We always have about four different project bikes in various states of undress at Dirt Bike. Sometimes, we bite off more than we can handle. The electric start modification of our 2017 CRF450R motocross bikes was like that. Honda offers an electric start kit for the motocross version of the 450 for those riders who want the button but don’t want all the off-road stuff that comes with the CRF450RX. The kit comes with everything you need except the battery. Honda expected the job to take about 3.5 hours of labor. As it turned out, it was much more involved than we thought. With the help of trained Honda technicians, it took a full day. Our advice is to get the RX with the electric starter and modify it into a motocross bike if that’s what you want, rather than vice-versa.


The May issue of Dirt Bike will have two two-stroke project bikes. Tom Webb has been out of action with rebuilt knees for six-months now, but even though he hasn’t been riding, he loves to tinker in the garage. With the help of Dick Wilk, his bother Mike, his close friend John Bumgarner and Mark Tilley, he ‘s been working on our 2017 KTM 250SX. Initially, many riders reported that the bike was too explosive. Dick Wilk worked on the carburetion and suspension to make it a more friendly bike. The Intellajet system was a big part of the formula. The bike is a sweetheart, now.

Jason McCune of Inside Line Connect put together another two-stroke project bike for the May issue. This Husky TX300 has a long back story. Jason borrowed one of our test bikes two years ago for the Last Dog Standing Extreme Enduro. He brought it back in a wheel burrow.  If you’re not prepared for that race, it will crush you and your bike. Now he wants a rematch, so he purchased our 2017 TX300 test bike from Husqvarna, installed a Rekluse auto clutch, had AHM rework the suspension and went a little crazy. When we rode it, we were much nicer to it than we was to our test bike two years ago. That’s Justin Jones doing the extreme stuff. Very nice bike.


I had fun conversations with both Mike Melton and Terry Cunningham this week. The subject was the bike pictured above: the 1984 Husqvarna WR400. My question for them: was this the best production bike that Husqvarna-Sweden ever built? After some thinking, they both agreed that it probably was.  The bike was between two eras; it was the last twin shock bike and the first liquid-cooled bike. Husqvarna had stuck with twin shocks longer than anyone, so the ITC Ohlins shocks were really dialed in by then. The first single shockers in 1985 had a few rough spots. The later Open bikes from Sweden were pretty good, and the four-stroke was awesome, so the Best-Swedish-Bike subject is up for debate. The bike in the photo belongs to Robb Mesecher, and he’s offered to let me race it. It’s perfect, so I’m afraid.


We’re big fans of the Science of Supercross video series that Kawasaki puts together. The latest chapter is about Team Green’s farm program with Stilez Robertson and what a family goes through in the amateur world.

American hope Thomas Covington has moved on to the Rockstar Husky Factory Racing team in Europe. He’s a solid podium finisher and looks good so far. Here’s Husqvarna’s official video on its MX2 effort in 2017.

This is a 41-year-old Aussie who knows how to ride, and knows what he wants out of life. He’s also very good at making videos of himself, with fixed cameras, drones and lots of editing time. It’s pretty impressive stuff.



In celebration of Military Appreciation Day on January 14th at Petco Park in San Diego, Suzuki Motor of America donated a brand new 2017 Suzuki RM-Z250 to be auctioned off during the Fourth Annual Military Appreciation Race. Proceeds from the auction are funneled directly to the non-profit USO to help fund the programs, services and live entertainment provided to United States service members and their families.

On February 28th Suzuki Motor of America presented winning bidder Derek Swaidner of Fort Wayne, Indiana a brand new 2017 RM-Z250 at R & D Powersports in Columbia City, Indiana. Derek, a senior at Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) in aviation technology, has been an avid amateur racer for two decades. He was ecstatic to see his new bike and plans to race the RM-Z250 at events in the Southeast.

Suzuki Motor of America is proud to support our nation’s military, their families, and those special people, like Derek, who support them as well.


Indiana’s Logan Grounds, North Carolina’s Mason Raynor and South Carolina’s Andrew Segars will be the focus of Cobra’s new off-road team. This marks the first time in Cobra Moto’s history that its MX Elite team has been expanded to include a team of off-road racers.

In addition to its new GNCC off-road team, Cobra Moto will also step up its overall GNCC Series support. Highlighted by new cash contingency program and at-race trackside support at the majority of the summer-long GNCC tour stops, Cobra Moto’s support of the GNCC Series stands at an all-time high in 2017.

