Dirt Bike Test Is Back For More–The 2018 Glen Helen 24-Hour!
Story by Brent Farrell
It was a Tuesday night when the group text message was sent out: The 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Glen Helen was rapidly approaching and we need a Dirt Bike Test Senior team! The six riders from last year were the recipients. What followed was considerable discussion regarding last year’s performance. That dialog quickly devolved into a comparison of lap times, masculinity, and the volume of water that would be displaced if a given team member was submerged. You can’t make this stuff up. While entertaining, the banter wasn’t getting us what we need so I had to chime in. “So who’s in?” Five positive responses were received so with myself included, we have a team.
Back at the controls will be Jason Trubey, Robert Baehr, Craig Hunter, Scott Perkins, and your scribe, Brent Farrell. It’s a great group of guys with a lot of experience and some pretty good past success. Unfortunately, much of that occurred well before any of the “Young Gun” DBT team members were even born. Speaking of those guys, last year, we hoped to challenge them, at least a little. We had big dreams of experience overcoming speed, but it wasn’t to be. They rode great on A Yamaha YZ250FX, didn’t make any mistakes, and pretty much rode away from us and most everyone else. Second overall even! This year they are stepping up to the Pro class which means only a four-man team. Our hope is that will give us a chance. They’re much younger, more talented, in way better shape, and even faster than they were last year, but we still believe there’s a chance.
We can’t dwell on the young versus old debate though, the most important question is what to ride. Last year we went a little off script and rode a street legal Beta 430 RR-S and even rode it to the track the day before the event and back home following the race Sunday morning. The bike worked flawlessly, and everyone on the team did a great job and provided some valuable feedback on the dual-sport 430. We had no real issues throughout the event and left with some hardware by winning the Over 40 Expert class. This year we wanted to test something a little more race oriented. Possibly a new model or maybe something with a major update for the year.
After much discussion and of course the blessing from our friends at American Honda, we agreed that the new 2017 CRF 450RX would be perfect. The RX is a competition focused machine that many would think sits between their motocross focused 450R and the more trail oriented 450X. While true to some degree, the “RX” has far more in common with the “R” model. The design is similar and aside from a few obvious differences like a larger tank, an 18” rear wheel, and a kickstand, they look pretty much the same. Much like the “R”, this is a purebred race bike, it’s aggressive in both form and function with an eye on GP or GNCC style competition. We certainly won’t be riding it up the 15 freeway the day before the race. This is a growing niche in the industry, and one that’s generating a lot of excitement. Until recently, KTM was the only manufacturer with a purpose built machine in this space, but now many of the popular brands have jumped in. We’ve been testing the new Honda here at Dirt Bike Test for a while now and so far, everyone has been very impressed. You can see the full test here: 2017 CRF 450RX Test and the Long Term Updates on our 2017 machine.
Our challenge will be getting good lights on the bike as the ignition is pretty maxed out and is proving to be difficult to make any additional juice for a big light. We have experience with running battery assisted lights so we’re testing options for the night now. We’ll be making a few changes and additions to fine tune it for the unique challenges that a 24 hour race presents. Keep an eye out for updates and reviews as we put the pieces together for another trip into the world of off-road endurance racing.
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