REM Motocross, Double Wins, and the KX350F
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Today was one of the most entertaining days of dirt bike racing I’ve ever experienced. If you’re not in the know perhaps the most fun, safe, and fast (literally, you’re out of there by 2:00 p.m.) places to race motocross in Southern California is Racing Enterprises Motorsports (REM
REM runs at Glen Helen Raceway on its own natural terrain track directly across from the national track. And with all the recent rain we’ve had this winter the dirt couldn’t be better. Today was chalked full of racers from all walks of life. There were even a small army of about 40 young European riders all living the dream, racing dirt bikes in California with the folks at MX Heaven USA. This equated to full starting gates and super fun bar banging battle-o-ramas.
Next to the awesomely-prepped track, and ultra-efficient race program, one of the coolest things about REM
is some of the personalities the folks you meet there. Today, I met a really interesting father/son duo pitted right next to me. Cory, the son, was racing his first pro race and his pops, Bruce was wrenching on his bike. So we get to chatting about airplanes and he tells me that he occasionally pens stories about World War II fighter planes! And when I say pen, I mean like actually fly the things! He’s flown Mitsubishi Zeros, Supermarine Spitfires, F4U Corsairs, Messerschmitt BF-109s, and even raced P-51 Mustangs alongside Bob Hannah and Red Bull Air Racer, Mike Mangold! So awesome!
Anyways, the guy was a virtual encyclopedia for aircraft of that era and it was awesome learning some of the intricacies and quirks of those amazing machines. He even had some crazy near-death aerial mayhem stories which had my head spinning in wonder.
But back to the racing: Today, I raced a 2010 Kawasaki KX450F
(find out what it feels like to ride it in our 2010 Kawasaki KX450F First Ride
) and man despite it coming in third place in our 2010 450 Motocross Shootout
, I can’t believe what an excellent over package this bike is. I’m in awe of just how well calibrated the bike’s OE suspension is to my skill level. The front and rear spring rate is spot-on perfect and the damping characteristics—well I couldn’t imagine an aftermarket company getting it to perform any better than stock—it performs that well.
Even more impressive is how you can tune the engine’s performance with your computer (Peruse the entire report in our Kawasaki Fuel Injection Calibration Kit
review). As I mentioned before given how rough the track was and the lack of overall traction, I downloaded a different combined fuel/ignition map that made the bike feel like a KX350F. Maximum engine power was still there if you let the revs climb out but bottom-end and mid-range power delivery was toned down significantly making the bike way easier to pilot during each 15 minute moto. It made a huge difference in my race. With a standard 450 I’d normally feel worn out and barely able to hang on with the modified power mapping I was in total control throughout the moto and wasn’t even that tired afterwards. In the end the Kawasaki
helped me take double race wins in the Vet Novice class.
Long live motocross, REM, Kawasaki’s KX450F, and fighter planes!
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