Archive for May, 2009

Good Luck in Nebraska!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

 

SA 3 Rider, Pat Smage

SA 3 Rider, Pat Smage

 

SA 3 Rider, Phil Smage

SA 3 Rider, Phil Smage

 551 Films would like to wish Pat and Phil Smage good luck at the AMA/NATC Trials Nationals this weekend in Omaha, Nebraska.  Pat will be going after his 3rd straight National Title.  The cameras will be rolling….

Ohio OMA Nationals- Uncle Circe Draws Blood

Monday, May 25th, 2009

 

 

Welcome to Ohio!

The Buckeye State

 

 

The 2009 OMA National series ventured to Rio Grande, Ohio for round number 3.  Limping not too far behind the traveling cross country circus was the Wilbur-mobile, packed with KTM 200’s, gear bags, food,  near-vomiting riders, and a box of Smagical 2 DVD’s.   Phil was fighting some flu symptoms and Uncle Circe was trying to breathe without the usual Chicago smog he is accustomed to…

 

Team Manager Circe pins it

Team Manager Circe pins it

 

 

Introducing Uncle Circe, Five-5-1-Films/Uncle Circe Racing’s team manager.  Publisher and regular cell phone photo-snagger.  Known around the trials world as “One Shot Circe,”  “OSC” just clicks salamander-mode and crawls around the rocks and cliffs like he has jars of honey for feet.  His uncanny ability to perch has left other photogs in utter disbelief.   “OSC” doesnt just live life behind the lens, however, he grabs it by the handlebars and runs it into trees.  Circe first got his start with Moto Trials in 2000 on his trusty Montesa.  He came onto the scene in an explosion of flames.  He warped minds with his trademarked both-knees-on-one-side-of-the-gas-tank riding style (Photos and Video to come.)  Although he lives in downtown Chicago and only rides on race days, he is one to keep an eye out for in the future.  He is destined to entertain…

  The group arrived early sunday morning after deciding to skip the saturday practice and try to recover in the hotel room.  The bikes were assembled and the pits were constructed. 

 

Setting up the pits

Setting up the pits

 

 

Phil started on the far inside.  He only got half a lap into the race and his hand started going numb.  Three tree slams later, it looked like trying to ride through it was a bad idea.  He pulled off and decided it was time to get the nagging wrist looked at.  

 

Phil pulls out with a numb hand

Phil pulls out with a numb hand

 

 

  With Phil out it left Circe to fly the 551 Films flag.  And fly it, he did.  While floating down one of the steep hills on the course, he managed to pick up a large chunk of shale in his rear tire.  This added mass spun him sideways and threw him off his bike and into a pile of rocks.  He caught a sharp one to the elbow, snagging a piece of his flesh.  He soldiered 2 more laps after the incident  to top his personal lap record with 3 runs through the barcode scanners.  

 

Bloody elbow and all, Circe used his spirit to make the podium

Bloody elbow and all, Circe used his spirit to make the podium

 

 

   Geico Kawasaki’s Paul Whibley took the win handily, followed by his teammate Jimmy Jarrett, and GNCC start Thad Duvall in 3rd.  Next weekend is the Nebraska Trials Nationals .  First things first, however, Circe is buying some butterfly stitches and Phil is heading to see the Doc.  Anyone know any wrist/bone specialists?  

 

Eventual winner Paul Whibley leads through the Endurocross section

Eventual winner Paul Whibley leads through the Endurocross section

Shred Shop’s King Of Pop

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

It was an off weekend at Smagical Acres, which simply means that there is no race.  The crew put the weekend off to good use by stacking a bunch of footage and taking a trip down to Chicago for the Shred Shop’s “King of Pop” skateboard contest.  

Check out the Shred Shop if your ever in northern Illinois

Check out the Shred Shop if your ever in northern Illinois

 

 The event was a high ollie contest.  The rules are simple, clear the bar as it raises a few inches each time.  Even though Phil hadn’t been skateboarding much lately, he figured his snowskate ollie skills should transfer over…wrong!  He cleared the first 5 or 6 heights with ease and made it into the top 5.  

