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SEPT. 1, 2014 – BY ERIC SHIRK
At 10:00 AM on Wednesday July 30, 2014, the 250 B Limited Class approached the line for their first moto at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch. At Loretta’s, it’s a known fact that the B classes are more stacked than a can of Pringles. And this year was no different. As previous title-holders Chase Bell, Alex Frye, and Ryan Surratt approached the gate, I quickly realized this moto was going to be tough to predict. However, I don’t think anyone anticipated the upset that was about to occur. As the checkered flag flew and the dust cleared, shockingly, it was the number 19 Rock River Yamaha grabbing that front row stand under the paddock tent.
Aboard this motorcycle was 17 year-old rippa’ Bradley Taft, out of Nixa Missouri. And no, he didn’t just win the first moto. He commanded the entire race, leading 9 out of 10 laps and set the fastest lap time by over half a second. Moto 2 wasn’t much different either, as he went on to win that moto as well. As the third and final moto approached though, he had to finish in the top 4 to securely wrap up the championship. As the riders took their site lap and the mechanics stomped every inch of their chosen gate, a lot of people wondered if Bradley was honestly capable of pulling this off and grabbing his first championship. To be honest, I’ve known Bradley for quite some time, and I did not expect him to keep as calm, cool, and collected as he did. I’m not taking anything away from the kid. He’s an incredible rider, but he’s had a history of losing his head at amateur nationals due to a lack of confidence. He will tell you that himself.
However, during the third moto at Loretta’s this issue was nowhere to be found. Bradley got up into the third place spot, and in a very veteran-like fashion, eased his way to the finish line to grab the title. At this point, I heard a lot of comments about this race around the pits. Obviously there were countless people that said things like, “That was awesome!” or “That was a great ride for Bradley!” However, I think the comment that I heard most was, “Where the hell did that come from?” It was asked rightfully so because prior to this year, Bradley’s best overall finish at Loretta Lynn’s was a 7th place in Schoolboy 1 in 2013.
Well, “Where the hell…” that came from is a place called “The Grindstone Compound”. Bradley has been to other training facilities before (I figured I’d say that before I see it in the comments). However different training programs work for different people, and Grindstone seems to be working quite well for Bradley. This is no surprise to me though, because part owner Carrie Schehr and the entire Schehr family are incredibly committed to creating the best Motocross training compound in the country. In my opinion, the work ethic that it takes to be successful in running a training facility is most definitely present, so it should be no problem for the entire family to reach their dreams. For instance, throughout the few weeks that I was able to stay at Grindstone, Carries’ son Gage (or some of you may know him as Lil Geez, Geezy, Young Geez etc.) would actually have to bribe her to stop working. Add in the fact that riders that attend the Grindstone Compound have access to their own work bay in the race shop, RV Hook-ups, training at the Rockwell Training Facility, mental coaches, nutrition plans and full meals cooked for them, transportation to tracks in SoCal, and a dope house in southern California. And you have a mathematical equation that equals motocross racing success.
Recently, Bradley broke out the boots as a Hired Gun in the first round of the Vurb Classic last weekend at Oatfield. To no surprise, he went on to win the 250 A class on Saturday. The consistency continued on Sunday with two 2nd place finishes, in the Open Pro and 250 A class, proving to me that Loretta’s was definitely no fluke. Overall, I’m glad to see that all the hard work is finally paying off for you buddy. It’s been rad to see you progress from that nervous young man on that I saw ride in 2011, to one of the most talented riders in the country. Congratulations, Bradley. Keep up the good work.
This article was originally posted at Vurbmoto by Eric Shirk HERE
PICKERINGTON, Ohio. (Aug. 29) — With a successful first season at the professional level complete, GEICO Honda 250 rider Matt Bisceglia’s on-track performance was recognized by the industry when he was named the 2014 Pro Motocross Series Rookie of the Year.
“It was really awesome to win rookie of the year,” Bisceglia said. “I actually had no idea I had won it initially because since I had been injured for the last couple races I didn’t get to go to the banquet. One of the mechanics sent me a picture of the award and told me I won it. All I could think was, ‘Oh, that’s so awesome.’
“I’m just really happy to win, especially with all the other rookies that I was running against. I had ups and downs throughout the year. I think some things could have gone a little bit better, but I have learned from my first year. I’m going to use my off-season as a time to build and work on what I have to in order to come back strong next year.”
