Vital MX Pit Bits: Thunder Valley

We love seeing custom-painted helmets, but when subjected to 450 roost, they don't stay pristine for too long. Kenny's lid is already showing some chips, and he's been running up front a lot. Imagine what it'd be like if he were spending more time back in the pack.

Trey Canard, Jordan Troxell, and Cole Seely chat before practice.

Remember Hunter Lawrence's issue with a rock and his oil filter cap at round two that lead to a DNF? The team did, too. They opted to add an extension to the skid plate as a short-term fix, and will likely work up a more permanent solution in the future.

The GEICO Honda crew also went a bit wider on the ignition side, too.

There was a delay last week with UPS getting parts and pieces to a few of the GEICO Honda guys, so there was still quite a bit of work to do on Friday.

We love factory goodies.

How about that cup and bottoming bumper? This underwent a redesign a while back to prevent the spring retainer from coming loose.

This is a round where a lot of mechanics and team personnel try to get in some mountain biking during downtime. The GEICO Honda guys have a sponsorship with Intense, so there were plenty of trick bikes sprinkled around their pit area.

Adam Snyder had the weekend off (blame it on a wedding), so Derik Dwyer filled in as the mechanic for Hunter Lawrence.

We spotted Roger DeCoster checking in with the Rocky Mountain ATV-MC/KTM/WPS crew to go over the setup on Blake Baggett's bike.

Chris Loredo was finishing up a gear change on Jason Anderson's bike. While it's a bigger change, he said he likes doing front changes rather than the rear, because it keeps the rear wheel closer to the same spot on the swingarm, and doesn't make as big a difference on the suspension setup.

Dialing in Thomas Covington. Man, we'd love to see him at full speed.

Dean Wilson's bike was on display for the first time in a while. High Point return?

Rock River is now using the same titanium engine mounts as Star Racing (and MX101 in Canada). Interested in these? Check out

In addition to the handling benefits, the ti mount also stand out a bit from normal.

Brandon Hartranft getting his stretches in before hitting the track.

Eli Tomac busted out the cool Colorado-inspired helmet that Bell did early in the weekend.

Bell also had a new helmet for him, featuring a couple members of the home team. Beeg Creations did the art. (Hunt up @beegcreations on Instagram.)

Setup for Eli seems on point, as he's now won four of the six motos this season.

It was good to see the toolbox and goggles readied for Joey Savatgy, as he was back in action this weekend.

It's always fun to see the teams scrutinizing every part on the bike, trying to figure out ways to improved performance or reliability.

While a shoulder injury had hampered him after Nashville, it was apparently a leg injury that had kept Joey off the bike for the start of the season.

Joey did us a solid, and allowed us to mount up a helmet cam for a One Lap video. If you haven't seen it, check the homepage for a look.

While Eli uses KYB suspension components, Joey's holding it down on the Showa side.

Ready for a little carbon sexiness? It's nice to have options in both shape and capacity. The range here is approximately 8.1 to 8.7 liters.

We can't imagine how hard it'd be to tote the family around the globe while chasing available race jobs. Kudos to you, Dean Ferris (and Smiley).

What's going on here? Just stretching bolts.

Justin Barcia had some more new Alpinestars gear this weekend, and no, he doesn't drink race fuel from the container on the top of his locker.

Here's a better look at the new gear. Justin wasn't feeling very hot, particularly during the first moto.

We've seen a couple models on the track lately, but Scott busted out their full lineup of new goggles for the weekend at Thunder Valley.

We really liked the new Shift gear that the GEICO Honda guys had at Thunder Valley. Yep, it's similar to a design that Ken Roczen had worn in a previous season, but this one should be available soon.

The Fox helmets that the team were wearing were painted up to match the gear...but this is a team-only deal.

It takes a village. Justin Hill's mom, Angie, cleans up his boots after practice.

We really like the mud-shedding nylon cover that Troy Lee Designs has done up for their riders. We're not sure if they sell it, but it's very cleanly done.

Justin Barcia had a similar design cover for his Arai.

Colter Ahrens giving Garrett Marchbanks' front wheel a bit of attention.

Picture changing 220-plus tires a weekend...and many of them using a mousse. That's what the Dunlop crew does every weekend.

Watching folks who know what they're doing making quick work of a rear mousse change is inspiring...until you try to do it yourself.

Here's the rear wheel that Ben LaMay had an issue with at Fox Raceway. Apparently, the particular rim that Ben was using is known as a double humper. Besides the outer bead (the sidewall of the rim), it also has an inner bead closer to each side of the raised center. That makes it really tough to get the bead of the tire into the raised section during installation with a mousse. Ben apparently made a late decision to change tires, and the installation was said to be a bit hurried.

Not all autographs are created equal. But we heard some rumblings that Marvin Musquin might have signed a really good one last weekend.

While the 125 All-Stars may have been missing some of the recognizable names from previous rounds, there was still a solid pack on the line at Thunder Valley. Kaeden Amerine grabbed the holeshot on his Yamaha, and held on for the win.

Joseph Dalzell grabbed the third spot.

While you'd think it would be tough at altitude, it was cool to see quite a few of the 125s make the uphill triple.

Speaking of 125s, Cody Williams brought his to Thunder Valley, and qualified in the 250 class. He finished with a 35-33 day.

Fredrik Noren feels like he's riding as well as he ever has, but a few hitches in his privateer program landed him in 13th overall with 15-13 moto scores.

Freddie had this crash early in the first moto in a blind spot on the track. As expected, he was hesitant to run out in front of the pack and pick up his bike. Getting back to 15th was impressive.

Taiki Koga is a former Japanese National Champion and MXGP competitor who has taken on the Nationals this season. He's scored points at every round so far.

Back home, he runs number 922, but is running 929 here.

Look for Taiki at a handful of upcoming rounds.

We've seen Killian Auberson at quite a few Supercross races, but the Swiss rider is also taking on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship this summer.

Look for Killian at all the rounds this summer, except for Washougal.

Shane and the rest of the Schaefer Tracks crew did their annual tune-up at Thunder Valley.

We dug the flags that Thunder Valley had along the start straight, for each of the National events.

The teams have been stepping up their trenching game in the pits this year. They often dig the trenches to prevent water from flowing from wash areas into other team's pits.

Over at JGR, they also had a pump setup going to keep things under control.

Brandon Ward (yep, Jeff Ward's son), was recipient of this week's Moto Hero award. Brandon has been serving with the Army.

Ah yeah...nothing like a mid-moto stop to kick the front end straight. That's Iowa's Wade Brommel.

How about a last blast of style before we go? Alex Martin was feeling frisky on Press Day.

Eli Tomac railing the outside and floating over the jump before the finish line.

Ken Roczen providing a good example of what to do to get photographers to pay we wouldn't already. Okay gang, that's it for this week.

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