Friday
Sep222017

Some Husky History

CHRISTER HAMMARGREN: HUSKY GOOD OLD TIMES

Swede Christer Hammargren never dominated the motocross world, but he was an avid racer with several championships and titles to his credit. The lanky rider from the Smaland district had his best seasons from 1967 until the middle of the 1970s, during which time he mostly enjoyed factory support from Husqvarna.

From a young age, Hammargren had an early interest for the motoring world. He was born in Vaggeryd on October 5th, 1944. Living a mere 30 kilometres away from the Husky factory, Christer soon took an interest in offroad racing, which at this time of course was dominated by motocross.

In his teenage years Hammargren went from being a keen fan idolising the country’s most well-known names such as Torsten Hallman, Bill Nilsson & Rolf Tibblin, to starting to race himself. He soon found that one of his specialties was racing in deep sand. Hammargren felt at home on most kinds of circuit and was always capable of good lap times on any ground. There was just something special about his pace in the challenging and gruelling sand.

After a few years of competition, Hammargren had gained some experience and had a go at the national junior championship. The year was 1964 and the event was organised on the very famous Ulricehamn motocross track. On a muddy circuit Christer had the upper hand already in the early stages of the race. He was being chased hard by his opponents but managed to hold them off, winning his first big victory.

 

Happy and content, he went on training even harder than before. Unfortunately, he had a bad crash which resulted in severe back injuries.

 

Doctors told him it would take considerable time before he would be back in the saddle when they learned that Christer was determined to make his comeback in motocross. After several months in plaster, Hammargren could finally start practising again, but it took a lot of determination and a long time before he was back on track.

I went to my chiropractor maybe fifty times before my back healed and recovered,” Christer remembers.

Christer Hammargren’s international breakthrough came in 1967 when he managed to finish second in the Swedish 500cc Grand Prix round. As ever he was riding Husqvarna, who by this time had opened their eyes and closely followed the talented rider from Vaggeryd. In Hammargren’s first world championship season the Swede managed to finish in seventh position overall in the final 500cc standings.

His biggest success came when Hammargren took part in the 250cc team championship, this year held in Payerne, Switzerland.

I was teamed up with Bengt Aberg and Bengt-Arne Bonn and we managed to beat all other nations,” told Hammargren. “It was quite a feeling being able to say that I was a world champion…. sort of…”

In the following season Christer had a really good year in the national 500cc championship. Always smiling and never far from telling another joke, Christer was a popular face in the paddocks among his international competitors. He now enjoyed full support from Husqvarna, which together with a good performance rendered him second place in the national championship standings. In the world series, he came home 10th.

Despite his breakthrough two years earlier, it was in 1969 that Hammargren really got noticed in the world of motocross. Not only did he win the Swedish 500cc championship, but he also came eighth in the top international series (the World Championship). The season started at the right level and Christer won a spring race held in Strängnäs, 80 kilometres from the capital of Stockholm.

“It was a tough race,” said Hammargren afterwards. “The muddy track made me almost blind and my shirts and riding-pants were so heavy that my trousers almost fell off!

“My girlfriend Ann-Charlotte would have some work to clean the equipment,” he laughed.

25-year old Christer won both motos in grand style, well ahead of all his competitors. He had a good season to look forward to.

In 1970 Hammargren made his best ever world championship performance coming fifth following top rider Bengt Aberg, who won his second outright 500cc title for Husqvarna. Both riders, together with Arne Kring and Ake Jonsson, also took the prestigious win in the MotoCross des Nations in the team 500cc class. The event was organized in the town of Maggiora, Italy. Christer Hammargren was at the top of his career, but it did not end there.

In 1971 he was once again selected to represent Sweden in the big-bore class team race. This time the motos were held in Vimmerby, not so far away from Christer’s home turf of SMK Värnamo. Again he was teamed up with Aberg, Jonsson and Olle Pettersson, the latter usually a 250cc rider. In Vimmerby the quartet were victorious in front of the Swedish crowd, who were cheering for their home team. Once again Christer also won the national championship for Husqvarna. This was his second local 500cc title in just three years.

