Behind-the-Scenes Look At A Dirt Rider 250F Comparison, Salt Lake City EnduroCross, US MotoTrials News, Idaho H&H, Tyler Hoeft Passes And More - The Weekly Dirt: March 25, 2015

Welcome to Weekly Dirt, your place on the Internet for off-road news from around the world. This week, our mighty leader, Chris Denison, brings us a “behind the scenes” look at a recent 2015 250cc Four-Stroke Off-Road Comparison that will be in a future issue (cool!). Plus, we check in on the Salt Lake City EnduroCross, we have US MotoTrials News, and the unfortunate news of the passing of amateur Tyler Hoeft. As usual, Mark Kariya has us covered on the National Hare and Hound front. There’s plenty to go over, so let’s get going.

Behind The Scenes: Dirt Rider 2015 250cc Four-Stroke Off-Road Comparison

Dirt Rider Editor Chris Denison (right) shares his vision for the shoot with photographer Adam Campbell (left), who was by far the most stylishly dressed outdoor adventurer of the bunch. Photo by Bob Theobald
The crew pauses for a mid-day break. This year’s comparison will include the Honda CRF250X, the Husqvarna FE 250 (not pictured), the KTM 250 XC-F, the KTM 250 XCF-W (not pictured), Sherco’s 250 and 300 4Ts, and the Yamaha WR250F, as well as the YZ250FX (not pictured). Shown here is our Kawasaki Teryx photo vehicle, which hauled our shooters and their equipment all around the desert. Photo by Bob Theobald
The trusty Dirt Rider Dodge truck was looking sharp as it rolled in to the shoot with Web Producer Lindsey Lovell at the helm. Don’t ever judge a book by its cover; Lindsey drives this big rig better than most of the boys on staff! Photo by Bob Theobald
Test Rider Ricky Brabec catches some rays in between photos. Photo by Bob Theobald
Michael Allen rips a sand turn aboard the CRF250X. You’ll be surprised when you see how well this bike performed in the comparison! Photo by Bob Theobald

__**** 

As you may have seen from our social media posts, the Dirt Rider crew has been hard at work these last few weeks conducting testing for the 2015 250cc Four-Stroke Off-Road Comparison. This year's test will feature eight different machines from Honda, Husqvarna, Sherco, and Yamaha, and it's going to be a banger judging by what we've seen so far. The photos are shot, the video footage has been logged, several major test days are now under our belts and we're putting together the finished product as you read this. Check out the July 2015 issue of the mag for more, and be sure to look back here on dirtrider.com for exclusive preview portions of each bike.—Chris Denison

Mike Brown Takes Salt Lake City EnduroCross Win

Mike Brown grabbed his first win of the year in Salt Lake City. Photo Courtesy Brian Jeffries
Colton Haaker grabbed a share of the points lead with a second. Photo Courtesy Brian Jeffries
Max Gerston claimed his first podium on a Beta. Photo Courtesy Brian Jeffries

Round two of the 2015 EnduroCross season moved west to Salt Lake City, UT this past Saturday where Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Mike Brown claimed his first win since 2013. Not far behind, Colton Haaker finished second place for the second round in a row after returning from France, while Beta USA’s Max Gerston grabbed his first podium with a third. Brown and Haaker, won their heat races and advanced directly to the main and Brownie even laid down an impressive Hot Lap win, after “quadding” a section that no other ride was able to accomplish, earning extra championship points.

In the main, Brown launched out of the gate for the holeshot, with Haaker right behind. Going into the second corner, however, round-one winner Cody Webb and Haaker got caught up in some carnage with a few other riders, putting several riders on the ground with Haaker and Webb remounting near the back of the pack, while Brown stayed in the lead with a five second gap.

Haaker moved his way into third and on the 10th lap, made an aggressive pass into second place. The next few laps Brown continued to ride smooth, limiting his mistakes while Haaker put a charge on to catch Brown.  On the last lap the teammates were a bike length apart.  Coming into the rock corner, Haaker got on the inside of Brown, but couldn’t make the pass. Brown won, with Haaker a close second.

“I had a great day,” said Brown. “It went good from the start of the day by winning the heat race, then getting the super pole for the final for the first gate pick in the main! Got the holeshot and rode the best I could without making too many mistakes to get the win on my Husky.”

Haaker was pleased to move up in the point standings.

“Tonight was good. I was close behind Brown, but another rider came into me pretty hard and had to fight to get back to second.  I had a good time chasing down Brown, and look forward to the next round and a possible win,” said Haaker.

Webb was flying, too. His pace only impeded by the fastest line being occupied by a slower rider or lapped rider. He ended up going down once more but still, somehow, managed to power into fourth overall on the evening.

Gerston finished third and was pleased with his first podium.

“I’m feeling like a million bucks,” Gerston said. “I feel like this is where I belong and we’ve been working so, so hard for so, so long during the week and my DA8 training has been getting me to another level. I just eat, sleep, breathe EnduroCross and hopefully this is a start of a big thing. I have so much fun out here and am so fortunate. The track was fast and fun and flowed well tonight with a gnarly rock section. I had a blast!”

Haaker is now tied for first place in championship points with Webb, while Brown sits second just only a two points back.