While he is very proud of his accomplishment after his initial season on the professional circuit, Bisceglia is already focused on making improvements for next year. In true racer fashion, he has goals of being a front-runner for the entire 2015 season.
“Next season I want to be a little bit stronger,” Bisceglia. “I started off the season in the top 10 in the first three rounds. I was pretty happy with that, but obviously I still wanted to build off of that.
“I want to be able to eliminate little injuries and put myself in a good position to where stuff like that won’t happen. I’m going to learn from my mistakes and hopefully stay consistently in the top five in outdoor competition next year. I think that would be a good goal right now because the competition is really stacked. I want to set my sights even higher than that but I have a lot of work to do. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m looking forward to it in this off-season.”
TOOELE, Utah (Aug. 23) — The GEICO Honda 250cc motocross team bounced back from a difficult race in Indiana to post three top-10 finishes at the season-ending Utah National on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park.
Justin Bogle finished fourth overall, Zach Osborne was ninth, and first-year rider R.J. Hampshire 10th. Teammate Zach Bell battled through pain from a broken collarbone to finish 16th overall.
Bogle just missed the podium, finishing sixth and second in the two motos.
“It was good,” Bogle said. “I actually felt like I rode really well both motos. I didn’t get the best start in the first moto and actually made quite a few passes on quite a few people. I felt good but just didn’t get the result I wanted.”
A better start propelled Bogle to a podium finish in Moto 2.
“In the second moto I got a better start,” Bogle said. “Still not anything incredible but enough to work with. I got up to second and (Jeremy) Martin was riding incredible. None of us really had much for him in that moto at all. I’m happy with it; it was one of my best motos of the season.”
Bogle, the reigning 250 East Supercross champion, ended up fifth in the outdoor points standings.
“It’s pretty funny,” Bogle said. “Last year I kind of ended up in the same area as far as points, but this year was 10 times better than last year. I just had a couple DNFs, a couple bad races that really hindered me in points, but all in all it was a good year to build off of to come in next year and be a title contender.”
Injuries limited Osborne to four motocross races in 2014, but Utah was his best performance of the season with seventh- and ninth-place moto finishes.
“The first moto I got a really good start,” Osborne said. “I just struggled in the beginning trying to find a good rhythm. I had like a 10-spot lull, and then I started to come back in the second half of the moto and ended up seventh, which I was happy with since this is only the second moto that I have actually finished this season since being back.
“The second moto I had a really bad start and ended up mid-pack but worked my way up to the top 10. Then I had a little off-track excursion but got back up to ninth. It was OK; I’m glad to be leaving here safe. On to next year.”
Next season looks bright for Hampshire, the youngster who burst onto the motocross scene with an outstanding performance in the Amateur National Motocross Championship earlier this month.
Making his third pro motocross start, Hampshire posted his best overall finish with a ninth and 11th in the two motos.
“The motos today were good,” Hampshire said. “These motos were the best out of the three races I have done. Practice did not go so well for me today, but we made a lot of changes to the bike, which I think helped a lot. I think the bike performed well.
“This is my first time ever racing at a high altitude like this. This track is probably 3,000 feet above what I am used to racing at, so it hurt my body bad, but it’s all a learning process and I’m glad I did these last three races to get my feet wet. I need to show these boys don’t mess with me, and I’m ready to work.”
Bell found out earlier in the week his collarbone was broken from a crash during the Indiana race, but he fought through with moto finishes of 16th and 15th.
“Today was a good day for me considering how I am,” Bell said. “I was glad I was able to race and score some points. Last week I broke my collarbone in the first moto but did not even know I did until after I finished out the day, so I raced the first and second moto with that broken collarbone and not knowing. I found out last Monday it was broken.
“I’m glad I was able to race here this weekend or else I would have been one race short of finishing all rounds.”
TOOLE, Utah. (Aug. 21) — Still chasing that coveted first 250 moto win, GEICO Honda rider Justin Bogle is determined more than ever to make it happen at the last race of the season, the Utah National at Miller Motorsports Park, Aug. 23, in Toole.
