Confessions of a Slow Motocross Rider - Unadilla 2013 Summer Amateur MX Classic
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Thread: Confessions of a Slow Motocross Rider - Unadilla 2013 Summer Amateur MX Classic

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    Confessions of a Slow Motocross Rider - Unadilla 2013 Summer Amateur MX Classic

    I’m a 51 year old who casually rides motocross for fun and fitness. I started just a few years ago, took some lessons and now I’m hooked. Like a moth to the flame, it can’t end well. I try and get out there twice a week and sometimes I do but usually it’s more like once a week.



    Last year, I dipped my toe in the pool of amateur motocross racing. My first race was at Diamondback in the plus 50 vet class and I picked up 3rd! Yeah, there were only three of us, but hey I got a trophy :-D Later in the year on my birthday (Nov 24th) I went out to California and had an epic time at Day In The Dirt, racing in the over 40C class with MX Vacations and on June 30th of this year I got my ass kicked (but finished) a NETRA Hare Scramble on my trusty TW-200. Up until now that is every organized race I have competed in and I finished last or near last in every moto. When you’re as slow as I am there is no room for ego. If I had one, I’d never ride. Most of the younger guys at the track still give me a little respect just for getting out there and don’t laugh at me. At least not to my face.

    I had my eye on the Unadilla 2013 Summer Amateur MX Classic for some time. I had originally planned to attend with my girlfriend, but sadly we would split up a month before the race. In retrospect, she would have fucking hated it. If we would have made it that far, Unadilla would have been the last nail in the coffin. Honestly, I was glad to be going alone.

    So on July 30th, I went online and committed myself to a fine weekend of motocross......

    Number: 606
    Make: Suz
    Disp: 250cc
    Classes: $30 - Plus 40 Nov/AM B/C
    $30 - Plus 30 Novice C
    ---------------------
    Subtotal: $60
    Conv charge: $4.00
    ---------------------
    Total: $64.00 (Credit Card)

    Your Receipt
    Jul 30, 2013
    AMATEUR RACER AND CREW ADULT TICKET 1 $73.50
    TOTAL $73.50


    The Plan (Best Case Scenario)

    Arrive Thursday evening, set up, socialize, eat, drink a little and get some rest..Friday, wake up, drink mucho coffee, eat, get dressed, practice at 8am, race 2 classes: over 30C and over 40C, shower, celebrate surviving and finishing the races, repeat steps 2 through 5 from Thursday.....Saturday, sleep in, shower, head over to the Main Event..Get overwhelmed with moto-x-ness....Eat like a pig...Get lots of swag.....See Ronnie Stewart and other riders and crew I may know..watch the races...Head back to the pits for an after race party...Get to bed......Sunday morning, repeat of Friday’s schedule with packing up and heading home after celebrating surviving and finishing the races..... I don’t even want to think about the worst-case scenario.


    It should be a blast! I’ve never been to a race of this caliber and having the pro national on Saturday is just too much to mentally process! With the exception of scattered T-Storms on Thursday and Friday, the forecast is for amazing weather with temps in the 70s Friday thru Sunday. That was the plan but …..........no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy intact.

    I got the van loaded Wednesday night and got underway just after noon on Thursday. I had done a pretty thorough job (for me) of getting all the supplies I might need,and although I owned a pressure washer, a water supply was a problem. Most guys brought 35-55 gal drums but space in the van was at a premium as I was bringing my Tee Dub as a pit vehicle.

    I messaged fellow inmate Nate who said he’d be attending:
    Are you bringing a washer? If so I'd like to offer you a case of your favorite cold beverage if I could use it to wash the 606 machine between motos

    Nate responded: Yes and I drink 100 proof Southern comfort.

    Man that stuff is hard to find and I looked hard! We settled on Captain Morgan 100. I brought him 2 bottles and a 12 pack of Seagrams Ginger Ale.

