We’re still buzzing about the new KTM line at the DB office. For us, it’s all about the two-strokes. If you haven’t seen the new bikes, take a look at the six new two-strokes here. But there is a change in KTM’s philosophy afoot, as well. The bikes that aren’t listed are just as significant. As of 2017, KTM and Husqvarna no longer make green sticker bikes. All the bikes are either imported as closed-course competition machines or street-legal bikes. The weird middle ground bikes are gone. Bikes like the old KTM XCF-Ws, the Yamaha WRs and the Honda CRF-Xs are called “off-road vehicles” and imported under EPA and CARB rules that have requirements for emissions and noise.
I have mixed feelings about that. I’ve always thought that KTM’s model line was way too confusing and that some of the redundant model should go away. The SX motocross models were almost the same as the XC off-road models, while the EXC dual-sport bikes were similar to the XC-W trail models. KTM just combined those last two. But now that it’s happened I see issues for people in most states. California riders now have to step up to the more expensive dual-sport models if they want to ride legally on public land. Riders in states like Arizona and Vermont, where you can get a license tag for donkey, can’t get away with licensing the less expensive XC-Ws any more. They’ll also have to step up to an EXC. But on the other hand, KTM is still offering more dirt bikes in more categories than anyone else, so I shouldn’t complain.
I can and will complain about the loss of the KTM 200XC-W, though. All I can say, is the 150XC-W that replaces it better be really, really good.
BACK IN THE DAY
Remember this bike? No of course you don’t. You shouldn’t lie. Even though it says ATK on the side of the tank it was the last vestige of Maico. After family problems caused the break-up of Maico in the mid ’80s, the tooling and the intellectual rights went to a Dutch company. The gigantic two-stroke motor, as it turned out, was great to power sidecars, and that’s what the company specialized in for the next 30 years. But they still made a few dirt bikes. Frank White, who owns ATK, had a fascination for the motorcycles and imported a few under his company’s name. We actually rode one of the massive two-strokes about 10 years ago. It seemed like someone dropped an airplane motor into a motorcycle chassis. It wanted to run at one specific rpm level all day. Frank can probably still import one if you ask him to.
HANGTOWN AT LAST
I don’t want to sound jaded, but man, am I ready for the outdoor season. I began thinking that the live Supercross races were actually reruns. With Hangtown this weekend, everything is up in the air. Will James Stewart really come back? Is Eli Tomac really that good? Will Dungey and Roczen pick up where they left off in Supercross? Here’s the TV schedule:
Hangtown was actually the first pro race that I ever shot. I’m sure I still have the photos in a shoebox somewhere, but it was muddy and bleak that year (1975). Here are some Hangtown stats, courtesy of Lucas Oil Pro Motocross.
The name “Hangtown” comes from the nickname given to the city of Placerville, site of the original race, during the California Gold Rush.
Hangtown is the oldest race on the schedule, predating the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship with its first race 47 years ago in 1969.
When it first joined the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in 1974, Hangtown served as the opening round for 10 consecutive seasons.
In 2004 Hangtown returned to its position as the opening round of the championship and has served that role for 10 of the last 13 seasons. No track has hosted more opening rounds than Hangtown (20).
The Hangtown track layout for the 2015 season spans 1.2 miles.
450 Class Stats
2015 Overall Podium: Eli Tomac, Ryan Dungey, Jason Anderson
The first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship race held at Hangtown was on April 8, 1974. Billy Grossi won on a Honda.
Hangtown is the only track in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship that defending champion Ryan Dungey has never won at, in either class. He has finished second for five consecutive seasons.
Dungey has won the opening round just once in his 450 Class career, at Glen Helen in 2014.
Hangtown is the only track in the championship where each of the six participating manufacturers has won.
Ricky Carmichael is the winningest rider at Hangtown with a combined seven total victories – five in the 450 Class and two in the 250 Class.
James Stewart earned his first 450 Class victory at Hangtown in 2006, and went on to win two additional times in 2008 and 2012.
The rider to win at Hangtown has gone on to win the 450 Class title 16 times in 43 seasons.
Yamaha has not won at Hangtown since 2000 when David Vuillemin earned his first 450 Class victory.
From 2002 to 2008, only two riders won at Hangtown – Ricky Carmichael and James Stewart. Since 2009, six different riders have won over the last seven seasons.
Mike Alessi and Ken Roczen each earned his first-career victory in both the 250 Class and 450 Class at Hangtown.
