Vital MX Pit Bits: Thunder Valley

While some events have a bit of trimmed-back opening ceremonies, Thunder Valley did it up with the Young Marines (above), and the fly-by (below).


They also had these really cool wood bike stand trophies. We don't know who the artist was, but it's clear that whoever it was "gets" moto.

If you stop by tech inspection, you'll find enveloped laid out for all the mechanics to pick up, sorted by bike number. These include the baggies with their entry info, inspection sticker, and transponder. Hey, wait...where are the transponders for Eli and Adam? (See below.)

The Monster Energy Kawasaki guys run their own transponders, which hide behind the number plate (not on the fork legs like most other bikes), and are dialed straight into their logging software. They don't have to manually input the start/finish line into the data, like they had to do in the past.

Ah yes, Friday fun with marinating clutch plates for Aray's bike.

Checking in with Brad Hoffman, we joked that they don't spend nearly the amount of time that they used to on Fridays dialing in tuning for the altitude. He told us that correction maps for the EFI have been so refined over the years, that it's barely necessary for them to hook up the laptop anymore. of course, that didn't stop him from making sure that all was good on all their team bikes. With Dylan Ferrandis closing in on a potential 250 title, no detail gets overlooked.

Eli Tomac's bike waiting on a new set of legs. He looked much more like his usual self in Colorado, on the way to a 2-1 day.

We missed getting a close-up but it looks like AP did him up a cool Colorado-themed helmet for the weekend.

We're not sure that the mask on Kai Aiello's mechanic is for Covid-prevention, or due to the smoke in the area.

One race to go for a lot of this equipment. We're sure these wheels will get repurposed somewhere.

12, 13, 17, 25...

Besides Nick Gaines, the 3D tent housed some more bikes than usual for the trip out west.

After traveling to the race (usually in an Ogio bag), there are always those fenders that need a little persuasion to get back to straight.

The Alpinestars-equipped riders all had some new LE boots on for the weekend, along with some matching gold accents on their gear. Look for a bunch more new gear on all their guys next weekend at the season finale.

Unfortunately, Chase Sexton broke in his new custom-painted helmet early in the first practice. Fortunately, he came up unscathed.

If you want to create a mini-ruckus, put riders in a new set of LE gear (like this Fly stuff) for practice. You might set off a flurry of texts, checking to see if it was sponsor-approved. Zach wore his normal selection during the motos

Justin Cooper brought along his pooch for the weekend. Having met the dog in the pits, we can say that this is one canine with a lot of personality and doesn't sit around waiting for fun to show's on the lookout for who wants to play next.

The pooch also got to make an appearance on top of the podium with Justin.

Only one more race to go for the Troy Lee Designs/Red Bull/KTM squad, before they switch to GasGas. Anyone want a deal on a slightly used canopy?

Steve (Scuba) Westfall and Roger DeCoster, stressing over the details on Zach's bike.

One of the frequent questions you hear in the pits is about the 2020 Supercross season. There are lots of rumors floating around, and everyone seems to have an opinion on what's going to happen. Tom Baggett has his "I told you so," finger ready to go.

Mousse life. Changing these isn't easy, even with all the right tools. Fortunately, the tech like Lonnie have it figured out.

When you haven't fired up the generator in a while...

Every week, there are some ever-hopeful alternates waiting to see if John Starling (who manages the activities at the gate) will give them a call. It's usually more likely before the second motos, but you have to be ready, just in case. We're stoked to see guys get a chance to fill the gate when there are openings.

Shane Schaeffer from Schaeffer Tracks, reworking the track between sessions.

How about some privateer love? Jake Masterpool scored a tenth overall at Lakewood, with a 14-13 day.

It was good to see Mitchell Falk back in the mix. He jumped in for the last couple of rounds, and grabbed 15th overall.

Jerry Robin. That IS his happy face.

Nate Thrasher made his pro debut in Colorado, with an 11-16 for 13th overall.

Nate on-track.

He also discovered what it's like to come up short on the uphill triple section. Off.

He was hardly the only one. Here's Isaac Teasdale checking how much travel he has...

...and Mitchell Harrison got in on the act, too. That was a tough section.

Unfortunately, Colorado marked the end of the season for RJ Hampshire. He'll sit out the final round of the season and start getting ready for 2021, after suffering some broken bones in a hard crash.

Here's Thunder Valley's chocolate cake mixer. The start straight was deep and if the altitude didn't slow the bikes enough.

John Short is still hooked up with Manluk Racing, but with the team not heading out for the final two rounds, he resumed his old spot under the TPJ tent.

Check out that hardpack (and Jeremy Smith). If it wasn't for a lot of hard work from the Thunder Valley crew, this is probably what it would look like on a lot of the track.

We're not sure what the issue was for Broc Tickle in the second moto (it was an unspecified "technical" issue in the team PR), but whatever it was, he took a detour off the track to see if he could figure out what was going on.

Now that's a pit board we're not used to seeing. We're not sure what the issue was.

Eli picked up a trackside marker on his way to a second moto win...and overall.

We've seen a lot of people in the forum asking why Blake Baggett was a no-show for the second moto. He's been dealing with a hand issue that affects his grip, and he's getting it checked out this week.

Man, we just love the action, color, and style on this one. It also seems like a good way to cap this edition of Pit Bits. We'll see you next week at Fox Raceway for the final round of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship.

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