MotoConcepts Racing: MONCTON Report

SPOKANE, WA (August 4, 2014) – The Rivergalde MX Park in Moncton, NB held the eighth round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Canadian Motocross Nationals. This populated area in New Brunswick brought one of the largest crowds the series has seen thus far. Spectators were promised a great show as Smartop MotoConcepts riders, Mike Alessi (#800/MX1), Vince Friese (#719/MX2), and Jeff Alessi (#801/MX1), battled with the best Canadian rivals in both classes. The infamous klatt-a-pult jump was one element of the clay-based, hard-packed track that kept the fans energized and anxious to watch some talented racing take place on such a beautiful day.

Mike Alessi’s day on the Riverglade MX track was nothing short of perfect. The external environmental conditions were certainly on his side of the court, or should we say track, that day. Alessi is very familiar with riding on hard-packed, fast paced tracks, in hot and humid temperatures. He used it to his advantage and swept the day with a 1-1, taking home his fourth overall win this season. Alessi was the first one out of the gate in both Moto’s, granting him the Royal Distributing Triple Crown Holeshot award, and held on to an extensive lead throughout the duration of both races. He collected six more points and now sits only twenty-one points behind the series points leader.

The California native, Vince Friese, also a wily veteran towards the hard-packed terrain, was pleased to be back on firm ground with his MCR 250F. Friese missed the Holeshot by one position in Moto one and spent the entire race chasing down Kaven Benoit, who would eventually take home the Moto win. After a fifth place start in Moto two, Friese knuckled down and made a crucial pass on Maffenbeier for second late in the race. Friese put forth a valiant effort and despite not winning a Moto, he still conquered the overall win with his 2-2 finishes for the day.

Jeff Alessi’s second race in Canada was certainly not what he expected as he wrestled with the heat and humidity all day. Alessi was running upfront in around the sixth position for quite some time in Moto one but slowly started making his way towards the fifteenth position after succumbing to exhaustion. Moto two was similar news, finishing in fourteenth. He ultimately received a thirteenth overall for the day and said he’s enjoying the fun of racing again, something he hasn’t gotten to do for a while.

We wish to thank our sponsors including Smartop, JT Racing, FMF, Ohlins Suspension, MotoGraphicsAlpinestars, NorthWest Steel Fab, WASPcam, Boyesen, Dunlop, Mika Metals, UFO, CV4, Leo Vince Carbon Products, Peg Armor, VP Fuels, Guts, DT1, MotoOptics, Works Connection, Galfer, Supersprox, Excel, Hinson, and Victorville MC Center.

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MotoConcepts Racing: DESCHAMBAULT Report

SPOKANE, WA (July 28, 2014) – The seventh round of the Canadian Motocross Nationals started off with thunderstorms that casted over qualifying practices at the Deschambault race track near Quebec City. Founded in 1976, the rock-free, hard pack track is a premier race facility that rejoined the CMRC circuit last year after its 2003/2004 debut.  Located in the heart of Canada’s French territory, this challenging and especially demanding track gave Smartop MotoConcepts riders, Mike Alessi (#800/450), Vince Friese (#719/250), and the new addition, Jeff Alessi (#801/450), a break from the sandy soils of the previous two rounds. “Consistency was our main focus this weekend”, stated by team manager, Tony Alessi, “there were a couple of times where Mike and Vince could have pushed for position advancements but the risk was not worth the reward in the long run”.

It became a full family affair this weekend as Mike’s younger brother, Jeff Alessi, joined the Smartop MotoConcepts team for the last four rounds of the CMRC nationals. Recently, Jeff has been busy conducting riding schools in the States but when team owner, Mike Genova, called and invited him to join the team for the end of the season he knew this was an opportunity he could not pass up. His father Tony said, “We were expecting Jeff to be around the 10th position range and he executed that very well”. Jeff’s efforts secured him 9th place in MX1 Moto one, 12th in Moto two, and a gratifying 8th overall for the day.

The MX2 championship was in close range for Vince Friese but after this weekend the reach for the top position has extended to a thirty-three point difference behind points leader and Canadian native, Kaven Benoit. Friese unfortunately had a bad jump off the start in Moto one and rounded out the first corner in the 14th position. He pushed through the field of riders ahead of him as he weighed out the risk to reward ratio with every pass. Even with rutted and choppy conditions, he was able to protect 4th place, trailing seconds behind 3rd. Friese learned from his mistake and he found himself contending for the holeshot in Moto two. After running in second for over half the race the unpredictable track conditions caused him to cross-rut and sent him over the bars after a gnarly high-side. A 7th place finish and 4th overall was a respectable compromise for the cards he was dealt that day.

