We’re back. A year older and a little wiser. If not faster too. After a very successful race last year on the dirt bike test Yamaha YZ250FX where you can read about HERE, our team is eagerly awaiting the 2017 edition of the 24 Hours of Glen Helen. This year, we’re changing things up a bit with both the DBT Jr. team and also with the DBT Sr. team where we will provide separate updates. The DBT Jr. team has decided to enter the Pro class on a Beta 300RR and consequently can only utilize 4 riders instead of the usual 6 like the past few years. We all have youth on our side which can both help and hurt us but only time will tell.
Back on the team for this year is Chance Fullerton, Jarett Megla, Preston Campbell, and myself. This has been the core four riders over the past several years and we have all been racing each other since mini’s in the District 37 Big6 GP Series. All four of us are consistently in the top 10 in the Pro II class in the Big6 with Chance earning a couple podiums in the class this year.
Another change-up will be the bike. In the past, we have ridden Yamaha’s YZ250FX; however, we will be riding a 2017 Beta 300 RR Race Edition for this year’s event. We are still figuring out the logistics as far as what products we will use on this bike but we do have a few set in place. First up is the all important over-sized gas tank with a dry-break setup which IMS will provide. Their quality can’t be matched and with a long race like this, avoiding any mechanical failures is crucial as we found out last year although it was to our benefit. Additionally, Beta Factory Services will be performing suspension modifications to ensure the bike handles everything from the motocross track to the tight singletrack from 10 AM Saturday through 10 AM Sunday.
Myself and Preston Campbell headed out to Glen Helen to get some early testing in on the steed and see how it handled everything. After quite some time testing suspension, we made a lot of progress in trying to get it working well in every terrain Glen Helen has to offer in stock configuration. However, we feel Beta may need to make some changes so the 300 RR can better handle our racing needs. In stock trim, we struggled making it stiff enough to not blow through the stroke in the faster sections and the motocross track without being too stiff in the single track. We experienced a lot of deflection in the single track and had some trouble keeping the bike going in a straight line. It’s just a little too harsh initially and we also feel it’ll beat us up a bit over the long 24 hours. With only four riders, preserving the body from getting too worn out is key. We communicated our testing results to Beta and we’ll see what they come up with in our next riding session.
The motor was what impressed us the most. As stated in the previous First Impression, the motor excels when the trails get tighter and rockier. The bike can be lugged in 2nd or 3rd gear through the miles of singletrack but still has more than enough power to get up all the hills Glen Helen has to offer. We will also start messing around with the power valve adjustment to see if we can get the motor working even better than it does now.
Also, the folks at ARC Levers is supplying a front brake lever, clutch lever, and bar clamps to prevent a broken lever from derailing our hopes for a solid finish. A broken lever is almost a certainty in a race like this so avoiding that could prove to be crucial on 10 AM Sunday morning. Stay tuned for more updates on both the DBT Jr. and Sr. teams as we prepare for another grueling 24 Hours of Glen Helen!
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