The holidays are upon us. Turkey, stuffing, cheer, and, yes, A Day in the Dirt. Before that Thanksgiving meal has digested, the Day in the Dirt festivities will be kicking off. For many, this event marks their one opportunity to dice with friends in a full GP race environment. Few races offer the stigma that surrounds A Day in the Dirt. From the commemorative helmets by Troy Lee to the specialty graphics from N-Style, A Day in the Dirt cultivates more than racing, it inspires design and it reunites generations. Born of the memories of racing at Indian Dunes and Saddleback, A Day in the Dirt not only pays homage to yesteryear, it celebrates motocross as a lifestyle.
If you have heard of A Day in the Dirt, you probably know the Troy Lee name attached to it. What you may not know, however, is that this event would not exist if it were not for Elrod Racing’s Kenny Alexander. With dirt bikes running through his veins and racing in his heritage, Kenny ignited what is now the enigmatic A Day in the Dirt.
Is it a private race? Is it a race at all? Does one need an invitation? Who gets to be involved? These and other questions swirl around the event, now in it’s 10th year.
Contrary to some beliefs out there, A Day in the Dirt is not an invite-only event for the industry-exclusive. Quite the opposite, it is an event built around camaraderie, family, and most importantly, dirt bikes; and it is open to everyone. Kenny’s love for dirt bikes spawned very early in his childhood. His father, a member of the Viewfinders Motorcycle Club, raced in the desert and he brought Kenny along to countless GPs and desert races. Kenny’s uncle gave him his first bike, a Briggs and Stratton mini bike. Soon after, his father, along with Walt James, started the motocross park, Indian Dunes. Kenny’s new home away from home reared his racing aspirations and he traveled around from race to race until he was 13. With more injuries than he could count, Kenny hung up the racing boots at the repeated requests of his mother. But “racing gets in your blood, it’s like an addiction; it stays with you forever. With racing still in Kenny’s blood, he started a little event, and ten years later A Day in the Dirt lives on.
We sat down with Kenny recently to get the real scoop on A Day in the Dirt and here is what he had say…
What fuels you to continue putting on this event?
I love the camaraderie, and the people I have met doing it. People look forward to this and they kind of count on it. It’s one of those things that you think about how you can improve it, make it better, and it slowly takes over. I work in the film industry doing stunt work and it leaves time to work on this project. Any time I am not working on film stuff, I think about this project, have meetings with Troy Lee and kick ideas around. Half of the time, we don’t get any work done. (laughs) We just have a great time.
What are some of the major hurdles to clear while putting on an event like this?
We have held on to our core sponsors over the years, but it is definitely difficult to raise money and support for a race that people think is an invitation-only event. It is not invite-only; it is open to everybody.
The only drawback to working on this event is raising the sponsorship. Everything else is fun and I love it.
Why back to LACR after years away at other tracks?
Have you been there lately? It is so much fun. The track drops down into this huge hole, so there is a lot of uphill/downhill stuff. It is just a really fun track. Plus, it is home. It’s where we started this event.
I have been good friends with Jack from LACR for a long time. My dad started Indian Dunes with Walt James, and Jack came aboard about three years later, so I have known Jack my whole life. We have a great relationship and he goes out of his way to make things happen out there.
A Day in the Dirt seems to be a sort of marketing phenomenon. What are some of effects of thhis event?
N-Style is making bike graphics for the third year now, Troy has helmets and gear, its all part of it. People want to come out looking their best…I bet this event sells more bikes than any other. It’s great for the industry. I saw a quote saying that A Day in the Dirt is “like Burning Man but with dirt bikes.
Why is that?
It’s not just a race. There is more hoopla. It isn’t about a championship; it’s about bragging rights. You can be in 90th place and battling with your buddy and that is as big a deal as being out front, leading the pack. There are all kinds of battles. With more than 120 entries per class, there are battles all the way through the line-up. Everyone has their own race going on. It’s not about winning the race as much as it’s about beating your buddy.
But this is no local race. It’s more than that, isn’t it?
That’s the beauty of this event; there are generations of riders out there, young and old alike. It’s a family deal. We bring out the racing legends. Ricky Johnson and Jeff Ward come out. Donny Hansen, Jeremy McGrath, all those guys. Hollywood stuntmen, actors, bike clubs; they all come out. Everyone looks forward to an event like this.
How many do you expect to race this year?
We are limited to about 800 individual racers, but most will run more than one event, so there are about 3000 entries. We sell out every year.
There is something about racing that infects all who experience it. That infection drives Kenny Alexander to continue a tradition. TWMX will be racing at A Day in the Dirt…will you?