On the Pegs - February 2023

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Model Features

» 2-Stroke Liquid Cooled Engine

» Non Intimidating Entry Level Trials Bike

» Most Dependable Youth Trials Bike on the Market

» Six Speed Transmission

» A Great Transition Platform Leading into Enduro or Trials

» EVO Jr. 80 - Ages 9 - 12

» EVO Sr. 80 - Ages 11 - 15

Youth Trials EVO 80 Jr & Sr. 2O23



AND 2023 MAKES 2!

Big congratulations goes out to Kevin Benavides for his 2023 Dakar win. It all came down to the wire - less than two minutes separated the top three riders going into the final stage. Read more on page 60.



There's a reason they call it the Empty Quarter - Saudi Arabia has one of the largest expanses of desert in the world... which of course served as Stage 11 of this year's Dakar rally.




DEPARTMENTS World News 14 Local News 20 Product Spotlight 32 10x12 Challenge 40 Seat Time 42 GasGas Trials Guides 44
PG 104
ON THE COVERRed Bull KTM Factory Racing's Kevin Benavides earns his second On the Pegs cover as he adds another Dakar win to his resume.
photo by Rally Zone


Steph Vetterly


Steph Vetterly



Abigail Buzzelli

Brittany Hoy

Chris Bankston

Tyler Bankston

Haley Bankston

Brian Pierce // Seat Time

Shan Moore

Tom Trantow

Lori Taylor

Keith Martinez

Michael Bauer

Steve Schiller

Observing the Trials and Enduro community with a single-track mind.


courtesy of KTM

Returning to classic enduro action in 2021 aboard the KTM 350 EXC-F in the Enduro2 class, Josep promptly went on to claim the world title and secure the individual overall ISDE win along the way.

In 2022, despite a crash at the GP of Italy resulting in him being unablev to compete in the second Portuguese round and forcing him to miss out on three point-paying days in the EnduroGP class, Garcia went on to complete the season as runner-up. It was a similar story in E2, where after returning to action after injury, Josep won the final four days of competition to also finish second overall, a mere nine points down on the winner.

Garcia also showed his class and speed at the 2022 FIM International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in France. Riding the KTM 350 EXC-F, Josep topped three of the five days of racing before delivering a strong runner-up performance in the final motocross to secure backto-back overall individual wins at the iconic enduro event.

Now, heading into the packed 2023 season and looking for a new challenge, Garcia will make a return to the KTM 250 EXC-F – the bike that took him to his first world championship title in 2017. Racing for the Red Bull KTM Factory Racing team


for the seventh consecutive season, Josep has his eyes set on winning each and every championship he enters and ultimately claiming the EnduroGP crown.

Josep Garcia: “The decision to move from E2 to the Enduro1 class was made by both KTM and me. It’s always good to set new goals, and with a new bike for 2023, it made sense to ride the KTM 250 EXC-F

for new motivation and a new challenge in the E1 class. Last year was an incredible year for me riding the KTM 350 EXC-F – I finished as runnerup in EnduroGP and Enduro2, I won the individual ISDE, and completed the year as Spanish Champion. The injury in Italy cost me the fight for the world title, but thankfully I was able to come back and still finish the year on a high. For me, I’m just looking to mix things up a little for this year. The 250 really suits my riding style and I know I can make it work in the world championship as well as the other events throughout the year. The 2023 season will also be my seventh year with Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, which is great. It shows how well the relationship works between me and Fabio and the whole of the factory team. I’m hoping 2023 will be another great year for us and I’m definitely going to be fighting hard to claim that EnduroGP title.”

Round one of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship kicks off in Italy on March 31 – April 2.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 15


courtesy of GASGAS

Never one to rest on his laurels, GASGAS Factory Racing’s Andrea Verona has decided to switch things up in 2023 and contest the intensely competitive Enduro2 class as he sets out to defend his EnduroGP World Championship title. The young Italian will ride the awesome GASGAS EC 350F as he takes on a new challenge for the new season.

Since joining GASGAS Factory Racing at the beginning of the 2021 racing season, Andrea has dominated the Enduro1 class of the FIM EnduroGP World Championship. The ever-smiling 23-year-old finished on the podium at every round in 2021 and went on to smash that record in 2022, where he won all but one day of racing in the E1 category. Moving up to the hotly contested Enduro2 class, AV99 will be full gas as he fights to defend his overall EnduroGP crown and claim his first career E2 world title.

Go get ‘em Andrea!

Andrea Verona: “I’m really looking forward to getting started with the 2023 season. I have wanted to try out a new challenge and move to the Enduro2 class for a while now and after winning the E1 and EnduroGP

classes last year, it gives me the perfect opportunity. My feeling in the GASGAS Factory Racing team is great – we’re both putting in 100 percent at every race to be the best and that’s just one of the reasons why I decided to stay with the team for another two years. The bikes are great, the EC 250F obviously took me to two E1 championships and the EnduroGP world title, and I think the EC 350F will suit me perfectly, too. My goals now for the 2023 season are to improve my speed in all conditions and try to win even more racing days than last year. Obviously, the main goal is to take the EnduroGP victory again.”

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 17


The Sherco Racing Factory Team is pleased to announce the signing of Wil Ruprecht for the 2023 season. The Australian rider will ride a 300 SEF and will compete in the World Enduro GP Championship in the E2 class and also in the Italian Championship.

Wil excelled in his 2022 World Championship season, winning the Elite E2 World Championship title.

"At the moment I am spending a lot of time on the bike to basically reprogram my motor sensors to accomodate for the change in feedback felt throughout the bike.

Initially I am impressed with the ease of use that the Sherco brand is so well known for. With ease I am able to place the bike wherever I wish on the track. It’s bread and butter is traditional enduro terrain and is very forgiving on tree roots and rocks.

Coming off the momentum of an E2 title and a fight for the GP title I am motivated to continue maturing and developing towards becoming EnduroGP Champion in 2023.

The overall package just seems

desirable to me, from the Sherco development team to the CH racing team I see maturity and a deep burning desire for results.

It is a breath of fresh air walking into a new manufacturer/team. EnduroGP titles are no stranger to Sherco with Matthew Philips taking the crown in 2016.

The CH racing team have a racing heritage like few others in the paddock.

Also training and racing along side the likes of Hamish, Zach, Antoine, Morgan some very skilled riders with strengths in varying areas, you can see growth fast in an environment like that. They are all motivated and capable riders so 2023 is stacking up to be very competitive from Sherco’s efforts."

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 19


The Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki Team Green™ race team will return to off-road racing in 2023 prepared to take on the rugged terrain in the Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) series and the AMA National Enduro Championship. Returning to the team this season will be former GNCC XC1 Champion Josh Strang in the XC1 class and reigning XC2 Champion Lyndon Snodgrass in the XC2 Pro class. The team will also welcome the reigning AMA National Enduro Champion, Grant Baylor, as he gears up to contest the GNCC series and the National Enduro

Championship in 2023 aboard a Kawasaki KX™450X.

“We have a well proven 2023 roster,” said Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy®/Kawasaki Team Manager, Denny Bartz. “We are pleased to welcome Grant to the team and look forward to continuing our support of Josh as they both contend for the XC1 Championship. In the XC2 Class, we have had a productive off-season with Lyndon and are ontrack toward our goal of securing the championship again in 2023.”

The 2010 GNCC XC1 Champion, Strang will focus solely on the GNCC


series andis prepared to compete in the same race winning form he displayed during the 2022 season before being sidelined with an injury. Meanwhile, two-time AMA National Enduro Champion Baylor enters the 2023 season with his sights set on the top step of two different podiums. The South Carolina native will combine his proven off-road racing skills and his new KX450X to take on the world’s elite in the GNCC series and the National Enduro Championship. With a full off-season of preparation, Strang and Baylor equip Team Green with two XC1 Class championship contenders. On the Kawasaki KX™250X, Snodgrass is set to use the same proven combination of speed, fitness and consistency that secured him four wins last year to defend his 2022 GNCC XC2

Championship in the upcoming racing season.

