammed into an area no bigger than a rugby field, had been scaled back over recent years as riders were either daunted by the extreme nature of the action or perhaps they were simply spoiled for choice with so many alternative motorcycling activities demanding their attention.

From a four-round series in 2011, it was scaled back to three rounds in 2012, then reduced to two rounds in 2013. For the past four years it was further diminished, down to a one-night affair, although each time at the South Island’s fabulous Cooper-Vetsouth Supercross Track at 243 Ryan Road, in Winton.

The sport’s governing body, Motorcycling New Zealand (MNZ), is now thrilled to announce that the 2017 edition of the championships has been boosted again to two rounds, one in the North Island and one in the South Island.

Round one will be at the South Waikato Motorcycle Club’s resurrected supercross track at Amisfield, on the Monday afternoon of Labour Weekend, October 23.

Round two will be a week later, on October 28, and hosted again by the Southland Motorcycle Club at its Winton facility.

MNZ general manager Virginia Henderson said she was “very excited to see the sport of supercross showing a growth surge”.

“We have received a great commitment from all the race teams and they are happy with the dates. The decision to again have the championships over two rounds was not made by MNZ alone, but in collaboration with all the stakeholders,” she said.

Bay of Plenty’s former United States supercross champion Ben Townley, who was last year’s national supercross champion in the senior open class, has made himself available to help steer the redevelopment.

“I won’t be defending my New Zealand supercross crown,” said Townley. “I’m just going to be doing what I can from the sidelines to support the sport’s growth and get it re-established.”

Using the archery analogy, Townley said that having supercross skills “added  an extra string to the bow” for young riders hoping to pursue an international motocross or supercross career.

“It’s almost a requirement now for motocross riders heading overseas that they can race supercross as well. Certainly in the United States … that goes without saying.

 “We need rider support (for supercross in New Zealand) and that’s what it’s lacked in recent years. I hope I can help provide the platform for that support to happen.”

 The purpose-built track at Tokoroa will “use the same footprint” that was first created back in the 1980s – Tokoroa having built New Zealand’s first dedicated supercross circuit in 1989 – but Townley said the jumps would be totally re-built.

Huge crowds turned out for supercross events at Tokoroa in the 1990s, and through until the 2010-11 season opener there in December 2010, and MNZ hopes the sport can again bask in that glory.

The Rundown on Roczen

It seems like ages since we saw Ken Roczen out and about, but his friends at Honda HRC were more than happy to have the former champ back in the pit at the Budds Creek National, even though the still-recovering German wasn’t on a bike yet. When he badly injured his arm in that scary crash at the Anaheim 2 Supercross seven months ago, Roczen faced a major setback and a long road back to action. Things have been picking up momentum lately though, and now Roczen himself is able to fill us in on his progress.

 

It’s been a long time since your fans got to see you race. How are things going? 

Overall things are going very well. My healing process has actually become quite a bit shorter than we originally thought. The only thing that’s not fully healed yet is my radial head [end end of the radius bone, where it meets the elbow]. It’s doing really good but not to 100% yet. My wrist is fully healed but I still have a little stiffness and pain so we’re still cranking away on that. I got some of the hardware taken out about eight or nine days ago, so my incision is still healing from that but I felt it was necessary to hopefully allow me to ride pain-free. Otherwise, I’m doing very well and happy with how things are coming along.

You’ve made big progress since even Hangtown. What has the recovery process been like over the past few months? 

Yeah, things have improved quite a bit since the beginning of the summer. I basically moved a top-of-the-line physical therapist to my town in Florida. At first, he was living with me but we ended up getting him an apartment because he’ll be working with me over a six-month period. Basically, we do therapy twice a day almost every day and I’m working on it quite a bit myself too. The next step is to start using these braces I have that I can put my elbow and wrist in that click degree by degree to work on extension. Those should help a lot. 

Talk about getting released by the doctor and how it felt to get back on a bike that first day.

It was really out of the blue that my doctor said I could slowly start riding. We were so excited; I jumped on the phone and made a bunch of calls right away to let everyone know. I called Dan [Betley, Team Honda HRC Manager], my mechanic Oscar [Wirdeman] and Beeker [Chris Onstott with Fox] to start getting everything I needed to ride lined up. The first time back on the bike was kind of weird. It almost felt like I had never left but at the same time I had been off the bike for a long time so it was a really weird feeling. Within a few days, I started feeling pretty normal, which was nice. 

During the weeks following your release, how much riding were you actually doing and how did everything feel?

I ended up riding two to three times a week and things started coming around really well. My wrist was still sore and bugging me a little bit so I was breaking things up into four 15-minute sessions a day. It was good, especially for just coming back. Our turn track is super rough so that came in play too. I could’ve probably done a 30-plus-two on our normal track because even though it’s rough, it’s a different type of rough than the turn track. I have even more extension in my elbow now than I did back then, so that should be better.

It seems like since day one of your injury, your mental strength and perseverance have never wavered. Has that attitude helped you overcome what could have been a career-ending injury?

