RED BULL 1/2 MILE STRAIGHT RHYTHM SECTION
YZ250F INTRODUCTION: MONSTER MOUNTAIN, ALABAMA
By Daryl Ecklund
The Monster Mountain landscape.
Have I died and gone to dirt bike heaven?! This is the question I had to ask myself as John Basher and I rolled into the Monster Mountain facility. With the highest point in Alabama being just over 2400 feet in elevation there are no ‘monster mountains’ per se. But for as flat as Alabama is, there were a lot of big elevation changes throughout the track. Golden brown dirt glimmered as the sun peaked through the clouds. Fields of green trees encompassed the entire track while there was a small pond directly in the center for some scenery as you hit the big downhill floater.
Alabama from the air. We don't see any monster mountains, do you?
Yamaha pulled out the all the stops and rolled out the red carpet for their all-new YZ250F. Well, close to all-new. Only a few plastic parts on the front end from the 2013 were carried over. We were excited and Yamaha was nice enough to bring out a brand-new blue machine for John and I to put through the wringer for two days of riding at the Monster Mountain facility.
I was first up to take the bike through the wrecking crew paces. Riding the bike down to the track you could hear the deep throaty sound along with quick responsiveness of the new engine. We were lucky enough for past Supercross 250 West champion Travis Preston to break in the deep loom for us spoiled media people. Each corner had a variety of deep skinny ruts that you could pick from. To me, these ruts almost felt like amusement park rides. Once you picked one you were locked in until it ejected you through the other side. I have to say that this was difficult to get used to. For us Cali boys we aren't used to prime traction or huge long overhanging ruts. My first attempts were awkward and unstable. I would come in fast being hard on the rear brake on the entry, but the vertical rut would lay me over so far that my leg would catch the ground ripping my leg just about into an epic Jeremy McGrath Nac-Nac every time.
Fresh blue meat sitting pretty before the wrecking crew gets a hold of her.
I got frustrated. At this point I was thinking so much about my Nac-Nacs that I couldn’t focus on this all-new Yamaha I was testing. So as I have learned over the many years of riding that just going for the gusto usually pays off. If you have that nervous feeling in your stomach and you think you can pull it off, 99 out of 100 times it works out! I took a deep breath, shifted up a gear coming into the big sweeping corners, pretended my rear brake fell off and just leaned in for the ride. I think the first few times I closed my eyes and took a hand off the bar as I thought I was riding a roller coaster!
One of the many rides here at Monster Mountain.
I finally started to feel comfortable and was able to enjoy the bike and take it through the paces. I got comfortable in no time with the light feel of the bike. As I started to pick up the pace I noticed that the front end was harsh and I was bottoming out when seating bouncing the jumps. I came in for a pit stop and the Yamaha technicians got me dialed in no time. They went out on the fork compression and a bit stiffer on the shock compression. John and I took the time to try numerous different maps and suspension setting over the two day. Some worked, some were horrible and a few were spot on.
John Basher and Daryl Ecklund communicating. It is all about the testing. Photo by Tom Brinkman
Unfortunately, I am going to have to leave you all hanging. For all the details on our testing and the bike you are going to have to wait for the February issue of MXA. Bottom line, did we like the bike? Yes! Is it better than last year? Oh yes! Will it win our 250F shootout? For now, that's for us to know and you to find out. Let's just say that it’s going to be interesting. Check out the video below to check out the bike and Monster Mountain track.
MXA 2014 YZ250F INTRO VIDEO
MXA WEEKLY WORKOUT: 60 SECOND FITNESS TIP
TIP: Have you ever had the frustration that you’re working hard in the gym, but stopped seeing the rewards of your hard work? You could be at a plateau that can be resolved with a simple change up. If you are doing the same thing at the gym over and over again your body gets used to these movements and becomes content. Changing your workout routine every 4 to 6 weeks will keep your body guessing and keep you moving up the rewarding hill of progress.
ANATOMY OF A SCRUB
Check out the sequence James Stewart’s scrub pass on Ryan Villopoto at the Monster Cup. This reminds me of Stewart back in his 125 days. Is the old Bubba back?
FIVE IN FIVE WITH A DAY IN THE DIRT’S KENNY ALEXANDER
Five questions in five minutes
MXA: Tell us a little about this year’s A Day in the Dirt.
Well, this is year two at the world famous Glen Helen facility. Last year we had a great turnout and everyone at the facility has been easy to work with. So it was a no brainer to have it back here again. Red Bull has been a big help in making this happen for us again.
What makes A Day in the Dirt at Glen Helen such a good fit?
All the races we have are GP format and we wanted variety. Here at Glen Helen there is a little bit of everything. There are big elevation changes going up and down Mt. Saint Helen to going through tunnels along with getting your Supermoto on with some asphalt. What more could you ask for!
You have a new race added to the schedule. Give us the details.
The race is called Bossa Nova. It is a team race with a unique twist. Get two of your buddies and go racing, but you all ride the entire race. We take the three rider finishes and combine them for a total score. Whoever has the lowest score wins!
This is the 16th year of the race. How many more do your have left in you?
I love this race, but after every Day in the Dirt and it's all said and done I say to myself this will be the last one. But every year Troy Lee Designs, Red Bull and many others keep bringing this race to life.
You have a new company called Fasthouse. Tell us about that.
It is something that is still in the works, but I am very excited about it. I have a lot of help from my friend Troy Lee, who’s helping me get it off the ground. I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag just yet but I can say it will start with a line of hard parts. In the 2014 season the Lucas Honda/ Troy Lee team will be promoting and using Fasthouse products.
BAM BAM IS BACK! JUSTIN BARCIA GETTING DIRTY WITH HIS TEAMMATE IN BERCY
V8 TWO-STROKE! SOMEONE HAD TOO MUCH TIME ON THEIR HANDS
Yamaha Motorcycle tests