In a few weeks, thousands of off-road motorcycle riders on the West Coast will file through the entry gate at Glen Helen Raceway for the twenty-first running of Red Bull A Day In The Dirt, a three-day run of racing organized by Kenny Alexander and Fasthouse. What started as a fun gettogether for stuntmen in the film industry has turned into one of the biggest standalone races in the country, with bikes of all kinds and riders all ages on the starting line for the long Grand Prix motos. It’s something we as a staff look forward to once the professional race season winds down and the event is no doubt a large reason for the massive growth of Fasthouse as a lifestyle brand. Classes always sell out at the race, so if you’re interested, be sure to sign up now.
We rarely get the chance to chat with Alexander during the weekend at ADITD, as he is often the go-to person for solutions or issues, so we made sure to kick back a few days ago to talk shop. His appreciation for the bygone days of motorcycling is directly infused in the Fasthouse brand and few people at executive levels of off-road motorcycling have an outlook as unique as Alexander.
We're a few weeks out from what might be our favorite weekend in the offseason, which is A Day In The Dirt. It's twenty-one this year, so it's finally legal…
Can you believe it's been twenty-one years? We're stoked and I can't believe it's been going on for this long. We're going to Glen Helen again and are going to make one hell of a Grand Prix course so that we can all have some fun.
The first time that you organized the race as a fun event for your friends, did you ever think it would grow to what it is now?
The very first year, we hoped to have a couple hundred guys come out and it turned out to be over a thousand. Now it's upwards of five to six thousand people that come out over three days to have fun on dirt bikes and spend time with their friend. The moto family is huge and they want to have a place to play, so it's a great thing. This past September we held a race in Australia and we were totally shocked when we pulled up because they had over seven hundred entries, which is huge for Australia. They were hoping to get three hundred and it was just crazy. They love to have a good time over there.
Okay, so take me through how that race came to be. I know that you've been approached with requests to hold A Day In The Dirt on the East Coast, but that hasn’t happened yet. How did the Australia event come about?
We have a distributor for Fasthouse in Australia and they had talked to us about it for a couple of years. They hooked us up with this cool cat named Simon, who used to work at Red Bull, so he knows what he's doing. Now he runs a production company down there, so they all flew out to A Day In The Dirt in 2017 and followed us around to get a feel for it over the week. We inked the deal a week later and we licensed it out. When we pulled up to the gate in Australia, we freaked out because they nailed it. I had a tear in my eye because they captured the same feeling that we have at the race in the States.
I don't know what I like more about A Day In The Dirt: that I get to have fun for three days with close friends or that I look badass in the gear that Fasthouse puts together for the event. I always look forward to the kit that gets designed for the race, from the helmet to the gear. How does the brand come up with the look each year?
The helmet that you see on Thanksgiving was designed a year and a half ago, which freaks me out because I see a design all done before we even put out that one for that specific year. We hired Scott Dixon at Fasthouse and he's hands down the best artist in the world, he has street cred out there, and it's always a beautiful thing. We sit around and bullshit for a couple of weeks of what we want to see, because the helmet has to convey something and tell the story. I think every year we capture the event that way, so that's where we start and then work our way down to the pant and jersey.
The look of Fasthouse is different than what's common in motocross. While most brands push for futuristic, technical gear, Fasthouse went the opposite way with an aesthetic that is unique. How did you come up with it?
Well, I'm old and I like to feed off of the desert racers, the old guys that used to haul ass across the desert. I used to love Ricky Johnson and Johnny O'Mara, and they looked like men. I wanted to come up with something that took primary colors, blocked them in design, and made something that guys would be proud wearing and wouldn't look outdated in a week. Guys are going to spend hundreds of dollars on gear and want to wear it for a long time, and they can mix and match it. That's why I think appeal to those guys because they can buy a pair of red or black pants and twenty of our jerseys to switch it up. I think that our co-branding with Bell has been a blessing for it too because they don't want to wear the same brand from head to toe, which opens up the chance to wear SiDi or Gaerne or Alpinestars boots. I think we've changed a lot in the industry and people are going to a simple, calmed down look and I think that is great. We have our style and we're going to stick with it. We have some different themes coming out, but it'll stay in our arena.With Day In The Dirt coming up, what can racers expect to see?
In the last couple of years we had the ridiculous drag race on Friday night, but this year we changed it to a flat track race on 100cc bikes and are calling it the World Championship, because why not? [Laughs] It's going to be Day In The Dirt on steroids, like we always do, and we want to change up the track so that it's safe for everyone. Plus we're going to throw one hell of a party on Saturday night. We're stoked to have Red Bull on again, because they've worked with us every year since our second race. We genuinely appreciate all that they do for us. We want everyone to show up and leave with a smile. I would love for people to come out and camp for the three days of living it. That's what we have to do. You know how cool it is to be back on the track with Rick Johnson and Jeff Ward and Josh Grant? At what other race can you get roosted by those guys? That's huge.
People need to sign up now because classes do sell out. Our Two-Stroke race and every team race sells out every year, plus almost every other race on the schedule. There is always some room for minis. A few of the races will be broadcast live on Red Bull TV, so make sure to look fast for the cameras.
A few years ago the event was featured in the reboot of On Any Sunday. The original movie sets the vibe for the race and I watch it every year to get in the mood for ADITD, so that had to be an accomplishment for you to have your project featured in something you love so much.
It was amazing. Everyone should watch the original. If you haven't watched it, you don't get it. You have to honor the guys that got us here and they did it. Bruce Brown and Steve McQueen made, hands down, the best motorcycle movie ever. And that's what we want the sport to be about. We want that camaraderie because when we go to the track we might only do ten laps for the day, but we're in the pits bullshitting with our buddies. And that's what makes it beautiful and that's what I think the sport is about. We have to show that to the younger generation and let them feed off of that.
Because motorcycling is not always a competitive thing.
You can be in twentieth place, but as long as your beating your buddy, that's all that matters [Laughs].