PHOTOS | Antonovich & Swanberg
What a weekend. We sat up camp at Washington and braced ourselves for a full weekend of action with races on Thursday night in nearby Portland and then the National at Washougal. The ninth round of the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship had it all, with battles in both classes and intense emotions that we’ll have to keep an eye on over the next few weeks. Enough hype building, let’s just get into it…
– With the 2016 Motocross of Nations on the way, now's the time to consider which three riders will be selected to represent their nations in Italy (Team USA is typically announced at Unadilla, the next round on the schedule). Talk of the roster occurred through the weekend, with Justin Barcia telling us he hasn't been contacted as of yet. Eli Tomac shared a similar statement in the press conference and said he'd line up if given the option.
– As of now, Tomac is slated to race the two MXGP rounds in the US (Charlotte and Glen Helen) held in September, then the Monster Energy Cup in October. MXON not included, this means Tomac will be on the starting line thirty-two times in forty weeks.
– A MXd/ON question was direct to Ken Roczen in the conference and the German rider made it quite clear that we should not expect him on the line at Maggoria in September. Roczen hasn't raced the special event in a few years, as he skipped 2014 in Latvia (reasons at the time included a new bike, visa renewal, and rest) and 2015 in France (back injury). Like 2014, his expected move to another new bike and team (Team Honda HRC) certainly plays a part in the decision this time.
– While we're on the note of offseason races, Justin Barcia has signed on to race Bercy-Lille in France in November. We know many riders are working on deals to hit Bulgaria, Sweden, Switzerland, Australia, and Italy for lucrative payouts.
– MXGP talk: Monster Energy Kawasaki, AutoTrader.com/Monster Energy/Toyota/Yamaha, Monster Energy/Pro Circuit/Kawasaki, and Monster Energy/360fly/Chaparral/Valli/Yamaha have committed to the two American rounds. Notice one common sponsor?
– Team Honda HRC and Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna will have their rigs at the two US MXGP races, but as of now, this is just to support the European counterparts and does not call for their riders to participate.
– Strange day for Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna. All three of their riders experienced setbacks on the track (crashes for Pourcel and Davalos, mechanical for Osborne) and the li-po battery charger sparked a fire inside their trailer. Luckily no one was harmed in the small fire, but it did singe a few things that were located near the charger.
– The press conference was filled with useful talk and some riders commented on the dirt at Washougal. Rain on Friday morning forced the track to push amateur day to Sunday and to protect the track, they "sealed" the surface so the moisture didn't do too much damage. Although they ripped and prepped it again for Saturday, it all seemed to result in a very fast, firm, and technical track. Alex Martin said that his family has been forced to haul new soil to Spring Creek and felt that the Washougal topsoil has been washed away.
– Like Colorado, the podium finishers in both classes were sequestered by USADA for post-race drug testing. Coincidence that the tests were conducted in two regions known for their recreational marijuana laws?
– With new bikes streaming in, teams are now in the process of testing early settings for their 2017 machines. Yamaha and KTM made multiple updated to some of their machines while Honda and Kawasaki both released all new bikes (450 for Honda, 250 for Kawasaki).
– Honda's 450 is one of the biggest topics in the pit area, as it's the crux of Team Honda HRC's entire program. A recent earthquake in Japan wrecked havoc on the factory where the CRF is made and although production of the bike is reportedly underway, there are concerns regarding the availability of parts. This obstacle could even keep GEICO Honda from fielding a 450 bike, as Team Honda HRC will understandably sort out everything pertaining to their two riders (Seely and Roczen, although unconfirmed) before bringing a third person into the fold.
– All of Team Honda HRC's bikes sat idle at Washougal. Cole Seely is on the mend from a broken pinkie finger, but hopes to catch the final rounds of the summer. Justin Bogle was expected to race after sitting out Spring Creek, then at the last minute decided that his body hadn't fully recovered from a hard crash a few weeks ago at Southwick. Bogle should be back for Unadilla. On Wednesday the team announced Trey Canard had sustained a concussion in a practice crash and would have to miss Washougal. Like Bogle, Canard is expected to come back at Unadilla.
– Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna's Jason Anderson is aiming for a return at Budds Creek after missing the middle part of the summer with an injured shoulder.
– Right when CycleTrader.com/Rock River Yamaha went to fire up Colt Nichols' bike before the first moto, the engine let go. The team sent Nichols to the starting line and scrambled to swap out the power plant, only to run out of time when the field reached the scoring loop on lap one. Nichols made the second moto, but had to pull off after wrenching his knee. "I heard a pop," he told us after the race with a bag of ice on his leg. He will seek further medical evaluation this week.
– Due to the collision with Weston Peick at Spring Creek, Broc Tickle will have to miss the rest of the summer with a fractured pelvis. This comes at a terrible time for the RCH/Soaring Eagle/Jimmy John's/Suzuki Factory Racing rider, as it snaps his string of solid results and could take him off the mind of team managers for potential signings in 2017. Tickle's contract with RCH is up at the end of the season.
– Plenty of brands released styles from their 2017 catalog at Washougal, including gear from FLY Racing, Troy Lee Designs, Seven, O'Neal, and FOX, along with goggles from 100% and SCOTT.
– Last week Troy Lee Designs announced a contract extension that will keep Cole Seely in TLD threads through 2018. Not a shock, considering the long relationship the two SoCal style icons share.
– A huge thank you goes out to Joey Lancaster for putting on and inviting us to participate in the 125 Dream Race during the short intermission between first and second motos. It was incredible to buzz around the track with forty other pre-mix burners and there's nothing like running up Horsepower Hill with fans lining the fence. Congrats to Carson Brown, Ivan Tedesco, and David Pingree for claiming the podium spots.