Thursday
Jan182018

Dakar...Price Closes

Price closes on Walkner

Posted on January 18, 2018

Toby Price has fought back from yesterday’s disappointing result to dominate stage 11 of the 2018 Dakar Rally. Antoine Meo put in another superb performance to post the third fastest time for the day while Matthias Walkner placed fifth to retain his position at the top of the provisional overall standings.

Today was the first leg of the second marathon stage at this year’s Dakar Rally. The Super Fiambalá as it has come to be known was a 280km special through the Argentinian dunes with scorching temperatures reaching over 40 degrees. Similar to yesterday’s stage, navigation was massively important as was the ability to conserve machinery as no mechanical help could be provided at the bivouac.

Toby Price was one of those riders who lost their way on yesterday’s stage 10. Riding hard to make up time on today’s stage, Price led the special from start to finish. This dominant performance moves the Australian up to third in the provisional standings, albeit close to 40-minutes down on the leader, team-mate Matthias Walkner.

Like Price, Antoine Meo was suffering from a late start position due to his result from stage 10. The Frenchman rode superbly all day battling for the runner-up spot right until the flag. A small mistake cost Meo a few minutes but the former Enduro World Champion was still able to claim third place and also improve his position in the provisional standings to fifth.

Matthias Walkner opened the road for the bikes and with stage 11 being a mixed start, the Austrian had to contend with some of the leading cars on the tracks, too. Riding consistently and again concentrating on his navigation, Walkner rode to a strong fifth place – 11 minutes down on his team-mate and winner of the stage, Toby Price. Despite losing a little time today to his rivals, the former Cross-Country Rallies World Champion still holds a comfortable advantage at the top of the standings, 32-minutes ahead of second-placed Kevin Benavides.

Matthias Walkner: “Things went pretty well for me today. I was a little nervous because I didn’t want to go wrong anywhere and lose all of the time that I gained yesterday. The stage was good, but my pace could have been a little better. I didn’t really want to end up making a mistake by pushing too hard though. I got stuck behind one of the cars later on in the stage and didn’t want to risk overtaking so that cost me a few seconds. Overall, I am feeling really good, my body is getting used to all the strain now. There are just three days to go, so I’ll keep focused and carry on.”

Leading female competitor Laia Sanz had another good day astride her KTM 450 RALLY. The Spaniard, riding sensibly and concentrating on hitting each waypoint, maintained a good pace throughout the timed special to finish in a very solid 18th place.

Stage 12 of the 2018 Dakar Rally, the second leg of the final marathon stage, will again test both rider and machine. Following a night in the bivouac with no team-assistance riders will leave Fiambalá and head for San Juan. Conserving both machine and energy will be extremely important on this 723km stage. A long 375km timed special will require good navigational and supreme physical endurance in the Argentinian heat. Winding its way through the dirt tracks and riverbeds of the San Juan region, the route could bring even more changes to the current running order.

Provisional Results Stage 11 – 2018 Dakar Rally

1. Toby Price (AUT), KTM, 4:01:33

2. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 4:03:11 +1:38

3. Antoine Meo (FRA), KTM, 4:08:04 +6:31

4. Ricky Brabec (USA), Honda, 4:09:07 +7:34

5. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 4:12:34 +11:01

Wednesday
Jan172018

Cody Cooper On A Run

Cody Cooper wants to be the man firing the shots

 

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (Honda) is the favourite to again win at the Honda NZ Grand Prix at Woodville this year.
ANDY MCGECHAN/BIKESPORTNZ.COM

Mount Maunganui's Cody Cooper (Honda) is the favourite to again win at the Honda NZ Grand Prix at Woodville this year.

MOTOCROSS: It's tough when you have a big No.1 plastered over the front and sides of your motorcycle – everyone has you in their gun sights, wants to shoot you down and take that title away.

Bay of Plenty's national MX1 motocross champion Cody Cooper can feel the pressure, although it's something he's become accustomed to over the past few years, and he is determined that it will be he who is "firing the bullets" at this year's Honda New Zealand Motocross Grand Prix at Woodville, coming up on the weekend of January 27-28.

The man from Mount Maunganui has won the main title at the Woodville GP on two occasions in the past, in 2007 and again in 2014, and he has realistic ambitions to make it a third win this season. 

