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2021 Motocross Season Wrap-Up

As 2021 comes to a close, hosts Dave Sulecki and Dale Spangler recap the highlights of the year! On this episode we cover moments from:

  1. MotoAmerica
  2. AMA Supercross
  3. AMA Motocross
  4. MXGP
  5. GNCC
  6. MotoGP

Thank you MotoAmerica for being a sponsor of Pit Pass Moto this year!

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This transcription is AI generated and may contain misspellings.

[00:00:15.290] - Dale Spangler

Welcome to Pit Pass Moto, the show that keeps you up to speed on the latest in motorcycling and brings you the biggest names in motorcycle racing, right to you. I'm Dale Spangler and I'm Dave Sulecki.

[00:00:27.090] - Dave Sulecki

And this week we're we are recapping the biggest moments in racing this year. Before we get started. We'd like to thank this year's sponsor MotoAmerica for being our partner in our program and really a great program. They have running check them out on MotoAmerica. Com. They've got so much to offer, wonderful coverage and you can catch every race all season long if you can't make it out to an event. And if you do, they have wonderful venues and wonderful events. Definitely a great partner for Moto, and we appreciate everything they've done for us this year in 2021.

[00:01:00.740] - Dave Sulecki

Speaking of Moto America, let's kick things off for our season review. Moto America was a really vitalized and strong series this year. Really enjoyed watching every event, and they had a lot of new venues this year. They added Brainer and the Ridge and a lot of new programs added to the racing with the build train race program with Royal Enfield and one of my favorites, the Bagger class, which was they couldn't have enough of those. So Motor America was punching up and bringing up just a new focus to the series.

[00:01:30.630] - Dale Spangler

Absolutely, David. It seemed like it was a very international series. One of the observations I noted before we came out here today was just how many riders there are from all over the world, South Africa in particular. So the series has definitely taken on a little bit more of an international flair on the Superbike side, I have to say it was Jake Kanye, what an amazing season, totally dominating the Moto America Super Bike class, 17 wins on the season to take his first Moto America Superbike title.

[00:02:00.770] - Dale Spangler


[00:02:01.590] - Dave Sulecki

Yes, I thought that was an amazing stat. He wants 16 in a row, which puts him in rare company. Guys like Doug Poll and Scott Russell, Eddie Lawson and his boss of the series, Wayne Rainey. He clinched the title with four races left to run, which is probably a good thing. That final down in Birmingham was just a complete rain out. And I think that's what killed the street. Hats off to Jake Ghani and hats off to Yamaha for adding to the title count for 2021. Jake in their program, they were just on the gas all year long and made very few mistakes.

[00:02:34.530] - Dale Spangler

As one person said. The question was, when was Jacob you going to lose this year? As you said, he made it 16 race wins in a row, which is an incredible stat to take the Championship over South African Matthew Scoltz, who took two wins, ended up second in the final series standings over fellow South African Cameron Peterson, who also took a win to round out the top three in the series. But what a great story again about Jake Ganye. He comes from a Motocross background, and so he kind of took a little bit of a different route to winning this Moto America Superbike title, coming through the Red Bull Rookies Cup and Congrats to him, what a season.

[00:03:16.600] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah, for sure. And one of my favorite classes to watch in Moto America's Twins Cup racing, and that was another highly competitive series came down to the end. They had seven different winners in the class. Caleb Decayl wins it all. And for me, the big highlight of the year was seeing that El PRIA motorcycle come into the class and just dominate all season long. They went first and second on the year. It was great to see. And it's a race made purposely built motorcycle as compared to a lot of the equipment that they ride in that Twins class, which are modified street bikes, hats off to a brilliant for bringing game and kind of elevating the series up a little notch and bringing it closer to Super Sport.

[00:03:57.670] - Dale Spangler

Yeah, exactly. I noticed that too, Dave, where Prilia seems to be using that class as a testing ground for its bike, to see the Carroll clinch of prily as first Twins Cup title was pretty impressive. And he did that over Matthew Sculpts and Jackson Blackman. Definitely a good series. Another one that seemed like it was a pretty good series, the Super Sport class, where pretty much the stats tell it all in that series where Sean Dylan Kelly dominated with twelve wins, followed by Richie Escalante with three wins in South African Samuel Locoff with one win.