“I’m really looking forward to heading to Utah this weekend,” Bogle said. “I did well in last year’s race there, so I hope that success carries over to this year. I just want to finish out my motocross season on a high note. The ultimate high note would be to get that first moto win, but nothing less than a podium finish is acceptable to me.”
Facing different conditions this Saturday on the elevated course of Utah, Bogle isn’t concerned that it may affect his results. Aside from past experience of riding in high altitude, he has already started to prepare for what he may encounter this weekend.
“Miller Motorsports Park is an elevated course and will be quite a switch from where we were just at,” Bogle said. “As far as the altitude goes during the moto, I’m not concerned with it actually. While some riders may not be used to it, I’ve prepared for it accordingly and could adapt to it regardless.”
Following teammate Bogle’s lead, Zach Bell pulled out a solid effort at the Indiana National and wants to better that 17th-place finish this weekend. With the threat of rain looming once again, Bell hopes his previous experience with mud will pay off again.
“The way I look at it is we are making progress race after race,” Bell said. “It’s still not the finish I ultimately want but I can’t complain. I’m just glad to still be healthy enough to finish out the 2014 season in Utah.
“It’s going to be another tough track, especially if the call for rain is true. Hopefully, I can learn from last week’s race in the mud and apply it to Utah if that is the case.”
Not getting the finish he would have liked last weekend in the mud, GEICO Honda rider Zach Osborne knows he has overcome situations much worse than that. After an injury early on took him out for the majority of the season, he is more focused on continuing to move forward and make progress.
“This weekend I’m just looking to end the season on a positive note for myself and the team,” Osborne said. “I really want something for me to be able to hang my hat on for all the work I’ve done to get back on the bike this summer. And even though I’ve heard there’s another chance of rain this weekend, I think we’ll have a chance to get a good finish. It will be tough, rain or no rain, but I’m looking forward to it.
“Racing in the altitude makes everything a little bit tougher and a little bit more strenuous. I think it’s going to come down to whoever can adapt the best to the environment. Last year I had some really good races at altitude, so I don’t see that as being an issue for me this year.”
Also coming off a disappointing finish in Indianapolis, R.J. Hampshire, the newest GEICO Honda 250 rider, has already put the past behind him and instead turned his focus to his first race in Utah.
“My expectations are still the same as they were for my first round in Unadilla,” Hampshire said. “I just want to go out there, do the best I can, and have as much fun as possible. So far that approach has helped me to learn a lot. No matter the outcome in Utah, I am really looking forward to my future with the GEICO team.”
Even though the young rider has never ridden on a course at the same elevation as Miller Motorsports Park, Hampshire isn’t nervous about the effects it may have.
“I don’t believe the altitude will affect me that much but who knows,” Hampshire said. “I have never ridden in an altitude like this, so it will be a learning experience for sure. I’m just going to look at it like any other race, and hopefully I can learn to adapt as I go.”
Looking for the ultimate comeback, the GEICO Honda 250 team will take to the track for the first 250 moto at 4 p.m. MDT and the second moto at 6 p.m., with live coverage on ProMotocross.com. Delayed coverage of the second 250 moto will begin at 1 a.m. on NBCSN.
(Vaughan, ON – August 18, 2014) The final round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Walton, ON this past Sunday saw Bobby Kiniry finish the season with a third overall in MX1 on the strength of 2-3 motos. As expected, Kiniry, who had more than his share of setbacks this season, ended the points chase with a No.7 ranking.
“Finishing up on the podium was a good way to end the season. And taking into account some of the DNFs I encountered along the way, leaving Walton with a single digit plate is some consolation,” Kiniry said. “At this time I would like to thank the entire team and sponsors for their support, encouragement, and belief in my abilities. Together we salvaged what we could to make 2014 a season we can still be proud of. ”
Although there were no podiums for Kiniry’s Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha teammates Kyle Chisholm in MX1 and Shawn Maffenbeier in MX2, both riders wrapped up the season on a positive note. Chisholm moved up another notch in the title hunt to claim a final No.4 ranking while Maffenbeier secured the No.3 ranking he had held down for most of the season on the points scoreboard.
CRAWFORDSVILLE, Ind. (Aug. 16) — In a battle of the elements, GEICO Honda 250cc rider Justin Bogle lead the GEICO Honda front with an overall 11th-place finish at the Thor Indiana National after ending 12th in Moto 1 and ninth in Moto 2.
