Electronical problems! That's what Grant Langston called it [referring to Musquin's bike]! How in the world is an average consumer supposed to keep one of these high-tech, fuel injected, 4-strokes running for an entire season when the best mechanics in the world can't?
Calm down, Al, you're going to give yourself an aneurysm with all those exclamation points. First of all, it's always an "electronical" problem. Electrical issues, as I'm sure GL was referring to, are an easy out for teams because they don't have to explain parts breaking or issues with sponsor-related products that may have failed. So there is no saying exactly what went bang on Marvin's bike. Maybe it really was an electrical problem. The other thing you have to realize is that these race bikes, the 250s in particular, are modified right to the limit in terms of reliability. The more horsepower you squeeze out of them, the more likely they are to melt down. Mitch Payton used to tell me that 125 race bikes were like tropical fish; as long as all the conditions were right, they were beautiful creatures, but as soon as the water temp changes a little bit, they go tits up and you end up flushing them down a toilet. The point is, if you want to make mind-blowing horsepower numbers you are going to pop a few along the way, and even the world's very best mechanics can't stop that from happening. Musquin is a great example of that because the guys building his engines are the best in the business and his mechanic, Frankie, is as meticulous and committed as they come. Sometimes these things just happen.
Stock motorcycles, however, are designed with reliability in mind. So as long as you don't start throwing a bunch of aftermarket parts in the motor and running rocket fuel and a different ignition, your bike will run forever, providing you maintain it properly. Don't be such a drama queen, Al. And if you still can't calm down, just go buy a new two-stroke. Problem solved.
You get to ride all the latest cool stuff, from factory bikes to new 2016 production bikes. In your garage you must have at least 10 of those favorite bikes that somehow never make it back to their owners after testing. I'm a 2-stroke guy and keep seeing different pictures of you on that awesome YZ250 Pro Circuit 2-stroke. My questions, would one of those favorite bikes in your garage be that YZ250 2-stroke? Where does that YZ250 2-stroke project bike stand against your overall favorites?
I do get to ride some really cool bikes, but you're a little off base with what happens to them once we are done. We do get several bikes to use for the year, and those are shared among the Racer X staff members out here in Southern California. Other bikes are short-term loans, and they go back after a month or so. Right now I have a couple bikes that are being built for projects, and I still have that YZ250 that I have been riding quite a bit this year. The Yamaha was a 2015 project and it came out pretty great. The white Suzuki I did two years ago was one of the better projects, also. Last year I built a retro Husky 125 that was a throwback to the old Pro Circuit Husqvarna bikes, and it ranks up there as well. These projects have been a lot of fun, and a lot of work, but it seems like people like the finished product. The YZ250 ranks right up there, but as soon as I think I have a favorite I build a new one and that's my favorite. I have lots of favorites. Many of them, you'll be happy to hear, are two-strokes.
Love the column… I'll just save your time and jump right into it: A lot of my friends go riding in SoCal for the Summer or plan riding trips and while the tracks are absolutely amazing sometimes the people riding it aren't. I have had multiple friends tell me that while riding down south when it happened to be a pro day, riders would blow them out in corners or get very aggressive. A friend said to me he was already in a rut and a rider decided to take the same rut as him and then decided to rev his bike as loud as he could when he wasn't going his speed. He had plenty of time to pick a different line and that friend is a fairly fast rider. I have heard multiple stories of pros charging up on people and even little kids.
My first question is, why are these pros that kids are supposed to look up to revving their bike at the kid and making very very aggressive passes on them? I get that they are training but they do not own the track and I feel like they should be more considerate of being rude to the fans of the sport. Why aren't pros trying to be a little more conscious of the fact not everyone is a top pro and that they shouldn't get mad at them when they're not riding top pro speed?
Second question is why aren't the practices separated? In NorCal the practice sessions are split into pro/intermediate, vets/beginners and then kids or rather slow grownups. Everyone loves not having to worry about dealing with someone not their same speed level and a pro doesn't want to jump over a blind jump going full speed and then have to avoid landing on a kid on an 85. No one complains about not getting enough practice time cause the time they do get they don't have to be worrying about running over other people.
You aren't the first one to complain about that. This is tough for me because I see it from both sides. From the rider’s perspective, you have to understand that when he is doing motos he's doing his job. It isn't a friendly little ride with some buddies; he's getting ready for the battle that’s coming that weekend. And to really get the most out of practice you have to push your intensity level to where it will be on Saturday. Because of that, it can be difficult to disengage and use proper etiquette when you are passing other riders. Personally, I always gave other riders as much room as I could because I didn't want them screwing up and running into me as I was going by. However, guys like Ryan Hughes used to piss people off every time he rode because he would smash into you like the championship was on the line any chance he got regardless of your age, size, or skill level.
On the other side of the coin, you have vet riders, kids, women, and slower riders who paid their admission fee and are just out enjoying a day of riding until they get assaulted and screamed at by a pro rider. Both sides need to be more understanding and try to give each other a little more room.
The biggest problem with splitting practices is that it takes more manpower to do, and it cuts riding sessions into shorter segments. The solution down here is to have multiple tracks that cater to different riders. At many tracks now, there are pro tracks, vet tracks, and kids tracks so that each has their own place and practice doesn't have to be broken up. In this case I don't have too much sympathy for an old guy or novice who wanders onto the pro track and gets blown out of a turn by a pro. If you are going to step onto the big dance floor, you better have some moves.