Vital MX Pit Bits: Houston

You may have caught a pre-race video from Houston where Martin Castelo looped out his bike while sitting in the start area. He grabbed a handful of throttle to rev the bike, and thinking that the transmission was in neutral, let the clutch out. The team left him a helpful reminder of how the transmission works on the shifter overnight.

Yep, it's the final Triple Crown race of the year, so it's also the final double-bike weekend. The Monster Energy Kawasaki guys rode press day on Friday, and while Eli didn't really say they tried two different setups, they did bring out both bikes to ride.

Want a little DIY action? The Monster Energy Kawasaki guys needed a new helmet dryer, so they put together this one using a batch of PVC pipe.

What did they use for a heating element? A hair dryer. This one moves some air, and according to the team, is very effective at drying their helmets and gloves.

While we are dome-equipped this weekend, there was a heavy downpour before practices started. Oh, and this is the final dome of the season, so we'll be at the mercy of the weather for the final four races of the season.

If you ever need to know the temperature or humidity at a race, the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki guys have their weather center set up on the door of their semi.

Here are the graphics of the week for the JRG 250 guys. You know these are for sale over at their site, right?

With the fill-in ride at Smartop MotoConcepts Racing, Ben LaMay now gets a lot more a Showa tech actually quizzing him about what he likes, and how he wants the bike set up. Ben was pretty blown away after being able to ride the bike on Friday's press day at how good it was compared to his own bike.

Ken Roczen looks like he's on the upswing. His second in Seattle was his best since the photo-finish in Dallas, and he's the fastest qualifier here.

This is the last race for Gothic Jay over at Team Honda HRC. He's been with the team for 14 years, and had also spent time wrenching at Plano Honda, and for Mike Metzger, among others. He'll be working at a new gig that involves 3D printing, and is looking forward to spending some time on weekends riding.

When the series starts jumping back and forth, it's interesting to see the alliances that riders form with other teams to figure out transport for bikes. Tyler Bowers has been hooked up with the BWR guys for a couple rounds now, and was making use of their tailgate after the big downpour. The weekly meetings that Tyler had been helping to facilitate have mostly gone onto the backburner (for now). The extra time required for this, while racing and traveling with his family, proved to be a bit much.

Hmm...looks like someone dropped off some goodies for the Team Honda HRC riders.

Now here's a sponsor product that the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS squad uses every week.

Charles Lefrancois is the latest French rider to make the jump over to the Monster Energy Supercross series, and he'll be here for four rounds. He made the cut into tonight's mains, grabbing the last transfer spot.

If you see odd things like this piece of cake in the KTM pits, it's either someone's birthday (more likely this time around), or Doc G trying to sabotage Frank Latham in their their diet challenge.

Double the bikes means double the work. This is RJ Hampshire's bike, which also doubles as Christian Craig's bike.

Kyle Chisholm was part of the big ball-up in Seattle that sidelined Chad Reed and Justin Brayton this week. Chiz had the misfortune of being the guy behind Chad, who hit him when he went down, but also got beat up in there after flipping over the bars and sideloading one of his knees. He's sore, but finished last week's main, and made it into tonight's action.

The Rockwell/Nuclear Blast Yamaha crew is down to one, as Bradley Lionnet was the lone soldier under their tent. Mitchell Harrison is opting to spend the rest of the time before the outdoors prepping for that series, where he'll privateer on a 450.

More double-vision under the Yamalube Star Racing Yamaha tent.

We haven't seen Michael Leib in action for a while, but he's hanging with the JMC Motorsports guys, and made it into the mains for tonight.

Carson Brown's BBR bike is on display under the JMC Motorsports tent, but he's sitting out until his recently-repaired wrist is back to full strength.

The GEICO Honda guys are looking for a better weekend this time around, with no team meeting (crash) in the first turn like they had last weekend.

Ever wonder how they operate the robo-cam on the infield? It's all done video game style, from the cozy confines of a tunnel at the fringes of the floor.

Josh Grant caught a little ribbing this week about how he struggled to refire his Yamaha after an LCQ crash. He was trying to bumpstart it, but didn't realize that he also had to push the e-start button. In his defense, the Yamaha team bikes are pretty well laden with a bunch of buttons on each side.

Joey Savatgy getting ready to roll out for practice. This kit would have been the ticket for St. Patrick's Day in Indy.

Brad Benesch dialing Justin Hill's Suzuki.

Look for Dunlop to be doing a giveaway soon with some autographed Dunlop logo skate decks.

Justin Bogle looking for some changes from Derek Rankin during one of the practice sessions.

Here's hoping that Enzo Lopes is okay. He took a digger in the first practice and will sit out tonight's action with a shoulder that popped out, and a swollen wrist.

AJ Catanzaro brought out a red flag in one of the practice sessions after a hard crash. Here's hoping that he's okay.

Top five qualifiers in each class? Let's do this. Ken Roczen was on top of the time sheets in the 450 class, followed by...

...Dean Wilson (who was fastest in the final session)...

...Eli Tomac in third...

...and Marvin Musquin with the fourth spot...

...and Justin Hill.

In the 250 class, West points leader, Adam Cianciarulo, grabbed the top qualifying spot...

...with last week's winner, Dylan Ferrandis, in second...

...and in third was Chris Blose, who has been putting in some impressive qualifying efforts recently...

...RJ Hampshire in fourth...

...and Colt Nichols doing a full sender into the sand on his way to fifth quick.

A few reasons why riders don't dig the sand? Exfoliation is one ...

...the added "style" is another...

...and the ability to showcase their skills might be the final one.

There's a little bit of everything this week, with the over/under bridge in action (nicely demonstrated by Jimmy DeCotis).

Justin Hill is always stylish. This weekend he's also fast.

Ah yes, a little style from Justin Barcia.

Doh! Carlen Gardner doing a little Texas two-step.

The wall jump before the sand has a couple options. Skid up the face and keep it low, or sent it, like Zach Osborne did here.

Ready for racing? Let's do this.

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