_DSC2896_Kyoshi_450 Start_Hangtown_2016Round one of the AMA Nationals is in the books.

By Kyoshi Becker

Nestled in the plains of Rancho Cordova (a sub-area of Sacramento) lies Hangtown MX. For 22 years, the Northern California track has been a stop on the National circuit. While most of the MXA crew stayed in Southern California this past weekend (excluding Basher), I ran up to the central valley for the race. Jack of many trades and MXA stuntman, Dennis Stapleton, also made the trip to keep a watchful eye on the riders he had been training for the race. While I have been to Glen Helen for the MXGP and a slew of other races, I have never been to a National in person prior to Saturday. Oh the things I have been missing out on. Watching a National on TV or online is nothing compared to actually being there. It is an adrenaline rush just being on the sidelines.

The weather forecast called for a 60% chance of rain by 1:00 pm the day of the race. This was the identical forecast that turned Vegas Supercross into a mud race. The teams prepared for the worst. As predicted the rain came down, but to the relief of everyone it was short lived.

With Ryan Dungey dominating Supercross and Eli Tomac winning by over a minute last year in Hangtown, we wouldn’t have put our money on Ken Roczen to win both motos. While it is easy to forget Roczen is the 2014 National Champion, Kenny’s results last year were spotty. Although, to be fair, Roczen was on top on his game the last month of Supercross. For Tomac, his mediocre starts in both motos left him fighting through the pack to take third overall. This is not the Eli we saw a year ago. Blake Baggett surprised everyone by passing Eli Tomac in the first moto to get third place. Ryan Dungey once again went 2-2 as he did in 2015 and 2013.

_DSC9462_Kyoshi_Dennis Stapleton Mike Ford_Hangtown_2016Dennis Stapleton catches up with Mike Ford from LITPro.

_DSC2661_Kyoshi_Alex Martin_Hangtown_2016Alex Martin does not want to be known as “just” Jeremy’s brother. He went 8-2 for second overall.

_DSC3410_Kyoshi_Jason Anderson_Hangtown_2016Jason Anderson landed on the podium in the second moto. 

_DSC1121_Kyoshi_Cole Seely _Hangtown_2016Cole Seely has an intense moment before the race.

_DSC1342_Kyoshi_Malcolm Stewart_Hangtown_2016Malcolm Stewart takes a break from his 450 training to enjoy the race from the sidelines.

_DSC3177_Kyoshi_Justin Brayton _Hangtown_2016Justin Brayton started off the series safe; although, unfortunately, his daughter broke her leg falling off the bed at home. Brayton caught a quick flight back to North Carolina.

_DSC2475_Kyoshi_Gared Steinke _Hangtown_2016Gared Steinke made some fans by racing his TC125 in the 250 class. He was 36th overall.


_DSC9225 MXA gang (1)Daryl Ecklund, Dennis Stapleton, Jody Weisel and John Ortner.

The MXA wrecking crew was back at Glen Helen for the usual testing. Daryl Ecklund was trying out the Shoei VFX-W helmet. It ended up saving his face when he misjudged a jump and landed into the flats, smashing the new lid into the cross-bar pad. The impact ripped the nose guard off and cracked the paint on both sides. Daryl, however, walked away with only a small cut on his nose.

When we weren’t tampering with bikes, we watched riders over the double-double finish line section that Jodyput in for the National this weekend. The first double was a blind step-down. The second double mimics a Supercross finish line and will have the riders sail through the finish line arch. It hass a tricky landing, which led some riders to misjudge the landing by either coming up short or over jumping to the flat. That is what Daryl Ecklund did—albeit on his first attempt. Jody had told Daryl before he went out that all he had to do was maintain the same speed on the second double as the first one, but Daryl made a slight bobble and tried to compensate with throttle. The stars, like Davi Millsaps and Chad Reed, made it look easy. Jody says that he doesn’t find glee in watching confused riders try to figure out an obstacle, but instead sees it as a learning experience (and on Monday, made some angle changes to the landing zone).

The AMA Pros get to spin laps on the completed circuit on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. Everything will be in place for a National shakedown. Additionally. there will be an open practice on Thursday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. for anyone who wants to try out the track.