[00:04:32.440] - Dale Spangler

But the big news is from what I'm reading, Dave, is that Sean Dylan Kelly will now make the move to Moto Two next season after signing a two year deal where he's going to be joining fellow American Cameron Bobby on the American racing team for 2022 under the guidance of John Hopkins, who will continue as the team director. So definitely going to be some interesting moves there for 2022.

[00:04:54.200] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah, it's always great news when you see riders from the US Series go to Europe and really get to make a name for themselves and really a disappointment for Richie Escalante. He lost his grip on the owning the class. He was the dominant rider. He won 13 times in 2019. He really was the man and good news for Richie. He signed with XTR Suzuki for 2022. So we're going to see some more competitive racing in that super sport class, which is ultimately the feeder class for Superbikes.

[00:05:23.640] - Dave Sulecki

So hats off to those guys great series of racing and enjoyed every minute of it this year.

[00:05:28.880] - Dale Spangler

And once again, we definitely like to thank Moto America for its support of Fit Pass Moto this year, really appreciate their support. The next series we'd like to talk about is the AMA Supercross Series. And Dave, I have to say like this series just keeps getting better and better the competition level is absolutely through the roof. This particular season. In 2021, we had five different race winners. Cooper Webb, Ken Roxson, Eli Tomak, Justin, Barcelona, Marvin Mousse. I can only see this series getting even better going forward into 2022.

[00:06:14.090] - Dale Spangler

I don't know what your thoughts are, Dave.

[00:06:16.010] - Dave Sulecki

Well, it was interesting because in my notes, I had similar thoughts. And for a series that basically only ever started in California, there were no California events for this 2021 season, yet it still had a normal feel and they managed to pull the season off and the racing was compelling. As you mentioned, Cooper Webb's consistency wins the Championship every time. He only missed the podium four out of 17 rounds. So really, his worst finish was a 9th in Houston and that was in the first round. So he recovered and made it a series like the game where he is.

[00:06:50.870] - Dave Sulecki

So hats off to him. You mentioned Barcee winning on the Gas Gas, which was a new ride for him this year, and he finished fourth on the season. So it was good to see and good to see Barcia back and competing for wins, which is what we really want to see. Yeah.

[00:07:06.060] - Dale Spangler

As you mentioned, Dave, the consistency really was the key for Web because Roxan was right there down to about three rounds to go. And then for some reason, he just wasn't able to put it on the podium again. And Webb, with his two one finishes at the final round, put a stamp on it to win a second 450 Supercross title over Roxton. I can only imagine, though, that Roxon's going to come back a little hungrier for this year. We seem like we have this kind of more mature, more relaxed.

[00:07:37.340] - Dale Spangler

Ken Roxan. I don't know if he had some health issues going on there where we had those two bad races there at the end, but I expect to see him up there for sure. And as you just mentioned again, Barcia, he's definitely one of the funnest guys to watch. He seems like he's just got a good vibe going on his Gas Gas motorcycle right now. He is Mr. Anheim, it seems like. And so I expect to see him up there again come January in 2022. And then another writer of note that I thought I'd bring up is Aaron Blessinger fifth in the series, moves to KTM for 2022 as Web's teammate.

[00:08:11.060] - Dale Spangler

So I'm expecting to see some big things out of him.

[00:08:14.030] - Dave Sulecki

I expect a really good series in 22 and on the disappointing side, elite Tomac, he was just inconsistent in his title defense. He's a defending champ going into the new year. It didn't start out good for him because he went 13 one and five in Houston and it didn't get any better after that. He had some flashes, but it just didn't look like himself. So he's into a new ride for 22. So we'll see how that plays out for Eli Tomac.

[00:08:41.080] - Dale Spangler

Definitely. It'll be interesting to see what he does on the Yamaha. And speaking of Yamaha, Yamaha seemed to own the 250 classes, whether it was east or west and on the East Coast, Colt Nichols wins his 1st 250 Supercross title. Mr. Consistent all the way, every single race, he was on the podium to clinch the title. Young upstart Jet Lawrence and other youngsters like Joe Shimodo, Christian Craig Nicholl's teammate was in there as well until he was injured a couple of rounds before the end, which pretty much handed it over to Colt Nichols.

