Pit Bits: San Diego 5

The Military Appreciation race always brings out some cool goodies...add mud on top of that, and it made for an interesting weekend.

San Diego seemed to be all about hurry up and wait. Ironically, the track sat covered in plastic and idle through most of the day, while the forecast called for rain at night. The schedule got pushed back to one short practice/qualifier late in the afternoon, and pretty much as soon as the plastic was pulled off, it started pouring.

Of course, San Diego is the annual military appreciation race, and the teams had some cool bits this time around. Each of the Monster Energy Kawasaki bikes featured a different story. Eli Tomac‘s bike had his brother Greg’s Air Force base, air wing insignia, and tail number info on it. Here, Greg checks out the bike, while his mom, Kathy, and D'Cor's Danny Dobey look on.

Here's a different view of ET's bike.

Bell also capped off Eli Tomac's Air Force theme for the weekend with this one. Yep, the tail numbers match up with his bike's graphics...and the transport plane that his brother, Greg, flies.

On Joey Savatgy‘s bike, it was more of a Navy theme and paid homage to his grandpa’s Navy ship. Apparently, his career on it spanned WWII, and he was with the ship from the time it launched, to when it was decommissioned.

Solid rotor, lots of ti bits (including axles), and those lugs. This is on Joey Savatgy's bike.

Rather than traditional printed graphics, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki graphics this week were hydro dipped, so the graphics were bonded in place.

Here's a peek at Adam Cianciarulo's bike, and a closer look at the graphics.

Props to the Bell guys for dialing in several helmets. The Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki Moto-9 Flex helmets for Adam Cianciarulo and Garrett Marchbanks were really cool.

Scott was on the ball, doing their part. These matched up nicely with the custom-painted Bells.

Due to the muddy conditions, and quick turnaround needed to have his race bike on the truck and ready to head to the east coast, the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna crew opted to have Michael Mosiman race his practice bike, instead. His bike got a light digital camo treatment.

The AJE Gas Monkey Energy Husqvarnas were looking good with their gray plastic and red, white, and blue theme for the weekend. Unfortunately, Justin Starling was sidelined with a fractured wrist after Oakland.

Dean Wilson's bike was using gray plastic this week. Or maybe it was caused by the lime in the dirt in San Diego. (That's a whole 'nuther can of worms.)

Of course, handguards were a necessity for the muddy conditions. Jensen Hendler gets Carson Brown dialed for practice.

While lots of bikes in the pits were using gray plastic, The JMC Motorsports guys had gray graphics, but opted to put it over black.

New white Dean Wilson merch for the muddiest event in recent memory? Seems like a good idea. With the series moving easy, Paul Perebijnos will hand over wrenching duties to Chris Loredo.

The Monster Energy Yamahas of Aaron Plessinger and Justin Barcia got the camo treatment.

Billy Hartle giving Aaron Plessinger's bike a liberal coat of mud-shedding lube before practice.

Often we see mechanics zip-tie foam to the back of brake pedals. Shawn Bell takes it a step further by using rubber cement to make sure it stays in place and using a zip-tie on the leading edge for security.

It's interesting to check out each team's spin on their pit carts. This one has some cool hidden drawers and a pin that prevents the drawer from opening accidentally.

Beam Designs added the Monster logos to this new military-inspired helmet for Justin Barcia, that is also available to the public.

Factory trickery? How about a titanium tip-tie holder? That one's on Trevor Carmichael's box. He wrenches for Colt Nichols.

How about some blue camo for the Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha bikes?

Ryan Breece made his debut with the CycleTrader.com/Rock River/Yamaha team. Unfortunately, struggles with the mud kept him out of the main event, but we did like the camo treatment on his bike.

Justin Hill hangs onto the bike really tightly with his legs, and the material on the airbox and side panels is actually not grip tape. It's designed to help his boots slide more easily over those sections, so they don't get torn up as easily.

Chad Reed's bike had the tan graphics to match up with his gear.

It looks like the Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing guys were ready to put Zuma's Power Paws water skills to use. Anything to help out Chad Reed.

The JGR 250s always match the rider's gear...which means they're usually the same color and graphics package.

Martin Castelo and Twisted Development's deal is coming to a close, as the Bar-X team need their rig back for upcoming amateur races. Martin is on the lookout for a new gig.