 Mike Alessi came into the seventh round twenty-eight points behind yet another Canadian native, Colton Facciotti. With that knowledge, Alessi knew consistency each weekend would be his key to success, even if the championship seems to be a long stretch with only four rounds left. In Moto one, Alessi came around the first turn in 6th and finished his first lap in position four. He would make his way up to second by the time lap eleven rolled around and resided there until the race was over. Alessi grabbed a third place start in Moto two and within 2 laps, made his way past Bobby Kiniry for second. Facciotti had already begun to pull away from the #800 bike but Alessi knew he didn’t need to finish first in order to receive the overall for the day. Comfortable and content, he chose to play it safe, ride within his comfort zone and focus on the goal of consistency set for the day.  The podium held Alessi at the top, now only twenty-seven points behind, after taking second in both Motos.

We wish to thank our sponsors including Smartop, JT Racing, FMF, Ohlins Suspension, MotoGraphicsAlpinestars, NorthWest Steel Fab, WASPcam, Boyesen, Dunlop, Mika Metals, UFO, CV4, Leo Vince Carbon Products, Peg Armor, VP Fuels, Guts, DT1, MotoOptics, Works Connection, Galfer, Supersprox, Excel, Hinson, and Victorville MC Center.

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MotoConcepts Racing: CALGARY Report

Two for two in Calgary with Friese and Alessi: Smartop MotoConcepts wins 450 & 250 classes at Canadian Motocross National

SPOKANE, WA (June 16, 2014) – What a rebound for the Smartop MotoConcepts Racing team at the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals! In the first two rounds, both Mike Alessi and Vince Friese each had a win, but they also shared some bad luck, which cost them positions and points. Everything evened out this past weekend in Calgary, however, as both athletes earned first overall in the MX2 and MX1 classes!

The Wild Rose track in Calgary is unique not only in Canada, but in the world, as it sits right in the middle of a major city. “It was one of my best races, ever, I think,” says MX1 racer, Mike Alessi. “It couldn’t have come at a more beautiful city, Calgary, and racing right downtown. Couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.”

No you couldn’t. After getting docked positions and points for a track cutting incident in Kamloops, and then losing the second Moto to Colton Facciotti after suffering bike troubles, Alessi had something to prove in Calgary. And he proved it, taking both MX1 Moto wins convincingly, which included an incredible charge from 30th to first after getting stuck in the starting gate. Good starts, bad starts—Alessi is the man to beat in the MX1 class. Alessi’s perfect 1-1 weekend in Calgary moves him to second in the championship, only seven points out of first, with seven rounds and 14 Moto’s to go; plenty of time to get back into the championship lead.

In MX2 action, Alessi’s teammate Vince Friese didn’t achieve perfection but came very close. In the first Moto, Friese charged back from a 10th place start to finish third. He would get off the gate much better in Moto two and go on to record his third Moto win of the season, and finish first overall.

Follow MotoConcepts and WASPcam on Facebook for regular updates on Mike Alessi and Vince Friese as they go for gold in the Canadian Motocross Championships.

www.motoconceptsracing.com
www.waspcam.com

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MotoConcepts Racing: Kamloops Report

Vince Friese perfect in Kamloops!

Last weekend it was MotoConcepts Racing’s Mike Alessi claiming victory for WASPcam at the opening round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals in Nanaimo, BC. This week we have Alessi’s MX2 teammate Vince Friese earning his first win on Canadian soil at Round 2 of the series in Kamloops, BC.

Friese didn’t just win in Kamloops; he dominated MX2 racing action, grabbing two holeshots, setting the fastest lap times and sweeping both motos comfortably over second-place (who was Jeremy Medaglia in the first moto and Austin Politelli in the second). Friese earns 50-perfect-points, moving him up to third in the MX2 standings, only 12 points behind first-place.

In the MX1 division, Mike Alessi once again showed he’s the man to beat, but a slight misjudgment in the first moto cost him five positions and the overall win.

“It was a total beginner move,” said Alessi in a post-race interview on DirectMotocross.com. “I over jumped the finish line, went off the track and couldn’t re-enter where I went off. I waited for the guys to come around the next corner but unfortunately I still got docked for it.”

Mistakes happen and it certainly causes a blow to Alessi and MotoConcepts Racing, as it drops Alessi from first to sixth in the moto and costs him 15 championship points. Regardless, he and the team soldiered on and put forth another great effort in the final race. After grabbing his second holeshot in four motos this year, Alessi led half of the race before finishing second behind Colton Facciotti.

“I was riding good up to about 15 minutes, and then had a bit of a (bike) problem and that was all we had for that moto but still salvaged a second,” he adds.

Alessi remains in the MX1 title hunt, sitting third-place in the series, only 13 points out of first. The series continues this weekend at Wild Rose MX Park in Calgary, Alberta.

Keep track of MotoConcepts’ Mike Alessi and Vince Friese by following WASPcam and MotoConcepts on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (search #motoconcepts, #waspcam for related content)

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MotoConcepts Racing: Nanaimo Report

What a start to the Canadian racing season for MotoConcepts Racing and their new sponsor, WASPcam action-sport cameras!

