PRO TAPER PRESENTS MXA’S MID-WEEK REPORT BY JOHN BASHER
MXA VIDEO: INSIDE WP’S AER 48 AIR FORK
MINI-VIEW: CLUBMX OWNER BRANDON HAAS
How did ClubMX come to life? I’m from Minnesota. One winter I came down to South Carolina to ride. I came with a couple of guys that I was working with, and we trained together. We raced at the track down the road, called Sand Hills, which is closed down now. Zach Osborne had the property back here, and I contacted Zach about riding his sand track. He was preparing for racing the Grand Prix series at the time, and we ended up riding together. One thing led to another, and I mentioned how I wanted to open up a training facility in the south. Zach was on board with the idea. I rounded up a few investors and that’s how things started.
California and Florida are popular riding destinations. Why did you settle on setting up a training facility in Chesterfield, South Carolina? For one, it’s a lot easier with the political situation in South Carolina. We also have access to sand and clay. Georgia tends to primarily have a clay base. Not only that, but Georgia already has its fair share of training facilities. Zach also had the property. We were looking at buying land in the South Carolina/Georgia/Florida area. One day I was doing some track work for Zach. I dug some holes and found clay underneath the sand. When I found the clay we knew we could control the soil content. There aren’t many properties where you’ll have sand and clay. We have that on the 100 acres of land here at ClubMX. It was like hitting a gold mine. We bought up property around what Zach already had.
Talk about the soil content, because it’s not quite sand, but not necessarily clay, either. We have clay pits around the property, so we’ll dig it up and dump truck it around to where it’s needed. The sand gets super rough and gnarly. We can water the track easy, and we can control the mixture easily.
How many tracks are on the property? We have our GP sand track, our front track, the practice track, as well as our main Supercross track and a second Supercross track that we just finished. The practice track tends to be more clay, the front track is a sand and loam mixture, and the the GP track is completely sand. Our main Supercross track is a sand and clay mixture, with the new Supercross track made entirely from hard clay.
What kind of riders come to ClubMX? The training facility has pretty well-established guys. With the level of training and the hours we put in, it’s very hard for beginners to handle the workload. We do have some ‘C’ class riders, and they do very well at building into the higher level. We’re primarily an ‘A’ and ‘B’ class rider facility. That’s the market we cater to. The practice track is for guys at the beginning stages and looking to get their feet wet. Not only is the practice track open to the public, but we do week-long and monthly training there. It gives guys who are considering a bigger investment in their training to get accustomed to the facility and see if they like it. We don’t want guys to come here, get blown away, and leave mad. At the same time, it’s a lot for people to handle. It’s overwhelming. We do a Monday through Friday schedule. They work, train, and do everything we ask them to do in order to outwork everyone else. The tracks are always gnarly, too. It’s a lot for some people to take in. That’s why we attract some of the faster riders.
So you don’t have to belong to ClubMX in order to ride the practice track? Correct. The practice track is open Thursday through Sunday. Some guys spend the winter at the track, and they can ride there all week. The Pro guys can also ride the practice Supercross track. We’re hoping to draw some of the guys from Canada, as well as the Supercross racers once the series heads east.
Who calls ClubMX home? Phil Nicoletti, Shane McElrath and Justin Brayton are regulars. Mike Alessi actually just signed on. Regardless of what people say about Mike, he’s an awesome guy. He works hard. To have one of the all-time winningest amateur riders in the sport be a mentor to the other guys will be awesome. We have so many different mentors at the top level of the sport, and that trickles down to our amateur riders. It’s an added bonus to the instruction and training that we give. We have Garrett Marchbanks, who just signed a long-term deal with Pro Circuit. He’s no joke. We’ve had a lot of fast guys come through. We want to give everybody what we can, and we try to get year commitments from our guys. We hope to form long-term relationships, but at the same time we want guys to move on and do well wherever they are. That’s why we named it ClubMX. We wanted the family atmosphere, along with the mentorship and something that’s hard to match. That’s where ‘Club’ came from.
