Here’s what a former SX and MX national winner thinks about what he saw on his TV
Here’s what a former SX and MX national winner thinks about what he saw on his TV
Photos by Simon Cudby
Time to hit the panic button for RV fans?
With a 47 and 46 point deficit on the Desalle-Cairoli-Nagl trio after 4 races, it sure doesn’t look very promising to win the world championship. As far as the riding goes, RV doesn’t look that far off actually . Other than the first race in Qatar, he’s been in the hunt and right there with those 3 guys. Nagl was untouchable in the second moto in Italy. Obviously, his fans and the American people would’ve thought he was going to run away with it easily. It’s not really the case. His loop out didn’t help him neither in the points chase. His set up seems better now even if it could improve. If you watched the race in Italy, it’s difficult to have a bike that works perfectly. That track is the exact opposite of the tracks RV is good at. There was no traction, nowhere to pin it on the outsides and it was very choppy. He’s not used to those track conditions and never had to set up his bike for them. I watched the highlights of moto 1 and the second moto. I thought his line choices weren’t that great.
In Italy, there were a lot of “right-left” and “left-right”. You need to anticipate a lot to be efficient on those kind of tracks. You have to exit the turn pretty tight to enter the next corner wide so you can keep your momentum. He was exiting too wide in some turns which put him in bad position for what was coming next and losing time. Nagl was doing it very good. RV is not used to riding like that. That’s the problem when you open the throttle early in the turns like he does. It makes you exit wide. It could be fast for a particular corner but it’s difficult keep your bike where it needs to be on the track to anticipate the next turn. RV ends his braking at the entrance of the turns and gasses it to pivot, which is difficult to manage when the traction isn’t there. It’s also very difficult to square turns using that technique.
To fix the problem, you have to move your braking and finish it at the apex of the turns. To do that, he can start braking later than he’s doing now. When you finish your braking at the apex, your suspension and center of gravity are low. You have to use that to position/turn your bike, without opening the throttle yet. When you make your turn and your bike is in position, then you can gas it and you have more control of your bike and more control to place your bike where it needs to be. On a track like Red Bud or Budds Creek, you don’t have to do all of this. You can just pin it in the berms and it works… The philosophy of riding on GP tracks is very different than what we know in the US. Valkenswaard is coming up. That track will suit RV’s riding much better than the first 4 races. He might get his best result there. It’s black sand, rutted, rough but his riding style will suit that track better in my opinion.
“The KTM 450, just like the RMZ 450, came a long way in the last few years too. RD is a legendary rider and a legendary team manager. The results, success, championships speak for themselves. I just didn’t experience it.”
Dungey’s hit the career best in wins this year as he won again and lots of talk about his year..one of the things that people have talked about is Roger DeCoster as a manager, you’ve had him and know him…how much credit does he (or any manager) deserve for KTM’s new direction and Dungey’s career?
It’s tough for me to talk about Roger because, for me, if he wasn’t there the year I raced for Suzuki, it would’ve been the same. I struggled with the new EFI bike. I was the crash test dummy there. I broke 11 bones in the summer in Millville before my Suzuki deal started. When I started testing, I wasn’t 100%. I was scared of the bike because we had issues with the EFI. I broke my thumb in November casing a triple at the Suzuki track and I think the team gave up on me in the early days of our relationship . It’s a shame because I was looking forward to being a factory rider again and working with Roger.
It didn’t work out but most of the riders that worked with RD loved him. He has a lot of knowledge, experience and I am sure he has a lot to do with Dungey success today. He also did a lot of work at Suzuki when RC signed with them and they had a lot of success. The RM250 was good then but their 450 was the worst 450 on the track. They still won a lot of championships with it. Obviously they had the best rider on it but the bikes came a long way also. DeCoster had to be a big part of the program because he was in charge. The KTM 450, just like the RMZ 450, came a long way in the last few years too. RD is a legendary rider and a legendary team manager. The results, success, championships speak for themselves. I just didn’t experience it.
“They both have a huge potential but they’ll have to use it at its fullest in the 450 class. Could I see Webb or Marvin beat Dungey and Tomac today on a 450. Not really but they could if they do what it takes.”
Does Cooper Webb remind you of any rider past or present? What’s his ceiling?
Both Webb and Martin remind me of RC a little by the way they ride and their determination. Obviously Webb is dominating this West Coast championship and he’s one of the 3 favorites for the 250MX National championship this summer. His ride this weekend was once again pretty good after being 9th on the first lap. But, he’s 10 times better than the 8 guys he had to pass in 15 laps to win the race. He obviously has a huge potential. He already showed us that last summer in motocross. I am not the guy that gets super excited by 250 guys until I see them ride the big class with the big boys. The 250 class is a stepping stone for the premier class. Since the 90’s we’ve seen and speculated on 125/250 riders way too much and most of them disappointed us in the 250 2 stroke/450 4 stroke classes.