He has also won the premier MX1 class at Woodville on several other occasions, although the past three years have seen Australian visitors win the event's namesake feature trophy – Kirk Gibbs taking it in 2015 and Dean Ferris in 2016 and 2017 – and that's something that Cooper aims to rectify this time around.

For each of the past five years, Cooper has moved on after Woodville to win the national MX1 crown and the 34-year-old has plans again to do that again this year, the four-round 2018 New Zealand Motocross Championships kicking off in Taranaki just a week after Woodville, on February 4.

But first there's the little matter of winning the NZ GP title.

Cooper loves racing at Woodville and his build-up to the event has been going according to plan, with him winning the MX1 class at the Waikato Motocross Championships in November and then the Auckland Motocross Championships a couple of weeks after that, before going on to dominate MX1 at the big annual Honda Summercross in Whakatane just after Christmas.

Cooper has some huge heavy hitters lining up against him at Woodville again this year and they too are expected to be faster and fitter than ever before.

Cooper would like nothing better than to become a rare three-time feature trophy winner at the iconic event.

Only five riders have won at Woodville three times or more in the past – Taranaki brothers Shayne King (an incredible 9-time Woodville winner) and Darryll King (5-time winner), Motueka's Josh Coppins (5-time winner), Tauranga's Peter Ploen (3) and Pahiatua's Ken Cleghorn (3).

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It is interesting to note that, while plenty of international visitors have won the event in the past, Kiwi riders are world class too and it is home-grown New Zealand riders who have dominated over the years.

Queenslander Gibbs won the main trophy at Woodville in 2015 after a massive battle with Cooper and, in winning that feature race, Gibbs became the first non-Kiwi in 25 years to claim the coveted New Zealand GP crown. American Willie Surratt won there in 1989 and that was the previous time that a non-Kiwi had won at Woodville.

KTM rider Gibbs is back again this season, here for Woodville and the national championship series that follows, and he is definitely one rider who will be a thorn in Cooper's side.

Kiwi internationals such as Mangakino's Kayne Lamont, Taupo's Brad Groombridge, Mount Maunganui's Rhys Carter and Takapuna's Hamish Harwood, to name just a few, have good reason to fancy their chances too.

Racing over the two days at Woodville caters for minis, juniors, women and veterans, with two 10-minute vintage motocross bike races an additional feature of Sdaturday's programme this year.

The novelty river race on Sunday is also a major crowd-pleaser.

Wednesday
Jan172018

Revlimiter Extreme Enduro highlights

 

A look at the carnage that came about during the start of Race 2 from the 2018 Revlimiter Extreme Enduro.

The start of Race 2 funneled the competitors directly up the AOMC BraapCoin Hill. THey had come down this hill earlier, but this time they had to make their way up the rocky uphill.

David Knight was in the lead as the first five racers made the right hand turn toward the hill. Knighter rode his 2018 GasGas XC 300 straight up the hill, with little trouble. Jordan Ashburn and Cory Graffunder went to follow his line up the right side fo the hill, but Ashburn faltered, causing Graffunder to falter as well. Cody Webb jumped the middle rocks to work his way up the left side of the hill. From there, chaos ensued.

This is what Extreme Enduro is all about. You want to be fast enough to be on an early row, so a mishap by a rider doesn't slow you down when you come up behind them.

Cody Webb wound up winning all the Races at the 2018 Revlimiter Extreme Enduro, Cory Graffunder was second and Jordan Ashburn was third. More videos coming, subscribe and turn your alerts on.

 

Wednesday
Jan172018

Dakar Stage 10

Gerard Farrés makes the most of the great Argentinian trap

 

  • The HIMOINSA Team leader shocks the race after Dakar 2018’s most complex stage, and gets straight into the fight for the podium.

January 16th, 2018

Belén (Argentina). After the transitionary day which took the Dakar caravan from Bolivia to Argentina, the race was resumed with one of the most complex stages in this 40th edition of the toughest motorsports event in the world.

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Extreme navigation and some treacherous terrain has caused a true revolution among all the favorites. A scenario in which experience and impeccable technique allowed Gerard Farrés to shine bright and ride an exceptional stage. Despite struggling during the first part of the special to keep up with the very high pace of the official motorcycles, has applied all his knowledge in navigation and as well as the aeronautical techniques he was taught by the team director, Lieutenant Colonel of the Air Force, Miguel Puertas, to finish third on the day and take a giant leap in the general classification climbing up to fourth position.

