KYOSHI’S CORNER: LIFE IN THE MXA TRENCHES
Does this look fun to you? If you answered “Yes,” then you’re either certifiably insane or you are a glutton for punishment. This rider experiences the thrills of racing the Glen Helen Last Dog Standing.
By Kyoshi Becker
The saying goes “Motocross exists because football players need heroes, too.” What heroes do motocross riders have? It depends whom you ask, but a fair number would probably point to Endurocross racers. About this time every year Glen Helen hosts one of its most grueling races, the Last Dog Standing. With the last seven days being devoted to production of the September 2016 issue, we didn’t have much time to go out and breathe in the sweet smell of motorcycle exhaust. As for the big motocross races this weekend, quite a few MXA riders migrated to Mammoth for their annual vacation at over 8000 feet above sea level. We had Brian Converse and Scott Mallonee–two freelance MXA photogs–shooting the High Point National. I decided it was a good chance to go to Glen Helen and watch the torture-fest known as the Last Dog Standing. Imagine a race where only three riders out of 120 starters actually finish race. The format has three races with two laps. Each moto is progressively harder than the last one. Logs, cement cauldrons, giant tires and cement freeway dividers are among the obstacles featured. How about a hillclimb? A seesaw? A tunnel full of hanging tires? The stuff found here is more unnatural than the perfectly manicured three-foot whoops in Supercross.
Rockstar Energy Husqvarna’s offroad ace, Colton Haaker, goes through the tunnel of tires. Unfortunately, his brakes locked up, forcing him to forfeit the race. By the way, Haaker is no slouch in motocross.
Cody Webb makes the log pit look easy.
From left: Cory Graffunder, Cody Webb and Kyle Redmond celebrate on the podium. Cody’s trophy weighed over 50 pounds according to designer Spencer Bloomer. Spencer is the R&D tech for JGRMX and welded together used parts from the Justin Barcia, Weston Peick and Phil Nicoletti’s bikes to make these sick trophies.
THE TRUCKS OF THE TEAMS
The rig is a vital part of the team. During the races it becomes the temporary home of most the racers and the support crew. It masquerades as the face of the team to the fans, and stores the bikes on the road. Like the bikes and riders, the rigs are designed to be a flashy representation of each team. Let’s see some of the more popular ones.
Troy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM.
RYAN DUNGEY’S 2015 NATIONAL SEASON STATS
Ryan Dungey was the AMA 450 National Champion last year. As everyone knows, Dungey is no stranger to winning. He won the outdoor crown in 2010 and 2012. Entering Hangtown, Dungey seemed to be riding at a more measured pace than he had exhibited in the last few rounds of the Supercross championship. Dungey’s comfort zone is at a much higher pace than most riders pushing their boundaries. After a solid second place at Hangtown and a win at Glen Helen, the Minnesota native seemed to be on track to challenging for the title. Thunder Valley is where all of that changed. While Ryan Dungey would go 4-4 and take second overall, a crash in the second moto resulted in a season-ending injury. While nothing was suspect at the race, an increasingly stiff neck forced Dungey to see a specialist in the proceeding days after Thunder Valley. It was discovered he had a fractured vertebrae. With 6-8 weeks healing time, Dungey will not be able to contest for the overall. Below are his 2015 stats.
RYAN DUNGEY 2015 NATIONAL STATS
Overall Podiums: 11
Moto Podiums: 22
Overall Wins: 7
Overall Win Percentage: 58.3%
Overall Podium Percentage: 91.6%
Overall Consecutive Podiums: 6
Overall Points Earned: 547
AMA Nationals 450 Class: Ken Roczen.
AMA Nationals 250 Class: Joey Savatgy.
MXGP 450 Grand Prix: Tim Gajser.
MX2 250 Grand Prix: Jeffrey Herlings.
Australian National 450: No race until July 3rd.
Australian National 250: No race until July 3rd.
Canadian 450 National: Davi Millsaps.
Canadian 250 National: Cole Thompson.
Maxxis British 450 National: No race until July 3rd.
Maxxis British 250 National: No race until July 3rd.
HIGH POINT RACEDAY CONDENSED NEWS
WINS AND FAILS
- Brothers Alex and Jeremy Martin had a second place and 30+ place finish at High Point. Neither would make the overall podium.
- Zach Osborne scored his first moto win. He still took second overall like he did last year.
- Both Colt Nichols and Mitch Oldenberg finished in the top ten at High Point, a first this year.
- Justin Barcia earned his first top five finish this season, and teammate Weston Peick his first top ten of the season.
- Marvin Musquin and Jason Anderson got their first overall podiums of the 2016 season.
- Eli Tomac went 5-2, but failed to finish on the podium.
MXA CLASSIC AD | MARCH 2000
$39.95 would get you the Fastback jersey that Jeff Emig wore in 1999. At the time of this ad Emig was recovering from breaking both arms. Two months later he retired after garnering another injury while he was preparing for the 2000 National season.
AMATEUR SHOT OF THE WEEK
Gavin Slavens at the California Gold Cup.
Gavin Slavens is a member of Team Green. Currently he rides in the supermini class.
Cole Seely hugs Rich Simmons at Thunder Valley.
The story isn’t always where the buzz is at. Part of photographing any event is following multiple storylines and hoping to get a good photo of each. Every rider has a story. Ken Roczen, Ryan Dungey, Eli Tomac, Trey Canard and Cole Seely all made the podium at Thunder Valley, whether it was for a moto or the overall. Each rider had a different story. Tomac tried to meet his 2015 expectations and satisfy the home crowd. Ken Roczen was the dominant rider, and Cole Seely was finally breaking into the top five. In photographing these events you have to follow each storyline carefully. That means peaking behind the curtain or bouncing between multiple hotspots. Keep your eyes open, because you don’t know where the next photo is.