Babbitt’s Online/Monster Energy/ Kawasaki Team Green is hard at work preparing for the 2023 GNCC series and the AMA National Enduro Championship. The team will kick off the racing season in Sumter, South Carolina on February 5th for Round 1 of the AMA National Enduro Championship, followed by the GNCC season opener in Union, South Carolina on Sunday, February 19th at Big Buck Farm.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 21


courtesy of BETA USA

The Liqui Moly Beta Racing team is ready to start its 2023 campaign. The team returns six riders from the 2022 team and welcomes one newcomer. The team will be outfitted with Pirelli Tires as they come on board as multi-year sponsor beginning in 2023. The West Coast team remained unchanged. Joe Wasson, who finished second in the NHHA points, returns to the team and will continue riding a Factory 480 RR in the National Hare & Hound and the West Hare Scrambles series.

Also returning to the team is Zane Roberts, who rides the Factory 480 RR as well in the National Hare & Hound and the West Hare Scrambles. Roberts had 11 podiums last year between the two series. Back for his second year as a factory rider for Beta USA is Dare DeMartile. Dare competes in the WORCS and NGPC series. DeMartile found the podium six times last year.

The East Coast team returns three riders to the factory team. Jonathan Johnson is one of the returning riders for the east team.


He competes in the XC2 class at the GNCC aboard a Factory 250 RR. Johnson will also look to continue his success in the NE Pro2 class at the National Enduro. Last year he found the podium six times in the series. Again joining Johnson on the team is Evan Smith, who also competes in the GNCC XC2 class on the Factory 250 RR. Smith will also race in the National Enduro in the NE Pro1 class. Smith had 15 top-ten finishes between the two series last year. Rounding out our GNCC riders is Jason Lipscomb. Lipscomb, who found his rhythm last season with 4 podiums in the last 5 rounds, will hope to carry that momentum as he battles in the XC3 class on a Factory 125 RR.

The newcomer to the team is Danny Lewis. He will compete in the US Hard Enduro Series for Beta as well as the EnduroX on a Factory 300 RR. Lewis found the podium last year at the Hard Enduro series and will work to do so again in 2023.

"Our 2023 team returns the majority of our riders from last year. We are looking to build upon results from last season and have the race bikes and team to do so. In the west, our veteran guys can win any race they enter. And the east team has the talent and gained experience from last year to race at the top. I'm excited for the season to get underway." said Carlen Gardner, Race Team Manager.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 23


Magna1 Motorsports is proud to announce it will be the title sponsor for AMA National Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing in 2023. This opportunity brings a strong partnership that will allow Magna1 Motosports to set up a store front at each round. This includes Michelin Tire trackside support with tires for purchase and mounting capabilities for riders. Tires are available online currently for shipment or pick up at the Magna1 trailer. Riders can stop by and sign up for the Michelin contingency payout program and the racer discount program to receive below retail racer pricing on Michelin motorcycle tires. Magna1 Motorsports will also be selling helmets, boots, gear, and more at each round.

“We are extremely excited to have Magna1 Motorsports partner with us for the 2023 Season. At each round of the 2023 Magna1 Motorsports AMA National Enduro Series presented by Moose Racing, Magna1 Motorsports will be able to support all racers of the series by providing everyday race items. We strongly encourage all racers to be sure to stop by the Magna1 Motorsports Trailer to grab any forgotten items, or just simply browse their selection and purchase from those that give back to the sport while receiving special racer pricing. We look forward to a bright future partnered with Magna1 Motorsports!” -Logan Densmore

Magna1 Motorsports looks forward to the partnership with NEPG this year and the ability to connect with riders and supply them with the essentials on race day.



The American Motorcyclist Association has announced changes in the U.S. ISDE qualifier process for 2023 in preparation for the 97th ISDE, which will take place Nov. 6-11 in San Juan, Argentina.

Instead of an ISDE qualifier series, two three-day qualifiers — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast — will be held.

“This change to the ISDE qualifier process is being made to improve rider turnout,” said AMA Director of Racing Michael Pelletier, “by attempting to reduce conflict between other national, regional and local events, while also decreasing travel expenses.”

The three-day events will feature ISDE-style sprint layouts and higher speeds, and will also offer racers a better overview of ISDE time keeping and technical inspection in an effort to better prepare U.S. riders to compete on the world stage.

The East Coast Three-Day Qualifier will be held Feb. 25-27 at Carolina Adventure World in Winnsboro, S.C., and hosted by AMA U.S. Sprint Enduro.

The West Coast Three-Day Qualifier takes place March 10-12 at Knolls Recreation Area in Utah and will be hosted by the Utah Motorcycle OffRoad Racing Association.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 25


Central Powersports Distribution has signed an agreement with AJP Motorcycles of Portugal to become the new USA Importer and Distributor for 2023 and beyond. Jeff Schlagel of Moto AJP USA, the previous importer, has made an agreement with CPD to continue handling AJP until the end of February 2023, while CPD continues its efforts to transfer their offices to Texas permanently.

AJP Motos in Portugal has been producing motorcycles since 1987 when longtime Enduro legend, Antonio Pinto, designed and built a 125cc 2-stroke enduro bike. Throughout the years, AJP has

transformed into durable, reliable, and cost-effective 4-stroke trail bikes. AJP now offers a full range of enduro-leisure motorcycles, from the beginner-friendly SPR240 to the adventure-ready PR7 650.

“We appreciate the efforts and growth that Jeff gave AJP here in the USA during a difficult import period the last 2 years. We hope we can continue to grow the brand off of his passion and efforts.” Mark Berg of CPD stated. He continued,

"AJP fits our current business model quite well and AJP will be sending us some units to display and test in January. We have already placed


an order for our first container mix to arrive in April/May of 2023. The first container will include the PR7, SPR240, SPR240 EX, and the SPR250 ,310, & 510 for a wide selection of reliable trail bikes for CPD dealers to have on their showroom floors."

“AJP MOTOS is very pleased with the agreement established with CPD and looks forward for the opportunity to expand in the US market with such experienced and trustful company as CPD.” Antonio Pinto of AJP stated. He continued,

"We are thankful for all the effort performed by Scott and Jeff in the past to launch AJP products in the US, and wish to Mark and his great team to develop AJP business in the US, to allow US riders the chance

to ride one of our bikes. We believe that our bikes will fill a space that no manufacturer is looking right now and this agreement with CPD will for sure allow riders to enjoy their ride a lot more with AJP bikes, especially PR7, our most successful bike."

CPD currently imports and distributes notable OEM motorcycle brands such as Rieju, Electric Motion, and SWM. Viral Brand goggles was recently added to the CPD family of aftermarket brands already in distribution, including Funnel Web Filters, S3 Parts, and Trickbits protection parts. CPD will continue to add more aftermarket segments specific to off-road; more announcements are to come on the aftermarket sector for CPD and OEM additions.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 27



Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, America’s grandest celebration of vintage motorcycles and the people who love them, will take place July 21-23, 2023, at MidOhio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

One of motorcycling’s most diverse events, Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days combines the thrill of amateur racing with North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet. Additional activities include a classic bike show, vendor displays, motorcycle demo rides, music, seminars, stunt shows and a range of experiences for fans of all ages.

Proceeds from the event are donated to the American Motorcycle Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that supports the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

AMA members can now purchase discounted tickets through the AMA at www.amavintagemotorcyledays. com. All camping and RV passes, as well as non-AMA member ticket sales, must be purchased at midohio.com starting Feb. 21.

“Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days continues to grow in exceptional ways, and AMA staff and our partners will continue


challenging ourselves to pack even more into this incredible weekend,” said AMA President and CEO Rob Dingman. “From vintage racing to the swap meet and everything in between, the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days experience is one of the best in the sport. We invite all motorcyclists to come and experience it for themselves, knowing their support provides critical funding for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, which celebrates the contributions of the men and women who have shaped motorcycling in America.”

Swap meet vendors will be contacted shortly to renew their spaces for the new year, and race registration will open soon. Sign-up information for additional activities, including the bike show, Ashland

Dinner Ride, AMA Life Member Breakfast and more, will open soon.

