Pro Circuit is at it again, this time building MXA a race-spec 2017 Kawasaki KX250F. At first look the KX250F would suggest that it’s actually Joey Savatgy’s race bike. That’s not entirely true. Pro Circuit did a major overhaul to their project bike, but it’s not in the realm of what Savatgy will be vying for the 250 Supercross title on. Daryl Ecklund has been spending the past week riding the P.C. KX250F at various tracks around SoCal, including some private riding spots. Our buddy, Kyle Redmond, of Endurocross and off-road fame, has been helping with the testing. And by the way, Kyle is looking for a new team in 2017. Daryl Ecklund took these photos. The ex-Pro turned Managing Editor is becoming quite the Pro behind the camera. Nice work, D-Rail!
Just like the couple from Poughkeepsie who hits the lottery or the guy two seats away who wins the cover-all grand finale game in Bingo, someone has to walk away with the prize. Are you lucky? When it comes to games of chance I’m most definitely not. However, I now know a guy who is. Dave Drakes was the lucky recipient of the Boyesen Two-Stroke Revolution contest. He scored an all-new Yamaha YZ250X that was decked out. Dave emailed me a description of the bike, along with a few photos. I was envious the whole time I edited his verbiage. Say, Dave, would you care to buy a Powerball ticket for me?
“My name is Dave Drakes, and I wanted to submit my Boyesen Racing Yamaha YZ250X for consideration for your ‘Two-Stroke Spotlight.’ The bike is brand new and I have only had a chance to ride it once. I actually won the bike in a contest–Boyesen’s Two-Stroke Revolution contest–a few months ago. Needless to say, I was completely shocked to find out that I won the bike.
“It started out as a stock 2016 Yamaha YZ250X at Boyesen’s headquarters, and was completely disassembled to get all of the aftermarket parts on. Several companies chipped in to take the bike to a whole other level both visually and performance-wise. The build started out with a bunch of Boyesen Racing aftermarket parts, such as a clutch cover and ignition cover. Bright red CV4 hoses were put on to finish out the engine. They also included a Boyesen Supercooler water pump and Rad Valve reed block system.
“Next, the old wheels were ditched and D.I.D. DirtStar wheels were added, complete with red Faster USA hubs. After Tubliss inserts were put in place of the tubes and STI tires were installed, the wheel set-up was complete. Sunstar sprockets and chain were used for added durability. The restrictive stock exhaust was replaced by a FMF Gnarly pipe and a TurbineCore 2 silencer. Acerbic addressed the small motocross-sized tank issue with an oversized unit.
“The older levers, shifter, bars, and pegs were replaced with Torc1 Racing products for added flash and strength. Enduro Engineering products can be seen all over the bike, from the wrap-around hand guards to the radiator covers, skid plate, and rotor guards. A very sturdy and durable MSR chain was used to replace the stock equipment. A Task Racing light bar was added to brighten up the darkest of trails and add some bling to the build. PJ1 and Evans Cooling were used to keep the YZ250X running clean and cool. To top off the build, a SDG gripper seat and Dirt Digits graphics were slapped on for finishing touches.
“The bike is incredible to ride. Even with all of the extra weight and add-ons the bike feels incredibly light and handles very well. On longer straightaways with ruts and roots the bike stays straight as an arrow. Surprisingly, this bike pulls very well off the bottom and feels more like a 250 four-stroke than a two-stroke in the lower end of the powerband.”
Please keep those submissions coming. If you would like your bike to be featured in the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” please email me at email@example.com. All I ask is that you give a breakdown of your bike and a detailed description of the build. Please also send a few photos of your steed. By submitting your bike for the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” you agree to release all ownership rights to the images and copy to MXA. Please don’t email me spam or try selling me Taylor Swift concert tickets or email me spam. I already celebrate T-Swizzle’s entire collective, and there will be “bad blood” if you send me junk mail. See what I did there? Happy submitting your smoker.
