KDX in National Enduro Series

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doakley
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KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 11:07 am Jan 04 2019

Sooo...I've made a major decision to enter the 2019 NEPG National Enduro series with my 1999 KDX 220. I'll be entering the 66+ class and have scheduled myself to ride 9 of the 10 events in the series. I'll skip the Oklahoma event as that is just a bit too far from my North Carolina home.
My intent is to chronicle my effort here on these forums.
NEPG Schedule.JPG
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I have no delusions about winning. I'm not fast compared to most of the other riders and typically just finishing represents success for me. So why am I even bothering? It's a boring story, but since you asked.......

Like many guys my age,66, I rode and raced off-road bikes when younger. For me that was back in the early 1070's. Yeah, I know, a long time ago. I raced hare and hounds, hare scrambles a little MX and a few enduros. Even rode in one 2-day IDSE qualifier (it was called ISDT back then). My favorite by far were the enduros. My first race bike was a stripped down Kawasaki 175 "enduro" model. We would call it a dual sport bike today. It wasn't the best bike I ever raced, that was either my Honda 250 Elsinore MX bike or my Suzuki PE250B, the last bike I owned before quitting. But it was my first so has always been special to me.
Kawi 175 Hill climb.JPG
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PE250B.JPG
PE250B.JPG (58.97 KiB) Viewed 899 times
In 1981 I had prepped my PE and had it ready for the upcoming enduro season. Unfortunately my then wife had other ideas. Long story short, I sold the PE and in a fit of marital anger threw out all the trophies and awards I had worked so hard to earn. This included my only National Enduro class trophy and my ISDT qualifier bronze medal. While I swore off bikes, as you know, it never really gets out of your blood. Every time I drove along a road and saw a trail going up a power line or went hiking in the mountains, I couldn't help but drift back in my mind to the days when I would have ridden that trail on a bike. It never truly was far from my heart and I always told myself "someday, I'll ride again!"

Fast forward to October 2014 and I'm laying immobile in a hospital bed after falling almost three stories off a ladder. I managed to crush both shoulders and am completely unable to take care of myself. My doctors are befuddled. According to them, about 90% of people who experience this much blunt force have severe life threatening, internal injuries. I do not. By all accounts I could have, perhaps should have, died that day. The docs tell me they don't see any reason I won't recover and should consider myself extremely lucky. Funny, I've never considered myself particularly lucky before, but I'll take it this time.
Healing Cat.JPG
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So here I am laying in bed with nothing to do but think and I realize if there were things I had always said I would do, perhaps I'd better get to doing them. For some unexplained, crazy reason, tops on my list was riding trail bikes again. I shared this with my wife (version 2.0 and without a doubt the love of my life). While somewhat confused, she knew of my riding history, and the riff it had caused with my prior wife, and was surprisingly supportive. She understood the concept of "unfinished business". I got out of the hospital in November and was finally cleared to drive in December. In January I drove to Virginia to pick up a bone stock, 1999 KDX 220! Here we go again!

Why a KDX and why the 220? And why completely stock? Remember, my first race bike was a Kawasaki and "Team Green" had always held a spot in my heart. So the brand was completely understandable, almost inevitable. After all, I was doing this for nostalgic reasons. I readily admit I was recreating a past dream, not necessarily looking for the most modern bike. I had definite ideas about what I wanted for trail riding. The more I read about the KDX, a bike I had never known about since I got out of riding just before the KDX began to dominate the enduro scene, the more I was convinced the KDX, in particular the 220 with its increased low end grunt, was the right choice for me.