Permco, an Ohio-based manufacturing leader, joins the event as the new title sponsor.

“Permco is proud to be the title sponsor for the 2023 AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days,” said Robby Shell, chief operating officer of Permco. “As a family-owned business for almost 100 years and a leading manufacturer of high-pressure hydraulic gear/vane pumps and motors — including the American Champ, the only pump built entirely in the USA — we are thrilled to be part of this classic event that brings people together from all over to celebrate the past and future of motorcycles and motorcycle racing in the heartland of America.”

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Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will once again host the event, which began in 1992 and moved to the facility in 1995.

“Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days has turned into a mustattend event if you are a motorcycle enthusiast,” said President of MidOhio Sports Car Course Craig Rust. “It truly has something for everyone! We also want to welcome Permco as our new title partner, and look forward to working with both them and the AMA on continuing to grow this terrific event.”

Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days welcomes riders and racers

of all brands to Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the annual event. It features vintage competition in road racing, motocross, hare scrambles, trials and flat track at the nearby Ashland County Fairgrounds. Riders in these disciplines are racing for national championships or national championship series points. In addition, there will be exhibition pit bike races and dirt drags.

The event will include vendors from all areas of motorcycling, selling gear and services for motorcycles old and new. Past vendors have included vintage and modern gear sellers, painters and pinstripers, parts and tools, community garages


and much more. There will be a drawing for this year’s raffle bike — a custom 2018 GSX-R1000, painted in AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Kevin Schwantz’s late ’80s Pepsi Racing livery — that will raise additional funds for the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Motorcycling experts, including AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famers, will speak on numerous topics at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, including motorcycle restoration and travel.

The AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame Bike Show recognizes exceptional examples of motorcycles from all eras and countries of origin. Bike

owners are encouraged to bring out their best original and restored machines for fans to appreciate.

Permco AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days will also include North America’s largest motorcycle swap meet, with more than 800 spaces of vintage motorcycles, parts, gear and memorabilia.

In addition, demo fleets will be on hand for riders to experience some of the best modern motorcycles available to purchase today.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 31



We have recently went back and updated the current KTM XC-W and EXC skid plates both four stroke and two stroke to the new rubber mounted style. This is achieved with rubber grommets around aluminum spacers at the mounting locations. Being rubber mounted will allow the motorcycle to flex more and it will reduce vibration throughout the motorcycle while still providing excellent protection. These are available now for the KTM 250/350 XCF-W/EXC-F and the 450/500 XCF-W/EXC-F as well as the 250/300 XC-W/ EXC. Extreme style skid plates will be available rubber mounted soon as well.

Current Price: $129.95-$144.95




• Extreme Skid Plates extend higher than the Standard Skid Plates, offering a larger protection area.

• Made for Extreme Conditions and Hard Enduro type Terrain.

PART # 24-1017X

Current Price: $144.95



Rubber mounted skid plates are available for the current 2023 Cross Country and Motocross line ups for KTM and Husqvarna as well.

Current Price: $129.95-$144.95




Delivers smooth, linear power, lighter weight, & increased performance. Built with a full stainless mid-pipe, end cap, & an aluminum canister. USFS Approved spark arrestor won't clog or restrict exhaust flow. Increased canister volume with more sound absorption material. Newly designed & meticulously crafted. For off Road Use Only. Fits 2023+ Xtrainer!

PART # AB-11322

Current Price: $199.99


FMF XTrainer pipe increases lower RPM power & torque. Fatty design enhances the stock XTrainer power curve. 4-stroke tractor like torque, 18 gauge steel. Works great with FMF silencers AB-11322

TurbineCore 2. For off Road Use Only. Fits 2023+ XTrainer.

PART # AB-11323

Current Price: $299.99




2022+ RR-S

The Squadron Pro Kit is in a league of its own, producing 4,900 lumens and 40 watts giving you the perfect mix of power and performance. The Sport produces an impressive 3,150 lumens while only drawing 26 watts, allowing for a longer ride. Extremely light weight (12 ounces) race light, while presenting a unique style and appearance that you will only find from Baja Designs. Fits 2022+ RR-S.

PART # AB-22192-4

AND AB-2219


Beta USA has come out with a new collection of apparel for the winter months ahead! Our latest Beta USA Liqui Moly Race team jacket and Beta Motorcycles Strict hoodie feature high quality insulation for the coldest of temperatures. Also arriving just in time are some cool new t-shirts with clean simple designs!




When shaking down the 2023 KTM/ Husqvarna lineup, BPD noticed one aspect of the bikes that has caused trouble; the OEM Radiator Cap. In 2023, the Austrian manufacturer changed the Radiator Cap from the standard metal cap with wings to a lightweight cylindrical plastic

Current Price: $16.99

cap which made it challenging to remove. Bullet Proof Designs knew there had to be an easier way to access the radiator and has come out with a 3D printed tool to easily remove the plastic cap.

Quick, simple, effective. BPD Radiator Cap Remover


The Mecatecno factory is now beginning to produce the Dragonfly electric adult trials bike with first deliveries to dealers in Spain and other countries. Midwest Mototrials is expecting its first shipment in early April. The test/demo preproduction bike I received in November is working very well now after a few tuning modifications. It's very easy to ride, resulting from the light weight and nimble handling characteristics, easy pull clutch and a quick charge battery which gives five hours + of riding time. A dealer network is being set up and prices will be forth-coming. For more info, check out


• The T-18 Dragonfly is direct-drive from the motor to the rear wheel

• An easy-pull diaphragm clutch for maximum control and traction

• New M4 39mm Aluminum AIR FORKS are the lightest on the market

• Linkless Ohlins shock direct to the swing arm

• 5 hour+ quick change and fast charge battery

• Weight 132 pounds

• Seat can be added for trail riding comfort


423-942-8688 • Train With A Pro!

instruction by top national riders • Riding Park Train on our 650 acre Mountain Resort Beautiful trails, streams and vistas • Lodging, Cabin Rentals, RV sites and Tent sites

• Full Service HeadquartersMotorcycle We sell Gas Gas, Sherco, Beta, Montesa & Scorpa


March 10-11: Downhill Southeast Bicycle Race

March 18-19: Trials Training Days

May 20-21: STRA Spring Splash

June 26-29: Family Camp

June 30-July 2: East Coast Youth Nationals & Women’s Open

August 18-20: TKO: 13th Annual Red Bull Kenda Tennessee

Knock Out Extreme Enduro

October 14-15: 31st Annual 58K Fall Trial (STRA)

December 2: Toy Trial - Fun Trial

* All dates are subject to change



Last month, we introduced a new initiative from Abigail Buzzelli called the 10x12 Challenge, designed to get more people on the pegs, riding motorcycles. We're back to celebrate everyone who completed their first month's challenge - riding at least 10 days in the month of January.

Congratulations to the following riders:

Chris Bankston - 18 days

Haley Bankston - 11 days

Tyler Bankston - 24 days

Keith Bell

Kevin Bobal

Lara Burnett

Abigail Buzzelli

Chris Buzzelli

Ellis Daw

Norman Foley

Zack Guelde

Kenny Gwyn

Brittney Hoy - 10 days

Mack Locklear

Mike Mazak

Don Mealor

John Montoya

Toni Roach

Martin Sturla

Seth Vorseth

If you don't see your name on the list, visit www.10x12challenge.com to see the challenge rules and get your January swag.

// PAGE 40
VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 41
Brittany Tyler Chris Haley Tyler & Haley

Two Stroke Top End Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

My 2018 Sherco 300 two stroke had close to 200 hours on it, and it was time for a top end rebuild. I grabbed a rebuild kit from Sherco a year or two ago in hopes of doing this earlier, but that just didn’t happen. Once we got the top end of the engine apart, we started to find some wear and tear from usage and neglect. What should have been a simple piston, rings, bearings, and gaskets swap out turned into a full blown power valve rebuild. After the power valve actuator function was figured out, and the new parts came in, I was able to get the two stroke top end back together.

