THE OFF SEASON
Bish takes serious aim at the silly season
Most people who are involved in dirt bike racing are active, busy people. We don’t like to sit still too long, otherwise we get bored, restless, and need to entertain ourselves. For many of the bench racers of the world that’s where the internet comes in, and while there is no racing going on, the activity on the web really hots up. So here’s my second annual “The Off-Season According to the Internet” Race Face.
The usual “two strokes are back” conspiracy theories raised their heads again, with many keyboard jockeys thinking the start lines of the MX Nationals and the AMA Supercross would be wall-to-wall two strokes, the sound of chain saws, and racing under a blue cloud of two stroke. Not a week goes by when some “insider” on the net claims exclusive knowledge of a manufacturer building a direct fuel-injected, 80kg, no moving parts, fixes itself, non-Ozone-layer burning, waters the plants and greens the trees two-stroke — and all for $5000.
Well, I’m yet to see it and I want it to happen as I’m a two-stroke guy. But the latest sales figures don’t back it up, with only two bikes in the top 20 off-road bikes being two strokes — KTM 50 and 300EXC — and I didn’t see one in the building at Anaheim 1. As I have said before, when Honda, the world’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, gets back on board with the two stroke, then I’m in.
WHO’S ON WHAT?
This stuff gets better every year. There are no Pro Lites rides in Australia? All the race teams are shutting down? He signed to ride Maico! The MX nationals are dead! Reed is going to run Honda? Will red pants take over the world? Kade Mosig has a ride with 37 teams but there are still no Lites rides in Australia!
True, things do seem to be moving slowly in Australia with rider announcements, but there are a couple of reasons for that. CDR Yamaha has proven that when you focus on the development of one bike with the right rider, success follows. Now other major teams are looking at ways to implement that model and combat the CDR win streak. Kawie, Suzuki, Honda and KTM will all now have purpose-built MX1 teams.
So the search then begins for the manufacturers to find the right infrastructure they can support to run MX2 or MXD teams. Teams and manufacturers then started trying to thrash out deals with who bares the major cost of racing the issue. Manufacturers want to pay as little as possible, as do the teams, so that is where the time goes as most go backwards and forwards with talks. Lites teams and rides are still available. Raceline, Axis, DPH, Seven, Serco, Choice and Cars R Us all have or had MX2 rides and there will be a few smaller teams that pop up round one.
What many need to understand is that racing costs and someone has to pay if you want to do it. Most will tell you that it’s easy to find money to go racing for a year; the hard part is making it sustainable. For teams to remain viable, they must stick to budgets, choose the right people for the jobs, and continue to work hard if the results don’t come. Running a race team isn’t a money-making business, it’s passion-driven.
The “what is a rider riding” is always funny. There was one rider who, according to the internet, was definitely going to ride Brand X, but the reality was he had signed a contract months ago to ride Brand Y.
Kade Mosig has been linked to every team in Australia, a few in the US, and probably an Indonesian team or two, but strangely enough, Kade himself is the one who said he wants to stay on the same-size bike and the same brand of bike as he feels he has lacked continuity in developing a bike, and thinks he now has a good base with the KX250F.
When this info gets out, the internet explodes with accusations that the industry keeps secrets and won’t release any information to the fans. The issue is that most riders have contracts to a certain date and any breach of that contract can mean fines, penalties, and a range of other issues, so it is better to say nothing than to get yourself in trouble to keep the keyboard jockeys happy.
In the US, fans go mental over a lack of information regarding a rider’s injury. They assume they have the right to know exactly what happened to the rider, what injury he has, how he is going to treated, where he will be treated, what witch doctor potions he is taking, and if he subscribes to the drugs Lance Armstrong didn’t take.
Most riders don’t say much when they get hurt for two reasons. First, a split end is a major concussion on the internet and a chipped nail is a broken hand. Everything takes on another life. Second, if you are racing with a sore right ankle, the last thing you want is the guy behind you to know you have a sore right ankle as the next right-hand turn will see him run his Dunlop MX31 over the top of it.
Regarding the future of the MX Nationals, regardless of your opinion of WEM, at the moment they are running the longest, most successful series in Australian racing of any discipline. On top of that, there isn’t a big long cue of promoters waiting to jump in and steal their thunder. Sure, it’s not perfect, and sure, some things could be done differently, but when international riders are coming here and saying we have rivals anywhere else in the world, then WEM must be doing something right.
OK, I’m sick of talking, let’s go racing!