Dear Mr. Know-It-All,
I’m an old Hare Scrambles rider from back when Scott Summers raced that 300-pound beast and won in a world where lightweight two-strokes kicked tail in the woods. To this day, I have good riding buddies who love Scott, love four-strokes and ride them the same way Summers did—with the loudest exhaust believable. I remember Scott at Loretta Lynn’s GNCC in 1995, and you could hear him and his XR600 all the way around that 10-mile course. My buddies say that an uncorked four-stroke makes better power, and that is why Summers raced his machine unplugged. I’m no fool and find the noise far more offensive than I did nearly three decades ago, but I am still curious as to his methods. Plus, I’d like to set my friends on a path where their bikes won’t shatter windows.
“Kentucky Ken”
via [email protected]

I, too, remember Scott’s dominance, and on a machine that was really designed as a West Coast trail and desert bike. There were several keys to Scott’s cross-country/GNCC mastery. The first was fitness. That man worked harder than any of his competitors to be strong and to have the endurance and fitness to manage a machine that weighed close to 80 pounds more than those of his rivals. Second, he learned how to use the XR600’s strength in the tight woods. Equipped with huge flywheel effect, the bike was almost impossible to stall, and Scott learned to race it like it was an automatic. He rarely touched the clutch, even in the most technical terrain, using a brake-hard-and-throttle-out routine, constantly shifting up. This helped him make traction, and he used this to maintain momentum no matter the soil, roots, rocks or ruts. Third, with his athleticism. He ran his WP suspension super soft and his bars incredibly narrow. He could manhandle the XR when it got rough, but it hooked up in hacky, rooty terrain and, in tight woods, it could mow over saplings and thread the needle at speed.

Last, and most crucial, was his exhaust system. He ran it with no internal baffling. It was brutally loud, and this was the great tool he used to pass lappers in the woods. They would hear him coming for miles and would peel off the trail when he got nearby. It also worked on his competition, as they always “heard” his presence, and this made them nervous.
Tell your buddies to stifle the racket factor. They’re bozos. Scott was a hero. And, quiet is cool.

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