Premium grade silicone materials are what make the new Pro Circuit High-Performance Radiator Hose Kit for the 2017 Honda CRF450R able to withstand higher temperatures and pressures than the OEM hoses. The Pro Circuit High-Performance Radiator Hose Kit comes in a non-fading bright blue color that adds a trick factory look to your new CRF450R. The Pro Circuit High-Performance Radiator Hose Kit is a must-have to keep your bike running cool and performing at its best. Retail price: $94.95. Please visit www.procircuit.com for more information on this and other Pro Circuit products.
By Jim Kimball
Romain, did you expect to win the 450 World Championship in your rookie season of 2015?
Last year was just fantastic for my first year in the MXGP class. I took the title and won many races, so I could not do anything better. It was a bit of a surprise for everyone. I think we worked pretty well together–the team and myself–and we had good cooperation. I started slowly at the beginning of the season, and then I just kept improving. After some races I knew that I could win motos, and then GPs, and then the title. It was a fantastic year.
You made winning look easy, which is quite an accomplishment.
Yeah, but it was not at all easy. Maybe it looked easy, but it was a long year. We had many races, and the goals were to be consistent, not have many crashes, and try not to make any mistakes. I did those things and won the title. It wasn’t an easy year.
How was your off-season last fall after winning the title?
It was very busy. I needed to travel so much because of all our different sponsors, and I was in the airport a lot. I went to watch the Monster Energy Cup. After that I went to Japan, and we did the last race of the Japanese Championship. The off-season was really busy for me. I did not have too much time to rest, but I did not have so much choice. It was really busy between testing and flying everywhere for the sponsors.
Did you expect Tim Gajser to do so well this year?
Yes. I knew the last two years, even when he was racing the 250, that he would practice quite a bit on the 450. He was always training with the 450. When you see his style and his body, he is more like a 450 rider than 250 rider. I saw him during the off-season last year. We were testing in Italy and he was there for a few days. He was riding already pretty well. I was not surprised to see him on the podium at the beginning of the season, but to be consistent like this year, I was a bit surprised. As far as speed and what he can do on a bike, I wasn’t surprised at all.
What’s harder: winning your first championship, or trying to defend the title?
We had a good winter session, and I was quite strong at the beginning of the season. I was always on the podium, and then I won some races, so it was good and I was leading the championship. Everything was good. I know many people say it is more difficult to defend the title, but I do not think so. It is just like before. We try to win everything we can. It is not more difficult; every year it is the same. You need to fight for it and you need to have some luck, too. You need to stay on the bike and put everything together. It is difficult to do it every year, but things started off pretty good. Like I said, I was leading the championship, and after I lost the red plate I was second, but really close to Tim [Gajser]. Then I had a bad crash in England, so I missed a couple races, and then the championship was gone. It took me a little bit of time to come back at my level, but overall it was good. After my crash I could not fight for the title. I was shooting for second place in the championship, and so racing was just not the same. It was a little difficult to accept that, but we are going to try again next year.
Do you think the tide is turning from the veteran MXGP guys like Tony Cairoli and Max Nagl, to newcomers like yourself and Tim Gajser?
It is difficult to say. Three years ago Tony [Cairoli] was leading pretty easily, and he had a gap over guys like [Max] Nagl and [Gautier] Paulin. Now many guys of my generation moved to MXGP, and we can go faster with the bike. We are young, and while they are not old, I think physically we are fresher, and many of the bikes are much better. It is not like before where maybe KTM had a superior bike. Now, almost all of the factory bikes are the same, and all the factory teams are on the same level. There are many good riders and bikes, so more riders are able to win races and fight for the championship. It is nice to see some new guys, and next year there will be even more fast guys in MXGP. In MX2 the riders are good, but the level is not like before. When I was in the MX2 class I remember almost all of the riders were in the mix for wins. It is going to be good next year with [Jeffrey] Herlings moving up. We will see how that goes.
Do you think Jeffrey Herlings will be a legitimate championship threat next year in his 450 rookie season?
Yes, for sure. He is very good. He has three titles. He will be good, but not unbeatable. It is difficult to say. He will have good speed, but he needs to ride smart. Already in MX2 he had many injuries, so I do not know how he is going to be on the 450.