[00:09:13.910] - Dale Spangler

But I expect to see Jet Laurence definitely more in the mix if he would have been a little more consistent, I think the title would have been a little tighter.

[00:09:20.410] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah, it's possible. And I agree with what you said about Christian because really, he won a lot of Motos and was on the box pretty much up until the late in the series where he got hurt at LC One going into the final. So he didn't actually race the final. And it was kind of disappointing to see I was a little gutted for him because he's such a likable guy and such a fast racer. And to see Yamaha just kill it in that east. And speaking of Yamaha there, they did it in the west.

[00:09:48.970] - Dave Sulecki

Justin Cooper taking the title with 194 points over Hunter Lawrence, Judge Brothers. So again, highly competitive series in that west series as well as the east. Justin Cooper has just been really the guy to look at in that class and going into the outdoors. He just was consistent all season long.

[00:10:07.460] - Dale Spangler

The West Series, to me was even more intense because there was five different winters that was definitely action packed. Justin Cooper emerged. He seemed to be a little hungrier than some of the other youngsters in the class and maybe use a little bit of his maturity and his time in the class to take the Championship and continue the year of the Yamaha. We can call it, I guess, because Yamaha just seemed like they had so many wins this year. It was pretty incredible.

[00:10:57.890] - Dave Sulecki

Next we'd like to talk about Lucasfoil AMA Pro Motocross 250 and 450. And the highlights for me was the international flavor of the series in both classes, won by foreign countries in each class. And it was good racing all year. And really, nobody, I think, expected Dylan Fernandez to do what he did as a rookie in the class, let alone somebody just knew on a 450 to begin with, but he never missed a podium. And he just proved that he and Star Yama really have a good formula going.

[00:11:30.010] - Dave Sulecki

And I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do together in 2022.

[00:11:34.930] - Dale Spangler

Yes, absolutely. Dylan FrancisM like he upped the ante with this kind of all in approach. Really. It just seems like he did something that none of the other racers were willing to do and just dedicate themselves to winning the 450 outdoor title, and it showed in the big picture. I think this series to me it was just great to see the whole series back in its entirety. The environment, from everything that I've seen and heard from other people is the environment at the races was just absolutely electric.

[00:12:04.320] - Dale Spangler

The crowds were back. They appreciated the racers, the racers appreciated having the fans back. And so it just really made for a really unique environment. And I think it's going to carry forward into next year for sure. Yeah.

[00:12:17.740] - Dave Sulecki

Let's hope so. And I think just the action on the track is probably what puts people in the seats as well as it did. We talked about some of these racers before, but Justin Bash, who did so well in Supercross looks somewhat resurrected, just didn't seem to have fire this year. He finished 9th on the season, kind of looked a little bit out of sorts, just didn't have the season we expected out of them, kind of opposite of what we saw out of Fernandes, for example, also saw some really stellar performances from some other riders.

[00:12:48.250] - Dave Sulecki

Really. It sets the stage going into 2022 and some really highly competitive racing and the 250 class like to talk about that a little bit. We had an epic battle all season along between Jet Laurence, as we call them JLaw and Justin Cooper, and it came down to the final Moto in Hangtown. It wasn't even the final two Moto. It's put the final Moto and to see those guys go at it. And full credit to Honda for resurrecting their program after the Geico program shut down, bringing on two strong riders.

[00:13:18.550] - Dale Spangler

Yeah, it was cool to see Honda back for sure, kind of dedicating themselves to getting back in and winning some titles again. I think you look at the stats, though. It really doesn't tell the full story unless you look closely at there's five different winners in the outdoor series. And one of those people that I think of note is Jeremy Martin, who if it weren't for injuries, I think he might have been in there, possibly for the Championship. And then speaking of injuries as well, Justin Cooper with his broken thumb that he kind of kept to that under the wraps to himself.

[00:13:47.730] - Dale Spangler

So nobody really knew that until the series is over. But he had a broken thumb that he was trying to ride through for the final two rounds, which somewhat hampered his performance. But it's hard to say if that would have made much of a difference. In the end, Jack Lawrence seemed pretty determined to take the title, and he's great for the sport. He's young, he's energetic, just great for the series.

