BLAST FROM THE PAST: Marty Smith
Marty Smith was on the cutting edge of the burgeoning motocross world exploding out of San Diego moving from novice to expert in two years. I just listened to Whiskey Throttle’s Pod Cast with Marty and learned a great deal about a racer who I always thought was kind of stuck up. He’s hugely gracious, god fearing and told the tale of Honda hiring him to race the 125 nationals when there wasn’t even a series yet and Honda had not introduced their 125 Elsinore. For three years he was dominant and only the evolution of the Yamaha slowed his 125 prowess. The claiming rule kept Honda from bringing out their ‘good’ RC125 which he raced several events and beat Bob Hannah straight up. What stopped Marty’s career? A serious hip injury at the Huston Supercross had him questioning his commitment and he frankly was happy with his racing career and retired early. My favorite quote from the Whiskey Throttle show- “When you’re a kid and get a throttle in your hand- it’s over!”
This last weekend I traveled to Crested Butte Colorado to test a modified KTM built by Slavens Racing. It’s a 2020 KTM 300 XCW TPI, a machine that we haven’t gotten to test yet- so I was chomping at the proverbial bit to ride the machine. Too, I hadn’t done a road trip in a while and was coaxed into driving there with my good friend Brian Palmer. He, Frank Costanzo and I slammed our machines into Brian’s truck and drove 13 hours up to Crested Butte. We got in two good days of riding, led by Jeff Slavens and a surprise guest appearance by Fritz Kadlec. Fritz at one time was one of the top off-road racers in the U.S. and now owns a Husky dealership in Gunnison, CO. It was big fun at an 8,800 foot starting point where the air was sparse and the terrain tough, cobby and very challenging.
Jeff Slavens sailing up the trail on his 2020 KTM 300. It’s incredible how well the machine works at 10,000 feet!
Jeff spent time testing the stocker prior to doing what he does- which is make it better for Colorado conditions. Both the fork and shock get reworked, he had a shop re-flash his ECU and went with a higher compression S3 head which targets stronger bottom to mid power. He likes the FMF Fatty over the new crinkle pipe- says there’s more mid and he fits it with a Rekluse Clutch and this turns the machine into a tractor that can conquer some real nasty terrain. There are many mods- Seat Concepts saddle, larger Acerbis tank, Flexx bars and E Line protection to name a few. He runs a Bridgstone M59 front and an IRC VE33 rear both fit with Tubliss.
Jeff Slavens, T-Dub and Fritz- about a 190 years worth of old meat!
Fritz rode a KTM 250XC he took in on a trade and was impressive on the trails that he’s been marching on for over two decades.
One former ISDE star, one nose picker, a mountain man and a pointer take a break during the ride.
Andy Cripe blitzes a river crossing on his JCR Honda.
The Realtor dropping down some fun Colorado trail.
Frankie C cleaning his HQV!
This was flat epic. An American flag at somewhere around 11,000 feet on a bluff with a huge drop and a view that was stunning.
This was as close as Tom Webb got to the outcrop. He’s not a good heights guys and it sacred him badly.
Andy did a big digger, roached his clutch case and BP had to tow him some thirty plus miles so that we could get a truck to pick up the wounded machine. That’s Frank Costanzo trying to give Andy’s machine CPR.
Slavens and the Wolf ran into a cattle drive when they searched for Andy and his broken steed. You don’t see this in LA.
MATRIX CONCEPTS LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
Matrix Concepts launches all new website featuring their complete range of Stands, Cans, Mats, Tie-Downs, Toolboxes along with new Matrix Custom ID Section, fall line up of new Casual Wear and complete line of great new Accessories.
WOLF: BACK IN THE DAY
Czecho ISDE 1991. Wolf, KTM 300, grass track special test. This began my love for the KTM 300, a machine that makes it easy for a normal guy to feel like a hero. Czecho was tough, long 170-mile days and a fast schedule kept you buzzing. To be honest, my special tests were about the same as my trail pace, I had to haul just to not drop route points. I got my first ISDE medal here, a Silver and was monumentally pumped.