The 11th running of the Troy Lee Designs/Elrod Racing’s A Day in the Dirt is drawing near, and you are anything like the staff at TransWorld Motocross, you are chomping at the bit for some amazing Grand Prix racing. We caught up with Kenny Alexander, the mastermind of the A Day in the Dirt event to chat about the Thanksgiving weekend race…
Has being injured affected your motivation toward the A Day in the Dirt event?
That's a tough question, because if I was racing the track would be more my style so I am going to make it tough for you guys this year [laughs]. I can focus a little more on it but at the same time it's hard because, of course, I love to race. I focus on A Day in the Dirt and Mammoth; those are the two races a year that I do. Hopefully I will be healed up for Mammoth, but for now I hope to just give you guys a great place to come out and have fun.
A Day in the Dirt has moved back to L.A. County Raceway last year, and it was a far cry from the less-exciting track most of us remember. For us, last year's ADITD layout was one of the most fun tracks we've ever had a chance to ride. Do people realize how great this track is now?
If you haven't been out here in a couple years, it's a huge difference. There is a 70 foot hole in the ground that is part of the track, and this year, we plan to incorporate six uphills and downhills, and we are going to have some asphalt again for some high speed and a chance to rest and, of course, the top section will be very much a motocross track.
How many racers do you expect to see this year?
Actually, all we can handle is about 900 entries, due to the structure of the classes. Most people enter two to four races, so it's a packed weekend. All together, there are about 3000 race entries.
What makes A Day in the Dirt different from other races?
What makes this event so unique is the comradery. You get to engage with friends you may not see very often, or perhaps you may race guys you haven't raced against in twenty or thirty years. Last year, Donnie Hansen even raced. I don't think that guy has raced in fifteen years. Guys like John DeSoto and Ricky Johnson come out and race, and the rest of us get to be out on the track with them at the same time. That's what is so special about this race. Just when you think you are going fast, Jeff Ward blasts by you like you're standing still; it's a pretty cool feeling.
Speaking of experiences like that; last year, Swap decided late in the weekend that he wanted to ride the final race of the weekend, the Coup de Grace. When he went to go buy an entry, he heard, "You can buy mine for a dollar." When he turned around Micky Dymond, one of Swap's childhood idols, was standing behind him ready to pass off his race entry.
That's why it's so unique, our heroes come out to race, and now their kids are coming out to race too. It's a big family; generation after generation. 11 years ago we tried to put something together that would celebrate the family of motocross and it worked.
For someone who doesn't know, how does A Day in the Dirt work?
The track is usually about two miles long, with about a three-and-a-half to four-minute lap time. There are about 120 people out on the track at the same time, so there are staggered starts, and most races about 45 minutes long. There are some team races that are and hour and a half and then we have the Coup de Grace, which is about a two-hour race. We have electronic scoring, so you have to stop and have your helmet scanned every lap, and there is a clock that displays time and place when you get scanned, so you know exactly where you are.
The common misconception is that A Day in the Dirt is a private, or invite-only event, but entries are still open, right?
For years, people have thought that you have to be invited to this. The first year, we did send out an invite, but everyone we invited had friends and family that wanted to be a part of it too, so we opened it up to everybody. Now it is one of the most anticipated Grand Prix in Southern California.
CLICK HERE for a look at last year’s A Day in the Dirt track.
It seems like the Supercross season is approaching at a rapid pace and, with that said, we've been spending a lot of our time at the local Supercross test tracks catching up with riders and, in some cases, riders who find themselves on a new team. For instance, we dropped by the Kawasaki test facility not too long ago to catch up with Ryan Morais, who is one of Pro Circuit’s latest recruits, to see how things are going for him and his new team.
You spent a couple of years at Yamaha of Troy, so how has the transition from the Yamaha to the Kawasaki been treating you?
It has been good. I haven't had a ton of time on the bike, but I feel pretty comfortable. Obviously when you ride a Mitch Payton bike the thing is going to be fast, you know? Jake (Weimer) and myself are both new over here, so it's cool to be working with new people.
What are you hoping to accomplish on the new team?
I'd really like to win a championship. Not only do I want to win one for the team, but I also want to win one for myself, too. My biggest regret is still stalling my bike at the Detroit Supercross on 2007. I'm sure I would've won that title if it weren't for that mistake. Not only that, but I also want to prove to people that I can ride outdoors as well. A lot of people probably think that I can only ride Supercross, but I do enjoy the outdoors, too.
What do you think your biggest challenge is going to be in order to accomplish your goal of winning a Supercross title?
I need to stay healthy. That's always been my biggest problem: injuries. I got hurt coming into the '08 season, which then set the way for the rest of the year. I need to do my best to avoid getting hurt, which is almost impossible, you know? But, I believe I'll be ready to go once January comes around. I'm definitely excited for the upcoming year.
I know that you decided to stay home the weekend of the U.S. Open of Supercross, so what exactly did you during that weekend?
Well, Hannah (my girlfriend) wanted to go to the U.S. Open really bad, and I wanted to stay home for the weekend and relax, but she had rearranged her work schedule so that we could spend the weekend in Vegas. Thankfully, I was able to talk her out of it, but I think she was a bit mad about it. However, I was planning on popping the question that weekend, so I thought doing that in Vegas would be a bit corny, you know? Eventually I asked her to marry me and she said yes. Afterwards she admitted that that was much better than going to Vegas (laughs).
From here until January, what's the plan?
I am going to work my butt off during the off-season. I want to have everything dialed in come A1. Being able to ride for Mitch and the guys at Pro Circuit is a big honor, so I intend on working hard to accomplish my goals and prove to everybody that I am still capable of winning.
In other Supercross news, you are all aware, by now, of factory Yamaha’s Josh Hill’s shoulder injury. Althoug he didn’t break anything, Hill did tear labrum in his right shoulder. Yeah, we didn’t know what that was either, so we looked it up. Basically, your shoulder joint has a cuff of cartilage called a labrum that forms a cup for the end of the arm bone (humerus) to move within. The labrum circles the shallow shoulder socket to make the socket deeper. This cuff of cartilage makes the shoulder joint much more stable, and allows for a very wide range of movements. So, he tore that thing.
"It was the dumbest crash ever," said Hill of his spill at Milestone MX Park. "I was actually doing some endurance testing, riding a bike that was not even set up for me. I had to put like three hours on it and I was just riding through the whoops at Milestone and I hit a rock and went over the bars.
"I have never hurt my shoulders before, so I got up and told myself I would be okay. In the truck on the way home, though, it really started to hurt and I figured I'd better go get checked out. I basically destroyed the labrum in my right shoulder and I am having surgery on Tuesday morning to have it repaired.
"The doctors say that at the earliest, I will be back on a bike in two and a half months, but no sooner. I am bummed because I was just starting to get into it, and feeling really good on a Supercross track."
Get well soon, Josh!
Don’t forget to check out December poster girl, Tiffany…