[00:14:06.870] - Dave Sulecki

Talk about young and energetic. They had a rookie win a class this year in 250, Juliet Swallow on that Rockstar huskavarn a winning at High Point. That was pretty cool to see. And it was awesome to see guys like Cooper and guys like Lawrence going over and high five and giving them hugs because the rumors were that Juliet was going to give up racing if he wasn't going to move forward. So I think that kind of convinced him to stay and we're happy for it's. Great to see them out there competing with those guys.

[00:14:45.570] - Dale Spangler

The next series we'd like to talk about is MXGP and wow, this had to have been one of the best racing seasons and I wouldn't even go so far as to say 20 years. The series had so many twists and turns throughout the season. Six different racers took overall MXGP wins in 2021, and of course, Jeffrey hurlings emerged as the winner takes all champion. The series went down to the final round and the final Moto. It couldn't have been any better.

[00:15:15.300] - Dave Sulecki

Dave, to me, that was the takeaway of the series and that specific class was the parody. As you said, the stats say it all, even though Hurling won 16 of 36 possible motives. He had six winners in the class, so it just shows that it's highly competitive no matter how you slice it. And for me, watching Herlings mature into a true, strategizing thinking champion rather than the kind of guy that wins at all costs. Love to see it and watch him mature and become the racer that he is.

[00:15:45.120] - Dave Sulecki

I think big things are ahead and there's some potential records that are being threatened with. Hurling is doing as well as he is because he's already at the top on wins in total just beneath Everts. It'll be interesting to see how his career plays out going forward.

[00:16:00.250] - Dale Spangler

I don't think the riders are going to make it any easier on hurlings, though. Going into 2022. Tim Geyser, Roman February. I think these guys are hungry. I think February was the closest to taking the title over hurlings. But unfortunately, as we talked about on one of our recent shows, Roman Februara broke his TIB fib at an off season Supercross in Paris, and his return will be questionable for the February 20 start date for MXGP. So it's unfortunate for him. And then, of course, some of the other big stories being Antonio Cairoli retiring after nine world titles, 90 plus Grand Prix victories and over 270 race wins.

[00:16:43.060] - Dale Spangler

Unbelievable career. Big Congrats to him.

[00:16:46.080] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah, for sure. And I understand MXGP retired the two two two, which is a pretty cool move on their part to memorialize Antonio's career. What a great racer he was. And for me, MX Two racing. Let's talk about the 250s. To me, it was new faces. We saw guys like Godagnini Beaton K to Wolf, Ruben, Ferrandez, Ron Bandemuse, Matthias, Boss Rain. I mean, these guys never even heard of them and they're just out there flying and I worry that they're going to come to the US and go racing because we're in big trouble.

[00:17:17.650] - Dave Sulecki

If these guys show up here these guys are all fast.

[00:17:19.960] - Dale Spangler

I'd call it the Year of the youngsters, like you said, because there's just so much young talent coming up. Maddie Guadalini, who won multiple races for factory KTM, Tibo, Beniston for Yamaha, Kaida Wolf and Rennie Hoffer, which on that side note, sadly, we did hear just recently our condolences to the friends and family of Racer Rennie Hoffer, who we just found out yesterday tragically lost his life in an avalanche while skiing with friends over the weekend. And the entire MXGP scene is just absolutely devastated right now on this tragic loss and not to take anything away to get back to the racing.

[00:17:59.290] - Dale Spangler

Unbelievable. Racing maximum rises to the occasion to give Yamaha another Championship over his teammate Yago Gears.

[00:18:19.330] - Dave Sulecki

Next, we'd like to talk about GNCC Racing, which is off road racing here in the US, and it's one of my favorite series, and honestly, they're always great events and a lot of value for the racer. Gncc had another record year for attendance and is looking to expand for 2022. It's just really a well covered, well run series and the racing on the track is just icing on the cake. As far as I'm concerned, it's just stellar stuylor bring it in home almost just behind Benjamin Kelly.

[00:18:49.210] - Dave Sulecki

He's been the guy to watch all season, had the most wins in the XC One class, came up just a little bit short in a very wet and wild final round in Iron Man. So kind of disappointing and gutted for him, but good series for Ben Kelly. Good to see him win that Championship.

