Vital MX Pit Bits: Hangtown 15

Season-openers are always fertile ground for new goodies. Get it all, from the 125 race, to the latest trick stuff on the factory bikes.

Vital MX Pit Bits: Hangtown

Let's kick this off with the Hangtown 125 race (lest we get further accused of ignoring it), here are a bunch of highlights.Ken Roczen came down to check out the Friday practice, and chat with Ryan Villopoto and Michael Sleeter.

Ryan Villopoto has always had strong ties with Pro Circuit, and that continues in conjunction with his latest Yamaha deal. That includes things like having them build up this YZ125 for the All-Star race (Mitch gave it the full factory treatment), and the fact that Ryan has a small corner of the shop to use as a workspace.


Aldon Baker having a chat with his prior knucklehead. We noticed a bit of eye-rolling from time-to-time, just like when they used to work together.

All-around bad-ass, Shaun Palmer, with his sweet-looking Yamaha. The stuff he's done in snowboarding and mountain biking is legendary.

Nathan Barnes had a pretty sweet Honda, with a nod back to the Woody Woodpecker days.

Wil Hahn was aboard a practice bike for one of Star Yamaha's amateur riders.

Ryan Villopoto during Friday's Happy Hour (well, three-lap practice).

While it might be a blue tiddler, rather than the bike won all the titles on, the style's the same.

Robbie Wageman grabbed fourth in the 125 racing.

Michael Sleeter flying on the downhill.

MXA's Dennis Stapleton.

Dylan Schmoke.

Wil Hahn grabbed third place in the race.

Shaun Palmer.

Not sure of the ID on the rider, but he was flying.

Aiden Tijero took the win, ahead of Ryan Villopoto and Wil Hahn.

Ah yeah, remember when? This was a really clean Honda 125...and now we'll return you to modern day.

We noticed a few teams just wiping their bikes off between practices, instead of risking an electrical problem with the pressure washers.

Garrett Marchbanks is a bit on the lanky side and because of this he's using shroud extenders.

The whole Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki squad (minus Marchbanks) use stock engine hangers that are drilled out (Savatgy's pictured here).

In Supercross, JGR's 450s had some trick engine hangers but have reverted to stock for the outdoors on Peick and Nicoletti's machines.

Both riders are now on Showa's BFRC shock as well.

Weston Peick's mechanic, Travis Soules, setting up a spare swingarm. He figures if he has one ready, he won't need it, as opposed to needing one and not having it ready.

No more carbon fiber or plastic cover for the RM-Z450s, JGR has some oversized CRM tanks and we love how they fill in the area left behind from the stock cover.

We've seen teams run steel over titanium on engine mounts before when looking for a certain feel, but it's been a bit since we've seen one actually run titanium and then steel on the same mount.

JGR's chain guide has slotted mounts, allowing the guide to have it's height adjusted in correlation to the more or less clearance for different sized sprockets.

Gone are the tubes, outdoors is Mousse season.

Cooling seemed to be topic for the bikes around the pits, as a lot of teams have opted to set up fans on their bikes this year. Pictured here is an RM-Z250 for the JGR team. Interestingly, it's welded on, rather than making it removable like many other teams do.

That's the first time we've spotted a fan on the Factory Yamaha bikes. Also interesting is the 3D printed piece that fills in the gap on the shroud to keep the Monster logo looking better than it would if it followed the stock contours.

Barcia's aluminum tank from Supercross has been replaced by a CRM oversized carbon fiber unit.

It's interesting to see Factory Yamaha opt for an aftermarket hub over their factory version. If we remember right, the team started on their hubs but have swapped over at some point in the season to Kite.

After starting his time on the team with a stock rotor, part way through the year JB swapped to a Braking Batfly rotor, which used a pretty unique floating section.

Stock clamps and stock hardware for Justin Barcia.

This note was awaiting Justin Barcia on Saturday morning. He's been working to keep the revs lower, but sometimes reverts to old habits in race situations.

Marvin Musquin and the rest of the US Red Bull KTM team have opted for a shorter Akrapovic header for years now, while in Europe/GPs they've been running a much longer design. Hangtown was the first time we've seen Marvin race with the longer one. If we had to guess, he was looking for a little more bottom or "hit" from the redesigned engine on his new bike.

Blake Baggett's bike was sporting this new carbon tank from CRM, which the Factory KTM guys have also been running in Europe. Marvin Musquin has the same option available, but will only use it on tracks that require a heavy throttle hand (like Southwick). The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS guys would prefer to not take the chance of running out of fuel.

