KYOSHI’S CORNER: LIFE IN THE MXA TRENCHES
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Dennis Stapleton took me to the boonies of Glen Helen for this shot on our Pro Circuit Honda CRF250.
By Kyoshi Becker
Another Kyoshi’s corner already? You bet! We decided that it would be better to start every week with my “Corner.” But, before I start this week I’d like to put something behind me. The most commonly asked question I get is, “Where did the name Kyoshi come from?” The explanation I was given by my mom was, “I just liked it.” It doesn’t suffice, and often leads to more questions. The natural follow-up question is, which of my parents is of Japanese decent. The answer? Neither. On the contrary, I have many races in me, but Japanese isn’t one of them. Lucky for me, my name is unique enough that people remember it, but can’t pronounce it. Try Key-Oh-Shee.
BREAKING UP THAT OLD GANG OF MINE
Daryl Ecklund testing our Pro Circuit-built Honda CRF250.
We wrapped up the May 2016 issue of MXA, just as we were sending John Basher, Dennis Stapleton and Travis Fant to both Atlanta and Daytona. Although we needed a break, we weren’t going to get one because, as with every month, the next deadline (this one for the June 2016 issue) was fast approaching—and, as predicted, rain storms that put a crimp on this Monday’s test session. We love rain, but not on days when we have arranged for a factory team to bring out a couple bikes for an MXA test.
The Gaerne SG10 got a facelift.
Before Dennis Stapleton, left for the LA-to-Atlanta-to-Daytona-to-LA trip, we got him to do the photo shoot on our 44-horsepower, Pro Circuit-built, MXA project Honda CRF250 before his flight. After Dennis was on the plane, we passed the CRF250 around to the rest of the test crew for the next week—many of them raced it at Glen Helen. But, the Honda wasn’t the only thing we were testing, as Italian boot manufacturer Gaerne handed us a follow-up to their popular SG-10 boot to try.
Jody and Daryl giving a once-over to the redesigned Gaerne SG-10 boot before the test starts.
Never a slow day at Glen Helen, the previous Thirsday we were swapping bikes left and right trying everything under the sun. And, lets not forget Daryl’s love, the YZ125 that he brought along so he could test an newly updated FMF 2.1 silencer. KTM’s David O’Conner and Tom Moen came out to help us with some testing on the 450SXF Factory Edition and Jody introduced me to the former Honda of Troy and Pro Circuit racer Casey Lytle—who now works in KTM’s R&D/Product Planning department. Once Jody was done testing KTM’s WP AER air forks he met up with MX Sports’ Davey Coombs to go over the layout of the upcoming Glen Helen Outdoor National which will be held on May 28th. Amidst the fast paced events at Glen Helen, I also caught up with 250 sensation Christian Craig.
Dunlop’s new 80/100 AT81 tire is added to their previous 90/90. The new narrow front should be better for motocross, but we wanted to find out what terrain it excelled in and if it could replace the MX32 front on hard-pack.
This past week at Glen Helen, we were back for more tire testing. Luckily I don’t have to do it—only shoot photos, but it is quite the grind. Although we brought spare wheels with different tires on them, there is still an amazing number of laps being put in by MXA test riders—and we brought along former AMA National Pro John Ortner and Randel Fout to take up the slack left by Dennis Stapleton being in Florida. What were we testing? A Gibson MX3.1 rear tire and a brand-new Dunlop AT81 front (only this time in a more motocross friendly 80/100 size). The first day of testing is for comparison against a Dunlop MX32—which is the tire of choice for Glen Helen in the winter. We are looking at the AT81 as a possible summer tire, for when the dirt gets harder (and hard dirt means thrown knobs on the front MX32). The following days of tire testing are for durability, different terrains and tire pressures. As for the Gibson tire, actually spelled tyre because it is from Jolly Olde England, you can read more about them at www.gibsontyretech.com
Every MXA test rider has to wear different gear when they ride—because if we let them ride in their old comfy jammies we’d never learn anything about new gear. Here’s Jody Weisel at a Glen Helen race at last week testing the new Shot Race Gear. He liked the Shot gear, but we did notice that he snuck in a set of Fox gloves when we weren’t looking. For more info on Shot Race Gear go to www.shotracegear.com
LAST THURSDAY AT GLEN HELEN
While MXA was at Glen Helen testing last Thursday, I took my camera and walked around the track and shot some photos. Here is former World and AMA National Champion Grant Langston spinning some laps on a day off from his motorcycle dealership.