Did the two U.S. rounds at Charlotte and Glen Helen differ much from the traditional European GP’s?
I think the only difference is that they were both quite fast. We are not used to those types of tracks in Europe, because they are normally a little smaller and not as fast. We are not used to riding this fast, so we need to adapt the bike more. For me, that is why I like to come to the U.S. Charlotte and Glen Helen were good, but just faster than our tracks in Europe.
Would you consider moving to America and racing Supercross and the Nationals?
If I was, say, three or four years younger, than for sure I would come over to the U.S. At one time it may have been my dream to come, and while I am not old, maybe I’m too old to move to the U.S and race. I will soon be 25, and I have a good place in Europe. The most difficult task for the European rider seems to come in riding Supercross. Motocross is the same everywhere around the world, so it is not a big deal, but Supercross is totally different. I never did it in my amateur career, so to learn everything would be very tough. It takes probably two years to be really good in the States. I am a little old to do that now.
A few years ago the European factory Suzuki team raced a few Nationals. Would you consider racing a few U.S. Nationals in the future?
We will see how things work out. As far as the Monster Cup, the last time I went to see it I was telling myself that I should race it, because I think I could do well. My level in Supercross is not like it should be right now, but maybe next year I’ll be able to race the Monster Cup.
Who’s faster, U.S. racers or Europeans?
We cannot compare that. The best thing is to take the best rider in the U.S. and have him do a full championship. Then we could see. You cannot judge by one or two races. Look at Ryan Villopoto. Last year he came to MXGP and he won one race, but he struggled a little bit, too. Everybody likes to talk about which series of riders are faster, but we cannot compare. The best thing is to do a championship all over the world with the best U.S. and European riders racing.
Is there room for improvement in the MXGP racing series?
We have too many classes. It is over two days, but we often have amateurs, women, and veterans racing. It is simply too much racing for the tracks. I understand that it’s about making money, but the track workers cannot work on the track. They have no time to work on the track from 7:00 a.m. until 6:00 in the evening. It is just riding and riding. They get ten minutes between races. You cannot put water on the track, as it just floods the course. You cannot do anything. I think it is better if they do it like in the U.S., with the racing on one day. So let’s say on Saturday they can do all the amateur classes, and then on Sunday they can do MX2 and MXGP. That would be much nicer, but it is not my opportunity to change.
Fox Racing continues its collaboration with Star Wars by unveiling the C-3PO helmet. The lid has a bright gold color scheme, with details that resemble C-3PO’s characteristics. Underneath the design is a Fox Racing V3 helmet, using MIPS, dual density foam, and an EPS liner. This is a limited edition helmet, and as such, retails for a cool $1000. The helmet comes with a special edition Star Wars hard box, has a unique serial number and includes a certificate of authenticity. Note that the C-3PO edition is only available in size Large. Click here to find out more information.
The guys at ClubMX Training Facility in Chesterfield, South Carolina, are holding a rare open practice on their main track Sunday, January 1st. Usually only open to the public once a year, the Front track is reserved for the Training Facility riders. However, that won’t be the case next Sunday. This is your opportunity to ride one heck of a fun track, replete with sand, clay, elevation changes, and myriad jumps. I can attest to the awesomeness of the Front track, having ridden it a month ago. I had a smile on my face the whole time.
The ClubMX crew are breaking out all the stops by completely redesigning the Front track before the open ride day. I can’t wait to see what Brandon Haas, Ben Graves and the staff come up with. Practice is from 10am-4pm. The cost is $30/rider. Sign in and park at the Practice Facility grounds. I hope to see you there.
It might be too late to get something delivered to that special someone on your Christmas list, but there’s nothing wrong with giving a post-Christmas gift. The Kawasaki Premium backpack has all of the essentials needed to make you the coolest kid in class. See below:
- Heavy duty 600D polyester diamond rip-stop
- Sternum strap
- Three outside pockets
- Small zipper pocket on shoulder strap
- Side drink holder
- Two small side pockets
- Laptop zippered pocket with access on the back of the backpack
- 13” W x 24” H x 7.5” D
Visit your friendly local Kawasaki dealer to order.