    It was a moist ride up to the Catskills and then the sky opened up and it downpoured so bad all I could see was hazard lights stopped in the breakdown lane. I toughed it out but is was really bad for almost an hour and continued to rain on and off until I was just a few towns from New Berlin. When I rolled into Unadilla 4 hours later, the ground was dry. It hadn't rained here yet. I prayed whatever I drove through would miss us. I hate setting up in the rain.

    I was told at the gate I would need to go through van inspection and was directed to a red-shirted gentleman about 100 yards down the road. He told me where to park and that he needed to look in the van. I told him no problem and that the door was open. I knew he was looking for glass bottles but all my Gatorade/iced tea/Pelligrino/energy drinks were in plastic or cans. If he REALLY looked hard, he woulda found Nate’s Captain Morgan and that woulda sucked, but the guy told me I was good and I returned to the gate with an inspection sticker on the windshield.

    At the gate, the paint van and I were put into a long line of campers, pick ups, trailers and RVs all full of bikes, riders and crew. We were then herded into long rows 10-15 vehicles long in a very large field. As a first-timer I had no idea what was going on but a nice lady poked her head out of a camper window and filled me in. She told me we were in a pre-registration line and could be there for 2 to 3 hours. Yay!




    A small group of fine young men in a camper parked next to me began to do beer bongs and had a permanent beer funnel attached to the camper. Nice!! Soon we were laughing, BSing and having a grand time:-) The line didn’t seem to matter much anymore. I would run into Brandon, Chops, Rico and on the 932 machine Austin many times. Great people.






    The 2-3 hours turned out to be just 45 minutes! Soon I was ushered into a new line that slowly moved toward the registration gate and about 10 minutes later, handed my my pre-printed bar-coded sign up to the friendly young lady. “Are you camping?” She asked, “YES! I responded enthusiastically. “$50 please” she said. WTF!?! I wondered what the $73.50 gate fee was supposed to cover. I definitely didn’t figure that in the budget.






    I texted with Nate who had gotten set up shortly before me and after a few false starts, I found his rig. We were in the first lot on the left as you go down and around toward the amateur pits. Nate had saved a spot for me next to him in the pits. He had a Kenworth single-axle hauling a HUGE Raptor camper.Nate came out, said hello and helped me unload the bikes. He immediately told me he had room in the camper if I didn't feel like staying in the truck. I was floored at the offer and thanked him for the hospitality! Wow a spot in a camper!!

    I finished unloading, gave Nate the Captain Morgan, Ginger ale, fixed ourselves a drink and got acquainted. I was a bit surprised when Nate told me he was riding in the plus 30 and 40 Expert classes and riding a Husaberg 571 with a license plate but he had quite a racing resume' that went back many years.



    We took a walk through the vastness of the amateur pits and hung out a bit with a family Nate had known from previous Unadillas. Then we took a track walk. I was getting pretty hungry by now but found out to my dismay that there was no food to be had at anywhere. The food vendors wouldn't open until Friday morning.

    It was then that I made a huge rookie mistake. I poured myself another Captain and ginger....and another soon after. I'm no drinker and that much alcohol on an empty stomach sealed my fate. And it started to rain. According to Nate I stumbled off into the darkness before 11pm.



    I'm not sure where I was when I fell but it was off the trail and I hit the ground hard. I don't remember the fall I do remember that it was hard to get up, it hurt and it was raining pretty steady. I also had no idea how to find the camper...

    Sometime after midnight I stumbled across the Raptor, jumped in and curled up on the couch. I was pretty banged up and nauseous. My shoulder scraped and bruised, my left ear kinda mangled, nice bruise over my left eye and temple region and it hurts like hell to open my mouth. Way to get ready for the practice and race that is just a few hours away...

    It rained hard all night and we awoke to very muddy conditions that would continue to decay through out the day. Nate had a pot of coffee brewing and it smelled great. I made a cup and with it I downed a Starbucks Doubleshot energy drink to start my day. I figured could live with that to get me through practice and eat breakfast later. I won't lie I was hurting, but managed to get dressed and get over to the track for the riders meeting in a numbed state. The track was a nightmare. Nate was watching the group before us practice with a disturbed look on his face.