Before retiring, Christer Hammargren competed for another five years on other machinery, but he never gained any bigger success before packing up his career. Later on in his life, Christer began racing in veteran motocross.

“This was of course just for fun,” said the lanky rider from Smaland, who can now look back at many successful years for the Husqvarna factory.

Friday
Sep222017

KR Talks Future

Ken Roczen: "No, I'm not racing Monster Cup."


Ken Roczen:

September 21, 2017 - As Ken Roczen accelerates his rehabilitation process, his fans’ appetite for information has increased, and we at Team Honda HRC are doing what we can to keep people abreast of developments. Last month we posted our first in a series of interviews with the German, and we clicked on our recorder again on Wednesday at Glen Helen, where Roczen was riding his factory CRF450R. Here’s what he had to say:

Team HRC: You recently spent some time in Utah, doing some riding and even exploring a few of the National Parks. Can you tell us about your trip?

Yeah, I went to St. George, Utah, a few weeks back, and it was a total blast. I did get to do some riding on some fun trails and sand dunes around there, but we were mainly there to do some hiking and exploring in the side-by-sides. We hiked The Subway in Zion, which was about a 15-mile hike that took all day. We were swimming through water, climbing down rocks, and rappelling, so that was awesome. The next day, we took the scenic way up to Moab and stopped at Bryce Canyon. Once we got to Moab, that’s where I got to use our new Honda Pioneer 1000 LE, which was such a blast. We were like rock-crawling through stuff and there was one gnarly section that everyone went around, but I wanted to go up it. I had the craziest adrenaline rush because it was pretty intense, but we made it [laughs]. Since we were gone for 10 days I was able to squeeze in a few days of riding. Like I said, we did some trails and also went to Mesquite MX, which wasn’t too far and was just a good opportunity to get some time in. I had a stock 2017 CRF450R, but it was perfectly fine for what I was doing. Right now at this stage, even though I’m doing really well, I can’t afford to be gone that long and not touch a bike.

 

Team HRC: Last time we spoke, you were getting ready to start use a brace that would help increase flexibility in your wrist and elbow. How has that been going?

My wrist and elbow are doing pretty good. The braces aren’t necessarily the most fun thing to wear, but other than having my therapist with me always, I’m doing everything that I can to get more mobility. It’s a little bit harder for me to tell a huge difference because I’m working hard every day, but other people see when I’ve made a step forward. I’m at the point now where my elbow isn’t a problem at all, riding-wise. I still have stiffness in my wrist, but at the same time it’s healed, so that’s good. I just need to keep working on the range of motion. I’ve also started wearing a wrist brace while riding, which has helped me out big-time because it has given me a little more confidence while also allowing me to relax my wrist more, if that makes sense.

 

Team HRC: You’ve obviously been released to jump, so how are things progressing with riding?

I’ve been very satisfied with my riding the last three weeks and definitely feel like I’ve made the biggest steps forward during this timeframe. Before that, I was riding but just getting back into the swing of things, so you couldn’t really call it training; it was more just sitting on the bike. Lately it’s been full speed ahead. I’m still not 100%, but I’m making my way around pretty good and am finally able to get in some motos.

Team HRC: Gauging yourself, how close to your normal speed do you think you are right now?

Even when you’re healthy and haven’t had injuries but you take some time off, you’re not going to be 100% race-ready right when you jump back on a bike. It’s tough to say right now where I’m at because I’ve just recently been able to ride more frequently and comfortably, but I’m definitely happy with how I’m progressing. All I know is that I’m going to be 100% ready when I show up to Anaheim 1. That’s what I’m working toward, and that’s what I’ve put in my head.

Team HRC: You’re out here in California doing a couple days of testing with the team. What are you working on, and how is it going?

