Ryan Hughes: Steel City 1995. The untold story

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8/22/2018 6:20 AM

New feature at We Went Fast that I thought you guys might enjoy. I always try to pick a story where I can find new information that isn't widely known (or maybe isn't known at all).

In the case of the 1995 Pro Motocross finale, I learned some interesting tidbits by accident.

Many thanks to Davey Coombs for the great photos he took 23 years ago, most of which have never been published.

Read "Broken Hearts and Busted Chains"

Photo

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8/22/2018 6:48 AM

Great read, thanks for posting!

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8/22/2018 7:11 AM

Fun read. Thank you.

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8/22/2018 7:18 AM

Damn she's hot.

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8/22/2018 7:34 AM

Really cool read! I never knew the full back story..Thanks for posting man!

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8/22/2018 7:35 AM

daemon616 wrote:

Damn she's hot.

I heard she only dates guys to get their license plate number and steal their identity. Not so hot now huh bro?

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8/22/2018 7:36 AM

daemon616 wrote:

Damn she's hot.

Donovan759 wrote:

I heard she only dates guys to get their license plate number and steal their identity. Not so hot now huh bro?

She could dox me all day.

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8/22/2018 8:17 AM

Fantastic read!

I still have a Set of Ryan's pants/jersey from Kenworthy's at my dads house that he gave to us. He was a legend in my young eyes even back then.

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8/22/2018 8:54 AM

Whats odd about the story is
“That one came out of my van,” said Shawn Persinger of the chain Seals borrowed. He still remembers the chain’s model number, a D.I.D. ERT520. “It wasn’t an OEM chain but it had all the same materials as an OEM chain. It had a smaller side plate so it didn’t rob as much horsepower from the 125. In the 250 Class we used a bigger chain, the ERM520.”

All Factory 250s I ever saw had ERT's. From what I've read the ERT has the highest strength next to larger street and O ring chains.

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My post is my opinion. If you don't agree with it, I'm OK with it.

8/22/2018 9:07 AM

Great article. Those details and the backstory give me a much better appreciation for what Ryan brings to this sport. Say what you want about the dude, there's no doubt he's a legend.

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8/22/2018 9:23 AM

Moto96 wrote:

Whats odd about the story is
“That one came out of my van,” said Shawn Persinger of the chain Seals borrowed. He still remembers the chain’s model number, a D.I.D. ERT520. “It wasn’t an OEM chain but it had all the same materials as an OEM chain. It had a smaller side plate so it didn’t rob as much horsepower from the 125. In the 250 Class we used a bigger chain, the ERM520.”

All Factory 250s I ever saw had ERT's. From what I've read the ERT has the highest strength next to larger street and O ring chains.

The factory 450 squads have chains that are labeled different from what they really are...HRC has a chain none of us consumers can get our hands on.

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8/22/2018 9:36 AM

Moto96 wrote:

Whats odd about the story is
“That one came out of my van,” said Shawn Persinger of the chain Seals borrowed. He still remembers the chain’s model number, a D.I.D. ERT520. “It wasn’t an OEM chain but it had all the same materials as an OEM chain. It had a smaller side plate so it didn’t rob as much horsepower from the 125. In the 250 Class we used a bigger chain, the ERM520.”

All Factory 250s I ever saw had ERT's. From what I've read the ERT has the highest strength next to larger street and O ring chains.

Thanks for reading. As you read in Mitch's recollection vs. Wyatt's memories get really fuzzy when trying to remember stuff from one day 20 years ago. It gets even harder when trying to recall the nitty details of something like a part # or a model code. In this case, I'm not even sure why I included Shawn's comment about the ERM chain. It had no bearing on the story at all.

I took it out. Heck, I should hire you as an editor! ha ha.

Thanks again for checking it out.

brett

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8/22/2018 9:59 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/22/2018 10:00 AM

Moto96 wrote:

Whats odd about the story is
“That one came out of my van,” said Shawn Persinger of the chain Seals borrowed. He still remembers the chain’s model number, a D.I.D. ERT520. “It wasn’t an OEM chain but it had all the same materials as an OEM chain. It had a smaller side plate so it didn’t rob as much horsepower from the 125. In the 250 Class we used a bigger chain, the ERM520.”

All Factory 250s I ever saw had ERT's. From what I've read the ERT has the highest strength next to larger street and O ring chains.

Brett Smith wrote:

Thanks for reading. As you read in Mitch's recollection vs. Wyatt's memories get really fuzzy when trying to remember stuff from one day 20 years ago. It gets even harder when trying to recall the nitty details of something like a part # or a model code. In this case, I'm not even sure why I included Shawn's comment about the ERM chain. It had no bearing on the story at all.

I took it out. Heck, I should hire you as an editor! ha ha.

Thanks again for checking it out.

brett

Ha, no biggy. I know the factories use alot of one off special made stuff like ML above mentioned, but one factory mechanic gave me a couple chains in the box, right out of their boxvan way back. Like 1990 or so..

