March 27, 2013
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    It is with great pleasure that I complete this week’s Mid-Week Report with very little sleep or food in my system. Why am I happy? My wife and I welcomed our first child, Brayden Henry, into the world. Brayden was born on March 23rd at 2:16 a.m. The little bugger measured 23 inches long and weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces. It’s nice to see that he has long legs, because it’ll help him skim the whoops easier once he gets older. Ladies and gentleman, introducing the 2029 Loretta Lynn’s 250 A Champion! Or maybe he won’t like dirt bikes. He’s awesome either way! Note his first motocross sponsor, Smooth Industries. He’ll have an orange MXA helmet before too long.


Brian (left) doing work.

    “The Place Beyond the Pines” is an appealing movie with a rather unusual name. Loaded with stars (Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta and others) and an enticing story, it also has quite a few really amazing stunts.
    Brian Smyj (pronounced Smy) was the stunt coordinator in the movie, responsible for all of the stunts, as well as the safety of the stuntmen and actors. He had a tall order to fill, but he had help from the two main stars, Gosling and Cooper, as both did quite a few of their own stunts. You will have newfound respect for the two acclaimed actors after reading this interview, as well as an appreciation for Smyj. And, if you’re like me, you’ll be heading out to the theater to see “The Place Beyond the Pines” (which is set to release on Friday in select theaters).

MXA: How did you become a stunt coordinator?
Brian: You first have to become a stuntman. The best way to do it is to learn everything from the ground up. You have to learn every stunt so that you can coordinate every stunt. That way you can make every stunt person safer when they’re doing their job. I’ve had to learn everything that I can. When someone decided to give me the reigns and entrust a project to me, I knew that I had to show my stuff so that I could move on to the next level.

What type of stunts have you done before?
I’ve done everything. I’ve crashed motorcycles and cars, been on fire, jumped off buildings, done underwater work?I’ve done everything. You name any kind of stunt and I’ve done it.

Do you ride dirt bikes at all?
That’s pretty much all I ride now. I had a Harley-Davidson Fatboy, but I gave it up. I had to compromise with the wife. A friend of mine got banged up really bad, so my wife really wasn’t having it. I do go on street rides every once in a while with my buddies around upstate New York. I come home with bugs in my teeth and my wife is wanting to know where they came from. I do ride ATVs, and I enjoy that. I don’t know what the attraction is. I grew up riding dirt bikes, and I started out on a Honda mini Trail 50. Then I went to a Honda 175 trail bike. My buddies have a wide range of bikes. My buddy, Jay Lynch, raced motocross, and he has a bunch of bikes.

Talk about your work in “The Place Beyond the Pines.”
Ricky Miller was the stunt double for Ryan Gosling. He trained Ryan on the bike. As a stunt coordinator you find yourself in meetings, eating donuts and drinking coffee while the stunt guys are out practicing. I tell the guys what I want. Then I view it after taping and make changes to the stunts if necessary. On this project with Ricky, Ryan asked to do more stunts. He was an amazing student and he picked everything up really fast. We had issues with the insurance company allowing him to ride a bike through an intersection with 47 cars around him. With this stuff going on it was a painstaking process with the insurance company to let Ryan do the stunt. We had to do the stunt at two miles an hour, then at five miles an hour, and we kept speeding up until we got to the point where it worked for the cameras.

Ryan Gosling stars as Luke in Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, a Focus Features release. Credit:  Atsushi Nishijima

So Ryan Gosling actually rode a motorcycle quite a bit for “The Place Beyond The Pines“?
Yes. Ryan rides normally. We had a Honda 250 that we used for basically the whole movie. We had to continue using the Honda 250 because the bike had to match what was being used in the Globe of Death scene. On occasion we slipped in another bike?such as when he was riding with Eva Mendes on the back. A 250 looked too small with two people sitting on it, so we used a 400. Honda gave us five or six bikes to use, and they were awesome. There was a sequence with a big crash at the end. Bradley Cooper, without using a stunt double, chased Ryan Gosling through the streets. Then they do a Texas switch where Bradley is chasing the stunt double. The stuntman is going down the street at 65 miles an hour and then lays the bike down. The bike slides 200 feet, and the stuntman gets up and runs into an alleyway. The director wanted it documentary style, more like how it would look on a police chase. Fortunately everyone walked away without a scratch. Because of that stunt I have several more gray hairs, but it was a fulfilling project nonetheless.