Tuesday was a very special day for me. It was my first day back with the team practicing and testing since before my crash, and it really felt like nothing ever happened. For eight months, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines, hanging out watching everyone work and ride—feeling a little useless honestly—but that all changed yesterday. I’ve been having a blast. [Wednesday] was the second day of testing and we just worked on some suspension settings to get me more comfortable. I’ve always had a great feeling for the bike, and not that I was afraid of losing that, but I knew I was going to have to familiarize myself again with what does what on the bike when making adjustments. It came back quick though, especially with the team’s help, and I think we made good progress.

Team HRC: What are your goals and plans for the next few weeks? Is there any chance your fans will see you race at Monster Energy Cup?

No, I’m not racing Monster Cup. Even though I want to race because I miss it, I feel like it would be the wrong choice. I like to go racing when I’m fully ready, and I don’t want to step out of my comfort zone. It’s too early to start thinking about racing, especially for this race. I’d rather put in the time I need riding because Anaheim is when it really matters. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing and getting in as much outdoor riding as possible to continue to build my strength and finesse on the bike before switching to supercross mid-October.

Thursday
Sep212017

27th Annual DC Vet Homecoming Race Report

 

27th Annual DC Vet Homecoming Race Report

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (September 19, 2017) - The legendary High Point Raceway in Mount Morris, Pennsylvania hosted a total of 406 entries, along with racer familes, as the 27th Annual DC Vet Homecoming, presented by Lojak's Cycle Sales, took place this past weekend, September 16 and 17. This special event is held annually and serves as a tribute to the veterans of motocross and "Big Dave" Coombs.

The namesake of the event, "Big Dave" Coombs, was one of the most influential motorcycle pioneers in the history of motocross and off-road racing. Together with his wife and partner Rita, from their home in Morgantown, West Virginia, Coombs was a driving force behind the creation of motocross and off-road motorcycle racing as we know it today. To honor his involvement, this special event takes place annually at High Point Raceway, a National track co-founded by Coombs.

The ultimate throwback motocross event took place this weekend at High Point Raceway.

The ultimate throwback motocross event took place this weekend at High Point Raceway. Eric Doty

High Point Raceway hosted an epic 'throwback' fun-filled weekend of racing and activities with the Grand Prix Moto-X Country race kicking off the festivities on Saturday, September 16. With a unique mix of obstacles including grass track, woods sections and motocross track, Butler's Shane Durham and Tarentum's Ryan Lojak put on the ultimate show for fans. The duo swapped the lead back and forth multiple times, resulting in a last turn pass for Durham to take the win.

Sunday's 27th Annual DC Vet Homecoming was fully dedicated to motocross, offering classes ranging from 65cc support to 60+ classes. West Virginia native and part-time AMA professional motocross racer, Charles Bright, was also in attendance. After finishing third in the GP Pro division the day before, Bright raced three different vintage classes on Sunday. Bright made a clean sweep in Vintage 2 and MX 125 Two-Stroke, and his 4-5 moto score vaulted him to third overall in Vintage 3.

Part-time AMA Pro Motocross racer, Charles Bright, experienced what it was like to race years ago where he participated in three different vintage bike classes.

Part-time AMA Pro Motocross racer, Charles Bright, experienced what it was like to race years ago where he participated in three different vintage bike classes. Eric Doty

Pittsburgh's Ray Niebel went 1-1 for the 55+ class win, while securing second in 50+ A and fourth in 45+ A. Apollo native Steve Roman Jr. went virtually untouched en route to the 25+ A and 30+ A division wins. Longtime Racer Productions staff member Jessica Coombs made her 40+ debut, where she finished seventh in the highly-competitive 40+ B/C class, in addition to winning the Women 25+ class and finishing second in the Industry division.

The Vintage Bike Show competition consisted of bikes ranging from pre-1970 to 2005. Four different people walked away with blue ribbons, while John Kreps' topped two classes.

