Dirt Rider - - Route Sheet - Story By Pete Peter­son • Photo By Chris Tedesco

How many of you have met your child­hood hero? When I was a kid I would get racer au­to­graphs on the backs of my dad’s busi­ness cards then tack them to a Bob Hannah poster I had on my wall. That poster had Hannah’s sig­na­ture printed on it, but I never got his au­to­graph. Then through the magic of work­ing at Dirt Rider, about 10 years ago I met my hero, and I likely have met your hero too.

A phone in­ter­view sev­eral years ago had me talk­ing with Brad Lackey about a photo you see in this very is­sue. It’s a shot from the day he won his Mo­tocross World Cham­pi­onship. He men­tioned ca­su­ally that it would be in­ter­est­ing to do a story with var­i­ous cham­pi­ons on the day they won their cham­pi­onships. I filed that idea away un­til re­cently when we sent Shan Moore out to get that story from four cham­pi­ons, each from a dif­fer­ent decade, on their win­ning day. The sto­ries evolved to cover their whole sea­son, not just the wrap-up day, so “That Day” be­came “That Year.”

We’ve done an­other, “Which bike is right for me?” story for this is­sue. And to add a lit­tle hero power, we en­listed skate le­gend Steve Ca­ballero. He’s got in­ter­me­di­ate mo­tocross speed but the con­fi­dence of a le­gend. I must have told pho­tog­ra­pher Chris Tedesco a dozen times not to en­cour­age Steve to launch any of the big jumps. I must have told Steve two dozen times to ride mel­low and not try to im­press any­body. And I think I lost at least a week off of my life when I saw him charg­ing to­ward the step-up triple with the throt­tle mak­ing his in­ten­tions clear. He launched—and landed per­fectly. I sig­naled Tedesco to put away the cam­era, but Steve launched again. Then again. Tedesco was smil­ing.

In this is­sue we have a bike built by rac­ing hero Chris Blais. His rac­ing ca­reer ended short with an in­jury, and now he owns a team and builds race­bikes for his rac­ers. And since su­per-tester Michael Allen didn’t call me mid-test to re­port an­other dis­lo­cated shoul­der, I knew there must be some­thing very special about the ma­chine Blais put to­gether.

Shan Moore was on the spot for an­other hero’s story, this one from the re­cently un-re­tired (sort of) Paul Whibley. Shan got some in­sider scoop that Paul would be lin­ing up at the GNCCS this year and pulled to­gether the story of what got him there and why he was on that lit­tle bike. Paul’s story shows how mo­tor­cy­cles take us to places they don’t phys­i­cally get us to.

As for the Ryan Dungey you might think you see in a bike test in this is­sue, well, that’s our res­i­dent Dungey-wannabe Kris Keefer, adding some style points to the Fac­tory Edi­tion bike test. But there is a real photo of Ryan in the news sec­tion, show­ing what a true hero he is be­yond all the race wins and cham­pi­onships.

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