Every sport has a uniform, style of clothing and protection that mostly all the participants wear when competing. Most motocross racers wear the obvious (boots, helmet, goggles, pants, jersey, etc.) and some prefer more protection with knee braces, chest protectors and the most controversial: the neck brace.
Gaining popularity in the United States in the later half of the last decade, the neck brace has grown seemingly less popular in the last couple of years with less professionals wearing the brace and speaking out with rumors of their danger.
Neck brace company, Leatt, has come out with a video series to speak out against these rumors and give the truth to motocross riders about their product.
Here is the first video of the series.
Whether it is going organic, posting a retro picture on Instagram, riding a fixed gear bike or even playing a little “draw something”, social media has made it easier for people to find out what is cool and trendy and making it easier to secretly become a little more “hipster.”
So where does motocross fit in to this? Is there such a thing has being a hipster motocross rider, and is social media and the growth of the Internet presence from the industry making it easier to follow the newest moto trends?
Trends have been a force in motocross since the beginning and it is hard not to recognize some of them in the current state of the sport. Retro gear, goon-riding, and Barcia-styled rev outs have been just some of the recent trends of the past few years with the general moto public; and if you say you have not tried any of these, you are lying.
Recently there has been a growth in popularity of an old sound/smell. One that most riders grew up with but forgot after a growth in motorcycle technology. That subject I am talking about is the two-stroke.
Yes, the two-stroke is seemingly making a comeback. Many pros are buying them again (at least as play bikes), promoters are creating classes just for two-strokes, and they are popping up at more practice tracks, not just as woods weapons. But why is this? Why are people leaving their powerful/easy-to-ride four-strokes for a bike with inferior technology that is harder to ride?
Before you start to think that this is just another article about how two stokes are cheaper, lighter, and more fun (even though they are); it is not about that at all. For now I am only going to ask the simple question, could it be that motocross riders are just like the general public and buy into what is cool and trendy online?
When MXPTV began to put out two-stroke videos in the later half of the decade, it was rare and down right awesome to see the bikes racing again. And when Jimmy Decotis and Moto Limelight put out their edit of the Geico Honda rider (then privateer) shredding on his cr125, the two-stroke went viral.
Seemingly every motocross fan has heard of or seen the video by now, skyrocketing the video to almost one million views. Darryn Durham increased moto fan’s interest in the bikes when he dropped his video of Durham shredding his Eleven10 Mods cr125, leaving fans saying, “I want to shred a 125 like that!”
So where does this trend go? Will we continue to see select professionals trying to qualify aboard the two-stroke much like Ricky Renner? Will the public go back to the hard to ride two-stroke and realize they do not have the skill or patience to ride the bike? Or will we continue to see huge smiles on the faces of the new owners of the two cycle machines.
One thing is for sure trends are going to be apart of motocross forever. We participate in one of the coolest sports out there (journalists are not suppose to show opinion so that has to be a fact), and people are constantly trying to make it cooler. If the two-stroke is just another “trend” so be it, I know I am stoked with my recently purchased cr125 and I can’t get enough of that black and yellow JT Racing retro gear!
….Incase you live under a rock
Google, eBay, Cisco and Apple are some of the names that come to mind when most think about the Silicon Valley. An area known for it’s technological innovation, most motocross riders and fans would look past this area of Northern California as a riding destination. In the heart of San Jose’s concrete jungle lies a small motocross oasis: 408MX.
The Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, located in San Jose, has a rich history of motorsports. Being the home to some of the biggest flat track races in the nation, the San Jose Mile was a big name in racing circles until the legendary stadium was demolished. Years later, the fairgrounds had built a motocross track where the stadium once resided.
Known for it’s tight and sometimes-dangerous obstacles, intimidating level of competition and loose leadership, the track never lived up to it’s potential as a famed Nor-Cal track. After realizing the issues, local motocross rider Ralph Davis decided to take action, and in 2009, 408MX became official.
“We need somewhere to ride. There is nowhere to ride,” says Davis when asked about his motivation to take over the track. “I watched as a kid all kinds of tracks close around me.” Davis’ passion to ride motivated him to drop everything in his life, take over the track and create the community that 408MX is today.
Coming to a new track can be intimidating for the average rider. Almost every track can be considered “another high school.” Clicks are bound to happen, but Davis pushes to eliminate the trend by providing community events for the riders.
Events like Super Sunday and the Red Bull Ride Day have brought riders from all over Northern California to interact and connect with the common passion for the sport. No matter the skill level, beginner to pro, all riders can hang out together and share stories, relax and most importantly have fun through motocross. But it is not just the community feel that keeps enthusiasts coming back to 408MX.
With the help of Jonathan Valdez and one of California’s most promising up-and-coming track builders Sal Cricchio Jr., Ralph Davis has managed to create one of the premiere tracks in California.
“Built for riders by riders” is the theory of the 408MX crew, and is extremely evident every time a rider rolls onto the track. From the perfectly tilled and watered loamy dirt (very rare in California), to the perfection in the jumps and corners, the 408MX crew puts in an excessive amount of attention to detail and pride in their work.
“We build the track to please everyone from minis to vets to professionals,” says track builder/designer Cricchio. “The layout is challenging, yet fun and safe. We are constantly making small changes to the track to keep the riders progressing. 408MX has built a reputation on a perfect and fun track, which has brought many top professionals and amateurs to race the growing track.
Davis sees the importance in fun with racing, and building up confidence in riders of all skill levels. The Saturday Night Summer Series has become a staple for 408MX. Hole-shot awards, fair competition and the chance to stand on a real podium are just some of the reasons that attract racers of all ages and levels to the track.
