PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Roger DeCoster is many things: five-time 500cc Motocross World Champion; 36 500cc GP victories; six-time winning Belgium MXDN victor; four-time Trans-AMA titles; ISDT gold medalist; multi-time National championships; Team USA MXDN team manager; Red Bull KTM team manager; and, most specifically, “The Man.” Now entering his fifth year with the KTM factory team, DeCoster is still busy as ever, toiling away to ensure that his riders have the best equipment on the track. The photo above exemplifies Roger’s commitment to winning. It’s the small things, such as building a wall shelf to hold race engines (shown here in the engine room at KTM). DeCoster thought up the idea and built it all by himself. How cool is that?
VIDEO: JORDAN SMITH TALKS ARENACROSS
MY FAVORITE PHOTOS OF 2014
Photos make up a large part of the magazine, and it’s my responsibility to capture most (if not all) of the action and statics for every issue. It can be a tall order to fill, but I absolutely love it. Sure, spending hours in the studio shooting bikes and products is tiring, but it’s also a nice reprieve from typing stories and ripping around the track. Believe it or not, there’s a fair amount of our readers that don’t think about where the photos come from that get printed in the magazine. Me being a bit of a photo nerd, I take great pride in getting quality images (whether they’re from me or a contributor).
In 2014 I shot dozens of new bikes, races, press events, project bikes, new products and personalities. As we wrap up the year, I thought it would be neat to share 12 of my favorite photos from the past 12 months. You’ll probably recognize these shots, as they were printed in magazine issues. However, I’ve added narrative for each image to provide a more in-depth look at my thought process behind the lens. Enjoy.
It’s always cool to me when a photographer can position himself at the same height or higher than a rider who is jumping an obstacle. Perris Raceway, in SoCal, offers one such vantage point. While doing preliminary testing on the 2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 I hiked up into the rocks and shot down on Daryl Ecklund. With his ability to whip and my unique spot above, the result was something different from the norm.
This photo recently made its way around Instagram (without giving any photo credit, I might add). That’s Daryl Ecklund on the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F laying waste to a sand berm at what is one of the very best motocross tracks in all the land – Monster Mountain in Alabama. Daryl and I had this bright idea a few years back to have him drag his clutch-side hand along the ground while arcing through a turn. The guy is good enough to make it happen, so we went for it. Success!
Last January I skipped out on covering the Anaheim 2 Supercross in exchange for flying to Wisconsin and competing in an endurance ice race. It was well worth the frostbite. Daryl and I piloted a Yamaha YZ450F around a frozen lake for four hours and nearly finished inside the top ten out of nearly 70 teams. However, this photo was taken the day before the race, when Ecklund was learning to back the rear end through the corners. I shot this with a wide angle lens and was worried the whole time about a tire screw coming loose and blasting me in the face.
It can be hard to get the desired results when doing a sunset photo shoot. There are too many outliers – lack of clouds, too many clouds, not enough light to see what’s going on–but on this day Lady Luck was on my side. Ecklund, riding the 2014 Husqvarna FC250, sliced through a sandy berm in the SoCal desert as the colors in the sky lit up in a variety of colors. This photo isn’t perfect–another off-camera flash would have been preferred–but the results were still quite good.
Apparently I couldn’t get enough of the cold white stuff this year. Sidekick Daryl and I flew up to Idaho to ride the radical Timbersleds for a special feature in the magazine. It was an experience like no other I’ve ever had. The snowmobile-like track on the back of a 450cc four-stroke bike was the perfect combination for riding around in the wilderness. Here, Timbersled go-to guy, Brett Blaser, goes big for the camera. It’s unbelievable what can be done with a Timbersled!
Truth be told, Adam Cianciarulo was my pick to win a 250 regional Supercross title in 2015. Unfortunately a crash at the Geneva Supercross sent him under the knife for a second time in less than a year. Adam will not be racing Supercross, but instead turn his attention to the Nationals. I surely hope that he is ready.
If you do the math, then you’ll understand that the addition of Husqvarna to the motocross fold has generated four new models to the 2014 fold. People are enamored by the white plastic, cutting edge styling and plastic subframe. It’s good to see another brand in the mix. Here, Daryl rockets off the side of a jump and kicks up boot roost. By the way, he crashed as a result and was nearly landed on. All in a day’s work.
All of our photo riders can do extraordinary things, but the day we tested Mike Brown’s factory Husqvarna FC350 my mind was truly blown. Our test rider bunny hopped onto a tractor tire by getting the revs up, hitting a small rock, popping the clutch, and launching the bike towards the tire. This photo doesn’t truly show the difficulty of it all, but it does put the bike’s (and rider’s) talents on display. Who is the rider? He shall remain nameless.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Or more aptly for this photo of Chuck Sun’s Husky TC250, “The early bird gets the worm.” I drove out to the desert well before the sun peaked above the horizon to set up this photo shoot. It was worth the effort, because I like the glorious color palate. In this shot I used two off-camera flashes with umbrellas.