Cobra Moto contingency at the GNCC Series:





Total per round

Total for season

65cc 10-11






65cc 7-9






50cc 8-9






50cc 5-7






50cc 4-6








Bike Week runs from March 10 through March 19 in Daytona Beach, Florida. It’s a big deal with street riders, but if you look at the schedule of events, there’s actually more happening in the dirt. Here’s some of the stuff on the list:

Friday, March 10:
The first AMA-sanctioned event of Bike Week is Round 1 of the 2017 AMA All Star National Flat Track Series, an AMA featured series, at Oglethorpe Speedway Park in Pooler, Ga. The race features amateur and professional racers of all ages competing on a half-mile course. Visit

Saturday, March 11:
Oglethrope Speedway Park in Pooler, Ga., hosts Round 1 of the 2017 AMA Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship, an AMA Major Event. The race is in conjunction with the first round of the 2017 AMA Vintage Dirt Track National Championship series. More information is available at

The Florida Trials Association Motorcycle Club Inc. is hosting a two-day observed trials on March 11 at Hardrock Motorcycle Park, 6849 N.W. Gainesville Road, Ocala, Fla. More information is available at

Round one of the 2017 AMA Vintage Dirt Track National Championship Series is March 11 at Oglethrope Speedway Park in Pooler, Ga., alongside the AMA Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship. This event features vintage motorcycles racing on a half-mile course. To learn more, visit the Vintage Dirt Track page at

Monster Energy AMA Supercross stops at Daytona International Speedway for Round 8 of its series on March 11, the Daytona Supercross by Honda. Ticket information is available at

The 2017 Grand National Cross Country Series, an AMA National Championship, begins its two-day event with off-road ATV racing on Saturday, March 11 in Palatka, Fla. For more information visit

Sunday, March 12:
The Grand National Cross Country Series, an AMA National Championship,continues with the second day of its two-day racing event, as motorcycles race the off-road course on Sunday, March 12 in Palatka Fla. To learn more, visit

Round 2 of the AMA All Star National Flat Track Series, an AMA featured series, races at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., on March 12. To find out more, visit

Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross takes to the track inside the Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, March 12, for a two-day event. The race features some of the country’s fastest amateur motorcycle racers on the same track professional Supercrossers raced on the night before. More information is available at

The second day of the observed trials by the Florida Trials Association Motorcycle Club Inc. is on March 12 at Hardrock Motorcycle Park, 6849 N.W. Gainesville Road, Ocala, Fla. More information is available at

Monday, March 13:
On March 13, Ricky Carmichael Daytona Amateur Supercross will host the second day of its two-day event at the Daytona International Speedway. To learn more visit

Round 2 of the Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship, an AMA Major Event, is at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville Fla., on March 13. The race is in conjunction with Round 2 of the AMA Vintage Dirt National Championship. For more information, visit

Volusia Speedway Park also hosts Round 2 of the 2017 AMA Vintage Dirt Track National Championship Series on March 13 in Barberville, Fla. Visit the Dirt Track racing page on to learn more.

Tuesday, March 14:
Round 3 of the Daytona Bike Week Flat Track Championship an AMA Major Event, concludes on March 14 at the Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. Go to to learn more about attending.

The third round of the AMA Vintage Dirt Track National Championship Series will take place on March 14 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla. Information on the event is available on the Dirt Track racing page on

Sunday March 19
On March 19, the Alligator National Enduro races in Ormond Beach, Fla. The race is a part of the AMA National Enduro Series, presented by Moose, and features off-road racers from across the country. To register to race or find out more about the event, go to

 Daytona Bike week also features multiple rides and races organized by AMA-chartered clubs and promoters, along with the thousands of AMA members who attend the event each year. All AMA riding and racing events can be found on the AMA calendar at

Team Honda HRC announced that current GEICO Honda rider Jeremy Martin will fill in for the injured Ken Roczen at the Daytona Supercross by Honda on March 11. Martin will pilot a factory CRF450R at the coveted Honda-sponsored event in his first-ever premier class race. Following his one-race stint, Martin will rejoin the GEICO Honda squad to begin preparing for the 2017 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series, as well the return of the Western Regional 250SX campaign.

“I’m beyond excited that American Honda is giving me the opportunity to ride a factory CRF450R,” stated Martin. “I’m also looking forward to making my debut in the premier class at Daytona, one of the most hyped up supercross races of all time. Everyone loves Daytona due to it being so different so I’m excited to go race the best guys in the world. I’d love to get a solid finish for Honda since they sponsor the event.”


This weekend there are two events that I’ve been looking forward to. First, there’s the third round of the Maxxis Big 6 GP series, and it’s happening right at Glen Helen. I’ll be leaving early on Sunday and going to Cahuilla Creek for the Husky World Championship.

See you next time,

–Ron Lawson

1984 Husky WR400Friday wrap upHonda CRF450R electric start