Thursday, December 19, 2013

Husqvarna Announces Off-Road Team For 2014

(From left to right) Husqvarna Race Team Manager Andy Jefferson, Russell Bobbitt, Andrew DeLong, Jacob Argubright and Mike Brown.

Husqvarna made it official today with the announcement of its 2014 off-road team: Mike Brown, Russell Bobbitt, Andrew DeLong and Jacob Argubright. Competing in five different National Championships as well as some international events, they will be the first U.S. team to race the all-new Husqvarna Motorcycles.

Leading the charge will be former WORCS Champion, 125cc AMA Motocross Champion and X Games gold medalist Mike Brown. Brown will, once again, take on the AMA EnduroCross Championship, as well as a host of other select events around the world in 2014.

"It's a big deal that they want my name to be with Husky," Brown said in a team release. "For sure, I'm excited. EnduroCross is the main focus, but I'll be racing a bit of everything - as much as I can to get the brand out there. I'm going to do some of the Australian Enduro X Nationals they're having in January/February and then finish out the FIM Super Enduro Championship in Europe. I'm going to do the first three rounds of the GNCC series, some enduros and a few AMA Motocross races this year. I'll be staying busy, for sure, but I'd rather race every weekend than sit around. I'm looking forward to it."

Four-time AMA National Enduro Champion Russell Bobbitt is happy to be a part of Husqvarna's rich off-road heritage.

"I'm excited to sign on with Husqvarna especially because it's such a nostalgic name and company," Bobbitt said. "My dad was a dealer for Husqvarna 30 years ago and I have a lot of respect for the brand because it carries a lot of history, especially in enduro racing. I grew up looking up to guys like Mike Melton, Dick Burleson and Terry Cunningham; they're all great guys. The chance to do the same thing as those guys and win a championship for Husqvarna is really awesome."

Bobbitt will be contesting the AMA National Enduro series as well as defending his title in the OMA Nationals series.

Joining Bobbitt in the National Enduros while also stepping up to the premier class of the GNCC series is Andrew DeLong. The promising GNCC star is a returning Husqvarna rider, but faces big changes in 2014 with a new team, new class, and the new bike.

"It's a big step, but I think I'm ready for it," said DeLong, who will be moving up to the 450 class in GNCC. "I'm 200 pounds - that's a big dude for a small bike. Hopefully I'll be able to transition nicely onto the 450. The bikes look super awesome and I'm excited to get some time on them. I'm definitely excited about this new season and having guys like Russell [Bobbitt], Brownie [Mike Brown] and Jacob [Argubright] on the team.

Getting his first factory ride is Southern California native Jacob Argubright.

"I'm stoked," Argubright said about his new ride. "Not only is it my first factory ride, but I'm thrilled to be with a great team that has such a good heritage in the desert. Husqvarna has an all-new FC 450 and I'm going to be the first one representing it in the National Hare & Hound series so I'm real happy about that. I will also be doing the AMA Western Hare Scrambles series and a few extreme races, as well."

The entire team will be using the Bell Moto 9 helmet. The Moto 9 is one of the lightest and best helmets on the market today coming in at 1450 grams and offering the exclusive Magnefusion Emergency Removal System (MERS) cheekpads.

Article via Cyclenews

Monday, December 9, 2013

Axton, IKF Grand National Champion

Ensign student comes out on top, wins recent event to capture prestigious karting title.

The HelmetMan sponsored driver Willy Axton, an eighth-grader from Ensign Intermediate School and a Costa Mesa resident, recently became International Karting Federation Grand National Champion after winning the Grand Nationals.

Axton won the IKF Grand Nationals held at the Buttonwillow International Raceway Park just north of Bakersfield. He built on momentum from last year, after winning the 2012 United States Southwest Regional Karting Title.

As IKF Grand National Champion, Axton follows in the footsteps of past winners of the prestigious title, including Kevin Harvick, Scott Speed, Danica Patrick, Colin Fleming and Joey Hand.

Axton races go-karts that are capable of speeds well over 80 mph. The kart sits just over one inch off the ground weighing in at 320 pounds with the driver, and a 32 horsepower motor. That's about one horsepower for every 10 pounds.

"This power-to-weight ratio is what makes these karts so incredibly quick", said Axton's father, Jeff. "All the tracks we race on are approximately one mile in length with 14 turns."

