Saturday, May 23, 2009

The #1 extreme sport of Motocross

Well, first off, let me give a brief description of the feeling I get when I ride or race. I am a 37 year veteran of motocross with a career that spanned from 1975 till 2007.
It is a blood pumping, adrenaline shooting, brain warping, heart pounding, natural high like no other on this earth. There's nothing like being 12 feet off the ground at 50 MPH with nothing under your butt but 218 lbs of motorcycle. Now with that being said, I will try to tell you a little bit about motocross.

Motocross is a sport that demands the utmost physical conditioning and bravery. The MX tracks are made of hills, huge jumps, and man made obstacles known as whoop de doos, dragons backs, anthills, doubles, triples and every now and the a jump called quadzilla, or a quad. This is 4 jumps in a row that only the most experienced rider will jump. He will hit the first one and clear all the rest, hoping to land on the down side of the last one. Same technique goes for double and triple jumps.
The protective gear and clothing that a racer wears is as flamboyant as he or she is, yes, girls are riding too. The riders apparel consists of, but not limited to boots, helmet, protective pants and jersey, knee guards, chest protectors, gloves, goggles, and the newest addition to the line, a Leatt Brace. This devise is designed to keep the rider from breaking his neck in the event of being thrown off head first. The rest is self-explanatory.

The race itself is held on a closed continuous loop usually anywhere from ¾ mile to 1.5 miles long, with all of the obstacles mentioned above. Most races consist of 2 “motos”, each being from 5 to 8 laps long. There can be as many as 40 riders on the starting gate at one time. Your score is determined by your finish in each moto with the last moto being the tie breaker if a tie occurs and it often does.
MX tracks are located all across the US and other countries, and can be found by visiting your local motorcycle shop, or favorite motorcycle website. You can also catch a race on television on some of the sports channels. The riders you see on tv have traveled a long and hard road to get there and they are the elite of the sport. When they achieve this status, they actually live like a rock star. Needless to say, I never achieved this goal, although I did have my moments.

So if you ever get the chance, get out of that recliner and take in some real action at your local MX track. It's great for the whole family. There is lots of very nice people in these groups and lots of spectacular riders who sometimes have spectacular crashes. All in all, it is a great way to spend the day or weekend with the family
By Van Clendenin

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Motocross Heros

Success has many fathers, failure is an orphan. Total victory in any form of human endeavor is rare. For those who excelled against the odds, we have a special name...heroes,Doug won the 1993 125 East Supercross Championship, 1993 and 1994 AMA 125 National Championships, and 1998 250 National Championship. But, his career wasn’t ensured—even though he got off to a quick start. In 1991, little-known Doug Henry won his first-ever 125 National at the infamous one-moto mudfest at Hangtown. He wouldn’t win again for two years (when he won three Nationals and the 125 Championship). In 1994, Doug backed it up with three more wins and his second 125 National Championship.
Under then-AMA rules, Doug was required to move to the 250 class after winning the 125 crown twice. He was in immediate contention for the 250 Championship against Honda teammate Jeremy McGrath and Kawasaki’s Jeff Emig. Unfortunately, a horrendous get-off at the 1995 Budds Creek 250 National left Doug with a broken back. With emergency surgery and rods placed into his spine, Doug’s career looked like it was over.
In a show of faith, Team Yamaha offered the still-hobbled, Oxford, Connecticut, rider a contract for 1996, and Doug, still in rehabilitation, rejoined the fray a few races into the 1996 Nationals. He had been out of action for a year—and on his return he was not very fast. "The guys were lapping me, and that is not what I was expecting," says Doug. But the more he raced, the quicker he got, and by the 11th race, Doug wowed the Washougal crowd by winning the second moto. "I had only won the second moto," says Doug, "but the fans wanted me up on the podium. It felt so good."
For 1997, Team Yamaha asked Doug to race a prototype Yamaha YZM400 four-stroke. And, on May 17, 1997, in Las Vegas, Doug Henry became the first rider in AMA history to win on a four-stroke. It was the highlight of Doug’s ‘97 season, because one month later at Budds Creek, the same track that had broken his back two years earlier, Doug crashed, breaking both arms. Few can forget the poignancy of Doug walking over to the spectators and asking them to undo his helmet strap.
Never one to quit, when the ‘98 season began Doug was back in action on a production-based YZ400. He had a solid Supercross series, but went winless. The same could not be said of his 1998 AMA 250 National series. Doug won five of the 12 races, and the defining moment was at Budds Creek. This was the track that had almost ended his career. The Creek was a jinx for Doug Henry. Or was it? In ‘98, Doug rode to victory at Budds Creek and went on to win the 1998 250 National Championship—the first-ever National Championship for a four-stroke! Doug’s triumph was the biggest comeback story in motocross history.
Doug retired after winning the ‘98 250 National Championship, but has come back every year since to race an occasional National—and last year competed in the complete AMA Supermoto series, finishing third overall. He is truly an American motocross hero.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Motocross Gear – Worn out of Necessity, Shaped over Time, Finished with Style

