BEST OF JODY’S BOX: TALKING TO ROGER, BUT NEVER SEEING HIM

“I don’t want to go to the Milestone track,” said Roger DeCoster. “It’s no good for outdoor testing.”

This was one part of the series of conversations I had with Roger that started when I asked him, “Can I have Ryan Dungey’s works bike? I don’t want to interfere with the team’s testing, so you can pick the day when Ryan’s not riding it.”

A couple days later he called me and said, “I can do it next Friday. Where do you want to do it?”

I said, “Milestone is the only track in SoCal open on Friday, so let’s do it there.”

“I don’t want to go to the Milestone track. It’s no good for outdoor testing,” said Roger.

I said, “I don’t need you or Dungey. I just want his bike and a mechanic.”

The next day my phone rang. It was Roger. He asked, “Can you let us go to Glen Helen on Friday. I will bring the whole team and you can have Ryan there when you ride his bike.” I was in the process of building the 2015 Glen Helen 250/450 National track, and I understood that Roger wanted to get his riders on a true-to-life National track for outdoor testing. Roger and I go back to the early days of motocross, plus he worked at the magazine for two years between working for Team Honda and Team Suzuki; I would do anything for Roger, so I agreed.

Typically, it is difficult to get into Glen Helen before the AMA National because it is booked solid, but I checked with Lori at Glen Helen’s front office and she graciously said, “Of course you can have it. I had a two-day race scheduled for Friday and Saturday, but I haven’t heard from them so they might have canceled.”

I called Roger back and said, “Okay, Friday at Glen Helen, but we aren’t 100-percent sure yet.”

The next day, while I was at Glen Helen trying to corral the fence crew, Cats and graders into their appointed rounds, a guy walked up to my perch on top of the Log Cabin Jump and asked, “Will the track be done in time for Friday’s Police & Fire National?”

“Why? Are you guys coming here on Friday?” He confirmed that they were holding their yearly race and would be there Friday. I told the guy that Glen Helen would have the track prepped and wished him luck.

“Roger,” I said into my phone 30 seconds later, “We can’t go to Glen Helen on Friday. There is a race on that day. So, we will be going to Milestone.”

“I don’t want to go to the Milestone track. It’s no good for outdoor testing. But, I’ll send the bike.” I reminded him that I didn’t need him or Dungey.

The next day my phone rang. It was Roger, “Can we push the test back to Monday or Tuesday and then go to Glen Helen?”

“No,” I said. “I already threw Honda R&D out on Monday and Pro Circuit out on Tuesday, so I can’t then let KTM come in their place. I’m trying to get the track done in time for the National, and I need those days for construction. So, we will be going to Milestone.”

“I don’t want to go to the Milestone track. It’s no good for outdoor testing,” said Roger.

I replied, “I don’t need you or Dungey. I just want his bike and a mechanic—at Milestone on Friday.”

The next day my phone rang. It was Roger. “Can you come to Pala Raceway on Friday? We have arranged a big test there and it would work out great for both of us.” I agreed and called the MXA crew and told them to shift from Milestone to Pala. The Pala track, 100 miles south of Milestone, was better for Roger and, in truth, it was a really good deal for MXA. We would get to ride Ryan Dungey’s bike and Roger, Ryan, Marvin, Ian and Carlos would be with us to answer any questions. Plus, we could shoot video and do interviews while we were riding.

Then, it rained on Thursday night. But, in one of those freak SoCal occurrences, it rained really hard down south and barely at all farther north. Pala was flooded and unrideable, Milestone wasn’t. I called Roger early Friday morning and said, “So, we will be going to Milestone after all.” You already know what Roger said.

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