Monday Kickstart – A Day In The Dirt 14

A Day in the Dirt 14 is in the record books, and what a weekend it was! Held at Pala Raceway in Pala, California, the much-anticipated event drew a massive turnout of riders and spectators on Thanksgiving weekend for three days of racing, bench racing, and visiting old and new friends. Promoter Kenny Alexander and his team did an amazing job as usual, and a great time was had by all. Here are some of the highlights from ADITD 14, plus some other news from around the industry! Photos by Steve Emter.

Along with Red Bull, Troy Lee Designs is the largest sponsor of the A Day in the Dirt Grand Prix. A motohead through and through, Troy Lee himself enters multiple classes throughout the weekend, including the oh-so-brutal Coupe de Grace endurance race. Here, Troy and promoter Kenny Alexander share a laugh after the final race of the weekend.

 

Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda rider Christian Craig showed up with his mechanic and brother, Jeremy Coker, by his side. CC entered a few races and looked blazing fast wearing his new number 43. Coinsidentally, his father Mike Craig also wore that number during his illustrious pro career.

Naturally, the ADITD pits were filled with lots of stuff to see. The ARMA girls were out in full force.

New Jeff Ward Racing team rider Josh Grant debuted his new Kawasaki KX450F at Pala. Grant told us that he wasn't even sure he could ride before he took to the track for his first laps of practice, as he sliced the tip of his left ring finger off while loading his motorcycle only a few days earlier. From the looks of it, JG's severed digit didn't slow him down much, as he looked like his normal speedy self, save for the reversed numbers. Because ADITD is first-come, first-served when it comes to numbers, Timmy Weigand was assigned the number already. Grant's solution? "Flip it backwards!"

Last year, Doug Henry was set to enter his first ADITD event, but he lost his home in a tragic fire only days beforehand. This year, the former 125 and 250 National Champion was back, and made a huge impression on eveyone in attendance. Partially paralyzed from the waist down, Henry races a specially modified Yamaha YZ450F that sports a unique pivoting seat, as well as a protective roll cage. Believe us when we say that Henry absolutely rips on his special bike! Seeing his huge smile each and every time he took his helmet off made many people's weekends; that's for sure.

Here's a closer look at the pivoting seat on Henry's Yamaha. The seat allows him to keep his weight centered on the bike when it's leaned over in corners. It's definitely a radical departure from the set up we've seen on Ricky James' machine. There is also a small shock under the seat, which helps absorb landings and bumps.

Many racers at ADITD did a double take when Henry raced past them on his Yamaha YZ450F.

MX2 World Champion Ken Roczen showed up at Pala to contest the Moto A Go Go team race with his mechanic Kelly Lumgair. The KTM Red Bull rider had never done a "hand-on-the-helmet" start before ADITD.

Roczen's bike carried his new number 70, but his mechanic's machine wore K-Roc's more familiar number 94.

During the Moto-A-GoGo Team GP, Ken Roczen's KTM suffered a mechanical issue. Rather than throw in the towel and watch from the sidelines, he ran back to the hand off area so that his teammate, Kelly Lamgair, could continue. Photo by Cole King

Former World and National Champion Grant Langston showed up and turned in some speedy laps aboard his Langston Motorsports KTM 350SX-F. Obviously, the racer-turned-team manager still knows how to get it done on a dirt bike! Photo by Cole King

One of the coolest things about the ADITD course are the numerous obstacles that you must conquer on the track. This year's event featured three tunnels that were extra tricky to get through. Although the Red Bull arch didn't require any special technique to race under, it gave the track a more prestigious feel.

Rockstar Valli Star Racing rider Ryan Sipes showed up aboard a Yamaha YZ250 two-stroke and drew loud cheers from the crowd, all around the course.

Jimmy Albertson debuted his new BBMX/BtoSports.com Suzuki RM-Z450 ride at A Day in the Dirt. Albee looked extra stylish, thanks to his custom number set up. Without a doubt, he was the fastest electrical-tape rider of the weekend!

