[Weekly Features]

Throwdown No.72 – Record wins, comebacks, and the death of a legend

5 years ago

What’s this “Throwdown”? It’s a digital home for rumour, fact and innuendo, delivered on a weekly basis. Covering a broad spectrum of the off-road world’s news, the Throwdown will touch on everything from racing to trailriding; from industry tidbits to issues facing the sport. It’s about delivering you timely information all in one place so you don’t have to scour the internet looking for it.

MX/SX If you watched the Lites-class LCQ at the Phoenix round of the AMA SX last weekend, then you will have seen the take-out move JDR/J-Star KTM's Matt Moss put on Star Valli Yamaha's Ryan Sipes while chasing a qualifying position in the main event. So was Mossy's big 'don't argue' (which came after several position swaps between the KTM and Yamaha rider) a bit too over the top? Sipes sums it up: "Wrong place at the wrong time, racing the wrong guy." In any case, neither rider transitioned to the main event, which dealt both their title aspirations a major blow. --- After Adam Rieman's impressive video of Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing's Toby Price tearing it up on his KTM 500EXC last week, fans were asking whether Pricey would be racing the E3 class this year. According to Price's Team Manager, Brad Williscroft, "Toby is yet to make a call on what bike and class he'll ride for the AORC, but he seems to gel with the 500 pretty well. He and Chris Hollis are both down at a 10-day elite rider camp at the AIS this week. They're doing lots of riding down there, so I suspect he'll make a call soon after that," Williscroft went on to explain. In any case, the former AORC and reigning 4-Day champ looks to be back in form and injury-free, and the showdown between him, Hollis, Phillips, Bewley, Green, Burrell, Milner, Roberts and Merriman promises to deliver some great racing when the AORC kicks off in late Feb. --- Australian young gun, Jackson Richardson, made a very impressive AMA SX debut at Anaheim 1 a couple of weeks back. The teenage Queenslander turned heads when he finished sixth in his heat race to qualify directly to the main event, where he posted a creditable 17th place aboard a privateer Honda. Unfortunately, Richardson injured his shoulder and couldn't complete at Phoenix, but hopes to line up at Round 3 this weekend at LA's Dodger Stadium. The best is yet to come, Jatz! --- Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing's Ben Townley has told us he'll be racing selected AMA Motocross rounds (probably Rounds 3, 4 and 5) in between his MX Nationals commitments in Australia this season. The New Zealander and 2004 World MX2 Champ also tells us he'll race the rest of the NZ Motocross Championship, which finishes on March 18. And, hot off the presses, Townley has just signed a personal sponsorship deal with Scott Goggles for 2012. ---
Trey Canard missed the opening round of the AMA SX but went straight to work at Phoenix. Pic: Hoppen
Muscle Milk Honda's Trey Canard had his first race back at Phoenix over the weekend after a practice crash last month left him sidelined with a shoulder injury. The factory Honda rider wasn't riding with his usual flare at Chase Field, but finished a very credible seventh in a stacked class. And if you wondered why Canard didn't make the series opener, even though rumours were rife he would. "I was really considering racing Anaheim 1, but two days before the race I got sick and decided to sit it out," he told Supercrossonline.com's Jim Holley. --- A rumour gaining momentum in Pro rider circles is that British rider, Brad Anderson, is having problems getting a visa for Australia. The 28-year-old signed on with Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing this year to contest the MX Nationals, which kicks off on April 1 in Queensland. Maybe it's just wishful thinking, though, as Anderson showed the locals a clean set of heels when he came out and raced the MX Nats at Raymond Terrance in 2010. Team Principal, Yarrive Konsky, was unavailable for comment. ---
Pic: Hoppen
In just two races, Red Bull KTM's Ryan Dungey has taken his EFI-powered KTM 450SX-F "Factory Special" and proven its worth on the world stage. The Dunge won KTM's first ever AMA Supercross class victory at Phoenix, beating Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jake Weimer and Ryan Villopoto to the top step of podium. Dungey was ecstatic about his win, but the racer in him was already looking at the bigger picture: a championship. "Tonight was a big step for myself and the entire team," said Dungey. "A lot of hard work has gone into getting to this moment and it's a big step in the right direction for KTM. It's still a long season ahead but tonight we'll celebrate and enjoy it." His Team Manager and sporting legend, Roger DeCoster, even admitted his surprise: "I thought it would take longer than two races," said the former five-time world champ. "I think for Ryan it's like a new start. It's a long season still and it will take a lot more work to win the championship, but I'm glad we're in a position to fight on equal terms." --- Rumour has it Iowa-based rider, Gavin Faith, will fill in for Geico Honda's Will Hahn while he recovers from a fractured hip. It's estimated the popular Hahn will be on the sidelines for three to six weeks. --- Just an update on Chad Reed's 2011 Las Vegas Supercross bike that was being sold on eBay. It went for $25,300 and Reed will even sign the number plate! --- Okay, Speedway isn't exactly MX, but the sport continues to exist on the margins in Australia - which is at complete odds with the massive following it gets in Europe, the UK and most Scandinavian and Eastern Block countries. In any case, reigning Aussie Speedway champion Chris Holder leads the points standings heading into the final round of the Australian Solo Speedway Championship this weekend at Gillman in SA. If Holder can stay on top of the