Vintage Bike Show Class Winners:

  • Golden: Tim Cochran - 1970-1971 Husqvarna 360 8-speed
  • Pre-Modern: Mick Spizak - 1980 Suzuki RM 100
  • Modern: John Kreps - 1985 KX 125
  • Millennium: John Kreps - 199/8 Suzuki RM 125
  • Mini Cycle: Paul Frey - 1971 Yamaha JT-1

The vintage contests continued with the best old-school race gear where Jim Sprites' rare vented Suzuki race jersey outshined the rest. Carl Davis' 1975 Mid-Ohio Trans-Am program won the oldest program award with its depiction of the first double jump on the cover, along with a signed event ticket by former world champion and current Factory KTM team manager, Roger Decoster. In the other vintage contests, the memories were relived with a 1970 Appalachia Lake t-shirt earning Tim Kent the gold medal.

Tim Cochran's 1970-1971 Husqvarna stole the show in the Golden Era of the Vintage Bike Contest.

Tim Cochran's 1970-1971 Husqvarna stole the show in the Golden Era of the Vintage Bike Contest. Eric Doty

Along with bragging rights and future bench racing stories, all Vintage Contest winners received two all-day pit passes for the 2018 High Point National, in addition to a free one-year subscription to Racer X Illustrated.

With the weekend being all about Vet Racers, it only made sense to feature an oldest competitor category. After winning two bike show classes, best old-school trophy and racing in the MX Vintage 3 class, 66-year-old Tim Cochran ended his weekend taking top honors as the "most veteran" racer.

Joe Daher made the six-hour trip from Oak Ridge, New Jersey, topping all the racers as being the Furthest Traveled Competitor where he took home two VIP Super Pass tickets for the 2018 High Point National - a $400 value. Daher headed home with a pair of podium finishes in Saturday's Grand Prix Moto-X Country race in 40+ A and Sportsman. Daher also raced on Sunday in the 45+ A and Vintage 2 divisions.

The weekend hosted riders and their families from neighboring states who all enjoyed the electrifying atmosphere throughout the event. Family friendly fun was generated with a mix of 80's music, karaoke, bench racing, Blackwater 100 videos, bone fire, corn hole, barbeque dinner and a swap meet.

The 1980 500cc High Point winner, Chuck Sun, made the trip from Nevada to serve as the honorary grand marshal. Sun added another win to his resume on Saturday in the 50+ A class aboard his RG Honda-backed machine, proving why he belongs to the American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Fame which he was inducted into in 2003.

Racer Productions looks forward to seeing everyone back at next year's DC Vet Homecoming on September 22 and 23, 2018. For more information on this past weekend's activities please call (304) 284-0084 or visit the official website at www.racerproductions.com. Also follow High Point Raceway on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for exclusive content and to catch the latest news.

Wednesday
Sep202017

2017 Lead Belt National Enduro

Steward Baylor Jr. grabbed his second win of the season with an impressive performance at this weekend’s Lead Belt National Enduro in Park Hills, Missouri. The SRT Racing-backed Baylor won four of the six tests, claiming the win by 43-seconds over his brother, Grant, while series point leader Thad DuVall finished third, another 15 seconds back.

Wednesday
Sep202017

Championship the Goal for Herlings

Championship now the goal for Herlings after rookie MXGP campaign

 

Source: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Jeffrey Herlings is aiming for a premier class title after completing his rookie season in the MXGP World Championship in second position behind newly-crowned champion and teammate Antonio Cairoli.

The multi-time MX2 world champion endured a difficult start to the season, bouncing back to score six overall wins, three of which were the final three rounds of the series including yesterday’s finale in France.

The Dutchman revealed entering the top division was a reality check, which he now believes will set him up nicely for an assault at the title in 2018 with additional experience and adequate preparation.

“Six overall wins this year and eleven podiums,” said Herlings. “It has been good and I really want to thank Red Bull KTM. They have always believed in me and stuck behind me.

“The second part of the season we were good and strong and have won five out of the last six and I’m super pumped about that. It was a shame about the beginning and the injury but congrats to Tony [Cairoli] again because he was the most consistent and maybe also the smartest rider this season.