I was fortunate enough to go on quite a few great trips this year. One of my favorite was visiting the fine folks at Cycra Racing and JGR. Ken and Glen Laivins, along with Scott Highland from Cycra, invited Daryl and I to their homestead in North Carolina. We rode a JGR Yamaha YZ450F (which made it on the cover) and a trick KTM 350SXF. For those who live in North Carolina, consider yourselves lucky to be situated in a great part of the country. The dirt is prime and the weather was great during our stay.
A pillow of soft dirt was no match for Tye Hames and the 2015 Kawasaki KX250F. Shots like these are few and far between, despite the fact that MXA is illustrious for blowing up berms. Tye’s body positioning was perfect, and the dirt was soft enough to spray out like a surfer shredding a tasty wave.
I’m a fan of shooting with a wide angle lens. For me, a 16-35mm Canon f2.8 is tres bien. Sure, the photos can be a bit soft around the edges, but when the trigger finger is operating optimally I don’t have any issues with it. Here, Ecklund is jumping over my head on the 2015 Husqvarna FC450 at Glen Helen. It was a dangerous move, sure, but Daryl and I have trust in one another. He’s only almost killed me once. That’s a pretty good track record for two guys that have shot thousands of photos together. I’ll take my chances.
YAMAHA PARTS & ACCESSORIES LAUNCHES E-COMMERCE SITE
KENNESAW, Georgia — Yamaha Parts and Accessories, a division of Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., announced the launch of a new e-commerce website. For the first time ever, www.ShopYamaha.com gives consumers the ability to purchase high-quality Yamaha apparel and accessories at a single online destination.
The responsive site features a clean and modern look with high-resolution product and lifestyle imagery. Consumers can quickly and simply shop their favorite Yamaha Motor products. Among the site’s initial offerings are riding gear, fashionable brand apparel, and high-quality accessories for Yamaha on and off road motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, side by sides, and personal watercraft.
“Just in time for the holidays, we created www.ShopYamaha.com to provide consumers with a one-stop shop for all things Yamaha,” said Frank Pittman, Vice President, Customer Support Group, Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA. “From stocking stuffer accessories like off-road riding gloves to top-of-the-wishlist items like snowmobile heated grips, the shop has something for every motorsports or Yamaha enthusiast.”
Need a sharp new replacement for an off-road helmet? The Gamma Off-Road Helmet by ONE Industries® is a sleek new arrival in the online store. Looking for that perfect present for the enthusiast who’s a watch collector? Yamaha Factory Racing watch by TW Steel® is a Christmas gift they are sure to love. Antsy to show off the new snowmobile for the season? Fill out the entry fields on the Snowmobile Accessories section of www.ShopYamaha.com to browse products designed for specific years and models.
www.ShopYamaha.com offers an easy-to-use dealer locator and allows site visitors to keep track of preferred dealers by creating an account. Adding to convenience for holiday shoppers, the site features a wishlist function and responsive customer service.
GYTR – Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing, Performance accessories, Yamaha Genuine Accessories, Star Custom Accessories, and apparel products are available at www.ShopYamaha.com.
For more information on Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. please visit http://www.yamaha-motor.com/.
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ANAHEIM 1: 17 DAYS AWAY
The 2015 Monster Energy Supercross series is set to kick off in Anaheim in 17 days. That is an eternity for the racers, teams and fans who have been anticipating the dawn of a new year. There’s something about the lure and excitement of Anaheim 1 that gets the industry buzzing. So much focus is put on the opener (too much, in my opinion) because of an uncertain future. Angels Stadium in Anaheim on January 3rd is going to be wild. Why?
No five-peat: Ryan Villopoto’s move to greener (read money) pastures by racing the Grand Prix series means that he leaves behind the opportunity to be the first rider to ever win five Supercross titles in a row. However, what it really means is that for the first time since 2010 the Supercross title is wide open. This will be the year for someone to pick up the pieces. Will it be Ryan Dungey? Ken Roczen? Trey Canard? Eli Tomac? Chad Reed? Davi Millsaps? Or someone that has been overlooked heading into A1?
Stewart news: The big news this week is that James Stewart has received a 16-month penalty for failing a drug test at the Seattle Supercross in April. Stewart has known the outcome of the FIM hearing since Friday, December 12, 2014 and was given the opportunity by the media, his team, Feld and the AMA to be the first to reveal the FIM decision (and his version of the events), but he did nothing and eventually the FIM released their official findings (which you can read on the homepage). James will miss all of the 2015 AMA Supercross season and 10 of the 12 AMA Nationals. James plans to appeal the ruling, but that appeals board will not meet before Anaheim I.