The H.E.P. Suzuki bikes had a bit of a different graphics look. Like any of the bikes, you had to see them before they hit the track, otherwise they were covered in muck.

No custom paint, but Kyle Chisholm's LS2 helmet was star-spangled and practically glowing.

Hmm...Works Connection has some new brake reservoir caps out, and they're personalized for each rider on the H.E.P. Motorsports team. It sounds like this will soon be an option for consumers, too.

Airtrix does the helmets for Red Bull's sponsored riders, and they did a nice job on a couple helmets this weekend. First up is Ken Roczen's Fox lid.

Justin Brayton got a subtle change to his bike's graphics kit over at Smartop MotoConcepts Racing.

Why two different graphics on the Team Honda HRC bikes? Each one matched up to what their respective rider's gear would be. The tan portions of Ken's bike matched his gear...which also happened to be just about the same color as the mud.

Cole's bike had a good red, white, and blue combo. More patriotic than military, but it worked.

The Team Honda HRC bikes opted to line the fenders with foam to minimize mud buildup.

Usually, solid rotors are one of the last things that teams install for a mud race, and the conditions need to be pretty bad. San Diego checked all the boxes.

Cole Seely is busily building up confidence week-to-week and feeling more comfortable in the mix. We often think of injuries as just physical, but after a big one like Cole had at Tampa last year, it often takes time to get really the whole package back.

The West Coast GEICO Honda guys had a very cool snow camo black/white look for the event in San Diego, while the East bikes were still in the red/white/black livery for their series that starts next week in Minneapolis.

The Red Bull KTM bikes got a subtle digital camo look. It went nicely with the red plates on Cooper Webb's bike.

Cooper Webb's helmet was a tribute to his Grandfather, whose service in North Carolina is what caused the Webb family to become based there.

The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS bikes got a digital desert camo...

...and they also each represented the Army with a military patch on the seat. Each had their own variation. Here's Blake's...

...and Justin Bogle's.

We saw lots of mud fronts mounted up in carts, but didn't see many used.

Hmm...Troy came up with these lycra covers for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM crew to help keep the tops of their helmets mud-free.

The good news? The KJSR riders got selected for San Diego. The bad news? They got selected for San Diego. They went through the whole process, but didn't get time on the track before everyone (good idea), and also had their race abbreviated due to the nasty conditions.

It was a weird week in the magazine world. TransWorld Motocross was part of The Enthusiast Network, which closed a few titles this week (including TWMX), before an impending sale. Apparently, the title wasn't one that fit into the desired portfolio of the new buyers. Checking in with Donn Maeda, he said there's a good chance that it will continue under new ownership and that they're working on that now.

Teams were mounting up lots of mud tires, but in the end, few of them (at least in the 450 class), went with the paddle-style tires.

It looked like a sound meter party over at the sound testing area, as several teams are trying to get a handle on the calibration of the AMA's meter, versus their own. Pretty much all the top teams have their own setup so that they can pre-test before the races, but their results haven't quite matched up with the AMA's.

During the track walk, we asked Justin Bogle to give us an expression for the track. Here's what he came up with.

This should give you a decent idea of how nasty the downpour was.

The 250s were so antsy to get out onto the track, they blazed onto it as soon as they were given the signal to go out onto the front straight....and well before any signal to go. Their session got red-flagged and was sent back to the start straight.

Shane McElrath was fastest among the 250s.

The mud was so slick, even the straightaways weren't safe if you weren't paying attention...as Adam Cianciarulo found out.

The whoops were unusual here, in that they'd been rolled and were more rollers than real whoops.

During the start of practice, Cooper Webb had towels over both hands and waited until the last possible minute to get going, in an effort to both stay clean and catch some clear track.

Churning through the mud and muck.

Just as a tip for you fantasy players out there...Blake Baggett hasn't quite been 100 percent out there, but has been feeling better...

Now before anyone gets all crazy, there was a pond just before this corner. We've seen all sorts of speculation in the forum about why the Monster Energy Kawasaki bike smoking while on the track. Both Joey Savatgy and Eli Tomac are a bit heavy-handed on the clutch, and occasionally you'll see smoke venting from breather tubes as they navigate the circuits. Eli was the fastest 450 qualifier.

This was about as much as we saw of Justin Hill on the track. Looks like he's still feeling the effects of his crash in Oakland.

Ugh, mud-spattered and rain-covered...and the gate hadn't even dropped for racing yet.

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