Features 22 Nov 2012

The Matthes Report: 46

Pulpmx's Steve Matthes checks in from the US every single Thursday, presented by Fox.

Just another Thursday in Australia and with that, some Thursday thoughts and musings…

Well the other shoe dropped in the Dean Wilson sweepstakes with the announcement that Wilson is going back to his old team for next year. It seems like only yesterday that we were all wondering where Dean was going to go after he was done at Pro Circuit.

We know the story, Jeff Ward Racing won the rights for Dean’s services with a multi-year contract (for a rumored 800K a year) to race 450 full-time but shortly after getting on the bike, the team itself fell apart due to lack of funding and whether or not the JWR team goes racing or not in 2013 is in question but it won’t have Jeff Ward or Dean Wilson on it.

So Wilson was left without a ride late into the off-season. I’m sure behind the scenes there were a lot of phone calls, a lot of budget reshuffling to see if anyone out there can make room for Wilson – a former outdoor champion and one of the up and coming star riders.

And in the end, Wilson and his agent Tony Gardea put him back on the Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team for 250SX and 450MX which in my opinion is the best thing for the rider and his career. Wilson was adamant he wanted off the 250 as he felt like he was too tall for the bike but in my eyes, he won an outdoor title with ridiculous speed and consistency so I’m not buying the handicap.

Dean Wilson returned to his familiar Monster Energy/Pro Circuit Kawasaki team after a brief partnership with the JWR squad. Image: Simon Cudby.

He’s never won a 250SX title so there’s always that box to check and the equipment/team wasn’t going to get any better than Pro Circuit. It was a slam-dunk and in my opinion, he shouldn’t have left in the first place.

So Wilson immediately becomes the odds on favorite to win the 250 East SX title and then he gets to go to the 450 for the outdoors (interesting that Tyla Rattray, another rider that was looking for a full-time 450 ride re-signed with Pro Circuit for the same program as Wilson 250SX and 450MX, so PC is going to have a couple of top five guys in the 450 class as well as its usual powerhouse 250 team) so after a total disaster of a deal with JWR, Dean has landed the absolute best thing he could have.

In talking to my Kawasaki people, they desperately didn’t want Dean to leave green, he’s been on the bikes his whole life and they wanted to make room for Dean somewhere on green so I have no doubt that Kawasaki kicked in a bit of extra help towards Pro Circuit to make sure that Dean is taken care of. Wilson’s back where he was and this was a great thing for everyone involved.

How about the 450 motocross season next year? Barring injury (a big IF) we’re going to see five outdoor motocross champions (Stewart, Reed, Villopoto Dungey, Canard and Wilson) all going at it never mind the guys like Metcalfe, Barcia, Weimer, Brayton and Grant.

I can’t believe that my dreams have come true in a couple of different ways these last couple of weeks. It’s like the moto gods are finally tired of hearing me rant and rave on print as well as in my podcasts and decided to just shut me up. The first was the ridiculous rules that the 450 bikes in supercross are called the “Supercross” class and the 250 bikes are called “Lites” class.

A seriously talented field of 450 riders is set to hit the track come Hangtown 2013. Image: Simon Cudby.

The unbelievably ridiculous logic of calling a class in supercross by the name of supercross has been fixed as the powers that be went with the simple 450SX and 250SX. Let’s all rejoice that we don’t have to explain that Chad Reed won the supercross class at the supercross and Dean Wilson won the Lites class.

And so if that wasn’t enough to just make me giddy as a schoolgirl just announced today by Youthstream that the ridiculous under 24-years old rule for the MX2 class is NOT going to be used at the Motocross des Nations.

This rule is pretty silly at the best of times for a healthy motocross series (it’s an artificial way of the GP’s making up for a lack of talent by making sure that riders get a shot at the MX2 class even when they’re not ready because there isn’t enough teams to field an effort in the GP’s because of cost but yeah, whatever) but at the Olympics of motocross like the MXDN, it’s downright brutal.

It’s the best of the best from each country – not the best of the best if you’re under a certain age. Now we’ll get to see a team of, say, James Stewart, Ryan Dungey and Ryan Villopoto materialize and perhaps RV gets on the small bike. This change just added a whole lot more prestige, interest and star power to an already jam packed race.

And you Aussie’s should benefit from it as well because even though riders like Dean Ferris, Todd Waters and Matt Moss are great riders, I can’t help but think Reed, Brett Metcalfe and Michael Byrne would be pretty strong with Metty on the small bike.

Kyle Chisholm has locked in a supercross ride aboard the Velocity 3 Racing team. Image: Simon Cudby.

I think both of these changes are fantastic-better late than never-and I’m glad that my prayers have been answered. Now what can we do about getting back to 22-man gates for 250SX and also adding in different main event formats?

A couple of free agents have found a home with Bobby Kiniry and Kyle Chisholm signing up with Velocity 3 Racing on Yamaha’s for supercross-only deals. Both Kiniry and Chisholm enjoyed some success on Yamaha’s before and this team, although new, does have Yamaha support. They’ll be allowed to ride the Yamaha SX track in California as well as have Yamaha help with the machines.

The Velocity 3 guys include Brian Berry who was a factory mechanic at Yamaha and Suzuki working for riders like John Dowd and Danny Smith. Kenny Germain was also a mechanic at Factory Honda for Ernesto Fonseca and Yamaha of Troy and Pro Circuit. Both guys, along with some other partners, pulled things together financially to go racing. A new team is always welcome and these two guys have been apart of plenty of winning programs.

Kiniry and Chisholm are good riders with a solid following and should be inside the top ten indoors. As far as the outdoors go, it’s something that the team is not doing although they may go to selected races. Kiniry’s ok because he’s got a deal to race up in Canada but Chisholm’s going to have to find a ride.

The word is that Yamaha may place him with a Valli Yamaha or Rock River Yamaha – something where the number 11 would be able to contest all the nationals. We’ll see how all this shakes down but for now, the team should certainly be pretty strong in its debut season.