“I have learned a lot and I underestimated the guys. I was living in a cloud in the winter and I should have been doing other things. I had a reality check at the first round and I knew I had to change and stick to my programme. I think I am good to go for next year. Our bike set-up is good now and we have experienced a lot – hopefully next season we can move one step up.”

Herlings rounded out the series with a 3-1 scorecard to capture the final overall on offer, and will now set his sights on the prestigious Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations at Matterley Basin, Great Britain, where he’ll represent The Netherlands at the 1 October event.

Wednesday
Sep202017

Jeff Ward – MXoN Legend


Two riders stand tall as the winningest riders at the Motocross of Nations. Jeff Smith of Team Great Britain, and Jeff Ward for Team USA have won the event on seven occasions. Ward, who rode in the golden era of Team USA at this event was as tough as they came, and just as determined.

As far as how important Ward looked at this event, it meant everything to him, to be able to represent his country against the best in the world.

“They are high up there (his MXoN victories). It’s a super hard event, you can see it now, we don’t win it every year. There are great riders over there and they can ride those tracks. The outtake it takes to bring all the equipment over there and back in 1983 and 84 when we rode over there, we ran 250s and 500s, so we had two separate classes, that made it even more difficult.”

It seems though as if the MXoN legend doesn’t feel the current generation of riders felt the same as him. A different generation.

“I just stepped up to the plate. I had great team-mates, and we all worked together, and even though most of us didn’t get along through the season, we went there as a team and helped out with everything to make it happen. I don’t know, maybe nowadays it seems a little more individual. Maybe because I was from Scotland, that is why I rode good over there, and we got lucky a few times.”

Of course Ward himself didn’t always make the trip when asked, and like Ricky Johnson in his time as a member of the unbeatables, he stepped aside to make sure Team USA had the best chance of winning.

“The only time I didn’t go was in 1986 in Maggiora, Italy, when they wanted me to ride a 125. Kawasaki didn’t have a rider in the 125 class that year so we didn’t have a really good bike. I hadn’t ridden one in two years. I didn’t have the best year in 1986. I won races and could have got championships, but had bad luck. I just kind of turned it down because I was going to be the weak link.”

Tuesday
Sep192017

More From Vet MXdN 2017

 

Monday
Sep182017

Ricky Talks MXoN

Ricky Carmichael interview – MXoN


America’s leading motocross journalist, Eric Johnson sat down with the GOAT, Ricky Carmichael and asked him a bunch of question for RacerXonline (here) Eric was kind enough to let us have these three questions right here, talking about the MXoN and the current crop of GP riders.

Okay RC, everybody wants to hear what the GOAT has been up to. How have things been going with the one and only Ricky Carmichael?

I have a really busy fall coming up and some really fun, exciting events starting with the Motocross of Nations here in a few weeks. I’m really excited to go back. I haven’t been to the Motocross of Nations since 2007—my last race! That was the last Motocross of Nations I’ve been to. I’m really excited about going there and especially to be going to the UK. I love going to that country. It’s always a great time. I’m really excited to see all the fans and to spend face time with them and maybe do some hot laps with [Stefan] Everts for all the fans. That should be pretty fun. I’m ecstatic about that.

The Motocross of Nations and trying to get our guys to line up for that deal. You always went. Even when things weren’t totally going your way, you always went. What do you think?

I was telling somebody this the other day: I remember in 1997, my rookie year, I had a really healthy points lead. I was the dominant guy when it was time to for the Motocross of Nations team to be picked. They ended up not picking me. They took Steve Lamson over myself. In light of everything, that probably was the right decision, but I was pretty butt-hurt about it. It was an honor to go to the Motocross of Nations and to be invited to that race. In my day, if you could win any title and be selected to represent the USA at the Motocross of Nations, I mean that was one of the greatest honors. So, that was always one of my goals. Times have definitely changed. It’s not like that anymore. I’m not exactly sure why. They’re racing the same amount of races that everyone else did when everyone was going. It’s sad to see. It really is. I’m still trying to figure out why it is the way it is. If they have an injury, then they have an injury. I raced the Motocross of Nations in Zolder, Belgium, and we did pretty good. We didn’t win as a team, but it was one of the best races of my life and I had a blown out ACL. You can’t always blame injuries on everything. It doesn’t mean that I don’t respect our racers. I have a tremendous amount of respect for our guys. They’re allowed to make their decisions, you know what I mean? It’s just different times. I’m still looking into why no one wants to do it, other than they just want time off. And why isn’t it an honor to them to be picked?