Why a stock model? Recall "back in the day" when I started, there weren't any race bikes. "Run what you brung" was the order of the day. You bought a Japanese "enduro" bike, stripped off the lights, swapped to "full knobby" tires and raced! Some guys even rode their bikes to and from the races instead of trailering them. If you wanted a better, faster bike, you modified that stock machine yourself. Most of the mods I saw were hardly upgrades and hardly professionally done. In my experience, the more you modified a bike, the less reliable it was. I never had a problem with my 175 Kawi until I made it into a 238 Kawi. Then the problems never ceased. I developed a distrust of mods, especially engine mods, that has stayed with me to this day to some degree. I didn't want to buy somebody else's idea of an "improved" machine but rather go with a stock bike with a proven track record. For gosh sakes, exactly what bike has ever had a better reliability and success record than the KDX? Besides, I didn't intend to race, just ride some trails and relive my past. You know, get that old 2 stroke thrill back just a little!

ONCE A RACER ALWAYS A RACER!
Four months later there I am with my bone stock 220 on the starting line of my first "modern" hare scrambles! I barely finished one lap and was begging the sweep riders to show me a shortcut back to the start line so I could die in the relative comfort of my air conditioned truck! But inside, deep down, in that place where you never let anyone else go and don't even like visiting yourself, that place where you are forced to look at yourself in complete honesty, I knew I was hooked again! I had tried racing sailboats for a few years, but that was just too docile. I tried mountain bikes but had no real interest in something with two wheels and no motor. I was back! Feeling my age for sure, but back braaaaping again!

Since that initial miserably hot and exhausting, "less than a lap" day, I've not looked back. I'm better, but not good. I'm among the slowest riders on the course but I'm also riding with perhaps the biggest smile. After all, I'm racing a dirt bike when by all rights, I should be dead. No one is having a bigger time than I am. No one enjoys seeing a checkered flag at a hare scrambles or the final check point at an enduro more than I do.

My wonderful wife still questions my sanity I am sure. But I also believe she has a bit of pride that her husband still dreams of competing and is NOT sitting on the sofa watching football and eating cheeseburgers. When I presented Jane with the idea of riding the national events, she was immediately supportive. No comments about being a crazy old man trying to recapture my youth, a position I could hardly have argued with. Instead, after a brief pause, she simply asked, "How well can you do, really?" "Top 10 in class, maybe better if I don't get hurt and can get in better condition" was my honest answer. "Then I think you should do it."

So, I invite you to come ride along with me as I travel to the varied locations and terrains of the 2019 NEPG National Enduro Series. We'll go from South Carolina, to Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Virginia. All in all, we will drive well over 10,000 miles to and from races. I'll do my best to give you as accurate a feel as I can of the adventure, the experience and of course, the competition.

let the good times roll!

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by KDXGarage » 05:53 pm Jan 04 2019

SPEECHLESS!

Thank you for taking us along on your wonderful journey. I wish you the best as you take on the 2019 series! Congratulations on being able to give it a go. I am eager to hear how it all goes. Get the bike ready. The first race is in just four weeks. It will be here before you know it.
kdxrider.net forum member doakley participating in National Enduro series:
(current class standing, 5th!)
viewtopic.php?f=136&t=23217&sid=e6a86d8 ... 9&start=40

Thank you for participating on kdxrider.net. :bravo:

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by bufftester » 11:40 pm Jan 04 2019

Can't wait to watch this journey! As a fellow "older than most" rider I'll be pulling for you.

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by ericr » 04:17 pm Jan 05 2019

Wonderful! Being 63 myself, I especially appreciate stories of others getting back into the sport after many years. Thanks for sharing!
'02 KDX 200, '02 KDX 220 - My restoration thread... viewtopic.php?f=77&t=22266

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by oldmankdx69 » 05:28 pm Jan 05 2019

What a great story. Not many can say, I almost died and still want to ride "dirt bikes". Other than the accident, I can relate to your story and the Team Green motorcycles. I get told all the time, "you're too old to ride dirt bikes". How old is "too old" ? I'm 67 and still enjoy trying to keep up to my 34 year old son on the trails. We participate in a local enduro each year in March, and go to the mountains once or twice a year. We have 2 local areas near town that we go almost every weekend, depending on the weather. I plan on doing this as long as I can walk and breathe. Look foward to reading of your escapades. Good Luck and GO FOR IT!!!!