Like Farrés, the rest of the HIMOINSA Team riders stood out in this very complicated stage, with Dani Oliveras in eighth position, Marc Solà, sixteenth and Iván Cervantes in 24th place. Meanwhile, Rosa Romero continues unstoppable quest towards Córdoba’s finish line and has completed a new stage.

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “It was a very complicated day and from the beginning I knew that it was going to take a lot of work to keep up with the factory bikes. However, I stayed calm and tried to manage my race, blindly trusting in my navigation and applying everything I have learned with our director, Miguel Puertas, including orientation techniques used by fighter pilots to navigate through clouds. This technique, when it was very difficult to read the terrain, has helped me enormously to reach the finish line without making any mistakes. I am very happy to enter the fight for the podium, but still nothing is decided and there are still very complicated days ahead.”

Classification: Stage 10 (provisional *)

1st M. Walkner (4: 52.26)

2nd P. Quintanilla (+11.35)

3rd Gerard Farrés (+16.21)

8th Dani Oliveras (+25.25)

17th Marc Solà (+41.36)

24th Iván Cervantes (+56.01)

Tuesday
Jan162018

Price Gaining Confidence!

A long way to go in final week of Dakar says Price

Top Australian gaining confidence as rally enters Argentina.

Image: Supplied.

Red Bull KTM’s Toby Price is in a position to strike as the 2018 Dakar Rally enters Argentina, currently fourth overall following the cancellation of stage nine yesterday.

The 2016 winner has been gaining strength through the middle stages of the race and after arriving in Salta, Argentina, Price insists there is still a lot of racing left to run prior to Saturday’s conclusion.

“I’m looking forward to racing in Argentina again,” Price said, currently 7m35s outside of Yamaha’s Adrien Van Beveren. “From what we have had in previous years, I think it’s going to be quite difficult. There’s still a long way to go – a lot of kilometres left to race.

“I am happy with my pace, to be able to get this far so soon after coming back from injury is a real confidence boost. I’ll just keep on doing what I’ve been doing – taking each day as it comes – and hopefully I’ll be somewhere near at the finish.”

Stage 10 set for today is another long one, where a total of 797km will be covered on the bikes – 373km of which are timed special in the dunes and river crossings of the Catamarca Province. Navigation will be especially important, as well as the strength to keep up a good pace in the technical latter half of the stage.

Monday
Jan152018

Webb Wins in Texas

FMF KTM Factory Racing’s Cody Webb had a great start to the 2018 extreme enduro season as he took a convincing win at the RevLimiter Extreme Enduro in Decatur, Texas. 

Riding the all-new KTM 250 XC-W TPI (fuel injected two-stroke), Webb swept all three motos to earn a perfect score for the day. Webb began his dominance on Saturday, where he topped the timed qualifying sessions to earn pole position for Sunday’s racing. 

The event hosted a three-race format, each consisting of a slightly different challenge for the riders. 

“I was really happy with my riding all weekend,” told Webb. “In the final race, I was able to make it through all the lappers and open up a nice gap on the rest of the field. 

“It was really good to have my fastest lap on the final lap of the race as well. It was my first time on the all-new KTM 250 XC-W TPI and it was a great way to start the extreme enduro season for 2018.”

 

revlimiter cody webb extreme enduro enduro21 1 1080

Photo Credit: RevLimiter

Webb's clean sweep

In race one, Webb didn’t get the best start but he battled with the other riders until he was able to make a move into the lead position. From there, Webb opened up a gap on the rest of the field to ultimately take the first win after one and half hours of racing.

The second race of the day was a one-hour competition. Webb once again got off to a slow start but he patiently waited for his opportunity to attack. 

It didn’t take long for Webb to put himself out front and he rode on to ultimately finish more than seven minutes ahead of the competition. The third and final race of the day was perhaps the most challenging of them all, despite being the shortest in time. 

With only 45 minutes of racing, Webb jumped to the front right away and worked hard to create a gap on the rest of the field. 

The third and final loop of the day proved to be much more technical than the previous two, which made for a difficult time to pass lapped traffic late in the race. Despite the obstacles, Webb pushed through to earn his third victory of the day in Texas.