    They cancelled practice right before we were to get on the track. Nate said he wasn't going anyway. "Why bother? If you have to wrestle through the mud, I'm saving it for the race" I couldn't agree more, especially after looking at all the incredibly muddy bikes leaving the track area.

    I got on the Tee Dub and drove over to the food truck and got a breakfast sandwich. I could barely take two bites before throwing it out. I wouldn't feel right for the rest of the day. I might add that getting the helmet on and off was pure torture due to my injuries the night before....

    By now the day's race order was posted and 90.5 FM was broadcasting all the race info on the radio. It was a 2 moto format with moto 1 on Friday and moto 2 on Sunday with the outdoor national all day Saturday. My first moto was in the plus 40 C and it was race 11. The next one after that was in the plus 30 class and that was race 40. It was hard to believe they could get all those motos run in one day. There was nothing to do now but nurse my hangover and wait and see if racing would resume. There was a rumor that due to the shitty conditions, all the races were going to be run on Sunday. That had been the case the year before when the track had been similarly muddy. I was hoping it would be true, but it wasn't.

    It stopped raining and suddenly it was hot and humid. A short time later (early afternoon) race bikes and their pilots were screaming out of the pits toward the amateur track as the first motos got underway. I had just enough time to choke down a hamburger and hot dog and get to staging. Nate helped put tear-offs on my goggles for the first time ever.

    I got there just in time to see Paulo from my home track line up in the open C class. He was also lining up with me in the plus 30C in race 40. If there was anybody at Unadilla that I was capable of beating it was Paulo. When I first met him I was slightly faster so we always found each other on the track. Then he practiced all winter and blew my doors off in the spring. Come this year, he hadn’t ridden in 5 months and was looking pretty chunky. When his gate dropped he got a decent start but the mud was ridiculous. He came around the first lap about dead last but at least he was coming around. Many bikes were just pulling off or stuck in the mud. He was one of the very few people I talked to that finished a moto on Friday period.

    Before I knew it, it was time for my race and I pushed the 606 machine to the line. It had started raining again and the track was returning to the crappy condition of earlier. Also because of the rain, water got between the tear-offs making them useless. Ignorant as I am, I had no idea that I had to wait until my number was called before putting my bike on the gate and was scored a DNS when nobody came forward when they finally did call my number. It wouldn’t matter. I was in a zen like state on the line; my heart rate was probably at about 57 bbm. The first lap of my race will be my first lap on the track.....Wonderful.

    My plan was to hang back on the start and pick my way through the carnage. I was so zoned that I didn't even notice that the 2 minute card was up...Or the 1 minute....But when the card went sideways, the sound of 37 screaming motocross bikes banging off the rev limiter did wake me up.....

    Unfortunately, besides sleeping, I had also been inching forward and the gate dropped right on my front wheel:huh...The pack left me in a shower of sticky mud-roost. Nate would later tell me he was thinking “Does this guy even know there’s a race going on?” I finally got going and the conditions were so dreadful, that I caught the pack by the second turn... and promptly stalled in the knee deep mud. I got it started on the second kick, but as I let out the clutch, the 606 machine stalled again with a loud pop. I know that sound. That’s the sound my bike makes when it’s not going to start for awhile.

    I tried like hell anyway kicking and kicking to no avail. Finally a flagger told me I’d have to get the bike off the track as the boys would be coming around soon. We dragged the bike off the track together. I got on again and kept kicking as the tow truck driver pulled up on his Grizzly 4wheeler. “Need a tow?” he asked...”No, it’s gonna start”...”Sure” he said patiently waiting for me. Right before I was about to pass out he said “Ready?” “Yup” I replied. I was done.

    It was slightly embarrassing being towed back to the pits but I was far from alone. Those tow guys were busy! I got back to the van and turned on the radio to listen to Nate’s race and before I knew it Nate came riding in on the ‘Berg really pissed off. “What a waste of time and money....” He cursed up a storm talking of the giant clusterfuck that was the mudfest at the Unadilla Amateur Classic. He stomped off to get undressed and I set up the pop-up tent so I could stay out in the rain.