You have quite a stressful job!
At the end of the day I’m responsible if something doesn’t work. The producers in the meetings know that I have certain responsibilities, and my philosophy is that if you’re the guy taking the pat on the back if something goes right, then you’re also the guy getting kicked in the butt if something goes wrong. I wish our politicians believed the same philosophy! Unfortunately they don’t.

You’ve previously worked with Bradley Cooper on “Limitless” and “Failure to Launch.” He seems like a man’s man in movies. What’s he like in real life?
Both Bradley and Ryan are very manly. They are the type of guys that you could go out and have a drink with. There’s no pretense. Some actors are real in the sense that they talk about themselves and their families and where they grew up and so forth. They aren’t discussing their last project or how deep into the character they went. Bradley and Ryan didn’t have any of that going on. They’re real people. They remind me of the motorcycle guys that I grew up with. They’re honest and they have camaraderie. Women have this thing with guys who are too pretty sometimes, and my wife never really appreciated how talented Bradley and Ryan were. In this movie both actors stretched themselves out, not only with their acting, but also with the stunts that they had to do. My wife told me after the screening for “The Place Beyond the Pines” that Bradley Cooper was the next Paul Newman.

So you’ve done stunts, but what about acting?
I’ve played parts in movies, and that’s terrifying. I’m used to playing a part where I get hit by a car or beat up. In this movie I had to act, which is out of my element. Now reverse that. Here’s an actor who’s used to acting, but he also has to do stunts. If he screws up a stunt then he goes to the hospital. Actors have a tremendous amount of pressure on them to do what stunt people do, but they also have to perform as actors. It’s not an easy task.

You actually played a part as an officer in this movie. How was that experience?
It was not my choice! I actually had an argument with the director about it. We were scouting a location, and the director was explaining the scene. In it he said that a police car would be driven by Officer Jefferson, played by Brian Smyj. I went, ‘Oh no I won’t!’ I freaked out. In the scene I was in, everyone was yelling at me. I was very concerned on that day because there were some serious stunts happening, and playing Officer Jefferson wasn’t high on my list of priorities.

Ryan Gosling stars as Luke in Derek Cianfrance’s The Place Beyond the Pines, a Focus Features release. Credit:  Atsushi Nishijima

What was it like working with the crew?
This was the most pleasurable crew and cast that I ever worked with in my career. There wasn’t anyone on set that I didn’t get along with. The producers were unbelievable. Everything that we needed these guys brought to the table. So many times the Producers won’t evaluate the reasoning behind something, and instead just cut costs. That didn’t happen in this movie. The producers spent money that they didn’t even have! This movie didn’t have a huge budget, but the amount of money and commitment they put into the stunts and safety of the actors, they did it. There were guys from all over the country working the movie. It wasn’t cheap.

How long did it take from start to finish to film “The Place Beyond the Pines“?
I don’t know the actual shooting schedule, because I had a bunch of meetings while some of the scenes were being filmed. Two months prior to filming Ricky Miller was training Ryan on his stunts. Bradley had a month to learn.

What did you do to celebrate the completion of the film?
They day that we wrapped stunts we went to a restaurant in Schenectady, NY. The stunt team had the whole back room. Then the producers showed up, and also the actors. It turned out to be a great time. Normally the stunt crew keeps to themselves, but that night we all had a lot of fun.

