TEAR OFFS

Dirt Rider - - Route Sheet - ADAM BOOTH

The 2017 King of the Motos was noth­ing if not dra­matic: in­juries, penal­ties, night rac­ing, and a to­tally new for­mat. Al­though the event has been part of Ul­tra4’s King of the Ham­mers for sev­eral years, it’s safe to say there’s never been a KOM quite like this. For the first time the event con­sisted of three dif­fer­ent races (motos) in­stead of one fi­nal pre­ceded by qual­i­fiers. The rid­ers’ fin­ish­ing po­si­tions in each were added to­gether, with the low­est com­bined score win­ning. Jimmy Lewis, the mas­ter­mind and driv­ing force be­hind the race, said the new for­mat primed the event for good rac­ing. It gave rid­ers a chance to make up for a bad race, and there could be three types of events in one—a night race, a desert race, and an ex­treme race.

Oh, yeah, and pro­moter Lewis put a pre­mium on nav­i­ga­tion in­stead of hav­ing the rid­ers fol­low mark­ings.

In the end, Colton Haaker topped the 2017 edi­tion of King of the Motos, though the win was some­what con­tro­ver­sial since Cody Webb ac­tu­ally crossed the fin­ish line first but missed a check­point just be­fore the end of the race, drop­ping the FMF KTM rider to seventh.

Ac­cord­ing to Lewis, the em­pha­sis on nav­i­ga­tion is to al­low rid­ers to get back to read­ing the ter­rain rather than read­ing ar­rows. “Each year I’ve been us­ing less and less mark­ing. This year, I just de­cided I didn’t want to mark any­thing but the check­points, so the rid­ers were re­ly­ing solely on GPS nav­i­ga­tion. We used a track­ing de­vice called the Yel­low Brick Nav­i­ga­tion Sys­tem, which no­ti­fied us when a rider went through a check­point. We pro­vide the rid­ers with a track log, which is ba­si­cally just a line di­rect­ing the rider to the next check­point.”

Lewis told us he doesn’t re­quire the rid­ers stay on the course, as long as they go through each check­point. He also doesn’t mark dan­ger ar­eas be­cause he tells the rid­ers be­fore the race that the en­tire course is dan­ger­ous, adding that what is dan­ger­ous for one rider may not be dan­ger­ous for rid­ers like Webb or Haaker.

“Cody Webb was clearly the best nav­i­ga­tor out there,” Lewis said. “He just made a mis­take five min­utes be­fore the fin­ish of the race and missed a check. He ba­si­cally came over the hill and he saw Ham­mer­town and he just quit look­ing at his GPS and rode in the same way he did in the morn­ing race, which was the wrong way. He missed a canyon you had to go through to get to the fi­nal check­point.”

The mis­take handed the win to Haaker, who had to over­come a set­back ear­lier in the race when he stopped to as­sist Tay­lor Robert, who had crashed and needed as­sis­tance.

Colton stopped for ap­prox­i­mately a minute and a half to check on Tay­lor, and thanks to the GPS nav­i­ga­tion sys­tem, the pro­mot­ers were able to tell how long Colton (and oth­ers) had stopped to help and were able to ad­just times af­ter the race.

“At the time, Colton gave up his race to help Tay­lor,” Lewis said. “But we were al­ready on the way with help be­cause a he­li­copter had been fol­low­ing the lead­ers and no­ti­fied us on the crash and that Tay­lor needed help.”

We checked in with Tay­lor Robert at the end of March. The KTM fac­tory racer lost 22 pounds while in the hos­pi­tal but had gained 12 back. The doc­tors re­moved 12 inches of his small in­tes­tine and he was still heal­ing from the process but had been bi­cy­cling, do­ing a bit of trail rid­ing, and slowly try­ing to get back in shape. He is out of con­tention for the two cham­pi­onships he was con­test­ing this year, so there is no ur­gency to get back on the bike, but this year’s ISDE in France is the big goal that Tay­lor has set for him­self.

ENDUROCROSS RACE FOR­MAT RE­VAMPED

This Fe­bru­ary, Bon­nier Cor­po­ra­tion, Dirt Rider ’s par­ent com­pany, made a deal to take over the pro­mo­tion rights for the Endurocross se­ries. Eric Peron­nard, the sport’s cre­ator, and Lance Bryson, Di­rec­tor of Special Events, will re­join the Dirt Rider fam­ily, and Peron­nard is promis­ing to bring ex­cit­ing changes to the sport as it pre­pares for its 14th sea­son in the United States.

NEW FOR­MAT FOR THE NEWLY NAMED SU­PER ENDUROCROSS CLASS

• Top eight rid­ers in the stand­ings au­to­mat­i­cally qual­ify

for the main event. • Qual­i­fy­ing race to seed five ad­di­tional rid­ers into field. • Gate pick-deter­min­ing seven-lap race also awards one

point to the win­ner. • The top 12 rid­ers of the qual­i­fier go into bracket rac­ing (four brack­ets of three, then two brack­ets of two, and one fi­nal bracket of two). Win­ner of the fi­nal bracket col­lects one point. • LCQ (two rid­ers trans­fer to 15-man main event) • Four­teen-lap fi­nal with a new fea­ture at some lo­ca­tions: a “no joke lane” rid­den once dur­ing the race by each par­tic­i­pant. • In ad­di­tion to the Su­per Endurocross class, four sup­port

am­a­teur classes: Vet, Women, Tri­als, and Am­a­teur.

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