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X Games 16 – 2010

POSTED ON August 10th  - POSTED IN Blog, Uncategorized

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.

Red Bull X-Fighters Russia

POSTED ON July 1st  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Been awhile since my last post, things have been crazy. Just got back from building a freestyle course for the Red Bull X-Fighters Russia. Imagine being on the front lawn of the White House, starting up your dirtbike, and hitting an insane freestyle course…..that is pretty much what Red Bull X-Fighters Russia was like. All I knew upon departing for Russia, was that we were building a course at Red Square in Moscow. Once we arrived on site, began the planning and building – it all began to sink in. Right behind us was the Saint Basil’s Cathedral, and to the left was Kremlin Wall. We were standing on a cobblestone street that was laid hundreds of years ago, and the only thing we used to protect it was plastic. We were actually building a freestyle course on a historic landmark.

We began building on the 14th of June. The first week of the build we had to build at night so that construction was not occurring during the day…we worked from 5pm to 8am. Surprisingly enough we had great equipment from Zeppelin CAT, being in another country this normally is a struggle. The dirt started coming in at midnight on the 14th and the course started to take shape…kind of!! The dirt was coming in so wet from the previous weeks rain, the loaders were unable to get on the dirt because the ruts were so deep. So, we had to start out by pushing it up with the bulldozer, and then had to scramble to find an excavator. To add insult to injury, once we were two days into the build, it rained for another two days. We salvaged what we could with tarps, and soldiered on. At one point on the third day of the build, one of the trucks came in with such a heavy load that it actually flipped when it raised the bed to dump. After a couple days of sunshine and continually turning the dirt over, the dirt started coming around and the course started taking shape. In the end, we actually finished a day early, with one of the coolest backdrops I have ever seen! In addition to having an awesome freestyle course built for the riders, Red Bull when one step further and had a really cool rider staging area built. What they built was a life-size lincoln log house for the riders area, and each rider had their own individual lincoln log stall. We were trying to figure out how we could get it home once the event was over because it was so cool!

The event was insane. As the sun started setting, and the bikes were flipping, the backdrop was one that will never be forgotten by riders, fans, and crew. Everybody put in their best performances, but in the end Levi Sherwood threw down an amazing run with some of the craziest spinal dislocating tricks I had ever seen and took home the win.

When it was time to tear down the course, or bump out, as we call it – there was a lot of dirt to move. Then it was presented to us that we would be peeling the final layer of dirt off of the historic cobblestone street that was only protected by a sheet of plastic. Adding to this feat was knowing that right next to where we will be peeling dirt off of the historic stones was Saint Basil’s Cathedral. The story behind the Cathedral is that once it was built, the architect was blinded so that he could never build something like it again. So if they blind a guy for building one of the most incredible Cathedrals in the world, what would they do to the guy that tore up their historical stones?! No pressure….right?!?! I even joked with friends and family…”well if I come up missing, you know why!!” All joking aside, the bump out went very smooth…not a single stone was damaged and we left Red Square just as we found it!

All in all it was an amazing trip. I enjoyed stepping aside from my normal building world of supercross and motocross tracks to team up with Dane Herron of DHI and his crew. They are truly the best in creating freestyle masterpieces! It was a true privilege to be part of this monumental event, and look forward to future opportunities with the DHI crew!

Whirlwind of a new year

POSTED ON February 2nd  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

Wow…things sure were crazy towards the end of the year. Brisbane SX or ‘Bris-Vegas’ as the Aussies’ called it was insane. We worked crazy hours building the biggest supercross track of the series, and as many said maybe the biggest SX ever built in Australia. The whole week was awesome!! Even though we worked more hours in a few days than most people work in a whole week – the end result was worth it. The crowd was the largest the series has ever seen, . The field was deep with great riders as it was, but throwing Josh Grant and Davi Millsaps in the mix made the race even more exciting. It was great to sit back and watch it all unfold, and also a big relief to know the series was now complete.