The opening round of the Rockstar Energy Drink Motocross Nationals began last Saturday at The Wastelands track in Nanaimo, BC, which marks MotoConcepts first time racing in Canada, along with several other top racers and teams from the US. In what’s being considered one of the most competitive championships in years, the series features a handful of big name contenders in both the MX2 and MX1 classes.

At the end of the day, however, only one rider can win, and in Nanaimo that rider was MotoConcepts’ Mike Alessi. In typical fashion, Alessi nailed two great starts (a holeshot in moto one) and then went toe-to-toe with Canada’s best, Colton Facciotti, as the two titans exchanged paint in both motos. Facciotti got the better of Alessi in moto one, cutting inside of the #800 and making an aggressive pass that left Mike on the ground. Never one to quit, Alessi got back up and put on a charge that saw him climb all the way through the pack to finish in third-place. An amazing rebound and one that would give Alessi a chance to still win the overall.

In MX1 moto two, Alessi and his MCR 450 rounded the corner in second-place, but within a lap, he moved into lead, built a comfortable gap over second-place and never looked back. With 3-1 moto scores, Alessi claimed his very first Canadian win ahead of Facciotti and Josh Hill.

Things didn’t go so well for Alessi’s MX2 teammate, Vince Friese, in his Canadian debut. Friese had an okay start in the first moto, working his way from outside the top-10 to a fifth-place finish. In the second race he would only get in a few laps before suffering bike troubles, preventing him from finishing. A tough break, but Friese knows there are still nine rounds and 18 motos to go, so he has lots of time to make up ground in the championship hunt.

The Canadian motocross nationals continue this Sunday at Whispering Pines Raceway in Kamloops, BC.

Keep track of MotoConcepts and WASPcam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for notes, photos and videos featuring MotoConcepts racers, Mike Alessi and Vince Friese, as both are wearing WASPcam action-sport cameras during the Canadian Nationals.

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MotoConcepts Racing: WASPcam SPONSORSHIP Report

SPOKANE, WA (May 29, 2014) – Team Smartop by MotoConcepts is thrilled to announce WASPcam as their new sponsor for the 2014 Canadian Outdoor Motocross season. WASPcam will be following riders, Mike Alessi and Vince Friese, on their journey through their first motocross season up in Cana da. Their wildest moments and biggest achievements, as well as team bonding and collaborations, will be captured with high-quality action-sport cameras that are simple and easy to use for pros and amateurs. The next two and a half months will be a new and exciting opportunity for the Smartop/MotoConcepts team. With team manager Tony Alessi and team owner Mike Genova in tow, the season with WASPcam should be one worth sharing.

For those who are interested in owning their own personal WASPcam, keep a look out for the MotoConcepts WASPcam Giveaway coming soon. Those who wish to register for the camera giveaway visit the MotoConcepts website or at the upcoming Canadian Outdoor events. Full details about the contest and release dates will be coming soon.
www.motoconcepts.com

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MotoConcepts Racing: NEW JERSEY Report

SPOKANE, WA (April 26, 2014) – Monster Energy Supercross hasn’t seen the New York, New Jersey metropolitan area since 1991 for the reason that poor attendance numbers and unpredictable weather conditions restricted any financial gain in previous years. With a crowd over 62,000 and exceptional media coverage, the sixteenth round of Supercross in East Rutherford, NJ marked one of the most successful races all year. Team Smartop by MotoConcepts rider, Mike Alessi (#800/450), also received additional publicity this weekend as he was featured in the Wall Street Journal and appeared on a twenty foot display in the MetLife Stadium pit area. He and Kyle Cunningham (#30/250) pitted out of the Teddy Parks trailer this past weekend since their semi stayed on the west coast to get ready for Outdoors.

Cunningham would line up for the 250 Heat 2 in the 7th qualifying position out of practice. He grabbed an advantageous position off the start which put him into 3rd by lap two. Unfortunately, the infamous red flag appeared early in the race alerting the riders to exit the track to offer immediate medical attention to another rider. Lining up to the gate for the second time, Cunningham would come out of the first turn in 4th. He held onto this position during the first lap of the race, trailing behind J. Martin for 3rd. Once Martin made his pass for 2nd, Cunningham began to pressure the GIECO Honda bike of M. Bisceglia for 3rd. The two remained within a bike link distance of each other for the rest of the race. Cunningham would finish the Heat out in 4th, transferring directly into the Main.

The 250’s took the line for the Main event with Cunningham sitting along the right side of the dog house. Once the gate dropped, he found himself squeezed out of the front line and fell into the middle of the pack. He made some immediate passes in the next few corners that positioned him into 7th place by the end of the first lap. Despite the rough, muddy track conditions and the downpour that started at the beginning of the race, Cunningham was able to keep it up on two wheels and ride clean for the entire duration of the race. He sat in the 7th position the majority of the time until the last five laps, where he was able to pass A. Martin who slid out in a corner. Crossing the finish line in 6th, Cunningham will be leaving the East Coast 6th in points.

