By John Basher


    Daryl Ecklund does his best to move tectonic plates. Read below for more information on the 2013 TM 250MX.


    Mike LaRocco was my favorite rider when I first became interested in motocross. He was a bulldog on a bike, getting the worst starts possible and ripping through the pack. “The Rock” wasn’t flashy by any means, and he was reserved off the track. Maybe that’s why I liked him so much. I’d stand in an autograph line at Unadilla for over an hour just to spend a few seconds with him.
    You can imagine my surprise when, just this past week, I spent a whole morning with LaRocco talking about life, family, and old memories. Mike was on hand for MXA’s 2013 Honda CRF450 Yoshimura/Factory Connection bike test. He had worked on a base suspension setting that he wanted us to try. Equally cool was that Mike was interested in being the photo rider for the bike test. I had to keep pinching myself throughout the shoot. I shot action photos with Mike LaRocco as an MXA test rider! Still on cloud nine, I decided to chat with Mike about his team so that you could also be a part of that magical day.  

MXA: I’d imagine that it has always been your dream to be a Motocross Action test rider and wear the orange helmet. How did today go?
Mike: It was awesome [laughter]. It was nice to do something different. I was able to ride and relive the dream I guess.

How often do you get to ride during the year?
It depends. I get to ride a lot based on where we’re at with testing. I do a lot of our test riding. This time of year I get to ride a fair bit. I’ve been on the 2013 Honda CRF450 quite a bit, but only because it’s a brand-new bike. I’m trying to get my guys a base setting so that when they ride a 450 they can immediately feel comfortable.

Do a lot of your team riders practice on the 450?
Eli Tomac and Wil Hahn have, because they raced Bercy. That’s another reason why I’ve been riding the 450. It has all-new components and we have to get a good baseline setting. For the most part the guys like riding the 450 every once in a while.

I’d like to talk about your team riders for 2013, starting with your newest edition, Zach Osborne. What has he been up to?
He just started riding Supercross this past Thursday. We gave him a few days before that point to ride motocross so that he could get used to the bike. Zach showed good potential last year, and we wanted to give him a shot. Our program is based on a lot of youth riders, and it’s nice to mix it up with guys that are more mature. We knew that Justin Barcia was moving up to the 450 class and that it would be necessary to fill that open slot. We chose Osborne for that role.

LaRocco would make a great MXA test rider. Want the job, Mike?

What’s Justin Bogle doing?
He’s in a cast for a fractured bone in his hand until early December. At the moment he’s focusing on training off the bike.

Wil Hahn?
Will has been doing really well as of late. We’ll wait until just after Thanksgiving before we really start the rest of our testing for the next year, and Wil’s a big part of that. He’s our only guy that is California-based all year. He goes home to Texas occasionally, but he’s usually the guy that weighs in on everything for testing.

Is it smart to let your team riders have the freedom to live outside of California and away from the Geico Honda shop?
I don’t let them be so far away before the season starts. I like them to be a part of what we have going on during the preseason. Once the work is done and we’re in maintenance I’ll kind of let them do what they want to do. I like to keep morale high.

How is Zach Bell healing up after that huge crash at Unadilla?
He’s doing well. Zach is going to be in California to start some training in just a few days. He’s still a bit away from riding Supercross. I think he won’t really get into it until the beginning of the new year. He’s going to be playing catch up, but he’s feeling good.

Eli Tomac has been showing a lot of promise on the 450. Is it a situation where you’ll slate him for the 250 West and then have him race select 450 rounds on the East?
Yes, that’s the plan. As long as everything is going well on the 250 then we’ll let him race some East rounds.

What typically happens with your team at this point in the season? Many people think that it’s the down time, because you’re not racing, but I bet it’s actually quite hectic.
It’s busy. This year it has been busy because we have the new model 2013 Honda CRF450, so that has taken up some time. We’re also changing some things with how we run the shop. For the most part we’re not traveling, so we gain an extra day or two a week to really get things done. That helps.

Thanks for your time, Mike. You can wear the MXA helmet any time you want.
[Laughter] You got it.


    Here’s your chance to go for a new amateur recreational sled land speed record

    HRP Sports introduces Racer Series missile sleds.  Check out our motocross inspired graphics on the unique Merikan Missile sleds.  Our inspired motocross design allows you to pick a design and uses your favorite colors.  To top it off put your name and number on it so everyone on the hill knows who you are.
    -Fast-action fun for one rider
    -3d contoured profiles
    -Recommended for age 6-12 years
    -Weight capacity: 250 lbs
    -Measures 17.5″ x 15.5″ x 7.5″
    -Eight design to pick from
    Retail:  standard design – $49.99 *W/Free freight. Personalized sleds – $59.99 *W/Free freight
    –Free ground shipping for limited time (continental U.S. Only)
    –For more info go to or call our Toll Free number 1-800-352-5525.

    And in case you don’t know what we’re talking about, take a look at this video clip, as it should jog your memory.


