Rider: Valentin Guillod Photographer: Massimo Zanzani Date: April 2, 2017 Bike: 2017 Honda CRF450 Lens: 24-70mm Focal length: 24mm Exposure: 1/1600th F-stop: 5

ISO: 400


Take notes Honda. 

“Hello, Daryl! My name is Alexander Strizhakov. Here is my project 2018 Honda CR125, which will be completely ready in October-November. As is right now I’m working on a new titanium gas tank. A lot of the bike is made by hand (subframe, air box and others) with materials from aluminum, carbon fiber and titanium. In addition, money is invested in the best parts.When I compete the bike I will give you a full destruction of the bike. Sorry for my English. I’m from Russia.”

The CR125’s custom made subframe.  

The bones of the CR125.

Russia’s Aleksandr Strizhakov’s makes a bike that Honda refuses to. Ypa, Aleksandr.

Editor’s Note: Please keep those submissions coming. If you would like your bike to be featured in the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” please email me at [email protected]. All I ask is that you give a breakdown of your bike and a detailed description of the build. Please also send a few photos of your steed. By submitting your bike for the “Two-Stroke Spotlight,” you agree to release all ownership rights to the images and copy to MXA. Please don’t email me spam or try selling me Taylor Swift concert tickets or email me spam. Happy submitting your smoker.


By John Basher

Very few people see all of the intricate details that go into pit setup during a National race weekend. Despite all of my years working as a magazine editor, I didn’t have any idea how methodical (and taxing) it is to put up and disassemble a pit setup. That’s because teams construct their tents on Thursday–two full days before the general public streams in.

As Communications Manager for the Autotrader/Suzuki/JGRMX race effort, I was called upon to handle press duties for the Unadilla and Budds Creek Nationals. Those obligations included setting up media showings, ensuring that the riders were where they needed to be, driving around creation, and helping wherever possible. That included pitching in to set up the big tent on Thursday and pull it down on Saturday after the race.

Here’s some sage advice: most things in life can be achieved without brawny strength. However, assembling and disassembling the JGRMX pit setup toes the line between requiring smarts and needing muscle. The traveling regulars (i.e. mechanics, suspension tech, engine tech, truck driver and team manager) run like a well oiled machine when it comes to getting the pit setup handled. Four trained people are most efficient at getting the job done. I happened to be the fifth wheel, and I was probably a hindrance more than help, but it was a cool experience.

The job of every crew member may seem glamorous under the artificial lights of Supercross or weather-guarding tent during the Nationals. And, in some respects, the gig is rock-star-like. That’s only half of the story, though. Emptying garbage cans, draining ice chests, loading the rig, washing the Textron side-by-side, and cleaning everything up is an arduous task. You know? Those tasks make the whole experience more rewarding, and solidify a cohesive unit that comprises the Autotrader/Suzuki/JGRMX squad.


The 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 in the MXA studio’s. 

This last Thursday we finally got the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 out in SoCal terrain. The bike is 241 pounds (one pound heavier than year) and you can feel it. On the track everyone has fairly the same consensus of the bike. Unlike the Yamaha or Honda where some can’t live without it and some hate it with a passion. The Suzuki has an even keel to it. It just doesn’t do anything spectacular.

MXA’s Daryl Ecklund getting some time on the bike. 

We admit that the Showa’s BFRC rear shock is a work of art. We get along with it splendid, although the Showa spring forks don’t. The Suzuki turn at all cost motto has been exaggerated even more for 2018. It already turned inside every bike in its class, it didn’t need improved cornering. We now are struggling to find a balance point. We have gone to 112mm in sag but the shock bottoms and we have lowed the forks into the clamps, but the just makes a tall bike taller.

Jody getting a feel for the bike. 

We are still in the infancy stages of testing the RM-Z450. What we do know is that the engine is more potent in the middle, the forks move freely and the Bridgestone X30 front tire is our favorite yet. The X30 rear, though, has its druthers. For an already heavy bike the X30 rear packs on two pounds over a Dunlop 3s. Plus, the X30 wallows. We favor the X40 rear and X30 front as the ultimate combo.

We adore the Bridgestone X30 front that comes stock on the RM-Z450. The rear, however…

The rear X30 adds almost 2 pounds to the RM-Z450 compared to a Dunlop 3S. We prefer the Bridgestone X40 rear tire. It is lighter and works better. 


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Justin Hill: “The different format is a lot more riding and racing, which is an adjustment. It was unfortunate to be docked in Moto 2 because I felt at my best all weekend, but it is what it is. I had a lot of fun representing all our sponsors in front of the world.”