    After setting up the pop-up, I dragged out two folding chairs and plopped down in one of them. That’s when a miracle happened. The Sunday before the race, I had lost my wallet. While I was able to get replacement credit cards the next day, I didn't have the patience for a trip to the DMV to get all the replacement stuff that was in my wallet, so I just took my passport and credit cards for ID. I couldn't believe my eyes....My wallet was in the drink holder of the chair I was sitting in!! I left it in there during MX practice last Sunday!!! A huge weight left my shoulders :-D

    They suspended racing again because of the rain so Nate and I hung out and BSd a bit. When the rain lightened up a little, Nate got out the washer and we cleaned up the bikes.



    After the bikes got clean, Nate went in the camper for a nap and I got a bit bored. I had recently got in some samples of a crazy new product by Rust-Oleum called NeverWet. The Youtube vids looked pretty amazing. One vid has a guy pouring mustard and mud on his suit and it would just fall off. I wondered about a motocross application. According to the directions, you apply the basecoat (step one), let dry 30 minutes then apply multiple coats of the NeverWet topcoat. As I was finishing the first coat of the topcoat to the plastics of my bike, Nate asked me if I wanted to take a walk over to the track and see what was going on.

    Although racing was resuming, we both pretty much decided we were done for the day......but we really wanted to see the poor souls who still were making a go of it. The track hadn't improved one iota and the bikes were blowing up left and right. one guy came over the finish line in a giant cloud of smoke slumped over the bars and I swear it looked like he was crying. Another had smoke coming out of his crank case that was so thick, it appeared to be milk pouring out of the bottom end. The putrid smell of burnt oil and blown clutches saturated the air in the high humidity.

    We watched a few more motos and one of the more interesting ones was the womens class. Believe it or not the top girls in this class got through the mud with speed and style! Better than any other class on Friday IMHO, but they also had their share of blown up bikes. It was a very diverse class with 12 year old first timers on the track with seasoned racers in their 20s. We also had a middle aged lady pitting next to us that declined to line up at all after seeing said seasoned racers yard-sale their bikes in the deep mud.

    Ronnie Stewart saw me standing by the track and came over to say hi. This was one of the highlights of the day for me. Ronnie is a national pro who also was one of my instructors. I had bought his '08 outdoors bike and kept it as nice as possible, using it as my everyday MX bike. Yes the 606 machine was Ronnie's 250 race bike a few years ago. He would later qualify for the main by getting 4th in the 450 consolation race.

    The races went until 8pm and my over 30C was rained out so I'd be running 3 motos on Sunday. Paulo would have to wait. We went back to the trailer and relaxed a bit. I was hungry and knew by now the perils of drinking and not eating so I declined a drink from Nate and got on my Tee Dub and went on a search for food.

    The nice lady at the gate told me there was a great place a half mile down the road. I asked if they would serve me like this (I still had MX pants and boots on) and she said no problem. And there wasn't... Steak dinner with all the trimmin's plus dessert and coffee: $30 including tip I wish I woulda thought of that yesterday!

    When I got back I grabbed a filthy towel, my bath stuff and headed to the shower. I needed one badly. How badly? I waited in line for over an hour for one, that's how bad. When I got done I headed over to the Red bull tent (on the amateur side) where a rock concert was in full swing.






    I would get to bed fairly early. I was SO PUMPED FOR TOMORROW!!!!

    Saturday - The Unadilla Pro National
    For the second morning in a row I awoke to the aroma of Nate's coffee and this time I was feeling MUCH better It was 8am and how could I sleep? I am a motocross fan through and through and for me there is no other sport. Racer X has an Unadilla special all-day pro pit pass plus a subscription for a year to the online and print editions of Racer-X for only $40! I had let my Racer-x subscription expire so this was a huge deal for me :clap
    I'm hoping I can still get one the morning of the race.......I get on the Tee dub and go exploring

    I can still get the deal and buy one! :clap
    A dream come true!

