Former factory rider David Vuillemin answers some questions from Muddy Creek
Photos by Simon Cudby
First off, what is your opinion of this JS7 WADA suspension for Amphetamines? What is your opinion on what should happen/what will happen?
I don’t want to get in the game of speculation in this matter. I don’t think I (or we) have all the info we need to come up with an objective opinion. IF he has a case of ADHD and what he got prescribed was found in his system at the level written of the prescription, then, this story is making a lot of noise for no reason. Everytime you “pee in a cup” at a doping test, they ask you if you take any medications and if you have a prescription for it. IF, from what I’ve heard from this story, it’s the case, all the paperwork should clear this theory. Then, you have to see what level was in this system and was that level of amphetamines a game changer in Supercross? That question is more about the industry and the fans to clear James’ image but also for the FIM who will decide of his future penalties/suspension.
"I give him the benefit of the doubt but I might not be the most unbiased guy to ask about Bubba because I’m a fan of his."
As for WADA, it’s either you’re clean or not. For WADA, even the use of your grandma's nose spray after sleeping with the fan on all night, will make you “not clean”. What bothers me and actually works in JS’s favour in my eyes is the fact that, if he was actually cheating, why use a substances easily detected in urine? We are in 2014 and with the amount of money a rider like Stewart has, if he wanted to cheat, don’t you think he could have used a better substance than amphetamines that would be undetectable in urine? It’s either they are stupid or the prescription is legitimate… unless the case of ADHD is a cover up… Who really knows anyway? I give him the benefit of the doubt but I might not be the most unbiased guy to ask about Bubba because I’m a fan of his.
What’s next?Depending on the level of amphetamines in his system, figuring out if it was a game changer or not, seeing that it's his first strike and if the ADHD story/prescription checks out, he should get fined and get some sort of probation. Take his points away from Seattle, his purse money, make him pay for the urine tests and fine him at least five digits. If they can prove he was cheating and everything was premeditated (is that word only used for murders?), then fine him hard and bench him for a year. There is a lot of ways to deal with this stuff and hopefully WADA/FIM will come up with something fair if it was a “fair” mistake or make him an exemple if it was actually cheating… Just my two cents but like I said in the first line of the paragraph, I don’t have enough knowledge of this story to have a very detailed opinion.
If a bunch of riders say they don't like the track, does that make it true? What do you think of the Muddy Creek track that was rutty and tricky?
I didn’t like the track last year and I surely didn’t like it this year. That track is always turning everywhere with a lot of sweepers and off cambers. Looks like they give a tractor to a 5 year old kid with ADHD on amphetamines and they told him to drive it on a field to make the layout of a MX track… They took away Steel City from the calendar but took the track and put it in Tennessee… The dirt looked really good but that’s about it for me. I would’ve hated to ride that track even if, like all you Americans say, it looked European… I think the site where the track is is pretty cool but they HAVE to change the layout to make it more open and more fun to ride. If the riders have fun on a track, it will make for better racing every time!
"We’ve seen Ryan make some uncommon mistakes lately because he has to compensate for the bad set up of his bike by something else he’s not used of doing."
Ryan Dungey was oh-so-close to sweeping the motos, what's holding him back?
I’ve been saying it in this column for a while about Ryan Dungey’s bike. I’m 99% sure that his bike keeps him away of doing better this season. At this level of competition, it’s important to have fun and being comfortable on your bike. Dungey doesn’t look like he’s having fun and doesn’t look comfortable at all! It can become frustration which can turn into making mistakes on the track. We’ve seen Ryan make some uncommon mistakes lately because he has to compensate for the bad set up of his bike by something else he’s not used of doing. I’m not sure what’s going on with RD’s bike or his testing during the week but it doesn’t look good to me. I have to give it up to RD for trying hard and not saying anything about it publicly. I respect his professionalism. Not a lot of riders would deal with it as good as he is.