I had an awesome time over in Australia once again. Being put in charge of designing and building the entire series was a great experience and privilege. I look forward to working with the GAS and SuperX crew once again for the 2010 series!
Upon returning to the states, I was in need for some serious resting!! But first, I had to take care of my riders!! First stop, Haines City Florida to James Stewarts’. Then down to Manatee County to check in on the new Forest Glen Motoplex that I built just before leaving for Australia. After checking in on a few others, I was able to have some down time! I spent some quality time with my wife and kids, and got everything ready for Christmas!!
Things were in full swing once again at the start of the year. We teamed up with Butler Brothers MX once again, and built them a sweet test track in Brooksville, Fl. The weather was cold, and a little rainy, but the track turned out awesome!
After that it was out to California to do some design work for an upcoming event….and of course Anaheim 1! Got going with some great designs, and watched some awesome racing.
Once I made it back to Florida it was off to Nico Izzi’s to get his Supercross track ready. This time I decided to pack up the motorhome and bring the family – fun times!! We arrived at Nico’s training facility at night, but could tell everything was definitely a little wet. When we woke up in the morning, I could see how wet it was. Wet but not horrible. The pad the Supercross track was on was high enough to be away from any large amounts of standing water, and the drainage of the track held up great, so there wasn’t much water on the track. So, I got to work. Just a few hours into it, I (and all the other riders at the facility) started to notice the water along the motocross track rising. For those of you who do not know, Nico’s facility is along a river, and part of it sits in the flood plain. So that said, we noticed the water coming up even quicker!! The county had opened the flood gates and the water was coming in fast. Needless to say, the construction on the SX track stopped, and we all sat back to see how high it would get. When it was done rising, all of the motocross track (except about 12 inches of the biggest double) was covered with water. It came all the way up to the supercross track, but luckily the dam I built along the front of the supercross pad kept the water from getting into the track. We decided to call it quits and start again once the weather turned better and the water went down. I made it back up the next week, and Nico now has a supercross track to train on! Can’t wait for East Coast to start – he is on it!!
This past week and weekend was a crazy one too! A great family that I built a track for in North Carolina, the Lindsey’s came down to Florida to race the Winter Am at Forest Glen. We took the RV down to the track, and had a great time watching the races. This was the first big race at The Glen, and they did a great job. I sat back all weekend, didn’t touch the track once – their track crew did a good job!! I even saw some friends from Australia while I was there…small world!
Construction on Matt Boni’s new supercross track was supposed to start on Monday, but it rained all day Monday, and today, so hopefully we will start tomorrow. I can’t wait to get going on this SX track. Boni has been a friend of mine since he was on 60’s – he trained with my brother-in-law Ronnie Tichenor, and it is great to see him advancing in the sport. His track is definitely going to be a DREAM TRAXX!
Until next time……

Parramatta SX

POSTED ON November 17th  - POSTED IN Uncategorized

I was really excited coming back to Sydney, especially after the success of last year, and to help lift my spirits further, my family (who I had not seen since September 29th) arrived here the Tuesday before the race. My wife, 2 year old little girl, and 1 year old little boy didn’t let me too far out of their sights once we were ‘re-united’.

We had the same dirt that we had from last year, so it was nice to know that we would be working with good dirt. After last week’s dirt shortage, which sacrificed overall lap time, the guys at Global Action Sports kicked some extra cash into the budget which allowed us to add a little extra to the track that I had designed. This was awesome because we achieved a 40 second lap time, which is really good for a 4 lane supercross track. The riders liked the track, and there were several areas where you could make up ground and make some great passes. Having the largest crowd of the series also added to the excitement.
In the Lites class, Matt Moss came in with hopes of wrapping up the title, and as usual was fast from the get-go. He even came within tenths of a second of Chad’s lap times after qualifying was done. It was clear though that everyone else was stepping up there game in hopes to carry the title chase through to Brisbane. In the four race quad challenge, each moto had a different winner, and it was a couple last lap passes in the final race that helped Moss to secure his championship. Lawson Bopping won his first moto of the season, and was there for the challenge all night. Kyle Cunningham was again fast, but it is the little mistakes that keep costing him. It should be interesting this week to see Moss on a 450 in New Zealand.
In the Open class, the survival format would provide the Parramatta fans with some of the most exciting races of the season. I am not typically for short races, but being that they were back to back, the endurance and mental concentration of each rider is definitely put to the test. To add to the challenge, the riders had to push their bikes back to the gates from just past the finish line jump. This was fun for the fans to watch! Consistency would definitely pay off. It was good to see that Chad is finally working the ‘bugs’ out of his new ride. He even pulled a few holeshots, which has been rare for him at this years series. His fitness definitely looks good, and his added confidence from bike setup allowed him to jump through a 152 foot rhythm section in 2 jumps! The surprise of the night came from the King himself, Jeremy McGrath. Jeremy, who has been retired for a few years now, rode a strategic series of races – knowing when and where to push himself. His strategy paid off and landed him on the second step of the podium. Jeremy is still, and always will be one of my favorite riders and it is hard to not pull for him. He is still a great ambassador for this sport. I was happy to see Jay Marmont back up his win from last week with a 3rd place spot this week!
We have now headed to New Zealand, which is a place I nor the series have ever been to. The Lites guys will be staying home or riding a 450, which gives opportunity for the New Zealand Lites riders to showcase their talents. This week should be fun!
Hope you enjoy this weeks photos as well. The action photos were shot by a friend from ‘down under’, Paul Robbins. You can check more of his work at You can tell he definitely puts as much in to line of work as I do mine! Thanks Paul!