[00:19:06.470] - Dale Spangler

He was just rock solid all year. Baylor might have been. He certainly seemed to have the speed, but starting out with missing, I believe he missed one round, possibly even two kind of put him at a deficit starting out. So he just sort of eked away at that point gap and brought it down to the last round. But as you said, Ben Kelly emerged as the champion Baylor's bike. I don't think he actually made it to the finish in that round. Kelly was able to make it to the finish, wrap up the title, the first one in the will say the post Caleb Russell era of GNCC racing for sure.

[00:19:40.490] - Dave Sulecki

And we were wondering who was going to pick up the mantle and carry it. But good on KTM for doing what they did and stew. It just seems like the chips are always stacked against him, but he always comes through shining. He had that points penalty after the buckwheat round going into that final round, which cost them about four points. And like I said, if it wasn't for bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. At least he's willing to celebrate. One thing we all look forward to are those backflips at the finish line.

[00:20:10.710] - Dale Spangler

Absolutely. I would go so far as to say that Baylor's, one of those guys that the crowd loves him he seems to be kind of the people's champ in some ways, and he's always having fun. And even though he didn't win the title, it seemed like a win for the entire series with so much tension back on it. And speaking of first, Johnny G, the New England Ripper Jonathan Giro absolutely dominates the XC Two class to give Gas Gas the XCE Two Championship over Craig DeLong. Great series for him.

[00:20:41.870] - Dale Spangler

He just seemed like he was on a different level this year with nine winds.

[00:20:45.680] - Dave Sulecki

Yeah, nine out of 13 wins is something. And he finished no worse than 7th on the season. And that was even with the wettest round, the Iron Man round, which was a deluge of rain. So full credit to Jonathan for taking that title and giving the Austrian Brands another win. And just really impressive to watch. For me, some of the best racing all year was in the WXC class. I really enjoyed watching those girls go at it. And Becca Sheets, with seven wins going up against Rachel Archer with six wins, came down to the final round and Becca wins the title by one point.

[00:21:21.150] - Dave Sulecki

It's just absolutely killer series in a WXC class. Good to see and good to see the participation and watch those lady athletes go out there and battle.

[00:21:30.810] - Dale Spangler

Absolutely. What a way to take her third title and then immediately announces her retirement from professional racing. So Congrats to her on those three titles. And what a way to go out. It'll be interesting next to see who steps up and kind of takes the lead in that class. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rachel Archer, as you mentioned, for the Am Pro team and one other youngster that I have an eye on that's upcoming would be young upstart Preston Reigns, who is the daughter of past champion Jason Reigns.

[00:22:00.640] - Dale Spangler

I saw where she finished 7th place, so I wouldn't be surprised to see her kind of working her way towards the podium here going forward into 2022. Our next series is the Moto GP Series. And again, Dave, this seems to add to that year of the Yamaha theme that we've been seeing throughout all these different race series. Fabio Carterraro withstands the pressure of this 18 race all year long series to give Yamaha the Moto GP Championship. What an unbelievable season for him.

[00:22:41.400] - Dave Sulecki

It was action packed and drama filled that's Moto GP in a nutshell, we saw first time winners like Bagnaya and veteran winners like Mark Marquez, who was really for me, the guy to watch six different winners in that Moto GP class, Cordoraro Bagnaya Miller on his Ducati Bender on his KTM. He actually got KTM's first win this year and Mark Marquez returning to the Winter Circle, which was great to see after all those injuries. I really enjoyed watching Moto GP this year and watching these guys go at it.

[00:23:14.190] - Dave Sulecki

They are at a very high level and very sophisticated equipment. Hats off to these guys for competing.

[00:23:20.710] - Dale Spangler

Yeah, it's literally the Formula One of motorcycle racing with those one off machines that you're talking about. But one thing to go back, Dave, that surprised me was defending champ Joanne Mer struggled with absolutely no wins this year in 2021. But really, even more surprising to me, was kind of the emergence of KTM and Ducati as title threats and front runners like unbelievable amount of KTMs and Ducatis on the podium in 2022, making it even more of a unique and incredible series.

