Now that the event is over, I can reveal the original mastermind behind Moto Fite Klub is Rob Buydos. You might recognize his gravelly voice, as Rob has been a live announcer at the Lucas Oil AMA Pro Motocross Championship for nearly 20 years, he also announces with me at the Daytona Supercross, and he’s announced supercross, Monster Energy Cup, and much more. Behind the scenes, he’s a long-time worker with Parts Unlimited and THOR. But really, Rob is about more than just the gigs. Rob is just an all-out mover/shaker/motocross lover enthusiast. He’s always got something in works, often a minibike race, or a bike build, or a road trip. He lives for this.
Moto Fite Klub might be his greatest concoction yet. See, we have a line in this business to never complain about stuff that’s free. But, when an event is charging $19.99 for pay-per-view, at that point every I should be dotted and every T should be crossed, because now you’re asking people to put their hard-earned money on the line.
Well, under normal circumstances we’d say the production for a $19.99 pay-per-view event better be spot on. These are not normal circumstances. These are circumstances where every sporting event is on hold. The May 12 date for Moto Fite Klub means that it beat just about every sporting event in America on a re-opening date. How Rob and his buddies pulled this off (at an undisclosed location!) in about 10 days still baffles the mind. It’s a testament to the spirit of the 10 racers involved. They all wanted to do it, they all hustled to get it done, and they all did it for zero pay.
When I talked to Buydos about this race a little over a week ago, he was all fired up as usual. He kept using words like “raw” and “backward” and “basic.” That was the vibe going in, so even though pay-per-view is usually reserved for million dollar boxing matches at a Vegas casino, this event was set to be different, because these times are different.
If you watched the race last night, you understand. The racing was outstanding. (If you missed the racing, you can still watch the pay-per-view event archive). These guys can still really go fast. I told my wife to watch the Broc Glover versus Travis Pastrana moto and see if she could guess the ages of the riders. She was in shock when I told her a 59-year-old was busting out those jumps. Broc Glover doesn’t look like a 59-year-old! Kevin Windham barely rides anymore, but he can still whip like no other. Nothing about the riding resembled “old guy” or “has been.” They looked fast and they tried hard.
As for the broadcast production, hey, it wasn’t as slick as Monster Energy AMA Supercross on NBCSN. The camera in the last corner seemed to work 50 percent of the time, and you could tell a lot of the rules were literally being made up by the riders as the race went on. You know what? That made it awesome! The show seemed it poured directly from the minds of legendary racers and into your computer screen, like watching NBA players hold a pickup game in their driveway. Raw, backyard and basic, indeed. You just sensed so much passion for this project by the riders. They were doing it only because they wanted to do it, not because they had to. And wouldn’t you love to see gloves come off and riders design their own format, track, rules and regulations? Wouldn’t that be cool? Well, it just happened.
And credit to Rob for whipping up as much as he did. There was a scoreboard behind the gate, the track looked good, there was a national anthem and prayer…it felt like a real race, whipped together in 10 days with social distancing in place. Wow.
Sipes Andrew Fredrickson RV leading Alessi into the first turn (!!) with Sipes behind them as the three-lap main event began. Andrew Fredrickson Broc Glover on Pastrana's Suzuki RM-Zilla leads Pastrana on Glover's Yamaha YZ490! Andrew Fredrickson Stanton and Bradshaw. Andrew Fredrickson Stanton and Bradshaw. Andrew Fredrickson Bradshaw with the jump on RV out of the gates! Andrew Fredrickson Pastrana on his Suzuki RM-Zilla leads Glover on his 2020 Yamaha YZ450F. Andrew Fredrickson Bradshaw with the jump on RV out of the gates! Andrew Fredrickson Sipes using his American Flat Track skills on the inside of this left-hand turn to get around Windham. Andrew Fredrickson
Due to that social distancing rule, staff on the ground was minimal. That said, we managed to get our managing editor Andrew Fredrickson access to the event. Here’s his take:
Right upon arrival there were "Road Closed" signs, but we were instructed to keep going ahead, this was the right access point. After getting inside you'd get your temperature checked, and then if you did not show fever symptoms, you were allowed access to the grounds, instructed to use social distancing measures, and there was even an area with hand sanitizer, masks, and soap you could use to keep clean. The only people allowed on the grounds were the riders, a few mechanics, the TV crew, event staff, and four journalists. The vibe was incredible, the fact that this was most everyone's first race back after being quarantined for the last 45 days is an amazing feeling. It felt like old times, back to where we belong, at a dirt bike race. The riders loved it too, and that camp fire on Monday night was all-time. The racing itself was actually a lot better than expected, to be honest. With the stable of riders invited it was hard to figure out if everyone was going to be competitive, and surprisingly they were. I had no idea what Kevin Windham was going to bring to the table and he gave Ryan Sipes a run for his money. Broc Glover looked great! The Stanton/Bradshaw battle gave everyone what they wanted, Pastrana flipped a 490, Weimer took a wild ride, and Alessi/Villopoto were absolutely going at it in the final. What's not to love?
Exactly. This was backyard moto, but backyard moto of the highest caliber—with the big names on cool bikes, all trying to outdo each other. It delivered something we all really needed. With all the conjecture of how racing, sports, entertainment and the world might somehow return, who knew that the best answers would come from a couple of old athletes that know how to ride motorcycles really fast? Rob Buydos did, and with a little help from his friends, they did it.