 

Phil clears the early heights like an ostrich

Phil clears the early heights like an oestrich

 

 

Each competitor that made the top 5 now got three attempts at each height.  Phil seemed to hit the wall at 34 inches, missing his first 2 attempts.  On his 3rd he cleared the bar, landed, but as he was riding away his legs gave out from sheer exhaustion and he slowly fell backwards, keeping his feet on the board till the bitter end.  One of the judges yelled, “Count it!”, but the others weren’t so easily swayed, and put an end of Phil’s quest of becoming the “King of Pop”. Phil finished 4th.  Local ripper Pete Grannis then took control of the contest and went on the take the victory.

 

Pete Grannis stretches over the bar for the win

Pete Grannis stretches over the bar for the win

 

The winner with his Michael Jackson glove trophy

The winner with his Michael Jackson glove trophy

 After the high ollie contest was over, the Shred Shop guys decided on another competition.  The next comp was the “hippy jump.”  This meant that skaters had to jump off of their boards and over the bar, with their boards rolling under.  Although it was more of a spur of the moment, for-fun contest, the competitors still stepped it up.

 

The "Hippy Jump" perfected

The "Hippy Jump" perfected

 After the event was over, everyone was treated to some free hot dogs, courtesy of Ball Park.  The winner received his prizes, including his copy of “Smagical Adventure 2”, and everyone was welcomed to keep skating as long as they wanted.  With that, the goat van left Chicago and headed back to Wisconsin in search of some dirt to shred.

 

Free food makes any event a success

Free food makes any event a success

Kentucky OMA National

Monday, May 18th, 2009

The goat van rolled into the farm at 4 AM.  We slept for a few hours, unloaded everything, then loaded the race bikes and headed back onto the road.    

A new day, a new state

A new day, a new state

About 8 hours later we arrived in Millerstown, KY for round number two of the OMA National races.  The first national went poorly, with Phil getting tangled up in a tree just minutes into the race, leaving a mangled bike and right arm.  So as it turned out, round 2 would actually be Phil’s first time doing a lap on an OMA track.  The day started rough, as H’Idalgo forgot to pack the tearoffs.  That error became fatal in the very first corner, as Phil’s goggles were covered in mud just getting through the first turn.    

The MXC Pro class on the line

The MXC Pro class on the line

The race turned out to be one of survival, as the ruts and bogs swallowed riders and bikes whole.  Phil managed to get lost 3 times, stuck 5 times, and was nearly knocked off his bike via a tree to the head.  After all was said and done, Phil barely finished, Uncle Circe got a lap in, and Max “the Factor” ran out of gas.  Paul Whibley took the win, followed by Jimmy Jarret, and OMA newcomer Kurt Caselli.   

Check out Caselli's DVD "As the Gears Turn"

Check out Caselli's DVD "As the Gears Turn"

 

The track wasnt the only place with water crossings

The track wasnt the only place with water crossings

 

NBA legend Rick Smits was tall

NBA legend Rick Smits raced and was tall

More SA3 Filming Shots

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Another sunny day, another tape full of footage logged.  Here are some stills from the day.

 

Filming on the fresh dirt quarter pipe

Filming on the fresh dirt quarter pipe

 

Making the two hour shovel job worthwhile

Making the two hour shovel job worthwhile

 

Phil checking the stockers skidplate stability

Phil checking the stockers skidplate stability

 

Enjoying the dandelions on the 110

Enjoying the dandelions on the 110

SA3: Smagical Acres Filming

Friday, May 15th, 2009

Filming for the third Smagical Aventure, “SA3: Smagical Acres”, is in full swing. Pat and Phil pulled out the 110’s and trials bikes for a day of filming.  Keep an eye out for more pictures of the wildness in the near future.  The film is expected to release in time for Christmas 2009.  

