2017 24 Hours of Glen Helen DBT Sr. Team Race Report

The Dream Team

Story by Brent Farrell; Photo’s by Trevor Hunter

Honda’s 2017 CRF450RX was our bike of choice for this year’s race.

Another 24 Hours of Glen Helen is in the books and the Dirt Bike Test Sr. Team completed the 9 mile course 59 times covering a total distance of 531 miles. We made it to the finish line 1st in the 40+ Expert class and 13th overall. The DBT Jr. Team did what they do and flat out hauled the mail all day and night. They finished 3rd in the Pro class and 3rd overall with 69 laps or 621 miles. As much as I hate to admit it, I think the days of the Sr. team trash talking have come to an end. Even if they had made some mistakes, which they didn’t, they still would have had us covered. In fact, the only time we even saw them was when they were lapping us. Such is life. We’ll just need to find other ways to be competitive with the kids. Maybe poker, should be an easy win since none of them are old enough to set foot in a casino.

The youth was able to defeat the talented for the 2nd year in a row.

The road to and through 24 Hours was not without its bumps, as a matter of fact, it never is. We had some mechanical issues during the race, but just a day before, we weren’t sure we would even make it to the start line. Every year it seems like we’re always working up to the last minute but this year we were in uncharted waters as we worked well into the night with just hours to the start. The source of our tardiness was the limited electricity produced by the mighty CRF. After sorting out suspension settings, exhaust, and a few other options, we finally got the bike wired for lights a couple weeks before the race. Unfortunately, our testing proved that we didn’t have the power to support our light setup. We’re using a 10” KC FLEX light bar and three KC LZR Pod’s mounted above it. It’s an amazing light that we’ve ran in some different configurations the last three years. It also takes a fair amount of power. In the past, we solved that by running two of the Pod’s off a separate battery that we change throughout the night. I like this a lot because it give us two completely independent systems. If one fails we still have enough light to safely make it back to the pits. This setup draws about 70W from the bike, but once tested, it killed the bikes battery after about 30 minutes.

The Dream Team

We had to solve our power problem and the clock was ticking. We tried changing the configuration and running fewer lights off the bike but even at 40W it was too close for comfort. By this time we’d used up a few more nights testing in the garage and we weren’t any closer to a workable solution. The next morning I called Mike at Ricky Stator in Ramona, CA. Luckily for us, they had already worked on a few CRF 450RX’s and were confident they could “rewind” the stator and get us the power we need. Finally a solution, but with just a few days before the race, we didn’t have much time. We would ship the stator from Orange County to Ramona in a day, Mike would do his magic in a couple days and then he’d ship it straight to Braasch Motorsports in Corona where John Braasch was doing the final prep on the bike. Mike did his part and sent the stator to John on Wednesday but on Thursday the tracking for the shipment just said “in transit”. I checked the status every 10 minutes throughout the day and finally called UPS to find out our package was not lost, just delayed. I’m fairly sure I completed that conversation in some intelligible fashion, but my mind was already racing. If it didn’t show up on Friday, I would have to find another stator to even get the bike to run. Luckily we had Preston Campbell, son of Baja legend and now owner of JCR, Johnny Campbell on the DBT Jr. Team. A quick call to Preston revealed that his dad was on a plane on his way back from Morocco but he thought they had an RX nearby and it sounded like he was willing to steal the stator out of it if necessary.

John was forced to work into the night on Friday night to get the race bike complete.

Friday morning, just 24 hours before the start, we got some good news. Our package was scanned onto a truck for delivery. Only problem was it was going to be delivered to John Braasch’s house and he had already left for the race. Our options were limited, I finished loading everything up, drove to Corona. Once there, Scott Perkins and I pretty much camped out in front of John’s house like a couple of stalkers. At about 3:30 in the afternoon the UPS truck pulled up. At 3:31 we were on our way to Glen Helen, stator in hand.

Jason Trubey started it off for the team.

Saturday morning things had calmed down and we were ready to race and at 10:00 AM we were off. The first three hours went smoothly, but then that sinking feeling was felt throughout our pit. The bike was overdue. We were running 21-22 minute laps and 23 minutes had elapsed. A couple minutes doesn’t sound like much, but it can feel like an eternity as we’re all staring up the course waiting for our bike to appear. Luckily it did a minute or two later but as Robert Baehr pulled into the pits, he was already giving the signal that we had work to do. We were running the latest Rekluse auto-clutch, the Radius CX. It’s a pretty new product that provides their traditional auto-clutch capability but with more tunability, improved lever feel, and longer clutch life. It’s perfect for the varied terrain at the event.

The team underwent an unexpected pit-stop just hours into the race.
The rest of the pit-stops looked more like this for the rest of the race. The IMS 2.4 gallon dry-break ready tank was perfect for us since were burning around 1 gallon an hour.

A small locator pin that locks an internal adjustment ring in place had failed and allowed the ring to spin freely, resulting in a complete lock up of the clutch. We weren’t going anywhere until it was fixed. Once we had the side cover off and pulled the pressure plate off the clutch, the problem was clear. We didn’t have parts for the Rekluse so the only option was to pull the entire unit and reinstall the original stock clutch. About that time Johnny Campbell showed up to watch his son on our Jr team. Johnny’s knowledge of Honda engines is pretty much unmatched so we quickly deputized him and let him take point on the clutch swap. The job took about 20 minutes and we were back underway. To Rekluse’s credit, they reached out to us a couple of days after the race to find out what happened. They wanted to get the clutch back in their hands so they could determine what caused the failure and offered to send us a brand new one.

Misjudging the amount of tires needed meant we had to run our tires much longer than we should have making everything much more challenging.
It’s safe to say this was one of the better looking tires after we were finished with it.

From that point on things went smoothly. We burned about 35 gallons of gas, changed 4 air filters, wore 3 rear tires down to almost nothing and changed one front just because we could. The RX never missed a beat and probably could have continued on for a lot longer. When we crossed the line shortly after 10:00 AM Sunday morning we finally got a chance to take a good look at the machine and there wasn’t much to see. It was dirty and all the pretty new graphics were a little less shiny but everything was intact, not a single broken part or missing bolt. A complete success by any definition.

24 hours later and our CRF450RX runs as good as it ever has!

Stay tuned for the next article where we’ll focus on the bike, what we did to prepare it for the race, and feedback from the riders!