Welcome to the Weekly Dirt, the place to go to stay connected to the off-road world. Just three more days till Christmas, and the Dirt Rider staff is anxiously awaiting the arrival of Santa, because we’ve all been extra nice this year. In the meantime, here’s the latest from around the world in off-road news.Kawasaki started the week off right by hosting a Kawasaki ride day at the national Pala MX track in Pala, CA. There was tons of stuff going on and those who showed up with a Kawasaki motorcycle were granted free entry. Not to mention the first 200 in the gate received a free liter of Maxima oil and a Pro Filter. Some of the activities included Beginner dirt bike school on the mini track, tech tip seminars at the Team Green rig, autograph session some of the Kawasaki pro riders and demo rides on the 2012 KX250F and 450F as well as the all new 2012 Teryx4.
The Kawasaki maintenance seminar is in session. Riders were welcome to walk up with their questions on Kawasaki machines or listen to what helpful information the mechanics had to share.
One of the many Kawi riders putting in laps and enjoying the perfect dirt thanks to the overcast skies as he floats off the top of the center hill at Pala.
Off-Road Professional Destry Abbott, gives group lessons at Pala using Taylor Roberts as an example. In this part of the class, Destry was explaining how to work on your form to flow through “S-turns.”
Taylor demonstrates as Destry explains the technique to the group.To see more photos and other happenings from the Kawasaki ride day visit
Don’t forget on Christmas Day, after you’ve unwrapped all you’re presents, be sure to tune in at 2:00 p.m. ET to watch the Monster Energy AMA Supercross preview show on CBS Sports. The one-hour telecast will showcase what’s to be expected when the gates drop on the opening round at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California, on January 7. According to the spiel from CBS Sports, the program will give an insider’s perspective on the multi-faceted season that lies ahead and provide an update on the developments of the Stewart and Dungey camps as the season draws near. Once the season gets underway, CBS Sports will provide a Monster Energy Supercross special on February 26 at Noon ET and a Monster Energy Supercross season recap show on May 6 at Noon ET.
January is Dakar Rally time, and this year Yamaha hopes to be at the top of the motorcycle standings when the 34th Dakar Rally sets off from Buenos Aires for the 9000km two week race, once the clock starts on New Years day.The bike division has now clearly been fixed at a 450cc capacity that will allow the potential of the WR450F and YZ450F Rally machinery to come into its own. One of the brightest hopes on two wheels will be Helder Rodrigues (pictured). The 2011 FIM Cross Country Rallies Champion broke into the top three for the first time last January and also won a stage; his fourth success from the last four attempts. The Portuguese is gathering form and experience of the Dakar and hasn’t dropped out of the top five in four of the five editions he has now contested. His success in the FIM series will be well noted among his rally rivals, many of whom were part of the four round campaign this year and know that the 32 year old cannot be discounted from a realistic shot of overall victory. “My objective is to finish even better,” he said to the official Dakar website. “Like last year I worked all season to improve. This year’s route should allow me to show that I know how to take on the pitfalls and complexities of the rally.”Another rider to watch will be Jonah Street, who will again be steering WR450Fs from the confines of his own team for the second year in succession. The American suffered an inconsistent rally in 2011 but his victory in stage nine was the undoubted highlight. He classified 12th in January but is now hoping to reach the same level of performance that guided him to seventh place overall in 2010.The 2012 Dakar will involve two extra days of racing – now fourteen – as the bikes, quads, cars and trucks, plough a course from the Atlantic ocean on one side of the continent to the Pacific on the other. The diverse terrain of the Andes and the Atacama Desert now with a trip into the heart of Peru awaits; mountain paths, canyons and forestry will turn to dunes and beach backdrops. Endurance, resistance, mechanical guile and navigational skill are just some of the characteristics that will prove vital.On the rider’s rights front, the AMA praised U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) for standing up against a proposal that would have indirectly forced states to pass mandatory helmet laws. ?U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) was poised to introduce the proposal on Dec. 14 during a Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee hearing on S. 1449 — the Motor Vehicle and Highway Safety Improvement Act of 2011. His proposal was an amendment to S. 1449, but he decided against offering it in the committee. In a