The Young Guns Are Triumphant
Story by Trevor Hunter, Photos by Cory Walters and Nick Baehr
Coming off a good but disappointing result at last year’s 24 Hours of Glen Helen, Team Dirt Bike Test came back with a vengeance. You can read on the build and progress we made in the weeks prior to the event here: Update 1, Update 2, Update 3.
With a new 2017 Yamaha YZ250FX as our steed, we knew we were more than capable of taking the 250 Expert class win. Before the start of the race, everyone got a feel for the bike and adjusted the levers and bars for the final time as the clock counted down to 10 AM on Saturday morning. We determined our rider order to be Chance Fullerton starting followed by Preston Campbell, myself (Trevor Hunter), then Jarett Megla, Willy Simons Jr., and finally Nick Baehr.
A unique start procedure is utilized at this race and it has been implemented the past few years. The rider must straddle the front wheel with the engine off as the green flag waves. Chance was able to get a great start against the other Experts with some help from the electric starter on the bike since the bike was already started by the time he swung his leg over the bike. He came around the Talladega first turn in 4th and made some quick passes to get into 2nd Expert by the next turn. We trailed the Precision Concepts backed Open Expert team by only a few seconds after the first lap with Justin Seeds on their bike. After the first rider change, or 3 laps, we were running 1st 250 Expert, 2nd Overall Expert still behind Precision Concepts, and 5th Overall. We continued to stretch our lead in the 250 class minutes per lap and sat 5th-6th Overall through the first 9 hours.
By 6:00 PM, it was time to put the lights on. The only maintenance we had done prior was a much needed air filter change and lubing the chain. For the 6:00 pit, we changed another filter, changed the rear wheel, and installed the lights since the sun had all but set on the day. After the somewhat lengthy pit ended, Preston was off and I awaited my 2nd stint on the bike.
Our next pit took place around 10:00 PM and it consisted of an oil change, new rear brake pads, and another air filter. This pit went pretty smooth and nothing out of the ordinary took place. We continued to have solid lap times and by this time, we were running 2nd Overall behind Colton Udall’s Ox Motorsports team and had a 3 lap lead over the 2nd 250 Expert team. Many of the Pro teams were having light/bike issues costing them valuable time and allowing us to move up the ranks as darkness continued.
We continued to have a flawless race and click off consistent laps without any problems until around 1:30 AM. Preston came in for a quick but unexpected pit to straighten out the tweaked front end after a crash. After the pit, he continued to the rest of his laps before I got in.
By this time, a drizzle had started falling and a very thick fog was upon us, especially up on the ridges. Before my 3rd stint, I noticed everyone had taken their goggles off so I knew it had to be treacherous out there. Sure enough, after 5 minutes of riding, my goggles came off as the cold and foggy conditions made it unbearable to ride with them on. After I finished this stint, I handed the bike off to Jarett and went and got some sleep.
Sometime between 3 AM and 5 AM, a final rear wheel change was completed since we got a flat. When I woke up, we were still running 2nd Overall only 1 lap behind Udall but the Fasthouse/John Burr Cycles Husqvarna team of Trevor Stewart, Blayne Thompson, Jeff Loop, and Brandon Brady was on the same lap as us and appeared to be closing in slightly. Luckily for us, they continued to have some bike troubles and we started to pull away again. As I got on for the final time around 9:00 AM, Colton’s team was close to putting us 2 laps down but I narrowly held them at bay while the JBC Husky team got lapped giving us some more breathing.
As the checkered flag flew, we ended up 1st 250 Expert by 6 laps or just over 2 hours ahead and we placed 2nd Overall, 1 lap down from Colton Udall. Everyone on the team rode a terrific race and stayed very consistent with very few crashes which always seems to be a challenge. Also, our Yamaha YZ250FX had zero issues throughout the race which is another huge hurdle to overcome. Lastly, our pit crew consisting of the dads, the DBT Sr. team members, Riley Klarenbach, Travis Claypool, Greydon Day, and Nick Gossett did a fantastic job at keeping our time in the pits to a minimum.
Also, our KC HiLites worked great with zero light issues, always the most difficult part of the race, and everyone had nothing but good things to say about how they worked. Similarly, Maxxis provided us with some great Maxxcross SI tires that lasted a very long time. The front tire lasted the entire race and is still good enough to keep riding on and the rear’s lasted about 8 hours a piece although they could have stayed on a little longer as well. Likewise, the ARC Levers clutch perch and levers saved us from breaking a lever more than a few times since we encountered a couple small tip overs and crashes throughout the day long race. Also, our GPR Stabilizer and Fasst Co Flexx Handlebars kept us fresh throughout the race with the added comfort and stability on the rough 9.6 mile course. Megla Designs provided us with some great looking graphics to make us look the fastest in the pits which is always the most important part of riding. Finally, thank you to Dirt Bike Test for giving us the opportunity to race on the equipment we had. Keep tabs on the site as we post more race reports/updates as well as product and bike tests!
Check out some GoPro POV of the course from one of our test riders!