New model season is in full swing. Last week we got to ride the new KTM 250SX two-stroke for the first time, this week we took delivery of a 2017 Kawasaki KX450F and a Husqvarna TX300. Yamaha announced its new off-road and MX models on Wednesday and we just got to see photos of four all-new dual-sport bikes from Husqvarna. There were a few more Husqvarnas that appeared Thursday that you might have missed in the barrage. The TE150, TE250 and TE300 were a surprise appearance. At first you might assume that you already saw Husky’s off-road two-strokes. But the TE models are different from the TX models that we first saw two weeks ago. The TE models are more trail oriented, whereas the TX300 is built with competition in mind. All of the two-strokes are imported as closed-course competition bikes as a matter of bureaucratic box-checking, but the TE models have softer suspension, and are presumably mellower. If you understand the difference between the KTM XC line and the XC-W models, then you have the picture. The biggest difference is that the KTM XC-Ws use PDS suspension, whereas all Huskys use linkage rear suspension.


2017 Husqvarna TE300
2017 Husqvarna TE300
2017 Husqvarna TE250
2017 Husqvarna TE250
2017 Husqvarna TE150
2017 Husqvarna TE150


There don’t seem to be any fence sitters on the new Yamaha SCR950. You either think it’s cool or you don’t. Yamaha dropped this bike on us when the motocross line was announced. It’s based on the 950 Bolt, which never really caught my attention. It was just another Sportster look alike, but it sold well. In this configuration, though, I love it. For some reason it lit up a bunch synapses that my brain hasn’t used in years. First, there’s the obvious connection to the first XT500. But beyond that, it reminds me of a bike from 1987 called “Harley’s Comet.” It was a Sportster engine in a C&J frame that actually finished the Baja 1000 under Jim Jackson, Jeff Kaplan and David Farrow. I worked on a story about it back then and actually got to ride it. It was very cool. Anyway, the Yamaha is going to sell for $8699. I think I want one.

"XVS950XR USA CAN 2017"
“XVS950XR USA CAN 2017”
A Yamaha XT500 from the '70s.
A Yamaha XT500 from the ’70s.
Harley's Comet, 1987. Photo by Kirk Willis.
Harley’s Comet, 1987. Photo by Kirk Willis.




Pro MX riders don’t get much time off. There was only one weekend between the end of Supercross and the beginning of the outdoor season. This weekend, however, there are no races, representing the first break of the young outdoor season. It comes at a big turning point in the 450 class. Ryan Dungey is out for at least six weeks with a fractured C6 vertebrae, leaving Ken Roczen fully in charge. So far, the German RCH Suzuki rider has been the fastest man in the series, winning five of six motos. Things can change quickly, though. Remember, this time last year an equally dominant Eli Tomac had won five of six motos as well. Eli now is the man who is best situated to challenge Roczen, but he must make up a 29-point deficit.

Roczen is enjoying a career-best start to the 2016 season, winning five of the first six motos with two overall wins. Photo: Simon Cudby
A recent announcement by KTM revealed that defending 450 Class Champion Dungey will be forced to miss 6-8 weeks of action with a cracked vertebrae, changing the landscape of the title fight. Photo: Simon Cudby


Savatgy has been strong to start the 2016 season, claiming three motos and a pair of overall wins to reclaim control of the red number plate. Photo: Simon Cudby

Current Championship Standings (After Three Rounds)

450 Class Championship Standings 

  1. Ken Roczen, Germany, Suzuki – 143
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM – 131
  3. Eli Tomac, Cortez, Colo., Kawasaki – 114
  4. Trey Canard, Shawnee, Okla., Honda – 97
  5. Cole Seely, Newbury Park, Calif., Honda – 89
  6. Josh Grant, Riverside, Calif., Kawasaki – 88
  7. Jason Anderson, Edgewood, N.M., Husqvarna – 73
  8. Marvin Musquin, France, KTM – 64
  9. Justin Barcia, Monroe, N.Y., Yamaha – 62
  10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki – 50

250 Class Championship Standings 

  1. Joey Savatgy, Thomasville, Ga., Kawasaki – 123
  2. Jeremy Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 120
  3. Alex Martin, Millville, Minn., Yamaha – 114
  4. Cooper Webb, Newport, N.C., Yamaha – 110
  5. Aaron Plessinger, Hamilton, Ohio, Yamaha – 81
  6. Austin Forkner, Richards, Mo., Kawasaki – 80
  7. Zach Osborne, Abingdon, Va., Husqvarna – 78
  8. Jessy Nelson, Paso Robles, Calif., KTM – 65
  9. RJ Hampshire, Hudson Fla., Honda – 59
  10. Jordon Smith, Belmont, N.C., Honda – 52




The guys at Boyesen put together a very cool YZ250 to give away to someone lucky. Check it out.


I just stumbled across this photo of me racing my 1974 Husky 250 Mag at a vintage bike race in 1987. It’s the same bike I raced at a vintage bike race last month. To think, that was 29 years ago and the bike was old then! Funny, it looks the same. I don’t.

Sand Hill Ranch AHRMA race, 1987.
Sand Hill Ranch AHRMA race, 1987.
My garage, last month.
My garage, last month.


Next week I’m going to be very busy. Saturday is the Last Dog Standing, which is an awesome race at Glen Helen. I might ride a little of it, but I’m definately going to watch and take pictures of the pros when they do their thing in the afternoon. Afterward, I’ll have a few hours to build up a race course for the 10 Hours of Glen Helen. It will be starting the very next day, and I will be laying out the eight-mile course in the hills around Glen Helen. The hitch is that I can’t put up any markings until the Last Dog is finished! Last year it was even worse; the 10 hour was a night race.  To tell the truth, I’ll enjoy every minute of the whole weekend.

Here’s a short promo for the Prairie Dog Last Dog Standing.

See you next week!


–Ron Lawson



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