It’s that time of year again! The Halloween costumes are put away and the rotten jack-o-lanterns are in the garbage…here comes the A Day in the Dirt Motocross Grand Prix! It’s no secret that this is our favorite race of the year to participate in as a staff, and we caught up with promoter Kenny Alexander out at Los Angeles County Raceway, site of the annual affair.
We are about a month out from Day in the Dirt, which is the race the TransWorld staff looks forward to the most in the year. The map makes it look like there are some big changes in this year’s track…
We are moving a lot of dirt and we are flipping the whole track backward from the way it was designed last year. It’s about two miles long, and we are slowing it down, because last year it was a little faster than we wanted. We are running 120 bikes at a time for some classes, so on a two-mile course they won’t be too spread out or bunched up. We are adding more obstacles that are fun from the Vet class guys to the rookies alike.
Has the crappy economy affected entries at all? I mean, money is tight and all, but A Day in the Dirt sure is a nice way to get away from it all…
I think that this event has the same vibe as Mammoth. There are a couple races a year that vet guys and people that don’t race professional in California look forward to, and this is one of them. They save all year to come out here and spend a family weekend, where they cook Thanksgiving and catch up with everyone. We like to think this is our Burning Man, just with motorcycles. We are going on our twelfth year, so it has been going strong. Entry wise, we are down about ten percent, which isn’t as bad as we feared, but we expect a rush right at the last minute. The Vet classes are the usual stacked classes, but mini’s are down just a little bit. We hope that things come around and we sell out once again.
Okay, so what makes this race so fun? This pulls in people that stay away from the racing side of things, but then they come here and race like it’s their job.
I‘ve been asked that a lot, but I think it’s not about the race but that you can see people you’ve known for 20 years coming back for a moto family reunion of about 3000. They can walk down vendor row and see people they haven’t seen since last year, which can turn in to a three-hour conversation. They do show up on the track and say it’s just for fun, but we know they’ve been training and practicing so they look good once they get out there.
Last year you were taken out of the race before it started with a broken leg, so you have to be itching to ride this year. When the day comes, are you fifty percent promoter, fifty percent racer still?
I’d say it’s about fifty-fifty. It’s tough when the event starts because for five or six days leading up to the race, I’m on two hours of sleep a night; but once the flag drops I’m just focused on kicking my buddy’s butt. It’s a stress relief for me out there, because once I come in I have people telling me about the fight in the pits, someone is hurt, we need to do this, so I like being on the track (laughs).
Was it hard to watch last year?
It was awful last year for me. The weather was perfect because there was not a stitch wind, it was 75 degrees, and it rained for three days before the race, which made the track epic. I could see some of my friends I ride with doing well, so I was jealous to watch them out there. But I’ll be out there this year, knock on wood.
For the people reading this that are intrigued about what DITD is, is there still time to sign up?
Yeah, just go to adayinthedirt.com download an entry and get it in soon. I would get it done as quickly as possible, especially if you are a Vet guy, because they will sell out.
Just to emphasize how much we like this race, our Web Master’s brother is flying in from Idaho to come race with us. We had a guy from Germany come last year and tell us that he came after reading about it on the website. Where do you see guys coming from that shock you?
I’ve seen them from New Zealand, Australia, and Canada has a big draw to come here too. For example, every year John DeSoto flies in from Hawaii, so that’s cool to pull guys from everywhere to this race that you wouldn’t see much of.
That has to be a good feeling to have people who were industry legends come to this race that normally don’t race anymore.
Yeah, it’s a great feeling. It’s like the top guys come out of retirement to come out here, and it’s amazing to see them because once they are fast they are always fast. They guys who raced in the 60s, the 70s, and the 80s show up and haul ass. I looked over one time and saw Donnie Hansen, and that was a great thing to see because I didn’t expect it. We have guys like Jeff Ward, Rick Johnson, and the lifers that will always be here to race and have a great time.
As usual, the guys at N-Style have created special commemorative A Day in the Dirt graphics for just about every current bike. The 2010 version is designed my Troy Lee and can be ordered by calling 661/294-1118.