ON THE COVER: Sean Hamblin

Several years ago when I worked for another publication, the factory Suzuki Arenacross team invited me to race defending Arenacross Champion Buddy Antunez's factory RM250 at the Des Moines AX Amateur Day. Naturally, I accepted the offer and enlisted my buddy Rich Taylor as a riding coach in the weeks prior to the event. In Des Moines, I was blown away at how well the Ed Longacre-tuned RM250 worked, and after an encouraging practice session in which I successfully negotiated every jump section, I felt poised and ready to do battle in the Vet Intermediate class. Off the line, I got a second-place start and was confident that I could overtake the leader in the set of stadium whoops. Well, my “Factory For a Day” glory lasted exactly two turns and 9 whoops. The 10th whoops bit me in the ass and I found myself flipping head-over-heels. The end results was a badly bent RM, a furious Ed Longacre, and a nice, silencer end cap-shaped cut in the back of my thigh.

Needless to say, both Suzuki and I were apprehensive when we lined up a private test on Sean Hamblin's works 2004 Suzuki RM250. After Hamy crushed some berms for my camera at Cahuilla Creek, he reluctantly handed his scooter over to me and the rest of the TWMX test staff for a dream day of riding. No animals, bikes, or mechanics were harmed in the making of the feature that you'll find on page 118.

– Donn Maeda