I feel like I’ve always been one of the stronger people, mentally. I might’ve gotten that from my dad [laughs]. I don’t know though, I was just born like this. Luckily, I still have my arm but other than that, things like this aren’t going to phase me and nothing has changed since the crash. If I could line up on the gate right now, I’d still put in my head that I’m going to win and I’d fight for that. As soon as I’m back to riding 100%, I’m going to prepare myself and we’ll go back to racing and be shooting for the win.

What are some of your plans in the next few weeks?

I’m getting my stiches out on Wednesday from my last surgery, which will then allow us to start doing more scar-tissue work and some joint mobility. This will end up giving me a lot more range of motion. On top of that, I’ll be picking up those braces for my wrist and elbow, which will help me to keep extending them. We’re strengthening every single day, of course. Other than that, I’m going to Utah on Friday for about 12 days. I’m going to have a trials bike and CRF450R up there, so I’ll ride this week in Florida and I’ll definitely be riding up there, even if it’s just trails.

DUNGEY CLAIMS FOURTH AMA SX CHAMPIONSHIP

Dungey goes three seasons in a row for KTM and clinches the title for the fourth time 

Ryan Dungey came into the finale with a nine-point lead over the 2nd place rider of Eli Tomac and the now four-time AMA 450SX Champion knew what he had to do in order to come out on top. Dungey kicked off the evening with a victory in the 450SX Heat 2, giving him high confidence and a favorable gate position for the evening’s Main Event.

Dungey shot off the line in the main event to capture the holeshot aboard his KTM 450 SX-F Factory Edition, with Rocky Mountain ATV*MC/WPS/KTM’s Blake Baggett close in tow. Dungey led the way on the opening lap until Tomac came into him from the inside, causing Dungey to slow down to a complete stop. From there, Dungey engaged in a multi-rider battle for the 2nd place position, which he settled into by lap five.

From there, Dungey applied heavy pressure on Tomac out front as the two riders put on an excellent show for the fans. Knowing his place in the overall championship, Dungey played it safe on the final lap to avoid the chaos and ultimately secure 4th overall for the night.

I felt really good tonight, the champ said after winning the title. The bike felt good and I was able to hit my marks. The only struggle for me on the track, I feel, was maybe the whoops a little bit. Still, it was good and consistent. It was good hard racing (tonight), the fans I think got a show and it’s nice and rewarding to be able to get this championship. Probably one of the sweetest ones – it just was a very challenging season.”

Husqvarna’s  Jason Anderson, the fastest 450 qualifier of the day, took out the honours for the event itself. He was in the top-five at the start of the main, fourth by the end of the first lap and continued to show some serious speed. He overtook the second-place spot in the second lap and looked hungry for a win. He was creeping up on the leader and looking fast. He continued to charge, but fell back to third and kept it steady. The top-five riders got extremely close with around eight minutes to go and prepared for an epic battle. Right in the middle of a freight train, Anderson held his ground then briefly moved back to fourth before capitalising on a mistake made by the top-three. He put in quick work to overtake the lead and claim the victory and fourth in the overall standings.

 

Final Standings 450SX Class 2017 after 17 of 17 rounds
1. Ryan Dungey, 359 points (2017 Supercross World Champion)
2. Elic Tomac, 354
3. Marvin Musquin, 293
4. Jason Anderson, 273
5. David Millsaps, 221

CRAIG RETURNS TO TEAM HONDA

Seely Out for Las Vegas Supercross Finale, Craig in for Team Honda HRC

Team Honda HRC’s Cole Seely will be sidelined for this weekend’s Las Vegas Supercross finale following further aggravation to his adductor muscle. After missing two rounds, Seely made his return to racing last weekend in East Rutherford, New Jersey, only to aggravate the injury during the evening’s main event.  Seely and the team have decided that the best course of action is for him not to compete this weekend, in order to provide additional recovery time before shifting focus to the start of the AMA Pro Motocross series. GEICO Honda’s Christian Craig, who posted an 11th place finish while filling in on Team Honda HRC at the Salt Lake City Supercross, will once again ride a factory CRF450R as the squad’s sole rider in Las Vegas. Craig is also slated to campaign the entire outdoor season in the premier class in place of the injured Ken Roczen.

“I’m really disappointed that I won’t be racing again this weekend,” Seely said. “After a solid start to the season, it’s definitely a bummer that the end of supercross hasn’t gone as planned. I’m hoping that taking this weekend off will give me the time I need to recover so I can start preparing for motocross.”

“It’s unfortunate that Cole won’t be competing in Las Vegas, but it’s important for us to have him recovered and ready for Hangtown,” said Team Honda HRC manager Dan Betley. “We’re lucky to have such a good partnership with GEICO Honda and are happy they’ve allowed us to put Christian back on the bike for this weekend. He posted a solid result in Salt Lake City, so we’re hoping to build on that and get some momentum going into AMA Pro Motocross.”