I am not saying he’s going to struggle in the big class. I am just saying that we have to let them do their thing in the 250, win races, titles and see what they’re gonna do in 450. It’s exactly like Marvin. They both have a huge potential but they’ll have to use it at its fullest in the 450 class. Could I see Webb or Marvin beat Dungey and Tomac today on a 450. Not really but they could if they do what it takes. It’s like RV going to the GPs. People said he was gonna win. Some said he was gonna get beat. There is no point speculating on potential and trying to see what the “ceiling” of riders is. In 1990, while riding a KX 125, no one knew nor expected McGrath was going to win 72 SX races and 7 championships… I think we have to enjoy the riders that are doing good right now and we have to wait to see what they will become, a bust, a top 5 guy or a legend. It just takes time.
You’ve been vocal on Peick before but it looks like his fitness has come back a bit and he made his first career podium, thoughts on that?
Weston has come a long way since being a privateer rider on a Suzuki. He’s taken a different path than anyone else. He struggled in SX 5 years ago and it took him a while to get a decent ride. It took him 50+ races to get a podium which might be some sort of a record. He’s been grinding for years and it’s cool for him to finally get a podium. It’s kind of a success story on its own actually. He has shown better speed than ever before this year. His racing top speed has been good for a while now. Do I think he’s as bad ass as most any fans with an internet connection and a VitalMX account think? Not really. Do I think he could’ve been on the podium a long time ago by being in better shape? Yes. He has the potential to be even way better. His riding style is different but his speed is there. He’s a racer and rides with an interesting fighting spirit. Do I think he works as hard and he’s as in shape as everyone think? Not really either.
He has a long way to go in the fitness department and if he worked on it, it would help him tremendously. With his first 8 laps speed, Peick could be a contender to win races. Here is a little data from Santa Clara. If we compare Weston’s lap times to Anderson, who finished 4th and was 10th on the first lap (Weston was 5th), and Dungey on the first 10 laps, Weston gained around 8.3 seconds on Anderson and lost “only” 3.6 seconds on Dungey.
On the last 10 laps, Weston lost 6.5 seconds on Anderson and 12 seconds on Dungey. If Anderson and Seely were closer to Weston at the 10 lap mark, they would’ve gave Peick a run for his money for the last podium spot. Getting a podium in SX is great but I’m not here to blow smoke up anyone ass. Weston is definitely doing good but I like to see anyone ride at their full potentiel. As far as today, we haven’t seen the best of Peick yet. Now, it’s up to him to go to work, lose even more weight and become an athlete. Nowadays in our sport, if you’re not an athlete you can’t succeed. The ball is in his court…
“He was once again this weekend over aggressive on the bike and towards the other riders. I’ve seen him take cheap and unnecessary shots at guys that would’ve made me furious if I was on the short end of it.”
Barcia’s missed some time with injury and he’s got two races down now…what’s your take on it?
I am shaking my head just by reading the question. Justin will be Justin I guess. Nothing really changes… He was once again this weekend over aggressive on the bike and towards the other riders. I’ve seen him take cheap and unnecessary shots at guys that would’ve made me furious if I was on the short end of it. I’ve said it (too?) many times, Justin will have to rethink his all riding if he wants to be in front again. He will not be successful by stuffing guys left and right and reeving the shit out of a 450. Too much “stop and go” in the turns because he doesn’t open his turns, too many seat bounces, too many revs, too much riding a wide bike and stuffing the guys behind him.
Nick Wey won the semi, got a season-best 10th in the main. You’ve been friends with him, teammates with him and it’s good to see. With him ending his career soon, thoughts on him as a racer and his career?
Nick is one of the good guys. He’s been grinding the last few year with his own team. You gotta respect him by building a team and being at the races as a rider. The easy route would’ve been to quit racing and start training kids with rich dreaming parents. Nick is a huge fan of the sport and he’s very passionate about it. But, we all get older and became not as competitive. He had a great career, rode for prestigious teams and made some money in the good days of our sport. I am happy for him that he got a top 10 this weekend. My ex-wife was babysitting his kids this weekend and everyone was excited to see him get a top 10. He was riding at Yamaha of Troy when I was factory Yamaha rider so we rode often together.
Nick Wey scored a season best 10th place in Santa Clara…won the semi also!
He was always cool to me and I remember our hours of shoveling at the Yamaha track way before the track builders were servicing the tracks on a weekly basis like today. He made fun of my accent often and we still joke about it today. I also helped him a few years ago at the practice track and at the races. I’ll be happy for him when he’ll hang up the boots and starts a new chapter in his life. He’s a cool dirt bike rider and has an awesome family. He’s a winner in my book!