Motocross on Water Sparks Wave of Emotion
If you think supercross is exciting -- motorcycles chattering over road bumps, around twisting high-speed corners and then flying over triple jumps -- how about the same thing on water?
That is what jet skiers are doing for the next three weekends at Oceanside, where the International Jet Sports Boating Assn. is holding its abbreviated Motosurf Nationals.
“I’m a big fan of motocross and do a lot of riding, but I think what we do in the ocean, where the waves act as both berms and jumping ramps, is even wilder,” said Dustin Motzouris, who rides a Kawasaki watercraft. “For the most part, each lap in a motocross has nearly the same terrain, but on the ocean we have to adjust to different changes every lap, every few feet in fact. The line can totally change the second time around.”
The IJSBA courses consist of 12 to 15 laps of a little over a minute each, during which riders must challenge waves both coming in and going out.
“First we head into the surf, going through the waves, and then make a 180-degree turn and come back and jump, sometimes a double or a triple, over the same waves,” said Chris MacCluggage, Motzouris’ Kawasaki teammate and chief rival for the pro category championships.
“When you try to negotiate a series of smaller waves, it’s like going over the whoops in motocross, only sometimes on the water you get a difficult angle,” said Motzouris. “When you take a jump -- and we get launched as high as 25 feet -- you try to stay in the air as long as you can and look down and watch the waves. If you’re lucky, you might get a triple.”
Previously, most competition was held on lakes or rivers, but this year the entire eight-event national season is being contested off Oceanside, in the harbor this week and off the pier the next two weeks. The world finals will remain at Lake Havasu City, Ariz., Oct. 5-12.
Last year, MacCluggage, who moved from Florida to Fullerton to be near Kawasaki headquarters, won the world pro runabout 1200 (sit-down) and the national pro ski (stand-up). In a turnabout, Motzouris, a South African who lives in Azusa, won the world pro ski nationals and the national pro runabout 1200.
The pro skis reach about 64 mph, the pro runabouts 75 mph.
“I like the stand-ups better because they are more unstable and it takes more work and dedication,” Motzouris said.
In last week’s first two rounds of the Motosurf Nationals, MacCluggage had a third and a first in pro ski but skipped the pro runabout class because of a collarbone injury. Victor Sheldon, on a Polaris, won the first pro ski heat and was runner-up in the second. Motzouris had a third and two fourths.
Nicolas Rius won the pro runabout 1200 on a Yamaha.
“It’s definitely a challenge to train and race against MacCluggage,” said Motzouris, 22. “He is one of the best racers in the history of the sport.”
MacCluggage, 29, has won 11 national and seven world championships.
Racing is scheduled Saturday and Sunday, a complete program each day, with qualifying at 10 a.m. and finals at 1 p.m.
Chad Reed has won seven AMA 250cc supercross races, the last five in succession, but he still will need help to unseat two-time champion Ricky Carmichael in the season’s final race Saturday night in Las Vegas.
Carmichael also has won seven times and holds a 10-point margin over the young Australian. All he needs to be crowned champion, even if Reed wins, is to finish fifth or better. If Reed wins and Carmichael finishes sixth, they will be tied in points, but Reed will be champion on the basis of more victories.
The two collided off the start last week in Salt Lake City, then later, Carmichael fell when Reed passed him in the whoops. Carmichael was not happy with the situation.
“I am not going to dwell on it but I definitely won’t forget it,” said the champion. “I am in a tough position. Chad is not just going to come in there and pass me fair and square and blow me away. He is going to have to come in there and take me out and hopefully I fall down and smash my pipe or something so I can’t finish.”
Reed said, “I think everyone is just blowing this out of proportion.”
In the 125cc East-West Shootout, James (Bubba) Stewart, 17, the western champion, is an overwhelming favorite because eastern winner Brenden Jesseman injured his thumb and will not compete.
As soon as the stadium supercross season ends, the AMA Chevy Trucks outdoor motocross championship series will begin May 11 at Glen Helen Raceway Park, north of San Bernardino.
Carmichael will be defending champion there too, both for the Glen Helen race and the series. The Honda rider won an unprecedented 12 consecutive races last year, sweeping the entire schedule.