What’s also different about ClubMX is that you focus on religion. Yes. Mr. Tom is our chapel leader. Going back to the Club thing, it’s all about training, but at the end of the day we want to help mentor responsible and respectful young adults. This sport consumes a lot of time. There’s a lot of sacrifice in school, family and religion. Being a Christian-based facility and offering that mentorship is important. We don’t go to church on Sunday because we’re racing. Instead we have bible study during the week in order to learn how to be good people off the track. For me, it’s a reflection on the mental skills of motocross at the professional level. Christianity enhances confidence, the belief in yourself, and looking at the bigger picture. Some kids don’t know what life is about and what their role is. It takes a while to figure out what your mission is, and we try to help push them in the right direction. There’s more to life than just racing. We want people to understand that racing is a small piece of the puzzle. If we can even help a few guys then that’s great. If we try and fail, then at least we tried.
Where do people stay when training at ClubMX?
We have RV sites, as well as a bunk house and a number of cabins. We’re actually expanding the number of cabins, because people live here for long periods of time. Motorhomes and campers can be expensive, so we’re trying to get people turned on to cabins. We’re developing a new area on the property around the pond that is away from the tracks. A couple of guys also rent houses around town.
Thanks for your time, Brandon. Where can people find out more about ClubMX? No problem. They can visit our website at www.clubmx-sc.com.
2015 WORLD VET CHAMPIONSHIP IS 10 DAYS AWAY
For more info go to www.glenhelen.com
CLUBMX OPEN HOUSE PHOTO GALLERY
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: PHIL NICOLETTI
“I wasn’t ready when I was a rookie. I came out of high school and hopped into the Pro ranks. I wasn’t home-schooled or anything like that. When I signed with the Kawasaki team I wasn’t necessarily prepared. I was on the same team as Tommy Hahn, Andrew McFarlane and Kyle Chisholm. I really don’t think we all had the same equipment. I got lower-grade stuff. There were times in the summer when I was riding Brett Cue’s Honda CRF450 during the week, because my practice bike was broken. Then I’d go to the races on the weekend and race my Kawasaki. I’ve been through the wringer. I tell a lot of people that if I had to go back to that time in my life again I don’t think I could do it.”
Click here to read the entire interview.
CHECK OUT THE 2016 EVS SPORTS CATALOG
PHOTO OF THE WEEK: HONDA’S HERITAGE
Honda’s showroom in Japan has an expansive collection of their old race bikes. How many can you name? If I could choose just one for my collection, it would have to be Jeremy McGrath’s 1996 AMA 250 Supercross-winning bike. Photo courtesy of Honda.
MXA HAS TWO-STROKE FEVER
MXA believes in the importance of two-strokes. We don’t write about two-strokes to sell a few more copies or create social media buzz. Our resolve in standing behind two-strokes dates back to the beginning of their decline. We blame the AMA for butchering the two-stroke, although the manufacturers are also at fault. However, there’s no reason to cast negative light on a technology we love through and through. One crack of the throttle washes away any callousness we hold against the powers that be for their shortsightedness. There I go again.
MXA has two-stroke fever. That much is certain, evidenced by the test bikes that have come our way as of late. In the past week we tested a 2006 Suzuki RM125, 2016 Yamaha YZ250, 2016 Husqvarna TC125, and Service Honda CR500AF. Those bikes are joined by the trick 2013 Yamaha YZ125 done up by ICW Radiators’ Brett Koufas that was tested a few weeks ago. Take a look below at some of the photos captured from the various bike tests, along with pertinent information for all you two-stroke fans.
SERVICE HONDA 500AF
Service Honda has been in the custom-bike game for a long time. Here’s a fun fact: Service Honda has been producing the 500AF model longer than Honda made the CR500. They specialize in wedging a two-stroke engine inside a modern four-stroke chassis. For this test we opted for a CR500 two-stroke engine fabricated into a 2015 Honda CRF250 chassis. Service Honda hand-assembled the engine from new parts that were ordered individually. They didn’t stop there. In place of the stock CRF250 Showa TAC fork they had Jeremy Wilkey from MX Tech install a TAC conversion using springs and a Huck Valve. Look for the test in an upcoming issue. Until then, click here for more information.