Behind every track there is a huge support group. MxClinic, Fox Racing, SCS Wraps, Shift, SVM, TRS Consulting, GP Sports, DirtTech and Red Bull have all been huge supporters of 408MX; but the reality is there would not be a 408MX without the support of the riders.
“It’s really cool to see all the hard work be appreciated by riders,” says Cricchio in regard to the success of the track.
With the continued support of the local motocross community and beyond, the future looks bright for 408MX. Free Red Bull Ride Days, racing and track perfection are in store for riders in the upcoming years in San Jose’s best kept secret: 408MX.
Video by Kevin Lavoie
With the intensity and competitiveness of motocross the past decade, it is hard to focus on why we really race. Love, passion and especially fun are some of the reasons that we become addicted to the sport. Spending the majority of his life engulfed in the fire of motocross, Jeff Pestana has made it his mission to keep motocross pure.
Kicking his leg over a bike at the age of eight, Pestana instantly fell in love with the sport. Turning pro at 16, Pestana would collect two amateur titles before competing in the national and supercoss circuits at the age of 20 and later becoming a Honda R&D test rider. Pestana’s work ethic, knowledge and passion for the sport would lead him to six different national numbers, a few top tens and the base for his future career.
In his last year of racing nationals, 1998, it was suggested to Pestana to start teaching motocross schools. Over the years, Pestana would coach some of motocross’ top talents like Northern California local Tyler Evans and Factory Honda Japan rider Naoki Serizawa. After a few years of coaching, it was suggested to change the name of the business and in 2005 MxClinic was born.
With the help of fellow pro riders, Tyler Evans, Rusty Holland, Ryan Orr, Dennis Stapleton, Kenny Heess and Cameron Camera, Pestana has been pushing some of the Bay Area’s brightest riders while keeping everything in perspective.
Fun is the reason why most ride, and Pestana believes if racing becomes more serious than fun, then kids will end up hating the sport. “If you have fun riding, then you will do a lot better,” says Pestana. “If you don’t have fun at it you’ll end up quitting.”
Fun and the light-hearted attitude towards racing are some of the main themes of MxClinic, but Pestana still knows what it takes to compete with the fastest.
Like most professional motocross programs, gaining cardio strength through bicycling is how Pestana trains his riders. Professional athletes Ricky Rinauro, Kenny Heess and Cameron Camera put in 6-to-9 hours a week with Pestana riding through the hills and back roads of Northern California.
On any given Tuesday and Thursday you can find MxClinic pro riders, as well as his top amateurs Dylan Tighe and Miles Sterling, running sprints and polishing their technique at one of Northern California’s premiere motocross tracks, 408MX.
Proper technique is something MxClinic focuses strongly on, and the sprints help with the racing speed and mentality that is needed to compete at the top of the sport. However you do not have to be a top motocross prospect to gain knowledge and skill from MxClinic.
Twice a month MxClinic provides schools for all riders and skill levels that hope to improve in the sport of motocross. Classes are held all around Northern California and focus mainly on technique in the areas where most riders struggle.
Much like his racing program, Pestana looks to focus on the positives. Growing up with a harsh program, Pestana says he likes to shed a positive light and positive reinforcement on the riders he teaches. With the help of videographer Kevin Lavoie, Pestana also has begun to make online videos, helping riders all over the world perfect their skills.
When asked about 2012, Pestana seems excited. He hopes to bring Team Honda Japan over to the states to train and race. He is also looking forward for his riders to grow and compete at some of the amateur national races as well as his professional rider Ricky Rinauro as he plans to race the supercross series.
MxClinic has continuously grown in the past decade and plans to continue growth in the future. Fox Racing and Honda have been huge supporters of MxClinic since the beginning and Pestana says, “Without TRS and the 408(408MX), there would not be an MxClinic.”
There are few riders who have made a life of motocross. Constant laps, battles with injuries and the daily grind of training have burnt out most pros by the time they hit their 30s. Jeff Pastana’s love and passion for the sport have pushed him through all of this as he still continues to live his life in motocross after 30 years. MxClinic is an extension of his passion, and the smiles on the faces Pestana and his riders can show the love for the sport every time they ride.
To find more information on MxClinic, visit mxclinic.com
After Mike Fisher’s unfortunate end as team manager of Monster Energy Kawasaki, everyone was questioning, “Who could keep this successful team going.”
Officially announced, Dan Fahie will be Kawasaki’s new team manager. Not a familiar name in the motocross scene, Fahie has found much success as a crew chief for factory Kawasaki in the AMA Superbike world, winning championships in 2004, 2005 and 2007. The former racing engineer development supervisor has proven his intelligence on and off the track and Kawasaki seems to think he is the perfect fit the their supercross/motocross program.
But is he really? Yes, he has proved himself in the road-racing world but as most already know; motocross is a completely different animal. With only 10 weeks left of testing and molding with the team/sport, Fahie has a lot on his plate to repeat the success the team had in 2011 with Villopoto winning championships in Supercross, Motocross, Des Nations and destroying the Monster Energy Cup.
Another factor is the demanding racing schedule for the supercross series. In the first 18 weeks of the racing season there are 17 races, meaning with the hours spent in the shop and at the test track, Fahie will not have a day off for 119 days. This is a huge change for Fahie as he is use to weeks in between races in the AMA Superbike Series.
Having to adapt to a new job is never easy, and having to fill the expectations of a dominant team is even more difficult. Will the adaptation to a new sport and intense schedule damage his leadership skills? Or will the road-racing genius find the same success that former team manager Mike Fisher had.