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November 19, 2014

Supercross' crazy cousin

If you asked me a few years ago whether I thought Endurocross would make it as a discipline, I'm not sure I'd have said yes. But today, this hybrid series is still thriving while other cross-discipline mash-ups such as supermoto are all but dead in the U.S.

Perhaps it's because the combination of insanely tight courses and nutty obstacles guarantees plenty of close racing and slapstick-style crashes? I'm not sure, but I will say that I dug watching this coverage of the latest round from Boise, Idaho.

November 12, 2014

Why aren't you racing?

Yesterday marked the six-year anniversary of a crash I had that resulted in nine broken bones and a collapsed lung. I wrote about this crash on this site, lamenting that it probably meant the end of my 22-year run as a racer.

Six years later, I still haven't returned to racing motocross, and I am mostly OK with that. Today I still ride my dirt bike regularly, and the absence of racing has allowed me to enjoy riding on a different level. I have more fun when I'm riding now. I'm free from the pressure of practicing starts, building endurance and pushing past my comfort zone on long, whooped-out straights and sketchy, rut-filled jumps. It's nice.

But there's still a part of me that sees photos or results from the races and wishes I was out there. Racing is a hard habit to kick, and if I hadn't adopted downhill mountain bike racing -- for me, the methadone to the heroin of motocross -- I might struggle with my lack of motocross racing a lot more. 

Yet I also know that I'm not the only one who's turned away from motocross racing in recent years. The race turnouts are much thinner than they were a decade ago -- in northern Nevada as well as much of the rest of the nation -- and while many of the racers who've left have done so because of injuries (like me), I don't think all of them have left for that reason. I think many of them have left because of economics, thin competition, new responsibilities or plain old loss of interest.

So the question this week is: If you've not raced many motocross races lately, what's kept you away? You can let us know on this thread on the message board.

I don't see myself returning to racing anytime in the immediate future, but who knows? If I'm still in decent shape when I turn 40 -- in other words, if my past concussions haven't led me to a state of permanent haziness by then -- I might drag myself back to the starting line for a comeback.

Look out, 40+ class of 2021.


November 05, 2014

The quiet time

It's hard to deny that November is one of the duller times of the year to be a motocross fan.

The outdoor nationals, Motocross of Nations and Monster Cup are done. Supercross is still two months away. And, in most parts of the country, the weather is turning colder and local races are becoming scarcer.

So what can be done to pass the time? That's right: dreaming about new bikes and gear for next year.

If you're in the market for a new two-smoker, you'll probably want to have a look at this MXA video that highlights the new KTM 150SX and 250SX. It features lots of shots of brand-new two-strokes railing loamy SoCal berms amid abundant sunshine -- just the kind of thing to get you through the dark months ahead.

October 29, 2014

The Purge 100

I have ridden dirt bikes for 28 years, and I raced motocross for about 23 of those. But in all that time, I have never raced a desert race.

Why? I guess it has to do with the fear of the unknown. Motocross was always familiar, and desert racing, with its oversize gas tanks, 18-inch rear wheels and gnarly pipe guards, always seemed a little foreign. So I've simply stuck to what I've known all these years.

Evidently the people at MRANN understand how I feel, because they've made this weekend's Purge 100 at Moonrocks about as motocrosser-friendly as it could be. There's no desert tank required, and they will even set you up with a one-day membership card so you don't have to commit to an annual membership. 

You can get more details by clicking on the flyer below. Every motocrosser I've spoken to who's done this race says it's a blast, so who knows? Maybe one day I'll do it myself. But don't expect to find me running one of those bulbous gas tanks anytime soon. 


October 21, 2014

Moto 6 trailer

About 15 or 20 years ago, full-length motocross movies were fairly plentiful. Starting with Fox's "Terrafirma" in 1994 -- or, if you really want to go way back, Gary Bailey's "Pros at Practice and Play" from 1989 -- and continuing on through "Crusty Demons of Dirt," Moto XXX," "Fly" and "Steel Roots," plus all the sequels and imitators they spawned, motocross videos were produced on a pretty prolific scale for a while there.

It makes sense, really -- all you needed for a hit video back then was a half-decent camera, a weekend or two to film at Glamis or Beaumont and maybe some "lifestyle footage" from Lake Havasu. 

But nowadays, with web edits likely consuming more of the average moto-viewers time than full-length videos possibly could, it seems there are far fewer filmmakers willing to take the time and expense necessary to make a quality, multi-segment moto movie. Again, it's easy to see why: With so many above-average web videos appearing on a daily basis, it really takes a special project to capture viewers' attention today.

Thankfully, the crew behind the Moto series have continued to accept this challenge. The trailer for their latest is below, and as usual, it's worth a watch. 

Just for fun, consider watching it after viewing "Pros at Practice and Play." The moto-movie genre has come a long way in the last 25 years, but without the pioneers, who knows where we'd be today -- except perhaps still at Glamis.

October 15, 2014

Moto Source Monster Cup SX Party 2014

OK, so it's been a silly season to remember. But now the rumor mill is about to be silenced by actual racing at this Saturday's Monster Cup in Las Vegas.

If you're looking for the best place to watch the race in Reno, the Moto Source party at Legends Grill is a safe bet -- get the details on the flyer below, which also links to the Moto Source Facebook page. If you're looking for the latest scoop on who's racing -- and what color bike they'll be riding -- this report from Racer X should bring you up to speed (for the moment -- things can change quickly in the days before this race!).

It should be a very interesting evening. The only way it could get better is if RV hopped a last-minute plane from Europe to get in on the action. Wouldn't that be cool? 


October 08, 2014

Straight fast

In case you've not been paying attention the last 12 years, James Stewart is great at cornering. The speed he carries through turns is one of the primary reasons he's a multi-time champion. But guess what happens when you remove the corners from a supercross track?

The man is still a machine.

Speaking of machines, it was also pretty cool to see TP199 back in action, this time on a 500cc two-stroke monster. Got to love the sound from this clip.

September 30, 2014

MXdN recap

Sadly, the Motocross des Nations (I still refuse to call it Motocross of Nations) didn't go to the Americans this year, though the team of Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac and Jeremy Martin put up a valiant fight in Latvia and salvaged a podium finish in the end.

While it wasn't necessarily surprising that the French team took the win, the fact that it was only their second-ever win -- in an event that has been happening since 1947 -- is pretty astonishing. There have been numerous great French riders over the years, so it's hard to believe they've not taken the top spot more often.

But in any case, Gautier Paulin and company clearly earned it this year. You can check out the highlights below.

September 24, 2014

Pastrana is not slowing down

If you haven't seen this yet, prepare to have your mind blown. Yes, there are airbags involved in some of it, but everything is still next-level big.

September 17, 2014

Vital MX checks out the new YZ250

OK, so the 2015 Yamaha YZ250 isn't a complete redesign. But Yamaha still deserves kudos for updating the venerable pre-mixer's looks. 

However, this footage of a brand-new two-stroke ripping a beautifully prepped Glen Helen will make whatever you're doing right now seem a little lamer in comparison. You've been warned.