by: Mark Sturge

When dirt bike racing was in it’s infancy riders wore whatever was available to protect themselves. Open faced helmets, Jofa pants, leather protection… as the protective equipment was not specifically made for dirt bike racing, riders looked more like confused hockey playing bikies than dirt bike racers!
As the sport (best sport in the world mind you :) became more popular, the growth was then able to sustain ‘parallel’ or complimentary manufacturing industries. Companies like JT USA, Sinisalo etc. could now focus primarily on making only motocross gear.
More money was now being pushed into research and development of motocross gear, sponsorship of riders and marketing programs
More emphasis was being placed on style so colour was added to gear to match dirt bike colourings or just to be outrageous and different. Pink was big mid eighties (I did not say it was always in good taste).
Body armour moved to be worn over the top of race jerseys therefore they became more stylised to appeal to users. In itself becoming a fashion statement, but was researched and tested to also be practical and offer maximum comfort. Today’s body armour has ‘floating’ shoulder cups as well as flexible back and side panels to cater for both sitting and standing positions when riding. Can come in a range of colour options including clear as well as built in kidney belts on some models.
Race pants received there own special treatment made out of heavy duty nylon with doubled stitching, extra room in the butt to cater for the crouched/sitting riding position as well as cordura, kevlar and leather panels in high wear areas such as the seat and knees. Spandex panels are used to allow for movement where necessary. A quality race pant will offer extra room in the knee area to allow for knee braces that more and more riders are wearing.
Jersey material went from cotton to sweat/moisture wicking polyester/cotton blends to offer greater comfort for prolonged periods of riding. Vented panels were placed in ‘hot spots’ and even little touches like rubber strips in the tail to hold them into the race pants on even the roughest ride.
Boots were being designed to deal with high impact landings and ultimate ankle protection. Replaceable soles and buckles prolonging their use. They are now carefully constructed to avoid the damaging lateral and hyperextension movements around the ankle area.
Dirtbike gloves – choose them wisely and make sure they fit correctly. Some gloves are better suited to certain types of riding than others. Motocross gloves offer better feel for the rider with less padding in the palms. Enduro gloves can be the opposite with more padding to give greater comfort for longer rides.
Elbow protection can be found in a “sleeve” that also covers the forearms. Knee/shin guards are lighter as well as stronger and some hinder ‘lateral’ movement of the knee (gone are the days of using skateboarders protection). Although with the onset of lightweight, composite materials it is possible to have the ultimate in protection with knee braces.
All this protection would mean nothing if you cannot see. So it is very VERY important to properly protect one of your greatest assets (as well as one of the five senses) in your sight. Different goggle manufacturers have their own registered names for their lenses, but they basically mean the same thing – scratch resistant, shatterproof protection for your eyes.
So next time you go for a dirtbike ride, dress in the latest motocross gear and be comforted in the knowledge that you have minimized risk to your body as much as possible. That will allow you to focus on what you are there for… enjoying the ride!
The old saying is still as true as ever – “dress for the fall, not for the ride”

33 years and Im still racing.

By Van Clendenin

Yep, Im 47 years young and just can't get motorcycling out of my blood, at least at the
racing level. I started out on a Yamaha YZ 80 B, do you guys remember them? No actualy
my first race was on a Honda XR75, but at that time a four stroke engine just did not
produce enough power to be competative. So, upto the 80 I moved.And Had some natural
ability Im told. Anyway I honed and shaped my abilities as best as I could and stated winning races....Alot of races. So to all you old guys that are still out there banging your bodies up
in this sport, cudos to ya. I just wish it was as big back then as it is now.
This sport is a great way for families to react togeather and bond. Some weekends I load up the bikes, gear, coolers, canopies,generator,motor home, and off we go. My wife, son of 15, daughter of 17, and the moto mut maddie of 4 years. Maddie is an overstuffed bassetthound
that has become another child of ours. This dog thinks she's a people instead of a dog. Anyway, off we go to the races. We live here in West Tennessee and have a lot of motocross tracks, about 8 within 2 hours of driving, around us.We have had the privilage to meet some very interesting people.
Back to my point, if your looking for something to do some weekend, try out going to an MX race. Ill bet theres one in your neck of the woods. I think you'll find it very exciting and alot of family fun.