2012 Staff Picks : Donn Maeda

Our fearless leader and Editor-in-Chief Donn Maeda has been in the industry for over 20 years. When he says that these things are his favorites, they must be good.

Favorite Cover

Jake Weimer
May Issue
Groveland, Florida

“My favorite cover of the year was hands down, Chris Kinman’s Eli Tomac cover, but since Brendan Lutes already claimed it as his favorite I will go with my cover of Jake Weimer early in the year. Jake isn’t known as an especially flashy rider, so I think it was pretty cool to capture him pulling off a really nasty scrub at Ryan Villopoto’s Florida compound. We pride ourselves on our covers because we always try to go the extra mile to get something exclusive. The only time you’ll ever see us use a raceday photo is if the action is extraordinary, or circumstances beyond our control make it impossible to conduct an exclusive photo shoot. That day, I was I put in town for a few hours as I had departed on a red eye flight and was returning late the following afternoon. All told, I was gone for 23 hours. Jake was really accommodating and easy to work with, and after a bunch of whip and corner shots, I asked him if he could scrub this hump, just to see what it might look like. “I’ll try,” was his answer, and after his first scrub I knew I had found the perfect cover shot section of the track. The way Shane Kinman added the headlines made it an even better cover, and this stands put to me as one of my favorites of all time.”

Favorite Gallery

New Mexico Dunes With Eli Tomac
August 7, 2012
Farmington, New Mexico

“Chris Kinman’s Eli Tomac photo gallery from the time we spent in the Farmington, New Mexico, sand dunes, and also at the Tomac farm, is my favorite of the year. We spent a couple days with the Tomac’s to accomplish a couple things: I was filming for Kickstart 4, and Chris was shooting magazine feature and writing an interview. Watching Tomac in action in the dunes was a huge treat, as he carved out a massive track in the sand in preparation for the following weekend’s Southwick national. Kinman did a spectacular job of capturing the action. All in all, all those painful hikes up and down the sand dunes was well worth it!”

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Favorite Photo

First Look: 2013 Honda CRF450R
April 6, 2012
Kumamoto, Japan

“My favorite trip of the year is my annual trek to Japan, for the opening round of the All-Japan National MX Championship. Before each journey, I do a little research and pick the brains of my friends who work for the manufacturers. Usually, I have a pretty good idea what to expect before each trip.”

“This year, I knew that Honda had something big in store. In addition to the current CRF450R design being four years old, several people in the know had hinted to me that something new was to be debuted at Kumamoto.”

“In January, defending All Japan National MX Champion Akira Narita competed at a round of the Muscle Milk TWMX Race Series, and as we hung out in the pits between motos, I asked him if he could help me out with a ride to and from the track in Japan. Later, with some additional communication help from my friend Masa Shirotani from Troy Lee Designs, it was arranged for Narita to pick me up from the airport and help me with a room reservation in the race city. When Narita and his factory Honda teammate Yu Hirata picked me up from the airport on the Friday before the race, they told me that a special photo shoot for me had been arranged. I was blown away! Oftentimes, the race team are forced to hide the new bikes under a bike cover or behind opaque awning walls, and the only time it’s possible to get a shot of the bikes are out on the track of in the staging area. But this year, Narita had arranged for me to have the prototype 2013 CRF450R all to myself on Friday afternoon! Naturally, I drooled all over the new machine as I snapped hundreds of photos of it, and as expected, photos of the bike became our most-viewed items on our web site. In fact, “2013 Honda CRF450R” was our most searched keyword of the year.”
“Thanks, Narita-San! This year, dinner is on me!”

Favorite Video

Ricky James: Perseverance
June 21, 2012
Oceanside, California

“The video that stands out to me the most this year is one I made with my friend, Ricky James. Paralyzed several years ago at the peak of his amateur racing career, Ricky has gained fame in motocross as that crazy paraplegic who built a special motocross bike with hand controls and cages to protect his legs.”

“Through the years, RJ and I have become good friends and have spent many days at the track motoing together. He’s crazy! Many times, he’d ask me to check out a jump for him and I’d see if it was possible to hit and land, while seated. More often than not, Ricky would still huck jumps even if I told him I thought it was too sketchy for him to do. Ultimately, he ended up breaking his back again when he cartwheeled the huge midfield double at Pala Raceway. Since then, he’s decided to park his dirt bike for good, and concentrate on some other competitive events; namely Ironman endurance events.”

“The video we made together this summer has minimal riding footage in it, as it documents his preparation for an Ironman qualifier event that he was set to do. I spent multiple days with RJ filming: in his race chair, on his hand bike, and even at the gym and swimming pool. If you know Ricky James, you already know what a great person he is, and that’s what made creating the video so memorable for me. Any time I get to spend with Ricky is memorable and I appreciate every opportunity to do so. If you don’t know Ricky, please watch the video and see what I’m talking about.”