Jeff Bagley Classic
Ventura Raceway will go ahead with its Jeff Bagley Classic for Sprint Car Racing Assn. cars and drivers Saturday night, despite the deaths of Jeff’s parents, Paul and Helen Bagley, in a sprint car racing accident last Saturday night at Perris Auto Speedway.
It is an annual race to honor their son, 1988 California Racing Assn. rookie of the year, who was killed in an accident at Ascot Park in 1989.
Raceway and SCRA officials said they would hold the race because that is what the Bagleys would have wanted.
The remainder of last Saturday’s SCRA program at Perris, which was canceled after the fatal accident, has been rescheduled for July 26. It will be followed by the night’s regular show.
Jack DeArmond Jr., whose car catapulted over the infield catch fence and hit the Bagleys, is recuperating from fractures in his back, neck and ribs but is expected to make a full recovery.
Rim of the World Rally
The annual Rim of the World Pro Rally, second round of the SCCA’s national championship series, will be run tonight and Saturday on the ridge-top dirt and gravel fire control roads tracing the line of the San Andreas fault in the Angeles National Forest west of Palmdale.
The first of 12 stages will start at 7 tonight at Pelona Vista Park in Palmdale and will resume Saturday at noon from the same place.
Defending champions David Higgins and Daniel Barritt, both of England, will be back but in different vehicles. They have switched from last year’s winning Subaru to Mitsubishi and won the season opener in Northern Michigan in January.
Mark the date: This year’s annual Turkey Night Midget Grand Prix will not be on Turkey Night.
It will be on Friday, Nov. 28, at Irwindale Speedway.
Inductees into the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame this year will include Bob Ross, Frank Phillips, Eddie Pagan, Rodger Ward, Dan Gurney, Rajo Jack, Erick Erickson, Sonny Easley, Dick Bown, Margo Burke and Bob Beadle. Induction is scheduled July 25 at the Four Points Sheraton in Monrovia.
Both Irwindale Speedway and Perris Auto Speedway will feature motorcycles in their Saturday night programs. Besides its usual stock car show, Irwindale will have SuperTT, a new form of racing mixing flat track, motocross and extreme jumping. The Freestylemx.com series will be at Perris.
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This Week’s Races
NASCAR WINSTON CUP
Pontiac Excitement 400
* When: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, noon); Saturday, race (FX, 4 p.m.).
* Where: Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (tri-oval, .75 miles, 14 degrees banking in turns).
* Race distance: 300 miles, 400 laps.
* 2002 winner: Tony Stewart.
* Next race: The Winston, May 17, Harrisburg, N.C.
* When: Today, race (FX, 4:30 p.m.).
* Where: Richmond International Raceway.
* Race distance: 187.50 miles, 250 laps.
* 2002 winner: Jason Keller.
* Next race: Gateway 250, May 10, Madison, Ill.
*--* CART London Champ Car Trophy
* When: Saturday, qualifying, 6:30 a.m.; Sunday, qualifying, 6:45 a.m.; Monday, race, 6 a.m. (Channel 2, May 10, 10 a.m.).
* Where: Brands Hatch (road course, 1.192 miles); Kent, England.
* Race distance: 202.250 miles, 165 laps.
* 2002 winner: Inaugural race.
* Next race: German 500, May 11, Lausitz, Germany.
Spanish Grand Prix
* When: Today, qualifying (Speed Channel, 5 a.m.); Saturday, qualifying (Speed Channel, 5 a.m.); Sunday, race (Speed Channel, 4:30 a.m.).
* Where: Circuit of Catalunya (road course, 2.937 mi.), Barcelona, Spain.
* Race distance: 190.905 miles, 65 laps.
* 2002: Michael Schumacher.
* Next race: Austrian Grand Prix, May 18, Spielberg.
* When: Today, qualifying, 12:45 p.m.; Saturday, qualifying, 7 a.m. (ESPN2, 6:30 p.m.); Sunday, eliminations, 8 a.m. (ESPN2, 1:30 p.m.).
* Where: Atlanta Dragway.
* 2002 winners: Larry Dixon, Whit Bazemore, Allen Johnson and Angelle Savoie.