All-Time Wins at Hangtown (Total Wins)
All-Time Wins by Brand at Hangtown (Last Win)
Kawasaki: 9 (2013)
Suzuki: 7 (2012)
Yamaha: 6 (2000)
Can-Am: 1 (1976)
Husqvarna: 1 (1975)
First time winners at Hangtown
Brand sweeps at Hangtown (450 Class & 250 Class)
Riders to Win at Hangtown in Both Classes (Years Won)
Past Winners at Hangtown
May 21, 2011 / Chad Reed, Australia / Honda
May 22, 2010 / Chad Reed, Australia / Kawasaki
May 30, 2009 / Mike Alessi, Victorville, CA / Suzuki
June 1, 2008 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
May 20, 2007 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
May 21, 2006 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
May 22, 2005 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Suzuki
May 16, 2004 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
May 18, 2003 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
May 19, 2002 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Honda
May 20, 2001 / Sebastien Tortelli, France / Honda
May 21, 2000 / David Vuillemin, France / Yamaha
May 16, 1999 / Kevin Windham, Ethel, LA / Honda
May 17, 1998 / Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA / Yamaha
May 4, 1997 / Greg Albertyn, South Africa / Suzuki
May 5, 1996 / Jeremy McGrath, Menifee, CA / Honda
May 7, 1995 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
May 1, 1994 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
June 20, 1993 / Mike Kiedrowski, Canyon Country, CA / Kawasaki
June 14, 1992 / Damon Bradshaw, Mooresville, NC / Yamaha
March 24, 1991 / John Dowd, Chicopee, MA / Honda
April 1, 1990 / Jeff Ward, San Juan Capistrano, CA / Kawasaki
April 23, 1989 / Jeff Stanton, Sherwood, MI / Honda
March 27, 1988 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
March 22, 1987 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
April 6, 1986 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Honda
March 31, 1985 / Jeff Ward, Mission Viejo, CA / Kawasaki
April 8, 1984 / Alan King, Troy, MI / Honda
March 27, 1983 / Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV / Honda
March 28, 1982 / Rick Johnson, El Cajon, CA / Yamaha
March 29, 1981 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
March 23, 1980 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Suzuki
March 25, 1979 / Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV / Yamaha
April 9, 1978 / Bob Hannah, Carson City, NV / Yamaha
April 10, 1977 / Marty Smith, San Diego, CA / Honda
April 4, 1976 / Jim Ellis, East Hampton, CT / Can-Am
April 6, 1975 / Kent Howerton, San Antonio, TX / Husqvarna
April 8, 1974 / Bill Grossi, Santa Cruz, CA / Honda
250 Class Stats
2015 Overall Podium: Jeremy Martin, Marvin Musquin, Chris Alldredge
The first Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship 250 Class race held at Hangtown was April 8, 1974. Marty Smith won on a Honda.
After a 22-year gap between Hangtown wins, Jeremy Martin has given Yamaha back-to-back victories.
Martin is chasing his third straight Hangtown victory and his third consecutive opening-round win. Mark Barnett is the only 250 Class in history to win three in a row at Hangtown.
Eli Tomac made history in 2010 by becoming the first rider in history to win his professional debut. He added his name to the 450 Class wins list last season.
Jeremy McGrath earned his first professional motocross victory at Hangtown in 1993.
Hometown rider Steve Lamson, along with Mark Barnett, are the winningest 250 Class riders at Hangtown with four wins apiece. Barnett won his four races consecutively.
Six different riders have earned their first career 250 Class wins at Hangtown over the last 10 seasons – Mike Alessi (’06), Ben Townley (’07), Christophe Pourcel (’09), Eli Tomac (’10), Blake Baggett (’11), and Ken Roczen (’13).
Despite not having won since 1994, Suzuki still has just one less victory than the all-time winningest brand at Hangtown, Kawasaki.
All-Time Wina at Hangtown (Total Wins)
All-Time Wins by Brand at Hangtown (Last Win)
Suzuki: 11 (1994)
Honda: 8 (2010)
Yamaha: 7 (2015)
KTM: 4 (2013)
First time winners at Hangtown
Past Winners at Hangtown
May 19, 2012 / Blake Baggett, Grand Terrace, CA / Kawasaki
May 22, 2010 / Eli Tomac, Cortez, CO / Honda
May 30, 2009 / Christophe Pourcel, France / Kawasaki
June 1, 2008 / Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, WA / Kawasaki
May 20, 2007 / Ben Townley, New Zealand / Kawasaki
May 21, 2006 / Mike Alessi, Victorville, CA / KTM
May 22, 2005 / Grant Langston, South Africa / Kawasaki
May 16, 2004 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
May 18, 2003 / Ryan Hughes, Temecula, CA / KTM
May 19, 2002 / James Stewart, Haines City, FL / Kawasaki
May 20, 2001 / Grant Langston, South Africa / KTM
May 21, 2000 / Steve Lamson, Murrieta, CA / Honda
May 16, 1999 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
May 17, 1998 / Steve Lamson, Riverside, CA / Honda
May 4, 1997 / Ricky Carmichael, Havana, FL / Kawasaki
May 5, 1996 / Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA / Honda
May 7, 1995 / Ryan Hughes, Escondido, CA / Kawasaki
May 1, 1994 / Damon Huffman, Saugus, CA / Suzuki
June 20, 1993 / Jeremy McGrath, Murrieta, CA / Honda
June 14, 1992 / Steve Lamson, Pollock Pines, CA / Honda
March 24, 1991 / Doug Henry, Fairfield, CT / Yamaha
April 1, 1990 / Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK / Suzuki
April 23, 1989 / Damon Bradshaw, Charlotte, NC / Yamaha
March 28, 1988 / Guy Cooper, Stillwater, OK / Suzuki
March 22, 1987 / George Holland, Kerman, CA / Suzuki
April 6, 1986 / Erik Kehoe, Granada Hills, CA / Suzuki
March 31, 1985 / Ron Lechien, El Cajon, CA / Honda
April 8, 1984 / Jeff Ward, Mission Viejo, CA / Kawasaki
March 27, 1983 / Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL / Suzuki
March 28, 1982 / Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL / Suzuki
March 29, 1981 / Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL / Suzuki
March 23, 1980 / Mark Barnett, Bridgeview, IL / Suzuki
March 25, 1979 / Brian Myerscough, Calimesa, CA / Suzuki
April 9, 1978 / Broc Glover, El Cajon, CA / Yamaha
April 10, 1977 / Danny LaPorte, Yucca Valley, CA / Suzuki
April 4, 1976 / Bob Hannah, Whittier, CA / Yamaha
April 6, 1975 / Tim Hart, Torrance, CA / Yamaha
April 8, 1974 / Marty Smith, San Diego, CA / Honda