Huge thanks to Sherco of North Texas and Highland Cycles their help during this rebuild. I started to get overwhelmed when I realized the power valve and actuator were

as broken as they were. Having an entire week off of work was also a huge help, as I didn’t feel pressure to have the Sherco back together as soon as possible.

This process taught me a lot about myself and my mechanical ability. I also felt much more in-tune with my dirt bike while riding it after the bike was running again. I challenge you to take one more than you would normally take on when it comes to dirt bike maintenance. And then let us know how it goes and what you learned about your bike and yourself.


EP 23.1 | Ryan Sipes

Mental Strength, Using the Front Brake, & Hard Enduro as a Guilty Pleasure


Ryan Sipes is a long time motorcycle racer. If you look at his official results in The RacerX Vault, 2004 is his first documented race. We’re almost 20 years past that and he’s still throwing a leg over a bike as a professional racer. His current situation does have him off the bike, which we talk a lot about. He injured himself back in January of 2021 while riding in Florida and he’s had a lot of setbacks that he has had to overcome. The mental strength he’s showcased while working through his recovery is a subject I wanted to dive into.

We have other fun conversations about offroad techniques that helped him in motocross, leveraging the front brake, and how Hard Enduro is his quality pleasure. It sounds like Sipes is on the road to

recovery and he’ll be riding again soon. We can’t wait to see him back on the bike, showcasing his depth of skill from flat track to deep woods racing. Fingers crossed there’s also another ISDE in his future!

If you want to hear more from Ryan Sipes on mental fitness, listen to his latest Power of the Mind Podcast with Phil Smage.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 43

GasGas has released a full selection of trial riding videos, all designed to help riders of all skill levels become more confident at their favorite sport.

Hosted by GasGas Factory Racing Team Manager Albert Cabestany, the tutorial videos will cover everything from bike setup, to basics, to the most advanced maneuvers.

Follow along as we showcase a new video each month, or check out the full series on GasGas.com.


Trial is art on two wheels! Recommended by many as the best foundation of skills for all offroad motorcycle sports, it teaches you balance, control, and patience. If you can ride trial, you can ride anything!

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 45


words and photos courtesy of REPSOL HONDA

Repsol Honda Trial Team brings 2022 to a close with its homework done after winning the two world titles with the sights already set on the new season. Team boss Takahisa Fujinami reflects on his first year in his new position.

2022 has finished, a year that has been totally different from your previous 26 years in the world championship. As Team Manager of the world’s top trial team, what is your assessment of the season? Or put another way, was it the same or worse than expected?

The truth is that I have been lucky to be able to continue with this team, the best in the world, now as Team Manager. I have to thank HRC for placing their trust in me and giving me this chance. Toni is always strong but the important thing is that he doesn’t injure himself. This was one of the goals this season, that Toni didn’t get hurt. I tried not to force him physically so as not to take so many risks. I think his results: seven wins in TrialGP and three runner-up spots, plus four X-Trial wins and one runnerup place, show that he is stronger than ever at 36 years old. I am very happy to be able to help him. I’m also pleased for Marcelli. At the

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 49

beginning of the year he was pretty nervous, probably the pressure of a factory team. Everyone was focusing on him a lot and he put a lot of pressure on himself to get results. He had to learn a lot of things to adapt his style to the bike. It was just a matter of time, and in the end he achieved several fourth places and, in the Spanish championship, he won the last trial, withstanding a lot of pressure. I am also happy with Gabriel. Gabriel, who had the tough task of replacing you as a rider in the team, has certainly gone from strength to strength. Finally two fifth place finishes in both Indoor and Outdoor. What do you expect from Marcelli in 2023?

Well, his level is quite high, but I think he could finish on the podium in every event of the year; we will have to fight for it and try to finish the championship with a medal.

Toni Bou’s goal seems straight forward: repeat the final results with two more titles.

Yes, that’s right. We think he’s very strong and he’s got a long way to go. He has a lot of technical advantage over any other rider and on paper he can win the two world titles up for grabs in 2023.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 51

Let’s move on to another point: the preparation of the team. You have set up different collective tests and training sessions, with the participation of all the riders and mechanics. Is it working much better this way?

It used to be done that way before, but it was just between the riders who agreed to train together. Now it is a request of the team to train together. We have a number one rider and the other Montesa riders, Gabriel and Pablo, can learn from him. The trust that is created within the team is important; it’s like a family.

What about the relationship outside the team? With the promoters or race organisers, with the other brands, team managers… All of this is really new for you. Have you been surprised by some of the issues?

For me it has been like starting from scratch in many things. For example, getting the licence. Before, the team did it, and now I have to manage it myself. My computer, my phone, I keep receiving messages, also from sponsors. It’s a huge change and at the beginning it seemed like it would be difficult, but we’ve adapted to it. Miquel [Cirera, previous Team Manager. Ed.] had it all in hand. Maybe we still need to learn something, but I think we’re on the right track, but doing it my way. Plus, I also have a good time doing this, I enjoy it.

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What do you like most about this job?

Helping out. I like helping Gabri and Toni in what I think they need. If the results come out the right way, it’s like a bonus prize for everyone.

And what do you like the least?

Phew! The office work! (laughs).

Speaking of changes, you were in Japan for the Honda Thanks Day and also to take advantage and spend a few days testing with the Japanese technicians and engineers at HRC. What have you taken away from the test?

In the end each rider chooses the bike he likes the most, with the engine and settings he likes the most. Then, there is the work with the engineers so that they can implement everything that the riders like. It’s a matter of time to get exactly what everyone wants, but overall we did some good testing.

For next year the TrialGP World Championship seems to be back to “normal” with more races and the return of Motegi.

For three years now we seem to have been in “another world”, competing only in Europe and with one-day trials. The pandemic has also affected the team internally, as,

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for example, HRC technicians have not been able to come to Europe, to the events or to our development tests. Now it seems to be getting better and let’s hope it turns out good for everyone. At Honda Thanks Day you were paid a farewell tribute. What will happen in May in Motegi at the TrialGP World Championship race?

Many people have asked me to come back just to ride the final trial so that I can say goodbye to everyone, but obviously it’s not possible. I would like to, but I don’t have the level to do it and, besides, I have a job to do and I have to help the team.

This year we have won a title that we hadn’t won for two years: the constructors’ title. Montesa is once again World Champion in the constructor’s category.

Montesa is the only 4-stroke bike competing in the world championship. People say that it is a heavy bike, but in reality, you get very good results with this bike. Maybe in some points we have a handicap, but there are other aspects where you have an advantage.

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 57

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Benavides Tops 2023 Dakar


Each and every year, the Dakar provides some of the most memorable and challenging terrain across two weeks of intense offroad riding, and this year was no different. The key to the Dakar is consistency – finishing as the fastest racer of a stage puts you as the opener for the following day, and puts you at risk of time loss as you have no tracks to follow. Holding consistent throughout the 14 stages keeps you within reach of the overall podium, which is exactly what Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Kevin Benavides did. It all came down to the wire on the final day of racing, with Benavides and teammate, Toby Price, separated by mere seconds, the closest Dakar finish in decades. In the end, Benavides was able to redeem himself from his challenging and frustrating 2022 Dakar experience, which was wrought with mistakes and mechanical issues, to add yet another win to his record (having won the 2021 edition), finishing with a lead of only 43 seconds.

It all started in the Sea Camp. In the opening stage, the course of 603 km went out into Saudia Arabia and looped back to Sea Camp

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through gravel, sand, and plenty of dunes. It was Monster Energy Honda’s Ricky Brabec with the race lead, finishing just seconds ahead of Kevin Benavides and BAS World KTM Racing Team’s Mason Klein. Unfortunately for two-time Dakar winner, Sam Sunderland, 2023 was not to be his year. Just 52km into the stage, Sunderland hit a stone buried in the sand, sending him off the bike. Reporting back with a broken shoulder blade, a hematoma on his back, and a concussion, his dreams of adding yet another Dakar win to his resume ended.

Both Daniel Sanders and Pablo Quintanilla, along with a slew of other racers, were hot on the gas, but perhaps a bit too hot. They each received a penalty for speeding through the open connecting sections, dropping in the standings and allowing Ricky Brabec to move into the stage win at 3:31:10.

