July 29, 2010….there we were, sitting in the baking hot Los Angeles 4 o’clock sun, watching all of our hard work turn to a complete dust bowl. Now rewind to July 18th, when the two forces of Dane Herron and the DHI crew, and Jason Baker and the Dream Traxx crew began the challenge of building all of the dirt events for X Games 16. As the dirt began to roll into the Coliseum, the site for this years Moto X, Freestyle, and Rally Car events, things were going smooth. Then word came that the construction site where all of the dirt was being hauled in from was suddenly shut down. Our building job quickly got put on pause, as our new job was to hunt down more dirt. To add to the confusion, this year we hauled in almost 20,000 yards of dirt which is 25% more dirt than the previous year, with one less day to build. That is enough dirt to build 4 normal supercross tracks. Then lets throw the other curve ball, the mega ramp up the middle of the course, and the rule of dirt guys not being able to work while ramp guys were working, and vice-versa. Yet another challenge of the build….trying to build lanes going up the peristyle at a 45 degree slope instead of on flat ground. All building challenges aside, the crews cranked out an insane amount of hours and sculpted nearly 20,000 yards of dirt into this years SuperX, Freestyle and Rally courses.
Back to July 29, 2010….after only 3 hours of sleep from the night before we began prepping the SuperX course first thing in the morning. The track was still completely ripped so the dirt was open and we could continue saturating the soil as much as possible before the event. We finally took Skidsteers to it around mid-day to pack it in and continued watering. We continually watered the track throughout the day, knowing that it was going to take a brutal beating from the blistering hot, dry, LA sun. As the events started, we knew the dust was coming. The crew did all that we could to have the track prepped right – but when you are dealing with 95 degree temperatures, completely dry air, and hours of practice on the track before the event, there was only so much we could do and knew the dust was bound to happen. Plus once the events were started, there was no time in the schedule for any grooming or track maintenance since everything was revolving around the live TV schedule.
After the events were over, and we heard all of the talk around the pits about how dry and dusty the track was, and things like “why didn’t they water”, or “they should know how to prep a track”, all of our heads hung low. If only the fans and riders knew how hard we worked to try to beat the dust! When have you ever seen a daytime Supercross race in the blistering hot sun??? There is a reason you don’t! After Dane and Jason had a long talk with ESPN Executives, hopefully we will see some scheduling changes next year!
So, now the SuperX and Freestyle events are over….time for the crews to pull an all-nighter and get the Coliseum ready for Rally and Super Rally. Running on only 3 hours of sleep from the night before, many of the guys worked a 39 hour shift to tear down and rebuild. Once the Rally courses were ready, the guys then headed over to Staples Center to prepare for the Step Up, Best Whip and Best Trick competitions. Their work streak was not over, because now was time to tear down those jumps and build the Speed and Style course. Once the course began taking shape, and many of the guys had been up for nearly two days straight, they decided to call it a night. After a refreshing 5 hours of sleep, half of the crew headed to the Coliseum to handle the Rally events, while the other half headed to Staples to continue preparing for the Speed and Style events. After all of the crazy work hours, and loads of stress – it seemed like they were finally on the downhill stretch.
Overall, all of the events went off with out any major problems. At the end of it, the guys stood back in an awe and respect at the feat they had accomplished. More than 24,000 yards of dirt, hauled into two different locations, building 8 different events, with a crew of 8, working an average of 18 hours a day – X Games 16 was an event and challenge that they will never forget!
This could not have happened without the experience of team captain, Dane Herron. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with someone with his resume. He assembled an amazing crew of some of the hardest workers around. I take it as an honor for him to give me the task of handling the Super X and Speed & Style courses. I would also like to personally thank the crew; Corey Hobbs, John Burns, Shiloh Cahill, John Pelton, Brandon Johnson, Kurt Eppler, and Ricky Scavia, for all the hours of hard work that they put in this year. Even after all the hurdles that we had to jump, I know that I am privileged to have this opportunity, and I am truly thankful.