This is a new weekly article called “Scope.” There are lots of interesting pieces floating around the web that revolve around dirt bikes, be them directly or indirectly related to the sport, and I figure there ought to be a space for them to go. We’ll mark this spot as a landing pad for now. Sound good? They’ll be safe here, I promise, at least until I stop paying to host the site. Or until WordPress goes out of business. Or when the Earth folds in on itself.
Who knows? Some other things might seep in here, too. I believe that motocross is more than just the tracks we ride, the bikes we build, the races we watch. It’s the people, the music, the lifestyle, and the culture. Salt of the Earth type-folks listening to blazing fast hardcore, tuned to the nomadic and sporadic. Race is next week? Let’s get the bikes loaded. We can make it by Sunday if the van stays pinned. Nevermind the trans oil leak, the dust on the rags. My mind is unvarnished in the stream of headlights bound west while we’re eastward. No other place to go but out, anyaway.
I think I’ve been inside too long. Did I say weekly, too? That’s not right. I’ll be replenishing this space whenever the time is right.
World of Echo: Yo, I love the video man.
Jordan Hoover: Right on, thank you. I’m eating some pizza while we do this.
It’s from Blaze Pizza. It’s got spicy sauce, vegan cheese, spinach, jalapeño, banana pepper and red onion.
That’s a pie right there.
The place rules.
So what’s the story behind this project? “The Plague Mixtape.”
I got hit up by a few different people about this once quarantine started. The original plan I had when I booted up my hard drive was to do a Des Nations book with my friend Gordon Dooley (who published his own book independently, you can purchase it here), but I got sidetracked. I’m not really great with technology, so once I had the hard drive out I got caught up in all of these other projects I never finished, stuff that I hadn’t done anything with. I decided instead to make a mixtape of everything I’ve shot over the last few years that never saw the light of day.
I had footage from WW [Ranch], which was a week or two before their first national in 2019. All of these pros came out to test the track, built by Jason Baker of Dreamtraxx. He built the original track back in the day, and made sure that if they ever got a big event like a pro national, he’d get to come back and polish the place up. Once he got to work, guys like RJ Hampshire, Marvin Musquin, and Ken Roczen all came out to test the track and see how it raced. It was a cool moment, seeing them dissect that track. I’ve been involved at WW since the beginning, and what caught my eye the most were these man-made split sections that Jason built out of dirt. It was a huge dirt block in the middle of the track. A piece of art, really. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the final version of the track, but it was cool to see that.
I shot with [Justin] Barcia at his place in 2016, that was cool getting to do that with him. I had to throw that in there.
I also got some Fox Racing footage from a 2016 Dreamland shoot for their 2017 gear line. That’s Luke Renzland’s place. That was my first “big” shoot with guys like Carmichael, Reed, and Dungey. I was doing behind the scenes video for Fox, but nothing came of that project. It was just a big whip fest the whole day, really. You can’t do motos on that track. I don’t know how Luke rides that thing all the time.
Those jumps are massive, I’m surprised Stylez [Robertson] hit some of them.
Yeah man, he wasn’t even on a supermini yet. I think he was still on his 85. He was eyeing that thing up all day.
You had some infamous RedBud Lot B footage as well…
That’s the funniest section of the video for me, Lot B at the Motocross Des Nations.
There’s a part in that section where you offer your camera as collateral for someone’s scooter. Rain told me that was just some random guy? Haha
For that whole weekend, Fox had a camp set up with a bunch of little trailers that everyone crashed in. We had a pretty heavy crew. My phone died almost immediately that night, so I ended up wandering the pits alone not knowing where any of my people were. It was just madness down there. I’m great at making friends though, so that’s what I did. I met some guy who had a scooter, enjoying his campfire, and I convinced him to let me use his scooter to help find my friends.
That night, I ended up losing the camera anyway. This was Friday, by the way. I didn’t find the camera until Sunday, and once I found it I couldn’t charge it because I had no charger. Andy Dinicol gave that camera to me… he’s back in Australia right now. I was pretty pumped when I found it.
I think it’s interesting that this virus and the quarantine are an all-encompassing event. Everyone on the planet has a story for how this situation has affected them. What they did with the time they were given. I see this video as your story.
It sucks that everyone is going to have that memory, but I always take things as best as I can. I try to look at the bright side of things. I was stoked to have some time to be at home, because I never get to be home.
Sorry, my car tried to be smart and hook you up to my speakers. I don’t like how it automatically tries to switch. It’s awesome for music, though.
Speaking of music, I liked that Ty Segall track during the WW Ranch section. What song is that?
That’s actually a band called Fuzz. Is he in that band?
Oh yeah! That’s Ty and Charlie Moothart’s project.