    I Swear it was Villopoto in that Teryx4!!!!


    Blake Baggett!!


    Kenny!!!




    The Pro Track






    What a great time!!
    The whole day went very fast. I met so many people and had so many great conversations, shook Zach Osborne's hand, saw all the pros I loved and cared about....And then it was over. The vendors and all the people not sticking around for the amateur races tomorrow were gone.

    I headed down to the pits and found Nate drink in hand. We talked about all the great racing we saw and how awesome the track was.....Just then a screaming fan came running out of the woods and went through the pits dragging a fence banner he stole from the pro track 10 feet behind him.

    A little later Nate asked "Do you remember that KTM demo ride I was talking about?" I did. Nate was telling us on Thursday night and I remember telling him I was off Monday before stumbling into the dark. "Well if you're still off, there's a ticket for you. The guy I was supposed to go with hit the ground hard on the Quarry Run last week and isn't feeling it" (YAY!!!) "Damn, sorry about your friend.....but I'd LOVE to go!" What a gift! ....The "Ride Orange" KTM Demo Day at Winchester Motorsports Park in New Hampshire is a free opportunity to ride ALL 6 of the 2014 KTM motocross bikes!!! The 125SX, 150SX, 250SX. 250SXF, the 350SXF and the 450SXF. I was VERY excited to get on the 350SXF.....Fuel injection and a magic button! Sounds like my next bike

    TWO more days of riding I didn't think my mood could improve but it does...I jump on the Tee Dub and get get in line for the shower...It only 10 minutes:-) When I get back Nate is hanging under the pop-up and says he's gonna pack it in early. Good idea. The pace of race day and all the sun I got was taking it's toll on me. The pits had a calmness to them that hadn't been there before. But it wouldn't last.

    Shortly after Nate and I packed it in, Unadilla came alive. Everything from pitbike races and fireworks to screaming teenagers, it seemed to get louder and louder as the night wore on. I'm a pretty heavy sleeper but I was shaken out of my sleep several times by the loud explosions seemingly nearby...


    Sunday Last Race Day
    Around 7:30am We awoke to a chilly morning and a thick blanket of fog.......but the ground was dry. We turned on the radio to see when our races were being run. It was going to be a long day. There were several races that never saw their first moto on Friday as well as all the 50cc classes and ALL the second motos. My next race was going to be Race 40...The first race of the day was 22 followed by.....Oh who the hell cares :-)

    The track was pristine looking!......Nate's plus 30 plus Expert race was coming up and it was the first time I got to see what he had. It was a full gate drop and Nate didn't look like like he got a great start but the came around the first lap 13th and on fire!! This was a VERY talented class and I was VERY impressed with the 339 machine and it's pilot. "Is that a license plate?" a guy asked me as I screamed "NAAAAAATE!!!" when the 'Berg came thundering past ... "Yup it is". A lot of riders were humbled on Sunday by that blue 571cc Dual-Sport Bike.

    My first moto on Sunday was in the plus 30C and Paulo was in the gate besides me. He had attended with his girl and she stood beside him on the line. I was paying attention at the start this time and managed not to get stuck in the gate again. I got around the first turn just behind Paulo and kept him in my sights until I stalled in huge rut about 3/4 of the way around the track. DAMN I hate ruts and these were pretty big for me. And you couldn't get out of them. (Not to be confused with the humongous bike-eating ruts on the pro track! :huh) The bike started right back up but I wouldn't catch Paulo in this moto. I was pretty disappointed with my ride as I couldn't get my head around those ruts.:eek1 I just wish I could have had more time on the track as there was no practice. The earlier motos had parade laps but none of mine did. Oh well that's Motocross.