Last topic. There has been a lot of talk over the past month or so about how Jeffrey Herlings and Antonio Cairoli and a host of other MXGP guys are taking over global motocross and that the American-based guys aren’t as fast as them and are losing speed and … what do you make of all that?

Well, I think the GP guys are really good. I mean, I love watching them. They definitely have a lot of speed right now. They really, really do and it’s cool to see. As far as the debate centering on if the GP riders are better than the US riders? I think they’re all good. I think they’re both good at what they do. I think it totally depends on the situation, you know? Honestly, I just think it depends on the day. I don’t look into it as much as everyone else does. I do know and feel that there are faster guys coming from the GPs now than there was in my day. There were just a few back in my day when I was coming up. However, those few were some of the greats. I mean, Stefan Everts, the guy is a complete legend in his own right. I think there is more of them now and there are faster guys, for sure. It just depends on the day, in my opinion.

Sunday
Sep172017

Vet MXDN

VMXdN – Saturday Highlights


It was a day of legends at day one of the VMXdN 2017. Take a look at the highlights from the Saturday at the VMXdN at Farleigh Castle. News we have received is that Team Great Britain lead after the two motos.

Neville Bradshaw leading the Brits, winning the two EVO motos from Mike Brown and Kurt Nicoll, then Mike Brown and Brian Wheeler, with the top three scores of each team, counting towards the overall result the Brits look hard to beat.

British legend, Kurt Nicoll won both over 50 EVO races ahead of American Doug Dubach and Australian James Deakin. EMX champion Brad Anderson won both motos of the EVO 500cc class, while former American 125cc champion Mike Brown won both motos of the Twinshock and former American champion and MXoN hero, John Dowd won both motos of the Over 50 Twinshocks

 

Sunday
Sep172017

DeSalle Recovering

Clement Desalle on the road to recovery from broken C6 vertebra



Clement Desalle is currently recovering at home from his crash during the opening moto of the penultimate round of the FIM MXGP Motocross World Championship at Assen in the Netherlands last weekend.

Until last weekend the 2017 season had been a good one for Clement Desalle and the Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing Team as they were in contention for a top three finish in the FIM MXGP World Championship.

Winners of two GPs this season Clement and the team were confident before Assen as the Belgian rider had enjoyed his first GP win with Kawasaki at this track one year ago. But the season ended for Clement with a crash during the first heat, when he landed heavily from one of the biggest jumps of the artificial track built in front of the main grandstand at the famous road race facility.

After several examinations, first at the track and later in Belgium, it has been confirmed that Clement suffered a broken C6 vertebra without displacement; he will need to rest for several weeks to recover but according to the medical experts he will not have any more disturbance from this injury once he has recovered.

 


Desalle in action through the year
 

"I’m disappointed as I can’t finish the championship and fight for the top three in the series, but I’m also glad as my doctor confirmed to me that I will have no further trouble with my vertebrae in the future," Desalle said.

"We had a good season with the team as I won two GPs and got some other podiums but the goal was of course to do the entire series; there’s a great atmosphere in the team, we know each other really well and we have reached a high level as we are the leading Japanese brand in the championship. Concerning my injury I feel pretty lucky as it was a big crash; the sand was wet and heavy due to the rain and just before one of the biggest jumps I came in a softer part of the track and lost my balance.

"I went over the bars and hit the ground pretty hard; I had feeling in all my limbs and could move them, but I had a lot of pain in my back. Now I have to rest for a few weeks, which is not easy as I’m used to being very active, but there’s nothing else I can do except accept the situation," the Frenchman concluded.