Please talk a little bit about the motorcycles you used.
We had to do so much damage to the rear wheel to make it look like it was flat. Ricky Miller, Louie Franco and I did testing on the bike, and in filming the rear tire had to look completely flat for the stunt. We ran the bike on a flat tire, but the quality of the tire on the Honda was so good that we resorted to drilling holes in the rubber. We took out the inner tube with an 1/8-inch drill bit. The bike still rode the same. So we made the holes larger. That still didn’t work. We finally put extra bead locks in the rim, took a saw, and cut six inch long by one inch wide gaps in the sidewalls. Finally the tire looked flat, but Ricky said that he could still ride the bike probably 35 miles before the wheel broke.

Wow, that’s impressive!
If I had to have one bike if armageddon was happening then I think I would go with a Honda. After seeing what we did to that bike, it was amazing. We went out of our way to damage it. We crashed the bike, tore the pegs off, put vinyl sliders in certain places, and crashed over and over. It kept on ticking. The bike was like the Terminator!

Who does this movie appeal to?
It appeals to everyone. It’s a guy’s movie, and it’s a father and son story. Eva Mendes is in there, and she’s not hard to look at. Women will be attracted to the story. Women aren’t going to have any problems looking at Bradley and Ryan. There’s an action/adventure element to it, which guys will like. It’s a wild ride. People should know that Ryan did 70 percent of his riding stunts. He would have done nearly all of them had he been available, but instead he had to film other scenes when stunts were being done. The insurance company also wouldn’t let him ride through the cemetery or crash the bike. Going through the intersection was the big stunt that he did, and it turned out great.


[Press Release]

    Ride Engineering has developed a NEW Lower Stabilizer Bracket (KT-SHLSB-03 – msrp: $29.95)that can be combined with our existing Steering Head Bracket Kit (KT-SHSB0-KT – msrp: $149.95)which allows KTM riders to install a Showa Steering Dampener onto their stock triple clamps. This system combined with Ride Eng.’s 20.5 or 19mm Offset Clamps is used by top level GNCC riders as well as the Canadian Factory Motocross Team. Offroad riders claim it absorbs impacts when hitting brush and helps the bike track straight over loose rocks, but is otherwise undetectable in the air over jumps. Benefits of the dampener in motocross include increased entering and exit speeds in rough, rutted corners with less physical effort expelled from the rider.

By Daryl Ecklund

    Eat a minimum of 1-1/2 hours before exercise or riding. Something high in carbohydrates and protein (chicken breast sandwich, turkey sandwich).

    After a workout or riding you have a max window of two hours to replenish your depleted fuels. Be prepared with something easy like a protein shake to replenish lost nutrients.

    Make sure your drinking lots of water. If you are thirsty you are already dehydrated. Try to keep water with you at all times and drink about every 20 minutes.

    If drinking juice make sure it’s always 100%.

    Preparing sandwiches are easy for a snack or lunch. Make sure the meat you purchase is sodium nitrate free, and add some veggies such as tomato and spinach.

    For dinner, chicken breast, turkey breast, and lean ground beef is always good. Mixing the meat with either pasta or rice is an easy mix along with adding some black beans for fiber.

    Always make sure there is at least one vegetable on the dinner table.

    Change it up. Eat a variety of food (different vegetable every night, different meat).

    Have a goal of eating six smaller meals a day with three to four hours in between each meal.

    Of course stay away from fried food, soda, sweets and processed foods. The less processed the better.

    For snacks be smart. Raw nuts, apples, carrots, bananas, power bars, cliff bars, or tuna will do a body good.

    Lastly, be aware of what you eat. Start looking at nutrition labels and ingredients to educate yourself of what is going into your body.
By Jim Kimball

    I have to admit that Wil Hahn has been one of my favorite riders since I met him years ago at his AMA Pro debut at Millville. Wil is just one of those people that has passion and enthusiasm for motocross in spades. Since then, the 23 year old has been fast, but often sidelined with injury. Now leading the 2013 250 East Supercross series by nine points, we checked in with the Geico Powersports Honda rider for an update.

Wil, I have to say that the red plates sure look good on your bike!
Yeah, it matches the Honda red pretty well. It’s definitely a beautiful sight to see.

