2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

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MoonStomper
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2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by MoonStomper »

Sumter Nat’l Enduro, Sumter, South Cakalacky … February 2023

2023 is my third year racing a dirt bike after over twenty years racing mountain bikes. It’s been like starting all over again and I’ve enjoyed climbing the fresh learning curve. This season started for me with the Sumter Nat’l Enduro in South Carolina. It was my second visit there after missing last year. My first experience was pretty rough but still super fun. In 2021 my H model was still very stock, under sprung with no suspension tuning or power upgrades. I was still as green as the fenders.

That year racing in 50+C I counted thirteen soil sample’s (I wore myself out picking up the bike all day!) but finished my four class stages and half of the fifth (not required) before retiring with flaming tendinitis in my right elbow. I was physically wrecked for most of the following week. The stock suspension was partly the culprit, magnified by my over-enthusiasm and multiplied by a lack of skill. I still had a blast and loved the course. Falling in sand was sometimes like concrete, but better than rocks.

This year we returned with two year’s race experience and a much more refined and carefully set up KDX machine to send down the course. The OEM suspension’s tune has progressively evolved and I’ve done just about everything else you can do to open up the bike. With two full seasons racing hare scrambles and one other National Enduro under my belt, I had honest but modest goals for my return to South Carolina…
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We were fortunate to camp next to the start with some friends. The Rieju camp was beside us and our Go Race Suspension buddies were there too. We were the only ones to stay the night and brave the chilly temps. The boys slept in the trailer with the bikes and a Big Buddy heater and I slept in my truck. We ate well though with some ribeyes on the Coleman stove.
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Number one… stay off the ground!
Number two… finish all 6 stages - about sixty miles with transfers (B class is only required to complete 5).
Number three… have fun!

Overall it was a great day with over 60 miles on the bike, no injuries or mechanicals. Racing in 50+B this year I finished 17/22 and my times were good enough in the first 4 stages to have earned about 5th in the 50+ C class had I stayed in that classification. So that was a real improvement over my previous try.

In the first stage a vine grabbed my bar early on and slammed me on the ground, then a few minutes later I balled it up on a large slick pine log that I misapproached. After that I refocused, stayed clean and rode smooth. The fresh suspension tune with the new heavier springs felt great on the sandy whoops littering the course after 700 + riders had proceeded my run. There was very little mud this year, the track was loamy and the traction was great everywhere with my Pirelli Scorpions. I ran an ultra-heavy tube up front at 12 psi, and Tubliss on the 120/100 rear at 6 psi.
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In spite of the high row number of 121, the course was really fun. Riding around the parking lots in the morning before my start I didn’t see any other KDXs, and actually saw very few Kawasakis. Turned out the event was won on a Kawasaki piloted by Grant Baylor.

The rest of my timed tests went well for me as I focused on staying clean and smooth and just had fun riding. I had looked forward to making it to the sixth test because I knew that the trail would be less beat up than the other stages had been since most of the B and C riders ahead of me would retire to the beer cooler after 4 & 5. After finishing the fifth test and transferring to six I was still feeling pretty good, but had begun to get some twinges in my hands and calves from the onset of cramps. I just focused on riding smooth and having fun, trying not to push. The course was so fun I couldn’t help myself and kept catching myself really getting after it. The bike was running great. The stiffer front springs really encourage me to pour it on. The front end rides higher and makes lifting the wheel over roots and ruts easier.

About a third of the way through the test while sweeping down into a bermed left hander my braking finger cramped, locking up the front wheel, and over the bars I went! My visor snapped as I slammed face first into the trail. I quickly rolled up and lifted my bike up pushing it clear before the next A rider came blasting through. Leaning my bike on a tree I had a snack and shook off the cramp. This was the first thing I’d eaten since breakfast. In three and a half years with this bike that was the first time I’ve gone over the bars.
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Wish I could figure out how to sign up for a lower row number. Having basically raced from off the couch I felt pretty good about my performance. Next weekend I may race my first hare scramble of the year if I get home from Louisiana with enough time to prepare.
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
‘99 KDX 220 / '03 KDX 200 - @%@ '18 Trek Slash 8 @%@ ‘22 Rieju MR300 Racing

