I awake not to an alarm clock but to the sound of a 450 four-stroke echoing through the morning air as I snuggle in my warm sleeping bag. Not a typical morning but then again its Thanksgiving holiday and I’m attending the 2010 A Day in the Dirt Motocross Grand Prix for a fun filled weekend of camping and dirt bike riding.
This was lucky number thirteen for the Troy Lee Designs sponsored A Day in the Dirt but the first time the event has been held at Pala Raceway in Southern California. The nice thing about the new location is it’s close to Pala Casino Resort allowing some creature comforts and possible nightlife if that’s what is desired.
For some though, it’s more about the idea of camping with your family and friends and Pala has no shortage of room for motorhomes and toy haulers of all sizes. Friday is the day to arrive and let’s not forget it’s the day after you have stuffed yourself with an eight course holiday meal and there is no better place than a motocross track to burn off some excess calories.
The Moto-A-Gogo Team Race was popular and fun to watch (above). The camping atmosphere was top shelf.
When we arrived it was during Troy Lee Happy Hour practice and we quickly found a front row track side parking spot with ease, allowing us to see the action from the comfort of our campground. Many thanks to El Monte RV who supplied us with a rental motorhome which made for a great viewing platform and gave us the comforts of home that were in dire need when it came to shivering cold evenings and the occasional late night down pour. After we settled in and ran some Happy Hour practice laps we then took a walk around the facility to get an idea of what the Troy Lee Designs sponsored event had in store for the weekend. An old school motorhome was rolled in next to the podium and a graffiti artist went to work early tagging it with a super sweet commemorative A Day in the Dirt mural that took him all day to create and was the center piece for the weekend.
After viewing the vendor area to check out the latest moto fashions and snapping some photos of the graffiti on wheels we headed to the Freestyle Motocross show that included FMX riders such as Red Bull’s Lance Coury and Troy Lee Design’s Rich Kearns performing some sick whips off huge ramps under the Friday night lights. The crowd was all pumped up cheering as the riders did back flips and wheelie stops. Once it was done it was great to see the kids get autographs and pictures from the FMX riders. Soon after the Freestyle show ended it was back to base camp for some fireside fun and food to end the night with friends and family.
Saturday brought a full day of racing starting with a Vintage GP and then on to everything from Minis to Vet Classics. No matter what type of bike you ride there was a moto class for everyone. A Day in the Dirt is all about mixing both racing and fun in order to create an atmosphere that welcomes any style rider. The spectrum ranged from pro motocrossers to carefree weekend warriors not to mention motorcycle industry enthusiasts going for bragging rights.
Costumes on the track were not uncommon and made racing fun. (above). Some fine ladies supporting their men at the start of the Moto-A-Gogo Team Race.
Some of the pros who participated were Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath along with 2010 GNCC Champion Josh Strang. Both McGrath and Strang were banging bars a little on the track and increasing the fun factor for not only themselves but for the spectators watching on the sidelines. Of course you didn’t have to be pro to catch spectators’ eyes. Some riders were all about fun and the scene included crazy costumes like a vintage rider who wore his gorilla costume during the race. After noting some of the rider highlights it was off to catch some pictures of our very own editorial work horse Adam Waheed A.K.A. “The Steed.” Adam paired up with test rider Nick Thiel and mounted themselves on the 2011 KTM 450 SX-F and 350 SX-F machines to participate in back-to-back race classes (read about it in the 2010 A Day in the Dirt in the Books blog). Both riders sported Troy Lee Designs gear and did individual races along with the cool Stunt Team race that is similar to a relay race emphasizing team work on the track.
The way it works is two riders, two bikes, one wrist band and 75 minutes of track time. The first rider starts the race and completes a full lap wearing a women’s hair band around one’s wrist called a scrungie. When the lap is completed the rider stops and a pit assistant helps transfer the scrungie to the next rider who completes the next lap. This continues with the same riders in one lap increments for 75 minutes of moto time. This type of racing is always fun to watch and it’s great to get out there and cheer on your friends who are participating.
The following day, Sunday closed out with the Moto-A-Gogo Team Race and the ironman style Coup de Grace finale. Both races have stacked talent from the pro ranks and motorcycle industry. Pro Factory KTM rider Andrew Short showed up to race on Sunday even though it’s his birthday. He received some embarrassing birthday love from his fellow riders singing a birthday serenade to him on the start line. Other pro riders included Brett Metcalfe on his new Suzuki ride, up and coming Troy Lee Designs rider Jesse Nelson, Erik Kehoe, Sean Collier and even FMX rider X-Games gold medalist Ronnie Renner. Not only is this team riding popular with pro riders but the industry was out in full force with riders such as Brendan Lutes, associate editor of Transworld MX magazine and FMF’s marketing Guru Donny Emler Jr. participating.
Andrew Short wins the 2010 A Day in the Dirt Coup de Grace Survival Race and is presented a custom Troy Lee Designs Coupe de Grace leather jacket, what a Birthday gift.
After the team racing is logged in the books the final race of the event is what’s called the Coup de Grace Survival Race, meaning “blow of mercy” in French. This Coup de Grace race is regarded as the highest earned badge of honor one can receive at A Day in the Dirt. Everyone is out to win the bragging rights and the special awards dreamed up by Troy Lee himself. When the dust settled it was KTM’s newest factory rider and the birthday boy who reigned victorious as none other than Andrew Short accepted his award on stage and thanked everyone for welcoming him to the event. But not before Shorty put out an apology to an unknown rider who he accidentally bumped pretty hard, considering it a dick move. Of course the unknown rider happened to be up front in the crowd and jumped on stage to shake Short’s hand and tell the crowd it was his highlight of the race. With the crowd laughing at the story and Andrew Short shaking the guy’s hand, everything was all good.
In the end the 2010 A Day in the Dirt came to a close with not only great racing but great family fun. It’s an event where people can hang out for the weekend to enjoy the grubbin’ food on vendor row, shop for cool moto swag, hang out in the Red Bull hospitality tent or just gear up and ride on Pala’s other two open tracks without the pressure of racing. A Day in the Dirt provides a relaxed holiday racing weekend that is family-oriented and encourages a break from the weekly hustle. Pala Raceway offers both the option to rough it with a tent, bring the motor coach or stay down the street in luxury at the Pala Casino. Either way A Day in the Dirt Motocross Grand Prix weekend is an incredibly fun affair.