Once Daryl Ecklund was satisfied with his initial inspection he went out and tried to get the Gaerne’s dirty. This was a triple-threat test session, as MXA was testing different KX450F mapping, the Gaerne SG10 boots and the Gibson rear tire.
Tire testing is a long drawn-out affair—and often takes place over a couple weeks. For the first day of testing the Dunlop AT81 as a possible motocross tire, we brought three test riders (Daryl Ecklund, Randel Fout and Jon Ortner) to see if the offroad tire would be a suitable hard-pack tire now that it is available in an 80/100 size. We used a 2016 450SXF Factory Edition as a test bed—Jon Ortner demonstrates above.
There is no play riding during a test session. Every lap is timed under the watchful eye of the team personnel. Alex Martin is either 2.9 seconds quicker or 2.9 slower—either way, there are more laps to go.
After a couple month of racing in stadiums it feels great to go over a jump and see nothing but track rising up to the horizon in the front of you. Cooper Webb (1) chases Mitchell Harrison (289) up Mt. Saint Helen.
MXA PRODUCT OF THE WEEK
The Fly Racing F2 Carbon MIPS Zoom may take the cake as the longest helmet name in captivity, but this featherweight Fly helmet has all the bells and whistle—including the MIPs rotational impact feature that lessens angular blows to the head. We have begun testing it—and already knew that we would love the color.
A CLASSIC 1993 MXA AD
Taken out of the December 1993 issue of MXA, this Pro Circuit ad features nothing but two-stroke parts. How things have changed. But, the star power in this ad is amazing.
AMATEUR SHOT OF THE WEEK
Parker Ross skies his Cobra CX65.
California is littered with amateur motocross races. Take Mammoth for example—once a classic destination race for the hard-core racers of the 1970s and 1980s—it is now an AMA sanctioned amateur race with little of the notalgi of the past. To race at Mammoth Mountain, hopefuls have to race qualifiers like the one I went to at LACR recently. One of the most aggressive classes at the qualifier was the 65cc class. These kids are the future stars of our sport and they ride like it. Shown above is Parker Ross; Parker is one of the fastest kids on the local scene, typically finishing in the top three locally and top five nationally. Both fast and great at picking lines, Parker also has a bit of flair and attitude to his riding style. Just last year he earned a 4th place in the 65cc (7-9) Limited class at Loretta Lynn’s. Parker fared well at the qualifier—earning a second in his class setting himself up to do well in Mammoth. Below are a few more pictures from the qualifier.
Willy Simonds Jr, a REM regular put in some good laps. Yer going to Mammoth!
Noah Viney showing some attitude off a jump.
Derek Drake taking the inside in the first 180 turn off the start.
A good start depends on perfect timing.
HOW IT WAS DONE IN THE GOOD OL’ DAYS
Below are two photos. One of Joey Savagty and the other of Mitch Oldenberg. There is one major distinction between these photographs. One is a digital exposure while the other is shot on film as a positive slide. Much of MXA’s great history is buried in a myriad of binders filled with 35mm slides (and a few medium format ones too). Starting photography at the Genesis of the digital revolution, I still have a penchant for film and will continue to shoot it until they stop making it. There is a magical quality in holding up a slide and seeing a photograph in vivid color. Below are the shots taken at Petco Park, San Diego.
Rider: Joey Savagty
Photographer: Kyoshi Becker
Camera: Nikon D4s
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8
Rider: Mitch Oldenberg
Photographer: Kyoshi Becker
Camera: Nikon n80
Lens: 70-200mm f/2.8
Film: Fujifilm Provia 100F