Mike Alessi finished practice in the 6th qualifying position for the day. He took his position on the line in the 450 Heat 1 directly to the left of the dog house, his favorite spot to be. When the gate dropped, Alessi was out front once again grabbing that holeshot he’s so familiar with. Canard followed Alessi on the outside line through the rhythm section and made a quick pass. Stewart wasn’t too far behind; in the same corner he chose the inside line and moved up to 2nd. Now sitting in 3rd, Alessi continued to push hard and followed Stewart within in a close distance. Tomac would begin to pressure #800 until the last lap of the race where he made his move and placed Alessi into 4th. With only one lap to go, Alessi would finish strong and advance to the Main event, skipping a potentially hazardous and exhausting Semi.

The 450 Main event had the MetLife crowd raging with excitement. The twenty-two, four-stroke motors roared loud and took off the gate leaving only mud behind them. Alessi barely missed the holeshot as he came around the first turn in 2nd place. As they came around the second lap, J. Hill followed Alessi into the rhythm section but carried more momentum to come out ahead in 2nd. Tomac was right behind the two trying to pass for 3rd but he waited until he could triple the following rhythm to make a clean pass on the outside. For seven more laps, Alessi remained in 4th place, throwing his Suzuki machine around the track. Unfortunately around the 9th lap, a sweep of three riders, Dungey, Barcia and Roczen, came up on Alessi and made their way past, politely and clean. Alessi held onto 7th place for the remainder of the race, keeping his speed and composure to finish in 7th. Alessi is looking for a top ten finish in the points series by the time Vegas rolls around.

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MotoConcepts Racing: SEATTLE Report

SPOKANE, WA (April 12, 2014) – The fifteenth round of the Monster Energy Supercross series hits Team Smartop by MotoConcepts home state in Seattle, Washington. The Century Link Field is notoriously known for being one of the loudest stadiums in the nation and for Supercross fans, the $360 million venue didn’t disappoint. Infamously known for its erratic weather conditions, the 2014 Seattle Supercross was one for the books with clear skies and warm weather throughout the entire day. Riders, Mike Alessi (#800/450) and Colton Aeck (#526/250), were faced with additional pressure this week as team owner, Mike Genova, brought along his company employees from Spokane, WA to cheer the team on.

Aeck joined the riders on the line for the first 250 Heat race of the night. He found himself near the back of the pack as the nineteen other competitors came around the first turn. Aeck would immediately find his way past three other riders by choosing the inside line and hucking the triple jump when others next to him chose to double. With only two laps to go, Aeck made a move on Rhinehart for 14th but it wouldn’t be enough to secure a transferring position into the Main.

The 250 LCQ looked promising for Aeck as he came off the line in 6th place and quickly passed position five in the air over the huge triple jump. On lap two, Aeck made a pass on Rhinehart which moved him up to 4th place and into a qualifying position. Unfortunately, Aeck made a critical mistake in the corner and went down with only two laps to go, which sadly, sent him out of the running for the Main event.

Villopotto, Dungey, Canard, and Alessi sat on the line for the 450 Heat 1 patiently awaiting the gate to drop. When the 30-second board turned, Alessi was out front grabbing his characteristic Holeshot and pulling away from the #5 bike behind him. Within the next couple of laps Dungey began to close in but Alessi was relentless to give up the lead without a hard fought battle. On the 5th lap, Dungey exited the rhythm section with a little more speed and carried it through the corner to pass Alessi on the inside. In the following corner, Alessi was focused on staying close to Dungey’s line and allowed Canard to slip by on the inside which moved him into the 3rd position. He kept up his speed for the remainder of the Heat and transferred directly to the Main in 3rd.

When the 450’s took off the start for the Main event, Alessi found his way up to the front but took the first corner a little too wide and fell into 5th place. Rozcen made an immediate pass in the first lap on Alessi with Tomac not too far behind. A couple laps later, Roczen would make a mistake that would send Alessi into 6th place, which he held for five more laps. Towards the middle of the race, #94 on the KTM would come back to take a position away with Canard in tow behind him. Now sitting in 9th, Alessi rode cautiously smooth knowing any mistake could take him out of the top ten. On the 14th lap, J. Hill made a friendly pass on the outside and Alessi would cross the finish line in Seattle, in front of some of his biggest fans, in 10th.

