Monster Energy Athlete Ride Days
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Words can’t even explain how much fun I’ve had the last three days. Without question, I have more than my fair share of pleasure test riding the latest and greatest powersports equipment. But sometimes, the best times are right in your own backyard, sharing your motorcycling passion with true, honest to God enthusiasts. And that’s exactly what I got to do with a few of Monster Energy’s top athletes.
Joining us on the fun-fest was MotoGP’s Cal Crutchlow
, reigning World Supersport champion and ’12 World Superbike class rookie, Chaz Davies
. Plus we had America’s own two-time AMA Superbike champ Josh Hayes
, plus sidekick, Josh Herrin
, who has graduated to the class for ’12. Lastly, sportbike freestyle rider, Ernie Vigil also joined in on the fun.
Sunday we spent the day at Pala Raceway burning laps aboard motocross bikes. Since Hayes and Vigil are part-time locals they had their own machinery. But because you can’t check your dirt bike in as luggage, we brought out bikes for the Euros and young buck, Herrin. Even though no one directly competes with one another, with the exception of Hayes/Herrin, as soon each rider strapped their helmet on it was time to race!. Of course, since Hayes lives here, rides regularly, and is a abnormally talented dude at everything, he shreds the hardest. Despite limited access to moto tracks in the U.K. Crutchlow and Davies proved why they are some of the world’s most bad-ass racers quickly getting up to speed.
I had the most fun riding with Herrin as we’re kind of at similar speeds. He’s faster than me but he ain’t afraid to take chances and get a little whiskey with the twist grip. Still, it’s a total blast to banging bars with someone close to the same speed. We rode all afternoon, staying hydrated with Monsters and riding until the sun said no more.
Monday, Hayes and the Euros had a bicycle magazine commitment so they did their thing. That left me, Herrin, our all-around test rider and pro tempore social media guru, Franke Garcia to hit Pala again for Kawasaki’s Team Green ride day. And just like the day before, controlled mayhem ensued with us three yahoos laughing and pinning it in formation the entire day.
For the final day the crew reunited at Perris Raceway to cut some skids around the flat track and air it out on the moto track. Joining us were road racers and all-around haul-assers Jake Zemke
and Jeremy Toye. Beta Motorcycles, Johnny Murphree (another haul-asser) made it out as well. Since dirt track is as American as apple pie, it wasn’t a surprise that Davies and Crutchlow had never had the opportunity to cut skids with a metal shoe, nor did stunt-man Ernie. Having just started riding this year I tried to give them some tips, before remembering that these guys are top-level pros so they’re going to be able to figure it out quick. And quick they did, with all three of them getting sideways within a handful of laps.
Perris’ quarter-mile flat track course is adjacent to the moto track so we had the rare opportunity to go back and forth between steel shoes and moto boots. What a trip: to one minute be getting hacked sideways, sliding around the dirt track to having near 100% traction (overnight showers made the dirt at the moto track perfect) and flying off jumps! It’s an adrenaline junkies dream come true! At the end of the day everyone was all smiles and the Euro dudes couldn’t stop talking about how “good” we have it here in California. It was a fabulous experience being able to mix it up with racing heros I watch and read about. Look forward to the full lifestyle feature next month.
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