You’ve had the speed in the past, but this year it really seems like it is all coming together.
I think that more than anything, it’s been the seat time that I have had in the past eight months that has helped me this year. I did twenty-four motos last summer and finished every one of them, which was a big thing for me. I felt as if I almost won the title! After the past couple years with being sidelined by injury, as I said finishing out last year was like winning a championship in my mind. Then I had a great off-season with the team, and got a lot of testing in. Sitting on the couch with injuries for two years will really change your mindset. I am enjoying every minute of being out here.

You bring up a good point about having a good off-season. I was talking to Davi Millsaps, and he said the same thing.
I think that it comes down to getting to know your bike well by spending so much time riding. Putting in so many hours on the bike was one of the biggest changes for me, rather than recovering from injuries. Normally in past years I may not get on the bike until November, but this year I got on it much sooner. I took about a month off after the last National at Lake Elsinore, and spent some time at home with my family. Then I got back on my bike and raced Bercy, and then got to ride a lot. To get to ride this extra time has been a big difference, and very helpful.

I would imagine that there are many different strategies for keeping the red plate, from riding to protect the point lead, or maybe forgetting about it all together. What’s your mindset?
I think that it was actually a big relief to get the red plate. I don’t get any pressure from the team or any of my sponsors, although I probably do feel some pressure from within to keep the red plate. But the momentum that comes with having the points lead is big. Still, getting back to your question, I really try to just take it race by race, and do the best that I can in each race. I want this title, and I’m going to be going wide open and try to get this championship for my team.   

By Daryl Ecklund

    Ryan Villopoto reminds me of the T-1000 in “Terminator 2.” He is a machine that is programmed to win at any cost. He has his eyes fixated on his target and does not waste any time to attack. Ryan will not rest, or even crack a smile, unless he is on the top of the box.
    I ask myself if this guy even having fun. Why doesn’t Ryan lighten up a bit? Most people work all week. When the weekend comes around we can’t wait to escape to the track for some good times. For Ryan, his career is a seven days a week, 24 hours a day job. He doesn’t have any time to escape for the weekend for some rest and relaxation. Yes, the other riders have the same job as Ryan, but I don’t think anyone takes his job as seriously as Villopoto.
    Watching Ryan throughout this season gives me inspiration. The guy started off Anaheim 1 with a hard fought 16th place finish. He couldn’t keep it sunny side up to save his life! But he would get right back up, find his target and attack again…and again…and again. His never-say-die attitude each and every round has now left him with seven wins and the red plate.
    Bottom line, I love watching Ryan race. He pushes the envelope each and every time. But to me he is pushing it too far with the position he is in. He has a 12-point lead and should be minimizing risk every chance he gets. This past weekend at Toronto was a good example of his lack of patience. Ryan kept on throwing a wheel in on Millsaps, making contact with him more than a few times, putting himself in high risk situations. Did it pay off? Yes, but how long will it be until his luck runs out? Right now Ryan has a 12-point lead on Millsaps with five races to go. My money is still on the number 18. Millsaps has been patient this entire season and is just waiting for the Terminator to self-destruct.


    Can this man be stopped? Photo courtesy of KTM


    PanicREV is presenting REV13, an Easter Sunday Race on March 31st at Glen Helen Raceway. This will be a great day of racing and fun for the whole family with a bounce house, an Easter egg hunt, and an Easter sunrise service at 6:00am. It is going to be a day to remember! To sign up and get more information please visit
    A big thanks to all the REV13 sponsors: Glen Helen, MSR, Split Designs, CampREV, N2Dirt, and Dr.D
    In addition to a great way to celebrate Easter this day also marks 10 years of doing motocross ministry for PanicREV. It would mean a lot to us if you can join us! The whole crew looks forward to seeing you all at Glen Helen on Easter Sunday! God bless.  

