Racer 450 Magazine
Whatís Up in 2007
It looks like there will be two sets of nationals again this year. As promised, WPSA stepped it up and added enough races to make a real traveling race series which has the possibility of putting the smack down on the poorly ran, out of reach ATVA GNC series. That is until the AMA steps in as promised to make a true licensed pro class in 07. Hopefully they will also step up the staffing at each of the events and eliminate the ATV Promoters Group which has truly succeeded in further suppressing the sport of ATV racing.
Who Ride What?
Doug Gust, winner of the first WPSA Pro Championship will be sticking with Suzuki this year while his former opponent Dustin Wimmer who placed 2nd in the WPSA Pro Championship aboard a Honda will be joining Doug in Suzukiís factory trailer as he has been appointed to take Jeremiah Jonesí place at Team Suzuki. We predict big things in Dustinís future and can see him being either a WPSA or AMA/ATVA champion in the next few years. We stood by Dustin at his first pro podium at Red Bud a few years back.
Jeremiah Jones, although not racing, will be one of the new names running the Team Suzuki brand from the office and the pits. Like everyone we were hit hard by Jeremiahís career ending accident last year as he was a fan favorite for the next championship.
Jason Lupeburgh, another rising star, will be riding a KFX450R this year after switching from a Yamaha last year to become Team Suzukiís support rider replacing Harold Goodman who had very little luck with the team and went on to a Honda/Houser Racing setup.
No word has been returned from the Natalie Racing Camp but we expect John will be returning on a Honda this season as well as campaigning Elka suspension. We do know John will running ATV Four Play components instead of the Roll Design or Gibson he has ran in years past. Word has it Tim Farr and team captain Mark Baldwin will continue on last years efforts pushing forward Timís Motosport.com team. Tim was last yearís TT Pro Champion.
Pro Am Future Stars:
Josh Creamer is reportedly in California right now testing Kawsakiís KFX450R aluminum frame fuel injected ATV. Josh carried away a Pro win at last yearís Racer 450 home town race as well making a name for him self making surprising moves on the WPSA television broadcasts. Josh will be teamed with Jason at Team Kawasaki with the following team sponsors:
Monster Energy, Elka, ITP, Douglas Wheel, Roll Design, Pro Circuit, Maxima, Renthal, RK, IMS/Roll, Parts Unlimited, Moose, Shoei, & Smith.
Cale Downen (2 time Racer 450 pro class event winner) has made the switch to Honda and will be campaighning new 450rís with help from Cernics, ATV Four Play, TC Racing Engines, PEP suspension and MX Midwest.
Last but not least, Sage Baker will be switching to Honda from Yamaha this year and we expect a fight for a championship. Sage won the WPSA Pro-Am championship in 06 and also visited the Racer 450 home town event but a nasty tangle up left him at the back of the pack. Word has it that Sage will be keeping his Alba sponsorship.
Hondaís 07 450R will go largely unchanged and their racing program will include Tim Farr, Joe Byrd and John Natalie. Yamhaís program will also go largely unchanged as far as we know and will include Kory Ellis and we canít leave out the King of XC Bill Balance. Suzukiís program will change as noted above and will include Doug Gust and Dustin Wimmer
Kawasaki will be making the nationals with their new 450 effort (KFX450R) riding will be Josh Creamer and who else we are not yet for sure. No word yet from KTM on their new KT/Polaris 450 we heard would be unleashed late last year but wasnít. All kidding aside, if and when it is released, it will probably open up a can of whoop-ass on the competition and even though the chassis closely resembles a YFZ we expect the overall package to be more of a comparison to the Quad Racer than a Honda or Yamaha set up.
From the R to the 0:
Although weíre not completely able to release our game plan as of yet, expect big things this year from Racer 450. We will be at several races from each of the big two franchises (ATVA and WPSA) but we will not be covering all of either series. Most for time constraint purposes but each will receive adequate coverage. Donít be surprised to see a TT or XC event thrown in the mix as well as some amateur coverage and maybe even the Racer 450 event if get everything planned in advance this year.
We promise as always to ad insult to injury for all of the ATVA or ATVPGís mistakes in 2007. A little salt in the wounds never hurts an organization that deserves it and we think they do. By the people, for the people. Thatís our stand on ATV racing, we will be the voice of the fans until the bitter end. Keep letters and photos coming.
Racer 450 Magazine
P.O. Box 64
McLeansboro, IL 62859