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MotoConcepts Racing: ST. LOUIS Report

SPOKANE, WA (March 15, 2014) – The Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri has been a part of the Monster Energy Supercross Series since 1996; this year it strikes down as the 13th stop in the circuit. As the season nears the end, Smartop by MotoConcepts riders, Mike Alessi (#800/450) and Kyle Cunningham (#30/250), continue to focus on staying strong and healthy as they enter the final home stretch of the season. The two MCR boys expressed the tracks difficulty and technicality as they came off the track from practice in St. Louis. Coming into the night with well deserved qualifying times, Alessi and Cunningham would concentrate on riding a smart race in order to come out healthy and able to race another day.

Cunningham would take off the line in the 250 Heat 2 around the 14th position. Within the first lap he would make a pass for 13th and by lap three he passed two more riders as he made his way up to the transferring position. By lap four he had successfully made it into 9th place but he wasn’t going to stop there as every qualifying position counts for the Main event. In the last lap of the race he made a move on the inside, passing J. Decotis for 6th and held on to his position until he crossed the finish line.

The 250 Main event brought a similar reenactment on the start for Cunningham. Coming out of the Holeshot corner in 12th, Cunningham would make moves in the first lap that positioned him into 10th. His passes on Catanzaro and C. Thompson in the fifth lap sent him into 8th place. In the same lap, a tangle on the track moved Cunningham up to 5th as he battled #96 of Bisceglia for 4th. They entered the technical rhythm section together on the 8th lap but Cunningham sustained more momentum and came out ahead in 4th. All that was left to do was ride a smart race for six more laps with no mistakes or mishaps and he would snag his second 4th place finish of the season. Cunningham would successfully conquer the night in 4th and remains in 6th for the East Coast series, six points behind 5th.

Mike Alessi would line up for the 450 Heat 2 on the left side of the dog house, a spot you would see him start at all night. As the 450’s came off the line, Alessi would be the one to capture his first Holeshot of the night. Villopoto would pass him in the first lap and by the end of the third lap he was battling with T. Canard for 4th. The technical rhythm section seemed to hinder Alessi’s lap times as he took precautionary tactics riding through with care. This may have sent him to the 450 Semi 2, as he finished the Heat out in 6th, but it would be saving him from a trip to the hospital, one journey several other riders would be taking that night. Alessi would seize his second Holeshot of the night in the 450 Semi 2 and held on to his advantageous lead. Holding off the elite group of riders behind him, Alessi would win the Semi 2 race and transfer into the Main event.

In the 450 Main event, Alessi would take home his third Holeshot of the night, being the first rider to consecutively win all three Holeshot’s in one night. Villopoto would make his way past during the first lap and by the third lap Stewart and Barcia swept past as well. Alessi, now holding off Brayton, Dungey, and Roczen, would begin to feel the pressure as more riders were coming in close. Throughout the race, Alessi remained smooth and consistent until one minor crash sent him to the 11th position. For the remainder of the race he strayed away from fatal mistakes and other crashes taking place on the track and by the end of the race Alessi would cross the finish line in 12th place. He would be going home safe with some well deserved Holeshot bonus money and has moved up to the 13th position in the 450 points series.

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MotoConcepts Racing: DETROIT Report

SPOKANE, WA (March 15, 2014) – It’s been six years since Monster Energy Supercross made its way to Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan. A location, which has been on the circuit since 1976, returns in 2014 as the 11th round of the Supercross Championship. Frigid temperatures outside allocated exhilarating, heated battles on the track as Smartop MotoConcepts rider, Kyle Cunningham (#30/250), left the frozen city with his best finish of the season. Mike Alessi (#800/450) was thrilled to see his teammate succeed, knowing it would relieve him of marginal pressure and stress for a brief while.

Cunningham spent this past week with the team in Hilliard, Florida training and working on his starts at the Alessi compound. He entered the stadium with high hopes for the night and lined up to the gate for the 250 Heat 2. He came off the line without any hesitation and came through the first corner charging in the 4th position. Fighting for 3rd between J. Decotis during the first lap of the race, Cunningham would hold on to his 4th place position while maintaining his speed and composure throughout the race. In the fourth lap, the #4 machine of B. Baggett would begin to pressure Cunningham for 4th but #30 kept to the inside line safe, blocking off any chance Baggett had to pass, and finished the Heat race in Detroit out in 4th.

Anxious and exhilarated, Cunningham would line up for the 250 Main event in the 7th qualifying position. When the gate dropped he fought for that initial jump off the line, but ended up coming around the corner in 9th. Cunningham would pass two other riders in the first lap of the race and set his sights on V. Friese ahead of him in 6th. It didn’t take long, as Cunningham would pass Friese in the following lap and would make his way up to G. Faith, pressuring him for 5th. A three way battle for 4th emerged and Cunningham would come out on top. With only five laps to go, Cunningham made a pass on J. Decotis for 3rd but soon, the pass would be reciprocated by #56 and allowed Baggett to also slip by on the inside. One final pass on Decotis secured him into 4th place and he would cross the finish line one spot away from the podium, his best finish of the season.