 

revlimiter david knight extreme enduro enduro21 628

Photo Credit: David Knight Racing

David Knight takes fourth

David Knight made the trip to Texas for the RevLimiter finishing fourth overall on his Gas Gas.

“What a fun, tough weekend racing here in Texas at the Rev Limiter,” told Knight on Facebook. “In race 1&2 I was running a good second behind Cody but had an issue so lost my clutch both races and ended fourth. 

“We got it sorted finally for race 3, a shorter track and much more difficult over 45 minutes and ran a close second closing in with a couple of laps left only to lose a few minutes when a rider had a big crash and blocked the track. 

“But well happy with the bike and myself as riding well all day and will be good with a bit of luck. Thanks to everyone for who helped me and gave me loads of support, it really was a pleasure to race in Texas again and I’ll defiantly be back soon.”

The RevLimiter marked the opening round of the new AMA Extreme Enduro Championship for 2018.

Overall Pro Results

1. Cody Webb, 1-1-1 (KTM)

2. Cory Graffunder, 2-3-3 (HQV)

3. Jordan Ashburn, 3-2-4 (BET)

4. David Knight, 4-4-2 (GAS)

5. Mitch Carvolth, 6-5-5 (KTM)

Monday
Jan152018

Dakar Stage 9 Cancelled

The organisers of the Dakar have no choice but to cancel stage 9, which was supposed to take place between Tupiza and Salta on Monday, January 15th.

Weather conditions in the area in the last few days are preventing assistance crews from refurbishing race vehicles for tomorrow's stage after the demanding marathon stage. 

The field of the Dakar will therefore head to the Salta bivouac by road. The rally will resume with stage 10 from Salta to Belén.

 

dakar rally cancelled Toby Price enduro21 1200

Photo Credit: PhotosDakar.com
Monday
Jan152018

Mammoth Bar MX Track...Will It Ever Return?

Mammoth task: Storm-damaged track stays closed

Task force mulls range of options to rebuild

By: Gus Thomson, Reporter/Columnist

The drone of a much-used motocross track near Auburn much loved by riders has been silenced for a year now, with a storm-damage closure that has no projected date for a reopening.
The Mammoth Bar Off-Highway Vehicle area had about 15 percent of its motocross track washed away by high flows on the middle fork of the American River, forcing a closure that has kept both riders and summertime rafters out.
The track is in the Auburn State Recreation Area, at the bottom of a paved, winding access road off Old Foresthill Road.
Motorcycle trails branching out from the track and parking area at the foot of the access road have also been closed since last winter.
Mike Howard, Auburn State Recreation Area superintendent, said that work is taking place to map out future possibilities for a rebuilt motocross track. In on the discussions is a task force that includes the American Motorcycle Association, Sierra Club, Friends of the River and the State Parks Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation division.
Among the options is rebuilding the track, Howard said.
State Parks is concurrently working with the off-highway recreation division on a project to reopen some of the Mammoth Bar trails, including a children’s track for smaller motorcycles.
Already completed is a drone survey conducted by a California Geological Survey to topographically map the damage. That data has been used to map out four different options for a motocross track rebuild.
But Howard said that while alternatives are under discussion there is no projected date for reopening the track.
The track has been overseen for more than 30 years by State Parks and rebuilt in the late 1990s after similar storm damage and a lengthy closure. 
Protect American River Canyons of Auburn questions the location but also realizes the site has been used by motorcyclists for several decades, the group’s board chairman Tim Woodall said.
“In the ideal world, they never would have located an OHV track by the side of a river,” Woodall said. “But it’s been there a long time and we certainly realize OHV enthusiasts need places to recreate.”
If the track can be rebuilt in the same location and not face destruction every time there is a high-water event, Protect American River Canyons would be open to the idea. 
Minimizing any potential environmental impacts and continuing to have alternating open days for motorcycles to allow other trail uses should also be considered, Woodall said.
Mammoth Bar is also a take-out area for middle fork rafters who have entered the river upstream off Driver’s Flat Road.
Woodall said that rafters who normally use the middle fork route were also shut out from access this past summer during one of the best whitewater boating seasons in some time. In talks with State Parks, Woodall said it’s appearing positive that the take-out area would be open again this spring and summer.
Monday
Jan152018

Blizzard Bowl Lewiston Idaho

Blizzard Bowl brings snowbike racing to area

Race set Sunday at Fossil Bowl motocross track near Clarkia

  • By ERIC BARKER of the Tribune

It's one of the fastest growing motor sports in the world, but local opportunities to ride snowbikes on tracks with jumps, bumps and banked turns are few and far between.

