What's Next? 2

Things change (and keep changing) quickly. We checked in with a batch of teams to get their reaction to the rapid halt to the racing season, and what they're planning for.

With no races (indoor or out) on the immediate horizon, what are the team and riders up to?

Dan Fahie (Monster Energy Kawasaki Team Manager): As far as Monster Energy Kawasaki is concerned, it is business as usual for the team and riders. We are still preparing bikes, engines, suspension, etc. for Eli and Adam as they continue to do their work during the week. The only difference is we are not traveling and racing on the weekends.

Monster Energy Kawasaki's Dan Fahie.

Erik Kehoe (Team Honda HRC Team Manager): As a team, we're making the best of the situation by utilizing this downtime to focus on projects that were somewhat on the back burner previously. During the busy race season, it's hard to focus our energy on certain in-shop things because we're on the road or at the track. Some things we're working on is improving our parts inventory analysis and studying different parts and components for future use, as well as starting to look at the new bike. The riders are also taking advantage of this downtime. The timing works well for Justin as he's healing from his broken hand. It'll give him the time to fully recover, get back on the bike, and get back up to speed before we hopefully return to racing. Ken's staying on top of his program, so he's ready when/if the series gets back underway, but he's also taking this extra time to rest his body.

Team Honda HRC's Erik Kehoe (second from right, huddling with Ken Roczen after his finish in Oakland).

Jeremy Albrecht (JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing Team Manager): We are catching up on shop work that needed to happen. I took Charles Lefrancois to the airport today to fly home to France since no racing is happening as we'd planned for. I'm bummed he put in all the hard work and did not get to show his SX improvement. The team is preparing for Savatgy, Tickle, and Noren's return to riding. Martin has been riding outdoors in Florida and waiting for me to tell him when to switch back to SX.

Wil Hahn (Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha Team Manager): We're carrying on as much as it's allowing us to but also using our heads with minimizing the contact with people. For example, going out to eat, etc.

Wil Hahn (fourth from left), and the Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha team with Justin Cooper after his win at A1.

Tyler Keefe (Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM Team Manager): Currently, the only real adjustment we have made is going from three days a week riding to two days a week. With everything being unknown at the moment and up in the air as to when things will go back to normal, we are just having the guys keep fitness levels up while we continue to stay prepared to race. As of right now, our west coast riders will continue to work on getting their outdoor bike setups ready while also keeping Supercross riding fresh in case we are able to jump back into racing here soon. 

How would you like to see the Supercross season end up?

Dan Fahie: In a perfect world, we'd like to race 17 rounds, as intended. We know that Feld and the Monster Energy Supercross team are doing everything they can to hold as many of those 17 races as they can with the health and safety of all parties as the top priority.  

Eli Tomac.

Erik Kehoe: A lot of ideas have been bounced around. I'd like to see motocross delayed a month, allowing Supercross to finish the series throughout May, which would then extend motocross into September. That way, we're not potentially switching back-and-forth between the two disciplines. Obviously, though, under these circumstances, both series are currently at the mercy of federal, state, and local mandates, so only time will be able to tell. 

Jeremy Albrecht: I would like to finish up SX as soon as we can race and then start the MX series late. It's going to take a lot of us working together to help everyone involved. This affects Feld, MXsports, Teams, manufacturers, riders, and fans…tough for everyone.

Wil Hahn: I'd love to see us finish this SX season. I think all of us would like that. 

Tyler Keefe: What we would really like to see is MX Sports and Feld working together to properly help conclude and finish the supercross season somehow before jumping straight into outdoors. The entire industry really needs to work together on this because as soon as this is all over, the economy is going to struggle, and with the economy struggling; unfortunately, so will the sport. If they can all somehow come to an agreement and understand that we all need each other in order to get through the rest of this year, that is going to be key. I would like to see them eliminate three weekends of SX and three weekends of outdoors so that we are able to properly finish out both seasons this year.

How does this change plans, both long- and short-term?

Dan Fahie: Our goal has not changed, which has been to manage and maintain the red plate. We will continue to do that by being ready to go back racing as soon as it's deemed safe to do so. That said, this will allow us to get a little bit of a headstart with preparation for defending the No.1 plate in Pro Motocross.

Erik Kehoe: It's tough to say because there is so much uncertainty. We're constantly in communication with Feld getting updates, but things are changing quickly, so information almost becomes obsolete as we receive it. None of us have ever been through anything like this, so we're just taking it day-by-day. The health and wellbeing of everyone is paramount, though, and our top priority. 

Ken Roczen.

Short term, we obviously want to get back to racing, so the goal is to stay ready and prepared for when we do resume. Ken is only three points down in the championship, so we'd like to see things get underway and give these athletes an opportunity to battle to the end. 

Jeremy Albrecht: Well, the only good part is my riders can heal up, so the short term is good. This makes it a little more challenging working on our next year's plans when most people need to plan tomorrow. It's hard to plan when we don't know anything because we are all in the same boat guessing...we are doing our best to stay focused and ready. 

Wil Hahn: Right now there are so many unknowns it's hard to say how it's changed long term and short term at the moment.  

Tyler Keefe: If I'm being honest - We really don't know what's going on right now with the world, so it's hard to plan for anything long term at the moment. With no racing going on the horizon, we are using this time to keep our riders fresh and healthy, so they can continue to push themselves at the track. It's hard when you go from racing every weekend to a complete stop, and that goes for everyone on the team- managers, riders, and mechanics included, so you have to continue to push everyone during times like this when there really isn't that carrot to chase. 

What has been the most surprising part of this situation?

Dan Fahie: We want to keep all parties as safe as possible, so we have not been surprised by any of the precautions taken. Clearly, this COVID-19 situation is changing every day, from schools shutting down to sporting events around the world being canceled. With proper communication, we have been able to ensure all of the necessary steps have been taken.

Erik Kehoe: A lot of it is the uncertainty and not knowing how anything will play out. It's just so shocking. Teams are all about scheduling and planning, but right now, we're not really able to do a lot of that because nothing is set in stone. Seeing how all other sports and events are shutting down is wild. 

Jeremy Albrecht: It's crazy to see how fast things change that affects so many people. I hope we can all help each other when we get back to normal. The most surprising thing to me was that we were going to race with no fans and then more surprised when they canceled so many races. I know it's the right thing but a very strange feeling.

Joey Savatgy.

Wil Hahn: The most surprising, I guess, is how fast it has escalated, and it's scary, man. Everything feels like out of a movie.

Tyler Keefe: The most surprising part of this situation is not knowing what will happen tomorrow, and when will we be able to proceed with normal life.


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