Welcome to our weekly web-exclusive column, Transmoto USA Insider Presented By Answer. Penned each week by our man on the ground, Transmoto's US Correspondent, Jason Weigandt, USA Insider presents the story-behind-the-stories of the AMA supercross and motocross scene.
There's only a little rest for the weary here on the AMA circuit, as the Monster Energy Supercross tour just completed its first - and only - off weekend. You get 17 races in 18 weeks, with only the Easter weekend for a break. And while plenty of riders took actual Easter Sunday off to spend time with family, the rest of their schedule actually got tougher, because it's time to start focusing on the outdoors!
From the east coast in Florida, where Ryan Villopoto, Jake Weimer and others were tearing it up, to the west coast in California, where just about every other top rider you can think of started logging motocross laps, it's now the pre season for the red hot American summer's Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship. There's just one weekend off between the Supercross finale in Las Vegas and the motocross opener in California, and that's not enough time to be fully prepped for the new season. Work needs to begin now.
"It's a huge difference," says Villopoto's trainer Aldon Baker. "Last year we were focused on supercross right until the end, but this year we're going to be able to get our motos in early."
But there's only one top rider we know that hasn't done any outdoor riding or testing as of yet: James Stewart. His JGR Yamaha team had outdoor bikes built for Stewart and teammate Davi Millsaps after Daytona a few weeks back, with plans to start testing the week after the Indianapolis supercross. But Stewart crashed hard at that race and bumped his head, tweaked his knee and broke his hand. Since then, his status has been hard to guage - he skipped the Toronto race and then returned just to crash out again in Houston. Through it all, his outdoor bike sits there in the JGR shop, fresh as ever, waiting to be ridden.
Then all hell broke loose last week when JGR team manager, Jeremy Albrecht, sent an errant tweet to Andrew Short, asking for a phone number for Short's agent so they could discuss "the OD" (which we all know is short for outdoors). Rumour has it Short may be up for grabs because his team, run by Larry Brooks and Jeremy McGrath, could be folding now that title sponsor supercross.com has apparently stopped supporting the effort. There's a good chance that Brooks and McGrath will just move some of the team, and Short, into the factory Honda semi. But just in case they don't, J-Bone wanted to know.
But he meant to send Short a direct message, not a tweet in full view of the public!
J-Bone says he never heard back from Shorty, so apparently he must not need a ride. But the tweet also shifted the attention on Stewart. Will he not ride outdoors again? Is the JGR team really in need of a replacement?
I really think all sides involved don't know what's coming next. The only thing we know for sure is whatever Stewart does, drama seems to soon after!