Winners: Justin Barcia, Ken Roczen, Davi Millsaps, Andrew Short, Trey Canard, Josh Grant, Ryan Dungey, Chad Reed and Josh Hill are all past 450 Supercross race winners. Will there be a new name added to that list after Anaheim 1? Maybe it will be Eli Tomac, Cole Seely, Blake Baggett, Justin Brayton, Dean Wilson, or Jason Anderson.
The track: Take a look at what’s in store for Anaheim 1. By the way, remember to bring an empty can of Monster Energy to the pit entrance to gain access to the pits. It’s a good way to hobnob with the stars or, more accurately, watch as they flee from their team semi to their motorhome. It’s like playing cat and mouse!
2015 RED BULL X-FIGHTERS SCHEDULE
March 6 - Mexico City, Mexico
June 12 - Athens, Greece
July 10 - Madrid, Spain
September 12 – Pretoria, South Africa
October 30 – United Arab Emirates
ATLAS WELCOMES DEAN WILSON
Atlas is proud to welcome Dean Wilson to our rapidly expanding team! Dean will join a growing list of top professionals who take safety seriously by opting to wear a neck brace for the 2015 season and beyond. Dean will be wearing the Atlas Air, which is all-new for 2015. At 599 grams, it is lighter than most carbon braces, and the flexible split frame makes wearing it incredibly natural feeling. Join Dean and make the Atlas Air part of your program. “I’m really excited to join the Atlas team,” said Wilson. “It’s easy to wear a brace when you can’t feel it, and it doesn’t restrict me on the bike. And it also has very good variables for safety and protection that I like a lot.” Dean is the newest edition to the Atlas Family – Joining Ryan Villopoto, Jason Anderson, and Martin Davalos for the 2015 season and beyond. Dean recently joined Red Bull KTM for the upcoming 2015 season. He will ride the brand new Factory 450 KTM as a rookie in the class. As a former champion, Dean has ridden select 450 SX events and shown he has what it takes to run up front.
SHAMELESS PLUG: VISIT MAIN STREET CYCLERY
Former Yamaha expert technician, Jonathan Belding, and I go way back. In fact, we started working together over a decade ago. Jonathan was brilliant at spinning wrenches on all of the Yamaha bikes. However, a career change recently directed him to another love – bicycles. Belding is the new owner of Main Street Cyclery, located in Seal Beach, California. Although he is no longer in the industry, I won’t hold that against him. How many people find the courage to pursue their goal? I have discovered that not many would take the leap. Jonathan is different. As a result, he operates a cool little bike shop just off the Pacific Ocean. So, if you’re ever in need of a bicycle, Belding is your guy. Tell him that MXA sent you, and he’ll probably give you an already sweeter deal than you’re getting. For more information, visit www.mainstreetcyclery.com.
SDi KASHIMA COAT GIVEAWAY!
SDi is pleased to announce the Kashima Coat Giveaway. Three lucky winners will be selected to have the Kashima Coat service done to their forks. Enter by following us on Instagram, share the contest image, tag a friend and use the hashtag #SuspensionDirect. Winners will be selected on Christmas Eve, and notified through instagram. (Winners will need to remove their outer tubes, and ship them to Suspension Direct for the service).
How to enter:
1) Follow Suspension Direct on Instagram (@sdiracing)
2) Repost our image, tag a friend, and use the hashtag #suspensiondirect —-
1) No purchase necessary to enter to win. Purchase does not improve your chances.
2) This sweepstakes is sponsored by Suspension Direct Inc, which is responsible for its content
a. Must have Internet Access
b. Must be able to ship outer tubes to Suspension Direct (Note: Only the outer tubes are to beshipped to suspension direct, suspension direct is not responsible for disassembly of suspension). Outer tubes must pass visual inspection
c. Employees and relatives of Suspension Direct are not eligible to enter the Sweepstakes.
4) Winners will be selected on Christmas Eve, December 24th at Noon PST. Three winners will be notified on Instagram or Facebook within 48 hours of being selected. The winner maybe required to verify his/her name, age, email address, and mailing address. If a selected winner is ineligible or cannot be reached within 48 hours, the selected winner will be disqualified and an alternate selected.
5) Prize awarded as listed above. Any taxes and any other costs not specifically stated within these Official Rules are the sole responsibility of the winner. Winner is not permitted to substitute the Prize for any reason. Prize is non-transferable and non-redeemable for cash. This sweepstakes and your participation are subject to all federal, state and local laws. Sponsor reserves the right to make substitutions as necessary of equivalent or greater value. Otherwise, there is no substitution of prize by winner.