The following is from Glen Helen Raceway…With the Supercross finals attracting much of the recent media attention, U.S. fans may not have been aware that five rounds of the FIM Motocross World Championship have already been contested. Out of sight does not always mean out of mind however, and four young Americans competing on the Grand Prix circuit are looking forward to coming home for the upcoming USGP at Glen Helen Raceway on May 30th.
From the paddock of the FIM Motocross Grand Prix of Catalunya in Bellpuig, Spain, the American riders contesting the world championship rounds offered their thoughts about racing at home in a couple weeks time. “Racing in the USA is going to be a proud moment for me,” says Bike-It Cosworth Yamaha U.K.’s Zach Osborne. The likeable 20-year-old from Virginia is also a factor to win the MX2 class at Glen Helen, having qualified third at the Catalunya event and running in the top three in both motos until a crash and a mechanical failure took him out of contention.
“I’m getting better every weekend,” adds Osborne who won the GP of Turkey last year, before getting injured. “I think I can be on the podium, I just have to keep on pushing!” Even with a DNF in the second moto in Spain, Osborne is only five points out of seventh place in the world championship standings.Rockstar Energy Bud Racing Kawasaki’s Michael Leib literally grew up at Glen Helen, so he is really looking forward to the USGP. “I live 40 minutes away from Glen Helen so I have a little bit of a home track advantage there. I just hope to be 100% there,” says Leib. Unfortunately he crashed in a training accident and broke his arm just before the Portuguese GP. “Yeah, I had some misfortune my first day here in Europe!” Although life in Europe is different, Leib is adjusting well. “I have to say I’m really impressed with everything over here… It’s very professional and the U.S. fans should take these guys seriously!”After breaking a collarbone and being out of racing for a year, Irvine, California’s Billy Laninovich is happy to be in the saddle again. Quite a saddle it is as Billy joins GP winner Josh Coppins from New Zealand on the works bike from Aprilia Racing. “I’m on a new bike and I have only been on it twice,” admits Laninovich. “It has been a bit frustrating to have been off a bike for so long… It has been a year since my last race at the Las Vegas SX. I’m usually in the top 10, but I am adjusting. The bike is good, but the power delivery is different than what I’m used to… the motor is strong and it runs good!” With two weeks to dial in the Aprilia to his style, Billy says, “it’s going to be good to race at home where hopefully I can do well. Like I said, I have only been riding for two weeks and these guys are riding super fast!”After as solid top 10 finish in the U.S. Nationals last year, Jimmy Albertson moved to Honda Racing MX’s base in Belgium over the winter and proved he was fully acclimatized to life in Europe by finishing in 8th place at sandy Valkenswaard track in the Netherlands. Unfortunately for MX1 title contender, he crashed on the last lap of the qualifying race in Bellpuig. He is flying back to the U.S. to see a specialist about his dislocated left shoulder, but will probably be unable to race at Glen Helen. The good news is that he should be back in action by the French GP.
Come cheer the local boys on and check out just how fast the European racers really are! Tickets for the USGP are available at the www.glenhelen.com, as well as at participating local Yamaha dealers. Reserved camping is available at the track for $50 per spot.