That changes Sunday, with the inaugural Blizzard Bowl snowbike race at Fossil Bowl motocross track near Clarkia. Event promoters EC Enterprises and Stix & Stones Off Road will put on what is believed to be one of the first snowbike events to be held at an established dirt bike race track.

"It's going to be on the motocross track, which is pretty unprecedented," said Eric Christiansen of Lewiston.

His company puts on popular motocross and demolition derbies at the Lewiston Roundup grounds. He said people have been clamoring for a snowbike event.

"There is not a lot of snowbike races anywhere," Christiansen said. "One of the biggest ones in the nation is at McCall, and it's in two weeks."

But most competitions featuring snowbikes - motorcycles converted into snow machines by swapping the front wheel for a ski and the rear wheel for a track - are generally held on groomed courses that lack the thrilling jumps and whoop-dee-doos featured in typical motocross events.

"A groomer can't build a jump, so you have what you have - corners, straights and a couple of bumps, but no dedicated jumps," Christiansen said. "We are going to use 65 to 70 percent of the track."

The competition will feature five snowbike classes - pro, expert, veteran (for those age 40 and older), women's and amateur. The pros will compete for a $2,500 purse to be split by the top five finishers. The Blizzard Bowl also will feature a snowmobile competition. Categories include short track (for sleds with 136-inch tracks and 600-cc motors or smaller), long track (sleds with 700-cc engines or smaller), long track sleds with 1,000-cc engines or smaller, and a women's event with no engine-size or track-length restrictions.

Christiansen said there is plenty of snow at the Fossil Bowl and the forecast is calling for more prior to the event.

"Snow is not going to be an issue at all and the weather for the weekend looks pretty good - partly sunny and 38 to 39 degrees. For spectators, that is great."

Kits for converting a regular dirt bike into a snowbike are available on the market, and they typically run from about $3,000 to $9,000, said Guy Johnson of Guy's Outdoors in Lewiston. He said interest in snowbikes has been steadily increasing over the past few years. Many people are getting into the sport because they find the riding easy and comfortable.

"Every year we have a lot of snowmobilers converting. The reason is the ease of it. A lot of the older guys are going to snowbikes because they are just easier to ride and less stressful on the body."

Johnson said he wasn't much interested in snowbiking until he tried one.

"I was amazed at how easy it is. It's basically just as easy as riding a motorcycle on the road and the terrain you can go on - you can go across a steep hillside you couldn't do on a snowmobile. You just sit on the seat and go."

Getting a conversion kit also allows dirt bike fans to ride year-round. And unlike riding in the summer, snowbikes aren't restricted to trails.

"It's like trail riding with no trail," Christiansen said. "It's just awesome. You make your own trail."

He said one reason there aren't many snowbike events held at dirt bike tracks is most tracks are at low elevation. The Fossil Bowl is unique in that it's located at a place that receives ample snowfall.

"This might be precedent-setting going forward," he said.

Riders can sign up the day of the event. The cost is $60 for participants and $10 for spectators. Practice starts at 9 a.m. and the racing will begin at 11. Christian said the event should wrap up by 3 p.m.

More information is available at www.stixstonesoffroad.com.

Sunday
Jan142018

Antoine Méo Leads Dakar for KTM

Dakar Bikes

Antoine Méo bagged another win for France and his second stage victory after one of the closest battles of the race so far with American Ricky Brabec. After firing off to an early lead on his KTM, Méo was gradually reeled by the impressive Honda rider, who held the virtual lead of the stage for much of the 500km.

Determined to make up time on his podium rivals, though, Méo found a second wind in the final few kilometres to build an advantage of one minute and snatch the win, a result he was happy with. "I went flat-out from the start. I wanted to gain six or seven minutes on the leaders, and I'm happy with what I did today because I pushed to the limit," Meo said at the finish. "It'll hurt my chances if tomorrow's stage is cancelled, but I'll try to salvage something on the way to Fiambalá. Everything's still up in the air."