VIDEO/PHOTOS/TEXT | Red Bull
If you were alive and connected to motorcycle racing in any way through the mid ’90s, there’s a good chance you remember Jeremy McGrath’s iconic video part in Fox Racing’s Terrafirma 2. The segment pushed the limits of motocross video production and sits in the history books as one of the greatest clips of all time. So as the ink began to dry on Ken Roczen’s Honda contract, the wheels started turning to recreate the timeless classic and pay homage to “The King.” With the blessing of Honda, Roczen jumped at the opportunity and an epic day at Castillo Ranch commenced. Read what Roczen had to say about the experience in the interview below and watch him rip the HRC prepped ’96 CR250 straight from McGrath’s collection in Terrafirma 94: The Tribute.
Behind The Scenes & Outtakes
Red Bull: Kenny, we’re here at Castillo Ranch working on something special, what’s happening?
Ken Roczen: We’re out here doing some shooting, basically copying Jeremy McGrath’s video part in “Terrafirma 2.” When we rolled in I hadn’t seen the bike yet, so we got here and I got to check the bike out and I was honestly blown away by it, especially once I rode it. I haven’t been on a two-stroke in quite a few years, so it took a little bit of getting used to, but I felt like I was ripping at the end and getting more comfortable.
When did you first hear about the idea and what did you think when you first heard about it?
I heard about it a few months ago, originally I was like “Man, let’s do it!” because I hadn’t been on a 250 in a while. Plus it’s not that it’s just a 250 two-stroke, it’s the whole story behind it. It being Jeremy’s bike and it being a Honda, with me coming to the team this year, there’s a solid storyline with it. So we’re doing our best to copy and make it just as legit as the original and I don’t see why it won’t turn out just as good if not better than the old one.
You’ve got a bit of a ’90s punk rock edge about your character, does this project resonate with you on that level?
Yeah, obviously the moto industry and styles have changed quite a bit over the years, but we want to try and bring the old school punk rock back into it, and that’s why I was a big fan of the idea right from the get-go. I’m a little bit more of a relaxed character, so I feel like I fit right in there.
How were your first few laps on the bike?
Aside from lever adjustments and the little things like that, everything felt pretty comfortable. The bike was a bit on the richer side at first giving it a bit of delay on initial throttle, so that took a bit of getting used to. Suspension wise it was interesting, it feels super plush, the rear is a bit dead and it’s way softer than what we with these days. It was quite different, but after about 15 minutes on it, I took a break and went back out and felt like I had ridden the bike for quite some time. Like I said, power wise everything has a delay, which made it scary when it comes to jumping and being precise, but the more I ride it the more I get used to it.
Does your day on this bike give you more respect for McGrath and Ricky [Carmichael] and all those dudes back in the day racing these bikes?
Totally. Back in the day they were hauling ass on these things! The good thing for them was they were all on 250s and the bikes were a little more level of a playing field than if I lined up on this thing now. But yeah, my respect level for those dudes is quite high.
What did videos like the Terrafirma series mean to you growing up?
I remember watching all the videos and the most important thing to me was they made me want to ride. I’ve been kind of missing that with the new style videos and movies that come out, because when I see those Terrafirma and MotoXXX videos, it makes me want to ride and that’s something we want to try to bring back to everybody.