Sherco’s Lorenzo Santolino started the race off with a solid finish just outside the top 10. “I felt very good,” explained the Spainard. “I managed to pass several riders, I tried to not waste too much time overtaking them in the dust and concentrated on keeping a good rhythm. I'm happy to have reached the finish line, I was confident in my navigation, however I'm still a bit lacking in riding rhythm in the dunes.”

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Stage 2 looked to be more of the same, with 430km of desert in the 589km-long stage on the way to Alula. It was Michael Docherty initially setting the pace until Mason Klein took over around the 186km mark. The 21-year-old Klein started third on the day and was able to keep a good pace and take his firstever overall stage win. Matthias Walkner would suffer a crash at 120kph. With a broken bone in his wrist and a few stitches, he was not about to step away. Getting back on the bike, he would stay in the race until stage 13 when he would crash out and was taken to the hospital.

Saudi Arabia had more challenges in store for this year’s competitors,

starting in Stage 3. The rain began about halfway through the stage, during the 670km run from Ha’il. Riders who were unable to reach the finish line before race officials called the day early received a nominal scoring. Daniel Sanders set a solid pace, leading from start to finish through the rocky trails, moving himself from fifth overall to second, less than two minutes behind Klein.

With more mechanical difficulties and penalties as the competition wore on, it would be Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Skyler Howes working his way up through the leaderboard. After putting himself in the top three by the third stage, he would work slowly and consistently


up through the ranks, taking the overall lead by stage 5, where he would stay until stage 10. As the weather in Saudia Arabia turned from bad to worse, the race officials had some difficult decisions to make. On the start of stage 6, the bivouac in Al Duwadimi was found to be flooded, and without a way for competitors to safely arrive, a new route was implemented, skipping Al Duwadimi and going straight to Riyadh. Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Luciano Benavides, the brother of Kevin Benavides, was able to take his first stage win, finishing almost a full minute ahead of Howes and nearly three minutes ahead of his brother. The weather did not let up, causing some riders to pull into the bivouac as late as 3am. With stage 7 set to start at 4:30am that same day, the stage (for the bikes and quads) was canceled due to

safety concerns. Riders were graced with some extra downtime, taking a comparatively leisurely ride straight to the Al Duwadimi bivouac, as they prepared to get back to racing with stage 8.

Rieju’s Sandra Gomez began her 2023 Dakar with the goal of earning the award for fastest female. With her background in trials and hard enduro on her side, she was able to finish the first stage in 91st place, and by the end of stage 2 had moved up to 71st, beating out many of her male rivals and becoming the provisional leader of her class. By stage 6, she had moved up to 65th position, albeit dropping back to second place in the women’s category behind HT Rally Raid Husqvarna Racing’s Mirjam Pol, who was looking to secure her third trophy as fastest female, having

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won the title in both 2009 and 2022. Unfortunately, despite regaining the lead in stage 5, health problems got the better of her. Unable to arrive on time at the start of the special stage in stage 6, Gomez was given the opportunity to rejoin, out of the competition and without options to fight for victory. She ultimately decided not to continue, due to both the harshness of the race and her physical condition.

"I'm not going to continue, because I came here to finish the race and, if I could, win the women's trophy, but I can neither win nor finish,” explained Gomez. “My body is a wreck, I've tried to come as best as possible, but I also have to be realistic and consistent, love myself a little and recover a little, and get back to being at one hundred percent. That's why I have to quit. I have no other choice. It bothers me a lot because there are a lot of people behind me, I have invested time, effort, people, family, friends, money, everything; and it hasn't worked out, but I'm sure we will come back because I have an impressive team of people behind me."

Throughout the next several stages, it would be Howes, Price, and Benavides trading leads. By stage 11, Howes would have the lead over Price by only 28 seconds, which they traded in stage 12 as Price took the lead. Coming into the final stage on the route from Al-Hofuf to Dammam,

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less than two minutes separated the top three, with only 12 seconds separating then-leader Price from Benavides. At this point in the game, it was anyone’s race.

Benavides was able to dig deep for one final push; less than 50 km into the final 406km stretch, he had already matched Price’s time and was starting to pull away. Try as he might, Price just wasn’t able to keep up; he finished the stage less than a minute behind Benavides and had to settle for a second-place finish. The result makes it two Dakar titles for Benavides – 2021 and now 2023 – and marks KTM’s 19th win at the infamous race.

“It’s been an amazing day!” said Benavides at the finish of stage 14. “I just focused on every kilometer from the first to the last. I didn’t think about the position or the result I just gave my 100 percent over the whole stage and tried to enjoy the day. The final special was really fast and tricky, and so muddy – thankfully I didn’t make any big mistakes, but it would have been easy to have an issue out there. I have worked so hard for this. This year’s rally has been one of the closest ever and there wasn’t a single day where you could afford to ease off. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my team, and all my family and friends. It’s going to take a little while to sink in, I can’t describe this feeling right now.”

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“So, so close,” commented Price. “Yeah, a great job from Kevin, he did really well. I knew it was going to be tight, and of course I pushed right from the start all through the stage. I just missed three waypoints by virtually meters, and it dropped me back. Obviously, the goal is to win, and it’s frustrating to miss out by such a narrow margin. But I’m fit, healthy, and I’m going home with a trophy, so that’s the most important thing. I’m ready for another one next year.”

Finishing third, his best ever Dakar finish, was Skyler Howes. “I am so happy!” said Howes. “It’s been an incredible race with highs and lows, and it’s come right down to the wire on this final day. I knew the guys behind me would be pushing so hard today, and to go into this final day less than two minutes behind after well over 40 hours of racing is incredible. I arrived at the finish safely, and it feels like a dream come true and such an honour to share it with two legends like Toby (Price) and Kevin (Benavides). Everyone knows what you have to go through to get to this point, and after all that hard work, it makes this moment feel so sweet. Of course I want to come back and see what the other two steps of the podium feel like. But to now be one of five Americans to reach the podium at Dakar, it feels amazing.”

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As Saudi Arabia would spell bad news for his teammates, Lorenzo Santolino would be the only Sherco Factory rider to finish. He crossed the line just inside the top 10, improving on his 11th-place finish in last year’s Dakar.

“I finished 9th, a very satisfying result,” explained Santolino. “It was a difficult edition but we managed and our strategy allowed me to finish in the top 10, improving by two places on last year's results. I thank the entire Sherco Factory Rally team and all the people who supported me. Now it's time for the return trip home for a rest phase and to enjoy my family."


1. Kevin Benavides (KTM)

2. Toby Price (KTM)

3. Skyler Howes (HSQ)

4. Pablo Quintanilla (HON)

5. Adrien Van Beveren (HON)

6. Luciano Benavides (HSQ)

7. Daniel Sanders (GG)

8. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo (HON)

9. Lorenzo Santolino (SHE)

10. Franco Caimi


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Girroir tops Osborne for South of the Border US Sprint Enduro Win

words and photos SHAN MOORE

US Sprint Enduro Series Round 1

January 28-29, 2023

Hamer, South Carolina

FMF/KTM’s Johnny Girroir dominated the first day of competition at the opening round of the 2023 US Sprint Enduro Series held at the South of the Border MX facility in Hamer, South Carolina, topping FXR GasGas’ Layne Michael by nine seconds. AmPro Yamaha’s Zach Osborne, who came out of retirement after hanging it up at the end of the 2021 motocross season due to a back injury, came on strong the following day, winning Sunday’s event by a mere .005 seconds over Girroir.

After the times from the two days were combined, Girroir claimed the overall win, beating out Osborne by 11 seconds, thanks to his strong performance on Saturday. Enduro Engineering GasGas’ Josh Toth, who was third on each day, also finished third overall.

Girroir looked in control of Sunday’s event until a slight hiccup in the final cross test allowed Osborne to close in.