    The other day I had a brilliant idea to ask MXA‘s Facebook followers what they wanted to see in this week’s edition of the Mid-Week Report. There was quite a response. While I can’t satisfy all of your desires (sorry, but we don’t have a video this week where we play rap music over the sound of dirt bikes, funny guy), I’ve done my best to find what you wanted. Here goes nothing…


    From Donny Emler at FMF: “It’s Yamaha’s design and they asked us to make it a reality. It offers the same performance as the standard FMF pipe but this brings some of the muffler weight forward.”

    From Nick: “I’m doing much better, thank you! I will start riding in the beginning of February and will be ready to rip in May at Hangtown. I’m going to be back for the Nationals.”

    It was only a matter of time before someone posted about wanting to see something?anything and everything, actually?about two-strokes. Why? Two-stroke people are fanatics. So in case you missed it, check out our 2013 KTM 125SX vs. KTM 150SX shootout (yes, that’s offroad ace Kurt Caselli piloting the KTM 150SX).
    Click the photo below to read the shootout:

    Those Cobra bikes look super trick! To check out the 2013 CX50SR, click here. For the 2013 CX50JR, click here.

    2013 MXA 450 SHOOTOUT INFO
    So, you want to know about MXA‘s 2013 450 Four-Stroke Shootout? I’m sure you’ve seen the video, and maybe you have an inkling about what bike is going to win. The shootout is going to be published in the January 2013 issue, so you won’t need to hold your breath very much longer. I’ve tested all of the bikes, and my favorite is the Kawasaki KX450F. Does that necessarily mean that Kawasaki won the shootout? Nope.
    In order to tide you over, check out our 450 Shootout video. Maybe you’ll get an idea of the winners and losers.


    Last week we started testing the 2013 TM 250MX and 300MX two-strokes. We’ve pitted the bikes against one another in an all-out battle for supremacy. We’ve gone to the dyno, slammed through berms, raced the bikes back-to-back, and started picking our favorite TM. Who’s the winner? Pffft, like I’d release that information. I will say that each bike is distinctly different, despite them sharing all of the same components outside of the engine. For now, relish this photo of Daryl Ecklund (high line) and Kris Palm (low line) going side-by-side for my camera.

    Where’s he riding? Will he be on a 250 or 450? What’s he up to? He will either ride for Mitch Payton or Chad Reed (and even he doesn’t know which). However, both Chad and Mitch are doing it as friends to Dean…and they are not in competition over who gets him. Follow Dean’s Twitter feed. Just beware of his tweets following surgery. No one, especially Eli Tomac, is safe from his rants. Here’s what Deano recently wrote:

    Someone was looking for news on anything relating to James Stewart. You got it! Here’s a tip. Follow James on Twitter (@js7) if you’re looking for what Bubba’s up to. His media team is bad about releasing any information, so go indirectly to the source. James sometimes spills the beans, and he does it in 140 characters or less! Now that’s talent.

    Sorry, but I can’t give you a KX450F to race next year. It’s a double no for showing dyno tests of the Pro Circuit and Geico Honda race bikes (although I do wish I had those dyno charts). If you’re not a fan of MXA‘s Facebook page, don’t worry. Click here to “Like” us.


    Ducati introduces the next generation of the Hypermotard family, taking the innovation and excitement of the original concept and enhancing it even further with three incredible new models: The thrilling Hypermotard, Hypermotard SP and the introduction of a stylish and accessible mid-range tourer with everyday practicality ? The Hyperstrada. The new range combines Ducati’s latest technologies with outstanding Italian design and engineering to write the latest chapter in the Hypermotard story.

Ducati Hypermotard.

Ducati Hypermotard SP.

Ducati Hyperstrada.

[Press Release]

    Just a friendly reminder, Acerbis USA will only be accepting rider resumes until November 15! If you haven’t already submitted yours, you have less than a week to get it in to us! You may submit an application electronically via, or you can mail a paper copy of your rider resume to:
    Acerbis USA
    Attn: Rider Support
    PO Box 2030
    Sun Valley, ID 83353

    Paper copies must be postmarked by November 15, and our Hookit program will close at 11:59pm the same day. Please do not wait until the last minute; we look forward to supporting you in 2013!

[Press Release]

    The new Nihilo Concepts Billet gas cap is an awesome addition to your KTM. It has been designed to work with the stock internal parts of the KTM cap and replaces the black plastic top. It has a bigger breather hole and a smaller size so it fits tighter to the tank taking up less room and improving the flow of fuel. It will give you bike that Factory look and improve function at the same time. Lots of riders have had trouble with the push button safety caps that came on all 2008-2012 KTMs this cap eliminates the push feature making it easier to remove.

    To install simply unscrew the orange portion from the bottom of your stock cap and remove it from the black plastic top. Take out the rubber gasket and ball and discard the old screws and top then re-install those parts onto the new Nihilo Cap. The gasket and ball fit the new cap perfectly giving you the factory seal and operation. Then you just install the orange screw portion with the three new Allen head screws provided and you are done.
    The Nihilo cap replaces all 2008-2013 full size KTM caps both screw on and twist on types. The cap retails for $49.95. Click here to order.

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