Throwdown No.85 - TwoTwo Motorsports lone rider injured, what does that mean for Reed?
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.
Not the crash that ended Ben Townley's season before it had even begun, but instead at the opening round of the MX Nationals.
TwoTwo Motorsports/Carlton Dry Honda Thor Racing's Ben Townley is recovering at Brisbane Private Hospital after suffering a hip injury in a big crash at the Coonabarabran MX Nationals over the weekend. Townley was airlifted to Armadale before being transferred to Brisbane Private where he underwent surgery on a femoral head-associated acetabular rim fracture. Townley will be off the bike for at least four months, which destroys his plans to race for Chad Reed and TwoTwo Motorsports in the AMA Motocross series - kicking off at Hangtown on May 19. With Townley's spectacular results at the opening round of the MX Nats, it's a devastating result for the 27-year-old. "I can't believe I am laying here in hospital," Townley said. "I am supposed to be packing for America. But I have to accept it and focus on my recovery."
With Townley out for at least the next four months were does that leave TwoTwo Motorsports? Will they sign another racer? Honda's Jake Moss is on a privateer deal in Australia at the moment and went 1-1-16 on the weekend for third in the Pro Opens class, and he's already riding the right colour machine. He also has proven results in the AMA Motocross series - back in 2009 Moss helped sweep an all-Aussie podium in Moto 1 at Southwick with Reed and Byrne. It's certainly possible, or at least plausible. But what does Reed think about all this? He's written on Twitter, "Was looking forward to the outdoors but not sure what will happen now. Time to focus on family and potential four-wheel stuff." It sounds like Reed's at an impasse. Between his and Townley's injuries and the pressure of owning a race team with no healthy racer ready to line up at Hangtown, there's a lot of big calls to make before the start of the motocross season if we wants to keep TwoTwo Motorsports alive - remember it's his money funding the race team. And as for 'focusing on four-wheel stuff', when pressed for details about whether he was talking about the Australian V8s - which he has shown a lot of interest in over the years - all he had to say was, "No Australian trip this year." Interesting times...
Is James Stewart really thinking of parting ways with JGR or is it just another rumour?
Rumour floating around this week is that that Joe Gibbs Racing's James Stewart has been released from his contact. First, let's put it in context. Stewart signed with JGR on a three-year contract and has only been racing with the team since the beginning of the season. He may be injured - he fractured his hand in a crash at the Indianapolis SX - but he's expected to make a return for the Outdoor series. However, let's say the rumours are true. Where would Stewart go? Word is he's been thinking about riding a Suzuki in the Outdoor championship, which you may remember was one of the manufactures he liked a lot during the silly season late last year, but when push came to shove Suzuki just didn't have the dollars to make it worth while. And what would that mean for Joe Gibbs and his team who've had an Outdoor test bike ready and waiting for Stewart for weeks? There's no one of Stewart's caliber currently available so chances are the bike would go unridden. After hearing the talk our USA Insider, Jason Weigandt, made the call to JGR's Team Manager, Jeremy Albrecht, to get the official word. Albrecht doused the rumours, saying, "James is still on the team and we're still together." All we know is Stewart has been awfully quite about when he'll return to racing. The calm before the storm perhaps?
Serco Yamaha Metal Mulisha Racing's Luke Styke and Kirk Gibbs flew to victory at the Coonabarabran MX Nats over the weekend, scoring a 1-2 victory in the Lites class. It's the second week in a row the two riders have scored a podium finish, setting them up for an excellent shot at the championship title in the 10-round series. "I always come to a race trying to win every race but it rarely happens, so I'm pretty pumped about today," said the enthused Styke.
Raceline Pirelli Suzuki's Errol Willis finished a solid seventh in the Pro Lites class at the second round of the MX Nationals over the weekend. The rookie, and reigning Under 19s champion, had a less-than-impressive start to the season after finishing 11th, but with a round under his belt he improved on his performance at Round 2 and went 3-6-10. Willis will be one to keep your eye on for the rest of the season.
For our readers down in Tasmania, braaap is hosting a free Learn to Ride Day on April 20 at the Cambridge Moto Park in Hobart. braaap founder and former Australian Mini Supercross champion, Brad Smith, says, ''Every kid should have a chance to ride a bike and get an adrenalin rush, while being safe." braaap will provide bikes, coaches and insurance for free on the day. To register call 1300 27 22 27.
Toby Price DNF'd in his GNCC race over the weekend due to a crack in his fuel tank.
Motorex KTM Off-Road Racing's Toby Price competed in the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) in the US over the weekend and DNF'd after running out of fuel twice due to a hidden split in his 12-litre fuel tank. "So angry!" says Price. "I ran out of fuel twice and DNF'd the round. When I pulled the bike apart I noticed the split in the tank, which leaked fuel everywhere. I was running fourth at the start of the race before the problems." Toby will spend another weekend racing in the US before returning home.
Speaking of Price, he's just picked up a sponsorship deal in Australia with protection experts, Leatt.
Did you see the two blokes from Flair Action Sports do a trials performance in front of the nation on Australia's Got Talent earlier in the week? Jack and Tim put on quite a show on the small stage before getting three yeses from the judges, moving them onto the next round.
Dubai X-Fighters opener
It was nearly an all-Australasian podium at the opening round of the Red Bull X-Fighters in Dubai with Chillian rider, Javier Villega, just edging Australia's Josh Sheehan off the podium. But it was New Zealand's Levi Sherwood who claimed his fourth career victory, taking first place in the sweltering heat on Dubai's Jumeirah Beach. And it was Australia's Rob Adelberg who took second. It's good to see the ANZACS finally dominate on the world FMX stage!
This is what 60L of fuel exploding just beside you looks like.
Ever wondered what 60L of fuel between a big double and ignited just after you've flown by on your dirt bike looks like? We'll now you can. Here are some of our Kiwi brethren playing with fire (do not do this at home!).
Vurbmoto's Wes Williams turned 26 this week. Williams was one of the people responsible for bring the JDR Motorsport's Dream Ride to life. Happy birthday, Wes!
Coonabarabran marked the final time CDR Yamaha's long-time mechanic, Shawn Hodgetts, would swing a spanner for the team. With 14-years with the team, Hodgetts was responsible for all of CDR's engines and electronic technology. Now with a young family, he's decided to take a role outside the motorcycle industry so he can spend more time at home.
Sequel to the popular motorcycle action movie, What !F, comes off-road moto movie What !S. Featuring all the popular names in the GNCC and WORCS series, like Kurt Caselli, Russell Bobbitt and Cory Buttrick, the riders hit the trail and show you what free riding is all about. The film's available now through iTunes.
Yamaha has once again stepped up as naming right sponsor for the 2012 Australian Four-Day Enduro (A4DE) but this time they've managed to not only put their brand name behind the prestigious event but their model too. This year it's called the Yamaha WR450F A4DE. We reckon if we give it a few more years we'll have the Yamaha WR450F Fuel-Injected eXTra X A4DE...