VERTEX PISTONS SUZUKI RM125
Vertex Pistons restored a 2006 Suzuki RM125 and added bling while they were at it. The 2006 RM125 was a venerable race bike, if a bit slow in the engine department. Still, it was well suspended and cornered on a dime. Vertex wanted to bolster power with a host of engine modifications, including an FMF pipe and silencer. We like how they didn’t go overboard with the build. Instead they used inexpensive modifications to improve a bike that didn’t need a whole lot to begin with.
2016 YAMAHA YZ250
KTM and Husqvarna weren’t happy after the Yamaha YZ250 won MXA’s 250 Two-Stroke Shootout last year. That’s because the KTM and Husqvarna 250 two-strokes are vastly new in comparison to the antiquated Yamaha YZ250. Still, there was no arguing when it came to the Kayaba SSS suspension and well-placed powerband on the YZ250. Yamaha continues to produce their popular YZ250 for 2016, although it’s a warmed-over ’15. Even so, we’re not ashamed in professing our love for the YZinger.
THE LOST FILES: JEREMY MARTIN
Very few photos make it to print. Some are overlooked completely. This shot of Jeremy Martin digging through a trench at the Millville National caught my eye. Look at the two-time 250 National Champion’s technique. His elbows are up, he’s looking forward, his head is nearly directly in line with his front number plate, and he’s not grabbing the clutch or front brake. The only thing Martin might be doing wrong is dragging his heel through the turn, but let’s blame it on the deep rut. Pure excellence for the number one 250 racer.
PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: RIDE ENGINEERING LED/KILL SWITCH KIT
Ride Engineering, the leader in aftermarket performance products, is proud to release another application for our LED/Kill Switch Kit. This kit features incredible integration replacing the large launch control device on 2012 and up KX models and clears space on the handlebars. This kit will bolt on any bike that has a 30-32mm span between clamp mounting bolts. By eliminating the clamp that holds the clutch or brake lever, there is more room on the handlebars for hand guards, lap counters, or lever adjustment. For bikes with electric start, a second switch can be added as the start switch that will bolt onto the back of the front brake lever.
The LED light is designed specifically for fuel injected bikes and is used in conjunction with the Billet Engine Kill Switch. It features a bright white LED wired to the computer and flashes when the switch is in launch control mode (KX450F) or when there is a code in case of bike malfunction (CR450R). The Engine Kill Switch and the LED Light are sold separately and are available at stocking dealerships nationwide or online at www.ride-engineering.com. The Kill Switch sells for $49.95, while the LED Light sells for $29.95. When paired up, this kit offers the ultimate in rider adjustment, and user ease.
BIRTHDAY BOY GALLERY: ALEX MARTIN
Star Racing Yamaha’s newest recruit, Alex Martin, turns 26 today. Here’s a photo gallery of the older Martin brother.
NOT MOTO, BUT STILL NEW: HUSQVARNA 701 ENDURO
* Ergonomically designed, innovative bodywork.
* Single-cylinder engine featuring latest technologies in design and electronics.
* Chromium-molybdenum trellis frame optimized for precise handling and total rider confidence.
* Competition-level WP 4CS fork and WP rear shock for outstanding control and adjustability.
* Extremely low-weight aluminum swingarm designed to ensure the highest levels of traction and stability.
* Polyamide self-supporting rear subframe with integrated 3.44 gal fuel tank.
* Keihin 46mm electronic fuel injection with ride-by-wire throttle actuation for impeccable response.
* Switchable engine maps to perfectly adapt engine characteristics according to conditions.
* Cutting-edge switchable ABS with specific off-road mode.
* APTC slipper clutch for maximum control under hard braking.
* Extensive range of Accessories to further enhance the bike’s characteristics and performance.