Vital MX Pit Bits: 2022 Thunder Valley National

Here's the best we found in Colorado!

Notice the new logo? After what feels like a lifetime with Adidas, the TLD crew has a new footwear partner in outdoors with Puma.

Little rebranding.

Oakley goggle cases are quite popular amongst mechanics, even for non-Oakley athletes.

We still want a carbon fiber tool tray...

Justin Barcia has made a few changes heading into Colorado, heading back to the braced frame we saw popular amongst KTM racers on this outgoing generation frame.

His triple clamps are now the real split clamps. Not the one with fake line stickers they were using or the split ones KTM use that are attached near the pinch point. These ones are more similar to the Powerparts clamps, being split all the way through.

Nice secondary start switch location.

TLD team has a lot of unique and cool partners.

The TLD team isn't typically one to run a lamba sensor in race trim, but at altitude there's reason to keep track of things a little more.

Dumb and Dumber... (check their social feed to get what we're talking about)

The first of what will likely be many rides back from the podium for Levi Kitchen.

Ice vest club for Tomac.

Along with many others...

Roczen as well.

It was a wee bit sloppy in the morning...

Shane got himself cleaned up after.

Ken was STOKED!

Unlike past years, the Monster Energy Kawasaki squad isn't running a separate oil cooler on the bike. Instead they have opted for utilizing a small area of their left radiator for oil cooling duties.

Nothing new here, we just appreciate the wiring and connector quality the Kawi team utilizes.

Stock front motor mount (probably aluminum, maybe steel) on Savatgy's machine.

While a thinner titanium one is being used by Jason Anderson.

Hidden data logger?

Savatgy's machine on the outside, Cianciarulo's bike at heart.

The Kawasaki team's rig has something for every situation.

Some may forget but Jeremy Martin's title in 2014 wasn't Star's first, as Jessica Patterson got the team their first number one plate back in 2010.

At first we thought the Alpinestars crew was locking down boots...

But they're just chaining together to make it easier to carry multiple sets back to their area for cleaning.

Hi Benny!

Some recommended tire pressures.

Weekly dose of everyone's favorite redneck dirt bike racer.

Antonio Cairoli's machine had a few small changes this week.

Outside of new, softer suspension settings...Antonio Cairoli also opted for a version of the split clamp more like Ryan Dungey and Aaron Plessinger's machines.

Cairoli loves him some Pirelli scoops!

How much longer will we see Antoinio Cairoli in the states? According to an interview with Steve Matthes, he's interested in staying...but isn't getting paid to race in his current ambassador contract. C'mon KTM!

Hopefully we see the Italian flag flying at the KTM pits through the end of the season, with Antonio there to represent!

Marshal Weltin landed himself a gig for the rest of the season and performed well in his first showing for a 450 career best overall with 13th! Congrats!

Some new Works Chassis Lab mounts for Brandon Hartfrant this weekend.

Brandon also went back to X-Trig triple clamps this week and away from the stockers. He's jumped back and forth a few times this year.

Brandon Hartfrant is working with new team in-house suspension technician, Dave Cruz, formerly of the Factory Kawasaki team.

While Marshal Weltin ran Bogle's exact bike for his first weekend with the team, which looks to still have Noleen tuning onboard.

Preston Kilroy is back! Finally, Derek Drake was not the lone racer for the BarX Suzuki team.

The bossman and his squad.

There's been a lot of changes the past couple weeks on Justin Cooper's machine. Outside of the stock triple clamps, engine mounts, and hubs...he's also reverted to a standard shock adjuster and a modified production PSF1 fork cap instead of the factory version. Sometimes, stock isn't too bad...

Stock triple clamps on Cooper's machine.

And Thrasher this weekend as well.

While a few riders on the team, such as Kitchen here, are still on the Neken triple clamps.

Cooper is also on the newer gen YZ250F stock mounts (steel upper and aluminum lower).

While some members of the team are on Works Chassis Lab aluminum uppers and titanium lowers.

Levi Kitchen has an even softer upper mount than other's on the team.

The entire 250 team has jumped over to stock hubs though. We've always head the stock YZ hubs are quite light and in this case must offer better feel / less rigidity.

Levi Kitchen has really gone to a unique trend and is running Steg Pegz. On the latest Pulp MX show, we asked him about it and he claims it allows him to apply pressure into the rear of the bike more precisely.

Matt LeBlanc is now in the for the entire outdoor season instead of returning to Loretta's.

Here's a sponsor we really haven't seen in moto, BANG Energy!

Located on the side of Jeff Walker's KTM 450 SX-F.


Closer look at the new Fox Instinct boots that Ryan Dungey is racing with.


We've got a Tomac fan!

A look at the bladder side of Ken Roczen's traditional design shock.

The much larger capacity on the BFRC aboard Sexton's machine. The BFRC is known to fade a bit, so this larger reservoir design might be to combat that.



Sexton with the ribless seat cover.

Same with Hunter.

While Jett goes for ribs with a bit of material packed under them.

Red on red!

Ziggy from FC and his crew are still a bit involved with the 250 side and the Lawrences.

Nice little shroud extenders.

We've had a few people ask why the Lawrence's 250s have front number plate covers in the gap between the front fender and number plate but the 450s don't. Well, the Lawrences are running Showa steering dampers and these covers protect the bottom ball joint from roost and debris.

The HRC 250s are still on stock fork lugs...

While the 450 side has reverted back to the A-Kit forged lug.

Taking the water pump protection of the HRC 450s seriously.

After running air forks in SX, Garrett Marchbanks has gone spring on his 450 for outdoors.

Freddie Noren has a nerve issue that's causing his foot/leg to go numb on the bike. So we may not see him back for a few weeks.

Freddie's personal suspension sponsor, Powerband racing, is still assisting him as he moved over to BBMX.

El Hombre.

Big holeshot at elevation for the lanky Levi Kitchen.

Lovin the return of the vented number plates!


Josh Varize was picked up by AEO Powersports KTM to fill-in for Ty Masterpool for Thunder Valley and High Point. However, we wouldn't be surprised to see him continue on with the team all season if the stars align.

Long muffler spec on Varize's bike.

Shorter optional spec on Black's sitting machine.

Brembo SXS caliper on Varize's machine.

Stock rear caliper on Kelley's

Lots of riders jump around on gearing between the first and second practice sessions at Thunder Valley. Meaning a lot of new chains were getting cut!

Did you know that Felt bikes was purchased by the ownership group that owns KTM?


Happy Christian Craig fan!

Now that's a look...

The cool down ice baths have graduated from trash cans to some proper baths in past seasons.

Sexton lifting one of the cooler trophies we've seen.

Big John got himself a fresh rig for outdoors!

After 450 moto one, the ClubMX guys had to pull off an engine swap on Marchbanks machine. Sadly, the team is getting regular at these.

You'll meet this fellow if you try something over at the KTM pits...we dare you...


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