Eli Tomac_2019 Detroit Supercross-9

Rider: Eli Tomac
Bike: 2019 Kawasaki KX450
Location: Ford Field Detroit, Michigan
Photographer: Brian Converse

1986 HONDA CR500

“This is my 1986 Honda CR 500, I purchased it in October of 2016 after looking for that model for quite a few years. I grew up in Virginia racing in the 1980s and even went to Gary Bailey’s school as a teenager, so I’ve always wanted to build a tribute to David Bailey’s championship and MXdN winning machine.

The bike was a Craigslist find and needed a lot of work–tarting with a seized top end and a lot of missing parts. Instead of doing a full-on rebuild right away, I got her running and did most of my mods incrementally as I dialed it in over the past two seasons. From the very first ride, this bike has always felt like an old friend. It turns like a dream, even though the tank would make you think otherwise. A lot of people feel like the power of a 500 is a handful, but honestly the vibration takes more getting used to than the power itself. Please excuse the dirt on the tires–this bike is an active race machine that has been very good to me. We have earned two PNWVMX championships so far. My laps on this bike are generally 3-5 seconds off of my times on modern bikes–the chassis is pretty busy compared to newer technology.

I lucked out on one component, underneath a few layers of paint, the bike actually came with an original Pro Circuit works pipe when I got it. A decompression valve was added to the cylinder to save stress on the ancient cases as much as to make it easier for me to kick. Stiffer springs were needed front and rear (that model came stock with .38 fork springs). I’ve also used gearing and a longer silencer to broaden the power a little (I’m personally not a fan of flywheel weights for that purpose, I feel like they make the bike feel too cumbersome.)

1986 HONDA CR500The before picture. 

One of the coolest things for me was the number design. I found a person on an MX message board willing to convert a picture of Bailey’s 1986 number 6 to a digital file, and he also created a 5 that looked similar so I could have my standard race number 56. I sent these to MX and they did the print for me.

This winter I powdercoated the frame when I rebuild the engine, and she is finally how I want her! Here’s the list of mods and suppliers:

Cylinder decompression valve and squish mod from Millar Race Engineering ( )
HRC Reproduction ignition cover and Technosel seat cover from Mastercross in Italy ( ))
38mm Keihin PWK Carb from a later model CR250 (
Stiffer springs front and rear (
Spokes (

1986 HONDA CR500

I also run Boyesen reeds, Renthal chain/sprockets/bars, a combination of Maier and UFO plastics, and a Twin Air filter. She’s been a great race bike and I’m hoping we can win more championships in years to come! Thanks!

Editors Note: Please keep those submissions coming. If you would like your bike to be featured in the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” please email me at [email protected]. All I ask is that you give a breakdown of your bike and a detailed description of the build. Please also send a few photos of your steed. By submitting your bike for the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” you agree to release all ownership rights to the images and copy to MXA. Please don’t email me spam or try selling me Taylor Swift concert tickets or email me spam. Happy submitting your smoker.


After three years of design, development and refinement, Thor MX is proud to introduce the all-new Radial Boot. Strategically constructed with premium materials, the Radial delivers functional performance to meet the demands of modern motocross and off-road riding. The Radial Boot is now available at Parts Unlimited retailers nation wide.

The boot was designed around the Radial Ankle Axis Hinge, which allows vertical mobility, while providing lateral support and structure. The hinge system also features an upper and lower lockout system to reduce hyperextension. The structure of the boot is supported by injection-molded components that enhance coverage in key areas. Synthetic calf overlays provide premium durability, while delivering optimal grip on the bike.

To ensure secure closure, the positive-lock buckle system prevents disengagement from both interior and exterior forces. Adjustable injection molded straps allow the rider to dial-in the fit of the boot to suit their preference. A steel shank provides mid-foot support, while the replaceable midsole is optimized for a balance of traction and durability. Internally, the boot utilizes a mesh liner to promote airflow, as well as EVA foam padding for premium comfort. Visit your local Parts Unlimited dealer or go to to get a closer look.


Seely commented: “I’m really bummed I couldn’t race tonight, especially because I was feeling so strong and fast during practice. While laying down my fastest time, I got hit by a pretty big rock right in my sternum, which knocked the wind out of me. I tried to ride the second session but the pain was too much and I wasn’t able to hang on. I hate having to make the call to race or not because obviously, the racer in me wants to be on the line, but I also didn’t want to risk further injury since I barely had the strength to get around the track for one lap. I’m going to do everything I can this week to make sure I’m ready to go for Atlanta.”



Who is this KTM rider back in 2009 racing at Washougal?


If you subscribed to Motocross Action, you would have already got the March 2019 issue of MXA  in your mailbox, computer or iPhone  by now.

The March issue of MXA is jam-packed with bike tests, product reviews and moto-info. Not only do we have the 2019 MXA 250 Four-Stroke Shootout in this issue, but a 2019 Husqvarna FC350 test, 2019 Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke test,  a retro-test of Chad Reed’s 2002 L&M Yamaha YZ450F and a 2019 Honda CRF250 test. Plus, a test of Carson Brown’s Straight Rhythm winning Husky TC125 two-stroke and Austin Forkner’s 2019 AMA 250 East Supercross KX250 four-stroke. Not to mention an revealing interview with Eli Tomac.