“I can’t believe how tight it was on Sunday,” said Girroir. “It was just five-hundredths of a second separating us going into that last

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test. I knew Zach had a problem there on Saturday and got stuck in the mud. But overall, he was flying. He won a woods test and then he took all three cross test wins in the Pro 1 class (Angus Riordan actually had the fastest time in the first cross test from the Pro 2 division). So, I knew Zach was going to be tough today. I just put my head down and got that first cross test win and then clicked off the first woods test win. Then the battle was on. We were kind of yoyo-ing back and forth all day. We went into the last test (on Sunday) five-hundredths of a second apart and were fivethousandths of a second apart at the finish. I think I got him by fifteen seconds for the weekend, but it was fun, close racing. That’s what sprint racing is all about.”

Girroir might have won Sunday’s event, as well, but a slipup in the third cross test cost him valuable time.

“I just got sideways a couple times and was over-riding the bike,’ said Girroir. “Just trying to get on the gas too soon. I guess it’s just a personal error or mistake and I need to learn from it and do better next time.”

Osborne was excited to win Sunday’s event with such little experience in off-road racing.

“I’m learning the format, learning how to do everything,’ said Osborne. “The start procedure, the time in-


between, just the whole gamut of what sprint enduro is here in the USA. To have the weekend that I had, I feel like I was pretty successful. I won five of the six cross tests. Was second in one of the enduro tests, plus won another one, which wasn’t even on my radar for this weekend against guys like Jonny and Layne and Josh. So, that was huge for me.”

Osborne hadn’t raced professionally since the Thunder Valley Motocross in Colorado in 2021.

“I was extremely nervous about this first race,” added Osborne. “So, to be back at a professional level, it means a lot more to me to race this weekend than most people will ever know, just from where I was in the last year and a half as far as my health and stuff goes. It’s just a huge, huge shot in the arm for me.”

Toth is the defending US Sprint Enduro Champion and came into the event with strong hopes, despite being on a new team and a new bike.

“It was a pretty stacked pro class this week,’ said Toth. “The course had very moto-like tests, although the enduro test got gnarly and rooty and rough and it was pretty onelined and fast so there was nothing to separate all of us, so that made for super tight racing. I had some decent crashes just trying to make up time in the last two enduro tests on day one, but usually enduro tests are my strong point. Those boys

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were laying it down, even Zacho. So, props to him. I just tried to keep him honest. It was cool trying to defend off Zacho on the full-blown moto track for just a wide-open sprint. Overall, it was a pretty solid weekend.”

Layne Michael, who was the 2021 US Sprint Enduro Champion, was fourth overall after making some impressive rides. Like Toth, he too was coming into the year on a new team and a new bike. Michael looked strong on Saturday and was in contention most of the weekend, but one of the early tests on Sunday did him in.

‘That first enduro test really stings right now,” said Michael. “A little mistake and I kind of went into the trees and got hung up. It just took me too long to get out. I lost probably fifteen, twenty seconds. So, I knew it was kind over there. I kind of had a faint shot there heading into the last test to snag a podium and I was close but came up probably a second and a half, two seconds shy. So, it sucks.”

Phoenix Honda Racing’s Cody Barnes won the Pro 2 class with a fifth overall finish, despite getting off to a slow start.

“Day one started off pretty rough,’ said Barnes. “In the cross test, I came into it a little bit too cold and I just made a couple mistakes. The same thing happened in the enduro

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test. I managed to turn things around by the end of the day, but I was digging myself out of a hole, which is never good. Finally, I had some good test scores and was right there with the Pro one guys for the second half of Saturday’s event. Then I started slow again today and I lost some time to Angus (Riordan). He was riding really good. I made it up in the enduro test, but the guys were really on it in the Pro one class, and I was hoping to be right up there with them.”

Sixth overall and second in the Pro 2 class was RPM KTM’s Angus Riordan, who surprised everyone by turning in the fastest time of all class on the cross test to kick off the weekend.

‘Me and Cody (Barnes) was on a roll the first couple of tests on Saturday and then the big boys didn’t like that and they showed us how it’s done,’ said Riordan.

Coastal Racing GasGas’ Thad DuVall, who is still feeling the effects of a hip injury, was seventh.

“I was just pretty far off on some of the tests,’ admitted DuVall. “I’m just kind of getting that sprint mentality back. I had some really good tests, I just need to get better on Saturdays and just kind of learn that sprint speed a little bit. I still favor my hip a little bit in the ruts, so I haven’t really rode ruts since the big injury, especially ruts like on the moto track

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today. Once I get comfortable on the ruts with my leg I can go from there.”

Phoenix Honda Racing’s Ruy Barbosa was eighth and third place in the Pro 2 division.

“Today was difficult for me,” said Barbosa. “The race was perfect conditions. The woods and the cross test were really nice. But I was really struggling. I was really slow in the whoops. I need to get better. It’s my first race in the season and I had a small problem with my wrist, so I didn’t ride too much these last three months. But I will get better.”

Bubz Tasha (KTM) finished ninth overall and fourth in Pro 2, while Dominik Morse (Hsq) won the ProAm division in 10th overall.

The Women’s Elite class, Trail Jesters Racing KTM’s Kori Steede split day wins with AmPro Yamaha’s Rachel Archer, with Steede taking the overall win by 11 seconds over Archer at the end of the two-day event after a 1-2 performance.

“Saturday, I had a really solid day,” said Steede. “I ended up winning the day by 25 seconds. But then the track started to get a little rough on Sunday. I made a few adjustments to my suspension during the day and I ended up winning the last cross test. Then in the enduro test, I was feeling really good but I made a couple mistakes and Rachel ended up grabbing it. But I’m pretty

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pumped to start the season like this.”

Engineering/Fly Racing KTM’s Mackenzie Tricker finished third, with Rachel Gutish and FLY Racing/ KTM’s Shelby Turner rounding out the top five.


1. Johnny Girroir (GG)

2. Zach Osborne (Yam)

3. Josh Toth (GG)

4. Layne Michael (GG)

5. Cody Barnes (Hon)

6. Angus Riordan (KTM)

7. Thad DuVall (GG)

8. Ruy Barbosa (Hon)

9. Bubz Tasha (KTM)

10. Dominik Morse (Hsq)


1. Korie Steede (KTM)

2. Rachael Archer (Yam)

3. Mackenzie Tricker (GG)

4. Rachel Gutish (GG)

5. Shelby Turner (KTM)

6. Jamie Astudillo (KTM)

7. Prestin Raines (Yam)

8. Elizabeth Perez (Hsq)


A British Hattrick

words courtesy of SUPERENDURO photos FUTURE7MEDIA

The second round of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship was a royal success for the British riders, who heard ‘God Save the King’ ring out three times across the classes. Billy BOLT in Prestige, Ashton BRIGHTMORE in Junior, and Dan PEACE in European. The German Grand Prix offered a thrilling rollercoaster of the sport at its greatest. Billy BOLT leaves Riesa as leader in Prestige but it wasn’t the usual smooth sailing for the Husqvarna rider.

The 2023 German Grand Prix will go down in the annals of SuperEnduro sport. As usual, the Riesa club


crafted a technical and tough track for the world’s best riders. A rocky bridge section above a tunnel caused trouble for many of those who tackled it. Even Billy BOLT (GBR-Husqvarna) was caught out in this spot several times, despite floating over it with astonishing ease during SuperPole. The evening started well for the Brit, although a heavy landing off a vertical jump on the fifth lap of the first race allowed Jonny WALKER (GBR-Beta) to make a move on the series leader. Although WALKER took the lead briefly, it wasn’t long before BOLT regained control, just a few turns after the landing. BOLT twisted the knife by beating the Beta rider by almost 3 seconds. At the end of this first race, onlookers were beginning to imagine another ‘untouchable’ evening for Billy.

In the second race, the reverse grid heat, madness would seize the SachsenArena as the spectacle offered by the riders heated up rapidly. Even the start of the race was spectacular as Blake GUTZEIT (SFA-TM) snatched the Airoh Holeshot and shot into the lead. Trailing close behind was Dominik OLSZOWY (POL-GasGas), the 2022 Junior Champion was enjoying a much better night than that of the opening round. The Pole led the first laps of this round with authority, but eventually the GasGas rider was overwhelmed by the furious battle between BOLT and WALKER.