 

Phil flicks a 180 for the FX1 lens

Phil flicks a 180 for the FX1 lens

 

Pat turns a silo into a berm

Pat turns the silo into a berm

Pitbike Pasttime

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

 

Vegas to Wisconsin is not the most exciting drive on the map.  Littered with deserts, cacti, tumbleweed, huge mountains and FLAT ground, the 29+ hour drive is usually chock full of boring.  So we decided to mix it up and do a few stops along the way if something caught our eyes.  Phil has been kind of bummed about not getting on the podium at Mini Moto so he was eager to get on the pitbike again.  It just so happened that we were passing through Colorado and we stumbled upon an outdoor BMX track. 

 

Getting ready to rip a mint BMX track

Getting ready to rip a mint BMX track

 

 

It was to good to pass up so we whipped out the stocker 110 and went to it.  The track turned out to be a perfect pitbike track with good flow and huge berms.  After getting a few laps in and getting some video shots the stocker went back to the van and the van went back on the road. 

 

Setting up for the 7 foot tall berms

Setting up for the 7 foot tall berms

H’IDalgo’s First Snow

Saturday, May 9th, 2009

 

 With Mini Moto behind us it was off to find a place to ride the big bike.  Along the way H’Idalgo noticed something new to his tender, ever-so-slightly-aged eyes…snow.   Dalgo demanded that we pull over for him to try this “Snow Skateboard Device,” as he was calling it.  We found a patch of snow and set him up with a run-in to a buried gas can. 

 

H'Idalgo hangs loose while the crew goes to work.

H'Idalgo hangs loose while the crew goes to work.

Within minutes the snow was slush, jagged rocks grabbing skyward in search of H’Idalgo’s freshly waxed snowskate.  He fought the conditions and attacked the terrain with the ferocity of a freshly bred race stallion.  

 

H'Idalgo's first snowskate setup

H'Idalgo's first snowskate setup

     Turns out Dalgos’ skate skills transfered over to the snow elegantly.  He glided down the slope with a certain grace that can only be matched by a dove.  H’Idalgo easily leapt over the gas can with his feet glued to the Xtreme Grip.  Filled with joy from his first stomped snowskate maneuver, Dalgos confidence was sky high.  He poached the slop relentlessly until his snow had completely melted.  In the midst of the fury, H’Idalgo landed his first kickflip.  

 

H'Idalgo shows Phil a few things on the snowskate

H'Idalgo shows Phil a few things on the snowskate

    After a keen snowskate session, Dalgo was feeling extra extreme.  He took to the trees for one of his favorite hobbies, tree bending.  Dalgo had always loved bending taco shells as a young lad.  His obsession took to greater levels during his first camping trip as a boy scout.   Thats when he found out about climbing trees and bending them close to the ground to resemble a taco shell.  

 

Dalgo eyes up a good tree

Dalgo eyes up a good tree

    Dalgo spotted a few lively little guys.  After a video review of his first bend, Dalgo was unsatisfied with the structure of his imaginary taco shell.  He returned again, still unhappy with his results. 

 

The Bend Begins

The Bend Begins

   Tree number three turned out to be a bit too much for the battle weary tree warrior.  Fifteen feet up the third tree Dalgo ejected and landed sideways into 4 feet of slushy snow.  H’Idalgo feared for his ability to…” get out of the snow alived.”  Rex grabbed hold and drug Dalgo, who was now drenched, to safety.   Although he was now in a near pneumonia-like state, Dalgo vowed he would be back to tackle the snowskate next winter.

 

Half way up , Dalgo realizes this big guy wont budge

Half way up , Dalgo realizes this big guy wont budge

Maxxis Mini Moto SX

Friday, May 8th, 2009

 

Welcome to Vegas!

Welcome to Vegas!

So just as soon as the goat van left So Cal, we arrived in Vegas for the MMSX.  We roamed the pits in search of a pipe, air filter kit, jets, a hose clamp, or anything else that could make the bike faster, or at least run.  After a few strolls up and down the pit lanes, we came back with a hose clamp to hold our air filter on.  We couldn’t find  the rest so we tightened the filter on, threw some gas in the stocker and took the the track for qualifying.  

 

The 09 Mini Moto SX Track

The 09 Mini Moto SX Track

    Phil ended up qualifying 3rd fastest in his group for the MM12 Stock/Mod class.  It was clearly a struggle to get enough power out of the corners to get over most of the jumps on the track, and the bike took quite a beating in just a few laps.  The stocker came back to the pits sputtering and smoking, but still moving, so we all agreed that qualifying was a success.  