When I bought one later, I compared to see and visually there was no difference. At least nothing noticable, but who knows what they are made of.

Anyway, back then I checked into it and the ERT was the strongest chain they had that was Non O Ring or a 525 or bigger chain for street bikes.
Today they have one or 2 chains non O ring that are stronger yet, but heavier. But Im sure the factories are probably using stronger chains from all the brands with no O rings on the 450s not available to the public.

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My post is my opinion. If you don't agree with it, I'm OK with it.

8/22/2018 10:02 AM

It’s never a good idea to run a brand new chain in a race. They stretch like crazy at first. I would have thought the “test” riders would be pre-stretching the chains during the week etc.

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8/22/2018 11:03 AM

Even though I have heard and read about that a number of times its still a great read especially with the details and insights. Thanks.

And the next morning they flew to Europe for MXDN. The went 2-2, 3-3, 2-1, . It's hard to believe the Belgians beat that score. If I remember it was Hughes first ride on the 500.
Sounds like another good story ?

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8/22/2018 12:23 PM

What a great read! To put it into perspective, 23 years later, have we seen anyone do ANYTHING that even compares to that with a broken bike? Nothing really comes to mind but maybe I'm forgetting something?

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8/22/2018 12:27 PM

I was there that day. I was standing not far from where the photo was taken. The entire crowd, myself included cheered him on. Anyone who was there and witnessed had to be a fan of his, if not before that day, after seeing him push that bike. True determination, adrenaline and great conditioning made it possible I guess. Having raced the track many times myself, that last little uphill before the finish was pretty steep to push a bike up.

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8/22/2018 2:21 PM

To this day, if I'm out pushing my physical limits either on the motorcycle or cycling and I feel like throwing in the towel I always ask myself 'What would Ryan Hughes do?' Heck ya he'd keep going and not quit until the job is done. I'm going to do the same. That day, that cover photo, has always been an inspiration. Thank you for another great story Brett!

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8/22/2018 3:30 PM

Great Read. Wish RacerX wouldpick this up monthly.

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8/22/2018 5:18 PM

Thanks Brett for the really cool article. I was in the pits wrenching that weekend and had a front row seat.

As I recall the following year, Brett (author) made his pro debut at the very same Steel City National.

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8/22/2018 7:20 PM

mark_swart wrote:

What a great read! To put it into perspective, 23 years later, have we seen anyone do ANYTHING that even compares to that with a broken bike? Nothing really comes to mind but maybe I'm forgetting something?

Even though it was different in perspective, but Dungey standing on the starting line watching the field leave him behind waiting on his bike, then to overcome that huge near one lap deficit and make it back inside the top 10 was pretty memorable to me.

It’s the only thing I can think of that might, I say might compare.

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8/22/2018 7:49 PM

mark_swart wrote:

What a great read! To put it into perspective, 23 years later, have we seen anyone do ANYTHING that even compares to that with a broken bike? Nothing really comes to mind but maybe I'm forgetting something?

Mike Alessi. Someone can find the video. I dont remember what happened to the bike, or the circumstances.

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My post is my opinion. If you don't agree with it, I'm OK with it.

8/22/2018 10:30 PM

mark_swart wrote:

What a great read! To put it into perspective, 23 years later, have we seen anyone do ANYTHING that even compares to that with a broken bike? Nothing really comes to mind but maybe I'm forgetting something?

Moto96 wrote:

Mike Alessi. Someone can find the video. I dont remember what happened to the bike, or the circumstances.

You’re not talking about when Langston cleaned him out at Hangtown in 05 are you? Alessi tried to push the bike but he pushed it sideways down the bank and the officials ruled that no good. He could have tried to start the bike, but decided pushing the final 10 or so feet would be quicker.

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8/22/2018 10:57 PM

We need more journalists like you Brett! I really loved that Chad Reed story and couldn’t wait to see what you do next and the quality is consistent. You really paint the picture well but not an overload of information, on your website I would really like to know the stories you do for other publications that don’t get on your website. Would love to give them a read

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8/23/2018 5:50 AM

brycepdh wrote:

We need more journalists like you Brett! I really loved that Chad Reed story and couldn’t wait to see what you do next and the quality is consistent. You really paint the picture well but not an overload of information, on your website I would really like to know the stories you do for other publications that don’t get on your website. Would love to give them a read

Thanks so much Bryce!

I'm self-employed and I can write for anyone I choose to. I've been very lucky to have great clients and I write regularly for Racer X, META, Cycle World, Motorcyclist. Lots of other magazines and projects that come and go as well.

I've also had a standing gig with ESPN's X Games for almost 15 years now. I see you're based in Australia. I'm going to be in Sydney in October. I'll have stickers for you if you can find me. Hit me up by contacting me through the "About" section on my website. Email icon is at the bottom of that page.