The 450’s in Heat 1 lined up to the starting gate with Mike Alessi in tow. As soon as the gate dropped, Alessi would beat all the other 450 riders to the first corner except for one, J. Brayton. Just missing the holeshot by inches, Alessi immediately took the lead away from Brayton in the following rhythm section. He would hold on to 1st for the next couple laps but J. Stewart would eventually make his way into the lead and placed Alessi into 2nd. With three laps remaining, Alessi maintained his momentum and kept the Suzuki bike of J. Hill away from his 2nd place position. He finished the race aggressively in 2nd and transferred directly to the Main event.

For Mr. Alessi, the 450 Main event started out with unexpected, abnormal circumstances. As soon as he came off the line, the rider to the left of him made a sharp cut into his line, forcing him to slam on his brakes to avoid a potential collision. Now sitting near the back of the pack, Alessi had to give it everything he had to pass his fellow competition. By lap two he had made his way up to 14th and would remain there until five laps to go. He would make a pass on W. Hahn for 13th and made his way past D. Wilson in the following lap for 12th. Wilson would come back with an aggressive block pass, sending Alessi to the ground. With only three laps left, Alessi remounted and finished the race out in 13th.

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MotoConcepts Racing: DAYTONA Report

SPOKANE, WA (March 8, 2014) – The iconic Daytona International Speedway is home for the tenth round of the AMA Supercross Series. Held on the infield of the Speedway, this track is known for its soft, sandy soil that creates bottomless ruts and resembles an Outdoor National riding style. Smartop by MotoConcepts riders, Kyle Cunningham (#30/250) and Mike Alessi (#800/450), said they enjoyed the long track because it allowed for more opportunities to arise. As the 2014 Bike Week began, fans and motorcycles began to flood the legendary Speedway for some Daytona racing action.

Kyle Cunningham took off the start in the 250 Heat 1 around 8th place, one of the best starts he’s had all season. He positioned himself into 7th during the first lap of the race. On lap three, J. Bogle made his way up from 9th to 6th which placed Cunningham into 8th. In the same lap, Cunningham would make a pass on J. Starling following the straight-a-way section and second wall jump on the track. Now in 7th, Cunningham would hold on to this position for the duration of the race and transfer directly into the Main.

Cunningham would not pick up the start he had hoped for in the 250 Main event. Sitting in 15th, Cunningham knew he had a lot of ground to cover in the laps to come. By lap four, he would pass K. Peters for 13th and then A. Catanzaro for 12th. Making his way through the pack, Cunningham was on the prowl for a top ten finish. It took him 3 more laps to hunt down the #56 bike of J. Decotis and with 7 laps to go he set his sights on A. Martin. Cunningham would try to pass Martin several times throughout the final stretch of the race. It wasn’t until lap thirteen that he was able to make a clean and clear pass for 10th. As the checkered flag waved, Cunningham would cross the finish line in 9th due to a final lap crash by another rider. He currently sits in 8th in the points series and is looking forward to working on his starts this week with the Alessi’s in Florida.

Mike Alessi came to the line for the 450 Heat 1 in the 6th qualifying position from practice. He would grab an outstanding jump off the gate and pushed through the first corner with another Holeshot under his belt. Alessi would begin to pull away from Villopotto, putting a 1.6 second gap between him and #1. Just when he thought he’d be taking home another Heat race win, Villopotto snuck up from behind and passed Alessi on the 4th lap. Alessi would hold off J. Baricia for the remaining two laps of the race and finished the Heat in 2nd, transferring directly to the Main.

With his recently newfound confidence and speed, Alessi thought the Main event looked promising in Daytona. Unfortunately, once the 450’s took off and entered the first turn he collided with another rider and was ejected off his bike. He remounted on his bike and looked down to find his front break completely broken off its perch. He pulled in to the mechanics area where his mechanic, Dave Dye, cut the break line. By the time he rejoined the race he was in last place, but that wouldn’t stop Alessi from giving it everything he had to make up valuable positions. By lap nine he had finally caught up to the rest of the group and began passing riders. He went from 20th to 15th in just one lap and would pass C. Blose for 14th with eight laps to go. Even with his unfortunate start, Alessi was able to knuckle down and come out with a 14th place finish in Daytona and currently sits in 15th in the points series.

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MotoConcepts Racing: INDIANAPOLIS Report

SPOKANE, WA (March 1, 2014) – The ninth round of the Monster Energy Supercross Series touched down in Indianapolis at one of the roughest and toughest tracks of the season. After a week of scrutiny and turmoil, the Smartop MotoConcepts rider, Mike Alessi (#800/450), was able to come back and have an exhilarating, successful night.  Kyle Cunningham (#30/250) would still be on the lookout for his own success story to tell but in the meantime he continued to charge through, making another top ten appearance. 