statement for the record, Ayotte noted that the amendment would take away the right of the people in a state to decide whether to have a mandatory helmet law “by indirectly forcing all states to pass mandatory universal helmet laws in order to receive funding for motorcycle safety.”States without mandatory universal helmet laws — such as New Hampshire — would be subject to stricter eligibility criteria, and would be forced to use 50 percent of their grant funds to promote helmet use,” she said. ??”This amendment violates the original intent of the motorcyclist safety grant program, which has traditionally focused on encouraging states to fund motorcycle safety awareness, education and training,” she said. “This amendment would divert funds away from awareness and education and, instead, use them to place federal pressure on states to enact mandatory universal helmet laws.”Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, thanked Ayotte for her statement, noting the AMA also opposed the Lautenberg amendment. ??”Federal efforts should focus on preventing crashes rather than mandating what gear riders should wear,” Allard said. ??Besides opposing the Lautenberg amendment, the AMA has been working on Capitol Hill to try to ensure that motorcycle-only checkpoints don’t proliferate around the nation, and working to ensure that motorcyclists’ concerns about possible engine damage are considered before federal officials approve the use of higher ethanol-gasoline blends for motorcycles. “We need the help of all riders,” Allard said. “More AMA members means more political clout, from the statehouse to the White House. We urge motorcyclists to join the AMA to help protect motorcycling now and in the future.” —Shan Moore
Christmas is here, New Years is almost here. Maddo has been pushing the limits with Red Bull since 2008 when he jumped his motorcycle over 322 feet to break the world record at the Rio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. Later that year, the world record holder jumped his motorcycle on and off of the top of the Arc de Triomphe at Paris Las Vegas. On the eve of 2012, FMX Rider Robbie Maddison and Snowmobile rider Levi LaVallee will attempt to break two world long-distance jump records simultaneously over 300 feet of water in San Diego, California. Red Bull is bringing back their New Year. No Limits. event in a bigger fashion as riders will be jumping alongside each other; one on a dirt bike and the other on a snowmobile both aiming for nearly 400 feet of airtime. Gates open at 6pm and admission to the event is free. Be sure to get there early for a good viewing place to park your feet, the jump will take place around 8pm PST/11pm EST. If you can’t be there in person, flip to ESPN, ESPNHD, ESPN3 on your flat screen tv, pop some bubbly and watch these Red Bull athletes make history live on your screen. For more information, visit RedBullNewYearNoLimits.com. -Lindsey Lovell
This week, the Dirt Rider crew headed out to the moto Mecca of Southern California, Glen Helen, to ride some seriously trick off-road bikes. Now, we don’t want to spoil the magazine story by telling you which machines we tested, but let’s just say that we didn’t want to give any of these bikes back at the end of the day! The ground was wet and the track was fun, though we spent most of our time playing on a portion of the HYR Endurance Series course and also the newly updated Endurocross track. Here’s a sneak peak of the action from the day:
Yesterday we posted a press release from Road 2 Recovery that had some very encouraging photos of Ian Trettel, the super-nice young racer who was injured at Daytona last year. Ian has been making amazing strides in rehab and is definitely on the fast path to improving: “Currently I am doing therapy at Shands Rehab Center in Gainsville, FL 3-4 days per week or as much as they can get me in,” Ian said. “I’m on my feet 24/7 without any assistance devices and I’m taking small college courses at an adult community center to brush up on some school stuff to get back into the school community as soon as I can. I’m going to the gym 3-4 nights a week and I’m getting stronger. I still obviously have a lot of work to do, but I’m headed in the right direction for sure.” To see more images of Ian in action, check out http://bit.ly/ueKINM
Christmas came early for the Dirt Rider shop when a series of huge boxes showed up from Works Connection. The contents? A spectrum of brand new bike stands, each color-coded to match a different bike brand. We typically shoot a ton of static photos every year, and it is always helpful to have good-looking stands around to park machines on while we snap away with the cameras. Naturally, this also means that we have a handful of old, slightly used bike stands to get rid of. Think you deserve one? Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us why!I hope everyone has an enjoyable and productive holiday season filled with family, friends and great, traction-heavy dirt. Keep it on two wheels! —Chris Denison