View From The Infield: Going Off...Season Racing 3

Part show, part race, and a bit of two-stroke nostalgia. But it's all fun, and the Red Bull Straight Rhythm has figured out its place in the off-season agenda.

On Friday before the Red Bull Straight Rhythm, it felt a bit like we were at a bike show. The riders and teams had done a great job of bringing back the look (and sometimes the actual bikes) of the '90s. But there was also the racing component, and you know how it is when the gate drops. Everyone gets their game face on and gets serious. Let's take a tour through the pits and see what caught our eye this year.

Ken Roczen busted out Jeremy McGrath's '06 Honda 250 for the event, but it had some modern touches, like his current front suspension components.

Showa built a more current shock body for the bike, and we heard at least one rumor that it might be available on the aftermarket side.

Fox killed it on the replica gear, and even the helmet featured Jeremy McGrath's TLD graphics ghosted under the familiar blue/silver Red Bull design.

Ah, that late afternoon glow. (Yeah, so maybe it's enhanced by So. Cal. smog. It was still fun to shoot.)

Lots of riders picked iconic riders from the past to emulate for this event. The Troy Lee Designs gang dialed in Brandon Hartranft with an Evel Knievel look for the weekend.

Yep, we recognize that number one...but dig the ghosted 30 behind it.

This was Brandon Hartranft's first time out with the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM crew, and he definitely turned some heads with the speed that he showed.

Number one qualifier? Yep, he was on it, and edged out Ken Roczen by a couple tenths.

Cooper Webb's KTM rocked the same look that Jeremy McGrath had when he moved to KTM.

Cooper qualified fifth during the afternoon sessions.

How about the mini-fin on the back of his helmet?

It was good to see the defending SX champ back in action after missing out on the end of the National season with an injury.

Ryan Villopoto went with a McGrath replica look as well, though from the Bud Light/Chaparral era.

RV opted for Villo Light.

Now there's a pipe that you know not everyone has.

RV was a bit off the pace for the weekend, qualifying eighth, and getting knocked out in the first round by Parker Mashburn.

Ah, now here's a collectible that goes a step beyond.

Josh Hansen's Honda looked really clean.

Hanny using up most of his travel on one of the speed check sections.

Cole Seely's project Honda was pretty sweet.

Cole paid some tribute to Johnny O'Mara for the race.

After qualifying sixth, Cole beat Austin Politelli in the first round, but was eliminated in round two by Josh Hansen.

After making his return from the MXoN, Jason Anderson got to put in a little time on the Husky two-stroke. The gray plastics were something different, as was the nod to the old-style Husky tanks in the graphics.

Jason wasn't finding the comfort and confidence that he was looking for on Friday, an opted out of the event for Saturday's action.

Ryan Sipes asked, "Did you really put e-start on this thing?" Travis fired it up, and said, "Yeah, and it added 12 pounds!" That just adds to the legend of the RMZilla.

Travis flipped everything in sight on Friday, but got more serious when it was time to go racing.

AJ Catanzaro went full Travis Pastrana replica for the event...maybe short of finding an actual Suzuki to ride. They did put a lot of effort into making the Katoom look like one of TP's old bikes.

AJ put a lot of effort into emulating Travis, including throwing tricks off a lot of the jumps on Friday. Pastrana was having fun cheering him on.

AJ accidentally went full Pastrana during Saturday action, with a huge accidental Superman, and then a whiskey throttle jump off of one of the speed checks. Check on the video monitor to see how high he was above Joey Crown as he headed off the track.

One thing that didn't get much notice was how close he came to the 100-yard dash pylon on the side of the track. He just missed that one.

Oh yeah, Tyler Bowers' KX500 is a beast.

These bikes are a handful. Kudos to both Tyler and Travis for keeping it between the sidelines while riding these beasts.

After the races on Saturday night, Tyler did a little tire (and concrete) shredding with a big smokey burnout. Yep, he did take off his shoe and put a boot on to kick it over. He's no dummy. On the other hand, he did leave the shoe behind the bike, and had to recover it from under all the shredded Dunlop shavings.

Adam Enticknap went for a Kevin Windham replica.

Carlen Gardner opted for a Jessy Nelson replica. It was good to see Jessy out there cheering him on.

There were a couple Ernesto Fonseca replicas on hand, from two different eras. Michael Leib went the Woody Woodpecker route.

He also did his take on the TLD gear from the time. Canvas also did up the Nitro Circus gear for Travis Pastrana, the Pastrana replica gear for AJ Catanzaro, and Jerry Robin's Grant Langston replica gear.

Michael qualified third-fastest on the Honda.

Alex Nagy had the other Ernie replica, giving a nod to the YOT days.

Oh yeah.

Ryan Sipes had an interesting look for his bike and gear. Leatt did some gear that emulated what theirs might have looked like back in the day.

Ryan said more work went into the look of this bike and gear than any other event that he's done.

Ryan eliminated Ryan Morais in the first round, but ran into Ken Roczen in round two. Ronnie Mac got taken out by Pierce Brown in round one.

With the GP season over and done, Mitchell Harrison made the trip back home. He had a sweet Carmichael replica Kawi, but he didn't make the qualifying cut in the 125s.

Nope, that's not a James Stewart replica. Enzo Lopes opted to emulate Larry Ward.

You know the Brazilian fans were keeping their eyes on Enzo.

Moto Whips had a very clean scooter for Chase Marquier.

Jerry Robin went for a Grant Langston look.

Parker Mashburn (as Nate Ramsey).

Max Vohland (as himself) was flying in the 125 class...right up until he took a big digger in the whoops.

Simon Langenfelder made it over from the MXoN (where he rode for Germany), and went for a Ryan Hughes look. He also had some silky-smooth scrubs.

There was a good-sized crowd on hand when it was time to go racing. The adult beverages were served in Ratio-Rites.

One of the biggest surprises of the night was Pierce Brown eliminating Cooper Webb in the second round, 2-0.

Tyler Bowers went 2-0 to take the 500 class. Travis Pastrana kept things close, even while flipping the big gator pit. We've never seen backflip as a scrub replacement before.

After the conclusion of the second race, Travis came back and flipped the wall in front of the crowd.

Josh Hansen and Ken Roczen in their semi. Kenny advanced, and Josh beat out Pierce Brown for the final podium spot.

Joey Crown picked up speed throughout the weekend, and went 2-0 to take the 125 class.

Michael Leib kept things interesting, and has already said a 150 will be a better plan for next year.

Here's your top three in the 125s, with Joey Crown in first, Michael Leib in second, and AJ Catanzaro taking third.

One of the cool things here is how up close the crowd can get. The kids were having fun catching high fives on the return lane...and so were the fans.

For not having a ton of prep time for the race, Kenny made the most of it. He looked like he was having fun, though he did mention that he was getting winded.

In the finals, Kenny swept it by taking back-to-back wins over Brandon Hartranft.

Like we mentioned earlier, Hartranft impressed some people with his rides here.


Ken Roczen was your winner, followed by Brandon Hartranft, and Josh Hansen.


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