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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by SS109 »

Sounds like a good weekend overall other than the finger cramp. Hope you keep going!
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billie_morini
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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by billie_morini »

Moon,
this sounds terrifically fun! Reminds me of a well known surfing quote corrupted here for improved applicability. Sounds like it fits you:

"The best racer out there is the one having the most fun." (Source: Phil Edwards)
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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

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Definitely had fun! Yesterday we had a VCHSS race in Charlotte Court House, Virginia. My son raced in 250A and since I’m still dealing with a sore foot from a stupid trail riding incident I decided to marshal. Before the Main I rode the 9 mile course which was the same as the morning race. I rode at race pace and it was a hoot! All alone, no one to pass or run me over. Hero dirt. Perfect moisture content, soft and loamy, very few rocks with some slick roots here and there. I did two more laps during the race and had a ball. The KDX is so fun in those tight woods, just stayed in third, perched on the pegs and flowed like water.

We’ll be going back in a few weeks for the Knockout race on this same 14,000 acre property. It’s managed by a hunt club that also has a riding club. It’s a managed tree farm which will be cut again in a few years. Better come out and get some while you can!
~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~^~
Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
‘99 KDX 220 / '03 KDX 200 - @%@ '18 Trek Slash 8 @%@ ‘22 Rieju MR300 Racing

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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea - Season update…

Post by MoonStomper »

Season update…

Since the last race, we had an event at a new venue called Oak Grove on a huge and beautiful farm. I blew the starting flag drop (daydreaming?) reaction and then rode a huge wheelie off the line. Managed to pull up into 4th before the woods and finished 5th out of 12. It was fun, but had some ridiculous hill climbs with limited line options due to downed timber. A few nasty mud holes ate some bikes, I managed to avoid the worst of those.

Then we returned to Charlotte Courthouse, Virginia for another VCHSS event called Knockdown. I participated in this one (marshaled the last event there) and had a good start reaction but spun the rear and ended up 4th into the woods. Feeling good I tried to stay in contact but took a bad line that had a heavy vine laying across it, got tangled in that and watched everyone get away.

Bummed out I slummed my way through the first two laps, my concentration and focus were pretty wrecked after having a promising start.

Morning of the race while loading up I noticed my shock seal was leaking. In reality it probably didn’t effect the bike that much but was in my head all day and it was a rough, tight and technical course. I finished 3 ten mile laps for a 7/8. Went down hard a couple times and knocked my left side barkbuster loose on the last lap while chasing hard for 6th. I had just caught him before starting the last lap and wanted to finally get to race someone.
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After getting really close to him I washed into a sapling and knocked my headlight fairing loose and knocked my left barkbuster out of the handlebar end, ending up hard on the ground. After trying to secure all that and taking a few breaths and some water I set back off, confident I could catch up once more.

In my last wipeout I cross-rutted while exiting the woods into a red dirt open two-track and hit the ground hard enough to bruise some ribs below my left clavicle. Got up quickly, charged hard, then finally caught and passed him with about 4 miles to go. Then I stalled the bike by sliding my foot onto the rear brake on a short steep section (where I made the same mistake two years ago!) and he snuck by. I rode hard trying to make a pass, but couldn’t get a clean line before the checkers.

Kind of a disappointing day, the bruised ribs made sneezing or coughing tough for a few weeks too reminding me of my mistakes.

Then just last week we had the Dragons Back National Enduro in Arrington, Virginia at the Equestrian Center last Sunday. The track was in great shape until the day and night before when the rains hit. Starting on the 64th row, the first test was a slimey mess and I had the wrong front tire on which made the ruts very difficult. 90/90/21 Starcross 6 med-hard is a great tire for a lot of things, but not slimy ruts, it wants to surf and climb out. I had the Pirelli MT16 Garacross 120/100-18 set up Tubliss at 5.5 psi on the rear and it never disappoints. I still run the ultra-heavy tube up front at about 12 psi.

