This week I shot Mark Samuels prior to his departure for the Dakar Rally. He will be riding a factory Honda, although it will be on a different team from Ricky Brabec. Mark will be riding for a South American team that gets the same support and equipment as Brebec’s official Monster Energy HRC team. The story of how this all came together is interesting, and is a testament to Samuel’s perseverance.


Last March, Mark placed second in the Sonora rally behind Monster Energy HRC rider Ricky Brabec. Since Brabec was already a member of the Dakar elite, Samuels was then first in line for the prize of a 2018 Dakar entry. That’s worth over $20,000, but then the real work began. Consider the logistical nightmare: the Rally starts in Lima, Peru on January 6, 2018. It finishes in Cordoba, Argentina over  two weeks later, after 2000 miles and 14 stages. Aside from your own expenses, you have to cover those of a crew and a mechanic; no one rides Dakar alone.

Riding on the Ox Baja team has given him a number of contacts at American Honda, Those, in turn, hooked him up with names and numbers for people of power in Honda’s international network. The Official Monster Energy Honda Rally team was full. There were no seats without butts and there was no recruitment happening. The MEC team finished eighth in last year’s race with Franco Caimi. Caimi will be riding a Yamaha for 2018, and as it turns out, American riders are somewhat desirable for a South American team. One thing led to another and Mark’s equipment problem was handled.

The photos for this were shot in Hesperia near Ricky Brabec’s house. The bike here is actually Ricky’s practice bike with Mark’s team colors. Ricky has been very supportive for Mark’s effort. They both leave on January 1st for Lima.


I had a long conversation with Sean Reddish about Sprint Hero Racing. Sean is the director of WORCS racing and he’s come up with a new series and a format that will be new to riders on the west. Here’s how it will work, courtesy of Lego corporation.

Q: What is Sprint Hero Endurance Racing?
A: Motocross and off-road racing against the clock! Basically we take about 6 miles of the most fun sections of motocross, single track and sand sections that event location has to offer and make separate and full length loops out of them.  You are racing against the clock, not head to head like normal. AND PIN IT TO WIN IT!

Q: How does it work?
A: You will line up individually at the start line and take off. 30 seconds later another racer takes off. You go as fast as you can for the entire race loop until you come through the finish line. Then you take a break and wait for your turn to go again. You will get approximately 60 minutes of riding per day with each test lasting 5-6 “test” loops.  The racer in each class that has the lowest total time on course over the two days is the winner.

Q: Who can do it?
A: Anyone. You don’t have to be in great shape for this format. The longest you will ride at full speed is about 10 minutes. We think you can do that. There is an old saying…”I may not be as good as I once was but I am as good once as I ever was!”

The first race will be January 6th at Glen Helen in Southern California. Click here for more info on Sprint Hero Racing.


 The American Motorcyclist Association’s 2018 schedule for the Beta AMA National Dual Sport Series, presented by Kenda Tires, includes 16 multiday rides organized by AMA-chartered clubs and promoters. The routes feature some of the best riding opportunities throughout the United States on private and public land.

One lucky participant in the series will win a new motorcycle from title sponsor Beta USA. Beta’s lineup can be seen at

April 14-15: Bybee, Tenn.: Slate Creek Adventure Ride: Appalachian Trail Riders
April 21-22: Stanton, Ala.: Perry Mountain Tower Run Dual Sport Ride: Perry Mountain Motorcycle Club
June 2-3: Bixby, Mo.: Show Me 500 National Dual Sport Ride: Midwest Trail Riders Association
June 2-3: Lock Haven, Pa.: Durty Dabbers Great Adventure Dual Sport: Durty Dabbers
June 9-10: Wabeno, Wis.: Ride for Research: Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders
June 22-24: Big Bear, Calif.: Big Bear Run: Big Bear Trail Riders
June 23-24: New Blaine, Ark.: Ozark 200: Arkansas Dirt Riders, Inc.
July 21-22: Logan, Ohio: Copperhead National Dual Sport: Hocking Valley Motorcycle Club
Sept. 8-9: Dover, Tenn.: Land Between the Lakes 200 National Dual Sport: K T Riders
Sept. 8-9: New Plymouth, Ohio: Baby Burr National Dual Sport: Enduro Riders Association
Sept. 22-23: Wabeno, Wis.: Big Woods 200: Wisconsin Dual Sport Riders
Sept. 22-23: Buck Meadows, Calif.: Yosemite Dual Sport Adventure: Family Off-Road Adventures
Oct. 6-7: Mount Solon, Va.: Shenandoah 500: Washington Area Trail Riders
Oct. 13-14: Columbus, Ind.: Buffaloe 500 National Adventure Ride: Stoney Lonesome Motorcycle Club
Oct. 20-21: Prescott Valley, Ariz.: Howlin’ at the Moon: Arizona Trail Riders
Nov. 3-4: Port Elizabeth, N.J.: Hammer Run: Tri-County Sportsmen
Nov. 23-24: Palmdale, Calif.: L.A. – Barstow to Vegas: District 37 Dual SportThe series schedule and detailed information about the events can be found at


Location of event remains the same

PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The 2018 FIM International Six Days Enduro, originally scheduled for Oct. 22-27 in Viña del Mar, Chile, has been rescheduled to Nov. 12-17 at the same location.

The International Six Days Enduro is the world’s largest annual off-road motorcycle competition. Since 1913, countries have sent their best off-road racers to exotic locations around the world to be tested on everything from sandy beaches, to rocky crevices, to deep woods and motocross tracks for the event’s top prize: the ISDE World Trophy.

Each year, countries from all over the world send teams to compete at the ISDE. The World Trophy Team features four riders that compete for the world title, along with the Junior Trophy Team which features three riders, and the Women’s Trophy Team that features three riders.

In addition, each country can send a number of three-rider club teams. Teams compete for team honors, while individual riders race for a gold, silver or bronze medals, which are based on a rider’s finishing time relative to the leader.

AMA ISDE Qualifier rounds determine who will compete on six of the seven national U.S. Club Teams, while the AMA ISDE Advisory Committee selects the U.S. World Trophy, Junior Trophy and Women’s Trophy teams.

For more information on the AMA International Six Days Enduro Qualifier Series, visit

For more information on the 2018 International Six Days Enduro visit

You can support the U.S. ISDE effort by buying an official T shirt, just click the image above.


David Dewhurst is one of the best motorsports photographers in the world. I was lucky to work with him years ago and he still amazes me with his work, past and present. The photo above of Roger DeCoster was shot on a twin-lens Rollieflex. If you have ever used a camera like that, you understand how difficult that is–you see the image upside-down through the top of the camera. He occasionally posts some of his work on his Facebook and Instagram accounts, and it’s worth stopping there.

David is also selling some posters through his website at They aren’t cheap, but they’re very high quality and the images are stunning.


That’s all for this year!

–Ron Lawson


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