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by Cronedo » 09:03 pm Jan 07 2019

I can only add my voice to the awestruck supporters eagerly and enviously looking forward to your race reports! :pop:

Be safe, let us know how the bike does, and post lotsa pictures!

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by Asewell » 11:04 am Jan 09 2019

Great story and wishing you lots of good luck. I will be following along with you.

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by ssrlewis » 12:29 pm Jan 09 2019

Doakley 3 sentences into your story you said you will not travel to Oklahoma because of the distance BUT your going to travel to Missouri! I don’t know the location of either of these races BUT come on! This is your dream! Go all in. I live in Central OK and you have a place to stay before and after the race. I have plenty of room and you and whomever travels with you are welcome. Hell, I’ll even prep your bike and go and support you at the race. So no excuses now. You told your wife possibly top 10 in the races. Go for top 10 in the series.

I’m just a young pup of 53 but have a similar story. Rode since I was 14 but when kids came along there went the bike. Fast forward to daughter gone and graduated from college and 14 year old son getting interested in bikes so I bought us a couple and started riding again. Never competed in any type of racing before but at 51 I started racing Moto in the over 50 class and I love it!

So let me know where Race is and date. If at Stanley Draper (Lake Draper) that is only an 30-40 mins from my house. If it’s at Zink Ranch then my dad is only 30 mins from there and we can bunk there with no issues.

This isn’t a joke so live ur dream and complete the full series.


Steve Lewis

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 01:45 pm Jan 09 2019

Steve, what a wonderful offer! Be careful, I might just take you up! The enduro is at Zink which is about 1250 miles away. It is the last one in the series. Since they only count your best 8 races, I may not need to enter the 10th and final event. I can assure you though, if I need the race for the points, I will drive to OK! Thanks again for your more than generous offer!

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by B737driver » 03:57 pm Jan 09 2019

Great story! Wishing you all the best.
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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 06:51 pm Jan 09 2019

Thanks for all the positive comments. I thought I would do a quick summary of my bike, specifically the mods I have made. Most, if not all of these have been done with an eye towards making the bike easier to ride, especially important in the 65+ class!
KDX Race Ready.jpg
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Suspension:
-2001 KX 250 forks modified and tuned by SR1 Suspension with Gold Valves
Stock rear shock modified by Jeff Fredette

Without a doubt the most important mod. In my opinion, you get more bang for the buck by having your suspension properly set up for you than anything else you can do to the bike. I recommend spending your money there first.

Engine:
-Stock carb but Boysen 2 stage reeds: Mostly for the snappy throttle response; also because I had no idea how old the reeds in the bike were.

-Airbox snorkel removed: Did not need to rejet, it was already too rich!

-Wiseco piston: It’s a 220. Getting the stock piston out is not a mod. It is, or should be, standard operation for every 220.

-FMF ‘Woods’ pipe w/ Turbine Core II silencer: I know almost everyone recommends the rev pipe for the 220. I find the woods pipe gives me even more low end grunt and still adds to the top a bit as well.

-EFM Autoclutch : Got this used for a member on these forums. I love it! It’s like cheating! Not sure if I’ve solved a pesky overheating problem. Need to ride harder and let the clutch slip less. (not in photo)

-Left hand rear brake mod: Came with the EFM Autoclutch. (no rear foot brake at all) This took some time to get comfortable but I really like it, especially in tight stuff or on downhills. Since the EFM eliminated the clutch lever, I have only the rear brake lever on my left handlebar. (not in photo)

-MX style fenders: Just liked the look and didn’t want to break up my vintage stock fenders. Already broke up the headlight so switched it to MX style front number plate too. (front MX fender not in photo)

-Gearing 13/49: Only slightly lower than stock.

-Factory Effex gripper seat cover: I hated the stock slippery cover in the mud. This is much better.