“I think the track would be pretty cool if it wasn’t so muddy,” Bogle said. “Even though the conditions were difficult I can’t complain because we all have to race the same thing whether this was a new track or one we go to every year.”
While he struggled to keep his footing in the first 250 moto, Bogle was able to apply what he learned from the earlier moto to rally to a top-10 finish in the second.
“I didn’t have the best first moto like I would have liked,” Bogle said. “I went down four or five times throughout the race and had to pull in to get new goggles at one point. I ended up 12th in that moto, which isn’t my best day, but these conditions make anything possible.
“The second moto went a little better for me. I was able to move my way into the top 10 at the end, and in this circumstance I’ll take it. Obviously, I would have loved a podium, but today was more about fighting the course and not fighting the other riders on the track.”
After running upfront with the leaders at the start of Moto 1, GEICO Honda teammate Zach Bell went down partway through the race, agitating a previous injury. He was scored 26th after being unable to finish the first moto but rallied to a 14th in Moto 2 to give him an overall 17th for the day.
“Today started off really well for me,” Bell said. “I was able to improve in practice before the first moto. I got a great start in Moto 1 and was running up top with those guys like I’ve been trying for all season. Unfortunately, I just went down and hurt my collarbone.
“With my collarbone hurting from the first moto, it definitely affected my riding in the second moto. I tried my best though to keep the bike upright and digging through the mud. I was determined to redeem myself and finish the second moto. I finished 14th, which was a big improvement from my earlier DNF. Now I just hope to continue improving going into the last race of the year.”
In only his second race back from injury, Zach Osborne was able to combat through the elements but ultimately had his day cut short. A 30th-place finish in Moto 1 and a 35th place in Moto 2 landed him with a 35th overall, but Osborne isn’t defeated about his chances of success to come.
“The first moto was a rough one,” Osborne said. “I got a bad start and got stuck down in the mud right off the bat. I was able to work my way up to ninth and really started to find the flow and felt good on the bike. Unfortunately, a little technical problem ended our day in Moto 1, which was a huge bummer.
“I was ready to put Moto 1 behind me when the second moto started. I was trying to keep my rhythm on the slick track but had technical difficulties again.
“It was tough out there but it was tough for everyone as well. I hate having a double DNF day, but we will keep our heads up and charge ahead to Utah.”
Also battling issues throughout the day, standout rider R.J. Hampshire ended his day in Indiana with a 36th overall after a 32nd-place finish in the first moto and 36th-place finish in the second.
“The track looked awesome yesterday but the radar didn’t look good for today,” Hampshire said. “We got a lot of rain earlier in the day during practice. I was able to qualify fifth for the first moto and got a decent start. I was making passes, trying to move my way up, and I ended up going down. Even after getting back up, I went down again a few laps later.
“I had a terrible gate pick after how the first moto ended,” Hampshire said. “I got a decent start again for the second moto and was running around the middle of the pack. I had worked my way up to 11th in about four laps but ended up going down, causing technical difficulties. It was a tough weekend for us but we’re getting there.”
The GEICO Honda 250 team will look to rebound from Indiana when they head to the season finale, the Utah National, Aug. 23, in Toole, Utah
Vaughan, ON (August 11, 2014)
With five podium finishes and the overall in MX1 and MX2, it was a stellar weekend for Team Rockstar Energy Drink OTSFF Yamaha at Round 9 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Ulverton, QC this past Sunday.
Thanks to 3-1 motos, the team’s Shawn Maffenbeier recorded his first overall MX2 win of the season while Kyle Chisholm claimed the MX1 overall with 3-2 motos. Although a crash kept Bobby Kiniry off the podium in the first MX1 moto, which saw him finish eighth, he regrouped in the second moto with a third place finish, carding a noteworthy fifth overall on the day.
The start of the first MX1 moto put fast starter Kiniry into turn one neck and neck alongside Colton Facciotti at the head of the pack, with Facciotti grabbing the holeshot. In a bid to stick a pass on Facciotti, Kiniry washed out the front end of his YZ450F in a heavily watered turn moments later. A 15th place remount was the result on the ultra fast Ulverton track, with an eighth place finish at the checkered flag.