    I hung around the staging area most of the day, just running out to grab a burger and hot dog. I was having a blast yelling for riders I had met over the weekend. Neal who was pitting next to us (aka Uncle Joe) was riding in the plus 50 "NEEEEEEEEEAL!!!" I yelled as the 27w Yamaha came ripping past....He had an American flag flying in the breeze pinned to his jersey.........In the Open C class .."AAAAAAUUSTIN" I screamed at the pink number plated 932 machine as he came down the first ScrewYou....I had met Austin during the pre-registration beer funnel-fest...Oh no Austin went down!!! .....And his bike can only be bump started!!!......Brandon to the rescue! He jumps the fence, pushes Austin's bike up the next hill as Austin jumps aboard, bump starts it down the hill and tears away....

    Brandon


    Unfortunately my next two motos were not a whole lot better than the first. I actually got in a discussion with another rider on the line (in my second moto in the plus 40C) about who was slower him or me:-) "Hey don't let me slow you down" the old-timer told me. "What?? I'm the slowest guy here!" I said. Then to prove his point, he totally hung back on the start!....But I schooled him about who was right when he passed me on the second lap :-)

    The last moto of the day for me was in the Plus 30C class and it would my last chance at beating Paulo for the overall........ But Paulo's YZ250 was nowhere to be found. Paulo is from Brooklyn so his girlfriend probably told him to get her the hell out of this place! So even with a lousy last moto, I would end up beating Paulo for the overall due to his DNS. Not the way I would have liked to win but hey a W is a W ....The bottom line is I need to ride more tracks, take more lessons and spend more quality time in the ruts...

    Nate's second race in the Plus 30 Expert class went even better than his first!
    He came around the first lap 5th and would keep that race order until the last lap when he would be passed by 2 riders. He would finish one position out of the money. :freaky We packed up very quickly and got on the road as soon as Nate got his race results. "Please don't tell me how I did" I asked of Nate. "You already know don't you?" he said smiling. yup I did.

    I offered to take Nate out to dinner at the place up the road that I ate at on Friday night, but when we pulled into the ample parking lot, it was closed, WTF? It could have been a huge night for them with hundreds of racers and crew leaving the track but no one was home. We ate at McDonalds a few towns away. I stayed one more night in Nate's camper in front of his house in Ravena. I couldn't wait until the morning!!!

    The KTM "Ride Orange" Demo Day at Winchester Speedpark in Winchester, NH
    "Time to get up" Said Nate as he opened the camper door. YAWN it was 6:30am and it was a beautiful morning! "I'm up" I said and Nate quickly disappeared. I quickly gathered all my stuff, packed up my sleeping bag for the last time and grabbed the Starbucks energy drink I had stashed in the refrigerator. As I opened up the paint van, Nate reappeared and handed me a hot coffee! You can never have too much caffeine Life is good :-)

    We stopped at McDonalds for some quality pre-ride nutrition before we hit the highway and had a very pleasant 2 hour or so ride to the track

    There were quite a few riders already there but we got through registration fairly quickly



    After we registered on iPads (an awkward process) we were handed lanyards with KTM Demo Day punch cards. On the cards were all 6 of KTMs full size motocross models that we were going to ride today.



    It was quite a diverse group of riders. There were two women, and more than one out of shape old guy. There were also several pros; a few of which had just come from the Unadilla National including Robby Marshall. Yes, the same Robby Marshall that came in 28th overall in the 450 class on a 250 2-Smoke:deal

    The deal was we could ride each of the 6 models 2 laps on the track. After that we could do an additional 2 laps on our favorite bike! Nate and I got geared up and wandered over to the riders meeting



    "We are not replacing Ryan Dungey today so please ride responsibly" said our KTM rep as he began the meeting. He touched on our safety, "Remember you're on an unfamiliar bike" and his personal safety "It's not a gate drop when we punch your ticket, watch your roost when you leave the tent area." and at the end he told us "Have a great time!!

    We walked out to the track and there was quite a people in line at the easy-up.



    There were 6 lines for each model but there were 3 bikes of each model available to ride so the lines went pretty fast....Until a few bikes yard-sale'd or were taken off the line.... But even then there wasn't a long wait.

