Posts Tagged ‘racing’

The International Motorcycle Show is back in town, and that’s reminded me that I never shared my photos from last year’s show.  Fitz Army was a new addition, and everyone was stoked at the high-flying action (and maybe a little worried that the guys were getting very close to the rafters).
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I got to chat with Matt Buyten again, who had just become a new Texan, and my dad apparently recognized emcee Kenny “Taco” Bell.  I also met Cal Vallone and Jesse Jolson.
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Last month, I attended the Progressive International Motorcycle Show after learning that freestyle motocross legend Carey Hart would be present. He wasn’t the only celebrity present. There was a good mix of icons from my adolescence (Carey, Kenny Bartram, and Scott “Mr. Daytona” Russell) and new faces in the motorcycle world (Aaron Colton, Elena Myers, Kyle Wyman, and Garrett Gerloff) to greet fans. Some of them were interviewed on-stage, and being the reporter/nerd that I am, I took notes.

Carey Hart was the big freestyle name so he was first. He talked about getting factory support for his team and how Ricky Carmichael was responsible for developing the bike and the champs that rode them, Ryan Dungey being the example. The interviewer joked about how RC had packed on a few pounds, but Carey said that RC would still beat him in a race because “muscle memory doesn’t go away”. An interesting thing he brought up was that he sees supercross as more of a team sport with mechanics and factor bikes while FMX is up to the individual because you can’t put things on a motorcycle to help you do tricks better (other than maybe grab holes or flip levers). Busy with his team and clothing (and most likely his family), Carey has no new projects planned in the near future.

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“Cowboy” Kenny Bartram, whom I haven’t seen/heard much of these days, came next. He still had the cowboy hat, but he finally got his teeth fixed (back in the day, he used to get hassled for his missing bottom teeth). He remains active in the FMX scene with Cowboy Kenny’s Steel Rodeo Tour. Although he misses competing, he admits that it’s an “incredible feeling” to know that he’ll walk away from an event in good health. Kenny also share a little secret: FMX practices really only involve five minutes of practicing a run and the rest is just them riding around.

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We then switched to street bikes with Aaron Colton finishing up the freestyler interviews. I’m not familiar with the Xtreme Drift League, but Aaron showed what sportbike freestyle was all about in a demo later in the afternoon. He began riding street bikes at the age of fourteen, which proved to be a difficult time with the 115-pound bikes and steep learning curve. Throughout the years, he’s worked his way up, and his favorite moment was winning a major event in 2006 in San Antonio.

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The next event brought me back to my teenage Speed Channel-watching days. There was going to be a special interview with Scott Russell. Where have I heard that name? I wondered upon hearing the announcement. Then it clicked: Mr. Daytona!

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A World Superbike and AMA Superbike Champion, Scott got the nickname after winning the Daytona 200 five times. He also holds the record for most 750cc AMA Supersport wins, a title that he says he’ll keep since they did away with the class. Despite his claim to fame, he didn’t do well on the Dayton course at first. He slowly figured out the “ocean of asphalt” and used a harder tire because so much heat was built up. Scott stated that his best rivals were Carl Fogarty and Doug Poland. When asked about his horrific accident at Daytona in 2001, he said that he knew it was the end. One audience member asked Scott about racing today, and he said though the new electronics in the bikes make racing safer (thus extending careers), it does take some of the rider out of the race because they don’t have to think about every little detail that goes into a turn.

Hearing all the interviews and meeting the riders were definitely the highlights of the Progressive Motorcycle Show. I want to start following sport bike stuff again. My interest in getting my own ride, possibly the TW200, has been renewed after talking with a dealer (the one I had originally talked to last year really discouraged me from getting a dual sport just because of my shortness). I had wanted to attend the beginner riders seminar, but the convention changed the schedule last minute and merged that seminar with the Yamaha Champions Riding School. Another thing they could’ve improved upon was the location of Aaron’s demo. It was in the corner of the convention center so you could only see him from two sides, which meant difficulty seeing from the back. It would’ve been cool if they had done it outside. Overall, it was a cool show with a lot of two-wheeled eye candy.

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for all my photos.

It seems like action sports photography has been catching the eyes of WordPress staff members recently. Ever since I got a D-SLR for my birthday, I have been studying photography and enjoying it. These Freshly Pressed entries make me think that I can integrate another love of mine into this blog.