Meanwhile, Chisholm, who started just inside the top-10, systematically battled his way into the top-five by the halfway mark of the moto, where he then fought tooth-and-nail for third place with Nathan Bles and Teddy Maier. In the closing laps Chisholm first picked off Maier, then Bless and the final podium slot was his.
As in the first moto Kiniry again found himself up front with series points leader Facciotti at the start of moto two. And again it was Facciotti who squeezed first through the turn. This time Kiniry stayed in the top-five mix, banging handlebars with Facciotti, Tyler Medaglia, and Josh Hill.
Chisholm, who started around seventh place, quickly worked his way into the top-five, battling with the likes of Tim Tremblay, Mike Alessi, and eventually his teammate Kiniry. Tyler Medaglia, also in the top-five mix off the start, managed to stick a pass of Kiniry for second place on lap four, and on lap nine he inherited the lead from Facciotti, who stalled his bike, remounting in fifth, where he would finish the moto.
An unrelenting Chisholm stayed on the gas to displace Kiniry from second place on lap 11 and at that point the top-five were decided, with Medaglia, Chisholm, Kiniry, Alessi and Facciotti whipping across the finish line in that order.
For his efforts, Chisholm not only carded the overall win at Ulverton, he moved up in the points chase from sixth into fifth. Only 14 points down from fourth place Josh Hill, Chisholm is in a position to take over that position at the final round this Sunday in Walton.
“It’s been a long time coming, but better late than never. I felt super good on my YZ today. The bike performed like a rocket and I’m sure that if we hadn’t run out of time I could have challenged Tyler for the win. But I’m very excited with the overall win and to take over fifth place in the points,” Chisholm said.
Kiniry, who has had his share of setbacks this season, solidified his hold on seventh in the points, a position that he will end the season with, regardless of how he finishes at the final round.
In MX2 action, Maffenbeier, who had recorded the fastest qualifying time aboard his YZ250F, nailed a top-three start in the first moto. A slip and slide a few turns into the race, however, saw him rejoin the fray in sixth place. Another get-off on lap three put Maffenbeier into 10th place; by the halfway point of the moto he was back in the top-five.
Despite a big gap between himself and third-running Vince Friese, Maffenbeier wasn’t ready to call it a moto. He poured on the gas and in the closing laps managed to snag the final podium position, finishing behind Jesse Wentland and winner of the moto, Kaven Benoit.
The start of second moto had Maffenbeier up front in a drag race to turn one with Friese, which the American managed to nail. The two rivals would swap first place a number of times on the first lap, with Friese taking control of the following three laps.
On lap five Friese, Maffenbeier, and Benoit were in a fierce battle for position, which would turn into Maffenbeier’s favour when series points leader Benoit and Friese connected and went down. Maffenbeier never looked back and took the win some 15 seconds ahead of Friese to claim a well earned overall. While Friese salvaged second place Benoit had to take satisfaction with fifth at the checkered.
“I think that with this win in MX2 and Kyle’s in MX1 the team was vindicated today. We’ve had our share of challenges this season, but it only motivated us to keep regrouping and it paid off,” Maffenbeier said.
Maffenbeier’s tour de force performance not only saw him snare the overall in Ulverton, he narrowed Friese’s points advantage for second place in the title hunt to a mere two, guaranteeing a battle for runner-up at the final round that should go down to the final moto.
Round 10 of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals takes place this Sunday, August 17th at Walton Raceway in Walton, ON.
Points Standings after 9 of 10 Rounds
1. Colton Facciotti (Honda) 381
2. Mike Alessi (Suz) 337
3. Tyler Medaglia (KTM) 303
4. Josh Hill (Kaw) 295
5. Kyle Chisholm (Yam) 281
6. Teddy Maier (Kaw) 277
7. Bobby Kiniry (Yam) 234
8. Dylan Kaelin (Yam) 182
9. Morgan Burger (Yam) 151
10. Nathan Bles (KTM) 117
1. Kaven Benoit (KTM) 355
2. Vince Friese (Hon) 313
3. Shawn Maffenbeier (Yam) 311
4. Jesse Wentland (Yam) 289
5. Topher Ingalls (KTM) 219
6. Seth Rarick (KTM) 195
7. Austin Politelli (Kaw) 164
8. Jeremy Medaglia (Kaw) 153
9. Sylvain Le Gad (Yam) 152
10. Dylan Wright (Yam 145