-IMS footpegs: Nothing wrong with stock, I just like the way I feel more “anchored” on the bike with the wider pegs. (not in photo)

-Acerbis bark busters: Damn! I wish I had thought of these when I was riding years ago.

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by KDXGarage » 12:45 am Jan 10 2019

Those are a lot of practical mods to enhance your KDX! I think you have made great choices.

If I may make ONE slight suggestion, PLEASE spray paint that bike stand ANY COLOR except orange. :busted:
kdxrider.net forum member doakley participating in National Enduro series:
(current class standing, 5th!)
viewtopic.php?f=136&t=23217&sid=e6a86d8 ... 9&start=40

Thank you for participating on kdxrider.net. :bravo:

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by thirdgenlxi » 02:31 am Jan 10 2019

KDXGarage wrote:
12:45 am Jan 10 2019
If I may make ONE slight suggestion, PLEASE spray paint that bike stand ANY COLOR except orange. :busted:
:bravo: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

Doug you forgot the sweet radiator guards too! That I neeeeedd to get as well, lol

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by John_S » 09:39 am Jan 10 2019

What a great story and great looking bike. Good luck in the series. We're pulling for you!

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by ssrlewis » 11:42 am Jan 10 2019

Doakley the offer stands so PM me for contact info.

I was a ranch hand on Zink Ranch when I was in High School and up until I went in the Air Force the following year. It’s a beautiful place and well worth it if you decide to come.


Steve

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 12:00 pm Jan 10 2019

Thanks, Steve. You'll need to upgrade your membership level to receive PM ability. That requires a donation to KDXRIDER.NET. See the "donations" button at the top of your screen.

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by G22inSC » 06:17 pm Jan 10 2019

What an awesome story and upcoming adventure. I wish you the absolute best of luck and hope you do well. Love the bike and the mods. Looks great.
'05 Kaw KDX200 ('00 KX125 forks / '02 RM125 Showa "K2" shock)
'17 Yam YZ85 (oldest boy's)
'08 Kaw KX65 (youngest boy's)
'10 Honda Recon (wife's)
'07 KTM 50SX Sr. (Sold)
'09 Yam PW50 (retired)
'97 Kaw KX250 (Sold)

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2005 KDX200 Bike Profile

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by Glenn » 01:46 am Jan 21 2019

Great story! I can relate to getting back into riding again. I'm 50 and just got an 01 220 and am loving it. I sold everything a few yrs back and was thinking about getting a new "safer",middle age guy hobby and have been miserable while trying to convince myself I'm happy. Selling my xr 650l , 03 kdx220, and 09 ktm450 xcw were huge mistakes. Can only afford one bike now and it's another trusty kdx. No more talk of "I'm getting older now..." hell, one of the guys I rode with last Sunday is 82. He's a legend out this way as he's cut in alot of the single track out here near NW Phoenix. Good luck with your racing. I am truly looking forward to reading about your exploits. Cheers, Glenn

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 07:47 am Jan 21 2019

Thanks, Glen. I appreciate your interest. Two weeks from the first event, the 59th annual Sumter Enduro. I have to say I am decidedly NOT ready. A small medical thing has reared its ugly head with a lower back problem causing sciatica. I see a chiropractor 2x a week along with physical therapy to get this sorted out. I’ll be on the starting line, just maybe not 100% at the moment.

I told a 15 yr old racing buddy that guys in my class just have a different set of problems. While he has a football coach who wants him to stop racing lest he get hurt or maybe a protective, worried mother, we have things like sciatica, hip replacements, coronary stents , etc. that beg us to stop riding! Haha! I guess everybody can find a reason to quit, or a reason not to! Glad you are back riding again. I bet you will find you enjoy it even more now.

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Re: KDX in National Enduro Series

Post by doakley » 07:48 am Jan 21 2019

Oops! Typo error. That’s the 50th annual Sumter Enduro.

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