In the 250 Heat 2, Cunningham would find himself near the back of the pack as the lites riders took off the line in Indy. Trying to avoid the first turn pile up, Cunningham would cautiously keep his distance, setting him back even further. He pushed past five other riders and by the end of lap one he had already situated himself into 9th, a qualifying position. Cunningham would pass Starling for one more position and finished the Heat out in 8th, transferring straight into the Main event.  

Unfortunately, the 250 Main event was like a déjà vu for Cunningham. Once again, he found himself struggling for a sufficient position off the line and would fight hard throughout the race to pass as many as he could. Coming from 18th, Cunningham would work his way up to 12th by lap 7. With only three laps to go, Cunningham would make a final pass on A. Martin for 10th. Cunningham hopes to improve his starts in the weeks to come, intending to validate the speed he’s shown for a top 5 finish. 

Mike Alessi lined up on the gate this week with newfound confidence and determination from his career best finish last weekend in Atlanta. When the gate dropped, the Holeshot King snagged another distinctive start for the books. The likes of Villopoto, Dungey, Roczen, and Brayton allotted this race to be one stacked field. Alessi, poised with the lead, never looked back and attained his second Heat race win of the season. He also captured his first pole position in Supercross (top qualifier) for the Main event. 

Alessi stood next to his bike during staging for the 450 Main event infused with faith and willpower to take home another career best finish in Indy. The twenty-one 450’s shot off the gate chasing the back wheel of the #800 bike as he snatched yet another Holeshot in the Main event. Alessi would hold of R. Dungey during the first five laps of the race. A hard fought battle between the two ended when the Dunge snuck by after the steep wall jump. Eli Tomac would pressure Alessi for 2nd place as the two battled for the next couple laps. Alessi was relentless, his skill persevered, and he began to develop a gap between him and #3. He held on to this position for nine more laps, but just when he thought he would be walking away with his first podium since 2009, he cross rutted in the rhythm section before the triple and went flying over the bars. By the time he was able to remount and get his bike started, the fleet of riders had passed, leaving him to settle for 15th. Despite his unfortunate crash, Alessi would be leaving with a smile of success and belief in his heart that he can be a top contender amongst the best.

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MotoConcepts Racing: ATLANTA Report

SPOKANE, WA (February 22, 2014) – Round eight of the Monster Energy Supercross series headed to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia, infamously known to be one of the biggest rounds of the season on the East Coast. A night that involved a controversial mishap with the Smartop MotoConcepts rider, Mike Alessi (#800/450), would soon be overshadowed by his season’s best finish and other accomplishments throughout the night.

Kyle Cunningham (#30/250) told us he had been working on his starts this past week in practice. The commitment seemed to be helping as he came off the line 7th in the second 250 Heat race. Once A. Cianciarulo fell down in the whoops, Cunningham made his pass on M. Lemoine, positioning himself into 5th. He was now pressuring the likes of J. Wentland and would make a clean and clear pass for 4th. With only 2 laps to go, Cunningham would move up one more position that put him inside the top three. A 3rd place qualifying position transferred him directly to the Main event and rewarded him a decent gate pick.

When the 250’s took off, Cunningham would find himself near the back of the pack, fighting for the adequate position he needed in the Main event. The 22 riders came across the finish line for the first lap and Cunningham would be sitting amongst them in 17th. Each lap he pushed himself to consistently make a pass and stay strong with his speed and by lap 15 he made it up to 9th. Unfortunately, a few small mistakes allowed a few other riders to pass and he finished the night in Atlanta in 12th. Cunningham currently sits in 8th for the series.

Mike Alessi started his night out with a great jump off the gate in the 450 Heat 2. He was the first one to approach the Nuclear Cowboys Holeshot corner however; he rolled out in 3rd behind Stewart and Hahn. During the first lap of the race B. Tickle would make a pass for 3rd and Alessi remained in 4th by holding off the #3 bike of E. Tomac for three more laps. With only one lap left, Tomac made his pass for 4th as Alessi fought for the final transfer spot into the Main. On the last lap, Tickle came up from behind and would pass for 5th but Alessi hung right behind him and quickly attempted to pass him back for the final transfer spot. Unfortunately, Alessi came into the corner too fast and at too sharp of an angle, colliding with #20. Luckily, neither of them were hurt and would be racing in the 450 Semi.

Despite what happened in the Heat race, Alessi, a veteran racer, dedicated the rest of his night to accomplishing success in other areas. He would clutch the Holeshot in the 450 Semi 2 and remained untouchable for the rest of the race. With a four second gap between him and second, Alessi would take home his first Semi win of the season along with boosted confidence for the Main event.

The 450 Main had been long awaited by the estimated 60,000 fans in the stadium. As soon as the gate dropped Alessi grabbed his characteristic Holeshot once again! With the elite rides behind him, Alessi would hold on to his position strong, building a three second gap between him Villopoto. It wasn’t until the 6th lap that he heard the Kawasaki machine closing in. A small mistake in the corner allowed Villo and Roczen to sneak by. Around the half way point Alessi started to find his groove and settled into 6th. He was determined and dedicated to finish the night out strong, preventing anyone else from making a pass. He crossed the finish line in his best position of the season and moved up 3 positions in points.