As the day went on things dried out some and the tests got rockier and harder which suited me better. The last test for 50 B was #5 and I did my best run there finishing 8th in my class, but overall in my class of 31 I ended up 17th. Always a glutton for more punishment I elected for the 6th pro test which was super fresh and fun, only one other guy in my class rode it. On the transfer back to the truck I ran out of fuel with about two miles to go. So I raced over 62 miles on 2.9 gallons of 40:1, 91 octane gas. That is good to know! Glad I fixed my carb floats the week before!
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Hijinx at the fuel trailer - NON-FUMAR!!!!
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Trophy tent with my son Henry (Open A) - really cool trophies for the fast guys
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Getting checked in at Dragons Back

I’ve been really working on body position and rocking my hips forward, anticipating throttle/clutch inputs with my body. This has helped a lot with corners and speed.

Yesterday we returned to Wythe Raceway for the Hillbilly which lost its venue down in Rural Retreat to logging this year. Normally the raceway hosts an old VCHSS event called the Rattlesnake. It had been dry all week, but true to form it rained Saturday evening and we prepared for a mud fest. Fortunately the dry ground sucked it up and we had hero dirt. The start is a mile of GP course around the infield with about half a track’s worth of speedway up on the bank and then out into the woods for 7 miles. It’s becoming one of my favorites because I like ripping the infield there. The KDX really snorts and I’ve learned how to corner pretty good around those barrels.

I lined up to the outside quarter of our very wide (75’?) line, three guys outside of me to the right and 50’ to my inside left were three bikes all the way over. I wanted to beat outright the guys to my outside and use the outside berm to my right after we turned. From there it was 60 yards to the flags on another left hand bend. They’re all on KTMs except for one Honda.

When the flag dropped I was paying attention this time and ol’girl fired right up, somehow I worked the clutch right as she came to full song and I mostly kept the front wheel down. Our row is pretty far back from the first left hand turn so I had a good way to go and wound out 2nd gear (couldn’t shift up). Arriving at the first left in dry dirt and mulch, I was just a wheel ahead of the closest guy inside on my left before bending her down and finally clicking 3rd. No one to my right. We drifted out all the way to the edge of the track (should have held tighter and forced the inside line to let off) and I had a half a bike length lead approaching the hole shot flags when I somehow slipped my foot onto rear brake and utterly killed my momentum just as we flashed past the orange Moose Racing flags. Two more bikes slipped by me to the inside and I tore after them. I held on and closed up ground but ended up getting into the woods in 4th.

Disappointed with my last second mistake I stayed conservative on the first lap and just focused on staying clean. I avoided bad ruts and mantrap mud holes, stayed high on the off-camber slippery slides in the tight pine forests and didn’t case any jumps. I was in 6th first two laps and then made up ground on 5th place and was following him in the tight pines when a pro rider caught me to lap us. I found an easy place to let him by and he rode this guy’s butt hard, I just sat right behind them and waited to see if he’d make a mistake or let us both by.

He felt the pressure and got stuck between two trees, the pro was too close and he got stuck too, I saw the outside line and rode right past them both as they fought to free their bikes. From there I set sail and tried to check out, I wanted to hang on for 5th. At the scoring tent sliding in hot I couldn’t see my position so I kept my head down and entered the track for another go at the GP course. I got after it!

Going into the woods I hadn’t seen my pursuer behind me in the infield so I checked myself and just focused on being smooth, clean and quick. I stayed upright and avoided trouble for the entire lap. At the checkers I had taken 4th.
3rd place was about 5 minutes ahead of me. It was a good day.
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First hardware of the year in 50+ B
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Let the good times ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
‘99 KDX 220 / '03 KDX 200 - @%@ '18 Trek Slash 8 @%@ ‘22 Rieju MR300 Racing

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA USA
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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by DonnyV »

So awesome and great job you two, I absolutely love reading your race reviews, thanks for taking the time to keep us fellow KDX'ers informed, you rock my man 🤘💯
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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by KDXGarage »

Man, keep it going! Congratulations on getting a "jug". That is a nice reminder.
Thank you for participating on kdxrider.net. :bravo:
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Re: 2023 - KDX Green in the orange sea

Post by billie_morini »

Moon: thx so much for sharing these stories! Happy to see you won a trophy! billie
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