    I simply got on the shortest line which at the time was the 250SXF. While the bike is a few inches taller than my RM-Z, it felt smaller and lighter than the Suzuki due to it's slimmer width. I really liked this bike and it would be my number one choice for a brand new 250 4 stroke if I was in the market for one. The smooth power delivery went from idle to the rev limiter. My only complaint would be the suspension could have used some more rebound, but I'm sure it would be an easy adjustment. Out of the 6 bikes, this would be my 2nd favorite.

    The next shortest line would be the 150SX. This bike surprised the crap out of me. I absolutely LOVED it!! I would have never guessed how much fun it would be and how easy it was for me to ride. My track buddy Gary has one and I never gave it a second look before. It didn't hurt that it was set up perfectly for me either. Incredibly, this was my favorite and would be my 1st choice if I could take one of those bikes home.

    My next ride would be on the 250SX and I was too scared of it to really give the throttle a good turn. The few times I did feel it's massive hit, it was like it wanted to rip my arms off:eek1 It also felt much bigger and heavier than the 150SX, in fact it didn't even seem like the same brand. The suspension was way too stiff for me and I was glad when my two laps were up. This would be my last choice for a new bike.

    The 125SX was now the smallest line. I can't lie, It's a sweet bike!! I liked it almost as much the 150SX but I have to say it wasn't as easy to keep in the power band as the 150..It also wasn't as planted, but that could be an easy set-up change. This would be my 3rd favorite bike.

    It was lunch time! They served halfway decent sandwiches but they went quick..



    Finally I was going to ride the 350SXF! This is the bike I came to ride; would it be my next bike? My favorite? Of course you already know. I just plain hated it... The only bike I disliked more was the fire-breathing 250SX Two-Smoke and for very different reasons. What I hoped/expected was the smooth feel of the 250SXF with a little extra power in reserve when you need it. What I got was the heaviest, tallest and worst-handling 4 stroke motocross machine I had ever ridden and was my2nd to least favorite bike of the day. It's school bus-like feel was only overshadowed by it's twitchy power delivery and springy suspension. While it is only 1 pound lighter than the 450SXF it is 12 pounds heavier (and felt 30)than the 250SXF. What a disappointment.

    This was the only machine I rode that hit the ground while I was aboard. I hit neutral when downshifting in a turn and grabbed too much front brake (The brakes on all the bikes were very sensitive). But It was a just a tip over and the magic button brought the 350 to right back to life. I was gone before I caught the attention of any flaggers. And I wasn't the only crash. As I ripped over a table and down a long straight I saw one guy rolling around on the ground writhing in pain next to a frantically waving flagger; his bike askew in grass. He was still rolling around when I went around the next turn but he must have been fine as I never saw an ambulance appear.

    That was the only bad crash that I witnessed, but they were down to only 1 450SXF, 1 350SXF and 2 125SXs. (The rest of the models still had 3 each). They were really good about Bike and track maintenance and stopped to gas up every hour and water the track. They also changed all the air filters after lunch.

    My last model to test was the 450SXF, Ryan Dungey's bike of choice. I didn't hate it. I was already used to the truck-like feel of the 350SXF and the smooth power delivery and grunt of the bigger motor made up for a lot of the bad handling characteristics I felt in 350SXF. I treaded lightly on the big machine so that's all I can honestly say about the two parade laps I took on it. I would rate the 450SX 4th on my list of favorite KTM MX bikes.

    Of course these are the opinions of a 51 year old novice who never rode a full-size motocross bike until 2010. I am and will always be slow motocross rider; I'm ok with it. If I had Nate's speed I probably would have liked the bigger 4 strokes as he did. Nate was ripping!!!! I almost took him out one time when we both went for the same outside line....I was in front, but Nate was closing from behind at 3 times my speed. I heard him holler but just held my line and didn't look back. He got stopped OK and I slowed him down but I got showered in roost as he went around me in the next turn :-)



    So what bike did I do my bonus ride on? The 150SX of course!!! I enjoyed another two glorious laps on that orange 2 stroke beauty!!