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MotoConcepts Racing: ARLINGTON Report

SPOKANE, WA (February 15, 2014) – The Smartop MotoConcepts team was excited to be in Arlington, Texas this past weekend for the debut of their East Coast rider Kyle Cunningham (#30/250), a Texas native who had several family members and friends in attendance showing their support. Mike Alessi (#800/450) was also thrilled to have another teammate under the MCR truck who, as he stated, transferred some of the pressure off of him and allowed him to relax and ride to his full potential. Unfortunately, Alessi endured a brutal impact to his head and shoulder in first practice that inhibited his ability to participate in the second timed practice. Despite his injuries, Alessi pulled it together to race in front of the 54,000 fans watching in the AT&T Cowboys Stadium Saturday night.

For the first time in 2014, Cunningham would take off the starting gate with 21 other riders in the second 250 Heat race. 15th wasn’t the position he had been hoping for to start his first race of the season in. Regardless, Cunningham would use the skills and speed he had built upon in the off season to charge past nine other riders and finish his first Heat race in 6th place.  

The East Coast 250 riders lined up to the gate for their first Main event of the season. The gate dropped and Cunningham would have another indistinguishable start as he found himself near the 15th position again during the first lap. He knew he needed to power through the pack in order to finish the race in the respectable position he desired. He would pass four riders during the first three laps and by lap seven he had made a crucial pass on Wharton for 8th. Cunningham told us, it wasn’t the result he had been anticipating, but 8th place was something he could build off of and would return to Atlanta fighting strong for a top position in the 250 class.

A bruised and battered Alessi lined up on the starting gate for the second 450 Heat race in Arlington. Remarkably, he was able to clutch a second place start behind J. Hill and held on to that position for three laps. Alessi was laying intense pressure on Hill and would make a pass on the outside for 1st. However, he was unaware of Roczen’s close proximity and left the door open on the inside for him to pass. Villopoto made his way up from the back which moved Alessi into 4th. His speed remained consistent and strong allowing him to finish the Heat race in 4th, transferring straight to the main event.

Alessi was confident in knowing his speed was there to contend for a top position in the main. However, the slick first turn took a toll on the #800 bike as interference from the inside knocked Alessi off the track and to the solid ground. Sadly, he struggled to restart his bike and by the time he re-entered the race he was already two laps behind. Despite the loss of time, Alessi put everything he had into making up any position that he could. Even with running a faster lap time than 6th place at one point, he was only able to make it up to 19th due to the precious time he lost in the beginning of the race.

We see Alessi making great strides in his raw speed and confidence. Unfortunately, a few mishaps have disabled him from performing to the best of his ability. With Atlanta coming up, we hope Alessi can finally catch a break and show his fans what he’s truly capable of.

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MotoConcepts Racing: SAN DIEGO Report

SPOKANE, WA (February 8, 2014) – The Monster Energy Supercross Championship landed its sixth round of the series in San Diego, which would be the final stop on the California coast. Team Smartop MotoConcepts rider, Mike Alessi (#800/450), had been riding smoothly and consistently in practice. In spite of this, he came up short on a jump in the rhythm section and injured his groin area. Unsure if he would be able to race the night show, Alessi visited the Asterisk’s truck, received some medical attention, and set the pain aside to race for his team and the fans in the Qualcomm stadium.

Alessi was placed in the second 450 Heat race of the night. Alessi took off the gate like a fire was burning in him. He came to the corner first but Nicoletti would clutch the holeshot from the inside line. Alessi remained in second for the first three laps of the race. Eventually, J. Stewart made a pass but Alessi was not allowing him by without a struggle. He kept close behind the Yoshimura Suzuki for another lap but a couple minor mistakes permitted two others to pass, giving him a ticket to the Semi.

This time, in the 450 Semi 2, Alessi would not surrender the holeshot to anyone but himself, as he snatched it away from the fifteen other riders on the gate. In the first lap, E. Tomac overtook the lead and Alessi moved into second, where he would stay for the remainder of the race.

It wasn’t the start he had hoped for, as the gate dropped for the 450 Main event. Alessi said, “Somebody from the outside cut right in front of me” and soon, he found himself off the track, trying to jump back in the race. By the time he could find a fair spot to rejoin the race, fourteen other riders had already passed and at the end of the first lap Alessi sat in 15th. Alessi would pass Goerke for 14th and by lap 4 he was up to 13th. Later on, Goerke would come back to steal his position and a battle would transpire between the two for 5 laps. Alessi prevailed and crossed the finish line in 14th, safe and proud that he pushed through the pain to race. He currently sits in 15th in the points series as the season moves east for more racing.  

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