My website is 100% self-funded for now and you can join the team through Patreon.

Thanks again for reading!


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8/23/2018 5:51 AM

mark_swart wrote:

What a great read! To put it into perspective, 23 years later, have we seen anyone do ANYTHING that even compares to that with a broken bike? Nothing really comes to mind but maybe I'm forgetting something?

Moto96 wrote:

Mike Alessi. Someone can find the video. I dont remember what happened to the bike, or the circumstances.

TDeath21 wrote:

You’re not talking about when Langston cleaned him out at Hangtown in 05 are you? Alessi tried to push the bike but he pushed it sideways down the bank and the officials ruled that no good. He could have tried to start the bike, but decided pushing the final 10 or so feet would be quicker.

OMG. I remember that now. I was a producer on the TV crew during that era. That was one of those painful to watch moments.

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8/23/2018 6:00 AM

Openwheel racer wrote:

Thanks Brett for the really cool article. I was in the pits wrenching that weekend and had a front row seat.

As I recall the following year, Brett (author) made his pro debut at the very same Steel City National.

Wow, there might be 5 people in the world that actually know/remember that I raced exactly one AMA Pro Motocross race. You're right, it was Steel City, but in 1997. I qualified out of the Saturday program on a bone stock CR125. I always rode stock bikes growing up, aside from the occasional pipe here and there.

I was with a friend from Michigan named Chris Leuth and a guy named Joe. They brought along Leuth's CR125 as well, just to have a bike to rob parts from if we needed it.

For some reason, we collectively came up with the grand plan of switching bikes for the Sunday qualifying program (which, I'm sure isn't legal. We had already gone through tech). The spare bike was heavily modified. We were worried about getting destroyed on the start on my stocker.

So I went from riding a bike I was perfectly comfortable on to one that I had never ridden before. That thing was so fast that I couldn't keep the front end down so I and I ended up getting a terrible start anyway.

I think I missed qualifying for the afternoon program by a couple of spots. But, hey, I got to run practice with Steve Lamson and Ricky Carmichael, et al. Life's ok, right? I can't believe that was 21 years ago....

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8/23/2018 6:00 AM

Great read!!

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8/23/2018 7:40 AM

Brett Smith wrote:

Thanks so much Bryce!

I'm self-employed and I can write for anyone I choose to. I've been very lucky to have great clients and I write regularly for Racer X, META, Cycle World, Motorcyclist. Lots of other magazines and projects that come and go as well.

I've also had a standing gig with ESPN's X Games for almost 15 years now. I see you're based in Australia. I'm going to be in Sydney in October. I'll have stickers for you if you can find me. Hit me up by contacting me through the "About" section on my website. Email icon is at the bottom of that page.

My website is 100% self-funded for now and you can join the team through Patreon.

Thanks again for reading!


Not a worry Brett, I would love to take up the opportunity to come meet you at Sydney but unfortunately I’m from Tasmania and won’t be making the trip over. It’s a busy time for me since I’m currently studying at university and when x games is on, I have my finals.

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8/23/2018 8:20 AM

Openwheel racer wrote:

Thanks Brett for the really cool article. I was in the pits wrenching that weekend and had a front row seat.

As I recall the following year, Brett (author) made his pro debut at the very same Steel City National.

Brett Smith wrote:

Wow, there might be 5 people in the world that actually know/remember that I raced exactly one AMA Pro Motocross race. You're right, it was Steel City, but in 1997. I qualified out of the Saturday program on a bone stock CR125. I always rode stock bikes growing up, aside from the occasional pipe here and there.

I was with a friend from Michigan named Chris Leuth and a guy named Joe. They brought along Leuth's CR125 as well, just to have a bike to rob parts from if we needed it.

For some reason, we collectively came up with the grand plan of switching bikes for the Sunday qualifying program (which, I'm sure isn't legal. We had already gone through tech). The spare bike was heavily modified. We were worried about getting destroyed on the start on my stocker.

So I went from riding a bike I was perfectly comfortable on to one that I had never ridden before. That thing was so fast that I couldn't keep the front end down so I and I ended up getting a terrible start anyway.

I think I missed qualifying for the afternoon program by a couple of spots. But, hey, I got to run practice with Steve Lamson and Ricky Carmichael, et al. Life's ok, right? I can't believe that was 21 years ago....

Brett, your memory is very sharp. This is "guy named Joe". I moved this spring from MI to NC. It was my bike Chris was riding 95, as I recall yours was a stock 96. We took your suspension and plastic and stuck it on my bike. My 95 had some PC bits and always seemed to run real well. You had a great gate pick, but rode a wheelie down the start. You were on the gate next to RC or Sellards, can't remember who. It was a fun weekend, I don't know what we would've done if you had qualified. :-) We probably didn't have enough gas...

Keep up the awesome articles, take care Joe

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