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DECEMBER FIRST BOUND COPY

We just got the first copies of the December issue of Dirt Wheels in the office. Editors have the memories of gold fish. We can swim around the bowl forever and rediscover the same castle over and over. We worked on the December issue a month ago, so opening it now is like seeing a whole new magazine.      This  time of year, it’s all about new models. The big topic for December is the first test of the Yamaha YFZ450X, which is a narrow version of the sensational YFZ450R motocross machine. The X is much better suited for…

RACE TESTING THE 2010 KAWASAKI KFX450

I confess. I don't have much experience racing ATVs. I've raced every weekend of my life on two wheels, but before this week, my four-wheel resume totaled two events. One was 20 years ago when I raced the Blackwater 100 on a Suzuki Quadracer 250 to prepare for the following day's motorcycle race. The other was an ITP QuadCross a few months ago.      Last week, Kawasaki invited me to do race number three. It would be the Glen Helen round of the WORCS series. Nice. That would make me well-rounded, with one GNCC, one WORCS and…

NOVEMBER FIRST BOUND COPY

        I’ll admit it. Sometimes an issue comes out and I have second thoughts. Maybe a photo or two wasn’t as good as I wanted, maybe a story didn’t come together like it should have. But not the November issue. This is just the opposite,  there’s so much material in this one issue it was tough to choose a cover shot. The photo that won was a shot of the 2010 Yamaha YFX450X. This is the narrow, trail-oriented version of last year’s YFZ450R, complete with fuel injection and an aluminum frame. New models always win on the…

SUZUKI CELEBRATION

  Dustin Wimmer was honored by the entire company at Suzuki's corporate headquarters in Brea, California today. Wimmer was there along with a number of other champions to celebrate one of the most successful seasons in motorcycle racing history. It was a bright moment in these times of corporate hardship, and Suzuki management made the most of it, inviting the entire company to take part. Rockstar Energy got in the right spirit and even paid for everyone's lunch.        Along wtih Wimmer was AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin…

DIRT WHEELS TESTS AT CAHUILLA

  Good riding places are hard to find. That's whey we are pumped that Cahuilla Creek MX track, about 60 miles east of the L.A. basin, is under new ownership. And the new owner loves ATVS.    The land itself is still on an Indian reservation, but the lease is now held by Johnny Leach, who is making big strides to make it into a first class racing facility. He's actually building a separate track for ATVs, and next year he has scheduled a QuadCross event and a WORCS event there.    We spent Friday afternoon there testing for…

MOTOWORKS TOUR

  Just when and where did Motoworks come from? We never heard of them until just a few years ago, and now they're a major force in ATV racing on both sides of the country, and on top of that, they're a highly effective performance shop that is encroaching on the turf of all the well-established giants in the field.      I just got a company history and a tour of the Motoworks facility in Elsinore, California. It turns out that Motoworks is a rare convergence of talent and resources. There are two different entities; the…

OCTOBER TEAR SHEET REPORT

      The October tear sheets are in the house. In the hard-copy world of paper magazines, tear sheets are the final step before the newsstand. At every step of the process before this, you can make changes and corrections. It just gets more expensive as the on-sale date approaches. But by the time unbound tear sheets come to my desk, that issue is history. In fact they usually appear at deadline for the next issue. So it’s a good time to give the www.dirtwheelsmag.com audience a sneak preview of what will be.     …

MONDAY CONGRATULATIONS

I just got a call from Gary Jones. He's on the road, coming back from the Loretta Lynn's ATVA National. He headed back there to let his son Justin have a taste of the big time. Justin just turned 17 and has raced only five ATV races. He won most of those, so he just kept bumping up a class until he ended up in the Pro Am class at Loretta's. As expected, there was no winning against that group, but Justin still made the final in the 450 production class and finished ninth overall. My congrats to him and condolences to Gary.…

CHAIN WISDOM

I’ve known Vic Krause (of Sidewinder Chains) for years. He’s the type of guy who’s always is the center of attention in any room, whether he’s telling stories about flying his World War II airplane or talking about chain-lube viscosity. Not too long ago I talked with him so long that my cell phone went dead. The subject? Everything. That’s how conversations with Vic are. But buried between the jokes, anecdotes and lies, there were 10 golden tidbits of truth regarding chains. Here they are. 1 O-RING THING      So what's the…

TEAM MANAGER, HIRE THYSELF

By any measure, Kory Ellis is a good team manager. As the head of the Makita/Rockstar/Yoshimura/Suzuki team he's put his rider in front of the national motocross series despite injury, bad luck and tough competition. But forget all that. At Sunday's round of the QuadCross series at Glen Helen he proved he still has what it takes to be a rider himself--and a winner. In the first Open Pro moto he hunted down, passed and beat series leader Jeremie Warnia.      Imagine how intimidating he must be to his team. You might be one of…

YOUTH RULES AT RACETOWN

  QuadCross at Racetown was hot in more ways than one         I love it when a young kid comes into his own. The sheer joy and enthusiasm of a rider getting his first win is so uplifting that it's hard not to feel like you did were a part of something good, just by seeing it. Justin Noss had never won a QuadCross 450 Production Pro race. In fact no one but Jeremie Warnia and Dustin Nelson had won an overall so far this year. That all changed in the extreme heat of Adelanto, California Sunday when Noss took a hard earned…

INSIDE SEPTEMBER

It’s tear sheet time again. That’s when  I timidly open the new issue of Dirt Wheels and look for the good and the bad. Working on a hard-copy magazine is like building something with hand tools. When you’re finished, you have something that you can look at, touch and feel. And it will be with you a long time. It’s not like a website where things come and go rapidly. Once a magazine rolls off the press, it’s officially a part of American lore. People routinely ask me about stuff  I wrote 20 years ago. It isn’t that they have…