Its been a very hard and very learning experience to do my first Endurocross in America. Last time I did an Endurocross race was the world Indoor Enduro i Barcelona, Spain, back in february 2009. And that race was way different than now. I talked a lot with Taddy Blazusiak about the evolution of the Endurocross races, and he was also racing at that event in Barcelona, I think he just barely won the event over David Knight. According to Taddy any current top-10 rider, would have been way better than any of the riders in 2009. EX riders are going really fast these days and everyone seems to agree that there is more moto/supercross style in EX now than actual Trials/Enduro. The riders are charging all the time and it takes an incredible physic. EX is the toughest few minutes I have ever spent on my dirtbike.
I arrived at the Comcast Arena early, only rider present before me was Taddy, so we talked alot about the track and bikes. In his opinion 4strokes are the way better choice for endurocross. Its easier to be consistent and since there is so much moto during an EX event, the 4 stroke is just better. Taddy also expressed how cool he thinks our Team is and im sure we will get to ride together some day. Either here in the US or in Andorra where he lives. Anyhow, I walked the track for a bit, and then I got kicked out by Mike, the track director. You are only allowed 10 min track walk on the actual race day, but funnily enough, Taddy wasnt kicked off the track. I guess it pays to be champion :-)
I started chatting up in-coming riders and its funny how a lot of people knew about my injury, my lost X-Games etc. Its great to meet these people that I’ve met so many times before. I got a new friend in the 19-year old Bryan Roper, who did the Trials Des Nations this year. We hung out at the track, went out and got dinner with his friend Louise Forsley (silver medalist at X-G). A lot of good talk and we all agreed on how perfect and wonderful life is at these races when we meet eachother. For me, I have to travel the world to meet people who finds Endurocross as attractive as I do. Finding those people is like finding soul mates, to say it the least. Its awesome and that makes me appreciate the opportunity that Team McPfluger gives me even more. Without them, I wouldn’t have been here. And that goes back to my friend Esben in Denmark – had it not been for him, then I had never met Michael and Heidi, the Team McPfluger owners.
After the dinner I went to pick up Douglas at the Seattle Tacoma airport and we went back to the Trailer, that I had parked on a hillside, next to the Arena. And that was the best spot! Luckily we levelled it out and it worked perfect for us. My crash at the Sapioga Endurocross practice track left me with bent bars, so we went straight ahead and changed the handlebar before going to sleep at 1.30 am.
I signed up to do both the Amateur Open and Non-Qualified Pro Class and ended up riding very much. Not before after my first practice, I realised that I had either bent or broken some ribs in that crash the other day. My breathing caused a lot of pain, and since Endurocross is so extremely demanding, I was breathing heavily while riding and afterwards. I could hardly speak after each session. In the morning, before going out for the first session, I wanted to do some push-ups to get warmed up, but I couldnt even do one. Thats how much it hurt. So doing approximately 10 heats on a professional Endurocross track hurt.
I missed out on the qualification heat race in the Amateur Open, I guess neither Douglas nor I paid enough attention to my race times. So I naturally went to the last chance qualifier and unfortunately only made 2nd place so I did not qualify for the evening programme. Luckily things worked out better for me in the LCQ in the Pro class and I won that one, which gave me a ticket to the evening programme!
Douglas and I dealt with a bunch of issues along the way. First of all, the suspension is way to soft for tough endurocross racing like this. Lots of log jumps and hard hits. So we are getting harder springs. We would have run Goldentyres, but couldnt get a hold of them on time, so we ended up buying Michelins S12 140 with 140 mousse, which was the very wrong thing to do. At least we should have cut the mousse down to a 120. For the next race, we will hopefully have a 120 mousse in a supersoft 140 tire. We had issues with the throttle free play – in fact there was none, which made the bike respond way to aggressive. The jetting was a little off, as Everett is down at sea level, whereas Swansboro is at a 4000 feet altitude. Last but not least, the Rekluse didnt work as I wanted it too. Doing starts fried the clutch and I couldnt work the normal clutch effect, which made it an either go or stop kind of riding. Really hard on the rocks, where I needed more sensitivity.
We definitely learned a lot and even though I got kicked out of the programme in my 2nd semi, I am very proud of what we accomplished and we won a lot of experience and respect. People are noticing us and the guy from Denmark is getting a lot of attention from the commentator – at least, when I am out there riding :-)
2 years ago, I was invited for a freestyle trial competition in southern France, organized by a 22-year-old guy called Valentin Guyonett. Have only stayed in touch with him on Facebook (that, by the way, doesnt work at the moment, it seems to have been locked down temporarily). But upon arrival at the Arena in Everett he all of a sudden appears on the stadium with a Bobcat top executive, where Valentin apparently does his internship while finishing of his MBA. So awesome to see him again!!! Another cool thing was that I got on an elevator ride with one of the Monster Energy Kawasaki mechanics, who turned out to be Irish and know a danish guy in Murietta (between San Diego and LA)… That guy is my friend from home, Lasse Andersen! So this guy David made sure I could come ride at the Kawasaki Endurocross test track in Southern California anytime. It just confirms me yet again… Its not what you know, its who you blow/know. Depends :-)
This is the video of my hot lap, which ended up not being very hot at all :-) Look at the GP Racing sticker on the helmet, thats where Douglas works. I went by GP Racing on the way to Everett and Douglas put these S12 tires on the bike. On leaving the shop, the owner, Steve, put 100 $ in my hand and said its travelmoney. According to Douglas, thats the way Steve rolls. He does that sometimes, when he feels like he can spare some bucks. Pretty amazing guy and he sure made my day!!! :-)