Vital MX Pit Bits: Hangtown

Welcome to Pit Bits. We also had Brad Resnick (left, the newest member of the Vital MX staff), and Sean Klinger (right) wandering the pits and checking out bikes. Give the video a look if you want, by checking the homepage.

Hey look, four icons. (That photo of Pastrana, Stewart, and Carmichael on that hoodie is so classic.)

We always love seeing what Colors Designs comes up with for Japanese Honda rider, Toshiki Tomita. Here's the top...

...and the left side. Toshiki pits with the Team Honda HRC guys, but his bike is a bit more production-based than the ones used by Cole Seely and Ken Roczen.

It was tough for the KYB guys to get at the adjuster screws underneath the bars (particularly on bikes where they guys use low bar clamps). So midway through the SX season they went to this style adjuster.

Jordan Troxell installing the steel plates on the bottom of Cole Seely's fork guard to make sure it doesn't pull through

It's always fun seeing little identifiers for custom parts, like these on the Team Honda HRC bikes.

With it being the start of the National season, there were lots of fresh new parts on the bikes.

We always like seeing when teams do custom wiring harnesses with more secure connectors, like you see in the hole in the shroud here. Longer radiators are a staple for nearly all the teams.

With the use of the hydraulic clutch on the Hondas, the standard clutch actuaction spot is covered with a plate and safety wired for security.

It's always interesting to check out the style of axle blocks that teams are running, and to see where in the swingarm that they're running the axle. Often it's way towards the rear, like here on Cole Seely's bike.

It's interesting that the U.S. Honda team uses the stock style launch control, but the GP guys have a different setup.

One thing you'll frequently see during the summer is an extra plate on the exterior of the exhaust to help prevent dings from roost.

Let's also focus on some brake pedals this week, and the various ways that teams add a return stop to prevent it from being forced upwards, which would gut the rear master cylinder.

Mmm...those tanks on the GEICO Honda bikes.

The FC Honda team does their own linkages.

Axle blocks on the GEICO Honda bikes...and it's interesting that they use an aluminum chain guide versus some of the carbon ones we see on a lot of teams.

There's a little thermal gauge on the top of the very trick-looking radiators that the GEICO Honda guys are using.

Yoshimura sure does spend a lot of time and effort on the taper of their CRF250R twin pipes. Over in the GPs, they use a resonance chamber on both sides, but mostly for sound testing.

The safety wire on the clutch cable mount? It is possible to knock the cable out of place if the bike lands on its side.

Kris Keefer took a crack at the Hangtown National with the Smartop MotoConcepts Racing team, but just missed the show. Steve Matthes got to play team manager, too. They'll try again at Fox Raceway for round two.

Mining for gold in the California gold country.

The good news? The Monster Energy Kawasaki guys got to debut their new rig at Hangtown. With about a million dollar price tag, you knew it was going to be impressive. The bad news? They got to break it in at a mud race.

So shiny... Everything was gleaming, polished and glistening early in the weekend.

Like before, they've got all their spare powerplants set to go in sliding cabinets.

Suspension is also available on sliding drawers.

Upstairs, each rider will have a bunk area that can be partitioned off for privacy. Joey sat out round one, but here's his area.

As the two-time defending champ, a few details get swapped out on Eli's bike, like the red plates, the number 1, and things like the master cylinder caps.

The Kawis opt for the bigger carbon tank during the summer.

They also get some extra carbon protection for the radiator hoses and cases.

The champ's bike.

Zach Osborne's Rockstar Energy Racing Husqvarna was set to go with a little different style chain guide for the mud.

With Jason Anderson back in action, Chris Loredo's toolbox was making the graphics conversion back to number 21, from the 1 he barely got to run before he got hurt during the Supercross season.

Todd Brown putting the finishing touches on Jason Anderson's WP forks. Usually, this gets handled before the suspension travels to the races.

The longer header on Jason Anderson's bike doesn't sign off as quickly as the shorter versions.

It was good to see Thomas Covington back in action, but we were hoping to see something better than a 26th overall.

The Monster Energy Star Racing Yamaha guys had a different setup for their sideplates, and got some help from FMF to help guard from boot abuse.

The Monster Energy/Yamaha Factory Racing guys each get to rock their country flags on their bikes.

Each of the Yamaha factory bikes gets a cooling fan.

The Blue Crew also add these carbon guards on the side of each shroud to stop the intake from ingesting roost.

Justin Barcia is using a step seat for the summer, to take some of the wear and tear off of his hands and arms.

