Vital MX Pit Bits: Indy 1

Before we dive headfirst into Indy, let's wrap up a couple of things from Houston. Hopefully, BamBam's Texas helmet is now sitting in a place of honor in his collection.

Eli finally scored his championship ring before the gate dropped for the action in Houston 3.

Once again, St. Jude is figuring prominently in fundraising with the Supercross crew. This year's program, "We don't stop" is getting a ton of support from all the riders, including Justin Brayton, who wore the t-shirt you can get for making a donation during opening ceremonies.

We can't wait until the Monster girls are unmasked again. GuyB caught some grief from anti-maskers on Youtube and IG after he posted the Supercross pre-race video. The bottom line is, no mask, no access...and we're here for the racing, not the arguments. looks like Benny Bloss and his dad now share the same hairstyle.

It's good to have helpful friends. Getting the ultra-stiff Supercross suspension locked down is tough sometimes.

How hard were some guys hitting the sand section at the final round in Houston? This ought to give you an idea.

Now there's a full ladder system. Stacyc bikes, KJSR, and then Supercross.

That face you make when you pull on your helmet...

Ken Roczen and Lars Linsdstrom work the magic on his suspension adjustments.

Travis Soules has toolbox, will travel. Travis has worked with Tedder Racing, RCH, JGR, and most recently spent the summer working with the Monster Yamaha crew, helping Broc Tickle. Unfortunately, didn't have a spot when the musical chairs stopped after the outdoor season. That didn't last long, and he's now spinning wrenches for Joey Savatgy.

With the three races here, and a snow forecast to hit the area on Saturday night, teams had a few different strategies for dealing with it. The teams who had their normal awnings set up had full wind/weather protection up. (That makes Pit Bits tough.)

The interior pits in the bowels of the stadium were mostly reserved for privateers (if you had a semi, you were excluded from there), but guys like the PRMX squad were in sort of no-man's land...and didn't have a tent or awning set up for the race.

A few teams (like Team Honda, Star Yamaha, and Rockstar Husky) were using rental tents. That's sort of an insurance policy against snow ruining their own very expensive awnings.

Other teams (like Twisted Tea Suzuki) went the multiple 10 x 10 awning route.

How do you keep the heat on, and the team members toasty in sub-freezing weather during race and build days? Propane. Lots and lots of propane.

Spotted on one of the big rigs. Marty Smith may be gone, but he's not forgotten.

With Colt Nichols' win last week in Houston, he and Christian Craig are now tied atop the 250 East standings and are sharing the red plates. Is that a first for one team to share plates like that?

When we asked the team about it, the answer was, "When the lights flash, it's time to buy GameStop stock." We placed our buy order shortly after this.

Then we checked in with Christian himself, and he told GuyB that it's merely a bicycle taillight and that it's there merely as a mental reminder for him. He said he barely sees it, except over a few jumps. Our guess? If he's leaning forward and charging, he doesn't see it at all. Either way, it sure did gather a lot of attention...including from the AMA.

Colt Nichols went the old fashioned route, and had a whole bunch of notes on his bar pad. Calm 'n Flow was the first one. Just beware of BDE.

With Austin Forkner sidelined with a broken (and now plated) collarbone, Jo Shimoda was the lone rider under the Monster Energy Pro Circuit awning. He was also the first one to be able to run the newly completed clutch cover for the team bikes. They had run the stock cover at the Houston rounds while awaiting this one.

Bikes parked outside also generally got their own heaters to keep them toasty warm.

Freddie Noren's bike was comfortably camped inside the Lucas Oil Stadium.

The KJSR kids had their own room set up inside the stadium.

Justin Starling opted to move up to the 450 class (something that he'd wanted to do for a while), and is running his own program this year. He said while it's a lot more work, it's also more profitable, and a whole lot more fun.

During Friday's press day, there was a lot of discussion among the riders about modifications to the track for the starts. They weren't crazy about having a 180 into a triple coming out of the second turn. Dirt Wurx and the AMA/FIM crew were receptive, and they actually tried a couple different variations.

There was still a little confusion on Saturday morning before practice, but it was sorted out. One of the early variations was to cut from the second turn to the tunnel...but that presented its own set of challenges.

It was finally decided to knock down most of the berm in the second turn, and angle the start to the sweeper after the over/under tunnel. If you were watching pre-race videos, or checking out the track map, you'll quickly see the difference.

Rich Shepard is one tough dude. After catching a bike in the 250 main while shooting from the sidelines, he had a few broken ribs and a couple of fractured vertebrae. After driving himself home last week (16 hours) he's back shooting this weekend.

Speaking of injuries, if you saw Dean Wilson's IG photo of his foot and toes, you know his week didn't go according to plan. We weren't sure if all three of these pit boards were going to get put to use.

Not only did Dean decide to give it a shot, we caught him doing this stretch before one of the practice session. He still wasn't sure whether he'd be racing, but he''s obviously made of some tough stuff.

Spare goggles? Check. Adjustable starting block? Check.

Thomas Do has always been fast in the French SX championship series but has shown better speed here recently.

We're not sure what was going on here turning practice...except that there was a lot of unexpected motion in the subframe.

Man, what looked like a relatively minor crash in the whoops turned into a dislocated hip for Max Vohland. Get well soon!

Yep, that was one very steep wall jump.

Keep an eye on Josh Osby through the future rounds. He's moving his way up.

Mitchell Oldenburg took a small break on the track during the final practice session.

Indy is known to rut up, and this year's track didn't disappoint...even in what started out as a flat sweeper.

The riders often alternate between fast and relaxed laps, and most of the top guys do a good job of watching out for others who are going faster than they are.

Joey Savatgy caught a well-timed start Saturday night.

We're starting to see the cream rise to the top. Coop eased into the season, but with the win at Houston, it was obvious that he's ready to be in contention for the championship.

Eli Tomac looks more like his usual self every weekend, and nabbed the fastest qualifying time on Saturday.

Marvin Musquin working his way through the whoops. Photos of the WP air shock remain elusive. It's rumored that Showa has experimented with an air shock in the past, and the WP and KTM techs are doing their best to keep prying eyes away from a good view of it.

We for sure haven't seen the best of Zach Osborne yet. We do like his levitating act, though.

Adam Cianciarulo looks like he has the potential to nab a win this season, and is so solid on the 450.

Ken Roczen looks like a different guy from a year ago. For sure the time off during the summer did him some good. We'd guess the new bike hasn't been a bad thing for him, either.

Jett Lawrence was the top 250 in qualifying last Saturday, and though he missed the podium, it sure looked like he appreciated the noise from the fans afterward.

Christian Craig is still in the hunt for the 250 East title, but the mistake at the end of Saturday's main sure didn't help his cause.

Jo Shimoda scoring a podium last Saturday was cool to see.

Some folks cooperate. Others? Well...

Okay, until we reconvene on Tuesday, that's it for this round of Pit Bits. Be sure to stop back then.

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