The two compatriots engaged in a superb fight, and as the Beta rider closed down his Husky mounted rival, they both went down in the soft sand. OLSZOWY temporarily retook the lead, but once back in the saddle, the battle of the Brits continued and BOLT quickly took over. Just when we thought BOLT was soaring to another victory, he had an uncharacteristic crash on the bridge climb. Fighting against gravity, BOLT saw WALKER whizz past and into first place. Despite a huge charge at the end of the race, BOLT was not be able to close the gap that separated him from the Beta rider. Meanwhile, Taddy BLAZUSIAK (POL-GasGas) dived into second place, and looked back on form. The GasGas rider slipped on the finish line logs while taking the chequered flag and slid into the path of a chasing BOLT, who violently hit BLAZUSIAK. Thankfully, the two riders emerged from the terrifying crash without serious injury, with the Pole suffering a mild shoulder injury. Jonny WALKER had finally ended BOLT’s Riesa winning streak – he had been undefeated here since 2020!

The last race in the Prestige category was just as competitive and spectacular as the previous one. Once again, SuperEnduro fans finished the round on the edge of their seats. On the first lap of this last race, BOLT shockingly went down on the bridge once again, and Jonny WALKER seemed odds-

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on favourite to win. Four minutes from the end of the race, WALKER was more than ten seconds ahead of BOLT. But the Husqvarna rider can never be counted out and he gave his all to regain the lead… something he did on the last lap of the race! What a round, and what a thrill! All the ingredients were there to make this second GP of the year an unforgettable part of the 2023 season.

Taddy BLAZUSIAK managed to fight back from his horrer crash to climb on the third step of the final podium. The Polish legend therefore takes his first podium of the season with courage and experience. But the evening was once again marked by the BOLT/WALKER domination. Friends in the paddock, the two boys have a great time battling on the track. BOLT leaves Germany 14 points ahead of WALKER.

BLAZUSIAK is 37 points behind BOLT and just ahead of WEBB by two points.

While Mitch BRIGHTMORE (GBRGasGas) shone in the Krakow night, it was his little brother Ashton BRIGHTMORE (GBR-GasGas) who impressively won this second GP in the Junior category. The two young brothers have been truly phenomenal this season, and it is important to remember that the German Grand Prix was only their second SuperEnduro participation. Only Milan SCHMUESER (GER-


Sherco) managed to win one of the six races that have so far been contested in Junior. The German, who was announced as the big favourite of the class, has been hounded by the British brothers. This weekend, it was 16-year old Ashton’s turn to steal the show. Second in the first race behind SCHMUESER, he finished second again in the reverse grid race behind his brother. The youngster closed proceedings by leading the last race of the evening with authority. It is impressive to see such dominance on a very different track configuration to the opening round in Poland. It is no longer in question; the two BRIGHTMORE brothers are two pure talents in the discipline. Remember the names, because they will surely continue to fly the Union Jack high in the future. Mitch leads the championship proceedings ahead of Ashton by just 8 points, SCHMUESER is not defeated and the German is only 9 points behind the category leader.

Used to riding in trials competitions in Great Britain, Dan PEACE won on his first appearance in the SuperEnduro European category. The Brit put his Sherco in front of that of Hungarian Mark SZOKE. It was another Hungarian, Roland LISZKA (KTM) who climbed on the bottom step of the podium after three crazy races which once again made the fans in Riesa’s SachsenArena rise up.

Once again, the German Grand Prix was high in emotion and adrenaline. The next meeting for the competitors of the FIM SuperEnduro World Championship will be in Budapest, on February 4, for the highly anticipated Hungarian Grand Prix.


1. Billy Bolt (HSQ)

2. Jonny Walker (BET)

3. Taddy Blazusiak (GG)

4. Cody Webb (SHE)

5. Alfredo Gomez (RIE)

6. Will Hoare (GG)

7. Dominik Olszowy (GG)

8. Cooper Abbott (SHE)

9. Diogo Vieira (GG)

10. Eddie Karlsson (KTM)

11. Blake Gutzeit (TM)

12. Norbert Zsigovits (KTM)

13. Mirko Fabera (GG)

14. Ramon Bregoli (KTM)


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AZ, Phoenix

CA, Copperopolis

CO, Arvada

FL, Bradenton

HI, Kapaa

HI, Wahiawa

IL, Roscoe

KY, Louisville

ME, South Berwick

MT, Big Timber

NC, Concord

NE, Lincoln

NM, Albuquerque

NM, Santa Fe

NY, Corning

OH, Chardon

OR, Albany

TN, Sequatchie

TX, Midlothian

UT, Provo

WA, Bellevue

VOL. 8 ISSUE 2 - FEBRUARY 2023 // PAGE 103

Start 'em Young!

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I was looking for a chance to practice taking motorcycle photos with Next Gen Mototrials at a recent training day class, and ended up capturing a whole lot more. What I didn’t realize was how impressed I would be at the resilience and willingness of kids to overcome obstacles and try to conquer anything in their path. This is more than a summary of me taking photos, this is a story of the power of transformation. But before I go any further - If you are not into reading, take heart, there's also a video version that we will link to.

The weekend started with Pro trials rider, Sam Fastle, teaching proper bike setup, safety gear and basic bike handling to 9 kids ranging in age from 5 years old to 15. Sam was leading a Next Gen Mototrials training day class for youth riders that was hosted at Saddleback KY. He was patient in explaining and instructing, and the kids were eager to learn and itching to demonstrate what they could do. The pending weather held out for a pretty good December day, but the rain earlier in the week made for some muddy conditions. The Kentucky clay made

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the need for good throttle and clutch control apparent and kids were humbled as they fought for traction. It wasn’t long after working on turns, wheelies, and log crossings, that they started to link moves together to practice section-type riding. Just because they could make it over a log didn’t mean they were in control immediately after, so Sam added a turn following the log. Through coach Sam’s encouragement and exhortation, the kids really got into it as they were each challenged according to their own abilities in a safe environment. We had extra spotters and parent volunteers there to assist as kids worked their way up muddy hills and over slippery logs. The wonderful thing about trials is the focus on control and technique which meshes well for youngsters learning and parents feeling good about the safety aspect of a motor sport. The desire to get over it “clean” without touching a foot down and “one more time” comments sparked an energy where the kids were pushing themselves.

A couple of turning games and a wheelie competition rounded out the morning and after lunch, we headed to another location where Sam set up a few sections for the different skill levels of the kids. The hardest of the sections concluded with a line that went up a three-foot vertical cement wall. This is the same wall that I had seen #1 Pro rider, Pat

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Smage, use to demonstrate ride up technique in one of his On the Pegs YouTube training videos. To say the least, this was no small obstacle. The top student, Cameron, was able to splat up the wall using a kicker and some of the older kids wanted to be able to do the same. It became apparent that this was the next big challenge and so they asked Sam to demonstrate how to properly get up this wall.

Now in my mind, the wall presenting itself as more than just an obstacle, it became “The Obstacle” of the day. It represented more than a wall, but rather a mental barrier for many of these kids because it evoked a certain level of healthy fear. It was handlebar height, around 3 feet tall, and unmoveable. The area immediately surrounding this section also had a hill and retaining wall around the outside edge where kids could look down into the section and watch. We set up spotters and as the top kids in the class made it up the wall, they began to make it look easier and easier. Now, even the younger kids wanted to give it a try. The area started to feel like a stadium and had the emotion of “the main event” as everyone was looking down and cheering. There were some crashes, tip overs and many good “catches,” as the spotters were able to keep kids and bikes from coming down hard.