Jeremy Van Horebeek: “Yesterday was not so bad, but today I had two bad starts and ninth and tenth was the maximum I could recover. After every moto I had to throw-up because of the heat and humidity, so it wasn’t nice. I couldn’t give much more today. We just need to focus on the next round in Assen now.”

Jeffrey Herlings: “Today I felt really good, I had a great battle in the first race, obviously me and Tony both had a bad start and Eli … was gone. By the time we were second and third he had a big gap. I was second for the first race, which was pretty good, I kept everything open for the overall. Second race I had a good start, followed Tony and just waited for the last couple of laps, I knew it was going to be brutal and both of would be tired in the end. I didn’t want to pass him too quick because I know Tony will fight back and I was actually waiting either for a mistake or to attack him the last 3 or 4 laps. I stayed close to him and he made a small crash and he handed it over to me. So I’m very satisfied with a 2-1 and winning the overall, I had some great battles with my teammate so hopefully many more will come and I’m looking forward to my home GP next weekend.”

Tony Cairoli: “We are always happy to finish on the podium, in a season like this it is really important to be consistent and that is what we have done. It is one of my best seasons ever and I want to get the title as soon as possible to have some time on the last races because I’m riding a little bit carefully, I don’t want to crash or break something. I did my best to close it today, I could let him go easily but I tried to fight back and yes I made a mistake, but this is part of racing.”

Eli Tomac: “Yesterday I thought I wouldn’t even be here up on the podium, luckily we were able to get things turned around and I came a little bit alive this morning in the warm-up and then race 1 got a good start, put in some good laps, had good energy, and was feeling pretty good. Race 2 though, that one caught up to me, for one these two (Herlings and Cairoli) were laying down a heater pace especially at the beginning and you know I lost touch…third is all I really had in me there. I’m pretty satisfied on the weekend for how we were going yesterday.”

2017 UNADILLA NATIONAL Rj HampshireRJ Hampshire: “I was excited to come racing here as it is my home state. I felt good in the warm up and knew that we could make something happen today. In the first race I didn’t have a great start but made some quick passes. It was cool to battle with Covington today, I was excited especially to come to race with him. The guys from Suzuki were coming for me there at the end of the second race, I mean they’re lying if they say they weren’t. I was just trying to stabilize some breathing room and he was right there at the end but honestly I did not want to go any faster than what I had to because I was hurting.”

Hunter Lawrence: “I’m really happy, it is my first time in America so I’m happy with a second position, it’s cool, it is awesome for the team, everyone that helps, and also me.”

Thomas Covington: “I was feeling really good on the track out here, I was having a lot of fun and even in warm up this morning I had a good feeling on the track. I pulled the FOX Holeshot on the first one and I just couldn’t get away from RJ as he was riding really well in both races.”


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Jan. 6…… Anaheim, CA…… Angel Stadium Jan. 13…… Houston, TX…… NRG Stadium Jan. 20…… Anaheim, CA…… Angel Stadium Jan. 27…… Glendale, AZ…… U. of Phoenix Stadium Feb. 3…… Oakland, CA…… Oakland Aameda Coliseum Feb. 10…… San Diego, CA…… Petco Park Feb. 17…… Arlington, TX…… AT&T Stadium Feb. 24…… Tampa, FL…… Raymond James Stadium Mar. 3…… Atlanta, GA…… Mercedes-Benz Stadium Mar. 10…… Daytona, FL…… Daytona Intl. Speedway Mar. 17…… St. Louis, MO…… Dome at America’s Center Mar. 24…… Indianapolis, IN…… Lucas Oil Stadium Apr. 7…… Seattle, WA…… Centurylink Field Apr. 14…… Minneapolis, MN…… U.S. Bank Stadium Apr. 21…… Foxborough, MA…… Gillette Stadium Apr. 28…… Salt Lake City, UT…… Rice-Eccles Stadium

May 5…… Las Vegas, NV…… Sam Boyd Stadium


February 25…Losail…Qatar
March 5…Pangkal Pinang…Indonesia
March 19…Neuquen…Argentina
April 2…Leon…Mexico
April 16…Trentino…Italy
April 23…Valkenswaard…The Netherlands
May 7…Kegums…Latvia
May 21…Teutschenthal…Germany
May 28…Ernee…France
June 11…Orlyonok…Russia
June 25…Ottobiana…Italy
July 2…Agueda…Portugal
July 23…Loket…Czech Republic
August 6…Lommel…Belgium
August 13…Frauenfeld…Switzerland
August 20…Uddevalla…Sweden
September 3…Gainesville…USA September 10…Assen…The Netherlands

September 17…Villars sous Ecot…France