Cooper Webb had a cool new helmet for the start of the outdoors. We like the flag theme.

So. Much. Titanium.

The slot for a standard extension in the end of the axle is cool on the KTMs.

Marvin Musquin seemed a little off-pace in Nor-Cal, but he did have a big crash during practice.

The tapered end to the hollow footpeg pin is a nice touch.

More axle blocks. This time on the Red Bull KTM side.

Cooper Webb is using a shorter exhaust on his pumpkin.

The Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS crew were sporting Austism Awareness themed graphics for their local sponsor, 51Fifty Energy.

The box on Blake Baggett's front fender? It's a different style LitPro unit.

Nope, no big fuel tank required for Hangtown.

Tony Archer spent the weekend at Hangtown getting familiar with the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS crew and bikes, as he'll be working with Benny Bloss when he returns to the team soon.

Hey, what can we say? It's gold country.

The Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM crew also had the new boot/heat shields on their FMF mufflers.

How about matte finish end caps and graphics on the Yosh exhaust on Justin Hill's bike?

Keeping the fuel tank cool during the summer is a high priority.

That is one beefy front rotor guard.

The tour of rear axle blocks continues. This doesn't look anywhere near stock to us.

Drilled brake pistons for better cooling? Sure, let's do that.

And, Suzuki's brake pedal stop.

The guard that the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing guys use is 3D printed, rather than carbon like lots of the other teams use.

All the Suzukis get radiator fans, too.

We weren't expecting to find Kyle Peters with the JGRMX crew for the start of the outdoors. Apparently, it was a surprise to some of the mechanics too, as they found out about it a week before the start of the season.

With JGRMX switching to Pirelli, they had their own tire setup at the rig.

We often see baby powder being used on the tire carcasses to keep things from sticking, but this applicator was said to be much more precise at applying the powder.

With Bell sponsoring the race (and holding sales meetings around it), they got to bring some cool toys to the event.

There were lots of tires being changed heading into the weekend. This is one that lots of the Dunlop guys were using.

What do you think of Eli Tomac's new Alpinestars gear?

David Vuillemin's happy face.

Kenny Day has worked with the Traders team for a long time, and also with the combined Club MX/Traders/Redemption crew, but he moved over to Alpinestars for the summer.

It was good to see Shane McElrath (pictured) and Jordon Smith back in action, but it was a bit of a rough return for them, finishing ninth and 17th overall, respectively.

Derek Drake's debut in at the Nationals netted him a 16th overall.

Another U.S. rookie? Hunter Lawrence's 11-12 netted him an 11th overall.

Henry Miller, his girlfriend, and their two dogs were on the way to Hangtown when they were involved in a serious crash in their Funmover. Fortunately, they escaped without serious injury, and were able to make the race.

Dennis Stapleton about to lead a group of 125s onto the track for practice.

Doug and Carter Dubach. Carter ended up in fifth spot in the 125s.

There was quite a range of equipment on the line for the 125 All-Star race.

Mike Tomlin from Pro Circuit did the wrenching for the 125 that Ryan Villopoto was on. Ryan said that this year's bike is up about three horsepower from last year, which helps a lot. He said they also opted for production-based suspension this year, which is easier to get and maintain.

Ryan Villopoto's Alpinestars lid.

Not shockingly, Ryan Villopoto showed 'em what was up in the 125 All-Star race.

Brandon Ray, lofting over the finish line jump. He ended up in third.

Speaking of two-strokes, Gared Steinke just missed the cut in the LCQ for the 250 class.

Chris Alldredge made the cut for the 450s and ended up in 38th overall.

These are the ruts before the rain hit. They got even deeper after that.

More than a few times last weekend, we spotted guys get their feet snagged in the ruts, which would kick them over the seat and they'd end up running alongside the bike. That included everyone from Christopher Shenoy (above), to Eli Tomac on his way to the 450 second moto win.

Jake Masterpool. We like the sponsorship pitch. With as often as we saw his visor knocked off last weekend, he may actually have more in common with Ronnie Mac than just his number.

Freddie Noren's scooter.

Whoa, the TPJ Fly Racing mile of privateers. Ted and the crew will be transporting bikes and gear for up to 20 privateers this season.

Jerry Robin, deep in the heart of privateer territory. Two bikes in a van is his program for the West Coast swing.

A modern art leftover from amateur day. Okay, that's it for this week. Kudos if you made it this far. We'll see you at Fox Raceway at Pala.

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