[00:23:51.260] - Dave Sulecki

As it always tends to be, because it is, as you said, the Formula One of motorcycle racing and get back to big event winners, Mark Marquez getting back into the winning circle. And it was great to see he won the German round at Stocks and Ring, and then again when he came to the US. So it called you won in Austin, Texas. Speaking of Marquez in the US, he's got nearly a perfect record here in the USA. He's got five wins, Dakota, three wins in India and one at Laguna.

[00:24:18.200] - Dave Sulecki

So it's almost nearly a perfect record. And then he goes on and finishes the round in Mosano, Italy. So good to see Marquez back. We need him. He's one of the fastest racers ever. And it's going to just make that series even more competitive going into the new season.

[00:24:33.360] - Dale Spangler

Yes. One thing about Mark Marquez, though, that I am concerned about for 2022, it has been reported that following a head injury incurred during training, Marquez has been diagnosed with diploma, which is also known as double vision. The eight time world champion will undergo some further scans and tests on the lead up to Christmas. And with HRC and Marquez set to make a decision for the future once they find out what happens after those check ups. So it's definitely a little concerning for Mark Marquez's career. We hope we'll be back because without him, Moto GP just won't be the same.

[00:25:06.340] - Dave Sulecki

Absolutely. And we've talked about drama. We've talked about Yamaha, so we can't talk about those two things without bringing up Maverick Vanilla, who started the season on Yamaha, winning the opening round in Qatar. From there, it seemed to deteriorate. And then he went through some drama with the team where he was accused of sabotaging the motorcycle by over committing to the throttle at the wrong time. These guys are on motorcycles that have a very specific, limited time that are used on each engine. So Yamaha didn't take too kindly to that.

[00:25:37.820] - Dave Sulecki

They suspended him. And then a week later, they let him go. But he immediately turned around and signed with a truly mid season. He wasn't always the fastest on the grid, but he is back in the mix. He's a very talented rider, so I'm looking forward to see what he can do in 2022 on that April and see if he's going to be competitive.

[00:25:57.430] - Dale Spangler

So overall for 2021, if there's one thing that really stood out to me is probably one of the biggest pieces of news. Three Legends retiring from racing this year, Antonio Cairoli takes his leave from MXGP after an incredible career. Valentino Rossi, another legend, retires from Moto GP and then American racing Zac Osborne decides that it's time for him to retire from AMA Motocross. So unbelievable seasons and careers for these three racers. And we'd like to give them a big shout out for their fantastic careers and all the best in life.

[00:26:37.290] - Dale Spangler

After racing.

[00:26:38.170] - Dave Sulecki

For me, the 2021 season was all about Yamaha. They won pretty much all the major titles, taking home nine in total. Absolutely stellar performance. On their part, we'd like to give a big pit pass. Moto shout out to these guys. They won the Moto GP title, world Superbike 450 MX, 250 Supercross East and 250 Super Cross West, the Superbike title, the MXGP 250 title and also the 450 Single flat track title. So good on you. Yamaha is great to see, and it's the thing that I'll remember most about the 2021 season.

[00:27:18.870] - Dale Spangler

We'll be taking a break for the holiday season, but we'll be back with new episodes beginning January 6, just in time to preview the kick off of the 2022 Supercross series. Thank you for tuning in to Pitpas Moto this year. If you enjoyed this episode, make sure to follow us on your favorite podcast app so you'll never miss an episode. If you have a moment, please rate and review our show. We'd really appreciate it. Make sure you're also following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit Pitpassmoto.

[00:27:50.080] - Dale Spangler

Com where you can check out our latest blog.

[00:27:52.560] - Dave Sulecki

This has been a production of Evergreen Podcasts. A special thank you to Tommy Boy Halverson, Chris Bishop, producer Leah Longbrake and audio engineer Eric Koltnow.

[00:28:02.490] - Dale Spangler

I'm Dave Sulecki and I'm Dale Spangler. Thanks for listening and see you in 2022.

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The Team

Dave Sulecki

Dave Sulecki is a 37 year industry veteran, and a lifetime motorcycle rider, racer, builder, restorer, and enthusiast.

Dale Spangler

Dale Spangler is a lifelong motorcycle enthusiast, former racer, and powersports industry marketing specialist, writer, and content creator.

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