Overall Results

1. Mike Brown (Hus)

2. Colton Haaker (Hus)

3. Max Gerston (Bet)

4. Cody Webb (KTM)

5. Cory Graffunder (KTM)

6. Ty Tremaine (KTM)

7. Nick Thompson (KTM)

8. Kyle Redmond (Bet)

9. Kevin Rookstool (Suz)

10. Destry Abbott (Kaw)

Points Standings

1. Colton Haaker (45)

1. Cody Webb (45)

3. Mike Brown (43)

4. Max Gerston (36)

5. Kyle Redmond (34)

6. Cory Graffunder (34)

Andrew Putt Signs With Sherco USA And Ryan Young Products

Top US MotoTrials rider Andrew Putt has signed with Sherco USA for the 2015 season. Photo By Shan Moore

The US National MotoTrials Series kicks off in about two weeks near Amarillo, Texas, and most of the teams are making final preparations for the first event. Dirt Rider just learned today that Sherco USA and Ryan Young Products have signed up-and-comer Andrew Putt, 16, of Venetia Pennsylvania to so ride for team Sherco USA. According to team manager Ryan Young (himself a six-time national champ), Andrew will be competing in the Pro class at all AIReS AMA/NATC Mototrials Nationals in 2015 aboard the Sherco ST300. Andrew will also compete in Europe in the FIM World Trials Championship Series. Joining Putt on the powerful Sherco USA team will be seven-time US MotoTrial champ Pat Smage, Bryan Roper, Logan Bolopue and Daniel Blanc-Gonnet.

If you wish to see a MotoTrials event in person, rounds one and two of the series take place near Amarillo, Texas, on April 11-12, while rounds three and four are near Kingman, Arizona on April 18-19. For more information on the 2015 10-round schedule, check out www.mototrials.com.

Tyler Hoeft Passes After Crash At Freestone

Motorcycle racing is an inherently dangerous sport. We all know that. But still, when one of our own is catastrophically injured or dies while racing, it’s still hard to take, or even understand. Amateur motocross racer Tyler Hoeft, 14, died Friday of massive head injuries, one day after crashing his motorcycle while racing the JS7 Spring Classic in Worthham, Texas. Details are still a little sketchy, but from what I can tell, it was an extremely muddy event, which makes it even bizarre. It makes you wonder how much safer can we make our sport? I think FELD is doing all they can at the professional level to make things safe, and withoug totally re-thinking the way we build our tracks, it’s going to come down to just more advancements in helmet technology and other safety gear.

God Speed Tyler Hoeft. —Shan Moore

Ivan Ramirez Races To National Hare & Hound Win In Idaho

Ivan Ramirez claws his way out of a creek—not your usual desert obstacle—en route to winning the Rabbit Creek 100, his first victory in the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series this season. He’s still second in points but now closer to defending series champ Ricky Brabec, who was a close second in Idaho. (Right after collecting his awards, he hopped in his van to catch his flight from Salt Lake City to the United Arab Emirates, where he’ll be riding his first rally, the 25th Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge Powered by Nissan on March 26 to April 2. Photo By Mark Kariya
Idaho native David Kamo claimed third for his first podium appearance in two years. Nancy Caselli represented the Kurt Caselli Foundation all weekend and helped present the awards, which in Kamo’s case was $500. (Ramirez earned $2000 for winning plus $500 for being the first to catch the hare, played by Idaho’s Brian Brown, the 1999 AMA H&H; champ.) Brabec received $1000. Photo By Mark Kariya
Dalton Shirey is now three-for-three in the H&H; series after once again topping the FMF 250cc Pro division. In Idaho, he improved in the overall results by finishing sixth, just nine seconds behind Pro Skyler Howes who captured top two-stroke honors on his 300 XC. Photo By Mark Kariya
The top three women overall received recognition and cash from TBT Racing. From left are runner-up Shayla Fulfer, winner Kate Schade and third woman (first Woman B) Rebecca Stout. (Schade apparently passed 2011 Women A/B H&H; champ Fulfer in the pits when Fulfer took too long to eat a banana and rehydrate.) Photo By Mark Kariya
Andrew Schulz takes his racing seriously, even warming up before storming to his second Pee Wee triumph of the season. Photo By Mark Kariya

__

FMF KTM Factory Off-road Racing Team’s Ivan Ramirez got out front fast and controlled the 40th Anniversary Rabbit Creek 100 near Murphy, Idaho, becoming the third different winner in three rounds of the Kenda/SRT AMA Hare & Hound National Championship Series. Dirt Inc. made sure he’ll remember his triumph by sending him home with the $2000 winner’s bonus as well as $500 for being the first to catch the hare, played by 1999 series champ and Idaho native Brian Brown.

Round-two winner and reigning series champ Ricky Brabec worked his way into second quickly but couldn’t find a way past on the dusty trails that were carefully monitored by the BLM. Still, his runner-up result keeps the THR Motorsports/Precision Concepts/Bonanza Plumbing KX450F rider in the series points lead over Ramirez, 80-74, unofficially.

PCI Race Radios KTM’s David Kamo enjoyed a good ride and fast pits to secure third, his first podium in two years. That vaults him from eighth in points to fourth with 48, displacing Purvines Racing Beta’s Nick Burson who suffered a broken chain while running second some 15 miles into the 106-mile race.

Burson’s teammate Axel Pearson ended up fourth for the day and remains third in points at 53 while Blais Racing Services KTM’s Skyler Howes ended up fifth for the day and moves up to fifth in points at 46.

In the FMF 250cc Pro class, Zip-Ty Racing Husqvarna's Dalton Shirey once again proved the fastest man in his first year on 250s and in only his second big-bike race in Idaho. He was also sixth overall with 250cc runner-up Josh Knight ninth overall aboard his ADS Motorsports KTM, third in class going to SRT Yamaha-mounted Steven Kirk who placed 12th overall.—Mark Kariya

That’s all for this week, be sure to check in next week for more news from the off-road world.