_DSC8474 Dan Amalgos FIlter (1)Dan Alamangos replaces an air filter on our project Husqvarna FC250.

_DSC8474 Dan Amalgos FIlter (2)Dennis Stapleton rips a sand section of Glen Helen.

_DSC8626 Lizard in tyresA lizard finds his new home.

_DSC8989 Nich Schmidt (1)Nick Schmidt was out working on his lap times.

_DSC8989 Nich Schmidt (2)Davi Millsaps prepares for the Canadian Nationals.

_DSC9190 Chad ReedChad Reed is getting ready for his MXGP debut.

_DSC9225 MXA gang (2)This is what happens when your helmet and cross bar pad come together.

_DSC8737 honda ELectrical CenterRemember that 2003 Honda CR250 we were testing a few weeks ago? All the electrical was rerouted to be more toward the center of the bike. 


_DSC1549_Kyoshi_James Stewart_Hangtown_2016James Stewart crashed early in moto 1 and dislocated his shoulder. 

I’ve heard it all about James Stewart. “He is washed up!” “He needs to quit and retire!” “It is rare you can watch a race without him crashing!” Well, that one might be true. As of late, those crashes are turning into more and more injuries. Motocross is a brutal sport and every rider is responsible for their own decisions. James Stewart has a style that is risky. He can go very fast, but when a mistake happens it can cost him dearly. Once again Stewart crashed this weekend. As a big fan, it is heartbreaking to see a champion fade like this. James dislocated his shoulder, although he might still be lining up this weekend at Glen Helen. Hopefully he can put this behind him soon.


_DSC2779_Kyoshi_Cole Seeley_2016 Champion_Supercross_Sam Boyd Stadium_Las VegasCole Seely.

Jason Anderson and Cole Seely are now 450 sophomores. Unlike Anderson, Seely did not have an explosive Supercross season. Four podiums and sixth in points, Seely is still a rider to watch. In 2015, Cole Seely had a bad ending to his National season. After getting hurt at Budds Creek he would go on to break his nose in Washougal.

450 Total Starts: 10
450 Total Career Podiums: 0
450 Total Career Wins: 0
450 Win Percentage: 0%
450 Podium Percentage: 0%
Consecutive Podiums: 0
Total AMA Points Earned: 104


_DSC3446_Kyoshi_Ken Roczen_Hangtown_2016Ken Roczen lost no momentum coming out of Supercross. Kenny went 1-1 for the RCH/Jimmy Johns/Suzuki team.

AMA Nationals 450 Class: Ken Roczen.
AMA Nationals 250 Class: Joseph Savatgy.
450 Grand Prix: No race. Series to pick up in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.
250 Grand Prix: No race. Series to pick up in Talavera de la Reina, Spain.
Australian National 450: Todd Waters.
Australian National 250: Caleb Ward.
Maxxis British 450 National: Shaun Simpson.
Maxxis British 250 National: Martin Bar.


JT Racing back in the day.


_DSC8702Noah Viney at the Mammoth qualifier at LACR.

Noah Viney is a 65cc rider that has raced many AMA sanctioned races including amateur Arenacross. In Las Vegas he got third place in the 10-11 class and first in both classes at the Arenacross in Salinas.


_DSC2829Photographers clustered on the fake lawn for the start of moto two of the 450 class in Hangtown.

Part of photographing motocross is finding a good spot to get the pictures from. While something may look gnarly from behind the goggles or on video, a still image is just a millisecond frozen in time. For a picture to tell a good story it must have a lot of elements combined in it. Technically, it needs to have a good composition, exposure and contrast/color. The technical end is just a prerequisite to the important part which is telling a story. People won’t remember what settings you used to get a shot, but they will remember the story of what the photograph conveys. Good positioning will allow the photographer to not only show the rider, but also the venue, the competition and even details like the fans. To get a good spot I have to do a lot of walking and often revisit places. If a lot of passes, whips or crashes happen in a certain spot, the potential for a good photo is greater.

Photographer: Kyoshi
Nikon D4s
Lens: 70-200mm F/2.8
Focal Length: 70mm
Aperture: F/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/2000
Iso: 200


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