KYOSHI’S CORNER: LIFE IN THE MXA TRENCHES

_DSC6921_Last Dog Standing (2)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.

_DSC6526_Last Dog Standing (2)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. 

_DSC7816_Last Dog StandingArizonian Mitch Carvolth pins it over the jersey barriers.

_DSC6921_Last Dog Standing (1)This spot was a bottleneck.

_DSC6798Logs started to cause havoc after the first few riders got caught up.

_DSC7016Look at that fun! A few riders tried sending it up the hillclimb behind the REM track.

_DSC7190This race can break a rider’s spirit.

_DSC7333God bless the USA!

_DSC7356Cody Webb (left) and Kyle Redmond survey the final obstacle. 

_DSC7467Cody Webb makes the log pit look easy.

_DSC7664There isn’t an easy way to go ascent Mt. St. Helens, but it’s infinitely more difficult scaling up the offroad side. 

_DSC7794Kyle Redmond completed the second lap of the final moto. He had to replace his clutch right before the final moto.

_DSC7987Garett Carlson was the only non-Pro to complete the course, making him the Last Dog Standing.

_DSC8072From 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. 

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THE TRUCKS OF THE TEAMS

_DSC9434Set up at Hangtown.

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.

_DSC7170 RIde 365 Honda Team TruckRide 365.comHonda rig.

_DSC7174 SOaring Eagle Jimmy Johns TruckSoaring Eagle Jimmy Johns Suzuki.

_DSC7177 HRC Team HOnda TruckHRC Honda.

_DSC7179 Geico Honda TruckGeico Amsoil Honda.

_DSC6981 Troy Lee Designs KTM Team TruckTroy Lee Designs Red Bull KTM.

_DSC7185 Rocky Mountain ATV TruckRocky Mountain ATV/MC.

_DSC7190 ROckstar Energy Husqvarna TruckRockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna.

_DSC7204 Kawasaki TruckMonster Energy Pro Circuit.

_DSC7207 Yoshimura Suzuki TruckYoshimura Suzuki.

_DSC7235 KTM Factory Redbull TruckRed Bull KTM.

_DSC7250 Cycle Trader Rock RIver TruckCycle Trader Rock River Yamaha.

_DSC7004 Drag Specialties TruckDrag Specialties.

_DSC7268 JGR Autotrader Yamaha TruckJGR Autotrader Yamaha.

_DSC7273 Star Racing Yamaha Yamahalube TruckStar Racing Yamalube Yamaha.

_DSC7275 Motorcycle Superstore Suzuki TruckMotorcycle Superstore Suzuki.

RYAN DUNGEY’S 2015 NATIONAL SEASON STATS

_DSC6783_Kyoshi_Ryan Dungey_GLen Helen_05282016
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
Starts: 24
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

WEEKEND WINNERS

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

G-_2016_06_17_Jeff-Emig-Shift-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

Gold-CUp-2-Edit-batch-1-123Gavin Slavens at the California Gold Cup.

Gavin Slavens is a member of Team Green. Currently he rides in the supermini class.

PHOTOGRAPHIC RAMBLINGS

_DSC1013Cole 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.

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