Speaking of Jimmy Albertson, he teamed up with David Pingree to sweep the Moto Pro class in the Moto A Go Go team race. Making this even more impressive is the fact that Jimmy fell in the first turn at the start of his race. Hey, did you know that Ping's DVD, MOTOCROSS 101 is on sale for the holidays? Check out motocross101.com

Yeah, lots to look at in the pits...

One of the coolest things about ADITD is that it brings the motocross and off-road racing worlds together. Off-road hero Destry Abbott was plenty fast on the hybrid course...

It was great to see new team owner Jeff Ward (3) banging bars with current pros like Christian Craig (43). Wardy still hauls the mail, and it just looks right, seeing him back on a Kawasaki...

Racers zipped through the Spy Shady Spot towards the end of each lap, and it was a great place to cheer on your favorite racer. (or Santa)

The walking wounded. Sadly, the weekend was not without its fair share of bumps and bruises.

Ryan Hughes showed up on Sunday to show the young pros what Ryno Power is all about.

In the Coupe de Grace survival race - which goes for an undisclosed length of time - Ryan Hughes led from the get go and was never challenged. In the end, the race lasted over 90 minutes, and for his winning efforts, Ryno was awarded with...

...this car! ADITD is known for having a unique trophy for the Coupe de Grace winner, and this year was no different. Hughes did some impressive burnouts in the Oldsmobile as he drove it home.

Blake Savage was second in the Coupe de Grace.

Tyler Bereman rounded out the podium in the Coupe de Grace with a great ride.

Coupe de Grace winner Ryan Hughes and promoter Kenny Alexander.

And speaking of race promoter Kenny Alexander; he did relax long enough to join in on the fun!

Our friend Geoff Patterson from Nexis Bracing Solutions had an interesting mount in the Coupe de Grace...obviously, comfort was his main priority.

The Coupe de Grace means different things to different riders. For our friend Gary Ybarra, successfully completing the event meant winning a bet with his girlfriend, Kim. Let us know how that "ends" up, Buc!

The women's race drew many entries, including Laury Cary, who promotes the Ride For a Cure day each year at Cahuilla Creek. Cary had an "interesting" chest (breast?) protector.

The Vintage races always draw lots of smiles and laughs. This is John DeSoto's old Yamaha!

The "King of Extreme," Shaun Palmer (555) even showed up to race the Vintage class!

TransWorld MX's own Brendan Lutes really got into the spirit this year and wore his dad's old leather pants while racing his CZ. Uh, Lutz? The Jofa mouthguard is supposed to protect your mouth, not neck...

Vintage bikes mean premix. And premix means smoke!

Ty Swartz was the king of retro style in the vintage race. And plenty fast, too!

Answer Racing's Pat Lopez raced a "vintage" bike in the modern classes; borrowing the TransWorld Motocross Yamaha YZ250 en route to the Top One-Eyed MXican Award .)

Sometimes, vintage bikes just don't cooperate, do they?

Troy Lee Designs' video genius Masa Shirotani was on hand all weekend, racing and filming. We can't wait to see what he comes up with. Stay tuned to troyleedesigns.com for a video this week!

The Lucas Oil/Troy Lee Designs/Honda team brough its race semi out to ADITD, and team riders Cole Seely, Christian Craig and Travis Baker came out to ride various events. Team Manager Tyler Keefe and truck driver Corey Martin also got in on the action, although we heard that Corey broke his arm in the Moto A Go Go team race. Get well soon, Corey!

Plenty of mini racers showed up to do battle in the morning mini races. This year, there was even a "Wild Child" mini team race!

Troy Lee cheers on his son, Max, in the mini race.

If you missed this year's ADITD GP, don't make that same mistake in 2012! Contrary to popular belief, there is no dress code!