The last (and only) time I attempted action sports photography was in 2005 at an IFMA event. It was with a digital camera that was twice as large as my current digital camera (a Nikon Coolpix S700). The best picture I got is of Latin teacher-turned-superbike stunt rider Chris “Teach” McNeil:
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Ah, the days of low res digital photos. Now onto some much better shots with more high tech cameras.

The first Freshly Pressed entry that caught my eye belonged to photographer Olivia Bush. She received recognition of her X Games skate practice shots. Now she’s got pictures of the motocross riders upside down, right side up, letting go of the bike, soaring through the obstacles, and resting comfortably on the bike. Check out her post, “Mucho Moto“.

Another Freshly Pressed photographer is the Skateorialist. His Freshly Pressed post, “Freezin’ on Wabash“, doesn’t quite fall under the category of action sports photography, but his blog provides a skater’s point of view. I’m assuming his blog name was inspired by the Sartorialist who is a fashion photographer-blogger interested in street styles around the world. The Skateorialist covers more than just people and clothes though; he’s got pictures of murals and food and videos of concerts and local BMXers.

A couple days ago, a photographer in South Africa named Robin was featured with her post about some motocross riders she happened to drive by and shoot (what good fortune!). Even though there are no death-defying tricks or bar-to-bar moments, the pictures are wonderful. They capture the riders in their most natural state: just out on the track having fun. You can see the photos at “I see pictures everywhere…

Now I’m itching to see what I can capture with my Nikon.

I’ve come across more cool stuff on facebook this past week. The first is an update from blogger La Carmina about the adventures of Catfish and Rooftop in Japan. In a recent post, she revealed that she and her partner-in-crime Naomi will be leading BMX pros Mike “Rooftop” Escamilla and Zach “Catfish” Yankush, around Japan for their new show Strangers in Danger. Knowing La Carmina’s penchant for introducing newcomers to the wacky subcultures of Japan, I can’t wait to see what she has in store for the duo. I wonder if it’ll be anything like this:

The other facebook finding comes from my dieselpunk friend Larry. What’s dieselpunk you ask? It’s a genre and subculture that combines technology and science with the aesthetics of the eras spanning the 1920s to the 1950s. Think Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, Hellboy, The Big O, and even Indiana Jones. Anyway, Larry linked a dieselpunk blog post about a speed queen of that era. Before there was Danica Patrick, Shirley “Cha-Cha” Muldowney, and Michèle Mouton, there was Grand Prix driver Hellé Nice. Her life was very interesting so I highly recommend checking out that post.
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Photo by Jean-Pierre Poiter, Random House

Many of you may have already heard the news, but it is with a heavy heart that I must inform any unknowing freestyle motocross fans that Jeff “Ox” Kargola died on April 29, 2011. The Metal Mulisha team member crashed and sustained a head injury and internal bleeding. He was riding in the Desert Assassins’ 2011 Rip to the Tip race across Baja California.

Here is a tribute video that Boost Mobile created:

The Metal Mulisha is looking for fan photos and stories of Ox. If you have any, go to his tribute page.

Although I never got to meet him, I remember seeing him as a new pro (at the age of 16) on what is now Fuel TV. He has always been an innovator, and his riding only got better as the years passed by. My heart goes out to his family, the Metal Mulisha, and all his other close friends. He will be greatly missed. Ride on, Ox. 1983-2011

Listening to: “It May Seem Dark” by Quoth the Raven

A couple days ago, I was expressing my frustrations at the lack of support in our community for the Japanese earthquake victims and urging everyone to donate;.  Well, I need to eat my words now (even though there is always room for more support).

Freestyle motocross rider Levi Sherwood posted a link on his facebook to MotoForJapan, a fundraiser set up by industry members Greg Hatton and Jon Bekef to help the land that gave us Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha.  They are urging fellow industry members, pro and amateur riders, and motorcycling fans to donate.  The money will go to the American Red Cross.  Mad props to Greg and Jon, as well as to all the donors!
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Logo designed by Sean Huqueriza

In case you were wondering about the particular area of the surfing photo in the last post, a fellow JET who lived in the area made a blog post about it.   In the comments, he mentions that the highway to Motoyoshi has been has reconnected.  Hopefully we get more good news like that in the future.

Listening to: “Caoineadh Cú Chulainn (Lament)” from Riverdance by Bill Whelan