Axton's season last year was impressive with three consecutive wins as he approached the final race of the year and won the 2012 championship.

As he prepared to get the 2013 season underway he knew most of the field had their sights on him as the one they had to beat.

The race day got off to a rough start. In the morning practice, Axton was 1.2 seconds off the pace. After some quick work by his mechanic in the pits the kart was placed on the grid for qualifying. With a huge performance pick-up, he was able to put his No. 24 Kart off-pole, the second-best time in the field, and would line up on the front row for the start of the heat race.

Buttonwillow is a 14-turn course and approximately nine-tenths of a mile in length. Axton's qualifying time was 49.601 seconds, averaging 57 mph around the track, and a top speed, down the 1,000 foot straightaway, of 78 mph.

In the heat race, Axton had a troubled start in the outside line, the less desired line. The karts took a rolling start, some call it a running start, to the green flag. He dropped back two spots and started to work his way forward. With no chance to catch the leader Axton climbed his way back to a second-place finish.

At the start of the main event, Axton and two other karts made contact and lost a bunch of ground to the leaders. The third, fourth and fifth racers had a five-second gap to make up on the leaders who were nose-to-tail and fast. The race went 22 laps so there was plenty of time to catch them.

Axton took the lead of the group and began the process of trying to close the gap. With five laps to go Axton and the fourth-place racer were within a half-second of the leaders.

Axton displaced second place and hunted down the leader. With two laps to go Axton was on the leader's bumper. After a nail-biting white flag lap, the last lap, Axton completed the pass and went on to win the 2013 IKF Grand Nationals.

"My fellow racers are some of the best in the country and I can learn a lot from these guys," Axton said. "They have been in this class a lot longer than I have and I want to earn their respect. I have had some incredibly talented people around me this year, as well as in my earlier years, and I owe them all a ton of gratitude.

Axton also thanked his parents, sponsors, team and coaches, saying, "without them I wouldn't stand a chance."

Axton is now racing with kids from the high school ranks and has proven he has what it takes to keep pace with some of the best talent in the country.

Article from daily pilot

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Kurt Caselli Honored At Glen Helen

Riders head out for the Kurt Caselli Parade Lap at Glen Helen. Photography by Kit Palmer

Thousands of family, friends and fans of Kurt Caselli nearly filled Glen Helen Raceway to capacity for the Kurt Caselli Memorial Ride Day, Thursday, December 6.

According to track officials, an estimated 2000-plus people attended the event to honor the off-road star and legend. “Actually we stopped counting after about 2000,” one official said. The line of cars and trucks extended all the way to the nearby freeway, and anyone who has ever been to Glen Helen Raceway knows how far that is – it’s a long ways!

Many stars and celebrities of the motorcycle industry came out to Glen Helen to pay tribute and honor the FMF/KTM Team rider who lost his life while competing in the Baja 1000 nearly three weeks ago. Many of them included some of the stars of the off-road racing world, including Caselli’s fellow KTM teammates Ivan Ramirez, Mike Brown, Charlie Mullins, Kailub Russell and Mike Lafferty. Also on hand were former Trials champ Cody Webb, eight-time National Enduro Champion Dick Burleson, Taylor Robert, Kyle Redmond, Ty Davis, Destry Abbott, Danny LaPorte and the legendary Malcolm Smith. The list actually goes on and on. A few motocross stars were on hand, as well, including Blake Baggett, Zach Osborne, Justin Hill and Cole Seely, to name a few. Los Angele police chief Charlie Beck showed up and suited up, as well.

Those who brought their bikes got a chance to take the Kurt Caselli Parade Lap and most of them did. The jaw-dropping number of riders pretty much filled the entire length of the track, three to four bikes wide all the way around. It was a sight to behold. The motocross track was open for riding most of the day, and trail loops were set up, as well, including a designated “easy” loop and the “Kurt Caselli Trail,” recommended for advanced riders only.

There was a silent auction with proceeds going to the Caselli family. Some of the items up for bid included a James Stewart helmet and a golf bag donated by golf star Ricky Fowler.

A mid-day ceremony and prayer took place on the track’s start straightaway, where Kurt’s fiancĂ©, Sarah, spoke to the massive crowd. Caselli’s mother and sister were also present.