The song is called “Hazemaze.”
The whole soundtrack is great.
Thanks! Picking the music is one of my favorite things about making videos. What are some of the other tracks? We’ve got Hendrix to open the video, then it goes to Fuzz, then back to live music for the break, and onto Link Wray, “Big City After Dark.” Link is actually an OG, one of the originators of Surf Punk. Super old school. Lot B section has some music from The Chats, Australian boys.
One of my favorite songs in the world comes after that, though. It’s called “Terrific As Terrific Gets” by Enjoy. I used it for the intro to the Dreamland section. I thought that was the coolest, because that song starts off so hard and so good. I was able to time it up with the clack of the clapboard. That’s probably my favorite part of the whole video.
The last song is probably the most ridiculous thing I could find.
I think it’s called “In My Blood,” by Future. You can’t find that song anywhere! It took me hours of digging on YouTube to find it, and I had to rip it. This video is very legal, very much approved.
I love that.
My brother and I were at this little sneaker boutique in LA. This was probably 2010 or 2012. These dudes working there were blasting music the whole time, and that song came on while we were in there. It’s stuck with me ever since, haha.
That’s what sets independent projects apart for me. I feel like you give a piece of yourself with each video, especially in regards to the music. You learn about someone’s life in an indirect way. I think that’s cool. Plus, you used a banger appropriately with badass riding.
It’s like if you use Black Sabbath… you better have some ripping going on.
I had so much help with the video, too. I mean, I “made” the video, yes, but I collaborate constantly by just talking with people. Patrick Farris, the dude that runs Euforeia Golf, he was a huge help to me. He drew some illustrations for me and made some transitions for the video. He filmed the actual mixtape sections too, when the tapes are going into the player. He just happened to find that thing at his house and we got it done. He’s a great designer and has taught me a whole lot. I’m appreciative to have him in my life. He took over my computer through Zoom once, and I was blown away. I couldn’t believe what he was doing. He’s really beneficial to my work.
My brother, Austin, is always involved as well. He’s my editor, I guess! He proofreads all of my books and watches the videos before I upload. He suggested I add the live music section to break up the rest of the video. I liked that part because I got to show all different types of music that I listen to. I don’t just listen to one genre, I like all types of music.
If it’s good, you’re fucking with it.
Yeah, exactly. It’s the same with people! I don’t care what color you are, I’m always down with good people. I’ve met plenty of bad people of every color, but I’ve also met plenty of good people in that sense. It’s the same with music. Think we got enough for the interview?
Yeah, for sure. We’ll keep talking, but thanks for doing this.
No problem man, thanks for the time!
Nick Wey judging a Racer X coloring contest by hand. If you didn’t know, Nick is the realest dude ever. Period. Michigan Mafia stand up. From the July 2004 issue, photo by Tony Scavo.
Speaking of Michigan Mafia, this might be the original member. Mike Hartwig was one of America’s first breakout stars, only his time to shine was cut criminally short from a back injury. Google him up, he’s a living legend. First RedBud National win in 1974, 500cc class. Man shit. Photo by Van Voorhis.
Remember when shoe companies used to give a damn about motocross? Those were sweet times! This is also from the July 2004 issue of Racer X. Ryan Villopoto has a Vans ad later in the mag. When did that end? RIP DVS, too. Times change and change fast. Photo by Adam Campbell.
Benny G Films came to my attention via my northeastern buddy Andrew Boccarossa. He texted me a little sampler of the homie’s work, and I was down for it. Sure, the audio is a little choppy sometimes, but what he lacks in the sonics is more than made up for everywhere else. The fact he’s shooting on 16mm gets me hyped, regardless. I want to point out as well that this first film is already over five years old, presumably shot in 2014 before release. Seemingly out of the motocross game, Ben is exploring the world. I back that.
Below is another one of Ben’s works. It’s a student film from his MassArt final. There’s lots of non-motocross stuff in there, but the snippets on two wheels are worth the wait in-between. It’s a great film anyway, so you should give it a go if you’ve got twelve minutes. Ben’s style oozes on the 16mm, and it just goes to show that film should never die. It’s where the heart lies.
Chelsea is one of the best photographers in the sport of motocross, she might even be the best. I’ve spoken with her a couple times about an interview, but she’s got a big project she’s saving for that showcase. With Scope coming out now, I thought she deserved to be recognized in some way.
Her photos are stunningly sharp, almost ethereal in their quality. The way she catches the eye of her subject allows you to see a side of these athletes that we don’t get from traditional media. You can sense the focus acutely in AC’s iris. The pressure of the spotlight in Roczen’s gaze. She’s an expert at using environmental light to her advantage, creating stunning silhouettes and backdrops. The framing is top notch… I could go on.