Kyle Chisholm has joined the Jeff Ward Racing team and will pit alongside Josh Grant in 2012. The team sent us this cool video…

Catching Up With Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes is almost undoubtedly one of the most physically fit athletes to ever throw a leg over a motorcycle. Known for his endurance, strength, and willpower in the 90's, he has been able to maintain that same intensity nearly two decades later. While motocross is still his focus, riding has taken a backseat to training the current crop of professional riders and his organic supplement business, RynoPower. After outlasting the competition in Sunday's Coup de Grace finale at A Day In The Dirt, we caught up with Ryan to see how it is on the other side of the starting line.

So Ryan, you just completed and won the Coup de Grace. How do you feel?

I feel good, like I could go for another hour and a half (Laughs). I'm not saying that it was an easy race, but where my mindset was, the pace and the way I was riding wasn't too physical for me. The whole objective was to try to get out front and have a clear track to ride my pace. The track was so choppy because of the different speeds, so it was hard to have a lot of fast lines. But you had to slow down a little bit to go faster and keep your momentum up. But it was good, I led from start to finish and had a little problem in the beginning when I missed my shift lever a few times, but other than that I don't think I made a bobble the whole race. And the trophy, the car, it is just so cool. It is one of the coolest prizes that I have won, and to be fifteen minutes from my house at Pala Raceway. All the guys here and at A Day In The Dirt put an amazing event on, so I am very happy to be apart of it and win the big race.

We've seen you cut a lot of laps here in the past few weeks, but how much do you get to ride a week now? Two weeks ago we saw you here at Pala riding and then at Milestone training a rider the following Friday, so you are always at a track.

It kind of depends. Sometimes I might ride three times a week, but those three times might only add up to be forty-five minutes. Sometimes it is for demonstration, to show my riders what I am doing or just come out here and do a little moto so I can work with those guys and have a better idea of what the track is like so that I can teach better. And then there are times that I can come out and ride by myself and I'll put a little more time in. I don't ride for too long now, I kind of get a little bit bored after a while so I just come out to keep myself fresh. It is a little bit like medicine for me; if I don't do it for a while, I need to come out and get a hit out of it. Again, it depends, some weeks there is no riding and some weeks three times, it just depends. I try not to have a schedule, I just go with how I feel, which is the biggest part of my riding and training.

Are you in better shape now than you were racing?

I would say I am in smarter shape. I wouldn't say I'm in "better" shape, but definitely smarter shape. I am fitter in places in places that I need to be fit, but not in areas don't really matter, so much like cardio. I'm not only doing cardio all the time, I do a lot of other things. But the biggest game that I have changed is my mental game; I am so much more focused at this moment. My technique is like it has never been, and I work very hard on my technique and my mental game with meditation and yoga. That is the first point of going fast and being consistent on motorcycle, your technique and your mindset, and everything else follows that. In our sport, everyone is too worried about fitness and not worried about what controls your fitness, which is your mind and what makes you tired or fast, which is your technique. I'd say those two things are the biggest differences in my game right now.

By training and being around a group of young guys all the time, does it keep you "young?"

(Laughs) Yeah, it keeps me young. They challenge me a little bit, but what I do daily keeps me young. From meditation, to the yoga, to the sauna, the organic foods, and the training, my mindset and riding, that is what keeps me young. It wouldn't matter if I was training young guys or old guys, what I do during the day is what keeps me fit and passionate about what I am doing.

When you were racing in the 90's, did you ever envision that you would have a business like Rynopower or that you would be a trainer to riders?

No, I had no idea what I was going to do. I am kind of a one-dimensional person, I put my head into things and I go unconscious a little bit (Laughs). I have opened my eyes a lot more now, before I was just "train, train, train," and I did so many things wrong when I was in my prime. I knew that I would probably train and teach, because I am a born teacher, but I didn't anything after that. I just let life do what it puts in front of me and I attack it. I don't really have many hopes and dreams, I just let life plan it out for me and I follow its way, because it knows better than I do. Some things fail and some work out, but in-between that I stay happy.