“I have never in my life shed tears on a motorcycle until today,” said Jon-Erik Burleson, president of KTM North America. “That was the most amazing lap around any track I’ve ever experienced. It was such a huge group of people; it was an amazing day. I’m really proud of Kurt, it just shows you what an amazing person he was. My only thing is, I wish he was here.”

Article via CycleNews.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Davey Coombs: Obviously 2014 is going to start much differently for two veterans than 2013 did. Davi Millsaps won the Anaheim opener last year, much to the shock of many in the grandstands, including Ivan Tedesco. Ivan was left without a ride when the musical chairs stopped, and so he took a seat in the Knothole Club and watched the big upset. Now Millsaps will be the one on the sidelines, watching as Tedesco, who never retired and has stayed in race-shape, fills in for him on the Rockstar KTM. I don't think anybody at Angel Stadium will expect to see #9 in the winner's circle, but it will be good to see the popular former 250 SX and outdoor champ in the field. (Ivan will also become one of the rare riders to have scored points on five different brands once he makes the top twenty. How many others can you name?)

Bobby Hewitt's Rockstar Racing team certainly had higher hopes as to how their tenure with KTM would start, but this is the nature of racing motorcycles at the level required to be on the starting line of a Monster Energy Supercross main event. By slotting in Tedesco he's at least going to have a 450 in the race, and if things all go perfectly well for Ivan and he reverts to his peak speed, he could find himself on the box. But with so many fast young men out there, he will have his hands full. But he will be helping to shake down the bike, teach his 250-class teammates a thing or too, and help the team continue its evolution into a better program. That's what a respected and experienced veteran like Ivan Tedesco brings to a team. Any wins or podiums would just be a bonus.

Ivan Tedesco is back after missing all of last year.
Simon Cudby photo

Jason Thomas: Ivan Tedesco sat out the 2013 season waiting on the opportunity that may have just arrived. Davi Millsaps has an injured right knee that may see him miss a few rounds of SX. Ivan has been riding and is a perfect fit to fill in for last year's opening round winner. No stranger to factory teams and equipment, Ivan won titles for Pro Circuit Kawasaki and was a member of both Factory Suzuki and Factory Honda before going to Valli Yamaha in 2011 and then leading the H&H Kawasaki effort in 2012. He has both racing and testing experience on multiple teams and brands, which makes him very valuable to race teams looking to improve their machine. As DC said, no one is predicting a Tedesco victory on January 4, but he is still very talented and undoubtedly motivated to make a statement. I feel this is a win-win situation for everyone involved. Ivan gets to race on equipment he feels up to the task and Rockstar KTM gets an elite level talent to put their bike on the track in Davi's absence. Surely Ivan is looking to get back into the mix after missing all of 2013. Can this be the spring board he was waiting for?

Steve Matthes: First of all it’s great that Ivan Tedesco is back. I have to admit that I didn’t think "Hot Sauce" would be able to secure a ride like this after sitting out an entire year, but good for him that it worked out. Tedesco is never one to cheat anyone on effort, he’s not out there to ride around and collect money. He’ll work hard, put 100 percent into this deal and his pride is strong enough that he’ll want to give it his all. The sport’s better having Ivan in it, no doubt about it and I hope he does well. At this point, with a year off and a stacked field, I feel that you could define Ivan as doing well if he put the bike in the top ten. If he does that after sitting out a season, then a tip of the chapeaux to him indeed.

But is anyone else confused by this whole deal? Only in our sport would a major rider be injured, his replacement be announced at a media launch and NO ONE explains exactly what’s going to happen. I wasn’t at the KTM media launch but I spoke with two people who were and no one seems to know what the deal is with Davi Millsaps. And maybe they don’t exactly know what’s up and how many races he’s going to miss but surely with them introducing Tedesco to the media they have to have some idea, right? Some media reports are saying Davi’s going to miss a race or two and some people are saying he’s out for the supercross season. That’s a pretty broad scope of races, no? Why doesn’t someone clarify what the deal is with Tedesco riding for the team? Is this a full-time no matter what ride? A two race deal until Davi comes back?

Just search around the different media reports from the KTM intro and you’ll get all types of answers as to what is going on with Millsaps. This whole thing is weird to me. But yeah, good to have Ivan back for sure. I just don’t know for how long.

Article from