YESTERDAY AT GLEN HELEN: 106 DEGREES & THE MXA WRECKING CREW

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Dennis Stapleton Sr. gives some last minute set-up advice to Dennis Stapleton, Jr.

If you don’t like the weather at Glen Helen, just wait six months and winter will be there for 8 days. Glen Helen isn’t in the California desert, but you can see it from there. This week was a record setter in terms of hot days—and not just at Glen Helen, but even at the beach and in downtown Los Angeles. So, what was the MXA wrecking doing at Glen Helen when it was 106 degrees? Testing new bikes. MXA test riders don’t get a choice of when they will ride. If a test day is scheduled for a given day—the test will happen. So, with the weathermen constantly stammering on about the record highs, the MXA gang were scheduled to go to Glen Helen. So,we weren’t surprised to discover that the vast majority of SoCal riders, who would normally be swarming all over Glen Helen, were in short supply.

There is nothing like a brand-new bike, a fully prepped track and no crowds (because of the 106-degree temperatures). MXA ‘s 2018 Suzuki RM-Z got a work out as we spend four hours testing different settings with four different test riders.

With just enough riders to make lines in the prepped dirt and a freakish rain storm at 8:00 a.m., it was a perfect test day. There were no logjams of riders blocking the corners or cross jumping down the straights. The relative emptyness of the track gave us time to make adjustments, send test riders out to try them, make more adjustments and never worry about trying to get a clean lap in. We had two Honda CRF450s, a 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450, a 2018 KTM 450SXF and a 2017 Yamaha YZ250F with us—and a lot of things to try. We can’t say it was a perfect day—but it was perfect for testing.

Kurt Nicoll was at Glen Helen to prepare for the vintage Vet MXDN at Farleigh Castle in two weeks. Kurt is fast and not just for a 52 year old.

Kurt has focused all of his attention for the past couple weeks on adapting to his Kawasaki KX500 two-stroke.

When its boiling hot, high noon and the sun feels like a blast furnace you get the track all to yourself. Here, Jody Weisel enjoys the loneliness of the motorcycle test rider. How do we know what time it was? When the rider’s shadow is directly below the bike — it is noon.

Nick Schmidt was not afraid of the heat. He parked next to the MXA gang and got to try out MXA’s 2018 Honda CRF450 (we had two of them with us—one with a Pro Circuit engine and one with an FMF single-sided exhaust). Nick also rode the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 and the 2018 KTM 450SXF.

Never leave a test rider in a car with the windows rolled up on a hot day.

Even though the only difference between the 2017 and 2018 Yamaha YZ250F is the blue rims, we still put the 2018 through the same round-robin test cycle as if it was a totally new model. Justin Muscutt pushes the limits of adhesion.

Trevor Stewart hides from the sun in shade of his truck.

Khaled Alsanee (you can call him Kevin) didn’t think that Glen Helen was all that hot—since 106 degrees is the night-time temperature in his home town in Kuwait.

Photos by Jon Ortner

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