With that being said, do you have specific plans for the future or will continue with what you are doing now?

I would like to build what I am doing with my supplements, websites, and my training business, but underneath all that I'd like to give back to the sport and the foundation of the sport, which are the riders who pay for every part on their bikes and don't have incentives. That is what we are doing with Yamaha now, giving incentives and knowledge, so they take the responsibility of being faster and safer into their own hands. That is my way to give back to the sport, because we all need to help this thing grow. If we only pay attention to the top, it won't grow. We need to look at the bottom, the foundation, and the people who are buying everything. That is my direction now, and hopefully soon I can make a big dent in it. That is what is motivating me now, to get people in to the sport and stay in the sport by making the sport cheaper and also the knowledge to ride these bikes that are so damn fast now.

Do you like the direction that the sport is headed in?

Yeah, I do. Right now, spectator wise, the sport is growing big time and it is really good, but to keep people in the sport, it's not. We need to do something different, because we can't have these bikes that are so damn expensive for people that just want to ride; we need something in the middle. Another thing is that the companies can't get rich just off this sport; we can't gouge the sport. We need to do different things and everyone has to do their little part. There is no sport on Earth that is as fun or as challenging as motocross is, nor as passionate by the people in it. It is growing, but we need to make it more affordable and a little safer. And to me, that is not by safety equipment. Safety equipment is the end of the crash. We need to teach everyone what to do before the crash happens. That is where I am at. I am try to teach them to not make the crash happen, not giving them equipment for when the crash happens. Because at that point, it is too late.

Racing concluded at the Thor Winter National Olympics on Saturday at the Gatorback Cycle Park in Alachua, Florida. It was a huge turnout for the 40th annual race—more than 2300 entries—which consisted of both motocross and Supercross. Rain did makes its way into the forecast, but the sun did come out and make for some great racing. After six days of racing and qualifying, champions were crowned and here is the list:

For a full list of results, go to http://minio2011.tracksideresults.com/class.asp

Supercross

Open A/Pro Stock                                    
Jessy Nelson (Hon) 1-1

Open A/Pro Modified                             
Jessy Nelson (Hon) 1-1

250 A/Pro Stock                                       
Jeremy Martin (Yam) 2-1

250 A/Pro Modified                               
Zach Bell (Hon) 1-1

Open B Stock                                                
Anthony Rodriguez (Yam) 3-1

Open B Modified                                          
Cooper Webb (Yam) 1-1

250 B Stock                                                   
Jace Owen (Suz) 2-1

250 B Modified                                            
Cooper Webb (Yam) 1-1

Schoolboy (13-16)                                        
Colt Nichols (Kaw) 3-1

Supermini 1 (12-15)                                     
Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw) 1-1

85 (12-15) Stock                                           
Andrew Pierce (Hon) 3-1

Supermini 2 (13-16)                                    
Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw) 1-1

85 (12-13) Stock                                           
Chase Bell (KTM) 1-1

85 (9-11) Stock                                            
Tanner Stack (Kaw) 2-1

Motocross

Open A/Pro Stock
Dillan Epstein (Kaw) 8-1

Open A/Pro Modified
Justin Hill (Kaw) 1-1

250 A/Pro Stock
Zach Bell (Hon) 1-1

250 A/Pro Modified
Zach Bell (Hon) 1-1

Open B Stock
Cooper Webb (Yam) 2-1

Open B Modified
Claudio Leocata (Suz) 1-1

250 B Stock
Claudio Leocata (Suz) 1-1

250 B Modified
Claudio Leocata (Suz) 2-1

Schoolboy (13-16)
Claudio Leocata (Suz) 1-1

Supermini 1 (12-15)
Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw) 1-1

Supermini 2 (13-16)
Adam Cianciarulo (Kaw) 1-1

85 (12-15) Stock
Andrew Pierce (Hon) 2-1

85 (12-13) Stock
Chase Bell (KTM) 1-1

85 (9-11) Stock
Tanner Stack (Kaw) 1-1