We’ve been following the progress of SWM for over a year now. That’s how long it has taken to get EPA, DOT and CARB approval to sell dual-sport bikes in the U.S. Pete at Motoman distributing reports that the task is now done, for at least one model. The RS500R is passed and the first shipment is on the water. The reason this is important to us is because we know the bikes fairly well. They are updated versions of the Italian-made Husqvarna off-road bikes from a few years back. The technology is still relevant, even if it’s not new, and the price is far less than that of a KTM, Husky or Beta dual-sport. The RS500 will sell for $7795. For a look at the other SWM dual-sport bikes, click here.


If you’re old enough to remember the original Desert Sled, then you know that it wasn’t an official model. The name was usually associated with a Triumph TR6, but there were Bonnevilles and Tigers and even a few non-Triumphs that riders called desert sleds. It was more of an image than an exact motorcycle model.  Now, Ducati is paying tribute to that image with its own Desert Sled, and this time it is an official model in the Scrambler line.

Ducati took the base-model Scrambler Icon and beefed it up to be more off-road worthy. It got a reinforced frame, a longer swingarm, longer suspension travel, spoked wheels and Pirelli Scorpion Rally tires. We got a chance to ride the Sled in the mountains of Southern California, just a little west of the high desert where the concept originated.

The bike has a retro layout, in a good way. It has very roomy, upright riding position that feels good. The handlebar is wider than anything built since the ’70s. But the technology is modern. It has the same 803cc  L-Twin motor that Ducati uses in the original Scrambler, which is rated at 73 horsepower. It feels like much more than that because the motor is all grunt. It revs to 9000 rpm, but the feeling of power is all about what happens when you first open the throttle, and the Sled is super crisp. It’s also much better in the dirt than the standard model. You can turn off the ABS, and the stock tires are surprisingly good. It has much more ground clearance, and the seat height is over two inches taller. The KYB suspension is still a little too soft for substantial hits, but the travel is close to 8 inches. The price in this trim is $11,895. For the full story, check out the print edition of Dirt Bike.


Last night it looks like Team Ox won the Baja 1000. The team of Colton Udall, Mark Samuels Ian Young and Justin Jones took the lead in the night and finished ahead of Francisco Arredondo, Shane Esposito and Ty Davis. Congratulations to both teams! It was a long one, finishing in LaPaz after 1134 miles. Afterward, there were various accusations of course cutting. The Spot GPS tracker on the Ox Honda looked like this:

The red line is the course and the orange line is the route taken. This is, of course, a GPS glitch. There are no roads that straight in Baja. If you go to Score’s website, you can see that the Ox tracker was intermittent all day. At one point, it took them straight over water.

Anyway, this is a matter that SCORE will have to deal with. For now, congratulations to the Ox riders!


The Ox team was later penalized 30 minutes after Ian Young crashed at the finish line, injuring a spectator. That made the Arredondo team the winner.

Afterward, Ian posted this on Dirt Bike’s Facebook:

Ian Young Hey guys, thanks for the open discussion. I take full accountability for my actions and It’s extremely difficult to be in my position and not be able to show the purity in my heart and how I truly feel about this situation. Without the wheelie none of this would have happened and that’s the cold hard truth. My accomplishment prior speaks for itself and my mistake after will always be something that I’ll have to carry on my shoulders. I learn more from my failures than I do from successes and again, I’m extremely sorry for my actions.


After the final round of the KENDA AMA National Enduro Championship Series, Presented by Moose Racing, on Nov. 5 in Stanton, Ala., 28 AMA National No. 1 plates were awarded, with the top finisher in each class being recognized as an AMA National Champion for accumulating the most points throughout the nine-round series.

“The AMA National Enduro Championship Series was exciting all year long with emerging, new talent and breakout performances in almost every class,” AMA Off-Road Racing Manager Erek Kudla said. “Each AMA National No. 1 plate awarded was well deserved and required months of hard work and dedication. Congratulations to the 28 newly crowned AMA National Champions and the many competitors who participated in the series during 2017.”

For the second time in his racing career, Steward Baylor of Hodges, S.C., was the overall winner of the AMA National Enduro Championship Series.

He secured the win after the championship came down to the last test at the final round of racing and he was rewarded with an AMA National Championship for the victory. Baylor also won the overall championship in 2011.

“Coming into the last round with just two points separating me and Thad [Duvall], I knew I had my work cut out for me,” Baylor said. “The first thing I did when I won though, was go straight to Thad and congratulate him. The National Enduro series is a hard one to figure out, so winning this championship means a lot to me, because of the injuries I’ve faced. It’s made me have a different respect for the championship than I did when I was 17.”

For more information on the AMA National Enduro Championship series, visit

The following class winners were awarded AMA National Championships:

Overall: Steward Baylor
66+: Fred Cameron
60+: Gordon Stout
Womens C: Allie Doland
C 50+: Lee Blesch
C 40+: Jason James
C 30+: Donald Smith
C 200: Slate Green
C 250: Nolan Hindman
C Open: Ronald Smith
B 55+: Ernie Ashley
B 50+: Travis Stauble
B 45+: Brian Stover
B 40+: Brian Massengil
B 30+: Eric Siegenthaler
B 200: Trale Henderson
B 250: Jacob Beck
B Open: Geof Warren
Womens Elite: Tayla Jones
A 55+: Greg Roberts
A 50+: Mike Grizzle
A 45+: Jeff Staples
A 40+: Steve Leivan
A 30+: Jd Friebel
A 200: Johnny Manera
A 250: James King
A Open: Sam Mattingly
Expert-AA: Thorn Devlin


Steward also clinched the Full Gas Sprint Enduro number one plate last week. Add that to his gold medal and it was a very good year for him!


We get a lot of press releases but this one from Pirelli really jumped started our imagination. In order to promote the MT60 Rally tires, Pirelli supported two riders on Royal Enfields on their attempt to cross the Himalayas. We tend to think that riding in the Rocky Mountains is a big deal, but that’s just the base camp for an adventure like this.

Riding two Royal Enfield Himalayan’s fitted with Pirelli MT 60™ tires, Salvo Pennisi and Vincenzo Bonaccorsi decided to ride the Himalayan chain; to the Khardung La Pass, one of the highest vehicle-accessible passes in the world in the region of Ladakh, India, north of Leh and considered the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. Departing from the town of Manali at midday on Thursday September 28, 2017, after two days and five hundred kilometers of roads and slopes that are so tough and challenging to enter, they are considered in the list of the ‘10 most dangerous roads in the world’. The route took them with forced acclimatization, through the passes of Rohtang (3956 meters above sea level), Nakeela (4711 meters above sea level), Lachungla (5035 meters above sea level) and Kangla Jal (4878 meters above sea level). Pirelli’s adventurers reached the Khardung La Pass at 12:16 pm on Saturday September 30, 2017, summing up in total, 48 hours and 23,968 meters of altitude, thus crowning one of the most iconic dreams of motorcyclists, to challenge themselves in the Himalayas and attempt the legendary Kardhung La.



That’s all for now

–Ron Lawson

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