    We quickly packed it in and got on the road. We stopped for an awesome Italian dinner at a restaurant a few towns over and filled our bellies. The rest of the ride was extremely peaceful as I enjoyed the moto-buzz I got from the best riding I did all weekend. This day was a gift! I dropped Nate off at his house and got to see his 2 beautiful dogs one more time before we parted ways, promising to do something like this again soon. In another two traffic-free hours I would be home. All I had the energy to do was crawl into the shower, brush my teeth and get in bed. It was 10pm; the van and bikes could wait until tomorrow.

    Thank you again Nate for your hospitality, great company and just being a really cool dude! I had an epic time and can't wait to do it again! KROC at Englishtown?

    Last edited by 5chord; 08-20-2013 at 08:22 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member B-dub's Avatar
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    Wow, no shortage of adventure on this one! Sounds like you had a great time, overall. Next time you start drinking on an empty stomach put your helmet on first. Sorry, couldn't resist. Thanks for taking the time to post this, quite an adventure.
    My handle is B-dub, I ride a T-dub, and drive a V-dub.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Wingnut's Avatar
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    Awesome report.....have to agree with putting your helmet on before drinking! oh, and don't forget to turn the GoPro on we would all pay to see that video!!

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  5. #4
    Member 5chord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by b-dub View Post
    wow, no shortage of adventure on this one! Sounds like you had a great time, overall. Next time you start drinking on an empty stomach put your helmet on first. sorry, couldn't resist. Thanks for taking the time to post this, quite an adventure.
    lmao!!

  6. #5
    Member 5chord's Avatar
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    Epilogue and Observations


    It has been several days since the race and I have had some time to reflect on the many things I had learned on my trip. These will undoubtedly help me in my future motocross endeavors...Here are a few.

    1. The first I should have learned over 30 years ago...Never drink booze on an empty stomach….Never. Nobody ever said “Boy I’m glad I got didn’t eat all day and drank like a fish….I can’t wait to do it again!” Nope.....Maybe putting my helmet on BEFORE drinking as someone suggested would make the morning after more pleasant.

    2. This one kinda goes along with number one. Always bring fucking food! Even if it’s just protein bars and Ramen noodles it’s something. trust me, next time I’ll have a portable grill and lots of red meat.

    3. Pay more attention to the bike. I was shocked at the hooked-out sprockets and that a simple rear tire reversal could have given me a lot more traction. I got lucky at Unadilla but next time the bike will be better prepared.

    4. How cool Tear-offs are! When I got home I rode my ass of on Friday and Sunday. After using tear-offs I can never go back! Between getting roosted in the face and the sprinklers that always seem to be on, it was SO nice to just..Tear it off!! Thanks Nate!

    5. Take advantage of all the cool free stuff at the National! I got my fair share of free swag, but missed out on a $100 coupon good on any GoPro camera. That one haunts me.

    6. Go to more tracks and ride them. Preferably the ones I’m going to be racing. Nothing was more apparent to me after racing Unadilla than how unprepared I was for the Ruts. I was so intimidated by the huge never-ending ruts that everything I ever learned on how to get through them went out the window. I need to get out and regularly ride different tracks. I am blessed with a perfectly groomed practice facility…….that spoils the crap out of me….there’s always a good line around the damn ruts.

    7. Lock up your shit. At the riders meeting the announcer told us “Unadilla is known as the best and the worst race of the Nationals…..The best because of the dirt, the track and because Unadilla fans are the best motocross fans in the world…..the worst because everybody gets ripped off……” This wouldn’t sink in until I got a call from my friend Timmy who usually attends. “Lock up your shit” he told me. After that, my wallet, phone and keys never left my sight or were locked up in the van or camper…….. But that didn’t keep some dirtbag from nicking my GoPro right off my helmet. They got it somewhere between my last moto and me hitting the highway..Not that I needed to re-live that last pathetic race, but I wish I had that coupon now!!
    Last edited by 5chord; 08-20-2013 at 05:23 AM.

  7. #6
    Super Moderator littletommy's Avatar
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    Love your stories and pictures!
    You're a pretty tuff ol geezer to be doing these rides.
    5chord likes this.

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