Engine Ice is getting a little more love on the bottom end of the shroud protectors.

For a split second, we thought Ken Roczen was using stock clamps that had been anodized red. What caught our eye was the change in taper you see mid clamp surface, just like a stock clamp. It's actually a HRC piece that's new, with Ken using it here and Gajser over the pond.

Ken Roczen has had these "stock" looking upper tubes pretty much all season. Well, that's because they are stock!

Compare the coated and larger top taper of the usual KYB or Showa units that Honda orders. We also noted that Christian Craig, who used Showa aboard his GEICO 250 and during his Supercross run for HRC Honda, had swapped to KYB on his HRC 450 for outdoors. This was a personal choice after doing some testing prior to the start of the season, pretty unusual to see a guy swap suspension brands mid-year, but Honda offers their riders whatever makes them feel comfortable.

Another look at Ken Roczen's top clamp, which also has stock bolts in it.

Christian Craig rocking one of Garmin's 360 Virb cameras.

Another interesting note about Craig's KYB forks is that they're spring, unlike the PSF1 air units that Cole Seely chooses and Ken Roczen ran before his switch to Showa.

Japanese Honda rider, Toshiki Tomita, is back for another go at the outdoors. His bike is sprinkled with a few HRC goodies but is actually running a stock engine internally and doesn't have as many parts as the other two bikes under the awning.

It was cool to see Cole Seely back at the track. Even better was that he said he's finally pain-free after his crash in Tampa. He was sharing some video that he's shot in practice with Ken Roczen.

Ken Roczen had some new gloves from Fox, made specifically for himself and a couple of their other riders (such as Jeremy Martin) who wanted a glove that fit more naturally in the gripped position

Based on Ken's first moto, we'd say he did a good job of doing what his butt patch represented.

Mmmm...titanium tanks aboard the GEICO CRF250Rs.

More fans, this time it's with the TLD KTM team.

Josh Grant's bike was immaculate all day, as JG will be sitting out the first few rounds of the year due to some hardware removal and retooling in his right leg. Look to see Tyler Bowers back on this bike in a couple rounds after he heals up from a broken leg suffered in Las Vegas.

The factory Kawasaki team has moved their oil cooler around to a few different spots of the year but came up with this position and carbon fiber ducting last year. It's pretty trick.

Pro Circuit's fan and carbon fiber shroud.

A fresh carbon tank over at the PC tent, complete with some material to buffer and keep the tank pristine.

Lil D was out in force, handing out foam hats to commemorate Plessinger's championship and helmet from the Vegas press conference.

Big D getting in on it as well.

Yup, AP still has the helmet and we found out it's staying in the truck all season long.


The Kawi team moved away from their two position holeshot device to this star patterned single button version.

A little peek at where the oil cooler lines enter and exit the engine cases.

See the drilled out washer behind the shift lever? The team slid these in on the shaft, behind the lever to keep the oil seal in place, just in case...

Jason Anderson's FC 450 also had a longer header than seen in Supercross. This version has been used by Paulin and Anstie over in the GPs all season.

Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?


Japanese 250 champ, Yusuke Watanabe, will be riding under the 3D Racing Yamaha tent this summer. Doug Dubach has been working with him for a few years.

Blake Baggett wrestling with the exit of the halfpipe section. He later stopped at the end of practice and took a good long look at it.

Jake Masterpool made his first National start in the 450 class and was 15th overall with a pair of 14th-place finishes.

Welcome to the pro ranks, Jordan Bailey. He joins Michael Mosiman, Zach Osborne, and Mitchell Harrison under the Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna tent.

Friends of Josh Mosiman used this oversized graphic to cheer on their favorite rider. You can find the same image on the back of his race hauler.

Okay, what's your take? Fly 150? Or the uphill roller section?

Gustavo De Souza is back for another season of 250 racing. The friendly Brazilian reeled off a string of wins in the Brazilian Nationals before heading north. He scored points in moto two, despite having troubles that required an engine swap to his practice bike's powerplant.

Random one-legged style shot from Eli Tomac.

Whoops. No, RJ didn't save it.

Craig Monty has handling Team Manager duties for the 51Fifty Yamaha crew for the last few years, but he's moved over to WP.

Jason Haines from Team Honda HRC was celebrating a birthday with his racing "family".

While the riders are scored via transponder, there are also manual scoring sheets as a backup, complete with long rows of neatly printed numbers.

Okay, that's the tail end of this edition of Pit Bits. See you next week from Glen Helen.

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