   Last years “Smagicross” champion, Grant Runkel, was also racing at MMSX this year.  Entering both the 10 and 12 inch Pro classes, Grant happened to have a spare bike on hand.  As soon as word spread on Grants parts bike, we had the pipe off it and installed on the clapped stocker.  The main began with Phil getting squeezed off the track on the start and came through the first corner near last place.  He put his head down and started a charge towards the front while the leaders checked out.  He charged back up to a top five finish, but fell short of making the podium.

 

The MM12Stock/Mod leaders pull away.

The MM12Stock/Mod leaders pull away. GuyB Photo

 This years edition of Mini Moto had newfound spice added to the mix, Jason Lawrence.  Notorious for both his on and off track antics in the AMA Supercross and AMA MX Nationals, JLaw brings an entertainment value to an event that can only be matched by Travis Pastrana.  

 

JLaw rolled into the arena in style

JLaw rolled into the arena in style. GuyB Photo

 Lawrence rode the 12″ Pro class.  Being an AMA national champion, JLaw was given a spot directly on the gate for the main.  He started mid pack, but quickly pushed his way towards the top three.  Once he had the top three in his sights is when the action really started.  He ended up turning the race into a smash fest.  The event went from a $15,000 professional race to a backyard brawl a matter of minutes.

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JLaw, Browning, and Valade give the crowd some action. GuyB Photo

All eyes were on the block passing, brake checking antics of JLaw as he stole the show from the leaders.    Meanwhile, Smagical 2 athlete, Willy Browning had his CHP tuned 110 singing as he sliced his way through traffic after a poor start.  He struggled with passing on the tight confines of the Orleans Arena and was only able to make it up to 11th.

 

FMX Legend Mike Metzger charging in the Electric Bike Race.

FMX Legend Mike Metzger charging in the Electric Bike Race. GuyB Photo

A shout out to local ripper Kevin Popaeko for taking home podiums in three classes!   Also to minicycle madman, Brandon Pope, for making the 12″ Youth main and wearing the “Let JLaw Ride” tshirt in the finals.  Thanks to all the MMSX staff for putting on another great event and thanks to Steve Giberson at www.vitalmx.com for the help with the photos.  Now its time to head  back to the midwest and load up the van for round two of the OMA Nationals next weekend in Kentucky.  Hopefully  this round I can manage to not hit any trees and keep all my bones un-cracked.

Life’s Short, Stunt It. Click for Pics.

Monday, May 4th, 2009

ctiimg_75812After a few frustrating days of bike problems, I was fortunate enough to have some of the best advice available for my first go at high falling. When it comes to falling off of really high places and not breaking their necks, The Leavitts and their crew are some of the best.  First we did some falls off of the climbing wall onto the foam stacks.  That felt good so we went to the first level fall.  I chose the “suicide” for my way to reach the airbag properly.  For that you jump/fall off facing forward and rotate half a gainer to your back.  After a few falls i felt ready to move up to the next  height.  My last fall i over rotated  and landed head/neck first  a little bit.  Brian pulled me off and explained the importance of spotting your landing before starting the backward rotation so you dont over rotate like i did, which can be really magnified at larger heights.

Getting ready for the second fall

Getting ready for the second fall

 

 

 

ctiimg_7603

Freeee Fallllllling.

  With that I took a seat behind the lens and filmed the people with skills take to the airbag.  Stacked a few shots of them making the biggest fall look like nothing…then took my spot on the second drop point.  I swallowed some of my height issues and listened to what Brian had said. Although i probably threw up 5 times in that one fall, it was a rad experience and i cant wait to do some more.  I’d like to thank Lane, Debbie and Daniel Leavitt, Brian, Sam, Tree and Nat M. for giving me a chance to try some high falling.  With that we packed up the goat van and headed back on the road.  Armed with a stocker that wont run, a trials bike, and the 200, we head to vegas for the Mini Moto SX.