Vital MX Pit Bits: Salt Lake City 6 2

Dodging another mudder, and doing a deep dive through the pits...from privateer to factory.

Vital MX Pit Bits: Salt Lake City 6

Considering the quantity of rain overnight before Wednesday's race and the fact that the track wasn't covered in plastic like it was before the previous round, we were a little spooked about the potential for another full-scale mudder. Seeing these boots getting rinsed like that as we came in didn't do a lot to ease our minds.

Amazingly, the track looked to be in great shape, and a lot more consistent throughout than at the previous rain race.

By the time the abbreviated practice sessions were over, the Dirt Wurx guys were already spreading out some of the sloppy stuff on the track to get it to dry, and by the end of the heats, they were already adding water to the track.

Clean like an operating room.

Nope, this isn't a shot of the MCR's the tape on the side. Nearly every team will set up a level line, and that's where they check sag to make sure it's consistent. With the slope in the pits here, that's not always easy.

It's always graphics time under the factory canopies. They've got to keep the bikes looking fresh.

Jade Dungey dialing in the chain guide on Chase Sexton's bike. It's championship crunch time for the mechanics, too.

The grills that the teams tote around with them are getting a little out of hand. Of course, they do have to feed a hungry team, so they might as well eat well.

Big Benny's machine.

Blake Baggett and the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS team have been using these races as a test for the future, and taking some wild swings at different setups. For example, Blake usually likes a shorter wheelbase setup, but while here, he's been using Cooper Webb's setup, which runs the rear axle back a lot further in the swingarm.

You may have seen artwork from Bee G in various forms, like cartoons of riders and mechanics, but this is the first time we'd seen his artwork on a helmet. Josh Greco dug out this freshie before Wednesday. This side features the West Coast SX venues and a western theme.

And this side features Josh, and his trusty sidekick, Dee Ohh Gee.

After SLC6, we're down to one to go for Chad Reed...or are we? The way this season ended, and the lack of fans isn't quite what Reedy had envisioned, and in his LCQ interview on Sunday (and in chats since then), it's clear that he's considering at least a limited run of events in the future.

There's been very little fan interaction with riders and teams here in Salt Lake City, though we did see a small crowd of fans posted up to meet and greet riders after the races on Wednesday. This li'l guy did score a cool bit of memorabilia...and as a bonus, he's a Chad Reed fan.

Deano's raceday setup. The late extension to the season was good for him, since he'd had little time to prepare due to the hip injury he suffered at last year's Monster Energy Cup. He's been fast here.

Maybe it's just the timing...or maybe it's that Rene Zapata is a stickler for brake bleeding, but it seems like every time we stop by the JGRMX/Yoshimura/Suzuki Factory Racing rig, he's flicking the lever, and working those tiny bubbles out of his front brake system.

With the rain overnight and much cooler temps, most of the teams had their full skirt setups going on...and because we're in different functional groups, we're excluded from going inside to visit.

Darian Sanayei getting his warm-up in.

Away from the track? Much of the buzz about being based here in SLC has been about mountain biking, and particularly about eMTBs. Scott is headquartered in the area, and besides making some cool bikes, the guys here are a good source for trail tips.

The Club MX boys are a little beat up from the feet up. Since Josh Hill's bike was already on the truck, Josh Osby was using it on a practice day...and you can see the custom bars that resulted. He's racing with some fractured ribs, while Enzo Lopes is dealing with the shoulder that he dislocated early in the Salt Lake season.

A rack full of Hoosiers over at the Club MX rig.

After practice got pushed back, Team Allsouth was doing the hurry-up-and-wait thing. Nick Schmidt.

Curren Thurman waiting for practice.

With a little extra time available, the TXS team (Scotty Wennerstrom and Bubba Pauli) set up a game on the world's narrowest ping pong table.

Those extensions are used for setting up the air pressure in the KYB forks. Shane McElrath's bar/clamp combo makes it so snug that they have to remove his bars every time they set the pressures.

Obviously that's not the case for Colt Nichols' bike.

NBC microphones, properly socially distanced.

Canvas did some cool custom gear for Jerry Robin and Cole Equipment Rentals.

The yellow flag parade during a couple of wheels on the ground sighting laps. must be catalog shoot time. This is the third set of new Thor gear that we spotted during the Utah races, but it's only been on during practice.

Jace Owen smoked a powerplant during the first qualifying session. It makes for a tough day when the first practice is eliminated due to the weather, and you sit out the majority of the first timed session. The team did a quick swap, and had him out there for the second round.

Broc Tickle is picking up the pace, but the hand injury still can't be helping.

Apparently, he gets every channel.

Early in the day we stopped by the Monster Energy Pro Circuit Kawasaki truck to check in with Mitch, but it was vacant. That's when we remembered that Garrett Marchbanks was sitting out the final 250 East race after his injury back in...well, we're starting to lose track of the Salt Lake City rounds, since it's starting to feel like Groundhog weeks here. It must have been SLC3.

Later in the day, Olly Stone and Kyle Defoe came by to work on their bikes after the West boys had been out practicing.

In order to try and speed up gate picks, and make it easier for the riders to dial in their gates, the officials set them up with little surveying flags. Each one had a number based on their qualifying position, and they could pick a gate and stick the flag in the ground behind it before going back to retrieve their bikes. Some guys (like Chase Sexton) also started using  a simple triangle stand like you see in dealerships, so they could  hold the bike up while they got set on the gate.

Obviously Shane McElrath has been working on his flexibility.

This was one-off Shift gear for the GEICO Honda boys. That's Jo Shimoda doing the modeling. He was fast in qualifying, but took a pretty hard digger in the whoops near the end.

Chase Sexton's boot and peg. No slipping.

Tyler Bowers sporting some new Akron Korza gear from Answer Racing.

With a week between the final West round and the season finale, Robbie Wageman brought out a 450 to give that a shot. We also heard a few 250s running in the 450 class on Wednesday.

Martin Davalos was awarded the 450 Rookie of the Year trophy after qualifying was completed. Some may give him grief about how long he was in the 250 class, but he certainly earned this.

You know the demo Toyota Tundra that's on display in the infield? With the volume and size of the rocks on hand here, it's probably not shocking that it caught one of them in the driver's side window.

Chase Sexton was atop the leaderboard at the end of the 250 qualifying, with a time of 43.673.

2. Shane Mcelrath, 44.287

3.  Colt Nichols, 44.765.

4. Jo Shimoda, 44.930

5. Pierce Brown, 45.412, (and with some new Troy Lee Designs gear).

Jason Anderson led the way in the final 450 qualifying session, with a 43.246.

2. Eli Tomac, 43.539.

3. Ken Roczen, 43.553.

4. Dean Wilson, 43.797. During practice, the mechanic's area was just past the turn after the finish line. So many riders were using the Tuf-Blox in front of them as a berm, the officials ended up moving signal area to the end of the start straight, which was a lot safer.

5. Cooper Webb, 43.804.

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