WORCS Round 3
March 24th, 2013
Lake Havasu City, AZ
Photos courtesy of Harlen Foley

    For those who truly bleed off road racing, what better way to spend a spring break weekend than to test your physical limits by racing around a course covered with deep, demanding sand whoops all while being showered with rocky spray coming off the back wheels of sixty horsepower, 450cc machines. Indeed, the third round of the WORCS series has become a benchmark for toughness as the shorter lap times on offer lead to rapidly deteriorating conditions and one brutally rough racecourse. Havasu’s physically taxing reputation has also set the stage for top AMA motocross racers to come out and test their training. This year made no exception as Brett Metcalfe came out as for one heck of a test before he heads up north for the Canadian nationals. With Taylor Robert also back in action, the two-hour pro race was shaping up to be extremely hard fought and everyone was anxiously awaiting the green flag drop.
    I was very excited by the prospect of Taylor’s return; earning my first win last month felt fantastic, but was also slightly hollow with his absence, so I was fired up at the opportunity to test my speed against him. With dead-engine being the start procedure yet again, the entire start line fell silent as thirty-eight racers concentrated intently on the motionless green flag, anticipating the slightest flicker. The flag flew high into the air and a roar of engines came to life as we accelerated down the short start straight.  My bike had fired quickly; I was in lead pack of three or four riders heading into the first turn and made a quick pivot to the inside, exiting in third place behind Taylor and Justin Seeds. The motocross portion was fairly one-lined and Justin was riding well, making it difficult for me to find a way by. With Gary Sutherlin pressing me from behind and Taylor starting to pull a slight gap, I needed to find a way by quickly. A few corners into the off road section of the racecourse Justin went a little wide and I seized my opportunity to cut underneath him and take second position, leaving clear track between myself and Taylor, who was just a few seconds up the course.

    This was what I wanted, a heads up race, Taylor in my sights, a true test of our speed. I charged hard and envisioned of an epic battle full of lead changes and plenty of excitement, but to my chagrin, Taylor was riding really fast. I was working my butt off and, aside from a little arm pump in the early laps, I felt really good, but Taylor was just slightly faster every lap. I’d burn what I felt was a really quick lap, but he’d still inch further ahead and I couldn’t quite seem to match his pace on the day. Once he had pulled a bit of a gap on me I was left to my own thoughts and, while I was frustrated I couldn’t catch him, I was enjoying the track and the challenge of finding new, creative lines in ever-changing conditions. There really wasn’t much more incident as I rode toward the finish; all of the drama was happening behind Taylor and myself as Gary succumbed to some mechanical issues and I heard Metcalfe and Bobby Garrison had a pretty exciting back and forth before Brett would finally take control of the spot. Over the few remaining laps I rode smooth and smart and at the finish I would settle for second place on the day.
    My final thought on the day is that I can’t be disappointed: I rode hard and I to the best of my ability, Taylor was just a little faster. What I’m most disappointed about is that I won’t get the chance for a rematch at round four, as he’ll be at the World X-Games. In the mean time I’ll be working on improving my speed in anticipation of the next time we face each other, so we can make a fun race of it and put on a show for the fans. I’d like to thank all of my sponsors for the continued support: Precision Concepts, Alamo Alarms, Fox Racing, PODmx, USWE, THR Motorsports, Northland Motorsports, Ryan Abbatoye Designs and and thank you to all of the team sponsors who make this such a great effort. Congratulations to the WORCS crew for such a successful event at Havasu. The track was really good, the turn out looked great and it was fantastic to see so many people in the pits, supporting the sport we love. Finally, a quick thanks to Ryan Piplic for lugging all of the vases up to the race, Katie and I really appreciate it!

Robby Bell

    Thank you to all the Precision Concepts, Alamo Alarm racing team sponsors: FMF Racing, GPR, IMS, BRP, AME Grips, Kalgard, Ryan Abbatoye Designs, AP Brakes, LAPC, Renthal, Dunlop, VP Racing Fuels, DT1 Filters, Hinson, Matrix Concepts, RK/Excel, Acerbis, Works Connection, Zip-Ty Racing, SealSavers.

Top 5:
1. Taylor Robert
2. Robby Bell
3. Brett Metcalfe
4. Bobby Garrison
5. Justin Jones


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