Blake Baggett is back! He's won four out of the last five motos, might have been all of them if he hadn't fallen on the last lap. and looks to be on a roll right now. Thoughts on his riding and what does Jeremy Martin have to do to slow this down?
Confidence is huge in any sport. That’s what Baggett has right now. When you start proving to yourself you can win motos, your state of mind on the starting gate is way different. We see the Baggett we loved to watch a couple years ago. His commitment and never say die attitude in moto 1 at Tennessee was impressive. I felt bad for Cooper Webb because it blows to lose a moto like that but Blake gave it all. Think about if all the top 10 would be able to ride 35 minutes pinned like Baggett, how good would the raced be?
Obviously Martin knows what to do to win races. He just has to do it again but on bad days for him, like at Muddy Creek, you shouldn’t lose 20+ points in on day. That’s way too much. Like we say in the poker world, the game is all about minimising your losses. That’s what Jeremy isn’t doing in the last 3 motos. His last 3 moto scores are 6-10-6 after winning the first 5 motos of the season. That’s a huge swing. As a title contender, you’re not allowed to put yourself in situation to crash on the start. Starts are huge these days but you always have to think about what you gonna do if the worst comes. Crashing in the first turn isn’t an option! Jeremy’s pace wasn’t up to par this weekend either. Only 9th and 7th fastest in the motos on saturday. He’s gonna have to turn it around quick if he doesn’t want to see Blake and Cooper blow by him in the points standing.
Eli Tomac rode great to lead laps and go 3-3. Thoughts on his ride?
With that much time off, I’m sure he surprised everyone in the industry. 3-3 and second and third fastest in the motos. That’s pretty impressive. But, he’s Eli Tomac, a motocross specialist and the 2013 250 Champ! The kid knows how to ride MX. In moto 1, Eli was faster than moto winner, Ryan Dungey! What surprised me more in the 450 class is the rest of the field and not in a good way. What were they doing? Canard was 43 seconds behind moto winner Dungey in moto 1 and 1 minute 24 seconds (or 84sec) behind moto winner, Ken Roczen, in moto 2. And I’m only talking about the guy that went 4-4 on the day! Think about the other guys! Only 9 guys were on the lap of the winner in moto 2. And it wasn’t a mud race. Either, Dungey and Roczen are aliens or the rest of the field really need to start stepping it up! The next guy hashtagging deep field on twitter will get punched in the throat!
"The young riders have to be ready to listen, they still have a lot to learn. I’m pretty sure you can take the 6 out of the 7 top 250 guys right now in the points standing and make them a Roczen or a Tomac."
If you were starting a team tomorrow, who do you pick- Webb or Martin?
To tell you the truth, just give me one of the top seven riders of the 250 Nationals standing (ok maybe not CP, more on that later). The name of the “pick” isn’t really important at this stage of their career. What’s important is to find someone that can mold them to become title contenders in the 450 class. That’s the ultimate goal in our sport, to be a contender in the premier class. The young riders have to be ready to listen, they still have a lot to learn. I’m pretty sure you can take the 6 out of the 7 top 250 guys right now in the points standing and make them a Roczen or a Tomac. With the proper training, coaching and make them realise the dedication it takes to become one of the best in the world in this sport… I’m excluding CP from the list because he’s doing his own thing and I don’t think the guy he will listen to is born yet…
You were right, Roczen has Dungey covered so far through the first five races. He's on a roll!
I like when you tell me I was right… Roczen isn’t dominating even if it might look that way a bit. Dunge is only 16 points back which is, after 10 motos, 1.6 point a moto… If Roczen was dominating, the points lead would be twice as much. Seing how bad Ryan is looking on his bike, 16 points is nothing… But, he has to figure out his bike set up and start thinking outside the box. They have some pretty smart people in the KTM MX team, they need to make drastic changes on Dungey’s bike to make him ride at his full potential. A few click on the forks and 4mm sag on the shock will not do the trick! The team should help the Dunge keep the the number 1 plate on a KTM next year. If Roczen wins the title, he will take the number 1 plate to a yellow bike…