“I honestly cannot really comment on that [the riff between Cooper Webb, Jeremy Martin, and Star Racing Yamaha]. I would if I could, but I don’t know anything about all that. I kind of stayed out of it when it was happening. I did not really get any word on it, so I was not really interested in dealing with that stuff. All of that was definitely beyond me and what I needed to concentrate on, so I did not care what was going on.”
Click here to read the interview with the Star Racing Yamaha team leader.
California is the richest race state in the union, with seven major events in 2017. Folks in Michigan should rejoice, as Supercross (Detroit), Arenacross (Grand Rapids) and the Lucas Oil Nationals (Red Bud) visit “The Great Lake State.” And those residing in the Pacific Northwest will be happy hosting a bevy of events, from Supercross to the AMA Nationals.
2017 MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS SERIES
January 7…Angel Stadium…Anaheim, CA (West)
January 14…Petco Park…San Diego, CA (West)
January 21…Angel Stadium…Anaheim, CA (West)
January 28…University of Phoenix…Glendale, AZ (West)
February 4…Alameda Coliseum…Oakland, CA (West)
February 11…AT&T Stadium…Arlington, TX (West)
February 18…U.S. Bank Stadium…Minneapolis, MN (East)
February 25…Georgia Dome…Atlanta, GA (East)
March 4…Rogers Centre…Toronto, Canada (East)
March 11…Daytona Speedway…Daytona, FL (East)
March 18…Lucas Oil Stadium…Indianapolis, IN (East)
March 25…Ford Field…Detroit, MI (East)
April 1…America’s Center…St. Louis, MO (East)
April 8…CenturyLink Field…Seattle, WA (West)
April 22…Rice-Eccles Stadium…Salt Lake City, UT (West)
April 29…MetLife Stadium…East Rutherford, NJ (East)
May 6…Sam Boyd Stadium…Las Vegas, NV (East/West)
*Visit http://www.supercrosslive.com/ to purchase tickets
2017 AMSOIL ARENACROSS SERIES
January 7-8…U.S. Bank Arena…Cincinnati, OH
January 13-15…Van Andel Arena…Grand Rapids, MI
January 20-22…Royal Farms Arena…Baltimore, MD
January 28-29…Bridgestone Arena…Nashville, TN
February 4-5…Freedom Hall…Louisville, KY
February 18-19…Sprint Center…Kansas City, MO
February 24-26…Georgia Dome…Atlanta, GA
March 3-5…Landers Center…Southaven, MS
March 11-12…Smoothie King Center…New Orleans, LA
March 18-19…Moda Center…Portland, OR
March 24-26…Livestock Events Center…Reno, NV
April 1-2…Golden I Center…Sacramento, CA
April 22-23…Denver Coliseum…Denver, CO
May 5-7…Orleans Arena…Las Vegas, NV
*Visit http://www.supercrosslive.com/ to purchase tickets
2017 LUCAS OIL PRO MOTOCROSS CHAMPIONSHIP
May 20…Hangtown…Sacramento, CA
May 27…Glen Helen…San Bernardino, CA
June 3…Thunder Valley…Lakewood, CO
June 17…High Point…Mount Morris, PA
June 24…Muddy Creek…Blountville, TN
July 1…Red Bud…Buchanan, MI
July 8…Southwick…Southwick, MA
July 22…Spring Creek…Millville, MN
July 29…Washougal…Washougal, WA
August 12…Unadilla…New Berlin, NY
August 19…Budds Creek…Mechanicsville, MD
August 26…Ironman…Crawfordsville, IN
* Visit http://www.promotocross.com/mx/tickets to buy tickets
2017 FIM MOTOCROSS WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
March 5…Pangkal Pinang…Indonesia
April 23…Valkenswaard…The Netherlands
July 23…Loket…Czech Republic
September 10…Assen…The Netherlands
September 17…Villars sous Ecot…France