Do you subscribe to MXA? You should. We know that you think that print magazines are dead and that the internet will fill the void, but most of the stuff in the current issue of MXA won’t appear on the web for several months, if at all. Luckily, you can get all of MXA on your iPhone, iPad, Kindle or Android by going to the Apple Store, Amazon or Google Play or in a digital version. Even better you can subscribe to Motocross Action and get a $25 Chaparral gift card to spend on whatever motorcycle parts or products you need. You can call (800) 767-0345 or CLICK HERE or click on the box at the bottom of this page.


2009 Husaberg FE450The 2009 FE450 had an upside-engine design. 

2009 Husaberg FE450The idea of the upside-down engine was to move the rotating mass as close to the motorcycle’s center of gravity as possible.


Chad Reed_2019 Detroit Supercross-247Chad Reed: “Finishing third in the first main was a great step. I was super excited to get back on the podium, which was my 132nd top-three finish. I’ll take the small wins from the weekend. My top priority is to continue improving in those areas, so I can have a shot at winning one of these things!”

Austin Forkner_2019 Detroit Supercross-264Austin Forkner: “This format is tough because you have to change up how you normally approach a race,” said Forkner. “From eating and warming up, there are enough changes that it could affect you, but the team I have behind me put me in the best position tonight and I’m really thankful I could repay them with a win. It’s going to be fun next week battling with my teammate from the west coast when we’re in Atlanta.”

Martin Davalos_2019 Detroit Supercross-212Martin Davalos: “A triple crown format is a lot of racing and the starts are very crucial. I’m really happy with the starts we had tonight and it put us in a good position to fight up front. The east/west showdown is going to be a fun race and hopefully our whole team can finish up front.”

Justin Barcia_2019 Detroit Supercross-280Justin Barcia: “It was another crazy night of racing for me in Detroit. The track was really good. It had a lot of option sections and I felt like my bike was working good in the whoops. The first two races for me were not great with the arm pump I dealt with, but the last race was a step in the right direction. I led some laps and put in a pretty good ride with a little bit of arm pump. My starts have definitely been getting better, so things are definitely starting to come around. So all in all, it was a decent weekend. I’m really looking forward to Atlanta.”

Zach Osborne_2019 Detroit Supercross-61Zack Osborne: “Overall it was a better night for me. I ended up 10th overall, so it’s a step in the right direction and something I can build from. Right now, it’s just getting laps and getting my fitness back, finding some settings that I’m super comfortable with again and finding my race trim. I feel like tonight with the Triple Crown, it’s a lot of racing and a lot of opportunity to be out there on the track and find my feet again. I had some pretty decent battles and was able to make some passes and kind of move around a little bit, which is a nice feeling. So, I’m looking forward to Atlanta, I think we can continue to build and make progress and the results will come soon enough.”

Dean Wilson_2019 Detroit Supercross-184Dean Wilson: “Overall it was a better night for me. I ended up 10th overall, so it’s a step in the right direction and something I can build from. Right now, it’s just getting laps and getting my fitness back, finding some settings that I’m super comfortable with again and finding my race trim. I feel like tonight with the Triple Crown, it’s a lot of racing and a lot of opportunity to be out there on the track and find my feet again. I had some pretty decent battles and was able to make some passes and kind of move around a little bit, which is a nice feeling. So, I’m looking forward to Atlanta, I think we can continue to build and make progress and the results will come soon enough.”

Justin Cooper_2019 Detroit Supercross-67Justin Cooper: “The bike was really good all night. We didn’t really play around with the setting, we were pretty happy with it. The track was really tough tonight, though. It was breaking down really quick, so it was important to keep on your toes and stay focused out there. I think I managed the races pretty well, besides my starts. I felt really good on the bike, again, I just put myself in bad situations right off the start. So I’m definitely going to work on those this week and be better for next weekend. We’re making improvements, even if the results don’t show every week. I think it’s just a matter of time. We’re on the right track.”

Eli Tomac_2019 Detroit Supercross-5Eli Tomac: “What really got me in that moto was when I went off the track, like on lap two or three. [I] almost clipped the Tuff Blox and had to go around this double, it shuffled me back. I mean, I was back in the beginning, but that really put me in the pressure cooker there and I was like, ‘Am I really doing this right now?’ So I got my head back in it and made the charge back. I was watching the points gap, [Brian] Krantz was doing a good job of giving me the position in that situation. I used up my whole cushion but it paid off. We’re at such a better spot than we were and just felt more ‘me’ tonight.”

Ken Roczen_2019 Detroit Supercross-35Ken Roczen: “I’m glad tonight is over. We were just one point away from another podium, so that sucks but overall I’m still happy. I’ve been fighting the flu all week, so my body didn’t feel up to par tonight. My focus the entire night just wasn’t there, and I was uncomfortable. I just wanted to minimize the damage, and I think we did that with a fourth. We’re still second in the championship and only six points out of the lead. I’m looking forward to having a good week and heading to Atlanta strong.”


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The all-new VForce4 is built upon the solid foundation that has made the VForce3 such a success for the last 10 years. While the VForce3 has been continually refined over the years, this is a complete redesign of the entire system. We jokingly say, “The only thing we didn’t change is the bolt pattern.” However this is actually quite true. All the components that go into making a VForce reed valve system have been significantly changed since the VForce3.


2007 250 AMA National start in Lakewood, Colorado2007 250 AMA National start in Lakewood, Colorado.

Moto Trivia answer: Justin Brayton.

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