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Multiple attempts and increased guidance and feedback created an atmosphere that is hard to put into words. As each new youngster made it up, more of them wanted to try it. Then they wanted to make it up clean. The cheering started getting more exuberant as parents took out their cell phones to record the struggle. There were some tears shed. Fears surfaced and encouragement was given, but it was resilience and faith that made the difference. Faith of a pro rider and other volunteer spotters in the kids themselves that transformed their committed efforts into successes. We added an additional kicker pipe to assist in the learning curve. However, the pinnacle of the moment wasn’t about the extra support from that kicker that came before the obstacle. It was when I saw courage imparted to kids in a contagious environment. It was when everyone who gave it a try, was cheered on and made it to the top. It was breaking through fears, self doubt, that voice in your head that says you CAN’T do something. I saw that when someone believes in you, it can almost literally lift you up obstacles you didn’t know you could do on your own.

Making it up that wall that day was more than just about learning to ride a particular obstacle on a trials bike. It was one of those defining moments for many of those kids that will never come in front of a

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Jim Zuroske with a full audience


screen. It presented itself as a time and place where everyone wanted everyone to succeed. Those are rare moments in life. Emotions were high. The joy of success will not always come, but on that day, it did. The conditions were right. The proper skills, technique and courage were given, and the next generation of trials riders stepped up to a new level.

I came away from that day glad that I had helped to capture the moment and record the memories. The contagious environment made me realize that I want to give back more to the sport, to see those moments again and almost bottle that energy. Trials riders are humble helpers that like to give. It’s hard to be arrogant in trials, because the terrain tends to flatten egos. And this is what youth need, a proving ground to work through hard times, to be humbled, and to be encouraged. To be coached and to persist in a worthwhile effort. The mentoring that I saw that weekend, made me want to document it and also to challenge readers to think about how they can also give back to their sport.

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Puget Sound Trialers Training


The 2023 Puget Sound Trialers (PST) trials school was a big success for the riders, instructors and club. Students covered the spectrum from first-time trials riders to those riding advanced lines, all looking to knock off the winter rust, from their steeds and themselves, and work on becoming better riders. All of the instructors were club members - many of our advanced and expert ridersvolunteering their time and sharing their understanding of how to excel in our sport. The club had another opportunity to introduce trials to Northwest two-wheelers and continue to grow our ranks.

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The school was conducted on a beautiful piece of private property owned by a PST member and his family. The club has hosted numerous events there. Over the years, we’ve developed an impressive array of loop trails and sections suitable for all levels of riders. The heavily treed natural terrain features small hills, a creek, some massive rocks and logs of every size imaginable. As a bonus, each windstorm brings down more trees that become logs for us to play on – it’s recycling at its best.

Students of the school had the opportunity to work on fundamentals: body position, clutch & throttle control, balance, cornering, etc. and then progress to learning new and/or advanced techniques while pushing themselves a bit on higher level obstacles and sections. All the while, they were getting insightful feedback and assistance from their instructors.

At the end of the day there were 54 Pacific Northwest trials riders who were more confident, skilled and excited to take on a season of feetup competition in 2023. Some were tired, all seemed to be smiling and several were making plans for their next day to ride and practice what they had learned.

The students themselves said it the best.

Andrew Kazantsev is starting his

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trials adventure the right way –“Great event, organization, and people. First time on a trials bike outside my backyard and it was a blast!”

Sara Redfield’s stoke level was high - “Huge thanks to Jesse and the others in my class for pushing me to try some advanced lines and obstacles! I wouldn’t have the courage to try without the coaching and support!”

Scott Squire’s experience perfectly illustrates why we host this event each year – “I had some lightbulb moments and I really learned a lot.”

Pretty much all motorcyclists understand the “n+1 rule” in which the right number of bikes owned is whatever you have today (n) plus one more. Oftentimes, fully committing to that +1 doesn’t happen until you’ve spent some time riding a few of the bikes under consideration and can make a more informed, confident decision. For the second year in a row, Puget Sound Trialers has loaned a trials motorcycle to each of a dozen local - mostly enduro - riders who are interested but not fully committed to trials.

In conjunction with the club’s annual season kick-off school, which requires a trials bike to participate, a special class called “Need a Bike” provides loaner bikes and a day of instruction to experienced

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motorcycle riders who want to give this segment of the sport a try.

Loaners for the day were both demo and privately owned bikes provided by Vertigo dealer OlyMoto - owned by PST member and sponsor Will Giese - and the personal machines of various PST club members. With five 4-strokes and seven 2-strokes of varying displacement, riders in the 2023 Need a Bike class were able to get some meaningful experience on a wide variety of motorcycle brands.

The Need a Bike curriculum includes a review of the high-level differences between enduro and trials bikes, instruction on correct body position, cornering, small wheelies, hill climbs and descents, small log crossings and the nuances of section riding. It’s a great introduction to the sport in a safe and structured environment.

In the months following our 2022 Need a Bike class, four riders purchased their first trials bike. By mid-week following this year’s school, Need a Bike attendee and first-time trials rider Joe Feldhaus had picked up his own trials bike, a nice compliment to his KTM 300 XC-W. Will the 2023 class eventually beat the 2022 class by swooping up five or more plonkers? Time will tell, but most of them seem to be excited about finding and obtaining their own +1 in the form of a trials bike.

Regardless of the number of new

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trials bike owners that come out of this special segment of the school, we have created an experience that few dirt bike riders get and those riders are going to spread the word about how cool trials is. It’s a win for the riders who participated, our sport and our club, no matter what happens. Proof-positive are the following post-school comments.

Lisa Denzler had no idea how this might change her life – “I seriously loved it and I’d do it again! And what a workout!!! Oy!”

Sarah Forney was similarly excited about experiencing moto trials – “I am still excited about how awesome of an experience yesterday was. I want to personal[ly] thank everyone who gave up their Saturday to get us two wheeled addicts a different perspective of riding. Lori and crew, you were all amazing, knowledgeable and so encouraging. At some point soon, hopefully sooner rather than later, I will see you all again on my own trials bike.”

Katherine Cade and her son Alex had a blast trying out trials – “I thought the event was well put together, fun, entertaining, and full of wonderful people with so much knowledge that were willing to share, such a great combination.”

This annual school is the purest example of riders giving back to the sport. Not everyone is down for giving up a day of riding or a day of

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instruction themselves, but the club managed to pull together fourteen volunteer instructors to do just thatgive up their day to help others learn. With an average rider to instructor ratio of about 4:1, there was lots of coaching and attention given to each of the 54 students signed up in 2023. It often surprises new instructors how satisfying coaching can be. This year was Dan Warner’s first time - “It was a lot of fun and coaching revealed that I really don’t know the basics as well as I should, or at least not well enough to teach new riders as well as I’d like. It was still a blast though”.

It was also Jesse Estrin’s first year coaching at the school. He said afterwards, “I really enjoyed my class of 5! They all had different skill levels and all wanted to be able to hop - haha. It was incredibly helpful to have sections set up that I could play around with and rearrange to help push each person in their levels. Honestly a lot of what we worked on was slowing down and breathing within the section. Once they had that figured out, they were riding a lot smoother and consistently. Hopefully I can pull it off again next year!”

It is clear that no school is possible without instructors. The club is lucky to have so many active and skilled members. The school’s student attendance has grown from 20 students in 2021, to 35 in 2022, to 54

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this year. We were stoked to pull off another success amid such rapid growth.

Puget Sound Trialers was proud to celebrate the 50th anniversary of our club in 2022. We look forward to continuing to grow the sport through events such as this school and hosting fun competition rounds on a variety of terrain around the Puget Sound area. Things are looking up for our sixth decade of riding between the ribbons.

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Articles inside

Puget Sound Trialers Training

pages 118-133

Start 'em Young!

pages 104-115

A British Hattrick

pages 91-92, 94-95, 97, 99-100, 102-103

Girroir Tops Osborne for South of the Border US Sprint Enduro Win

pages 76-89

Benavides Tops 2023 Dakar

pages 60-74


pages 46-57

Seat Time - EP 23.1 | Ryan Sipes

pages 43-45

Two Stroke Top End Simple Doesn’t Mean Easy

pages 42-43


pages 36-37


page 35


page 34


page 32


pages 28-31


pages 26-27


page 25


page 24


pages 22-23


pages 20-21


pages 18-19


pages 16-17


pages 14-15
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