standings, it would be his fourth title. You can bet the boys from long-time sponsor, Uni Filter, will be Facebooking Holder's achievements before he's even finished the warm-down lap. Enduro Sadly news came regarding the sudden death of an off-road legend, Mika Ahola, this week. The Finn died as a result of complications from internal injuries sustained during a practice crash a few weeks back. Transmoto's European correspondent and close friend of Ahola, Jonty Edmunds, was knocked sideways by the news, but had this to say. "I'm fortunate to have many great memories of Mika - of the long-haired guy from Finland I was lucky enough to become friends with. Mika is known to most as the super-fast five-time Enduro World Champion. But it was his warm natured friendliness that made him a truly great guy to be around." Read the rest of Edmunds' insightful words here. --- Rumour has it the Ballard's Yamaha Off-Road rider Stefan Merriman and Active8 Yamaha Yamalube Racing Team have already got their mitts on the all-new 2012 WR450F, and started their R&D program on the machine in the lead-up to the late-Feb AORC kick-off. Considering the Feb 21 Australian launch (after which the bikes go on-sale to the public) of the WR450F is four days before the opening round of the AORC (which Yamaha is naming rights sponsor to again for 2012), it's not surprising the teams want to get their hands on the new fuel-injected 450 early. Contrary to the rumour, Active8 Yamaha's AJ Roberts denies the talk, "We haven't got the 2012 WR450F yet, but hope to get them soon to begin testing." ---
The AORC will kick back into gear in late February.
The Australian Off-Road Championship (AORC) kicks off on February 25-26 at Dungog, NSW, and we gave Dungog Motorcycle Club President, Trent Lean, a call to find out the state of the course. "We've cleared most of the forest trails already and one of the special tests," said Lean, "but we've still got another two tests and the Junior course to finish. We've had some rain and the courses look primo at the moment, but that can change very quickly. We've got new trails this year with around 100km of track on Day 1 and 150km on Day 2." Lean also revealed details of a special stadiumcross-style course at the Dungog showground: "There will be a five-lap stadiumcross-style race that all the Pros will race on Saturday afternoon. It will be a great opportunity for locals to come down and view the action." --- Riders in the 2012 Yamaha Australian Off-Road Championship won't have to register a rider number this year. All riders will run their state-registered riding numbers, or the top-20 Outright from 2011 may elect to run with their top-20 number. --- Did you watch that crazy pile-up at the opening round of America's WORCS series we posted earlier in the week? Australia's Highway Performance Bikes Off Road Team rider, David Hogan, was amongst the carnage and fills us in, "The ridgeline that joined the front and back motocross tracks was a car-width wide and dusty as hell," said Hogan. "With dust building up as the 30-plus riders of the first seven grids made their way through, I could just make out the rear guard of the guy in front. I was trying to use that rider as my guide to the track but the dust was getting thicker. The racer in me was pushing to keep up the pace, but my brain was saying it's not a good idea to be doing stupid shit this far from home. I pulled up on the downslope of the ridge and as I stopped I could see a bike parked in front with no rider in sight! As the dust cleared I could see a pile of bikes and then more came over the ridge and joined the pile. There must have been 40 bikes all mashed together. Dead set, it was Gallipoli-style carnage!" --- Australian rider, Josh Strang, rode his first WORCS round for KTM and finished 15th and 16th over the two days. The 2010 GNCC champ tells us he was taking it easy on his first race aboard the KTM because he's still recovering from his broken leg sustained at the final round of the GNCC in 2011: "The Doctor gave me the okay to ride but not race because my leg is still healing, so I took it easy to score a few points. Saturday was only the second time I had ridden the KTM. It feels good from what I could ride and I'm looking forward to getting back to 100 percent." --- Ballard's Yamaha Off-Road's Matt Phillips rode the first WORCS round, too, and finished 12th on Day 1 and suffered a mechanical on Sunday and DNFd after impressively working his way up to sixth. Read more on Phillips WORCS ride. FMX Glove manufacture, Fist Handwear, has signed 20-year-old Czech FMX rider Petr Pilat who has competed in the Red Bull X-Fighters and Night of Jumps tour for a number of years. Pilat made his way into FMX after performing a Backflip at only 14 years of age. --- Speaking of Fist, the company has just launched a new website. Check out http://www.fisthandwear.com Industry

Scott’s new 350 Illusion Helmet

Scott has released the new 350 Illusion and 250 Helmet, which will retail for $229.95 and $169.95, respectively. The 350 series gets an additional venting system, and lightweight polycarbonate shell. Both helmets meet Australian standards.

Gas Imports are doing their bit for the environment and have brought in BioTearoffs. It’s claimed the bio-degradeable tear-offs have clear vision, won’t fall apart when they get wet and muddy or shrivel up if you leave them in your car. They contain no petroleum products and are made from non-food renewable resources that will break down in 180 days under ideal conditions – heavy moisture/humidity, burial/mulching and constant mechanical activity. So does this mean MA may change or amend the rules in Australia that prohibit the use of tear-offs for enduro racing? We’ll see.

Australian FMX legend, Robbie Maddison, has joined the Skullcandy team following his successful 125-metre jump in San Diego at Red Bull’s No Limits event on NYE.

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