Staff Insights – Anaheim 1 and Phoenix

As usual, the hype around Anaheim 1 was big; new bikes, teams, big changes with a few top stars changing teams and more than a few, highly touted rookies making their debut in the premier class.     Sticking with a conservative track design for Anaheim 1, the track was definitely the one thing lacking excitement and widely regarded as simple, fast and only separated the top 20 qualifing riders by two seconds. The track caused the racing, in the mains to be uneventful and anti-climactic, but the racing during the qualifying races had their share of excitement.     Fast forward to week two at Phoenix - the track was definitely more technical, with more passing opportunities and more random obstacles to break up the flow, allowing more chances for mistakes as well as better competition.     There's lots to talk about after the first two rounds, so let's go over some points below.     - Ken Roczen holeshot the main at Anaheim 1 and checked out. He looked fast and looked like he was on cruise control. He will be tough this season. At Phoenix, Roczen led for the first half of the race before being passed by Eli Tomac. The question now becomes; how much has Tomac...

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MX775 Icon – Rich Thorwaldson Jr.

By Clifton Kump, with Ty Erquiaga and Robert Beaupre   Welcome to the first installment of the MX775 Icon series. This area of MX775 will showcase local motocross history and highlight deserving people in the 775 moto community. There are plenty of worthy candidates for this distinction, and our hope is that we can tell their stories and give them the thanks they deserve.   Rich Thorwaldson (Jr.) is the subject of our first MX775 Icon feature. Rich and his father, the late Richard Thorwaldson (Sr.), both deserve massive credit for their contributions to local motocross in northern Nevada. Today, Rich is a motorcycle service and customer service leader in Reno through his Mill St.-based shop, Moto Source. But to fully understand his commitment to motocross, we need to go back several decades. ********** Richard Sr. founded Big Valley Honda – a shop Rich would later manage – after a highly successful career racing dirt bikes throughout the 1970s, which included a ride with Team Suzuki alongside Roger DeCoster. Richard (a.k.a. “the ol’ man” to those that loved him) was also the founder of the now legendary “Thor Swingarms,” which were as commonly found in the AMA pro pits in the late 70’s as a pair...

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James Stewart, Adderall and the Brain Game

On Dec. 17, the FIM announced that it was suspending James Stewart for 16 months, retroactive to his failed April 12 drug test. Stewart responded by saying he will race again and appeal the suspension, but it appears likely that he will not compete in any FIM- or AMA-sanctioned events until the 2015 season is all but over.   The reasoning behind Stewart's suspension has been discussed extensively by the motocross media, so there's no need to go into that here. There’s also no need to beat the dead horse that is the performance-enhancing capabilities of Adderall, the drug for which Stewart tested positive.   What’s worth talking about instead is the link between Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).   Stewart's career has been rife with crashes -- and concussions. Brain injuries in contact sports have come under scrutiny in recent years, prompted in part by well-publicized cases of former NFL and WWE athletes who have battled mental illness or even committed suicide, allegedly due to deteriorating brain function caused by repeated head injuries.   Because of the speeds and jumps involved, motocross and supercross pose a considerable TBI risk to their athletes. In a way, Stewart epitomizes the risks confronting these riders,...

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