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Southwick Observations

by JohnNicholas on 08/25/2008

Earlier this month there was a rumor that John Dowd was going to race a two stroke at the Southwick AMA National. Like many rumors it turned out to be false.

The 43 year old “Junkyard Dog” raced his four-stroke and finished 9th in the first moto and 5th in the second moto for a 6th overall. In doing so he beat many racers half his age! He is one bad mofo.

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Brian Mulcahy from Hewitt, NJ is the two stroke hero of Southwick. He is a local racer that attempted to qualify for the national in the 450F class on his KX250 two stroke. How close did he come to qualifying?

In timed qualifying he was 51st fastest with a lap time of 2:09:558. Since only the top 35 fastest qualifiers move straight to the main event, he had to race the 5 lap consolation race. He was boxed in at the start and powered around the first corner in about 20th position.

When he came around to the scoring tower on the first lap he was in 13th position, the second lap in 9th, the third lap in 8th, the fourth lap in7th and finished in 6th place. He missed qualifying by 3/10ths of a second! Steve Ramon beat him by less than a wheel length at the finish!

It would have been so cool to have a two stroke in the 450F class on Sunday!

Better luck next time Brian.

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James Stewart is from another planet. He gapped second place Andrew Short by almost 9 seconds on the first lap! He is just amazingly fast on a motorcycle.

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Why do they groom the track so for the pro racers? There was a vintage race two weeks earlier and guys on 30+ year old bikes raced on a rougher track. Why?

I know in the past Bob Hannah, Jeff Stanton and other tough men of motocross looked forward to the track being as rough as possible. They wanted their competition to feel pain!

Now the bikes as so technologically advanced, they have suspension tuners on the factory teams, spend hours testing different settings and countless thousands of dollars on their factory suspension. So why do they need the track groomed smooth? These guys are the best in the world, have the best machinery in the history of the sport. Why?

What’s next? Are they going to pave motocross tracks?

I say let the bumps and ruts form during practice and qualifying and leave them for the entire weekend!

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I’m not sure why but the 250F class looked like they were going faster than the 450F class.

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Besides the fact that they sound like horrible farts, the four strokes are so LOUD that you can’t even shout to the person next to you. My ears are still ringing hours after being at the races.

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It is very hard to restart a four stroke when they stall. I watched one hapless rider kick and kick and kick and kick. One time he kicked and actual flames were coming out of the silencer! He couldn’t start the bike so his mechanic did it for him.

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Marc de Reuver is one cool dude. He set the second fastest lap time behind Bubba. Then proceeded to get a bad start (around 10th place) and moved up to 3rd place by the end. I was very impressed with his riding. I’m sure that Tim Ferry was surprised when he went around him on the outside to pass. Thank you for visiting America Marc! It gave a bunch of us something to talk about.

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Unfortunately the racing was mostly dull. In too many cases it is like watching a train go by. He comes the first one, now here comes the second one.

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The bikes sound the same. When they were running two strokes you could hear a difference between a Yamaha and a Kawasaki. They each had a personality. An added bonus was you could talk to the people around you. Marc de Reuver talked about how loud the bikes are here! In Europe they could not allow for that because the tracks would be closed down.

Besides the first 5 or 6 laps of the first 250F moto there were very few actual battles. Am I the only one that misses motocross racers who battled for positions? If someone passed Bob Hannah he would do everything possible to pass them back. The same for Ricky Carmichael.

Where did the battling go?

Conclusion: I feel that motocross is now much better to watch on television than in person. No traveling, no crowds and if the racing is boring you can change the channel and watch something exciting, like bass fishing.

What do you think?

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