(Note: Some questions have been lightly edited for clarity.)
I have a short and sweet question that probably doesn’t deserve a full Racer X response, but hopefully I’ll still get a response. So, we all LOVED when K-Dub came back around and started doing opening ceremony transfers. It was awesome! And I hate that he got hurt doing so. But why hasn’t anyone called up Josh Hill and brought him out to do the same? Every Monday (when I get to my 9-5) I get on Instagram and see some gnarly fourth gear opposite whip transfer Josh Hill hit at another California local track. Someone get this guy back on a SX track, even if it’s just for opening ceremonies.
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#tbt how about this crazy clip of my man KW trying out a line for the opening ceremonies. I always told him he was nuts and this is why.. wow. He is a bad dude for not only his racing and his style but for doing this kind of stuff for our entertainment. @kdub_14 @dano348 #manshit
Kevin was special because he had been racing for so long and the fans absolutely loved him. Those opening ceremony transfers were super entertaining from the stands, but they were terrifying from the track. Some of them weren’t bad, and KW was so talented he made them look easy. But I think they stressed him out quite a bit. If anybody could jump in and fill those Alpinestar boots it would certainly be Josh Hill. Josh is tied in with Monster Energy, so it actually makes sense. I guess the hard part is that Feld Entertainment would have to pay him to come to every round and ride for about 20 seconds per weekend, and I’m not sure they would do that. And I don’t know if Josh would want to do it unless the money was really good. These guys are making solid paychecks doing jump demos and making cool videos, so why would he want to get back on the grind of traveling around the country every weekend? Unless there is a lot of money involved, I don’t see it happening. Honestly, I could see a young guy like Axell Hodges signing up for it. Hey, Jendro, what do you think?
First off, I want to say great job on The Whiskey Throttle Show, definitely a good listen. Okay, so after watching the three-part retirement video from Stew it got me wondering a few things that maybe you could shed some light on for us: We've all seen the pics of James testing or riding a 2001 CR125, and I can’t help but wonder had he inked a deal with Honda, would things later in his career been different? I know the CR125 from that time was a pooch, but obviously with some factory parts and tuning it was a good runner, not to mention James probably could've won on anything.
But when James talked about ringing the life out of his KX250 in 2005 trying to hang with Ricky on a RMZ450, then his ‘06 KX450 being less than stellar, what if he was armed with a CRF450?
Surely with their status they would have had some insight on what Kawasaki was developing right? I mean, Honda had a 450 in the works at that point! Maybe they were only concerned about the biggest contract? Maybe looking long term isn't something kids think about when turning pro? Maybe I am the only person that wonders these things?
Thanks for the nice words about the show, we are definitely having fun with it.
It’s an interesting bench racing topic: would James’ career have gone differently had he ridden red? I don’t think so. It’s very easy to point fingers and blame a bike on your results. The CR125 was so slow he would have better lap times laying it down and running like hell. I know he could ride anything but that KX125 he was on was a bullet and it fit him like a glove. Yes, racing a 250 two-stroke in 2005 was tough, but the other guys were dealing with four-stroke issues like flame outs, hard starting, and just being generally heavier than a Chevrolet Suburban. Even when he had the 450 in 2006, he complained that it wasn’t good. I can tell you that, all things being equal, he would have complained that the Honda 125 was slow and that the CRF450 wouldn’t turn, etc. if he wasn’t winning.
Hell, I’ll give you five different reasons I didn’t win titles in every single season I raced… want to hear them? No, you don’t, because excuses are like, well, you know. It was interesting to listen to James talk about the pressure he felt during his career and how it basically drove him to hate motorcycles. He can’t even stand the smell of his compound. That’s really sad to me. I hope that one day he goes out with his brother or a friend and just gets back to the basics and reminds himself how much fun riding is. There is one common reason we all started riding motorcycles and he’s lost sight of it.
Long time reader sending his first letter.
I’ve always wondered why former factory mechanics do not offer the services like retired riders do. Riders have classes all the time. Imagine a former mechanic helping out a rider set up a new bike or rebuild an old bike, or help a vet tune their suspension or a local racer at the races. A savvy mechanic could do this during big regional races or local tracks or have a local shop.
That’s a great question and the truth is, there are some mechanics that do just that. The first guy who comes to mind is Chad Watts, former mechanic for Ryan Hughes, Mickael Pichon, and Ricky Carmichael. Chad won a bunch of races and titles but eventually got tired of the grind and wanted to move back to North Carolina. So, he started Watts Perfections where he builds race bikes for anybody wanting a professional mechanic to build their bike.
I don’t know how much time he spends at the local track setting sag for vet riders, but if you have the time and money, I’m sure he’s willing to meet you there for a day of setup.
There are a few others, like Matt Jory from Proven Moto in Salt Lake City, Utah. Matty won several Supermoto titles as Jeff Ward’s mechanic and developed bikes for the TLD team as they switched to SX/MX. He runs his own outfit now and does incredible work. Jaime Ellis was a former mechanic/crew chief who broke off and started Twisted Development; he does awesome work in the Southern California area.
There are others, I’m sure, but most of them either start their own businesses or work for one of the race teams in a development or testing capacity. Hope that answers your question. Thanks for the letter!
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